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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  December 21, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PST

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>> it really hits home. it's a big gift. quickly, ten seconds left, have other ceos reached out to you about this? might they do it too? >> no, i haven't heard anything from other ceos. >> all right. well, maybe, maybe they should take a page out of your book on this. i'm really happy for all of your employees, lee. definitely santa claus to them this holiday season. so thanks. thanks for passing it along, and thanks for being with me. >> all right. thank you for having me. >> of course. happy holidays. thank you all for being with me today. i'm poppy harlow. i wish you a great holiday. i'll see you in a week. "at this hour" starts now. hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. a sign of the times. unless something dramatic happens, the government is about to shut down by the end of the day, and that's not the only crisis facing the whousz right now. not even close. the secretary of defense, seen
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as the last adult in the room, abruptly resigning after the president rejected his advice and decided to pull all u.s. troops out of syria. in his resignation letter, secretary mattis spelling out his world views this way. my views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed are strongly held. and mattis adds this. you have a right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours. so what will the president's reaction be to this stunning rejection today? we may soon find out. the president will be facing cameras for the first time since mattis' shocking announcement any minute now. will he address this? will he address the other crisis, the fast approaching government shutdown to hit tonight? we'll bring you his remarks when they happen. cnn's abby phillip is at the white house watching all of this along with us. president trump is set to be meeting with senate republicans right now. what are you hearing? >> well, kate, this hastily called meeting is supposed to be
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happening as we speak, although it's not clear exactly if they started on time. we saw mitch mcconnell coming in around 10:30. but we did hear reports, according to our ted barrett on capitol hill, that some senators and their staff were having trouble getting into the compound because they didn't have enough time for the secret service to clear them into the building. that just goes to show just how quickly all of this is unfolding. president trump is trying to get republican senators on the same page as him about the plan to move forward. they passed a bill earlier this week that did not have border funding in it. and now president trump is demanding that any bill that comes to his desk has that money. the problem is, he may not have enough votes to pass it. not only will he need 60 votes, which includes some democrats, to pass it by the end of the day, but he would also need republicans to be onboard. this could be an effort for president trump to really convince his own soldiers to get onboard with this plan.
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meanwhile, president trump is also pressuring mitch mcconnell to end the filibuster. he's saying this in a tweet this morning. mitch, use the nuclear option and get it done. our country is counting on you. again, kate, this is something president trump has been talking about for so long. mitch mcconnell keeps batting it down, but even if he got rid of the nuclear option, are there 50 votes to pass this in the senate? we don't really know yet, but the fact this meeting is happening is a sign the white house feels there's more work to be done. president trump was supposed to leave this afternoon for florida, for a 16-day vacation. the white house has said that if the government shuts down, he's not going to go. that being said, president trump has already predicted that if there is a government shutdown, he says it's going to last for a long time. there's a lot of pessimism in the air right now, kalt, but we'll find out more about what happens once the meeting is over. >> no kidding. and if it is even started. first and foremost, we need to get you through security and into the oval office. will rr see. we'll watch it play out. thank you so much.
