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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  March 20, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. a lot of moving parts in the hour ahead. the president about to welcome the prime minister. before politics, though, we want to update you on two breaking news stories we're following today. the school shooting in maryland and another package explosion near austin, texas. the latest blast happened at a fedex facility outside san antonio. police just gave an update on the situation there. let's go live to ed lavandera. he's live. what are police saying, ed? what do we know? >> reporter: hi, john. investigators across central texas, a flurry of activity they're dealing with here this morning. we tried to break it down as clearly as possible. we are at a fedex delivery
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location in southeast austin near the airport. this is a little bit different from one of the other locations, but there was a suspicious package reported at the facility just down the road. that is where investigators are looking, examining that package. we're waiting on an update on that. there has also been another location in the suburb of san antonio called shirts, texas which is about an hour's drive from where we are, and that is where one package exploded in the overnight hours injuring the worker at the delivery center there. it's minor injuries, we are told. we are also being told that at that same location, there was a second package that was discovered that did not detonate, which could also provide a great deal of information and clues for investigators as they continue to look through that scene as well. still very early on in both of these situations, so john, this is obviously a great deal of concern here across the central texas region, austin in
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particular, where the authorities say that explosion at that facility in shirts, texas, they suspect will be connected to the four explosions we've seen in austin so far. if that is indeed the case, that is five explosions. what is more troubling for investigators, john, the method by which these packages are being delivered, moved around, and the situations they're exploding is also changing. remember the one from sunday evening in austin was triggered by a trip wire which raised the level of concern for investigators who said that whoever is making this has a higher level of sophistication in being able to make these explosive devices and obviously being delivered and ending up in delivery facilities that we see here on this day is also troubling as well. so we're awaiting the latest press conference here from austin police at this situation in southeast austin near the
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airport, john. >> there are a lot of questions, as you know, about the methods, about the motive, about likely the methods. now back to today's shooting at a high school in great mills, maryland. joe is on the scene. joe, a briefing not long ago from the sheriff. what do we know about what just happened? >> we have very sketchy details and a lot of information, john, is soon to change. according to the police officer here at great mills, maryland, 7:30 eastern time, a shooter pro du person. what we know is shortly after that, a security officer here
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approached the gunman, engaged him, fired a shot and the gunman was shot. we're also told by authorities that the gunman is now dead. that's confirmation on the death of the gunman here. we also know the school was put under lockdown for a period, a number of students taken, obviously, from the scene while the investigation continues. we're also told that authorities are interviewing the school resource officer who fired the weapon and killed the suspect. back to you, john. >> joe is on the scene for us. appreciate your reporting. police promise another briefing from that shooting in maryland at the top of the hour. a blunt warning delivered today by a republican senator to a president who we know is mad as hell at the special counsel and who is adding more voices to his legal team. noting his anger must not cross
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the line. >> if the president fired robert mueller, do you think that would be an impeachable offense? >> probably so, if it's without cause, yeah. i can't think of a more upsetting moment in the rule of law than to have an investigator looking at a president's finances, what crimes may have been committed. i see no evidence of collusion that started the investigation without cause. >> the assumption is the president is just venting. he wouldn't dare fire mueller. but the fact they felt compelled to call the white house to check is proof they are more than a little worried. >> the special counsel should be free to follow through his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely. i am confident that he'll be able to do that. i received assurances that his firing is not even under consideration. we have a system based on the rule of law in this country.
