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tv   CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera  CNN  March 17, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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top of the hour. you are in the cnn newsroom. i'm ana cabrera in new york. the news is are we closer to constitutional crisis? the president says he will not fire him. but the president's lawyer sending up a prayer that the investigation suddenly disappears. wishful thinking? those questions clearer picture how the special counsel could be
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building case against the president. sources say cnn robert mueller has in his possession memos from andrew mccabe, the now retired and fired deputy director of the fbi who was just dismissed from his job last night. the memo said to discuss conversations between mccabe and the president and james comey. also learning late today, the mccabe gave an interview to the special counsel and was asked about the circumstances surrounding comey's firing. those developments are the back drop for another remarkable attempt by the president to humiliate his own justice department and potentially poison the well as the special investigation reaches closer to the president. cnn has been all over these fast moving developments in the past 24 hours. let's begin with laura in washington. what do we know about the memos andrew mccabe turned over to the special counsel and his interview with mueller's team? well, anna, we have confirmed one of the topics
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covered during that interview with the special counsel's team was the firing of former fbi director james comoey, as they look into as he had obstruction of justice. now, mccabe cover his own discussions with the president at least some of what mccabe learned from comey about what happened to comey as well. which could help bolster how comey describes several key events that the president said never happened, including requests for loyalty to go easy on former national security adviser michael flynn, among other things. and especially if those were documented contemporaneously, ana. >> so, laura, cnn investigated mccabe. what did he say about that? >> it was a wide ranking with pamela brown. and mccabe's knowledge what
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happened to comey at least in his view explains why he's been subject tod subjected to what he calls pattern of attacks on his reputation and credibility. and told cnn during that interview that the president repeated repeatedly taunted him about his wife's failed state and who he voted for in the election. >> joining us for the white house as now. stand by. boris, any clarification why the president's lawyer put out this statement we referenced earlier? >> reporter: not yet. we should point out that john dowd is not the white house counsel, not part of the team, actually the president's private attorney. still surprising he would make these comments in light of the firing of andrew mccabe, the former deputy fbi director. dowd initially said that he was speaking on behalf of the president when he first out the statement to the daily beast and
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walked that back to cnn specifically saying, quote, speaking for myself, not the president, i pray that acting attorney general rod rosenstein will fall the brilliant example of the fbi, opr, the office of professional responsibility, and attorney general jeff sessions, and bring an end to the alleged russia collusion by james comey, end on the merits in light of recent revelations. we should point out that a source close to the president tells us that donald trump didn't authorize john dowd to make these comments. so it's probably part of the reason you see him walking them back so quickly. >> all right. boris sanchez at the white house. laura in washington. thank you both. meanwhile, attorney is blasting process led to his client firing and warning others they could be next. says in a statement, quote, this
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concerted effort to about the beat the timing clicking clock violates any decency and principals of fairness. it should make all government employees who continue to work in administration that insults, abuse sz them, shoulder have s could be next. and joining me now is my panel. and former assistants u.s. attorney kim wailly as well as former fbi james. all right, guys, thank you for being here. james, i'll start with you here. you are former fbi. do you think other government employees are scared right now? >> no doubt about it, the optics look bad. again the fbi being like an
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american public it's not a monolith. there were people thought long time coming and appropriate. and other people say it's a bit-na far us. inspect or jenna pointsed by barack in 2012. it's someone that does investigations. same thing with professional responsibility. fbi opr is made up of employees, work hand in glove with the ig. when that report was assembled and came to the findings made recommendation to the ag. now if this had been completed six months and ago and the ag sat on it until now that's troubling. but if they said make a determination on this now, he's the final arbiter, the timing looks awful. the optics are bad. but i don't think the ig and the opr involved in politicized
