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tv   Wolf  CNN  May 23, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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i'm wolf blitzer. thafrp thanks for joining us. we're watching two developing stories in manchester england. right now people are gathering in the heart of the city to honor the victims of the terror attack. children are among the 22 people who died in an explosion just outside the crowded area, an ariana grande concert. dozens others are injured, many of them in very serious condition. now police have just released the name of the man they believe carried out the attack.
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22-year-old salman abedi. we heard reaction from british prime minister theresa may as well as donald trump who spoke about the attack twice while he was in isreal. >> we struggled to comprehend the warped and twisted mind but see a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage. we can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in the future. to take on and defeat the ideology that often fuels the violence. and to take out others for this attack, to seek them out and bring them to justice. >> dozens of innocent people, beautiful young children, saf va -- savagely murdered in this attack upon humanity. i repeat again we must drive out the terrorists and extremists
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from our mid fst. >> also today we're watching john brennan testify on capitol hill as part of the russian intelligence committee's investigation and russian interference in the 2016 election. possible collusion with the trump campaign. >> i encounter the and am aware of information intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between russian officials and u.s. persons involved in the trump campaign. that i was concerned about because of known russian efforts to suborn such individuals and it raised questions in my mind again whether or not the russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals. >> let's get some more now on the terror attack in the united kingdom. i want to bring in diplomatic editor nic robertson. he's joining us from number 10 downing street in london.
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also peter bergen is standing by. police reveal the name of the man they believe carried out this terror attack. what can you tell bus salman abedi? >> 22 years old, wolf. according to the police chief, the coroner hasn't formally identified him yet, but we know according to the prime minister this morning after she'd had her high level security cabinet meeting that involved police chief counter terrorism intelligence chiefs as well as well as other important ministers, home secretary as well, she said that he was known to the british security services, precise details on that she hasn't yet released. this is someone who was known. we also now know -- we also now know from counter terrorism officials that are connected with the investigation that so far they haven't been able to uncover a direct link between salman abedi and any terrorist organization, although isis has claimed as they have done with other attackers in the past that
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he is one of their foot soldiers. they provided no evidence. or a name. they didn't provide a name in advance to back that up. these are the details we have. the prime minister is in manchester. she's been to visit with some of the victims. she's been to the police to get an update. she was of course a former home secretary here which means she has a lot of experience in dealing with this kind of investigation. she will be returning here to 10 downing street later in the day. yet another briefing from her security intelligence chief police defense chief and to gather all the information as they decide what to do. one of the things that has been decided has been to increase security not just here in london but obviously in manchester. part to reassure. part because the police don't know what may come next. however, the terror threat level remains severe. that's where it's been for the last year or so which means a threat is highly likely. it hasn't been raised critical which would mean another threat was imminent. >> what do we know about whether
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this saliva mman abedi acted al? did he build the bomb? did someone else build the bomb? was he inspired by a terror organization or was he working with a terror organization? do we have any answers to those critically important questions yet? >> you're absolute right, these are the most pressing questions. if you had to answer in europe, 75% approximately of all attackers have had some connection, either electronic through -- for inspiration or direction from terrorist organizations like isis. that has not been uncovered. the fact that he had a bomb that was not a simple attack like the westminster attack where it was somebody driving a vehicle at high speed, mowing people down and stabbing a policeman, this is a more complex type of attack that clearly took plans.
