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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  January 10, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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and twitter @jaketapper. tweet the show @theleadcnn. i turn you over to wolf blitzer. rhyme next door in "the situation room." situation room." thanks for watching. -- captions by vitac -- happening now. breaking news. seems unlikely. president trump won't say if he'll sit down for an interview with the special counsel robert mueller but as it seems unlikely, insisting many times that there was no collusion with russia. the president is calling on republicans to, quote, take control of the russia probe. we need the wall. just a day after telling a bipartisan group of lawmakers that he'll sign any immigration deal they come up with, the president backs off, saying he won't sign a bill without fund for a border wall. performance art. the president invites the news media into his cabinet meeting where he praises his own
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performance a day earlier. clearly ignored. a senate report warns that russian hackers are still targeting u.s. elections and that the u.s. needs to boost its defenses. a key lawmaker says a u.s. president has never so clearly ignored such a grave threat to national security. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. breaking news. president trump refuses to say if he's willing to be interviewed by the special counsel robert mueller's team but says it seems unlikely that mueller would request the meeting, claiming over and over again that there was no collusion with russia. while taking questions over at the white house, the president called the russia probe a phony cloud hanging over his administration. earlier, he called it the single greatest witch-hunt in u.s. history and urged republicans to take control.
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there is a new warning tonight that russia's hackers are still targeting american elections and a key lawmaker cautions that unless the united states takes immediate action it won't be ready to defend against any meddling in the 2018 or 2020 elections. and only a day after he told a bipartisan group of lawmakers that he'd sign any immigration deal they come up with, president trump today said flatly that he will not sign an immigration bill unless it contains funding for a border wall wig mexico. that came during his first cabinet meeting of the year where the president praised himself for that earlier on-camera immigration session. but the president's handling of that session failed to bring any clarity to congressional negotiations on the fate of some 700,000 d.r.e.a.m.ers, immigrants brought to the u.s. as children. a and after a judge temporarily blocked efforts to end protections for d.r.e.a.m.ers, the president claim complained
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the court system here in the united states is, quote, broken and unfair. i'll speak with democratic senator chris murphy of the senate foreign relations committee. our correspondents and specialists are standing by with full coverage. let's begin with the breaking news. president trump digging in his heels on the russia probe and on immigration. let's go straight to our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. jim, the president's back in attack mode today. >> reporter: he certainly was, wolf. and president trump did not answer a key question today, as you said, as to whether he would agree to speak with special counsel robert mueller. the president did try to clear up some of the confusion over his plan to protect young undocumented immigrants known as the d.r.e.a.m.ers from deport ace. he says he wanted a wall for that. the president also took another shot at his critics, vowing to crack down the nation's libel laws in an attempt to tamp down on negative reporting of his presidency. president trump dodged the question whether he would sit down with special counsel robert mueller team's to talk about the russia investigation.
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insisting that her was no collusion between his campaign and the kremlin. >> we'll see what happens. certainly i'll see what happens, but when they have no collusion and nobody's found any collusion at any level, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview. >> reporter: at a news conference, the president took another whack at clarifying his position on immigration, insisting a border wall be part of any bill to protect the un -- >> i feel they're going to come up with a solution to the daca problem, which has been going on for a long time. maybe beyond that, immigration as a whole, but any solution has to include the wall because without the wall it all doesn't work. >> reporter: that was an attempt to clean up his previous comment that signalled some flexibility on the wall. >> this group comes back hopefully with an agreement, this group and others from the senate, from the house, comes back with an agreement. i will be signing it. >> reporter: before the news conference -- >> welcome back to the studio. >> reporter: the president basked in the praise he says he received from the news
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immediatafter his televised meeting with the lawmakers on the issue. >> it was reported as incredibly good and my performance, you know, some of them called it a performance. i consider it work. but it got great reviews by everybody, other than two networks, who were phenomenal for about two hours. then after they they were call by their bosses and said, oh, wait a minute. unfortunately a lot of those anchors sent us letters saying that was one of the greatest meetings they've ever witnessed. >> reporter: to back up the president's claim that he received letters from news anchors cheering his performance, the white house sent along a list not of letters but video clips, some from cnn applauding the openness of the meeting. still the president went on to complain the coverage he's received is just not good enough so he once again threaten today seek changes to the nation's libel laws, another threat to the first amendment rights of the american free press. >> we are going to take a strong look at our country's libel laws.