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proce process. >> and i know you know mccabe personally. so what do you make of his claim very poignantly as he's claiming that this is politically motivated and all has to do with what he knows in relation to the mueller investigation? >> sure, andy was able to punch back last night flt while are you a fbi employee he couldn't go out in the interview and conduct interviews. and i understand it, he's been punched down at by a president in the white house. and it was unseemly and repulsive. no doubt about that. now, you can look at andy and say, my experience with him, man of integrity, but he spent ha significant portion at fbi head squat ex might have made decisions that could be criticized in regards to when he recused himself from particular investigations and what he did while he was deputy director. that is fair game. but to attack him for being treasonous or suggest there is criminality afoot, i think
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that's a bridge too far. >> and let me ask you the president has singled out him repeatedly. i recall from december he wrote this, andrew mccabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go. the question mark and several exclamation points. did the president make clear then exactly what he wanted to happen in that tweet? >> yeah, he did. and i'm not sure what the strategy is. because he's only sort of furthering the story and making more people wonder whether or not there was political interference. his tweet back in december and his tweet just past midnight after the news broke rlast nigh that mccabe was going to be fired was sell tore i and almost taking credit for the fact that mccabe was going to go going out the door and not receiving his full pension. that's going to leave both democrats and republicans to want to ask questions did the president put pressure on the attorney general, explicitly,
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implicitly, which could be a decision separate from the white house. and if that happened and members of congress believe there was political pressure to oust mr. mccabe, that's going to lead to hearings and people in congress,especially democrats calling for more information to come out. and, also, calling for mr. mccabe to tell people in the public what he knows, what his private conversations with the president were like, and whether or not the president did anything unseemly behind the scenes when he was with mr. mccabe in private. >> kim, let's add in this new information, too, that special counsel robert mueller has now interviewed mccabe about james comey's firing. he also has memos, apparently, mccabe made documenting the conversations he had with the president, as well as conversations he had with james comey regarding some of the interactions with the president. how significant is this?
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>> well, certainly mr. mueller knows what mr. mccabe knows at this point. and the fact that he was involved in the potential obstruction of justice story is absolutely critical here. and i want to make a point that getting back to his lawyer, john dowd, mr. trump's private lawyer, coming out and saying, listen, we should cancel the investigation into russian collusion for the same reasons that there maybe were justification for letting mr. mccabe go. these are apples and ba nans. i mean what's happened with mr. mccabe, we haven't seen inspector general report, we don't know what the circumstances are. but what we do know is we've had attack on democracy by the russians. and that that probe needs to go forward. so to the extent anyone is wondering, listen, the fbi is shady, so we shouldn't have a criminal justice system, i think that's very, very dangerous. >> but do you believe mccabe's credibility could be damaged
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now? >> sure. i think, as the other guests mentioned, the verbal assaults and critiques of mr. mckeeb leading up to this, 20 year veteran with the fbi, can't be ignored in the light of the highly politicized nature of this probe, both from the trump team as well as from the house intelligence committee on the republican side. as a constitutional law professor and former white water prosecutor, i think it's unfortunate we are having a discussion whether our department of justice is here. and we need to hang onto constitution, and that's critical. and i saw that in his statement. >> john brennan is not mincing words in his response to the president. here's what he said. when the full extent moral turpitude becomes known, you
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will take your rightful place in history. you may scapegoat andy mccabe but you will not destroy america. america will triumph over you. this is president obama cia director, worked under him. is there any reason to believe that his opinion here is emblematic of what others at the cia are currently thinking? >> well, from those that i've mentioned to speak to, both former and current intelligence officials, they are pretty divided, just as the country is. a lot of people think brennan in terms of the obama administration because he spent so long in the obama white house before becoming director of the cia. but then a lot of professionals doing the job are disturbed by the fact that this president hasn't come out forcefully against russia, against russian interference. so for them everything that he says about the subject is suspect. and when he attacks their colleagues in the fbi for doing
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what they think needs to be done to protect this country, and investigate what was done in the 2016 elections, that really has a lot of people's hackles up. >> james, according to the attorney general, jeff sessions, in his statement that he put out regarding the firing of andrew mccabe, he says that it had to do with an investigation, and what mccabe told federal investigators that he says was essentially not true, and it was pertaining to an investigation in allowing or authorizing people to speak to the media regarding an ongoing investigation inside the fbi. what are the rules in terms of who is authorized to say what? >> my understanding of the rules are this, obviously the fbi director is the figure head and the mass head for the or organization and can speak whenever he wants to. generally speaking, also gives the deputy number two. and usually assistants deputy