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so with just hours until the shutdown, and critical votes about to start in the senate, president trump wants senate majority leader mitch mcconnell to use the nuclear option. what is happening? manu, what are you hearing about the status of things? >> republican senators are trying to convince the president to go back to the initial position that they had earlier this week when they voted overwhelmingly by voice vote to keep the government open until february 8th, punting that fight over the wall into the new congress. they left town, most of them did, after wednesday, believing that the president was going to sign that into law. but when the president yesterday had a change of heart, decided to dig in and told his colleagues that he would not support any measure or sign any measure that does not include his wall money, that put things into serious, serious flux, as republican senators are trying to figure out what to do next. after the house passed the bill last night, the senate will
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probably take up this afternoon that bill or try to take it up, but the problem is there aren't the votes to advance that measure. if it doesn't fail on the first procedural vote, it's definitely going to fail on the second procedural vote when they'll need 60 votes to break a democratic filibuster. that's where the reds is now coming in saying, well, why not use what's known as the nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster and make it 50 votes to overcome the villabuster. here's another problem, republican after republican are coming out strongly opposing that idea. lamar alexander, orrin hatch, jeff flake. even if mitch mcconnell were to go that route, which he opposes, he wouldn't have the votes to change the rules. all this points to the fact there really is no strategy at the moment to avert a shutdown, and republicans hope that at this meeting they can convince the president to back off and endorse some short-term measure to keep the government open. otherwise, we could be staring at a shutdown at the end of the day, and chuck schumer moments
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ago tweeted that, this, you own the shutdown. your own words, donald trump. the senate unanimously passed a bipartisan solution to avoid a shutdown. then you threw another temper tantrum and convinced the house to ignore that compromise. so it looks like things are no closer than they were last night, kate. >> regardless of tweets flying back and forth, you own it, no, you own it, the fact of the matter if the votes aren't there, the votes aren't there. and that is, as you said, plain and simple reality that the republicans and the president are talking about or need to be talking about right now. manu, stick close. long day for you. >> joining me now to discuss this and the state of play and crisis on i don't know how many fronts now, cnn political director david chalian. let's talk about where i was just discusss with manu, the number two republican in the senate this morning, he retweeted an excellent point by "the washington post" paul cane, which was also the excellent point by manu raju. he writes this, to be clear, going nuclear in the senate
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isn't something mcconnell could do alone. he would need at least 50 of 51 gop senators. the votes aren't there. john cornyn retweeted that. is that everything that the president needs to know about this one? >> john cornyn's job is to count the votes in the republican conference. that's his actual job as the number two, and yes, he's there retweeting, affirming, i know sometimes people say retweets don't equal endorsements, but the guy who counts the votes is affirming the facts the votes aren't there. donald trump knows this. as you're saying the votes aren't there, so you can do the blame game all you want, but without the votes, you actually need to get some sort of compromise in place in order to keep the government open. >> yeah, and i mean, can we -- i just want to play out a little bit if i could in summary of what's happened this week. the president gives on the border wall, and he faces backlash from conservatives. he then makes this surprise announcement about pulling troops out of syria, and he faces huge backlash from that.
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maybe the most huge of that would be mattis resigning. so then he goes back to the border wall. and now he's not only facing a shutdown, he has his defense secretary resigning. all these two crises of the president's own making, are they connected. >> good question. they're certainly of his own making, but they're both in pursuit of policies that he long campaigned on and told us about. he's informed the country for years, right, he wants that border wall, no matter what, he wants it. he told us mexico would pay for it. now he's fighting for the u.s. treasury to pay for it first, taxpayers, and then maybe get reimbursed down the road, even though mexico said it's not happening, and in syria, he said his plan is to pull troops out. he doesn't want to be involved in areas of the world where u.s. troops are that other presidents have had there. he's made that clear. but in the way in which he's gone about pursuing these two policies of his, he has been all over the map, as you indicate.
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you said he gave on the wall first. he certainly indicated enough for mike pence to give the impression to all the republican senators up there, he was going to sign a government funding bill and live to fight the wall fight another day. he had indicated that perhaps there was, you know, last spring there was a moment with syria, and he indicated perhaps there is a different way to go about this. now he just tweeted it out. he's doing this in defiance of his secretary offense defense, who clearly now resigned in protest. it's the manner in which he's going about the policies that seems to upend the world around him. >> in the politics of a shutdown, we have seen this before. insert different issue. a balanced budget agreement or obamacare, we have seen this under other presidents and other congresses. the politics over the syria decision we haven't seen necessarily. i haven't heard a republican that's backing him on this. i mean, who is then he trying to keep happy?
