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tv   New Day  CNN  May 15, 2017 5:00am-6:01am PDT

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discussion with one of the men set to lead the president's new voting fraud commission. what's happening with that investigation? let's get to it. >> i thought that this would be a very popular thing that i did, when i terminated comey. >> a built in system of checks and balances, that's under assault and is eroding. >> the president is the ceo of the country. can he hire and fire whoever he wants. >> a republican should be stepping up to the plate and joining us in asking for a special prosecutor. >> if there are any tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over. >> that's not a threat. he's simply stated a fact. the tweet speaks for itself. >> we have a lot of choice. everybody wants the position. we're going to have somebody fantastic. >> i would strongly urge the administration to pick someone who is completely apolitical. >> this is "new day" with chris cuomo and alisyn camerota.
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>> the white house trying to handle the uproar over the firing of director james comey but the nation's former intel chief says american democracy is "under assault" by president trump. >> as president trump deals the with the fallout over comey he prepares for the first overseas trip of his presidency which will kick off in saudi arabia. we have it all covered. we begin with joe johns live at the white house. joe? >> chris, the former national intelligence chief making the case that the president of the united states is undermining the system of checks and balances at the core of the american government, an extraordinary assertion, and just part of the continuing fallout from the firing of fbi director james comey. the fallout over president trump's firing of fbi director james comey isn't going away. >> i think in many ways our institutions are under assault both externally and that's the
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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. >> former intelligence chief james clapper suggest president trump is undermining america's democratic system. >> the founding fathers in their genius created a system of three coequal branches of government, and a built in system of checks and balances and i feel as though that's under assault and is eroding. >> reporter: clapper rejecting the president's repeated use of his senate testimony to dismiss the russia investigation. >> the bottom line is, i don't know if there was political collusion, and i don't know of any evidence to it, so i can't refute it and i can't confirm it. >> reporter: united nations am bassor nikki haley coming to the president's defense while white house aide as voided the sunday
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shows. >> the president is the ceo of the country. can he hire and fire whoever he wants. >> reporter: lawmakers from both parties condemning the president's action, and demanding an explanation of the president's threatening tweet, suggesting that recordings may exist of his conversations with comey. the white house denies the tweet was a threat. >> it was inappropriate. i'd advise the president not to tweet or comment about the investigation. >> if there are recordings those recordings will be subpoenaed. >> we want to make sure the tapes are preserved. we'll want to look at them in congress. >> reporter: the top democrat on the intelligence committee asserting comey should have the opportunity to address the president's allegations in public. >> i think james comey deserves his chance to lay out to the american public his side of the facts, because how he was treated was pretty awful by this president. >> reporter: some democrats now saying they will refuse to confirm a new fbi director until a special prosecutor is appointed. >> i thought that this would be
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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. >> reporter: president trump insisting that an independent investigation is not necessary. >> there is no collusion. we have nothing to do with russia and everything else. >> reporter: the backlash coming as the president scrambles to replace comey. >> i think the process is going to go quickly. >> reporter: a decision could come this week, after eight candidates were interviewed by jeff sessions and his deputy over the weekend. lawmakers from both parties urging the president to look beyond washington when selecting a new director. >> i strongly urge the administration to pick someone who is completely apolitical. >> the president has a chance to clean up the mess he mostly created. >> reporter: today the president is expected to entertain a visit by the crowned prince of the united arab emirates and tomorrow expected to host the
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president of turkey, president erdog erdogan, right here at the white house. back to you. >> joe johns appreciate it. we bring in senior political analyst ron brownstein, david gregory and jackie kusinich. david gregory most important topic for the day is? >> how both the political class and other leadership, be it judicial or not, are going to respond to what trump has done, not just the firing of comey but then the add-on comments and threats he's made demanding loyalty and all the rest. as we've been saying all morning, this is a crisis the president has created by abusing his power, by creating an atmosphere in which we don't know who we can trust in the white house, at a time when there's an investigation going on, there's facts to be gathered, and there's a system to protect, and there's real questions this week about when and whether republican leaders are going to stand up to the
