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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 22, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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ceo and governor of arizona. he is not showing up. the president is at war with two popular senators in that state. >> and jeff flake will be in attendance this evening. we'll see if he actually endorses him. you can tweet the show at theleadcnn. we actually read your tweets. i turn it over to wolf blitzer in the situation room. happening now on breaking news. playing to his base. for a shocking response to violence, president trump is in arizona at a big campaign-like rally. temperatures rising. thousands are turning out in the scorching heat to protest the president's visit. but arizona's top republicans are keeping their distance from the president. does he have political retaliation in mind? navy cyberhack?
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cnn has learned that the u.s.s. mccain suffered. they said there is no indication right now of a cyber attack, but the investigation will consider, quote, all possibilities. how vulnerable are u.s. warships? selling danger. how far will north korea go to raise money for its missile program? u.n. experts are looking into a report that shipments were intercepted by kim jong-un's regime bound for the agency in charge of syria's chemical weapons. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. breaking news, president trump is in arizona right now about to hold a rally aimed at firing up his base amid dropping
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poll numbers and a white house in chaos. it's his first trip as president to arizona where he made immigration a key and controversial theme of his 2016 race. and it's his first public rally since he was widely condemned for his remarks on the white supremacist rampage in charlottesville, virginia. thousands of opposition protesters are expected to turn out tonight, and the democratic mayor of phoenix called on the president to delay his visit, saying he had, quote, doused racial tensions with gasoline. top arizona republicans are staying away. the president has been feuding with gop senator jeff flake, and there is speculation he may use this visit, may use the visit to endorse flake's primary opponent, and the president has said he's considering a pardon for former sheriff joe arpaio, an early supporter who is awaiting sentencing on federal contempt charges. the president's campaign rally the kind of event where he has
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often gone off the rails comes just a day after he won praise for sticking to the script addressing the nation on afghanistan. mainstream republicans applauded, but there are sharp protests from the party's far right, and the president may decide to attack in that direction tonight. i have chris coons and our special guest. they are standing by waiting for today's top stories. let's go to the president's visit in arizona topped by a campaign rally. alex is standing by. alex, what did we expect tonight? >> reporter: good afternoon, wolf. people have been showing up by the thousands here at the phoenix convention center where the president will be speaking in just a few hours. in the past few minutes, we have heard chants of "build that wall," we have seen minor skirmishes, but the big question is which trump shows up tonight? is it the freewheeling base trump that the crowds love, or
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is it the more buttoned-up, more on-message, more teleprompter trump that we saw last night. the white house is saying very little about what the president will be saying tonight. president trump arriving in arizona tonight for a campaign rally facing angry crowds over his response to the violence in charlottesville and an escalating feud with a fellow republican, senator jeff flake. >> the american people are weary of war without victory. >> reporter: tonight's rally comes one day after monday's more serious and somber prime time address on afghanistan, in which the president reversed course on his repeated calls to withdraw troops from afghanistan. >> my original instinct was to pull out. and historically, i like following my instincts. but all my life, i've heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in
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the oval office. in other words, when you're president of the united states. >> reporter: trump has used past campaigns to diminish his base, refli i reveling in the crowds of support. >> with the exception of the late, great abraham lincoln, i can be more presidential than any president that has ever held this office, that i can tell you. >> reporter: tonight's rally coming during a particularly tough time. a new poll showing his approval at just 48%. paul ryan told a cnn town hall that president trump, quote, messed up. >> i think he made comments that were much more ambiguous, much more confusing. i do think he could have done better. i think he needed to do better.
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>> reporter: today vice president mike pence coming to the president's defense. >> the president strictly denounced white supremacist, neo-nazis and the kkk repeatedly, and he did it when he denounced hate and violence on saturday, he did it in his address to the nation on monday, and he did it again the other day. there was no more equivalency by the president. >> reporter: that fallout has the tendency to become worse if the president continues on pardoning the sheriff joe arpaio, who was accused of stopping profiling latinos. he was a staunch republican surrogate on the campaign trail. >> i'll see you again with donald trump, because once he becomes president, i know he's never going to forget arizona. he'll be back, and i hope to see him as president. >> reporter: trump also threatening to deepen the divisions in the gop, engaging in a war of words with arizona
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senator jeff flake, a staunch critic. just last week, trump called him "flame, jeff flame, who is weak on borders -- flake, jeff flake, who is weak on borders, crime and a non-factor in senate. in that same tweet trump wrote about flake, he did appear to endorse a prime challenger saying, good to see that kelli ward is running in this state. she will be here in the crowd, not in a vip section, so it is unclear whether she will get a full-throated endorsement from trump. we learned moments ago there will not be any announcement of a pardon for williams. they said, no discussion on that today and no action will be taken on that front at any time.
