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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  May 14, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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respectively while violence in yemen resulted in 7,000 deaths last year. the number of fatalities dropped around the world for two years in a row. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. hello everyone. thanks so much for joining me this sunday. i'm fredricka whitfield. happy mother's day. we begin with the predicament playing the fbi. can an administration being investigated by the agency choose the bureau's new chief without bias? we have new details with at least eight candidates being interviewed this weekend. and the president still standing by his decision to fire james comey and downplaying claims that his actions were an abuse of power. >> well, there's no right time. let's say i did it on january 20th, the opening. that would have been the big
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story as opposed to the inauguration and i was think being it then. i was thinking about it during this period of time. there's really no right time to do it. but i mean, i'm okay with it. as you know, i have a decision to make and i have to make the decision. he agrees that i have the absolute right to do it. everybody agrees. >> but the former director of national intelligence is calling the president's behavior disturbing and issuing this ominous warning today. >> i think this many ways our institutions are under assault and that's the big news here is the russian interference in our election system. and i think as well our institutions are under assault internally. >> internally from the president? >> exactly. >> this as north korea once again fires a ballistic missile test overnight. we'll discuss the sharp response from the white house. but first the president blaming much of the controversy surrounding the firing of james
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comey to a vendetta by democrats. but a new nabc "wall street journal" poll shows twi29% appr of the decision to fire comey. athena jones is following this story and joins me live. the president so very much rather surprised by the criticism. >> that's right. and it's remarkable to hear the president talking about why he was surprised. let's go ahead and play that clip from that same fox interview he gave to judge s shapiro toward the end of last week. >> i thought this would be a very popular thing that i did when i terminated comey because all of the democrats couldn't stand him, but because i terminated him they said oh, we get some political points, we'll go against trump. i assumed it would be very popular and they got together and said, again, we're talking
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obstruction. this is total obstruction. >> so there you are the hear expressing his surprise at the way democrats responded to this. and it's interesting this backs up our reporting from earlier in the week that suggests that the reason that the white house was so surprised by the response was that not enough seasoned political hands were involved in making this decision. we know that the president likes to get the opinions of a lot of people on a number of issues when he's considering making a big decision. he didn't do that with him. this was something that was closely held to the vest. even the communications team which would be tasked with explaining the reason for the decision to the press and to the american people, even they were kept out of the loop until practically the last minute. they had about an hour to begin to put together an explanation. that is why you saw the story line change so much. even the vice president apparently was kept out of the loop at least on the reasoning.
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because he, too, repeated this line on capitol hill that the president was acting on the recommendations of the justice department. it wasn't until later in the week that we heard from the president himself that he was going to fire comey all along. so it shows that the white house team wasn't prepared for this. and didn't i guess think it through very much on the front end. >> athena jones at the white house. thanks so much. as democrats and republicans spar over who should be the next person to lead the fbi, the guy who used to have the job kajame comey is staying above the fray. he has declined an invitation to test before congress this week but did take in a musical yesterday posing with this photo. simone is following the search for a new fbi director. president trump says there could be a quick -- a pick as early as this week. >> well, that's right. a pick by midweek would mean that we would need to meet
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with -- that he would nieto meet wi -- need to meet with the finalist soon. he had hoped to have someone at the end of the next week before he parts on his trip. this has sort of become like a reality tv show with the parade of candidates. yesterday and now we have to see what happens next. he claims trump, the president says that he's going to meet with the finalists. again, perhaps we'll see more people parade before him at the white house. one of the things the president must -- has stressed is picking someone who will restore the morale of the fbi. but sources i've talked to at the fbi don't believe this has anything to did with morale and just pure politics. what's hurting the staff and agents at the fbi is how president trump went about firing director comey. this morning senator lindsey graham said it well. this cannot be about politics