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we have a justice system and no one is above that justice system. >> we now know why the president is even more angry, and how that angry -- the special counsel want to ask the president, among other things, about the firing of fbi director james comey, about the role of the attorney in that process, and what the president knew about michael jackson flynn's contacts with russia during the campaign and the congressional transition. and about with me to share the reporting and the insights, cnn's donna bash. as this plays out, we have a better sense of, veteran
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republican, legal team in washington, d.c. will be joining the president's legal team. he says it's all an fbi conspiracy, to block the president. >> the president is said to be okay with it and what does this tell us about the president's mindset? if there are additions, will there be subtractions? >> there could be. if you go back to last year, the end of 2017. we talked many, many times about the fact that the president's legal team, their strategy was to. the investigation is almost over, don't worry, and their strategy was to try to keep him ca
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ca calm, the client, the president, is going to wake up and say, is my legal team not telling me the truth? or are they misleading me on purpose? that clearly happened because of so many things we've seen from b bob mueller and the questions they want to ask him if they actually get an interview done. one thing i will say is that the legal team the president has is largely based on the legal team that he could get. there are a couple of reasons. first of all, they're just lawyers who don't want to go near it, but also a lot of lawyers have conflicts in this town. they work for big firms that already have clients who are involved in it. >> will the president sit down with the special counsel? his lawyers smartly have been trying to get the special
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counsel to shift the focus of their questioning and lay out in advance what are the topics so we can prepare the president? maybe we can answer some of your questions in writing. we know one of the questions is why did the president fire james comey? how did that come about? what was his thinking? who did he talk to it about, including his attorney general? he was supposed to be recused following the russia investigation. so back in time here, the president wants to ask some questions to find out if the what we heard from the president and the white house is the truth. here is the president and the attorney general. >> regardless of the investigation, i was going to fire comey. knowing this, i said to myself, this trump-russia thing is a made-up story. >> i'm really happy i did not violate what i told this
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committee it was not based on the merits of the. >> there was a decision he was not entitled to announce. >> but the special counsel wants to put the president in the chair and go through every meeting, go through every conversation to get at, was this done for cause? was this done for ang early? ok okay. >> it seems to me the mindset question is the one that no matter how much, only president trump can tell the question what is he thinking? why did he do what he did?
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and if he's asked, why did you do this, he sometimes answers truthfully and sometimes he really is about to incriminate himself. no one can let that continue to be a problem for trump. you can see. is not one that has ever. . by simply asking him questions saying, what were you thing when you did x, y and. >>? >> we know they have recreated the day. they essentially know what you had for breakfast and if you got stopped in traffic on the way to work that day. so the president has lot of males, goes in something that the witnesses don't back i am up
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yeah, that actually might be ground for impeachment. the speaker of the house says, i checked in with the white house. they've assured me the president is not going to do this. what does that tell you about the level of worry among republicans that the president might be on the edge. >> the assurance is what they're getting from the white house is not that much. a lot of people in the white house don't know what he's going to do. i was really struck by that interview with the president recognizining what's happening this country for his own administration. the change over the weekend, the tweet about mueller, really the only difference with that is that he named mueller by name. but he's actually been, i think, very consistent in recognizing the threat, the cloud.
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to get lawyers. the answer is to be aggressive and not let the and the question is why won't the president move forward to protect the special counsel, and the answer is that's not really needed because he's not in peril. but this is now his base, and i think there might be blowback's. to the president, do not fire the special counsel, but why aren't they willing to back that up? as somebody just noted, it's a match.
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welcome back. yes, there is some bipartisanship in your party. russia is coming back in november and steps need to be taken to combat midterm election meddling. if you judge politicians by what they say, there is also bipartisan agreement, as we just discussed a little bit, that president trump would trigger a crisis if he fires the special counsel robert mueller. >> i think the president ought to cool it a little bit because it would be the stupidest thing the president could do. yeah, he could do that, but he's not going to do that. and he shouldn't do that. >> how would republicans react if he fired mueller? >> i think there would be a total upheaval in the senate. >> a total upheaval in the senate? >> yeah. >> strong words, but so far just words. republicans are not willing to pass legislation protecting mueller. in a bipartisan rush to whack
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facebook for allowing millions of people's data and they used that data to sway voters. why not? what's the harm in protecting robert mueller, and in a separate issue, yes, facebook is rightly so, and mark zuckerberg should come himself, not hire lawyers, so talk about why they let people get this information. but why not talk to cambridge analytica and say, did you not know you got this information through dirty means and then you used it? >> i have to say the trump campaign said they didn't use -- >> they didn't use it in the general election when it mattered most. they said they were using rnc data. >> exactly.