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wolf? stand by. at least half a dozen demonstrations are scheduled to coincide with the president's visit to phoenix. thousands of people are expected to turn out in searing heat. let's go to our national correspondent miguel marco where he's on the ground in phoenix as well. what are we likely to see? >> reporter: it is hard to tell, but i can tell you, phoenix officials are preparing for this like it's the worst. it's considered high profile like the super bowl or anything else at the convention center. the earliest ones were at 7:00 p.m. last night, about 18 hours ago. keep in mind it's about five hours before the president actually shows up here and addresses this crowd. it goes all wait around the building and there are several thousand people in line. what we have seen. yelling at them, lots of f-bombs
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and the crowd shouting back. that actually keeps them sort of motivated. we do know there are perhaps 10,000 people who are coming out here to protest in various forms. it's likely but not certain, anti trump groups, anti-fascist groups, all different stripes of all different people coming out. they will start to gather in different parts of the city in the next couple hours. some of them will be here. it is likely a lot of them will converge on this location later in the evening. phoenix police having the difficult job of trying to allow people their first amendment rights while keeping everyone safe. i should say there are some groups as well, at least reportedly on the conservative side of the right, who are saying, come down here, protect your rights, bring your guns. this is an open carry state.
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all of those huge concerns for the police here. wolf? >> it's going to be a huge crowd on both sides. we'll watch them together with you, miguel. miguel marcos is on the scene for us. joining us, judiciary and foreign relations. i want to get your reaction. just moments ago the "new york times" posted a story on its website on the relationship between senate majority leader itch, threatening the gop agenda. the relationship between president trump and senator mitch mcconnell has. they have not spoken in weeks, and mr. mcconnell has privately expressed uncertainty that mr. trump will be able to salvage. it goes on to say that,
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republican senators who cross him and mr. mcconnell mobilizing to, but mitch mcconnell is the majority leader in the senate. >> that's right. president trump has fired off angry tweets at majority leader mcconnell after his favor to reveal the affordable care act. president trump has attacked senator mccain. and it may not be clear. if he had any hope of getting his agenda around tax reform or the repair and repeal act, he needs the support of general franklin. he continues to attack public senators, both publicly and
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privately. >> it's weird that the senate has deteriorated to this point. it's a narrow majority in the u.s. senate. . >> september raised the nation's debt ceiling,. it would be in jeopardy. >> a default on america's credit would be a terrible thing for the markets, for america's role in the world. we've come close in previous congresss. folks have played a dangerous game of chicken. it's my hope that by the end of this month, we'll have both improved the debt ceiling and pl play. with republicans controlling both the house and senate and the white house, it's striking to. . >> what did you tell the president last night when he
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tried to ease some of the criticism, at least indirectly, from his earlier comments about the violence, the outrage that occurred in charlottesville, virginia? >> what you're referring to, wolf, is one of his first sentences was, when we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for bigotry or hatred. i thought it was a positive, constructive thing for the president to say. i think it bears repeating for as many times as he chooses to repeat it, that as a nation we need to come together, particularly when we're confronting big issues of national security like our path to afghanistan. >> you don't think he's a bigot, do you? >> i don't. >> you're obviously wanting to give him a second chance. >> the president has often said things that come right up to the edge of the line of tolerating, a false equivalence when he said there was very fine people marching in charlottesville. my response was there are no
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fine people carrying swastikas on a number of occasions. the president has failed to be a moral and clear leader on moral issues that we need, so he made a very strong statement in the beginning part of his statement. >> tonight he's got a big campaign rally. . >> it's going to be a huge crowd, as we just saw in phoenix. >> is it going to be a huge crowd like we saw in the campaign rally, or will they get on him about white supremacy, the issues that came up in charlottesville? >> the idea that he might
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partner with suggests the sort of issues that will be raised. sometimes the. last night his address was very tightly focused, very tightly scripted and he got a brand of remarks. this isn't the time to fire up his base and continue to campaign for a reelection that's more than we remember. >> i want to listen to the former head of the department of justice civil rights division, vanita gupta, who writes this. "if president trump uses his power to pardon a discredited law enforcement official who