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and, you know, all of this sort of animosity that trump seems to have towards the director needs to be set aside as he gets ready to pick the next director of the fbi. take a listen to what lindsey graham had to say. >> i think it's time for an fbi agent to lead the fbi. when you talk about a new person to lead the fbi, how about an fbi agent who is above reproach. >> lindsey graham would want someone with a history with the fbi, perhaps history in the department of justice, in law enforcement. these would be important keys for members of the fbi, for the staff at the fbi but not entirely important. i think the most important thing for the fbi and the agents and the staff that work there is to have the pick not be seen as a political one. that is the key thing here. especially with the russia investigation. this person needs to show no
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bias and can allow the investigation to proceed. >> and that seems like that's likely to be the most difficult challenge. thank you so much. as the president continues to dieny that his campaign had any ties to the russian government, trump consistently cites one man to prove it. when james clapper himself and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt says there was no collusion, when does it end? clapper, the former director of national intelligence, spoke with cnn's jake tapper to clarify the comments. >> i deferred to the fbi director both director muller and then director comey as to whether, when, and what to tell me about any counter intelligence investigations that they might have under way. so it was kind of standard practice. so my statement was premised on
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first the context of our intelligence community assessment on russian interference with the election. we did not -- there was no reporting in that intelligence community assessment about political collusion. we did not -- i did not have any evidence. i did not know about the investigation. >> you didn't even know that the fbi was conducting an investigation? >> i did not. and even more importantly, i did not know the content or the status of that investigation. and there's all kinds of reasons why that's so, but this -- these are sensitive. we try to keep them as compartment as possible and importantly these are involved u.s. persons. >> this week with the president firing the fbi director while this investigation is going on, and then saying that he was thinking about the russia probe when he was making the decision, have we crossed a line here? >> well, i will just say that
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the developments of the past week are very bothersome, very disturbing to me. i think in many ways our institutions are under assault externally and that's the big news here is the russian interference in our election system. and i think as well our institutions are under assault internally. >> internally from the president? >> exactly. >> because he's firing the checks and balances. >> well, i think, you know, the founding fathers in their genius created a system of three co-equal branches of government and a built-in system of checks and balances. and i feel as though that's under assault and is eroding. >> on friday you said director comey told you he was uncomfortable about going to this private dinner that he went to with the president shortly after the inauguration. did he talk to you at all about the content of their conversation? the reason i ask this is because
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a source close to commey told me about the dinner, about trump asking comey for a pledge of personal loyalty and comey said no. >> my only knowledge was before the dinner and it was he hoover building on the 27th of january for another event and i spoke briefly with director comey. he mentioned to me the invitation he had some the president and my characterization uneasy with it both from the standpoint of the optic of compromising his independence and the independence of the fbi. but i don't know -- he's not debriefed me or spoken to me about what went on during the dinner. >> what's been the impact in the intelligence community of the firing of james comey? >> well, i think at large there is concern about it. i do know that it came as a great shock to -- and was very
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disturbing to fbi employees. i spoke to one last night at a dinner that was quite upset about it. and i think that reflects the feeling, widespread feeling in the fbi. i'm fairly familiar with the bureau. i've worked with it for a long time. i have a relationship with the bureau through our domestic reps and through the overseas legal attaches and i'm pretty familiar with the bureau and its people. it's a national treasure and it's very disturbing to me that the negative morale impact this event has had. people had issues i'm sure with director comey, some of his decisions. that's fine. people took issue with decisions i made. that's part of the deal. but i think as far as his stature as a leader and his
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integrity, people are very upset about the way he was treated. >> let's get a wider view now of those comments with my panel now. jay newton small. presidential historian allen liktman and cnn intelligence security analyst robert bear. good to see all of you. you heard clapper say he's very worried about the climate. it's very troublesome. not because of comey's representation, but because of the way in which he was fired. during the selection process now is it your view that trump still has a real big credibility problem within the intelligence community? you hear it from clapper and you've heard it from a few others. is it going to be tougher to get a good candidate who says yes, i'm up for the job as opposed to it being difficult for them to find a good candidate?