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so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts. if somebody says something that's totally false and knowingly false, that the person that has been abused, defamed, libelled, will have meaningful recourse. can't say things that are false, knowingly false, and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account. >> reporter: the president also took time to criticize the nation's judicial system one day after a federal court in california temporarily halted his administration's plans to end deportation protections for the d.r.e.a.m.ers. mr. trump tweeted, it just shows everyone how broken and unfair our court system in when an opposing side in a case such as daca almost always wins before being reversed by higher courts.
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the president also attacked senator dianne feinstein calling her sneaky after the california republic democrat released the transcript. that alleged wide spread collusion between the trump campaign and russia. trump tweeted, the single greatest witch-hunt in american history continues. there was no collusion. everybody including the dems knows there was no claugs. russia and the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. republicans should finally take control. they mask an apparent need of approval from the news media, something he touched on while looking back at on that meeting with the d.r.e.a.m.ers. >> i'm sure their ratings were fantastic. they always are. which is why i think the media will ultimately support trump in the end. they're going to say, if trump doesn't win in three years, they're all out of business. you guys will be out of business. but the boom holders are still going to be there so that's good. those are the people i like. >> reporter: now, near the end of his press conference, the president said, quote, it has been determined there is no
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collusion. he actually said a variation of new collusion eight times during this news conference. but, of course, that has not been determined as of yet, as the special counsel's office has yet to conclude its investigation. tried to ask the president about that at the end of the press conference, but he did not respond. it should be noted, wolf, the president said he was 100% willing to testify in the russia probe last year. doesn't sound like anymore, wolf. >> jim acosta over at the white house. thanks very much. let's get more from our senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny. jeff, what are you hearing from your sources about a potential meeting between the president and the special counsel? >> reporter: wolf, good evening. even though the president said no collusion, as jim said, that was in a span of a minute and 35 seconds. the president said no collusion or a variation of it eight times during that period. but the reality is somewhat different inside the west wing among conversations with the lawyers and advisers. they know that the reality of what is coming with this mueller investigation does not necessarily jive with the fantasy of the fact that there
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is certainty no collusion. the reality is here that advisers and lawyers inside the west wing realize there is still an ongoing investigation to see if there was collusion. we do not know the answer, they do not know the answer, if there was or wasn't, that's the point of this investigation. wolf, the reality here is that the president is most likely going to half to testify. that is at least the thinking of many advisers we're talking to. the question is how. will it be a narrow set of questions, under a narrow set of preconditions? that is likely going to be the situation here if he ultimately has to testify here, wolf. no matter how often the president says no collusion at a press conference or on social media, they know at some point this investigation most likely is going to reach him and it will determine if there is or if there isn't, but that right now is an answer that is not yet known yet, wolf. >> last summer, think it was last june, he said 100% he would be willing to testify before the mueller investigation. what's changed since then? >> reporter: he did, wolf. i was thinking about back to
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that rose garden news conference last june on june 9th, exactly seven months ago. he said 100% i would be willing to testify. that was about specifically the firing of james comey. this is about the broader investigation here, but still the same topic here. so what has changed, of course, is that the investigation is still moving forward. the president was led to believe by his own lawyers this would end at thanksgiving, at the end of the year it is still ongoing. as we head into this midterm election year with this open investigation still broadening here, this is one of the things that has changed the president's thinking in terms of whether he's going to be willing to testify or not here because the fact this is still going means it certainly is still serious and it's more underway and it certainly is more real, wolf. >> if he is willing to testify, under what conditions. >> indeed. >> was his lawyers recommend they impose. jeff zeleny over -- he's actually here in the studio. jeff zeleny, thanks very much. joining us now, democratic senator chris murphy of connecticut. he's a member of the senate