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persistently engaged in illegal racial profiling of the latino community, it will not be a dog whistle to the so-called alt right and white supremacists, but a bull horn. no amount of tweets or forced remarks read from a teleprompter could undo the damage. >> i do agree with that. they set aside a judge's contempt order for racial profiling for former sheriff joe arpaio. that would be an outrageous step, particularly at this time and in this context, and i hope the president would step back to any decision of pardoning joe arpaio. >> they just said from air force i there will not be any decision tonight. legally he certainly has the power. if he wants to pardon on sheriff arpaio. >> he has that power, and this is exactly the case where he
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shouldn't use that power. >> the big rally is about to occur in phoenix, arizona. lots of supporters of the rally, lots of protesters as well. we'll have special coverage that's coming up. ♪taking care of business. when only the best will do... one of a kind tempur-pedic delivers. only tempur material precisely conforms to your weight, shape and temperature. it provides up to twice as much pressure relieving power, so you won't toss and turn. and tempur-pedic is the best at minimizing motion transfer from your partner. you'll wake up, feeling like a champion. now through september 17th, save up to $500
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tripadvisor. the latest reviews. the lowest prices. megan's smile is getting a lot because she uses act® mouthwash. act® strengthens enamel, protects teeth from harmful acids, and helps prevent cavities. go beyond brushing with act®. live pictures right now of president trump. he's in arizona visiting a border patrol facility ahead of tonight's big campaign rally in phoenix. you see people lining up to get inside. many have been there for hours and hours. hammered by the angry reaction to his comments on racial violence, it's a chance for the president to play to his base, but multiple protests are also planned in phoenix. we'll have extensive live coverage. we're back in the meantime with democratic senator chris coons of delaware. he's a member of the judiciary
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and foreign relations committees. i just want to clarify one thing when we talked about potentially pardoning the sheriff joe arpaio in ohio. he has the power to pardon many people, including himself. >> i actually didn't say including himself. >> i apologize. you said not including himself. i stand corrected. why even bring that up? >> it's been debated whether or not in the event that the investigations that are ongoing led by robert mueller led to some developments whether or not the president would just proactively pardon everybody involved, including himself. there has previously been debate -- >> there is a legal and constitutional debate right now whether a president can, in fact, pardon himself. >> that's correct. it would involve essentially being judge and jury of your own case. >> you believe the president does not have that power to pardon himself? >> correct. i don't think he has that power. >> i just want to be precise on
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that and we got your correct position out there. let's talk about something else that's going on now before your judiciary committee in the senate. a man by the name of glen simpson whose firm funded by dossier that came out during the campaign last year, alleging all sorts of ties between the president and russians. have you been briefed on the interview that he had, the q and a? he appeared before your senate judiciary committee investigators today, glen simpson. do you know what was said and can you share with us? >> i can't share with you specifics about what was said. the senate of judiciary committee investigators have been very busy as the senate has been out of session. they've reviewed tens of thousands of pages of documents and i expect us to have some open hearings when we come back into session in the first week and second week of september, but i can't give you anything
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more than that glen did appear and was interviewed by the staff committee. >> what can you tell us about that dossier? >> i can't tell you anything about that at this point. >> it's all so sensitive. let's talk about steve bannon, former chief of staff at the white house, reince priebus, former chief of staff. are they being called to testify before the judiciary committee? >> there appears to be good bipartisan cooperation between senator grassley and the ranking member senator feinstein. in terms of whether those two have been called yet by the full committee, i don't know yet. it's my expectation they will be. that would be my hunch given the scope and reach of our investigation into obstruction of justice and the concerns that have been raised, but i can't tell you specifically whether they have been called. >> how is your judiciary decision coming along? >> i think it's made great progress in the last few weeks. tens of thousands of documents