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that appeared to wait for the doors of this concert to open at the end of the concert to allow people to come out. the attacker appears to have entered the doors at the venue. he was inside the venue so sort of meet the oncoming hords of people leaving the concert hall. the tactics involved, the explosives involved. we've heard reports of nuts, nails, et cetera being used in this device. support what we have seen in previous attacks so there's some sophistication gone into building the device. but is it possible that this person could have done this alone? yes, it is. because some of the information to build such devices is publicly available. but what we know, again, if you look at this statistically, the evidence would seem to suggest that there was some and because this was potentially sophisticated device, so there may have been help. as you say, these are the most pressing questions and as yet
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the details for the answers have not been made public, wolf. >> peter bergen, isis as you know, we reported, has officially claimed responsibility but has offered nothing more than that statement. how do you treat that claim by isis? >> i think isis has generally speaking, wolf, tended to make claims that turnout to have some merit. we don't know in this case. but they -- they don't i willy nilly claim a lot of things they haven't done. i would certainly -- we'd have to treat this with some kind of potential authority. but picking up on what nic said it's hard in a country like united kingdom to by explosives or dynamite. therefore you're left with the way to build this is with hydrogen per ox side explosives. we saw that in the 2005 attack in london. we've seen that in attempts in the united states and also attacks and pair russ and
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brussels. building that bomb is not something you can just pick up on the internet. you might be able to do it, but you'd probably blow yourself up. hydrogen peroxide bombs are unstable. they're very toxic. it's highly likely that this is a hydrogen peroxide bomb. that would also lead to where was it made? the tox is tee of t-- in the lds in 2005 bought an apartment to build the bomb and bought a refraj rart because the elements are so unstable. they're looking at where was this bomb put together and that would also lead you to how did this bomber learn how to make this? in general, it's i think highly unlikely that he just learn bd about it on the internet. >> al qaeda, they've had
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articles in their online magazine, how to build a bomb in the kitchen of your mom. but you're suggesting a much more sophisticated bomb as in this case that killed so many people, a lot of young people, not necessarily could just be built as easily as that. usually when it's an official isis or al qaeda attack, very often, correct me if i'm wrong, peter, you're an expert in this area, there's a video, what they call a martyr video of the individual who commits suicide and kills all these people. as of now, no video has been released. do you anticipate that we will see some sort of so-called martyr? >> i don't know. it doesn't necessarily mean ta the attacker has gone to syria or iraq. they used that in the orlando attack back last year in the united states in which he killed
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49 people. he had no direct links to isis, but he was inspired by them. so they did take credit for it and in a way they were accurate. so we may see a video, but we may not see a video. in fact, if it was simply inspirational, as far as isis is concerned, sort of a distinction without a drifference. if it it was -- if it was directed by isis, that's also fine too. >> i'm sure all of british police in manchester and elsewhere are going through his social media exchanges right now. they're trying to learn as much as possible about this individual. you know there have been some comparisons, peter, to the attack at the theater in paris back in 2015. do you see any connection? >> i do. in both cases the rock band that was playing was an american rock group and here we have an american pop star. might be coincidental, but maybe
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not not. in terms of crowded space where you can kill a lot of people very quickly, they're very similar in that sense. of course, for people who are either trained by isis or inspired by isis or groups like that, the very idea of having a music concert with lots of women who are unveiled, that would be an attack that plays into their sensibilities. >> all right. thanks very much for that, peter bergen. we're going to have much more on this story coming up. but there's another major story that's developing right now. former director of the cia says russia brazenly, his word, brazenly interfered in the 2016 u.s. presidential election. john brennan testified before the house intelligence committee about russian meddling in the election. he's stopped short of saying there was collusion with the trump campaign, but he says there was cause for concern. >> i was worried by a number of the contacts that the russians had with u.s. persons.