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foreign relations commitee. senator murphy, thanks very much for joining us. >> great to be with you. >> what's your reaction? the president seems to think it's unlikely the special counsel robert mueller will even interview him, ask to interview, as you heard within a minute and a half or two minutes he said eight times, no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. what do you think? >> well, i think the president has to testify. he has to tell his story. i'm just not sure it's going to be believable. the white house told us there was no contact between the trump campaign and the russian government and now we discover that there was what seems to be an endless myriad of contacts between trump family members, trump campaign members and the russian government. this story seems to have new layers that get unpeeled every single week and i think at some point trump is going to have to go under oath and tell his side of the story. it's important. >> so you think there is evidence of collusion? >> no, i don't -- i don't know what. what i know is that the story that the trump administration told us is not true. they told us that they did not talk to the russians during the campaign. they did, in fact, members of
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the trump family talk today agents of the russian government. and given the fact that they have lied about the extent of their contact with the russian government, it stands to reason that we might not yet know the whole story about potential collusion. >> let me read the tweet that he posted earlier this morning once again. listen to this. the single greatest witch-hunt in american history continues. there was for collusion. everybody including the dems knows there was no collusion. and yet on and on it goes. russia and the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. republicans should finally take control. when he says take control, what does he mean, if your opinion, what does he mean by republicans should finally take control? >> well, i mean, republicans can't take control of an fbi investigation. i assume he says that republicans should allow him to fire robert mueller, that they shouldn't stand in the way of that. we have legislation pending, for instance, that would greatly
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cricket t constrict the president's ability to fire mueller on his own. i don't think republicans are listening to that tweet. my conversations with republicans suggest that they are still very serious about making sure that mueller has the resources and the flexibility to get to the truth. i don't think that republicans in the senate are going to be part of a political effort to try to shut down this investigation. >> but the republicans do control the white house. they're the majority in the senate. the majority in the house. the justice department has an attorney general who has recused himself, but others in the justice department appointed by the president, the new fbi director appointed by the president. aren't they in control? >> well, they are in control of government, but, remember, there has historically been great reticence for the legislative branch to step in and get in the way of an investigation emanating out of the justice department or the fbi. and i think that reticence still holds today. there are plenty of republicans who want to get to the truth. >> you're a member of the senate foreign relations committee.
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the top democrat on your committee, senator ben cardin, he released a very dire report today detailing what he set was the continued russian threat of meddling in u.s. elections. upcoming elections in 2018. this year, 2020. he places the spotlight in his report directly on president trump, saying, quote, never before has a u.s. president so clearly ignored such a grave threat and a growing threat to u.s. national security. do you believe the president has ignored this russian threat? >> well, i don't think the president understands how serious the russians are about manipulating democracies and democratic elections. for instance, we passed legislation setting up a new office at the state department called the global engagement center. this would be a center that would spend money trying to counteract russian propaganda, not necessarily in the united states but in places like europe where they're trying to undermine our allies' democracies. the president for months refused to fund that organization.
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he now is holding a hiring freeze at the state department, which doesn't allow for that group to staff up. so i just don't think the president is serious about this. i don't think he's using the tools that congress has given him to try to push back on the ways in which russia tries to interfere with the united states. our democracy and our allies' democracies. >> this latest report from senator cardin comes as senator feinstein, the top democrat on the senate judiciary committee, released 300-plus pages of testimony from one of the co-founders that got that trump/russia dossier off the ground. this over the objections of the committee chairman, chuck grassley. are democrats essentially, and you're a democrat, going rogue right now? >> well, it troubles me that comity has broken down on the judiciary committee, but i don't think it's shocking. think that for a long time many of us have been skeptical that either the judiciary committee or the intelligence committee with all the politics that play
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out in those forums, was going to be able to get to the truth about what happened between russia and the trump campaign. i think mueller is the place where we are going to get these facts. i think it was maybe not inevitable but not unlikely that there was going to be some partisanship creep into these conversational investigations. >> stand by, senator. we have more to discuss, including the president today clarifying his position on any deal involving the so-called d.r.e.a.m.ers. he says any such deal must be part of daca approval if, if there is fund for a border wall with mexico. we'll be right back. touch is how we communicate with those we love, but when your psoriasis is bad, does it ever get in the way? embrace the chance of 100% clear skin with taltz. taltz is proven to help people with moderate to severe psoriasis achieve completely clear skin.
