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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 7, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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election victory. it all starts at 10:20 eastern and pacific. at jake tapper we can let theoo this situation. i'm jake tapper. that does it for "the lead." now to wolf blitzer next door in "the situation room "snoochlt. the kim jong-un regime accuses the u.s. of pushing north korea to a sanctions. president trump's vacation doesn't include time off for twitter with the president setting off a tweet storm over the russia investigation, including a tweet just a short time ago. i'll speak to the tirade of the
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president's outrage this hour. filling the void. secretary of state rex tillerson says hurt u.s.-russia relations, with the kremlin now. how will the trump administration respond? a and. he's looking at a white house. . >> i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. and he hopes that recent white house shake-ups might tame president trump's twitter are proved false. the president made a tirade a few moments ago against senator blumenthal who he has targeted previously and he will join us
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shortly to talk about the president's attacks and the russia investigation. meanwhile, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein is defending the probe, saying it's not a fishing expedition as critics have charged. with the investigation said to have now expanded to send troops to russia, robert muller can enlarge the scope of his probe if it's deemed appropriate. and north korea is vowing the u.s. will pay dearly for tough sanctions approved by the united nations as punishment for pyongyang's aggressive nuclear program. north korea says it won't negotiate on its nuclear and missile programs under any circumstances. we're covering all of that, much more this hour with our guests, including senator richard blumenthal of the judiciary committee who was attacked by president trump once again only moments ago on twitter. and our correspondents and specialists are also standing
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by. let's begin with president's on-line fuming at senator blumenthal and others. our jim acosta the president has targeted this senator. >> that's right, not the. the president is not on vacation these few weeks, he's certainly not taking a break from work. president trump is teeing off on twitter, slamming richard blumenthal tweeting, interesting to watch senator blumenthal of connecticut talking about hoax russian collusion when he was a about the trump administration's
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hunt for leakers. >> i think that's a disservice to the law and it's also potentially a violation of the spirit of the first amendment. remember, what we know about the trump administration so far has been the result of very good reporting. >> reporter: the president went on a tirade, tweeting, never in u.s. history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like senator richard blumenthal. now he's judging collusion? blumenthal fired back, mr. president, your bullying hasn't worked before and it won't work now. not above the law. cnn, abc, cnbc, the "washington
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post," the trump base is getting stronger. they wonder whether john kelly can truly bring discipline to the white house. once again, kelly once joked that the president could use an arm on the podium. >> i bet you haven't heard about all the accomplishments the president had this week because there is so much fake news out there. >> daughter laura trump calling the russia story a fabrication. he has focused on energizing the trump base, tweeting, the donald trump base is stronger than ever before. a quinnipiac poll says 50%
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disapprove of what he's doing. >> it needs to go up. they're telling him, just enact your program. >> reporter: another potential warning sign, a "new york times" report that allies and 20/20. such talk is fake news. >> we are all operating under the assumption every day that the president is seeking reelection in 2020. >> despite the backlash, president trump is. it pound should stop tweeting and nerl lane ignored the sanctions on north korea. not only he's been.