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that runs public affairs headquarters tan oftentimes makes releases to the media. now, andy mccabe has a right to speak to the media. the question here is was he giving information about an open investigation, and that was what was inappropriate. now, that's all got to be sorted out. i'm gathering, i have not seen that yet. >> are there cases where it's okay to give some information about an open investigation if you think that the public cages is getting information wrong? >> yes. but generally only times in 25 times i saw things like that happen was when it was in concerts with the department of justice. meaning that at the upper echelons of justice or if it was in afield division like the manhattan office of the fbi, concert with southern district of new york and u.s. attorney at the time. in those instances i've seen that happen. the question here is mccabe has gone on record and said his boss knew about this, that james comey was aware of this. if he's able to speak for james comey and speak for the fbi, it's going to be hard saying that he was not supposed to do
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that. the question is did he exhibit lack of candor or salient facts when he was investigated by the attorney general? not that the media. somewhere along the way that he misrepresented facts, that's what they used him to fire him. >> and when sessions fired mccabe, 10:00 p.m. on friday night. if his actions were so egregious as the president suggests, why hide his firing in a news dump late on friday? >> that's the questions that democrats are asking and many people in the public are asking. and the main issue is we have not seen this full ig report. when we do finally see the report, then the american public will be able to judge whether or not it made sense to get rid of mr. mccabe, whether or not maybe attorney general jeff sessions
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got over by pleasing the president taking drastic action before mccabe's retirement set to kick in. obviously not the normal way getting rid of someone for misconduct. and very few things about this administration that are done in the normal way. but there are going to be multiple questions asked about this. and more information is obviously going to come out because mr. mccabe said that he's going to be silent no more. that he's going to be telling his story, talking about what happened behind the scenes. and the america public will learn more about what happened and we'll be able to judge whether or not this was justified tore whether or not there was some politicization in this firing that happened just hours before the retirement was set to kick in. >> kim, bigger picture here, there could not be a more crucial time for the president and intelligence agencies to be working more. the president is expected to meet with north korea. we had russia had power grid.
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how much more could the tweets and the state department undermine these efforts? >> look, the professionals will do their jobs. and one of the key parts of negotiating with the north koreans is intelligence. and so far president trump has had a fantastic relationship with the cia director mike pompeo who he has nominated to head the state department. so there are professionals in the field who will lock it down and move forward with what they have to do to make this successful. it doesn't mean that all of them are going to like it. and they are also working, some of them, with the constant sub spi suspicion that their president has some sort of soft spot for russia which is a problem for national security officials. >> okay. thank you all. i really appreciate the thoughts tonight. now, attorneys for president trump and his personal lawyer,
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michael cohen has filed a new document in court to have stormy daniels moved to federal court. cohen paid daniels $130,000 to stay silent about her alleged affair with president trump which the white house says president trump denies. challenging the nondisclosure agreement because trump never signed it. the trump team said she violated the deal. as many as 20 times. and, in effect, could owe up to $20 million. her lawyer, michael avenatti responded to that filing. listen. >> the reason why they engaged in this tactic is pretty clear. that is what they ultimately hope to do is move this case to a private arbitration that's going to take place in ha office building somewhere far out of view of the public, far out of view of any scrutiny. because they want to hide the facts from the american people. and they don't want the american people to learn the truth about
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what happened with my client, what happened with the cover-up, what happened with the efforts to intimidate her into remaining silent. >> stormy daniels michael avenatti will be joining me live next hour. still ahead andrew mccabe fir g firing. who could be next? and stunning warnds ed of cracks in the span. no one heard it until it was too late. then meet the jewish women risking everything to make sure history doesn't repeat itself. takes you into a safe house. coming up live on cnn. hee, hee, hee yoooogiiiiiii!! but when it comes to mortgages, he's less confident.