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>> well, i think he believes, and he may have some -- you know, there may be some truth to this, that it is a potentially popular position with the american people to bring troops home. to not have them involved in somebody else's civil war or somebody else's mess. he tapped into a vein of support across the country with that kind of world view, kate, so i do think he sees some appeal there to voters, but you are right? you don't hear any support for the way in which he's done this and the policy announced from republicans, and to now have, and this is what is so different. mattis' resignation and protest, it's not just about syria, kate. this is about america, and president trump's world view that general mattis can no longer support after four decades of service. >> and i think -- i mean, we have been saying it since it came out, but the fact that jim mattis, who is not a blowhard, he would come out with that rebuke in that letter so
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publicly, it's a huge statement. he was long seen as a central figure, if you will, in kind of the narrative of an axis of adults around the president. the keepers from chaos that were kind of keeping the president from his most extreme impulses. now, mattis is out. and he was seen at the last one there. is the president without guardrails? >> it seems to be he is. or at least the guardrails that many republicans inside the administration, as you know, and on capitol hill, had been relying upon. and so he is without those guardrails now. he probably is a bit more untethered in many ways. and that is why you hear more concern now from republicans than we have heard in, you know, in the entirety of the two years of his presidency thus far. >> bad headlines is one thing and one thing the president has seen a lot of in two years, but what is the impact of real decisions like this in syria? potentially in afghanistan, and defense secretary jim mattis saying i can no longer be here.
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we'll see. great to see you, david. with all of this, we're keeping a close eye on the white house where any moment we could hear from the president. president trump is supposed to be meeting with republicans. he also has a bill signing that's supposed to be happening. timing is, as always, tbd. we'll bring that to you when it begins. plus, it's not just syria. secretary mattis is also fuming over the president's desire to cut troop levels in afghanistan as well. i just returned from afghanistan following republican senator lindsey graham. why graham now says pulling out of afghanistan right now could lead to another 9/11. from the first loving touch pampers diapers are the #1 choice of hospitals, and have been for over 40 years pampers swaddlers the #1 choice of hospitals, nurses & parents
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president trump is pulling all u.s. troops out of syria, cnn learned the president also wants to see plans to withdraw about half of the almost 14,000 u.s. troops serving right now in afghanistan. a premature withdrawal of troops there is one of senator lindsey graham's biggest fears. this week, i traveled to afghanistan with senator graham, and he had a very clear goal. thank the troops, of course, and also make the case to president trump that after 17 years, a secure afghanistan insures a more secure united states. and graham isn't pulling any punches, colorful language and all. senator lindsey graham is on a mission. a mission to connect with the troops but also a mission to convince a president that after 17 years, afghanistan is still a fight worth fighting. >> you have been here so many times. why come back this time? what's this visit about? >> well, i always come back as much as i can. one, if you're sending people over here to fight for your country, you at least owe it to
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them to kind of check in on them. >> we had exclusive access to follow graham on a whirlwind tour. he's been to the region more than 40 times but this marks his first trip back to afghanistan without his closest friend and confidante. >> this is the first trip without john mccain. this is a tough one. just think there a minute ago how many times i have been there, but just almost all the time with john. and the president's going to make some decisions about afghanistan soon. i hope he makes good ones. >> from kabul to kandahar, his message to the troops -- we've graut your back. >> how long have you been here. >> about 2 1/2 years. >> but graham doesn't seem so sure president trump feels the same way. for one, the commander in chief has yet to visit any combat zone. including where the fight against al qaeda after 9/11 began. >> i would hope the president would come over here. i know he loves the military. i would advise him to come over here and say thank you.
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sit down with the president and the afghan partners and tell them what you would like them to do better. understand afghanistan being in afghanistan is a completely different experience than talking about it in washington. >> and by being in afghanistan this time, the senator says he received critical status updates from the top afghan commando. >> a good outcome in afghanistan is important to the united states. >> and also the top american commander of u.s. and nato forces there. both saying isis is on the rise. >> the isis threat in afghanistan is far greater than i thought it was. if you get a peace agreement tomorrow between the taliban and the afghan government, that will not solve the threat to our homeland. >> yet, president trump has made no secret he has little interest in committing u.s. troops to conflicts overseas. look no further than his announcement to pull all u.s. troops out of syria. >> now we have won. it's time to come back.