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they used their team but not their data. >> when facebook asked you for your full legal name and your address and your phone number and what bands you like and what movies you watch, yes, it's a data harvesting operation. >> and it's not the first election, either. this is what the obama campaign was hailed for having done in 2012, which is actually literally finding everybody that voted for them in 2008 and trying to reach them, or get friends of those people on facebook to reach them. but to your question about why don't republican leaders want to do this, we found that when republicans do cross the president in some ways, whether it's the russia sanctions bill last year, they get the wrath of the president. >> they're afraid. >> this is a president who has very high approval ratings within the republican party. that has to matter. and this congress is very good, i think, at sort of sloughing
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off its responsibilities. >> you don't want to stir your base and divide your party and have internal family feuds when you see all the evidence the democrats are motivated to come out. however, does the title majority leader and speaker of the house more important than the 2020 election? >> on the other hand, the trump party cannot protect itself. if they want to fire the special counsel, there will be consequences. the question is will they follow through on these consequences? when they draw a line on trump, he moves close to it. if they want to fire mueller, they're saying it will trigger impeachment or something to that effect. it might not be within their
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power or they might not believe it is within their power to stop trump from putting the dominoes in motion to remove mueller. but it is within their power to do what they're supposed to do as a branch of government and react to that, if it actually ends up happening. >> i want to interrupt with a little bit of breaking news. the president's meeting with the crown prince of saudi arabia, he said he talked to vladimir putin about putin's election victory. let's go to capitol hill. leaders of the senate intelligence committee speaking about russia. >> we're now at the point where we have wrapped up one piece of our investigation, which deals with election security. i think it's safe to say that our team has done an unbelievably thorough job. they've spoken to nearly all e theed states.
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they want toand other intelligence security agencies. they've secured and analyzed countless intelligence products, both raw and finished assessments. let me say this with a great deal of confidence. it is clear the russian government was looking for the vulnerabilities in our election system and highlighted some of the key gaps. there is no evidence that any vote was changed. russia attempted to penetrate 21 states. we know they were successful in penetrating at least one voter database. the department of homeland security and the fbi alerted threats to the state. warnings do not protect any
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case. they addressed to i.t. professionals, but no clear reason for states to take this threat more seriously were given. russia was trying to undermine the confidence of our election system. we're here to express concerns but also competence in our state and local governments. i think what's important to understand is that tomorrow we will have an open hearing on election security. mark and i will be joining by four other members who are taking the lead on recommendations that we will post. i think they have, maybe in the last five minutes, gone out but they will be officially posted today. let me distinguish, we very much support state control of the election process. we think there are ways that the federal government can support those states, but clearly we've got to get some standards in
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place that assure every state that at the end of the day, they can certify their vote totals. so i think what members will share with you today is the recommendations that welco wil will come with. they're not recommendations that you should expect legislation from, it's not part of the investigation. jurisdiction within the congress is probably within the rules of the united states senate, and we will work very closely with them, sharing all the information we possibly can so they can process our recommendations. but also at the agencies that are most appropriate to make sure they bring the resources and the partnerships to the states and localities and the individuals that are single most important to the election process. let me just draw a few conclusions. we need to be more effective at deterring our adversarieadversa.
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the federal government should work with the states to truly secure assistance. that will possibly be in grant spending. the officials have made great strides, but they must do more. they offer cyber assistance, but we heard they did not have the resources to fill all the quotas. we will work with the appropriaters and advisers to fill that gap. we need to look at the equipment that actually records and reports votes. we all agree that all votes should have an audible paper trail. in 2015, five states used electronic machines with no paper trails. nine used at least some of these machines. we realize all this security costs money, and we want to make sure the federal government not only says we are a person, we are a partner, and i hope that
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may be expressed maybe as early as the spending bill. with that, let me turn to the vice president for any comments he may have. >> thank you, david. you have better eyesight and have to read off of this and i have to read off of this. thank you, members, for being here, and the way this committee has performed to date and the way i think we'll continue to perform. we're going to hear from four members who have worked actively on this security. but senator rubio also has tom many. i'm going to act with senator klobuchar in the time we have left here. i think the consensus we all came up with was we were all disappointed that states, federal government, and the department of homeland security.