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are being sifted through. the committee comes together for meetings and briefings, but not all the committee, and we won't have public hearings until we return to session on the 16th of september. >> the u.s.s. john f. mccain, a warship, had a fourth horrendous accident with other ship in recent months in asia. the chief of naval operations, admiral john richardson, he tweeted this earlier today. "to clarify repossibility of cyber intrusion or sabotage, no indications right now, but review will consider all possibilities." cnn has learned that the u.s.s. john f. mccain did lose its steering power and they don't know why. that's what they're investigating right now. but do you know anything, if it's possible there could have been a cyber attack against this u.s. warship and three others that suffered significant damage over the past few months? >> well, wolf, i think it's
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responsible for the chief of naval operations in the 7th fleet to look at every possible option for what could have caused these four different ship collisions. i visited the u.s.s. john s. mccain with senator john mccain in june and i'm praying for the loss of those 10 sailors and for the loss of other sailors on the fitzgerald. it's fairly striking that there have been four collisions at sea this year so far, but i think we have to first isolate the much more likely causes, failures of watch and supervision and sort of traditional use of naval observation. cyber attack is a possibility but a fairly remote possibility, and i haven't been briefed on anything that suggests that that was the cause here. i just think the navy is being responsible in looking at every possible source of that loss of steering power. >> and admiral richardson, the chief of naval operations, says there is no indication of that right now, of a cyber attack, but they will investigate that to be sure, just to make sure. thank you very much, senator,
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for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. >> senator coons of delaware. coming up, president trump getting away from a chaotic white house. he was based at a huge campaign rally tonight in phoenix. will he revive the fiery rhetoric that helped put him in the white house? and is north korea raising money for its own missile programs by selling dangerous materials to the agency in charge of syria's chemical weapons? stay with us. you're in the situation room. because only your authorized mercedes-benz dealer has the skilled technicians to certify that your pre-owned vehicle is up to mercedes-benz standards. visit the certified pre-owned sales event, now through august 31st and learn more about our unlimited mileage warranty - and how your confidence can be as unlimited as your mileage. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing.
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president trump has arrived in arizona where he's preparing to hold a huge campaign rally in phoenix. the rally will mark the president's first reelection rally since he waded into several days of controversy and condemnation for his response to the white supremacy fueled violence in charlottesville, virginia. let's talk a little bit about this new article, david chalion, in the "new york times" that just moved about the very, very poor relationship between the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and the president, the lead sentence. the relationship between president trump and senator mitch mcconnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and mr. mcconnell has privately
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expressed uncertainty that mr. trump will be able to salvage his add administration after a series of summer crises. wow. it looks like it's pretty bad, but your reaction? >> yeah, this is a relationship that both men have an incentive to try to salvage here, because while the "new york times" describes this as quite imperilled, that is problematic for both the president and mitch mcconnell. as you know, wolf, if looking at the polls, a lot of republicans are more eager to blame the republicans on the hill for not getting stuff done than they are to blame president trump, and president trump is desperate for a legislative victory to tout and needs all those 52 republican senators on board which they will not be if he is in open warfare with their leader. >> you know, mark, it's extraordinary to see this fight going on behind the scenes between the republican president of the united states and the
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republican senate majority leader. i don't remember when we've seen this. another sentence jumps out at me in this article how angry the president is at mitch mcconnell, for not only failing getting the senate to pass repeal and replace of obamacare, but listen to this. "trump was even moran mae anima about what he sbintimated was t senate leader's refusal to protect him from investigations of russian interference in the 2016 election, according to republicans briefed on the conversation." >> this is problematic for a couple reasons. there is a legislative track and a legitimate track. president trump needed mitch mcconnell to get on the court. he wouldn't have gotten on the