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>> fred, i think it's the way he was fired was a humiliation for the fbi. the fbi has been under attack basically for the last couple years. there were a lot of ways that he could have fired comey. he simply could have called him to the oval office and said we have got to partways. he could have prepared comey for it. it looks like the white house of course was complete dysfunction there. and general clapper is right. there is an assault on american institutions. and president trump is just adding to that perception. i think it would be very difficult to get an fbi director who's not had that in mind that i could be the next one to go if i displease him. and i agree with lindsey graham. what we need is an fbi agent of good standing, independent to head that agency. and to put a politician as head of the fbi, that's going to be an added disaster. >> you worry that a candidate
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will consider the way in which james comey was fired and maybe less apt to take the job because of either the perception that it may be political or the potential treatment of not being a neutral force but instead a political decision? >> oh, absolutely. i think the fbi has become politicized with this firing of comey. anybody coming in heading the russian investigation has got to wonder am i going to be the next one fired? if i state what i believe are the facts? a lot of times in bur rock rgov officials prefer to stay out of the lime light and they do not want to be in a political maelstrom in washington and they'll take other jobs and i think that's unfortunate. >> attorney general jeff sessions said he had recused himself. he had recused himself from all
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things in the investigation as it relates to russia but now here he is a part of the panel interviewing candidates. this is a big problem, isn't it? >> absolutely, fred. it's when you treat people like this, with abrupt i ha abruptly, for director tcomey and your ow staff, they've gone out and presented all kinds of false information for the reasons behind the firing saying it had to do with the treatment of hillary clinton and then the president saying that had nothing to do with it. word is on the hill that they've been trying to recruit more communication staff and nobody wants to go work for the president because that's such a tough job because they are treated so terribly and they're left out to dry and they're left out to hang out there. so the question -- they haven't filled enormous amounts of positions in terms of political appointees. now it's going to be more challenging to fill this
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position as nobody really wants to work for this president. >> so allen, a new nbc news poll says just 29% of americans approve of trump's firing of james comey. lindsey graham as we've made reference to him says the next director needs to be an fbi agent. there need not be politics that will impact the decision of who is selected. is any of them possible particularly based on the pattern of behavior of this white house and that trump himself and everyone around him has talked about the importance of loyalty? >> no, it's not possible. and the real headline from that clapper interview was his fear that the president of united states is undermining our democratic institutions to serve his own political purposes. as i point out in my book the case for impeachment, the founding fathers, and they were fathers in those days did put in
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checks and balances. but they fully recognized that a rogue president could smash through those checks and balances. that's why they also put in impeachment as an orderly, constitutional and peaceful process for safeguarding our democracy. what we need now is not a special prosecutor. that person would serve at the pleasure of trump. we need an impeachment investigation by the house of representatives judiciary committee. that's what happened after the saturday night massacre when richard nixon fired archibald cox. >> dow think that's all in place? >> absolutely. in the watergate case they had 44 lawyers working and 100 staffers. a committee could staff up and do a thorough investigation in a matter of months. special prosecutors take years. here's what i have to say to donald trump. mr. president, if what you say is true, that there was no
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involvement between you and your team with the russians, why not totally clear the air? welcome an investigation. encourage every one of your team members to testify under oath, release all documents, release the tapes if they exist. so far you've been engaged in a nixon style kcover up. not just the firing of comey but what seems to be white house co collusion with nunes to derail the house investigation or demanding personal loyalty from mr. comey or your attorney general lying about his contacts with the russians. yet off the coverup, if there's nothing to hide. prove it to us. the only way to do it is through an impeachment investigation. that is the proper constitutional venue and our framers understood that. >> speaking on the issue of the russian investigation was the secretary of state rex tillerson this morning. take a listen. >> your counterpart, the russian
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foreign minister mr. lavrov said that you guys didn't even talk about this issue of russian interference in our election because as he put it, the president trump says it's fake news so it's not an issue. why haven't you brought it schnupp. >> i think we have such a broad range of important issues that have to be addressed in the u.s./russia relationship. obviously the interference in the election is one of those. i think it's been well documented. it's pretty well understood. the nature of that interference here and elsewhere. these are not new tactics on the part of the russian government. directed not only to us but at others. again, i think we have to look at this relationship in its broadest contours and there are many, many important areas which require our attention if we are to bring it back to a relationship that we believe is necessary for the security of the u.s. >> so allen, do you buy that? how could it not be discussed?
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>> to quote a great republican ronald reagan, there you go again. an absolute nixon style deflection. if you listen to that, he never really answered the question. he deflected to other things. let me put this to mr. tillerson and president trump and all his supporters. what could be more important than a foreign hostile power, russia, meddling in our democracy to undermine our democratic institutions and the integrity of our elections? and if we don't get to the bottom of this, they're going to do it again and they're going to do it all over the world and our democracy will never be the same again. shame on you, mr. tillerson. answer the question. >> and real quick, bob, you're shaking your head. you have a point you want to make on that? >> i agree with everything allan said t.'s time -- it's time to to impeachment.