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breaking news. president trump digging in his heels on the russia investigation. also on building a border wall with mexico. the tough talk came during a question and answer session just a little while ago over at the white house. we're back with democratic senator chris murphy of the foreign relations committee. the president says any deal that would allow the 700,000 or so d.r.e.a.m.ers to remain in the united states, in his words, must include a border wall with mexico. it's not going to happen unless there is the wall. what say you? >> well, listen, these are human beings. these are kids, right? they came here when they were 3 or 4 years old. they're americans in every sense of the word. the idea that the president is so enthusiastic about holing these kids hostage to a border wall that only the he wants is hard for a lot of americans to swallow. the fantastct of the matter is, knows what the president wants. sometimes he says he wants a concrete barrier from the gulf of mexico to the pacific ocean.
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other days he seems to want border fencing and technology. at some point he said he was fine wig a bill going itself and dealing with border security later. evidence we get a different set of demands from the white house which makes it really hard for congress to write a bill. that's really difficult for republicans and democrats. >> he gave different impressions, you're right, during that nearly one-hour meeting with legislators at the white house yesterday. according to his aides, it seems that the 2,000-mile wall may not be necessary, maybe 700 or 800 miles and use sensors and drones, you can use increased personnel to go ahead. is that a good compromise? >> well, he should listen to the residents on the border. he should listen to the people of california and arizona and texas that don't want the wall he envisions. democrats voted for major new border security funding as part of the 2013 immigration compromise and will do so again,
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but the border wall that he seems to continue to have in his head is nothing that those states want, nothing that border security experts recommend and not supported by our party or his party. >> so if he's clearly not going to agree to what's called a clean daca bill that only allows the d.r.e.a.m.ers to stay. he said any such daca bill, he tweeted this last night after the meeting, as i made very clear today, the country needs the security on the wall with the southern border. which must be part of any daca approval. if it has to be there in order to protect the d.r.e.a.m.ers, let ethem continue to live here in the was not force them to go back to countries they don't even know, that they've never lived in for all practical purposes, would you be willing to do that. some sort of wall. not necessarily 2,000 mile, 700 or 800 miles and more security measures. >> there is certainly a negotiation to be had. this deadline, this arbitrary
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moment we're working towards in march in which the president is prepared to deport these kids is imaginary. he can decide to take that sword that is hanging over he's kids' heads away and i would recommend he do it. if we want to have a broader conversation about border security and protection for these kids, let's do it, but not under the threat of all of these children being deported in about 60 days. >> march 5th is the deadline right now on the table. he says, you know what, if you, you know, you've got to do it with the wall, otherwise it's not going to happen. that's what he says right now. >> listen, he's still free to get mexico to pay for that wall. he told the american people that they weren't going to pay for it, mexico was going to pay for it. >> that's not happening, at least not now. he says down the road insome form the mexicans will pay for it. senator murphy, thanks for coming in. >> thanks. coming up, our breaking news. president trump ducks the key question right now, when asked whether he'll agree to be interviewed by the russia probe special counsel robert mueller. listen. >> when they have no collusion
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following multiple breaking stories right now, including president trump not saying whether he will take questions from the special counsel robert mueller when asked earlier this afternoon over at the white house. the president repeatedly
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insisted there was no collusion with russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. let's bring in our political specialists. gloria, he said, what, eight times within a span of two minute, no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. he wouldn't commit, he would dodge the question whether or not he would agree to an interview with mueller. >> look, think he's been talking to his lawyers to be honest about it. this is a president who said last june 100% he wanted to testify before mueller about his conversation with the former fbi director, james comey, whom he fired. and today he was a little bit more circumspect about it. saying that, you know, he wasn't sure, and i think he's reflecting the kind of negotiations perhaps that are going on between his attorneys and mueller's camp about whether and how they would have him testify. >> and possibly also listening to some of his friends and political advisers. >> exactly. >> who i don't -- you've been