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the resolution of imposing new sanctions on north korea. jim acosta reporter iing the russia investigation has now spread to possible financial ties between the president, his associates and russia. let's go to. jessica rosen em -- he can investigate any potential crimes he uncovers. >> rosenstein says mueller can pant thirtd trl. the order signed by rosenstein back in may, it allows mueller to delve into any matters that, quote, may arise from the investigation. they have already said it has widened to focus on possible financial crimes and president trump's associate ties to russia. now, president the did say in a
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times interview saying it will cross a red line and the president has repeatedly taken to twitter to call the legislation a, quote, witch hunt, today saying it's fake news. but rosenstein pushed back hard on those characterizations. >> the special counsel is subject to the rules and regulations of the department of justice, and we don't engage in phishing expeditions. if he finds what director mueller and i have agreed is in that scope, he can. if it's outside that scope, he needs to come to me for permission to expand his investigation. >> we know mueller has moved forward, using a grand jury to respond to donald trump jr.'s 2016 meeting at the trump tower. that's okay with has warned the president against any move to fire mueller. till lis has even co-sponsored
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legislati legislation. wolf? >> jessica snyder reporting for us. senator rick blumenthal from connecticut is joining us. this is his first interview since president trump's series of on-line attacks. thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. good to be with you. >> just moments before we went on the air, the president tweeted this about you, and i'll put it up on the screen. i think senator blumenthal should take a nice long vacation in vietnam where he lied about his service, so he can at least say he was there. earlier in the night talking about the same time. "interesting to watch senator richard blumenthal of
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connecticut talking about hoax russian collusion when he was a phony vietnam con artist. now he judges collusion. this is your chance to respond to those series of attacks on twitter by the president. >> there is an ongoing special counsel investigation. it is real. it is based on facts. that's what is important. that focus is what really matters. our national security and the rule of law are at risk, and that's where our focus should be. it is not about me. >> but he goes after you over and over again. this isn't the first time. we checked. in february of this year, he said senator richard blumenthal never fought in vietnam. this represents what judge gorsuch told him. later this year watching
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blumenthal speak of comey like a joke. he devised one of the biggest frauds in history. is there something personal about his relationship with you that you know about? a lot of people criticize and he doesn't go after him the way he goes after you. >> i have no idea about what is in his mind. what i do know is i will not be distracted by this bullying. and these bullying tweets reinforce for me the need for a piece of legislation that i am helping to lead with tom tillis and others, bipartisan coalition, to prevent firing of the special counsel robert mueller, who he has also sought so intimidate. and the kinds of statements we've seen about drawing red lines around financial dealings, about calling the investigation a witch hunt or a hoax and the attacks on the team that robert
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mueller has assembled all point to a looming constitutional crisis if the president proceeds with firing robert mueller, and that's why preventing it for stalling that kind of constitutional conflagration is the suggestion by all of us, supporting democrat and bipartisan colleagues who are intent on showing the law, and nobody is above the law, including the president. >> i assume you've seen the reports throughout that for his father-in-law and donald trump and his company competed in building deals if new york city and there is a personal animosity there. what can you tell us, if anything, about that? >> it is not about me.
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it is aboutupholding the rule of law and protecting our national security. the independence on integrity of this special counsel legislation is really the uppermost goal in my mind. and we are taking steps to make sure there are colleagues who are better informed about the threats to the independence and the integrity of this investigation. the grand jury that has recently been reported is a stuff towards giving us an arm of the court as well as an investigative tool. and the president of the united states can take the ex sprem. i'm trying to fire the special counsel, but he can't fire the grand jury or the united states
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court who. do you want to say anything directly to the -- he's down here leveling geps you. your experience in the u.s. marine corp reserves during the vietnam. in vietnam. he makes a big deal. is there anything you would want toe say to him. >> let's protect the independence and the integrity of the special counsel who is investigating russia interference in our 2000 collection. possible collusion and conspiracy involveding the. that work is paramount in importance. it really is not about me. >> tand rosenstein said over th
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weekend, the mulen was i. that he's convinced there is no fishing expedition. in fact, he has a very wideman date. it includes financial dealings rpgs and be know it. and we have seen from the financial dealings of michael flynn how that can work, so this ku continued witch hunt is a legitimate and ongoing investigation. it is real. it is based on facts. >> because rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, he named robert mueller to become
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the special lois. the president hasn't hesitated to rosa's seen. some reported prooifrtly. we know about them baupds. let now to try to restrict that reporting is all extremely comfortab comfortable. we announced two that are extremely comfortable would provide a check. our system survives and thrives. presidential abuse of power is we very well warranted here.
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>> do you think a because his investigation must proceed and it will proceed. >> senator, there's more we need to discuss. i've got to take a quick break. we'll resume this interview right after this.
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side effects can lead to dehydration, which may cause kidney problems. now's the time for a better moment of proof. ask your doctor about victoza®. we're back with senator blumenthal. he was attacked repeatedly by president trump on twitter. we're going to talk to him about that and more and also discuss some tough new talk coming from north korea right now which is blasting new united nations sanctions and warning it will make the united states pay dearly. senator, i want to you stand by. i want to quickly go to cnn's brian todd who has the very latest for us.