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otherwise we don't have a democracy. we have to hold this country, the department of justice, the white house, to standards we've lived by since our independence. there is no choice. >> can that had been with republicans being more out spoke citizen. >> it cannot cannot happen without republicans being more outspoken. the house and senate are controlled by republicans. thus far republicans have actually supported donald trump in this firing of comey and in everything he's done so far. >> we're going to have -- >> one final word. i call upon every republican to do what so many did in the watergate investigation. put patriotism as authority. >> appreciate it. after the break, north korea fires a ballistic missile marking the first test since a new president took office in south korea. how the white house and u.s. allies are responding next.
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reproach shap the biggest cyber attack the world has ever seen is far from over. experts say the ransom wear which locks you out of your computer until you pay a ransom to the hackers account kracreat more havoc tomorrow when people return to work. they just released a statement that said other infected computers may not have been detected and that new cases of ransom wear possibly at a significant scale are likely to be reported at the start of the week. and the white house is blasting north korea after its latest ballistic missile test in a statement released last night, the administration said north korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long but also speculated on russia's take on the launch saying with the missile impacting so close to russian soil, in fact, closer to russia than to japan, the president cannot imagine that russia is pleased. cnn's pentagon reporter ryan brown is joining me right now. ryan, was that indeed russia's
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response? >> fred, we're hearing several responses from moscow today. a spokesman for the kremlin said that vladimir putin was concerned about the recent missile test as well as other developments on the peninsula and another russian official sa said its air defense systems were put on high alert. the russian defense ministry said the missile test posed no threat to russia and that they were tracking it all along kind of downplaying the risk. we're hearing a bit of a different message, but vladimir putin through a spokesman saying he was concerned about the missile test. >> this comes just weeks after trump said he would be honored to meet with kim jong-un under the right circumstances. u.s. ambassador to the united nations nikki haley addressed that possibility this morning in fact. what did he say? >> baambassador haley made it clear that they would have to stop these missile tests if any
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such meeting were to ever take place. >> having a missile test is not the way to sit down with the president. because he's absolutely not going to do it. i can tell you he can sit there and say all the conditions he wants. until he meets our conditions, we're not sitting down with him. >> so very clear there that any such meeting or summit between the two leaders would be contingent upon north korea stopping these missile tests which have become fairly frequent. this one being one of the first in a while to not explode during launch and actually land in the sea of japan. we're not seeing any ramping down of north korea missile tests in recent weeks. >> ryan brown, thanks so much nc. up next, the trump effect on the gop. how republicans are trying to tow the line between supporting the president and their own futures.
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new fall out from the
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president of firing of former fbi director james comey. a new nbc "wall street journal" poll reveals only 29% of americans approve of the president's decision. and now top democratic leaders are criticizing some republicans for their silence on the president's chaotic week and for ignores his controversial tweets and statements. this morning on cnn state of the union chuck schumer called on the gop to set aside party loyalty and to speak out against the president when the moment calls for it. >> there's a crisis of credibility with the president. i mean, so many things, you know, there's so much factual fabrication and then backsliding and contradiction. we need our republican colleagues, not every day but on the occasions when it's necessary, such as for a special prosecutor, such as what's happened in the last week, to speak out, because this is country. this is an issue of country, not party. >> all right. let's bring in our panel discuss this. kaley is a cnn political
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commentator and contributor for the hill. michael singleton. good to see both of you. michael, let's begin with you. as a republican who was fired from hud after criticizing trump, you have a clear understanding or perhaps more clear understanding of the expected backlash sometimes when criticizing the president. is it your feeling that some gop members are worried about the potential backlash when you hear some democrats using words like, you know, describing republicans as being cowardly by not speaking out, hearing from senator chuck schumer who says they need to show more devotion to patriotism as opposed to party? >> well, you know, fredricka, i'm not certain if republicans are concerned or if they're not. i think they should be. i think there's an air of expectation that we hold for any
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individual that wants to be president of the united states of america. and that person, male or female, has to do everything they can to live up to that expectation. and for my fellow republicans for quite some time we have suspended our criticisms, our concerns about the veracity of president trump's claims and at some point as a party we have to say to the president enough is enough. you have to live up to those expectations. you have to show good judgment. you have to show restraint. and the continuous tweets that we have seen, some of the statements that the president have made that are obviously inconsistent, via the interviews over the past couple of days now has to come to anne end. i want nothing more than to see the president do a great job because the president of the free world. it impacts all of us. >> if more republicans were outspoken or more critical of some of the things tweeted or, you know, word choice of the president, is it your feeling it