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president, who has got an agenda to try to get passed, and say look your behavior has got to stop, and we have to get things back on track here. >> just to be clear, the reason that there are no republican leaders on this show this morning is because they didn't want to come on. "new day" asked rank and filele it on a regular basis. >> dozens. >> literally went o-fer, there is a manifest intention not to deal with it. >> ron, you made the point that if you look back at history, a similar parallel is when nixon fired archibald cox. at that time an outcry from all sides. what's happening now? >> it's a measure of how much politics has changed in the 40-plus years since. after richard nixon fired archibald cox in 1973 you had barry goldwater the immediate predecessor as the republican presidential nominee condemning
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him. we have a more polarized politics and the republican leadership and rank and file for the most part almost entirely on capitol hill are basically saying we are part of a common enterprise with president trump. most of our voters still support him and therefore they have unwilling to defend the checks and balances that james clapper talked about. i would say there is still political risk in this, though, because if you look at 2018, i think by far the biggest risk to republicans is that those voters who are ambivalent at best about trump will view them as too compliant and not exercising sufficient checks and balances on him, and so this course, which they believe is safe for now, ultimately i think could be riskier if they are seen as not providing meaningful oversight. >> it's easier in watergate, that was a real crime. this was a legislative endowed and created prosecutor. you don't have that here. comey was not popular with democrats. the president is clearly within his authority to get rid of him. so you don't have the kind of need for bold leadership that you did back then as a gop guy
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coming out or man or woman, but they're not doing it. mcconnell supposedly said he's okay with garland coming out but we haven't heard anything -- >> of course he is. >> -- other than saying let him defend his tweets. is there any price that could be paid for this or is playing it safe the best course if you want to stay in washington? >> here's where the price could take a toll. this is a distraction. they're not able to talk about the things they want to talk about. i had a gop aide call me over the weekend, livid, because in the senate they're trying to work through health care right now. they're trying to put all of that together, and right now, they're being forced to talk about comey. they're not, and to use resources to deal with that, rather than doing the work that they think they should be doing on their agenda, on things like tax reform. so because of that, because they are being forced, being asked questions and forced to talk about comey, you saw people asking about it at town halls,
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over this last recess. so because of that, that i think is going to have a more lasting effect on the republican party as a whole, as you go into midterm. based on what we have now, you know, the facts that we have now. >> a lot can change. >> a lot can change. but it seems like their agenda doesn't become executed, that's going to hold a lot more weight with voters, why they sent them to washington. >> my favorite game is insert hillary clinton into this scenario. >> fun game. >> if it's president clinton firing -- >> better than parchesi? >> it's ridiculous. the fact they'd go after her as we've seen them go after her over benghazi, things like this, it would be an unbelievable display here in washington, and now all of a sudden they're silent, because there's other aspects of this. it's not just trump undermining faith in democratic institutions. how about the attorney general of the united states who recused
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himself from anything having to do with the russia investigation, but then is in an okay position to recommend the firing of jim comey, who is leading that investigation? how is that appropriate? how is he escaping scrutiny in all of this? who asked rosenstein, the deputy a.g., to separately investigate and look for reasons to fire comey when there was an inspector general of the department of justice already doing that? who is asking those questions in government? the news media is doing its job. what is the government doing in congress to run down these leads? aside from the fact that the president's threatening the fbi director over twitter, and demanding loyalty of him, as if that's not outrageous enough, there's other stuff to oversee here. >> go ahead ron. >> that's why i think it's more than an opportunity for republicans in terms of agenda. there's an affirm of it risk of seeming too compliant with a president who on a systematic basis as we talked about before as james clapper also alluded
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to, has been working to delegitimize and undermine essentially any institution that could check him, whether it is the "fake news media" or the "so-called judges" or firing sally yates while investigating people in his orbit. there is a consistent pattern here, and what you have, if if you look at the polling, yes, the floor has not fallen out for president trump but he remains the ceiling is lower than it has been for any new president and i think for republicans in swing districts at some point, they have to ask, is there, is the risk of some rebellion from the base if they criticize him greater than the risk of seeming too willing to look past any potential conflicts in the eyes of swing voters and that is a real risk in a lot of districts in america in 2018. >> the pivot is going to be what happens next in terms of putting somebody in the fbi. let's put up the list. look, this severally. who knows, the president could