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brian, north korea's foreign minister says under no circumstances whatsoever will north korea negotiate with the united states or anyone else over its nuclear weapons program. >> he did say that, wolf, repeating north korea's stance that it needs its nuclear weapons to counter the military threat that it sees from america. tonight we're at a critical moment with north korea. there is an opening for diplomacy to steer us away from the nuclear and missile standoff, but at the same time kim jong-un's regime is vowing against the united states to lead sanctions against pyongyang. the question is, which way is this going to break? kim jong-un, biting insults. gangsters and a threat from one of his news anchors. >> translator: there is no bigger mistake than the united states blooeflg its land is safe across the ocean. >> reporter: kim's regime and lashing out at the u.s. by pushing out a tough new round in
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the united states against pyongyang, choking off north korea's coal, iron and other exports. after leading that charge, ambassador nikki haley talked even tougher on cnn. >> we're prepared to do whatever it takes to defend ourselves and to defend our allies. we have tried to say multiple times that all options are on the table. >> reporter: among those options, so-called preventive war, according to president trump's national security adviser, h.r. mcmaster. but at the same time, the president's chief diplomat signals a message. >> they would prefer to launch these missile launches. >> reporter: that prepares the stance that america let them have their nuclear program. >> the challenge from what we've seen is north korea is not giving us any indication that they're actually interested in talking to us right now.
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>> reporter: analysts say the hard line from one side of trump's administration with a softer approach from the other is a car rrot and stick tactic get north korea's dictator to stop acting so aggressively. >> you can see the dual track, defense and hard line on the one hand and diplomacy and engagement on the other hand. we're trying to bring north korea back to the negotiating table. >> but they say that could be a ric risky move depending on how kim jung unreads it. >> they may see the united states doesn't have a plan, is not committed to this and may be act ing in ways they're not comfortable with. >> reporter: the concern is all this diplomatic jockeying might lead kim jong-un or president trump or one of the allies in the region to miscalculate, take a signal the wrong way and launch a military action that
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might make things spiral out of control, wolf. >> ambassador nikki haley says these sanctions will be, in her words, a gut punch to the kim jong-un regime. what are experts saying tonight about the new sanctions, the u.n. security sanctions, and whether they'll be successful at getting north korea to back off its nuclear and missile programs. >> tonight most experts saying they are not likely to get the regime to back off. one analyst says this regime has a history of before going back to the korean war. he says north korea is, quote, good at taking pain. they just channel all that towards their citizens and they find a way around these sanctions. >> brian todd reporting for us. thank you. we're talking with democratic senator richard blumenthal, a member of the judiciary and armed services committee. senator, you just heard them say the u.s. is driving the decision
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to war. how sdt udoes the u.s. see thist now? could all this lead tie confrontation? >> it could well lead to a confrontation either as a miscalculation or simply as the north koreans testing us. there ought to be an agreement, and it should be a bipartisan agreement, that the sanctions now have to be vigorously and strenuously enforced through a multi-national effort. the emissary of the united states should be going around the world, just as was done with iran, and eventually iran was brought to the table. that kind of full court press is what the australians and japanese have recommended and what we now have to do. because these sanctions affect one hi one-third of north korean's exports. the focus should be on financial institutions. money is the lifeblood of the north korean regime. if we say to banks in china and
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elsewhere, you have to choose. either deal with the north koreas ordeal with us. you can't do both. >> do you believe china will get the job done and do what they're supposed to do? >> if more pressure, particularly financially, is brought on china, it is the best hope we have to avoid any military option, certainly diplomacy ought to be our first and second resort. and so we have to invest as heavily as we can in pressuring china to do the right thing not only on the financial institution but also in the use of north korean labor and other areas where it has been reluctant to cooperate. >> this weekend the u.n. ambassador, nikki haley, says the u.s. is prepared to do, quote, whatever it takes when it comes to north korea. is there a military option, senator? >> there is no good military
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option. there is no palatable military option that involves small costs in human terms or even financial terms. and that's why we need to enforce these sanctions, commit and invest whatever it takes to enforce these sanctions and make them stick. because the secretary of state has said we'll monitor and then we'll have conversations. what's needed is a proactive approach. >> do you think the u.s. right now should negotiate with north korea if the north koreans won't even put the issue of nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles on the table? >> we should negotiate when the north koreans evidence that they're serious about those negotiations, and they may not be serious until we enforce these sanctions vigorously. there is a lot of sentiment on the armed services committee where i sit that there is no good military option.
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so we have to use these sanctions, which were passed unanimously, by the security council. they reflect world opinion that's represented there, and we have to reach out to the world community and unite them just as we did in bringing around to the tab table. >> senator blumenthal, thank you for joipg us. >> thank you, wolf. vice president mike pence slams a report saying he's considering a white house run in 2020. why is his denial so forceful? . or your digestion... so why wouldn't you take something for the most important part of you... your brain. with an ingredient originally found in jellyfish, prevagen is now the number one selling brain health supplement in drug stores nationwide. prevagen. the name to remember.