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(heavy breathing and snorting) no, no. the running of the bulldogs? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money aleia saved by switching to geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. >> andrew mccabe fired just 26 hours after his planned retirement. now president trump today is
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celebrating mccabe's downfall on twitter. meantime, trump's personal lawyers calling for an end to the russian investigation. also, we learned mccabe sat down with robert mueller's team and fielded questions about one time boss james comey. so much to discuss with guys who has good perspective on us. good to see you, guys. julian, i want to start with you. mccabe is pushing back hard saying part of the war against the fbi. what's your take? >> i think many people feel that way. that the president has conducted an operation or a war on the fbi, on robert mueller, on intelligence agencies, all effort to discredit the entire investigation without actually firing robert mueller. so mccabe who is now in the center of this, i think is not
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only expressing his own position, but things we've heard from other people, like john brennan. >> and, chris, when we look at this story, as we've been discussing here, a lot of our analysts are saying, president trump's tweets after the fbi of mccabe only reenforces the idea that this has politics something to do with his firing. what does chief of staff john kelly do to sort of have damage control on this? >> well, first of all, with respect to what one of your last guests said, this was not about bad optics or timing. this was a brazen political vendetta on the part of president trump as end zone celebration by tweet clearly showed. this is a president who is out of control. who has no respect for constitutional norms, who attacks democratic institutions, trashes the fbi. and the big problem, you
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mentioned kelly, one of the problem is there are no grown ups in the room, and i include in that john kelly. he has failed to do the most important thing chief of staff can do, which is to tell the president hard truths. >> do you think he has any clout with the president? >> it's his job to tell the president what he does not want to hear, whether or not the president takes him up on that or listens to him. i think one of the big problems here, obviously, is that donald trump may well be temperamentally and intellectually unfit for office. he don't want to have people around tell him what he doesn't want to do. >> we know john kelly not in the good graces of the president. we heard reports about rex tillerson. and heard other reports. what does all this cabinet
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reshuffling tell you? >> it tells me the president is intent on getting rid of voices with slight difference than his. and not talking about a huge range in the cabinet, but wants to create something of an echo chamber so it's only his voice in the room and he doesn't have to deal with any kind of opposition, such as from secretary tillerson. it's also a president who likes to flex his muscle. that's the same story. he wants to show people he can fire them. he wants to create a climate of fear in his own oval office, i think. as much as he does in the fbi, that if he doesn't like you, he will remove you. the thing about president trump is he's transparent in what he does. those tweets told everyone exactly what was going on. and people try to analyze something different, but i think just read what the president says, or what he rights or says, and it's clear. >> here's the problem with that. every other president has learned often the hard way that you cannot govern effectively without empowering a white house chief of staff first among
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equals to execute your agenda. but most importantly to walk into the oval office, close the door, and tell you what you don't want to hear. there would have been no reagan revolution without jim baker telling ronald reagan hard truths. might not have been a second term for clinton if panetta hpt been empowered to tell clinton what he did not want to hear. this is a president who doesn't want any grown ups around. who has failed to learn the lesson that all of his predecessors eventually figured out the what do you make though of john kelly being the guy to deliver the bad news to the people that the president is firing? like rex tillerson? >> well, i think kelly has no problem telling other people bad news. the problem he has is telling donald trump bad news. and he has failed time and again to do that. you know, i think that he made a mistake on day one by defining the job as he said i'm never going to manage the president. i'm simply going to manage the
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information flow to the president. and of course we have seen the trains runoff the tracks in the west wing as well. so i think on every level john kelly has failed. >> although you are expert on chiefs of staff. but there will be a point we'll have to wonder what john kelly wants to do. there has been many moments he seems to act willingly as, you know, attack dog for the president carrying out his mission, and might not be a separation. >> that's true. >> in fact, that's contract president might like him. he might be a more respected voice for what the president wants to achieve. >> that's one of the big problems is he reenforces in my view, reenforces all worst instincts. presidents has to know there is a difference between campaigning and governing which is building beyond your base. kelly has reinforced his worst instincts. >> gentleman, thank you for your conversation and in sight there. >> sure. >> i appreciate that. up next, we are going to take
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you to florida where more than, rather 48 hours after a bridge came crashing down across miami streets, some of the people killed are still buried in the rubble. what we have just learned about a warning given days before the deadly collapse, i'll bring it to you live in the cnn newsroom. don't go away. where we're changing with contemporary make-overs. then, use the ultimate power handshake, the upper hander with a double palm grab. who has the upper hand now? start winning today. book now at for all the noses that stuff up around daisies. for all the eyes that get itchy and watery near pugs. for all the people who sneeze around dust. there's flonase sensimist allergy relief. it relieves all your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. it's more complete allergy relief. and all from a gentle mist you can barely feel. flonase sensimist helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one.