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court which donald trump says is his biggest accomplishment to date had it not been for mitch mcconnell. that's one. there is a political side to this as well. you have the opportunity for the united states senate to grow an even bigger republican majority going into 2018, but right now we're seeing donald trump really squander those opportunities, and in the next couple hours, we'll see what president trump says about an incumbent, that being jeff flake. many of our viewers don't really know mitch mcconnell in an intimate way like we do, having spent a lot of time covering him. in a fist fight, in a rally, i would take mitch mcconnell over donald trump. he fights to win. >> it's an amazing article if you've read it. i'm sure you have. >> it's an amazing article, and it's on purpose. this is part of mitch mcconnell's strategy. this didn't happen by accident. it's not like someone plied mitch mcconnell with bourbon and this is what you get. this is about sending a signal to donald trump just as congress is about to come back into
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session and deal with all of these major problems. and it basically says to donald trump, the way you have conducted yourself so far, the way you have talked about other republicans, gone after them, sought to primary or back primary challenges to people like jeff flake, that can't happen anymore. i think there are all sorts of sort of kind of thinking about what republicans would do to challenge trump, what they would say, how they would try to contain and change his behavior. i think this is part of that answer. >> another sentence, kaitlyn, jumps out at me from this "new york times" article. "angry phone calls and private bad mouthing have evolved in open conflict with the president threatening to oppose senators that cross him and congress mobilizing to their defense. if they have to choose between the president of the united states and the senate majority leader, they have a tough choice. >> i think it's pretty obvious they're going to go with mcconnell. we saw that at the press conference at trump tower during the president's working vacation.
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trump was asked if he wants mitch mcconnell to step down because he kept badgering him on twitter over and over again for not repealing and replacing the affordable care act, or for not doing enough to do so. right after that happened, a lot of republican senators came out in favor of mitch mcconnell, saying he was a great person, he was a great leader, and he was doing the right thing. so i think we're seeing whose side they're going to choose. >> go ahead. >> let's not forget the personal here also. speaking of that trump tower press conference, it was his wife, elaine chow, who works in the president's cabinet, who was there as part of the picture standing next to him when he went off to start equating neo-nazis and kkk members with members of the counterprotestors in charlottesville. there is elaine chow standing there having to endure that and come back and take questions from reporters and she's sort of put in the position where she says, i stand by both my men. i am sure that did not sit well with mitch mcconnell, that his wife was put in that position. >> david, that's exactly right.
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and during that press conference, trump made those comments equating the kkk with the neo-nazis, white supremacists with those counterprotestors. and we heard privately that mitch mcconnell was offended by those reports as well and they did not sit well with him. he doesn't agree with a lot of things trump says, it's becoming clear. >> it could potentially play out tonight in arizona. we'll be watching this huge reelection rally that the president will be participating in later tonight. but republicans under jeff flake, he's not going to be there. john mccain is undergoing radiation, another republican senator. he won't be there. but kelli ward will be there. kelli ward is challenging jeff flake for the republican senator nomination, and the senate majority leader has released this ad defending jeff flake. they really want jeff flake to
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be reelected. listen to this. >> reporter: kelli has her head in the clouds with bizarre ideas. she originally blamed john mccain for isis. >> john mccain is directly responsible for the rise of isis. >> embarrassing behavior, dangerous ideas. no wonder republicans rejected her just one year ago. kim trail kelli. not conservative, just crazy ideas. >> the president has really gone after jeff flake, the incumbent senator. she is going to be there. how do you see this playing out? >> nothing is done in this town without it being thought out, except at the white house where sometimes it n's not thought ou. we saw this ad just released a few hours ago on the internet. as you said, this is a superpac that's aligned, in many ways controlled, by mitch mcconnell. again, it was a planned hit against donald trump, because donald trump said some very nice things about kelli ward, to the
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point where people actually thought he was going to endorse kelli ward. >> do you think he will tonight? >> i don't think he will, and here's why. there are a lot of other republicans who have a better shot of knocking off jeff flake than kelli ward. as that ad showed right there, she has some questionable baggage she would have to overcome and she got creamed by john mccain last year. >> he has suggested that kelli ward is unable to learn the basics of government. >> that is tough stuff for a sitting president, a sitting republican president, for a republican to be criticizing him in that way. there is also an anecdote about shelly moore decapito where shelly moore said you can ride on capitol one if you decry these claims.