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and so therefore, by the time i left office on january 20th, i had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the russians had been successful in getting u.s. persons involved in the campaign or not. to work in their behalf. again, either in a witting or unwitting fashion. and so therefore, i felt as though the fbi investigation was certainly well-founded and needed to look into those issues. >> let's bring in our congressional correspondent phil mattingly and cnn crime and justi justice shima. they pressed brennan on whether there was collusion and what rush's goal was for meddling in the presidential election. how did the former former cia d respond? >> he didn't weigh in specifically. he simply didn't know whether collusion actually occurred. as you heard, he made very clear he was aware skand cognizant th
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contacts between russian officials and u.s. citizens had occurred. and for him as director of the cia, that was enough for the fbi to begin and to start and to exercise a law enforcement investigation. he made clear it's not his role to start that investigation or even partake in one. but the intelligence made clear that an investigation should exist. one other key point, wolf, he made clear that he was aware of this last summer and actually called the head of the russian fsb. their lead intelligence agency. and warned him against the meddling that he saw occurring. so clearly he saw something. he made that very clear today. on the key issue of whether or not he was certain that collusion occurred at all, he didn't weigh in. >> very interesting. i want to bring in shimone, there are several other in the russian investigation. you're working your sources and tells us that president trump
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asked two past chiefs to deny cooperation between his campaign russia. one of those officials the director of national intelligence dan coats testified before the senate armed services committee today. tell our viewers what he said. >> well, that's right, wolf. this all started yesterday after "the washington post" broke the story that trump had asked two of his intelligence officials, dan coats and admiral rodgers who runs the nsa to knockdown reports there was any kind of meddling. this was all an attempt to try and raise doubt in the fbi investigation. without surprise in some ways, today on the hill dan coats was asked and said he would not talk about and here he is. >> i have always believed that given the nature of my position and the information that which we share, it's not appropriate for me to comment publicly on
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any of that and so on this topic as well as other topics, i don't feel it's appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president. >> much like we've seen with other officials like the current fbi director, the acting fbi director andrew mccabe, when he was asked about conversations that comey may have had with president trump, he did not want to discuss it. i think what's interesting here is going to be whether or not the now special prosecutor, the former fbi director, bob mueller, is going to want to talk to some of these intelligence officials. >> i'm sure that he will. you know, phil, we're expecting more hearings later today up on capitol hill including from what the current director of the national security agency, admiral michael rogers who also we've been reporting was approached by the president and asked by the president to deny any of the suggestions of collusion. >> yeah. that's exactly right.
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he's expected to face similar questions to what you heard from director of national intelligence coats. will he actually weigh in on that publicly? my assumption and what i've heard and the expectation is that he will not. but these questions are around and i think these hearings provide a forum for lawmakers to try and get answers. again, they're more likely to get answers in classified sessions behind closed doors. that's what the director of national intelligence said today. that is very likely what you will also hear from admiral rogers later. it's another indication that as these intelligence officials, it becomes more clear their involvement. it becomes more clear as we've reported that the white house has actually directed -- directly contacted them about these issues, that all this does is raise more issues for lawmakers. lawmakers in both parties and makes these questions, the types of questions they are go to face anytime they come in front of lawmakers and perhaps more importantly anytime they come behind closed doors and classified sessions with these lawmakers as these investigations continue to go on. as noted, there obviously is a
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special counsel. but the investigation in the senate intelligence committee, the investigation in the house intelligence committee on russian meddling, you bet those committees are following up and trying to get answers. >> guys, thanks very much. coming up, michael flynn refusing to release documents related to russia. how the senate intelligence committee is trying to force the former national security advisers and plus president trump unveiled his budget today. the cuts and the increases just ahead. going beyond expectations... because our pets deserve it. beyond. natural pet food. on a perfect car, then smash it into a tree. your insurance company raises your rates. maybe you should've done more research on them. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident.
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we're watching important developments from two key figures at the center of the investigation into russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. the new director of national intelligence dan coats and the former cia director john brennan both testifies at separate
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hearings up on capitol hill today. a lot to un pack. let's bring in our panel. cnn legal analyst paul callen is here, dana bash, and chris. dan nark t, the former cia dire said russia brazenly interfered in the presidential elections and trump campaign had contacts with russia but stopped short of further than who was in a posit know at the time. is really bad news for the trump campaign. excuse me, for the former trump campaign, trump white house and is a perfect example of why the justice department and rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, decided that it was appropriate to have a special counsel and will give more fuel to democrats and some republicans, very few, but mostly democrats in congress who say to complement that federal investigation they would like to have an independent commission, a 9/11 style commission. it's only going to add meat to the bone of that argument. >> a lot of democrats are saying that these new revelations are moving this case closer and closer towards obstruction of justice. are they right? >> maybe in a very, very small way. but remember, this is a complicated process. you have to link collusion with the russians for the trump
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campaign and then you have to link it to the president and you also have to lit collusion with respect to criminality. it's not a crime to influence an election. everybody hires consultants to try to influence an election. you have to engage in criminal activity. in other words, you'd have to show that people on the trump campaign were actually assisting the russians in getting into the computer system to get the e-mails or doing other criminal acts that the president was aware of. that's a very steep hill to climb and i don't see it being climbed effectively in what i've heard so far today. >> key word so far. at least as of today. chris, the director of national intelligence dan coats, the former u.s. congressman from indiana, he was asked about the trump administration sharing isreal's intelligence with the russians. listen to this. >> we worked through a process i can't specifically describe that process here today. i'm new to the job. weeks in. but there are procedures and
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processes in place i'd be happy to get those back to you. >> did the trump administration undergo that interagency clearance process prior to the president's may 10th meeting with the russian government? >> i have no awareness of that. >> chris, what's your reaction? >> well, again, a lot of times with these testimonies, listen to what's not said as much as what is said. if dan coats could have said yes, they did in regards to that question, did they follow the procedures related to declassifying information, he would have. there are two reasons why he might not. one, because he knows they didn't. or two, because he simply doesn't know. it is possible certainly he may not know as he noted he's relatively new to the job. but two times, that time and when dan coats was talking about -- was asked directly did donald trump ask you to knockdown the collusion argument in this federal investigation. both times he didn't answer.