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say oh, here's a nice list. i think i'll throw it out. >> but they talk to a lot of people this weekend. >> they had a little bit of a parade and who knows if that's for us or if it's meaningful consideration. name that is not on there is merrick garland. we've been talking about it this morning, david gregory is close with merrick garland, but the question for him, would you take the tenure at the u.s. district court, and go in a job where you could get fired? in terms of that pivot, how big of a deal is it who he puts in? >> it's a huge deal, and depending who that person is, it's tough for anyone to get confirmed. democrats are going to make a lot of noise. >> you think schumer is serious about this we're not going to put anybody in until there's a special prosecutor, you boo i that? >> i don't know. i don't know. >> that's an important point, chris, because if you look at merrick garland for example, i
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can tell you judge garland is not going to want to be a political football again like he was a supreme court come know, this time on the left, after having been a football on the right. that would be a horrible position. if we can put the list up again, there's a couple of people that stand out. alice fisher, who worked in the justice department during 9/11, and is a lawyer now at latham and watkins, is very politically active. she's very active in the republican party, and so that could be a popular choice from that point of view. mike rodgers, strong. fran townsend worked in the bush white house interesting and judge michael garcia has strong bipartisan support, so it's a very serious list there that he's working off, and if it's to be believed, it suggests that what trump will not do is put in some kind of crony, which he realizes would be very difficult. >> i think one of the tasks might be what these people have
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said on russia. john cornyn said this say valid line of inquiry. mccabe in his testimony, doesn't seem like he'd be on the top of the list after what he said last week. i think just some of these folks haven't talked about the russia investigation but i think that's going to be something that is worth looking at as we go through this process. >> ron, quickly, you know, there are reports out axios for one, not seeing it entirely matching yet there's a big white house shakeup coming. any thoughts on that? >> you could make the case, right? this has been as rocky a start as you can have with by far the lowest approval rating. the paradox if you sweep clean the white house you only add to the sense of disarray which is part of the problem that he faces. so the solution might compound the illness. >> and also doesn't matter who you put around you. i'm not saying it's the problem but the issue is, what the president decides to do and no strong hand around is you going
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to overcome your own inclinations. >> yes. >> panel, thank you. very much. >> thank you. all right, cyber security experts expect the enormous ransomware attack to grow as workers boot up their computers today for the first time. these new incidents already reported from china, japan, korea, and australia, just this morning. so far the extortion attacks hit computers in at least 150 countries. but europeol reporting few people have paid the ransom. heartstopping video out of kansas for you. this happened during a nascar race over the weekend. you see this? three cars slam, one goes into flames. look at the elevation that you wind up getting. remember those cars have the flaps on the hood to keep them down. the driver inside, aric almirola, was quickly extracted from the vehicle. doctors say he suffered a fractured vertebrae. fortunately expected to make a full recovery.
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no reports of paralysis, very lucky. the only thing that is more amazing than how fast those cars can go is how well they deal with impact that would just destroy the modern -- >> i can't believe anybody ever walks away from those. it's remarkable. on a much lighter note "saturday night live" season finale bringing back their hilarious impressions starting with the parody of trump's nbc interview. here are your late night laughs. >> back to james comey. your staff has been insisting all week thaw didn't fire him because of his russian investigation. >> no, i did. >> wait, what? >> i fired him because of russia. i thought he's investigating russia, i don't like that, i should fire him. >> and you're just admitting that? >> uh-huh. >> but that's obstruction of justice. >> sure, okay. >> wait, so did i get him?
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is this all over? oh, no, i didn't? nothing matters, absolutely nothing matters anymore? >> now i'm filling in for sean today as you know, sean is fulfilling his duty as an officer in the naval reserve and that is why he cannot be here. >> i'm pretty sure i can see him hiding in those bushes. >> were you surprised that he fired comey before he fired you? >> does that answer your question? i honestly hope to god it killed her. >> sean, just be straight with us for once. what's really going on? >> i am being straight with you. i'm telling you exactly what president trump told me. >> but what if he's lying to you? >> i got to find trump. i'm going to new york.