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i think it shows the difficulty that president trump is having learning to relate to folks who are in his own party. we'll see what happens but it get curiouser and curiouser. you have breitbart going after mitch mcconnell. what is donald trump going to do at this point in terms of his relationship with mitch mcconnell? >> david, go ahead. >>decapito ended up voting for him, and kelli ward said she felt when he leaked the secretary on her too try to pressure her for some funding to alaska, that backfired. she felt boxed in and she ended up voting against. remember, he needed only one more vote. that would have been a game changer. so donald trump is clearly still learning how to deal with mitch mcconnell's conference. and i'll just note that after being in racine, wisconsin for
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the town hall with paul ryan last night, just how different the worlds are we're talking about with the house leadership and the senate leadership. paul ryan who, yes, criticized the president for his charlottesville comment but basically said, well, he sounded better last night, and so let's forgive and move on because he's in a better place now, he's ready to move on and keep this relationship intact. mitch mcconnell taking to the pages of the "new york times" clearly taking a different approach where there is no sort of house freedom caucus that mitch mcconnell has to deal with. mitch mcconnell is a different animal in washington and donald trump is going to find it difficult if they're in this open warfare. >> the president is on the ground in yuma, arizona. he'll be headed to the border patrol facility before he heads to phoenix for a big campaign rally later tonight. you see the president there. you see john kelly, the white house chief of staff. he's there with the president as well, the former secretary of
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homeland security. when you cover this president right now, this feud that he's having, and it's underscored with this article of the "new york times," we all knew there were problems between him and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, but in the story it gets back to the president was even moran mae animated, more irritated by the senate's refusal to protect him from the russian interference of the 2016 election. they were briefed on that in early august between the president and the senate majority leader. it sort of reminds me the president was deeply irritated at the then-fbi director james comey for not necessarily coming to his defense on the russia investigation early on. we know what happened to comey. this is a serious moment right now. >> that's exactly right. we've seen this as something
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that clearly irks the president, this whole russian investigation. he says it's a hoax and this cloud that really is hangingo r over the white house, so it doesn't surprise if that goes into this. he was the one who never went on the road to support it or do anything to campaign on behalf of it. he kind of just expected capitol hill to do their thing and he could sit back. it wouldn't be surprising to me if there was some underlying motive fofr hr his anger toward mitch mcconnell like we saw with james comey. there was so much backfire on that that he's going to wait ndk see what mitch mcconnell does. >> cutting back on this investigation, the senate intelligence committee is investigating, the fbi is investigating. is that appropriate? >> it's an incredible situation we're in that we're even having
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to have this conversation right no now, where you have a warring party with the president fighting with his leaders. look, the bottom line is, as we're moving forward, as we talk about their relationship together, they need each other. but in the long run, if you were to say who needs who more, donald trump needs mitch mcconnell more, because legislation bills and all that come out of the congress. all donald trump does is sign them into law. >> clearly, the russian investigation very much atop the president's mind. >> even though it is not dominating the headlines in the last couple weeks the way that it had, certainly, in the aftermath of comey's firing or in the aftermath of learning of the details of donald trump jr.'s meeting in trump tower, wolf, it is clearly still all-consuming in the mind of the president. and the fact that he would express in a phone call in august where it is not the dominant thing being talked about, and we know how much this president watches cable news and
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the like, that he would bring this up as something that is still irking him, that he can't move forward with this relationship because he thinks that mcconnell didn't protect him enough just shows you the mentality that donald trump has around this russia investigation. >> all right, everybody stand by. there is a lot more coming up. you see the president in yuma, arizona right now. we're watching him. we're also watching another major development. kim jong-un may have a new source of funding for his nuclear program. chemical weapons sales through the syrian strongman bashar assad. we're going to bring you a very disturbing new report. m godaddy type in your idea. select from designs tailored just for you and publish your site with just a few clicks-even from your... phone. the internet is waiting start for free today at godaddy.