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again, two options. either trump did ask him to do it or he didn't and he just didn't want to talk about it in public. but there are clearer answers he could have given that he didn't give. so neither of those are the exact great answer. if you're donald trump trying to beat back what is a growing controversy here. certainly politically if not also legally. >> dana, you spoke with senator john mccain and senator mark warner about president trump asking the director of national intelligence and the director of the national security agency to deny any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election. listen to their response. >> i don't think that it's logical to assume that the president of united states would ask the director of national intelligence not to investigate the russia issue. if you'd have said that's going to happen i'd have said yeah, it's a lousy movie.
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>> we have not been briefed on. that we are still pursuing vigorously and will have more to announce later today our next steps. >> well, what else did they tell you, dana? senator warner, who's the vice chairman of the senate intelligence committee tell you what he's planning to do as far as michael flynn, the fired national security adviser for example? >> well, two things. one is you heard him say i've not been briefed on. that that was a question that i asked about something in "the washington post" report yesterday that was kind of varied, lower down under the big glaring headline about allegations that the president calls the dni and the head of the nsa to say please say publicly there was no collusion. down below was also a line or two about the idea that senior white house officials also called the fbi and others to say
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please don't, you know, to try to basically get answers and get information which is inappropriate. so that's the question i asked and he said he wasn't briefed on that. probably more importantly is what we mayor may not learn today about the actions that the senate intelligence chair, richard burr and mark warner, the top democrat you just saw will take to respond to the fact that michael flynn invoked his fifth amendment right to not testify before the intelligence committee, but also is refusing to give over documents. the question i asked is will you find him in contempt of congress and that is probably what we're going to hear today. now, he strongly hinted but was very careful to say hold o we'll talk about next steps later. strongly hinted at the notion that withholding documents is a bridge too far. it's saying that i don't want to testify. that's everybody's right. but withholding documents when others have given over documents might be something that they are going to try to punish him on.
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we'll see what they say later today. >> paul, what kind of punishment are we talking about? contempt if he continues to refuse to provide congress with those documents? >> contempt can be punished by up to one year in prison if you're found guilty of it. and you can be -- you can be convicted by the house of representatives by a full vote or it can be referred to a u.s. attorney's office for an actual prosecution in court. but there is a one-year penalty for the crime. >> and there doesn't seem to be any desire to offer michael flynn the former national security adviser immunity in exchange for his testimony. >> no. and i think in the end that's going to make the case against him very difficult. any american citizen has the right to assert the fifth amendment. he's asserting it regard to document production. that's a harder road to prevent production of documents, but there is an obskcure that will allow you to plead the fifth
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with regard to documents as well. >> you just post dsed a piece getting back to what the former cia director testified about how concerned he was about russia's interference. you had one quote from john brennan you thought was very significant. >> dana was mentioning this earlier. essentially, john, but i'll paraphrase, but brennan essentially said from what i knew at the time when i was cia director it gave me pause and i had concerns that the possibility of russian -- i don't know that he used the word collusion, but that russians were influencing people, u.s. citizens. he didn't say within the trump campaign, but we all assume that's what he's talking about. dana mentioned this and i think it's so primportant. this is another brick on the foundation of the case that some democrats, political case, not necessarily willing case that many democrats are trying to bring which is you now have
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sally yates, the acting attorney general at the time going to the white house counsel and saying we think that michael flynn is, you know, subject to blackmail. you have the cia or former ci ahead saying i had a lot of concerns. you have jim comey concerned enough that an investigation was opened into this. so what's hard in that, wolf, is you have these bricks piling up. on the other side you have donald trump simply saying these are his words, it's a witch hunt. it's a total hoax. this is fakes news. to believe those things you have to believe that all of these people over here are partisans who are lying. the more bricks you stack on top, the harder that becomes i think for donald trump to maintain sort of a viable and defensible position politically speaking. >> the important article you just posted, thanks very much. dana bash, thanks. if president trump gets his way, billions of dollars will be cut from various social programs,