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president trump may be on vacation but he's not taking a break from twitter, lashing out on a series of attacks on a top democratic senator. let's dig deeper with our correspondents and specialists. chris, the first series of tweets on senator blumenthal from the president earlier this morning. senator blumenthal of connecticut talking about hoax and russian collusion when he was a phony vietnam con artist. told stories about his vietnam battles and conquests, and it was all a lie, begged for for gi giveness like a baby. i think senator blumenthal should take a nice long vacation
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in vietnam where he lied about his service and he could at least say he was there. i asked senator blumenthal why the president keeps going after him. there are so many other democratic senators that go after him, but there's something personal in their history that drives the president to launch these attacks. >> i think there might be, because he doesn't attack -- i mean, he does attack other senators, but he doesn't do it in such personal terms as he does with blumenthal. i mentioned this in your interview with him, i do think the fact that blumenthal's family and trump's family is tied up in the empire state building. obviously trump had an interest in that. we may never learn the answer. but a couple things. he's incapable of taking the high road and seems unaware of where that road begins. in trump's defense, richard blumenthal did -- there was a story in the "new york times" that came out that detailed a series of exaggerations that he
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made, this is the 2010 campaign, serious exaggerations he made about vietnam. he repeatedly had said that he had been there, and when we were in vietnam, he never had actually been to the the country. so factually it's right. it's hard to know because senator blumenthal wouldn't engage, and i don't know that donald trump would engage. it's hard to know if there's anything beyond just that. but it does feel personal in a way that sometimes his attacks. like liz murkowski should have been with us. i'm sure that didn't make lissa murkowski feel good. >> he said he served during vietnam, not in vietnam. he did serve in the reserves but
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never went to vietnam. he apologized for that. >> and the president, who is about the same age, got several deferments and never even got that far. >> the biggest issue here is the president continuing to tweet all day and chief of staff is praying for sunny weather tomorrow so we can actually get on the golf course and not be stuck inside in the rain where he had -- you counted them -- >> 13 tweets today. >> which is fine. that's his mode of cause of action if he's. . the resolution at the u.n. over the weekend, u.n. skufrt council, which imposed more sanctions on jar.
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we covered realtime. nikki haley in the u.n. security. some of it is just unclear where it's coming from, wanting to change the subject. but some of the subject changing steps on the message that he wants to get out which is not unusual for the white house. >> he's going after democratic senator blumenthal in this particular case and the news media, but he's not going against his fellow republicans. >> right. it's a very low bar, i think. we're like, wow, it's a great day if he hasn't attacked someone from his own party. you know, i think his use of twitter today is a perfect example of how you do not use twitter. he has 35 million followers on twitter. even if a tenth of them were able to see his tweets, should he not use that medium to try to get his policy goals done, whether that is to try to get tax reform done? maybe he should have used twitter in a more strategic way
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during the health care vote to try to get people, to try to convince those like lisa murkowski or susan collins or john mccain to support the health care bill. instead he uses it as a weapon against those he doesn't like. clearly what he did with blumenthal right now, he's trying to attack the senator's credibility. whether that works or not, we'll see. >> and politically speaking, this is theover thing mark is right about. there is no political strategy here. dick blumenthal is going to be reelected in connecticut for as long as he wants. >> he just was. >> and i'm from connecticut. trust me, he's going to be fine there. let's say he picked heidi heidkamp in california and said, this people did x, y and z. dick blumenthal, this is donald trump entertaining his own sort of flights of fancy. >> and at the end of the day, this is not a partisan witch
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hunt, this is a special counsel investigation going on by somebody -- led by somebody who is not a democrat. robert mueller is not a democrat, appointed by somebody who is not a partisan. if anything, it's the partisan in the president's favor because he was appointed by the deputy attorney general who is president trump's deputy attorney general. >> and he was nominated by president trump himself and rosenstein himself said this weekend this is not a phishing expedition, this is a legitimate investigation. everybody stick around. we're getting more information into the situation room. we'll be right back.