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the press interview is over! i need to find trump! i promise i'll talk better. ♪ >> that was a long way to go for that joke. >> she was actually -- he was actually, that's how good she is. mccarthy was outside cnn during the filming and the exodus of people wanting to get a shot of her doing that. >> they didn't show the cnn, i felt they should. >> wasn't funny enough. the kiss we didn't show the kiss. there was this huge kiss between trump and spicer at the end of that. i thought there was going to be more reaction to that. i really did. i thought that was a very provocative act but so far it's been pretty mellow. >> let's know what you think. >> you guys are reactionary, all of a sudden going high-minded? the former director of national intelligence saying american democracy is under
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assault by president trump. so does that mean there is a need for some type of independent investigationive body for the russia probe? we'll take a look at it. they call him the whisperer. the whisperer? why do they call him the whisperer? he talks to planes. he talks to planes. watch this. hey watson, what's avionics telling you? maintenance records and performance data suggest replacing capacitor c4. not bad. what's with the coffee maker? sorry. we are not on speaking terms.
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for us it's time to get tested. ask your healthcare provider for the simple blood test. it's the only way to know for sure. the nation's former intelligence chief james clapper making a bold statement in an interview with jake tapper. >> i think in many ways, our institutions are under assault
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both externally and that's the big news here is the russian interference in our election system, and i think as well our institutions are aund salt internally. >> internally from the president? >> exactly. >> joining us now democratic congressman mike quigley from illinois a member of the permanent select committee on intelligence. congressman, good morning. >> good morning. >> what did you think of that -- glts' interesting. >> go ahead, congressman. >> it's interesting. i'm sorry, it's interesting. my committee is trying to investigate perhaps the most important investigation since watergate, just how far the russians went and whether there was cooperation in our country with an attack on the democratic process, and in the meantime we seem to be in the business of creating scripts for "saturday night live" and headlines for "the onion." it's bizarre. >> tell us how your house intel committee investigation is going.
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are you seeing any evidence of collusion between the trump campaign and russia? >> well, i think we're on track again. after the obvious concerns and excursions that went forth, i think on a bipartisan basis, working with mr. conaway we're rebooting and back on track. we've already had another hearing, and have scheduled many more. the witness list is moving forward, so i'd like to think we're moving forward on a positive basis. unfortunately, the american public is distracted mightily with an amazing effort by the president to throw this off track and to convince them something else is more important. >> but i mean, in other words you do not have any conclusions yet. you're not willing to share anything that you've found yet? >> well, i certainly wouldn't share what was revealed in a classified format, but i'd suggest this. we're finding more dots and we're connecting more dots, if the american public heard what i'd heard and read what i'd
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read, democrat and republican would certainly want us to go forward on a full throttle basis. whether there's collusion, what i tell folks is, you know, the comparison is, if it was a criminal case at this point there's probable cause to believe we should go forward as to whether there was collusion between the trump campaign and russians. >> when are you going to be able to share your findings? >> i think it's appropriate after the investigation is complete on the house and senate side. remember, there's a companion investigation, at the same time the justice department is going forward as mr. comey said before he was fired, and there's also a department of defense investigation as to general flynn's involvement. so unfortunately, this is going to take a while. it makes it a lot more difficult when the president of the united states is oblivious to all of this, calls it fake news, and quite frankly, obstructs it.