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would be influential of president trump? >> you know, fredricka, i'm not certain if it would be or if it's not going to be, but i think that we as a party have to try. presidents come to go. as a party, we have been here through good presidents and through bad presidents. i think history would not be a good judge of the republican party if we sit by and allow democracy to get shot down in flames because of the president's inability to be disciplined. >> kaley, how deeply is the party being hurt by collectively remaining so silent, particular lie ly at this juncture? >> it's not being hurt at all and i find it ironic about democracy being hurt. any credible legal scholar will tell you that president trump had a legal right to fire the fbi director. >> no one is dis agreeing with that. >> i think it's the method. that's the criticism we've heard. it's about the method in which it happened. >> sure. and michael, to say it's a
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threat to democracy, where were democrats? it's ironic to hear chuck schumer all of a sudden concerned about democracy? where were they when courts were striking down president obama's executive order or the time when the irs was bullying tea party groups? democrats were silent. >> this is an issue of the fbi leading an investigation that involve this is white house. and so what many people find peculiar, those who have been critical of the president, is that the president is firing the person who is leading that investigation and that's the real conflict here. >> if i could just jump in, i don't -- >> but the investigation -- hold on. the investigation is continuing. mccabe, who is no fan of the president or republicans, mccabe, acting fbi director, said they have everything they want. this investigation is continuing. it's not being stopped. that poll i would point out more than 60% of americans either approved of the decision or had no opinion at all. so it's really just this small
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group of 30% that really disapprove of what the president has done. >> so one republican who has been consider critical of the president is senator ben stassi. here's what he has to say about the impact of the president firing comey is having. >> i'm not sure how this president makes lots of decision, so i honestly don't know. but i do know that we are in the midst midst of a civilization warping of public trust and we know to talk about our institutions that need to be restored and need to have the ability for people in five and eight and ten years to trust these institutions. >> michael, what's your response on that? >> if i could just respond to what she said, i don't think anyone did debating whether the president had the right to remove director comey. nor do i agree with the tactics of democrats.
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now the republicans control both houses. two wrongs don't make a right. people are looking to people in washington for leadership and for direction. president trump was elected by and large because a lot of people across the country felt that the country was headed in the wrong direction. now that he is there, he has the obligation and the expectation to live up to everything people entrusted in him by laking him as president. it is in my opinion that he's not doing a very good job of doing so. >> the president has said the fbi was in turmoil, but you're hearing words like constitutional crisis as it pertains to his decision making, the method with which he decided to fire comey and the search for the new fbi director. how does that white house either get back on track in terms of trying to win some more credibility in this department? >> look, fred, it is entirely fair if folks want to criticize maybe the manner in which the fbi director was fired, finding out about it on the news, or if
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they want to criticize the fact that the communications department wasn't on the same page with their explanation. fair points. but when you have the night of the firing, you had 107 comparisons according to media research of trump to nixon. that is beyond the pale. for people to ask as if trump had done something that he didn't have a right to do, to act as if he's richard nixon in the flex. >> it's because of the investigation. those were the parallels that many were making. different circumstances. >> sure. but we have no proof that he did this because of the russian investigation. we also have no way -- >> he did say in that interview that -- he did say the russia investigation is what compelled him to move toward the firing of comey. >> even abc's white house correspondent came back at that point and gsaid i think what he was saying was -- >> at the time he was explaining himself. >> if i could just jump in
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really quickly. >> real quick. >> left does matter. when president obama was in office, oftentimes in our party, even i myself compared some of his positions to jimmy carter. we've done this with other presidents. history does matter. we're not holding president trump to a different standard. >> we'll leave it right there. thanks to both of you. >> thanks, fredricka. happy mother's day. >> thank you very much. still ahead, melissa mccarthy takes her sean spicer act on the road in last night's saturday night live. we've got the highlights later on this hour. so ammara, you're a verizon engineer, tell me, what's one really good reason why the samsung galaxy s8 is better on verizon? well we have the largest 4g lte network in america. yeah that's a pretty good reason. and the most reliable. uh-huh. and, with unlimited, you get full hd video.