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>> even before that announcement, this was graham's greatest fear about afghanistan. >> the bad news, if we leave this place, it will go to shit in a year. >> seriously? >> if we pull out, if we go to zero, this place will fall apart very quickly, and we'll regret that decision at home. the people that were holding it at bay over here want to hit us again at home. people understand these soldiers you see around and you have talked to, they're a virtual wall against radical islam coming to america. >> what do you say to a president who ran on we're not the policemen of the world? >> i know what you're being told, president trump, about what will happen in afghanistan. here's the difference. this is the center of gravity. this is the blaze where it all started. if we're driven out of afghanistan, if america is beaten after having spent all these years and this much blood and treasure, every jihadist throughout the world will be on steroids. >> what would happen if
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president trump decides to pull everybody out tomorrow? >> you need to ask that question to our military leadership. i have asked that question. and they have given me a very blunt answer. this place would fall apart. we could, if we make the same decision we did in iraq, leave too soon, set in motion chaos that would make iraq look like a walk in the park. and i think one of the most likely outcomes would be a second 9/11 coming our way. >> all of this, remember the timing. lindsey graham told me all of this before president trump announced he was withdrawing all u.s. troops from syria. and said that he is doing so because isis was defeated. and before cnn reported the military is being told to draw up plans to cut u.s. troops in afghanistan by half. one of the experts, if you will, graham is relying on, is a top u.s. commander in afghanistan of u.s. and nato forces. general scott miller. we'll have my exclusive
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interview with limand the u.s. ambassador to afghanistan, john bass, for you next week. their assessment and outlook on where things stand even more important today. we have that, but also we're keeping our eye on the white house. any moment now, we could hear from president trump amid the most chaotic of chaotic weeks. and that's saying a lot these days. if he starts talking during the break, we'll come recognize back and bring it to you. stand by. building a better bank starts with looking at something old, and saying, "really?" so capital one is building something completely new.
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we are watching the clock and the nation's capital because unless something gives between now and midnight, parks and federal government will be running out of money and shutting down. president trump tweeting just a short time ago, the following. the democrats now own the shutdown. but i think we're all old enough to remember that the president saying this is actually all on him. >> i'll tell you what. i am proud to shut down the government for border security, chuck. i will take the mantle. i will be the one to shut it down. i'm not going to blame you for it. >> that's correct. that was literally ten days ago. example 459,000 at this point that the president often does not say what he means or means what he says. which leaves everyone else wondering if they can trust anything that's coming out of his mouth. joining me right now, republican congressman lee zeldin of new york. he's a member of the house foreign affairs committee. congressman, thank you for coming in.
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>> happy to. >> do you think the government is going to shut down? >> we'll see. i mean, the house passed a bill that's over in the senate. we'll see what the move is here on the senate side over the course of the next couple hours. but being able to answer that question, maybe a couple hours from now, i could give you a more concrete answer. i don't know what the next move is going to be. >> what you say is maybe the most important statement, it is that tenuous of a situation, it's changing really minute by minute. >> yeah, sure. so you have a house passed bill that senate schumer says is dead on arrival in the senate. you have a senate-passed bill that the president is saying is dead on arrival in the white house. so i think what is most important is for whether you're a republican, democrat, conservative, liberal, the white house, a member of congress, leadership, rank and file. now is time to talk. to compromise, to reach an agreement, to keep the government open and to find a way for the government not only to stay open but for republicans and democrats to all be able to
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vote for it. listen, you're not going to be able to get a unanimous vote. you don't need one. you need 60 votes in the senate. if people are just staying in their corners and talking to their base, not talking to each other, we'll have a partial government shutdown at midnight. >> to that point, i have seen, i think it was on twitter, you criticizing democrats for holding out for 100% of their demands. where things stand, isn't that what republicans are doing as well? >> i'm willing to compromise. i'm willing to vote for different versions of legislation, whether we're talking about funding the government, whether we're talking about immigration, talking about health care. i think that's the attitude that my constituents back home want. i think that's what americans all across the country want. it's not about getting 100% of what you wants. >> in the absence of that, we were talking about, would you be more in favor of punting a continuing resolution of exactly the funding as is to have that
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debate later on? >> no, there's too much punting that goes on here in the capital. i have just finished up my fourth year here in congress. when you're talking about these really important issues that impact us today, and more importantly, my daughters are 12-year-old, their entire generation, punting it for them to deal with many years from now, we have a responsibility to take tough votes, tackle tough challenges today. there's too much punting. by the way, sometimes the punting happens on third down where we don't even engage in a conversation to try to work things out. i think the tough work is for us to be here, talking to each other, and working through these. issues. >> i want to ask you about secretary mattis. you applauded him as a warrior. what does it say that he says he can't work with the president anymore because their views don't align? and we know that the president is rejecting his advice. >> so secretary mattis, decades of amazing service to our country, to his core.