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vice president mike pence is vehemently denying a report that he's eyeing a possible run for the white house in 2020. president trump doesn't run the article in the "new york times." chris, several other republicans were looking ahead to 2020, john kasich and others. the vice president also looking ahead. the vice president issuing a strong statement slamming the report in the "new york times" saying it's disgraceful and offensive to me mir, my family, my entire team. my entire team will continue to focus all our efforts to advance the president's agenda and see
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him reelected in 2020. any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd. >> michael pence is tied to the president. two-term president, you run as the logical heir to that. any break is problematic -- any break between pence and trump, even a perceived one, is problematic, more so because he's dealing with donald trump which he knows donald trump does not like, more than anything, any one star shining brighter than his own. that's why i think you saw him come out so forcefully so that if trump saw the story, he immediately saw the pence denial as well. >> you know the president saw the story because he reads the "new york times." he's very interested in what the "new york times" has to say about him and his team. >> that's righ >> that's right, he's very interested in the economic stability of the "new york times" so he wants to continue reading it. there's no question that he saw it. just kind of going back in the timeline of what happened in
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stoethe story and the pence team over the weekend, the fact that the pence team put out this strongly worded official statement is so unusual, and then to subsequently have his press secretary, vice president's press secretary was on tv all day today, rapid fire pushing back kind of hard quarterbaelli notion that the vice president was trying to ramp up his base if for any reason the president can't run in 2020. the question is, why didn't they just keep it simple? why didn't they keep it the way -- as kellyanne conway said on nbc, of course he's doing all of this. he's doing it because he's doing it for the pence-trump team. that's what vice presidents do,
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they play to their own strength for the team. president trump is someone who plays to all donors because he's needed them in state politics, never mind up through the governor's race and the president didn't need them. >> mark? >> a couple things. one is that the "new york times" story never said mike pence was being disloyal to the president. he has been his biggest cheerleader, he's carried all his water. when you see mike pence out doing these fundraising events which i think is smart on his part. it would be unlike him not to be prepared to be able to step into the role of president. that wasn't to the american people. the fact of the matter is he's prepared to run in 2020 if he needs to be, but he's also going to be right at donald trump's side. everyone stick around. don't go too far away.
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welcome back. you know, dana and company, there's two presidents on vacation right now. [ laughter ] >> two presidents on vacation. >> and company. >> the president trump is on vacation in new jersey. president putin of russia is on vacation in siberia right now. and all of a sudden they're releasing -- you can see he's fishing, he's swimming, he's showing a lot of himself.
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shall we say all the video that is being released. this president, is he sending a message to the other president? >> he's sending a message. i mean, i'm not sure exactly who the message is to. maybe just the world. i think it's harder to find pictures of vladimir putin with his shirt on than it is with his shirt off. it just makes me think of a story that george w. bush used to tell about the first time he met vladimir putin and putin was obsessed with showing the president bush how big his dog was because president bush had a little dog. i think the point is imagery is everything for this guy and that shows you. >> not the first time we've seen putin shirtless. >> as dana said, he's shirtless as much as he's shirted. two things, one, i never knew southern siberia is nice. if you said i'm going to vacation in southern siberia -- >> not coming back. >> number two, in the first pictures we shoot -- there's one.
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he's violating two rules of politics. one the obvious is shirt off. two, never wear a hat. >> all right. i'm going to have to take off my shirt. listen, if the question was, if the question is would you rather be with him in siberia or with donald trump in bedminster, i like to play golf and i think i would probably rather be with donald trump. >> never vacation in new jersey. >> whoa, whoa, whoa. >> that's right, take that, new jersey. >> not even going to dig identi -- dignify that with a response. >> i loves new jersey. he was just kidding. all right, guys, everybody stick around. there is more important news we're following, including some new online attacks by president trump on a top democratic senator. his twitter storm is still raging. for your heart... your joints... or your digestion... so why wouldn't you take something for the most important part of you...
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happening now. vowing revenge, north korea goes ballistic over new u.n. sanctions over the missile test. kim jong-un blaming the united states and warning of nuclear war. can a military conflict be avoided? jersey, the president takes a break from the white house, but not from twitter. launching new attacks tonight on his 200th day in office. is he defying his new chief of staff's efforts to instill discipline? not a fishing expedition, the deputy attorney general speaking out about the special counsel investigation he launched defending robert mueller and his mandate to follow the evidence wherever it leads. we're following the newest twists in the russia probe. and a fishing expedition, while president trump golfs, vladimir putin spends his summer get away in