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this morning emmanuel macron was sworn in. he is the youngest person to hold the presidency in france's
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history. during the ceremony macron call for unity and insisted france is headed for a whole new era. >> translator: the world and europe need france more than ever. they need a strong france. sure of its destiny. a france which holds high the voice of freedom and solidarity. >> macron is expected to name a prime minister tomorrow. the battle to defeat isis in iraq and reclaim mosul to be in its final stages after vicious fighting. the terror group now only controls 10% of the city. but iraqi officials say the lives of civilians still trapped there may get more difficult. ben wedeman is in mosul covering this final offensive. i want to warn you the images in this report may be disturbing to some viewers, but we feel it is important to show you the realities on the ground.
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>> reporter: from a roof top soldiers fire towards isis positions. the struggle to liberate the city from isis is now well into its seventh grueling month of street by street, house by house fighting. the end is near, but not near enough. iraqi soldiers drag two dead isis fighters over the hood of their humvees like trophies taking selfies. the one they swore was here to stay and destined to expand. isis ran dozens of workshops in residential areas to manufacture these and other weapons. it's a complete factory making anti-tank and anti-personal rockets this officer tells me.
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only 10% of mosul remains under isis control, but taking the last 10% won't be easy. where that block smoke is rising is the 17th of july neighborhood. it's that neighborhood that isis entered first in june of 2014. they renamed the neighborhood fata to commemorate the early con quest of the islamic empire. commanders hearsay the battle is going to be the hardest one. lieutenant colonel has been speaking by phone with residents inside the neighborhood. tragic is how he describes their plight. they have no food, no water, no medical care. they're just waiting for our forces to free them. so could wait no longer. risking death to escape. we left early this morning after
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taking cover for days in the bathroom she says. our men folk told us go, go. we said we can't because of the shelling. then we put our faith in god and we left. she never fled the adjacent district, hiding with his family under a stairwell, waiting for iraqi forces to move in. now he's leading them from one abandoned isis house to another. i gathered information for the past three years, he says. i watched them. i wrote down their names. i kept an eye on what they were doing. and now i'm sharing everything with the officers. senior commanders inspecting weapons seized from isis are confident victory will be achieved before the end of may. god willing says iraqi chief of staff, we will triumph before and declare the liberation of mosul and its people from the
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filthy scum of isis. those filthy scum as he calls them haven't given up yet, however, as this inkmcoming snir round inches from our camera shows. ben wedeman, cnn, western mosul. >> we have so much more straight ahead in the newsroom. stay with us. of your dreams... and together, you had the kid of your dreams. now you can put them in the car of your dreams... for a lot less than you might think. with a certified pre-owned mercedes-benz, you can enjoy legendary safety, innovation and performance at a price you can afford. and that's a pretty sweet dream. visit the certified pre-owned sales event, now through may 31st. only at your authorized dealer. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing.
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welcome back. given the week that was in washington it's no surprise saturday night live took aim at the white house. alec baldwin making a return appearance as president trump and melissa mccarthy reprizing a role as sean spicer. then we saw a new face at the press briefing. >> i'm filling in for saean today. sean is filling his duty as an officer in the naval reserve. >> i'm pretty sure i can see him hiding in those bushes.
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>> i believe that's a naval exercise. he's trying to blend in with his surroundings. are there anymore questions? >> yeah. i have a question. can you just do this full-time instead of him? >> yeah. i'd also like to ask that question, because you are clearly articulate and charming whereas sean is bullish -- >> i hate to put your pants out because you're both just lying. pants lying. >> oh my. we've got so much more straight ahead in the newsroom. stay with us. per roll bounty is more absorbent, so the roll can last 50% longer than the leading ordinary brand. so you get more "life" per roll. bounty, the quicker picker upper so i can take my trading platform wherever i go. you know that thinkorswim seamlessly syncs
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wooyou're watching "cnn newsroom." happy mother's day. after north korea fired another ballistic missile test the white house is issuing a sharp response and intensifying calls for stronger sanctions with many of the administration's resources are focused on the crucial top vacancy at the fbi. we have new details on at least eight candidates being interviewed this weekend. and the president still standing by his decision to fire james comey and downplaying claims that his actions were an abuse of power. >> well, there's no right time. let's say i did it on january 20th, the opening. then that would have been the big story as opposed to the inauguration and i was thinking about it then. i was thinking it b about it du this period of time.

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