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the where abouts of two people still unknown. kayly in miami near the bridge where it collapsed. kayly, some people knew there were potential problems with this new bridge >> reporter: that's right. the lead engineering knew at least two days before the bridge collapsed there was a problem. on tuesday he made a phone call to the floor department of transportation employee to tell him about a crack that they had detected in the portion. listen to excerpt from the voice mail left on a land line and what he detailed. >> calling to share with you some information about the fau pedestrian bridge and cracking that's been observed on the north end of the span, pylon end of that span we moved this weekend. so we have taken a look at it.
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and obviously some repairs or whatever will have to be done. but from a safety perspective we don't see there is any issue there. >> that voice mail was not heard by its intended recipient until friday the day after the collapse. but we have learned that this concern was addressed. a meeting was called on thursday morning about five hours before this bridge collapsed. and the design build team came together. contractors from mcm construction company as well as the figg engineers including the one in the voice mail, from the department of transportation there. the engineer gave a presentation and concluded there was no safety concern as a result of this crack. and that the crack did not compromise the structural integrity of the bridge. and at this time investigators say it is just too early to tell how or if that cracking played
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any role in the failure of this bridge. >> a lot more investigation to come. kayly, in miami for us, thank you. coming up, facebook is suspending data research firm with ties to the trump campaign. get this, it all stems from those personality quizzes. we have all clicked ton at some time or another. we'll explain next. ♪ when heartburn hits fight back fast with tums chewy bites. fast relief in every bite. crunchy outside. chewy inside.
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book now at at&t gives you more for your thing. your me-time thing. that sunday night date night with hbo allllllll night thing. that island without men or children would be nice to visit thing. buy an at&t unlimited plan, and get hbo included. more for your thing that's our thing. now to a story involving the trump campaign and social media. it concerns those facebook personality quizzes so many of us enjoy filling out. it appears the results don't just disappear when the test is over. facebook says it is suspending data firm now with ties to the campaign for using information with those quizzes without users permission in order to target
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voters. that firm cambridge analytica denies violating facebook's terms. cnn media correspondent brian joins me now. a lot of layers. help us make sense of it all. >> yeah, all involves cam bren and anayltica, mysterious firm that helps campaigns and other organizations target voters, to try to figure out what you as a voter wants to hear at a given time and deliver that ad to you. so cambridge analytical has been selling those services for years. and ts trump campaign along with the ted cruz people bought cambridge services back in 2016. so go back a little further. cambridge analytical in infancy partnered with professor who happens to work at cam bren university, no relation to the company, who created this personality quiz. created this app on facebook. listen i've done some of these. you've probably done some of these. most of these fine. no evil purpose behind them. but in this case this
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personality quiz about 2250,000 people took. data used by the professor then handed off to cam bren analytical and used to create profiles of voters. what's remarkable is you start with 270,000 people and connect all their friends, and before you know it you have 50 million facebook information. that's what's so remarkable to use this quiz to grab the data. cam bren sa cambridge says we didn't use it to help the trump campaign. but u.k. says he has regrets how he worked with cam bren. had is what he said to the guardian. he said this is insane, psychological profiles of 230 million, now they want to get contracts and work with the pentagon. it's like nixon on steroids. this is why this matters now. the election is long over, 2016
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election. but cam bren analytical and other companies like that still working on harvesting vast amounts of data about voters, about individuals, and then trying to use that data to target ads and information to us. in fact, cambridge has a contract with the state department. so this is an issue in this case an investigation in the times tomorrow about this particular use of facebook data in ways that the company says was improper. >> facebook has been criticized very heavily for not doing more to stop people on facebook from being manipulated during the election, to say the least with what we've learned of russia involvement on social media. did it surprise that they came out saying we are punishing cambridge? >> yes, another black eye on facebook. starts with fake news, there was talk about how facebook helps fake news spread during the campaign. then it was the russian propaganda you mentioned.