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as the chairman has indicated, there were 21 states that were -- attempted to be an intervention, at least one state that was full hacking that got through the protections. . this information coming out, it actually took the department of homeland security nine months -- >> i'm going to drop out of capitol hill talking about election meddling. let's go to the president and the crown prince of saudi arabia. >> it's terrible. the bombings in austin are terrible. local, state and federal law enforcement working hand in hand to get to the bottom of it. this is obviously a very, very sick individual or maybe individuals. these are sick people, and we will get to the bottom of it.
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we will be very strong. we are searching what's going on in austin. a great place. a tremendous place. it is absolutely. not easy to find, but these are. i will say working with texas, working with local governments have been great, but we have to find this very sick person or people. thank you very much. [ inaudible question ] >> i had a call frwith presiden putin and congratulated him on his election victory. the call had also to do with the fact that we will probably get together in the not-too-distant future so that we can discuss
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arms, we can discuss the arms race. as you know, he made a statement that being in an arms race is not a great thing, and it was right after the election, one of the first statements he made, and we are spending 700 billion there are this year in our military, and a lot of it is that we are going to remain stronger than any other nation in the world by far. we had a very good call and i suspect that we'll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control, but we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have. and also to discuss ukraine and syria and north korea and various other things. i think probably we'll be seeing president putin in the not-too-distant future. [ inaudible question ] >> we're going to see what happens. the iran deal is coming up
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probably in another month or so and you're going to see what i do. but iran has not been treating that part of the world appropriately. a lot of bad things are happening in iran. the deal is coming up in one month and you will see what happens. [ inaudible question ] >> thank you very much, everybody. >> make your way out, please. let's go. >> the president of the united states in the oval office with the crown prince of saudi arabia. the last thing they talked about an interesting collision of events, if you will. we got to the oval office on capitol hill. they say russia is meddling this year as well. they want them to work with
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russ russia. the russian president, who the senators say is still trying to meddle in u.s. elections, and how they hope to get together soon, and of course the president, under any circumstances, won't have any discussions with the russian leader. he says physical tensions. i guess welcome to donald trump's washington. >> that introduction was unbelievable. >> you couldn't have scripted it any better way and i was thinking people at home are trying to fiddle with their screen. i was thinking, don't adjust your television set, those are democrats mixing with republicans talking about how to protect the voter election system this year from russia. which is important. it's very important that at least they can agree in a bipartisan way in the u.s. senate. the house, obviously s a different story, about identifying the problem, never mind finding the solution which is more difficult.
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one second later we hear from the president talking about how ladder mirror putin . saudi arabia as nervous as anybody, maybe. we know we're going to get a new secretary of state. what will we get when the deadline comes up for this president? will he rip it up? will he set new bars? what's he going to do? >> now that he doesn't have rex tillerson around, it seems more likely he'll get what he wants, which is rip up the pompeo deal. we'll see. trump has been frustrated by his advisers trying to pull him
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back, what he's campaigned of, and is people want him to get rid of it as much as he does. i think the defenses that might have been around trump holding him back from doing that are coming down one by one. >> is there a middle ground here? >> it's hard to find. the europeans have been basically planning for the day when donald trump withdraws the united states from the iran deal. you can go back to 2003 which took out iran's arch-nemesis in the region and point to that in recent history when they started to get moreau certificateive. >> europeans are planning for the day when you pull out. i think the odds are that on may
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12 or earlier, hundreds say they're not going to blow off the sanctions. >> and the only one i think that the president will listen to is mr. jerry mattis. >> we'll get a test of the power play. h.r. mcmaster, security adviser, he wants to stay. remember the shelacking obama took eight years ago? well, these are republicans. why the pundits are maybe a little nervous. aay! the complete balanced nutrition of (great tasting) ensure with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. ensure. always be you.