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the man bleeds red, white, and blue. he's going to be sorely missed. the good news about our great country and this has happened through the generations and i know right now, i'm still in the army right now as a reservist, there are a lot of great generals, admirals, sometimes secretary of defense appointments don't even have that level of military experience. and they come on, so i'm confident that there is -- that there are a whole lot of great candidates to pick to be the next secretary of defense. whoever the next president is for them to pick one, so there's a difference of opinion. there should be good chemistry between the secretary of defense and the president. the secretary of defense makes recommendations, sometimes will make strong recommendations to the president of the united states. but the president, whoever it is at that time, decides, makes the call on whether or not to take that recommendation. and decisions made by secretary mattis to move on. hopefully we get the right secretary in next who has many of the great leadership traits of secretary-general james mattis, but you know, i do agree
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there needs to be good chemistry. and i don't know all of the exchanges that have taken place over the course of the last couple years between the two, but obviously, there's a pretty strong difference of opinion on some of the issues that matter most, and that's important. >> i mean, i just got back from afghanistan, and this is a man, mattis, who is revered by so many in the military. i met a pilot on his sixth deployment. he had a picture of mattis hanging in the flight deck because he told me that it brought him comfort being away from his family, knowing that mattis was in charge. what message does this send to him? >> yeah, well, again, there are a lot of amazing generals, great leaders in the military, and that's why it's really important to have an exceptional nomination and exceptional replacement for secretary mattis, because as you point out, there are men and women all throughout the ranks, many in harm's way, some might be on their tenth deployment, who want to know that everyone all the way up the chain of command has
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their back. the good thing about the reputation, the legacy of james mattis, is that you can be a private. you can be a junior officer in harm's way and you know all the way up to the top of the food chain at the highest levels of the pentagon that you have a secretary who had your back. >> right, and with that, and mattis in doing that, he was vehemently against the decision that the president then announced. he was vehemently against the decision to pull troops out of syria. do you agree with the president on that decision? >> as far as syria goes, i believe two things are really important that may have been missing here. one is from my understanding, from past briefings that we have counterparts, russia is one of them, engaged in syria where if we are willing to make the move of taking all of our troops out of syria, that's a major strategic operational tactical decision, for those 2,000 troops to be leaving, that we should be getting something for that. now, i have not yet been briefed
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on being wrong in my assumption that we did not get anything in return for pulling those 2,000 troops. i would love to be wrong, but my understanding is that we just made a decision to pull them out. secondly is that you don't want that vacuum to be filled by aggressive adversaries' threats to the united states. >> so what you know right now, is this a good decision? >> well, no, these are the two reasons why i have an issue with the decision that was made. and that second part being i don't want to read a few weeks after those troops pull out of the turks coming in and wiping out kurds. i don't want to see stories of isis filling that void and returning to their bad tactics of the past. whether it's local governance, the kurds, it's a coalition force, my second point that i'm concerned about is that i'm not seeing a transition that i would want to see in syria. >> and that's just one area that we need to be talking about today.