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doing reporting on this, as have i, many of whom who are saying, mr. president, the worst thing you could do would be to sit down with robert mueller's team and have kind of an open-ended discussion. that almost never happens with the president of the united states, but there is a lot of concern, and i'm told some of that is being communicated to the president himself about the notion of him opening himself up to questions. >> but there is also a clear pr strategy in plates here nce hir it seems. if you look at "the new york times" interview he did at the golf course in florida. i think it was 16 times he said no collusion or something like that. here he repeats it. this is what we've seen donald trump do on other issues before, creating his own reality. saying it over and over again enough so that he believes it's true, his supporters believe it's true, and that right now for him is any question on russia, the answer is there is no collusion, and, of course, we don't know that at all. it defies the facts and where
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the investigation is. >> but what we do know is that collusion is not the only issue here. >> exactly. >> there is a question of obstruction. there are other issues we don't know about. >> money laundering. >> whatever. trump can say -- the president say can say there is no need for me to testify because there is no collusion but me may be getting out ahead of himself because we really have no idea what the special counsel wants to talk to the president about. we don't know and at this point i'm not sure his lawyers do either. >> some legal experts have pointed out, dana, collusion may not be a crime. >> that's exactly right. >> politically may be a bad thing to do but not necessarily a crime as opposed to straufts or conspiracy to obstruct justice or money laundering. and there are reports out there that there are investigations going on into money laundering. potentially those are crimes. >> absolutely. look, we don't know what we don't know, and that is that robert mueller has a very aggressive team and that, yes,
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of course, he started out looking at the notion of collusion, but he had a very wide net that he was allowed to cast and he -- whether he's casting it, whether it's getting any fish, we don't know. we don't know the answer to that. but at the end of the day the president saying over and over again there is no collusion and, by the way, it's a hoax, which is the other thing he said today, which is kind of a word that the president likes to go to. he might have -- it might hurt him in the end, not what he says publicly but the idea that that is in his head and that the idea that his actions might be dig caters tated to make that clear might have led him to do things that have allowed robert mueller to look at the question of obstruction of justice. >> he says not only a hoax, he tweeted it earlier today, the single greatest witch-hunt in american history continues. he also continues to be obsessed
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with what he calls his opponent hillary clinton in this news conference, the joint news conference with the norweigian prime minister today. he kept referring to my opponent, hillary clinton, and he said if there was any collusion it was between the democrats and the russians not between his campaign and the russians. >> right. i quickly looked up and checked my calender and made sure i wasn't in some sort of time warp or vessel and that we were in the middle of a campaign, which we're not. donald trump performs better when he has an opponent and an enemy. even though he doesn't have one right now, if he can bring hillary clinton back from her political ghost, it serves him well as a foil because that's part of donald trump's problem right now. he doesn't have that political foil day in and day out, and he thinks that he can sort of, you know, again, this is like muddying the water, this is all distraction. he has no evidence about hillary clinton colluding. as far as i understand, there is no investigation into hillary clinton colluding anything.
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this is pure distraction. it's like from his greatest hits and he feels on much sturdier ground when he can take hillary clinton down. >> i'll tell you one thing donald trump has, he has a little leverage here as president of the united states. there is a lot of precedent under which circumstances you can question a president. can it be that you can only get this information from this president? can you go elsewhere to get this information? there is all kinds of stuff if you're a lawyer you're looking at now to make sure, and i'm sure mueller knows all of this, believe me, but if you're the president's attorneys, you're not going to put your client out there unless it's an absolute necessity required by law and that they can just it. the president occupies a special place. >> last june the president said flatly 100% he's more than willing to go ahead and do an interview with the special counsel. everyone stand by. we're going to get some reaction to the president himself giving very high marks to himself on his on-camera session
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we're back with our political specialists. gloria, the battle that's going on to allow 700,000 or 800,000 d.r.e.a.m.ers to remain in the united states, a march 5th
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deadline right now. looks like it's up in the air right now because the president says it can only be done in the democrats agree to a wall with mexico. >> right. >> so what's going to happen? >> well, that's today's iteration. that's not what he said yesterday. he tried to make it clear last night in a tweet and again today, and so i think they're back to the drawing boards here. i think the question is whether or not is a wall? we're now down to the -- >> that's the question. >> we're down to the semantics of -- we're now talking about border security. well, what is border security? does it mine a wall, does it mean fixing a fence? does it mean an entire wall? we just don't know. how can they funnel the semantics on this, which is where i think they're going independent up. >> exactly. the wall is likely going to become a rorschach test if they get this deal done in a way that the president and the republicans who want the wall will be able to say, look, we have this amount of miles and