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>> are you still calling for a special prosecutor to do this work? >> you know, i saw where the white house was going on this a long time ago and asked for a special prosecutor. the fact that the president of the united states thinks it's okay to ask the fbi director for his loyalty rather than his honesty, to fire him after the director asked for more resources to move forward with this investigation, after the first public hearing in which director comey said that there was an investigation, that the russians did hack and they did so to help one candidate over another, you know, that's when he made the extraordinary allegation that president obama wiretapped trump tower so it's clear, he's doing everything he can to obstruct the investigation, and we can't let him do that. >> well, i guess the issue is of course how it would happen, because the deputy attorney general rosenstein would have to appoint that person, so are you
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comfortable with how that would unfold? >> well, at this point i'm not comfortable with anything coming out of the white house, and that's why we need public pressure, and a democratic and republican effort to make sure that the investigation is funded at the appropriate level, and there's true independence in those who are looking into this. and i would suggest to the white house, if this is indeed fake news, then they have nothing to worry about. let's hear what those tapes say with your interview, discussion or dinner with the director, and tell your people at the white house and in the campaign to fully cooperate with the house, senate, and the justice department. let's find out exactly what happened. the american public have a right to know. >> congressman, we've asked a dozen republican lawmakers to come on the program this morning and they all declined. what are your republican colleagues telling you behind the scenes about how they're feeling about all of this today. >> yes, you know, i think
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unfortunately they're going to have to take their turn, in the final analysis, they're not going to come forward and talk to the american people until the american people demand it, and i suppose it's a good time for the president to leave town, because it's not getting any better here, and hopefully they'll convince him to put away his tweet account and get busy running the country. >> i'm not sure how much you should wager on that, congressman. who do you want to see or -- >> i'm on optimist. i'm a cub fan. >> very funny. who do you believe will be the next director of the fbi? >> look, i have no clue what comes out of this white house. i believe what they should do is find somebody who is as apolitical as possible, a veteran prosecutor, and someone willing to tell the president of the united states the truth. i think if that discussion did take place, in which the
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president asked for the director's loyalty, and mr. comey came back and said i'm going to give you honesty, i think that's the kind of person you need. >> do you have a name for that person? >> no. look, i think there's a lot of qualified people. i'm not sure anybody who would want that job right now, because why would you leave some extraordinary job that you have now, knowing that an impetuous president could impulsively fire you at any moment? >> congressman mike quigley, thank you very much for being on "new day." we appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> we have a quick programming note for you, tonight at 9:00, chris will sit down with the top democrat in the house, nancy pelosi, for a live town hall meeting, that's only on cnn. looking forward to that, chris. >> all true. president trump signing an executive order forming a voter fraud commission. will they find millions of fraudulent votes like the president has repeatedly claimed without any evidence? we'll speak with the person
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president trump has signed
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an executive order forming a commission to examine voter fraud in the united states. it follows his baseless claims that millions voted illegally and all for hillary clinton, and that's why he lost the popular vote which he lost by about 3 million votes, which is the same number he says was illegal votes. joining us is the vice chairman of president trump's voter fraud commission, also the secretary of state of kansas and a supporter of the president. mr. secretary of state, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, chris, good morning. >> it's good to have you. so what is the response to the notion that this commission was put together to justify the president's claim that there were 3 million illegal votes mostly in california, new york, and they all voted for hillary clinton. is that what you're setting out to look into? >> no. the commission is not set up to disprove or to prove president trump's claim, nor is it just looking at 20916 election. we're looking at all forms of
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election irregularities, voter intimidation, fraud, suppression, and looking at the vulnerabilities of the various elections we have in each of the states. another point it's a bipartisan commission. the first half of the membership formation announcement last week but there will be more members announced, so it's a bipartisan group of people, all experts in their field and we'll look at the facts and go where the facts lead us. >> and what would be the goal, seeing how vote something largely done on a state by state basis, what would this panel be able to control? >> great question. there's really two goals. one goal is to for the first time have a nationwide fact-finding effort, to see what evidence there is of different forms of voter fraud across the country. like i may know in kansas, we've studied the issue and what we've seen in our state but i can't speak for the other 49 states. put the facts on the table, let
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people draw their own conclusions and people in the media like you draw your own conclusions from the facts. if there is agreement among the commissioners this or that system works well or has some flaws the commission may say we recommend states try this or don't do that. if there's a recommendation for federal legislation that might come out, too. i frankly thing as you rightly point out the states have the constitutional driver's seat if you will for running elections, most will be at the state level. >> now you're right we haven't had a nationally governmental sponsored study of this, but there have been some fairly exhaustive studies done on this and always show deminimus quantify of carry through what the president suggested, somebody voting through illegally. the numbers and convictions are small so whoo is fueling the urgency? >> well, and i've read those studies and as you may recall, many of them are based on