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now the story about the improper use of data again and again and again facebook is being called into account for how its systems are being used and really being abused whether it's election in 2016 or elections in europe last year, now the midterms coming up here in the u.s. facebook says it's getting better. they say they know they are vogue to make changes and suspending cam bren analytica is one of those changes. i was with a facebook executive last week and talked about the midterms. she said we know we have work cut out for us. new days people come up with new ways to manipulate these systems. it's kind of like a game of whack a mow at the carnival but with worldwide consequences. >> thank you very much for breaking it down for us. >> thanks. >> and be sure to catch brian on his show, reliable sources, tomorrow morning at 11:00 right here on cnn. we are back in just a moment. go. yes! go. yes! nice play. still buffering. mine too. what happened?
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carrier in on overhead bin. >> in california, there is concern among faith leaders that president trump will send federal agents into churches or places of worship and grab immigrants seeking sanctuary there. they are trying a different approach. we go to a california community putting itself at risk by creating underground safe houses. >> we can't show you where we are or who lives behind this door because the family in this apartment in california is on the run from immigration and customs enforcement. >> my mom's status here isn't safe. then we had to just pack everything up. everything else just gets left behind. >> off the grid since last year say these two girls. both citizens born in the u.s. both in high school. ice deported their father for illegally crossing the border.
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their mother overstayed a tourist visa and is also undocumented. the girls fear their mother is next. >> what's happened since then when you had to pack up and leave? >> we became homeless for five months. we moved schools and lived somewhere else because we had to leave the city. we were sleeping from house to house, anywhere we could find. >> then they heard about an interfaith network of religious groups pledging to resist trump's immigration policy by hiding them in safe houses, even in spare rooms of worshippers homes. it connected the family to this jewish woman. >> i grew up in a time when the holocaust was not so far behind me. >> she signed for the apartment, a cover for the family she's protecting. >> do you hear the echoes of history here? >> 100%.
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i think there is a long feeling in the jewish community we cannot let this happen. it is our responsibility. what was done to us cannot happen to other people. >> this is technically aiding and abetting somebody who is here undocumented. >> i don't see it that way. i see it as taking a step to help someone who is in need. to help a family in need of support. >> it is just a big sigh of relief, says the girls' mother. what happens to me doesn't matter. everything i'm doing here is for my girls. >> how would you describe the fear that you carry? >> puts a smile on my face every day. but deep down i'm hurt and still hurting. >> the reverend leads the interfaith network. 2,000 congregations have been trained across the country. the great majority here in california which the network of sanctuary and safe houses remains most active. >> the federal government might listen to all of this and say
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you're violating the law. >> yeah. i'm not going to lie. that makes me very nervous. and there is a part of me that sitting here and talking to you, i think, gosh, should i be having this conversation. but the truth is our folks are facing a much greater fear every day. as we sit here in this church, i am just reminded a god that i worship and that guides my life is one who does not always bless every human law.vinced we are dt we should be doing. >> we're going to do everything in our power to try to convince members of congress not to support a deportation machine that's ripping families apart. there is a part of me that thinks that a different way is possible. but most of the time i'm preparing for this to get worse. >> in a statement to cnn, ice says, quote, knowing harboring an alien is a federal crime.
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the sometime continues current ice policy directs personnel not to conduct this activity. up to five years in prison. but we are talking about a nuanced situation here, a movement led by clergy and homes that ice needs a warrant in order to enter. cnn los angeles. thank you. just ahead, attorneys for president trump and his personal lawyer, michael cohen now filing to have stormy daniels lawsuit against them moved to federal court. don't go anywhere. alright, i brought in high protein to help get us moving.
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8:00 eastern, 5:00 in the afternoon out west. you are live in the "cnn newsroom." great to have you with us. we have a lot to discuss tonight. the latest developments, the president's heated twitter talk, targeting his own department. and new fears in washington that the president could move to take out robert mueller, the special council. the president's attorney in a statement this morning called for an end to mueller's russia election meddling probe. he told cnn he was speaking just for himself but that was a revision of what he told the "daily beast." now, the questions over what the president intends to do coming as we learn more about


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