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welcome back. i want to show you in detail now why republicans are so worried that there is a conclusion they will lose the house in the 2018 m midterms. when asked who are you voting
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for for congress, democrats or republicans, republicans is pretty low. when republicans look deeper into the data to try to find solutions, the problems get even worse. this is 2010. the big red wave that gave republicans control of the house. look how big. more than half of independents. 56% of independents voted that year. republicans held the house. more than half independents voted republican. republicans bleeding a big piece of their coalition. white voters who have a college degree, in 2010, nearly 6 in 10 of these voters went for the republicans. 2016 in the represent cublican more than half of independents
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more of the coalition. whites without a college degree, a giant piece of the republican coalition. you can see it here at 2010. 63% of white voters who do not have a college degree voted republican for house. in 2016, it was even more. 56% helping president trump and helping republicans keep the house. how are they going to vote this november? down to 50%. again, republicans bleeding a key piece of their coalition. compared to 2010, among independents, republicans down 20 points. among women down 15 points. among younger voters, down 13 points. among whites who have a college degree down 16 points, and among whites without a college degree, 13 points. i could show you even more. just about every demographic group from the big one in 2010 and in 2016, republicans are going the wrong direction. they say, hey, we know the history. midterms are tough. we will deal with it.
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>> the party empowered the white house suffers grievous losses. president barack obama lost 63 house seats in 2010, the first midterm after his election. both have been reelected, but this president isn't looking at his reelection, he's looking at this particular cycle. we know that, but we also know that republicans, i assume they'll be running on tax cuts so they'll be bragging about the prosperity that's been brought to 4 million americans. >> it is her job. you have to tip your hat to her and she knows to be optimistic. when you talk to republicans after the 2018 results yesterday, a lot of the republicans think the house is already gone. when you look at so many pieces of their coalition, support is down. but you can't fix this problem because then you have another problem over here. what republicans will tell you is the president is problem
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number one and they can't fix that. if you're running the house statewide, you can't fix the president. >> i think they thought the tax cuts would be a boon for them. there was reason to think that because democrats thought how terrible it would be and a lot of people actually saw they were getting more money in their paychecks. they saw the ballot shrink. now that gap has grown again. democrats have the bigger lead now, more like what they had last december. what's the common denominator here? it's the president. it's his low approval ratings. kellyanne conway says this is what you would expect midterm of the president's term. >> i could have stayed there for an hour. if you look deep inside the "wall street journal" poll, the republican numbers are best in rural areas. that's where the safe republican seats are. anywhere there's traffic lights and strip malls, the ditch is
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even deeper. >> i talked to a senior republican who said, look, we need donald trump at a 55 or a 10. >> it also seems that the suburban voters are very sensitive to the environment around politics right now. it's not just about the economy. with a booming economy like this, trump should be doing much better, but it's everything around him. it's the chaos, the investigation, the twitter, the temperament. these suburban voters, many of them women, are revolting against that and that is almost an unfixable problem for republicans at this stage. they know trump is not going co change. >> donald trump won by playing up emotion and playing down policy. right now the democrats have wind at their back because they are playing up and playing to the emotion of people who are disgusted by donald trump and
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the policy, the tax cut, that the republicans passed and hoped would help them is being completely overshadowed. >> and the flip side of this, republicans are learning how to deal with this environment. talk about tax cuts if you want, but talk about how they created jobs here and put more money into the community. democrats have people coming out of the woodwork to run because this is like when obama ran for president in 2008. you know it's going to be a democratic year. come out. even if you think you can't beat hillary clinton. you have lopinski who is pro abortion. >> lopinski agrees with the president on too many issues. he voted against the dream act,
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voted against abortion. it's time to dump this trump democrat. >> ouch. how much of this is -- you have an emboldened, progressive movement that says we don't want anti-abortion democrats in the party. if you voted with trump on anything, tuesday comes after monday, and word gets to you -- and how much of it is just -- forgive me -- ambition. you realize this is a democratic year and you have old guys running and you just want to keep the job. >> it's both. it really is both. in this district in particular, it is inherently very liberal. i was talking to an illinois democrat who was reminding me that bernie sanders beat hillary clinton there pretty easily during the primary. so that just kind of shows you where the democratic inherently is and that lopinski has been there a long time and nobody has challenged him. nobody had the vision to challenge him. but it really does seem to be a fascinating question that we will look at in the data about what it means for the heart and soul of the party.