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surveys so they'll sample a group of people, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, did you vote in the election, are you a united states citizen and you try to extrapolate from that survey to the entire country and that's hard to do. surveys have their flaws. >> not all of them. some of them comb through huge volumes of votes and followed it through and wound up showing if you take it all the way through to somebody being convicted for voter fraud, it's a handful. >> let me give you an example. in kansas about three or four weeks ago we announced a conviction of an individual, noncitizen from peru voted multiple times in our elections and we brought that prosecution, but that prosecution was one individual who was actually out of 125 people we know who we can identify by name who are noncitizens who registered and/or voted in our elections or attempted to register, and the
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reason we only brought one prosecution, because most of those cases were more than five years old and as you know the statute of limitations especially in election law usually says you cannot prosecute for an event that occurred more than five years ago. of those many, many cases, we had only one to this point that was prosecutable, because we discovered it soon enough and in cases of that particular form, it's hard to discover. you have to have external evidence telling you this person is not a citizen. >> right, a couple things. one, it depends on the statute of limitations, anywhere from two to ten years but i take your point on that. you could be ham strung on it. your state you had 125 is the number you use. you only got nine convictions, and what that indicates to some people is that if you want to spend time figuring out the voting system don't focus time on something that's deminimus, focus on lack of franchise and
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some of the laws you favored in your state which have gone through some strict legal pushback where you're keeping certain segments of the population from exercising their franchise to vote, as freely as they should. >> we should be focusing on that, too, in addition to focusing on voter fraud, and election irregularities, the commission will also be looking at the claims of voter suppression, claims that certain laws depress turnout, things like that. we'll be looking at evidence on all of these questions and putting the facts on the table and following wherever the facts lead. >> you come into the position on this, you're not a big fan that voter i.d. laws can suppress people's rights even though they've seen that found in court and quantified on several occasions. why do you fight that notion? >> i'm just one member of approximately a dozen members on
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the commission, and i'm only speaking from my experience. in january of 2012, we actually and this is evidence in court, we looked at the 2010 participation members and 2014 numbers comparing apples to apples before and after and we found that voter participation was roughly level, didn't go up or down. >> overall. >> neighboring states it went down overall in the neighboring states it went down. our photo i.d. didn't depress, we were doing better than our neighbors who had not adopted photos. maybe the other 49 states will show something else. >> a is it the stackal anomaly, voter turnout, you didn't look specifically at racial ethnic minority turnout. when do you that the numbers did show a slip and that's not easy to do, because we looked online for kansas' voter data by ethnicity and race and we couldn't find it.
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>> most states don't track it. if you're a voter in kansas we don't have your race listed. it's the states affected by the voting rights act. >> but if you want to find out if something you're doing is suppressing a particular group, wouldn't you want to know what the actual outcome is, otherwise isn't it inherently disingenuous to say voter turnout didn't change when you don't measure what you're looking at? >> we're looking at all groups. frankly i think the government doesn't need to be asking people their race. we should look at voters neut l neutrally. only a small minority of states do ask that. does it make it problematic for researchers? yes, if they're trying to dial down and identify people by race. if you don't have that data it's problematic. is it disingenuous for an elected official so say we're trying to increase the turnout and security of our elections? it's not disingenuous.
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we have never tracked races in kansas. >> it's hard to speak to a specific problem if you don't have specific day to ta to matc. discuss the data as you find it. it's an important discussion. the nation's former intel chief raising questions about our democracy. are our institutions "under assault"? we get the bo tom line with fareed zakaria, ahead. ugh, no bars.
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time for the five things to know for your new day. the former director of intelligence says america's democracy is "under assault" after president trump's firing of fbi director james comey, at least eight candidates have already been interviewed to replace comey. federal appeals court in seattle will hold a hearing whether to uphold a nationwide halt to the president's revised travel ban. the administration wants the ninth circuit to live the imjunction issued by a federal judge in hawaii. north korean state media says the missile launch this weekend is capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead and the
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u.s. is within striking distance. new attacks being reported in a massive global cyber attack today, the infection started friday locking the computers of 250,000 users in 150 countries. kara mccullough from the district of columbia is crowned miss usa 2017. for more things to know go to newd newd for the latest. is president trump a danger to democracy, fareed zakaria says yes and he's here next.
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>> the trump white house trying to move past the president's firing of fbi director james comey, but our fareed zakaria warns of a bigger danger, and fareed joins me now the bottom line. great to have you here in studio. you have an op-ed for in which you say president trump pose a danger to american democracy. what do you mean? >> i think that beyond some of the day-to-day antics what is noticeable about president trump is that he really attacks systematically relentlessly any institution, any group of people that stand in his way. and that's fundamentally corrosive of the american system, because our whole system is based on the idea of checks and balances. so the idea is, no one person is meant to have that much power, even if you were elected.