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add that premium channel, and watch the show everyone's talking about, tonight. and the bill you need to pay? do it in seconds. because we should fit into your life, not the other way around. go to the u.s. is facing some of the steep unfortunaest budget c history. mostly from social programs are on the chopping block. everything from medicaid to student loans could see very dramatic changes. in just a little while ago the white house budget director laid out president trump's first full budget proposal. >> we're no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs. but by the numbers of people we
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help get off of those programs. >> tammy is joining us from cnn money right now. tammy, some are calling this the tanks and tax cuts. tell us about some of the bigger proposed cuts put forward by the trump administration. >> he is really taking an axe to a lot of social programs. they have a whole section about reforming the welfare system where they would cut $274 billion out of it. a lot of it would hit food stamps. it would hit disability. these are programs trump supporters rely on but the big cuts come from medicaid. $610 billion listed in the budget and that mayor may not be on top of cuts in the health care repeal bill. >> food stamps, $193 billion. disability benefits, $72 billion. but there's a big increase in defense spending. >> yes. he wants to add $54 billion to
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defense spending much this is about shifting resources from the social safety net and stressing that people go back to work. he wants to put in infrastructure project. border security. these are supposed to create jobs. and this is a budget all about work. >> he wants an increase of $54 billion border security. and $2.6 billion to start the construction of the wall. infrastructure, roads, bridges, airports and stuff like that. he did promise during the campaign and he tweeted this and he said it on many occasions, there would be no cuts to social security, no cuts to medicare, no cuts to medicaid. let me show the tweet that he put up during the campaign. i was the first and only gop candidate to say there will be no cuts to social security, medicare and medicaid, huckabee
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copied me. let's talk about those three promises. social security. any proposed cuts from the administration? >> no. he is saving social security or not touching social security. he's not touching medicare. mulvaney said that he brought trump a list of entitlement programs and trump said i'm not going to touch social security, i'm not going to touch medicare, that's what i promised. but when it comes to medicaid, that was not as strong a promise on the trail. he kind of stopped promising that later in the campaign. and it's clear both from the gop bills that's now in the senate and from this budget that there are going to be big cuts to medicaid. >> hundreds of billions of dollars. although the tweet said no cuts. clearly things change from time to time. >> very true. >> thanks very much. take a look at these live pictures coming from in capitol hill. later this afternoon the national security director
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admiral mike rogers will appear before the senate armed services committee. he'll be expected to ask about reports that president trump asked him to deny evidence of russia collusion during the campaign. we'll have details on that and more when we come back. beyond is a natural pet food
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daily life a guessing game. and bloating made will i have pain and bloating today? my doctor recommended ibgard to manage my ibs. take control. ask your doctor about nonprescription ibgard. mar a request by president trump to intelligence chefs regarding the intelligence probe is raising more concerns this time from a u.s. military perspective. according to sources the president asked the head of the national security agency and the director of national intelligence to deny any collusion between trump a campaign team and the russians. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is joining us now. barbara, what kind of implication could this have
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specifically for director mike rogers, the director of the national security agency? >> you covered the pentagon. you know how this works. admiral rogers serves in the u.s. navy. he is a military officers. the u.s. military does not get involved in politics. the president of the united states apparently calling him up and asking him to deny this collusion, this after it comes to light that there's an fbi investigation. admiral rogers by all accounts doing the correct thing saying no, no thank you. inappropriate. i'm not going to get involved in any of this. but it is an extraordinary thing for a four-star military officer to be asked by a president to do something like this, to get involved in commenting on what are classified matters, comment on them perhaps publicly, something that is very inappropriate t. gets back to