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brick and mortar, we're going to build this many more and we're going to have personnel here and at the end of the day it's going to be a virtual wall/a real wall and the democrats are going to say, look, we didn't give him a wall. if there is not a wall from sea to shining sea, and, by the way, mexico is not paying for it. if you talk to people who are involved in the negotiations, that's the reality of where we're going to end up that everybody is going to be able to claim victory. that's the only way -- >> the white house already is backing away from a 2,000-mile wall. maybe 700 or 800 miles. >> dana will remember this better than anyone. you went to the border with him in july of 2015. he was talking about not all wall. little openings, some fencing. >> with a door. >> mountains, rivers, you don't need 2,000 mielsz. >> he's kind of going back to where he's started before it became the rhetoric on the campaign trail that helped him win the primary, the rallying cry for the base. >> exactly right. >> what is going to happen here
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is there is going to be a wall fig leaf. something they'll be able to call wall, but it's going to be a bit of a fig leaf for the president, not likely to be the real wall he portrayed for supporters. you can see some of the blowback building on the right. you were talking to senator murphy, i think you've got to watch the democrats here, too, wolf. this is not -- >> yes. >> a party that is going to be willing -- the base of the democratic party, to just be willing to let their leaders kick the can down the road on this. think there is going to be a lot of pressure on the democratic leaders to perhaps shut down the government over this. >> and also if they don't shut down the government, what will this lead to? you know, we heard the president yesterday say, well, this could lead to comprehensive immigration reform like the next day. and so if the democrats could get some kind of a deal on that and they're talking pathway to citizenship, which donald trump didn't seem to pooh-pooh yesterday. that may change. but, you know, it depends on what the democrats can extract.
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>> he's got problems, the president, from his right. they're not happy with what they call amnesty, including amnesty for the d.r.e.a.m.ers, and they certainly weren't happy when dianne feinstein, the senator yesterday said let's have a clean daca bill, a clean bill and then we'll have comprehensive immigration reform down the road. would you be agreeable to that, she afced the president? the president said, yeah, i would like to do is that. the initial white house transcript initially deleted the yeah, i would like to do that. later when it was pointed the out that's what the president said, there is videotape of it, they put it back in. but when a lot of his conservative pals hard that, they said why would he do that? why would he be willing to agree for a clean daca bill? >> the answer was he was wanting to sound graebl. not saying, okay, great, let's do a clean daca bill. it's not feasible. but it does speak to what david was talking about, yes, the
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conservative base is going apoplectic about what they do call amnesty. we're talking at least now about this limited number of young people who came here. but it's not just the conservative base anymore. it is the very emboldened democratic base who are saying to people like chris murphy and the democratic leader, you know what, we have the leverage now. why would you give into the president and allow for all of this border security on the backs of these people who deserve to be able to stay? and there is so much pressure on them it's -- the democratic leader that's going to have to be able to take the heat from their base -- >> let me quickly show the viewers the official white house transcript. the transcript that was originally released without that key line, yeah, i would like -- i would like to do that. go ahead. as far as a clean daca bill and then they corrected. >> that's just silly. it was on television. >> i wonder -- it was a mistake. >> it was kind of the careerest
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statement the president made. he gave a yes or no answer. >> he gave a very specific answer to senator dianne feinstein. then kevin mccarthy, the republican majority leader said, mr. president, not so fast. you've got to talk about security. everybody stand by. there is other news we're following. despite the president's repeated insistence this afternoon that there was no collusion between his campaign and the russians, we have details of a new report accusing the president of negligence when it comes to preventing russia from meddling in this year's midterm elections or the upcoming 2020 presidential election. mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow. but after an electrical fire from faulty wiring, mary's vintage clothing and designer shoe collection were ruined. luckily, the geico insurance agency had recently helped mary with renters insurance, and she got a totally fab replacement wardrobe at bloomingdale's. mary was inspired to start her own fashion line, exclusively for little lambs. visit
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our breaking news, president trump this afternoon over at the white house, dodging a question about whether he will meet with the special counsel, robert mueller. he repeatedly said there was no collusion between his campaign and the russians. however, a new report criticizes the president for not doing enough to prevent russian meddling in the upcoming 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election. let's get some more from cnn's brian todd. what else does the report saying. >> this new report from one of the president's toughest critics, senator ben cardin, says they're fine tuning their tactics and have their sights set on disrupting the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election. and that the u.s. is not as good as its european allies in countering the threat. a jarring new warning tonight,