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re a new tonight, a confidential report may point to a disturbing source of funding for north korea's nuclear arsenal. brian todd is joining us with details. brian, what are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, tonight we have new information on a treacherous alliance between kim jong-un's regime and the syrian dictator, bashar al-assad. kim has a reputation for selling weapons and weapons components to the highest bidder and it seems tonight that assad is a buyer of some of north korea's most dangerous armaments. new indications tonight that kim jong-un's regime will stop at nothing to get cash for his weapons program and will do business with anyone. even syria's murder rust dictator bashar al-assad. a diplomatic source tells cnn u.n. security council experts are about to review a
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confidential report which says two north korean shipment to syria were intercepted in reepts months. the shipments were headed for the syrian agency which handles assad's chemical weapons program. >> this is a nightmare scenario. what we're looking at right now is the north korean regime, one of the most dangerous regimes in the world pedaling its most dangerous weapons to some of the other more dangerous regimes on the planet, including that of bashar al-assad, who has been using chemical weapons against his own people for the last several years. >> reporter: according to reuters, the u.n. report doesn't say when or where the interceptions were occurred or what were in the crates headed to syria's weapons arms. >> what could have been in will? >> it could have been missile parts, chemical agents themselves. regardless it is something that is going to aid bashar al-assad in his continued slaughter of the syrian people. >> reporter: experts say kim has a massive stockpile of chemical weapons and he apparently has
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little conscience about using them. malaysian officials say the regime used an out lawed vx nerve agent to kill his brother at the kuala lumpur airport this year. the north koreans deny it. this wouldn't be the first time north korea and syria have formed a dangerous partnership. in 2007, the israeli military bombed a nuclear reactor in syria. u.s. intelligence officials later revealed that north korea helped syria build that reactor. >> that was not a transfer of weapons, that was a transfer of technology which was also very concerning. >> reporter: analysts say kim's regime feeling the pinch from new sanctions after the recent ballistic missile test may resort to black market operations it is already engaged in to pay for the weapons program. the u.s. state department has linked north korea to a variety of criminal activity. >> north korean diplomats around the world have engaged in a variety of frankly illegal behavior under the protection of diplomatic cover, everything from drug trade,
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methamphetamines to passing very high quality counterfeit $100 bills. >> reporter: the north korean syrian missions at the u.n. did not respond to inquiries about the reports of the shipments to syria's chemical weapons department. tonight the u.s. government is taking new measures to put the squeeze on kim jong-un's finances with brand-new sanctions and money laundering penalties from the treasury and justice departments against individuals and firms in asia which do business with kim. wolf? >> having said that, at the same time, brian, the secretary of state rex tillerson today, he seems to think that north korea is backing down from confrontation with the united states. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. tillerson made a pointed to saying there have been no north korean missile launches or other provocations since u.n. sanctions were imposed against the regime last month. he said there is some level of, quote, restraint there and tillerson said he hopes that's a sign that sometime in the future there can be some dialogue, but there remain tensions on the peninsula, wolf, with the joint
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u.s.-south korean exercises. they always rile up the north koreans. >> these coming days will be tense indeed. brian todd reporting for us. thank you very much. coming up, the breaking news, president trump's incendiary rhetoric didn't help him win the white house, but it's caused problems for him since. he's running for reelection. what will he say at tonight's huge campaign rally in phoenix, arizona? senate republican leader mitch mcconnell is questioning whether president trump can salvage his administration. i'll ask republican congressman mark sanford about that. noon? eating. 3:45? uh, compliance training. 6:30? sam's baseball practice. 8:30? tai chi. yeah, so sounds relaxing. alright, 9:53? i usually make their lunches then, and i have a little vegan so wow, you are busy. wouldn't it be great if you had investments that worked as hard as you do? yeah. introducing essential portfolios. the automated investing solution that lets you focus on your life. hundreds of dollars on youmy car insurance. saved me
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happening now, breaking news. campaign crowds, the president is bonding with his base in arizona as he tries to put a week of intense controversy behind him. just hours after his scripted speech about war and unity, will he go back off the rails tonight? the heat is on. supporters and opponents of mr. trump are on the streets of phoenix right now. they are weighing in on his presidency, his policies and his response to the violence in charlottesville, virginia. we're following the frustration out west as the president ignores an appeal to stay away and feuds with top republicans. still simmering, charlottesville residents demand answers during an explosive city council meeting. emotions raw after the racist rally and the president's reaction. even the house speaker here in washington now


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