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that fundamental question that has really been a problem for so many years now. the making intelligence a political matter. you know, one thing to ask the director of national intelligence perhaps awkward enough. there's been criticism over the years about intelligence becoming too politicized, but to ask a military officer to participate in that, very difficult and not something that the pentagon wants to see. when i've asked about it around the hallways of the pentagon this morning you get a lot of slumped shoulders, a lot of we don't really want to deal with this, this is not something the military wants to be involved with. >> he's going to be testifying later today up on capitol hill. i assume he will say in public session, barbara, what dan coats the director of national intelligence said earlier in the day in separate testimony, that he's not going to get into private conversations with the command ner chi commander in chief, the
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president of the united states. but what are you hearing? >> my accepsense is that's a sa bet. he's in an awkward position. several month ago he interviewed to potentially have the job that dan coats now has, his director of national intelligence, admiral rogers had a bit of a tough time with the obama administration towards the verien. they were thinking about reorganizing the job he was in. but no indication that admiral rogers is going to come out in public and talk in detail about his private conversations with the president. >> i would be pretty surprised if he did. bash rar barbara, thank you. before leaving the middle east president trump tried to announce a revival of source of the peace process. we'll tell you why he's truly hopeful with a potential peace deal. all finished.
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because quality public schools build a better california for all of us. president trump is now in rome where he will meet with the pope tomorrow. before leaving the middle east, he met with palestinian
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authority mahmoud abbas to revive the israeli palestinian peace process. he spoke about it in jerusalem. >> i am personally committed to helping israelis and palestinians achieve a peace agreement. i had a meeting this morning with president abbas and can tell you that the palestinians are ready to reach for peace. i know you have heard it before. i am telling you that's what i do. they are ready to reach for peace. >> our global affairs correspondent, elise labott is joining us now. did the president provide any specific dae tai specific details on the next step? >> he didn't. he spoke in generalities about how he saw a new momentum and revival for energy and peace. both sides finished the visit
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feeling a little bit shorthanded. president trump did not make good on his long standing pledge to move the u.s. embassy to jerusalem or talk about them as a unified capital of israel. on the palestinian side, he didn't talk about a two-state solution with the palestinian state. he just talked in these generalities for peace. you got a real education from president mahmoud abbas, who congratulated his new energy and spirit but laid out these long standing demands of the palestinians, the 67 borders, a two-state solution, east jair u se salem as a palestinian capital. i don't think there is really a road ahead. they are looking for president trump to lay out more specifics about how a peace process would go. >> he was well received, at least publicly, by the israelis
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and the palestinians, right? >> well, you saw that very, very warm welcome by israeli prime minister netanyahu. i have never seen a prime minister welcome a president like that. president abbas did welcome him warmly. he did face some protesters at the checkpoints along that wall in bethlehem. the palestinians still feel their demands are not being met. it is going to be up to president trump to deliver that process for them so they can believe in that. >> standing strong in the face of evil. the people of manchester and england take to the streets to remember their brothers, sisters, sons and daughters lost to terror. their vigil next. david. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪
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hundreds of people gathered in the square around the town hall in manchester, england to pay tribute. listen to part of a poem that was read to the crowd which sums up how the people of manchester are dealing with this tragedy. >> there are hard times again in the streets of our city. we won't take defeat. we don't want your pity. this is the place where we stand strong together with a smile on our face. mancunians forever. this is the place in our heart and homes because this is a place that is a part of our bones, because manchester gives us such strength from the facts that this is the place. we should give something back. always remember, never forget.
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forever manchester, choose love, manchester. thank you. >> the news continues right now on cnn. this is cnn breaking news. i'm brianna keilar live in washington. this is cnn special live coverage of two developing stories, including breaking details on the investigation into president trump and russia. for the first time, the former director of the cia says that the trump team was, indeed, in contact with the russians. this as we are learning that the president asked his intelligence chiefs to push back against the fbi investigations. we'll have more in a moment. good evening, i'm brooke baldwin live here in