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that vladimir putin's hackers are still targeting america's elections and will only get more aggressive. a report out today from democratic senator ben cardin of the foreign relations committee, whose led the push for sanctions on the kremlin, says the u.s. won't be prepared to defend against possible russian meddling in the 2018 midterm elections. or in the next presidential cycle in 2020, unless it takes action immediately. >> putin directs these attacks with an asmymmetric arsenal, th weaponization of energy resources. >> cardin and his investigators say the u.s. and its allies have to coordinate their cyber defense against russia, have to target putin and his cronies and freeze their money. and they have only a few months to do it before the midterms. cyber investigators are warning that putin and his hackers are ready to strike this fall. >> what we would expect to see are similar efforts to leak
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compromising information that would embarrass candidates. and efforts to use the open nature of our political system and our media environment against us to sew fake news stories or themes that undermine american's confidence in our elected leadership. >> reporter: cardin's team spent months talking to european officials about how putin tried to disrupt their elections. in france, they determined the kremlin used multiple, quote, warfare tools to discredit then-candidate emmanuel macron, including social media infiltration and hacking the campaign's e-mails. putin has always denied meddling in the elections of america and its allies, but experts say the russian president is trying to sew chaos in any democracy where there's vulnerability. >> he sees weaknesses in the domestic politics of europe, the united states, but also parts of the developing world, if you look at latin america, if you look at southeast asia. if you look at the middle east, opportunities where russia can move in and they can advance influence for the kremlin, at
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the expense of what, in the past has been influence for washington. that's the sense in which it is a contest between washington and moscow. >> reporter: senator cardin, always a vociferous critic of president trump, blisters the president and his team in this new report, for, as he puts it, turning a blind eye to the russian threat. >> never before has a u.s. president so clearly ignored such a grave threat and a growing threat to u.s. national security. >> now, tonight, a white house official pushing back at cardin, telling us that this threat is far from being ignored. they're doing a lot to counter the threat. a department of homeland security official told us that department has been working closely with local election officials across the united states and with the u.s. intelligence community to assess the threats and vulnerabilities in the election system and to develop cyber tools for combatting russian hackers during this 2018 election cycle, wolf. a lot of pressure on u.s. officials to counter what the russians are going to do this fall. >> good point. brian, thanks very much.
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coming up, the breaking news. president trump won't say if he'll agree to an interview with a special counsel, robert mueller, insisting over and over again that there was no collusion with russia. >> i can only say this. there was absolutely no collusion. everybody knows it. every committee -- i've been in office now for 11 months. for 11 months, they've had this phony cloud over this administration, over our government. ♪ (woman) one year ago today mom started searching for her words. and my brother ray and i started searching for answers. (vo) when it's time to navigate in-home care, follow that bright star. because brightstar care earns the same accreditation as the best hospitals. and brightstar care means an rn will customize a plan that evolves with mom's changing needs. (woman) because dad made us promise we'd keep mom at home. (vo) call 844-4-brightstar for your free home care planning guide.
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if yor crohn's symptoms are holding you back, and your current treatment hasn't worked well enough, it may be time for a change. ask your doctor about entyvio, the only biologic developed and approved just for uc and crohn's. entyvio works at the site of inflammation in the gi tract and is clinically proven to help many patients achieve both symptom relief and remission. infusion and serious allergic reactions can happen during or after treatment. entyvio may increase risk of infection, which can be serious.
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happening now. breaking news. dodging the question. president trump ewon't say if he'd agree to give testimony in the special counsel's russia investigation. this amid new questions about
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whether he's encouraging republicans to shut the probe down. welcome to the studio. mr. trump is eager to praise his own performance during on-camera negotiations with lawmakers. so why is he still trying to clear up confusion about what he said and what he meant? broken and unfair. a judge blocks the administration's plan to end protections for young undocumented immigrants, prompting the president to claim the entire u.s. court system is biased. could this have an impact on efforts to avoid a government shutdown? and rivers of mud. rescuers race to find survivors after catastrophic mud slides and flooding in california. at least 15 people are dead. how many more are still missing tonight? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."


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