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>> you see diane feinstein in california, michael pablano in massachusetts. michael has a pretty good record but he's more progressive because people say this is the year. >> i think if democrats will be successful this year, they have to have candidates who fit the district. if you have a more liberal district and you'll probably end up with a different kancandidat. in places like that those democrats are going to be at risk, but if they can get conor lambs, moderates, back in these purple straits aates and purple districts, they can probably pull it off. miranda is running for
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that's more speed than at&t's comparable bundle, for less. call today. the president is with the crown prince of saudi arabia. let's listen in. >> i was there when he promised $400 billion would be made by saudi arabia with the purchase of our equipment and other things, and the relationship is probably the strongest it's ever been. we understand each other. saudi arabia is a very wealthy nation and they're going to give the united states some of that wealth, hopefully, in the form of jobs and in the form of the purchase of the financed military equipment. anywhere in the world, there's nobody even close.
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when it comes to the missiles and the planes and all the military equipment, there is nobody that even comes close to us in terms of technology and the quality of the equipment. saudi arabia appreciates that. th they've done tests of everything and they appreciate everything probably better than most. it's a great honor to have you back again. some tremendous things have happened for you since your last visit to the white house when you were with the crown prince. now you're beyond the crown prince. i miss your father. a special man. i know he's coming over soon, but we do miss him and that was a very incredible two days, and we appreciate the investment in our country, and thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. president. we believe the same. we believe the purchase is huge and we are trying to back up his
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majesty with new things in those areas and we believe we can do good things. >> thank you, everybody. thank you. thank you very much. >> let's go. let's go. >> terrible. terrible thing. >> the president of the united states in the cabinet room at the white house there refusing to answer a question about whether he plans to fire the special counsel robert mueller. a terrible thing in response to the school shooting. sitting across from the crown prince of saudi arabia promoted the fact he thinks it's great for jobs, they're buying billions of dollars in u.s. military equipment. it always sounds odd that the president of the united states is bragging that we make the best military fire power in the
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world, but when they come to see the president, that's a staple. >> the arms sales are a very important part of the saudi-u.s. relationship. if you'll remember their policy with regard to iran getting sanctions relief. they said we will sell more weapons to the saudis to balance things out and we will ensure that israel has a qualitative edge which basically means the policy was an arms race. >> the 32-year-old crown prince has made his name in recent months by rounding up, not by u.s. justice standards, have rounded up critics, opponents, relatives, others in saudi arabia who he views as a threat to his rise in power using the ritz-carlton famously as a prison. cutting deals to give up some of their wealth and the power to release them.
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the president not talking about it publicly. it will be interesting to see if it comes up privately. >> he is bothered by it, the same way we congratulated vladimir putin on his election victory. he congratulated the chinese president for extending his rule potentially indefinitely. the president is not bothered by this issue of how long and in what way people hold onto power, and he's envious of some of the reporting that's out there. he kind of wishes we had a system like that. but that being said, he does not let it get in the way of other things he wants to accomplish in the relationship, which is why you will probably never hear him say a word about things like that face to face or in any other context, really. >> there is sort of more of an element of foreign policy that we all have gotten used to in previous decades. it's not a real part of his
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wheelhouse. he asks, what did you do for me? >> at the top of the show we add t the former solicitor kevin olson to his team. however, olson's firms says there are too many conflicts. >> he has to wash his hair. >> i shouldn't joke about it, but they're crying over it. look, at the beginning of the show, we said there are very specific reasons why the president has the lawyers he does have. one of them is that there are a lot of people in this town who are lawyered up. and they're lawyered up with people who work with big firms, and once you're representing somebody involved, it's very hard to take on a client with a conflict. >> he says he believes this is
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all an fbi plot to trap the president. i don't know if he believes that in his heart and soul. he's a former prosecutor and knows how it works. the president is somebody who can punch in the cable tv environment. what does that tell you about the courtroom environment? we'll see as it plays out. thanks for joining "inside politics" today. wolf is up after a quick break. have a great day.
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hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. wherever you're watching from around the world, thank you for joining us. breaking news today. another school shooting in maryland. the gunman wounded two students before the resource officer shot the shooter dead. it's not clear yet how. we'll go there shortly. stand by for that. also a new


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