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the whole point of the bill of rights is it's a check on majority rule, and so what trump does, whether it's with independent agencies like the fbi, he weakens them. courts, he attacks them when they disagree with him. the media, he relentlessly attacks journalist, smears the media, calls it fake news. any one of it you can get into. as a totality is an effort to weaken the distinctive feature of the american system which is these checks and balances. >> isn't owe our democracy stronger than any one man? >> well, the presidency is unusual. the president sits almost above the law in the american system. people say for example trump admitted to obstructing justice in that interview and so it's illegal. no, it's not illegal. he is allowed to fire the director of the fbi. the fbi works for him. the justice department works for him. so it's this very unusual circumstance where ever since george washington, presidents have exercised discipline and have sort of policed themselves,
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the notable exception being richard nixon, so you know, the fact that trump is almost you know, unabashedly explaining that he intends to continue to pursue his advantage and weaken everybody who checks and balances him, it's sort of un-american. >> i understand he's not playing by the same rules, that other presidents have, but i guess my point is, is that we have 250 years of this shining example of democracy and surely our democracy will exist past these four or eight years. >> well my point in that piece is to say it will exist as long as we keep trying to maintain that system, and fight back, not against trump on policies, but on this idea of weakening independent courts, weakening freedom of the press, weakening the independent agencies like the fbi, the sec, that have really become jewels in the modern american system. when i go around the world,
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democratic reformers look to things like the sec, the fbi, and say we want to have independent agencies like that, that can stand up to the president, that are independent of political parties, and here we are, undermining those very institutions ourselves. >> we've heard some pundits say, in fact "the washington post" has a front page story that russia is the big winner, as more chaos is sown in the u.s. that russia wins. is that giving russia too much credit for what's going on here at home? >> there's a bigger story here about our own chaos by itself, but there's no question that putin has systematically argued that the united states should not be considered a shining model of democracy, that the world has to follow, and certainly that russia has to follow. i interviewed him last july in st. petersburg and he very pointedly said to me, and he knows a lot about american history. he said you really think american elections are democratic? you had two examples, see he
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knows his history, two examples where the person who won the popular vote didn't get the presidency. of course now there are three examples. he went on to say i'm not saying it's a good system or a bad system. i'm telling you stop lecturing us. we don't need to adocht yopt yo system. the more you see chaos, the more you can say you thought these agencies were independent? look, trump just undermined that and fired the head of the fbi. >> let's talk about the international stage. president trump is about to make his first international trip. he's going to saudi arabia, israel, the vatican. he'll be meeting with the pope, and belgium. what do you expect? this is huge, all of the people that he'll be talking to, the places that he's chosen to go. what do you see here? >> well, israel and the vatican are of course more about domestic politics than foreign policy, but in going to, in making his first trip to saudi arabia, he's sending a kind of odd symbolic message. presidents on their first trip
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they go to canada, mexico and britain. those are traditionally the closest neighbors, closest ally. in going to saudi arabia, he's choosing to go to the country that is perhaps more than any other country in origin, the font of radical islamic terrorism in the way he describes it. 15 of the 19 bombers from 9/11 were saudi. the saudi government initially, and then saudi private foundations and people have funded radical islam all over the world, billiowe so ma bin l was saudi. you look at almost all terrorist attacks somewhere the leads go back to saudi arabia. >> says he's going to create a partnership there to fight extremism and terrorism. >> let's hope he it us that. the symbolism is odd. i would have gone to britain. >> fareed zakaria great to have you here from the bottom line. thanks so much for being with us. >> "cnn newsroom" with poppy harlow and john berman picks up
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after this quick break. i'll see you tomorrow. i count on my dell small business advisor
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y282uy ywty >> on the verge of tapping a new fbi director, will it be a career crime fighter or a republican politician? and how far will democrats go to block this pick? north korea overnight test firing a new missile that delivers a new nuclear threat to the united states, the united nations security council calls an emergency meeting. and the crippling worldwide cyber attack, 150 countries hit with banks, hospitals, universities, all brought to you a standstill, this morning a second wave of attacks that could be shaping up. quite a weekend it has been. good morning everyone i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm john berman. it is monday morning. do you know where your fbi director is? the president could be moving closer to picking a replacement for james comey, the man he fired last week. the challenge not


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