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thank you for your time. i appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up for us, ptd pt. is going to be speaking from the white house. will he respond to secretary mattis? will he bend on the border wall? and what does this chaos mean for everyone not in washington? everyone outside of washington. stay with us. ♪ not long ago, ronda started here. and then, more jobs began to appear. these techs in a lab. this builder in a hardhat... ...the welders and electricians
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quite frankly. now cnn is reporting a military official who regularly talks to mattis called the letter of resignation a, quote, dog whistle to anyone in uniform, but particularly through the general officer corps that they should resign if they have issues with president trump's policies. so what does that now mean for the u.s. military? joining me now, former director of national intelligence james clapper. great to have you here. thanks for coming in. >> thanks, kate. >> your reaction last night to the news of mattis' resignation is the country is less safe without jim mattis. why is that the case? >> well, i think dan coats' release, public release in which he characterized jim mattis as a national treasure kind of says it all. jim is unique. somebody will follow him, but i think it's going to be very difficult to replace him. the country has been blessed for two years to have him in that
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position. i found his letter stunning, but not surprising. i'm not an intimatet of his, but i knee from the get-go this wouldn't last and at some point because jim mattis is a very principled man, that he would have to leave. >> and i just had a republican congressman on, director, who said there are a lot of -- the good news is there are a lot of great generals, a lot of people who can serve and be a great secretary after mattis, and who should hold up the ideals and leadership qualities of mattis, but after reading mattis' resignation letter, i wonder who you see taking the jobs because whose views are going to more align with the president's who is akin to a mattis? >> that's exactly the point. and you know, the typical beltway game here of speculating on who might replace him has obviously already started. but my concern, and i think the
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fear of a lot of people, is that we'll end up with an echo chamber for the president. who does not like dissent, apparently. he wants complete compliance. and that is not a good -- not a healthy thing. and i think jim, of course, provided, who has a completely different set of values and different world view, provided that contrarian view, which is extremely important. and i fear that, yes, there are a lot of great people, but i'm not sure who would want to take this on unless they're going to be an echo chamber for the president. >> and what mattis said in his resignation was jarring enough. why do you think that what the letter doesn't say is just as important? >> well, it was very compelling letter both by what it did say, a tactful and classy rebuke of the president, was respectful
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and all that. it omitted at the end the typical line about what an honor it has been to serve in this administration and to work for you, mr. president. i thought that was a very glaring and telling omission. and it said a lot. >> that is interesting because i'm sure you know very well how to write a letter when you're leaving such an important and high-profile post. >> i have done it myself. >> exactly. on ryan browne's reporting i was saying in the lead-in that at least one military official is calling his letter a dog whistle to anyone in uniform that they should resign if -- this should be an opening for them to resign if they don't agree with trump's policies, do you see it that way? do you think that's what jim mattis would have intended? >> i think -- i don't know about being a dog whistle, but i think it serves as a model, a template, for someone with
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principles to express his concern and his unwillingness to serve further. and so it's not just a message for the military, but i think it's a message for anyone in this administration, notably other cabinet officials. so to me, even in departing, jim has set the model. and i think others need to think about that. now, i have to say, you know, that what precipitated this was a withdrawal from syria. that's a lawful presidential order, but i served as a general officer for about 13 years, and you know, you do think about that. can i serve an administration where i can't agree with the principles? and i think a lot of generals and admirals i think are thinking about that. >> do you think when it comes to the decision in syria, and it
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comes to kind of the shockwave that mattis' decision has created, can the president -- could the president unring this bell? can he settle things down with an unnouncement of another secretary? it seems new times in an already chaotic era. >> well, i guess it's theoretically possible but extremely unlikely that the president would do anything that would even infer he made a mistake in judgment. now, my comment, you know, a lot of people talked about the implications of this. the previous segment made a good point about we didn't get anything for this, not unlike moving our embassy in israel to jerusalem, where we didn't get any benefit from that. and this has global implications. i would just cite the example of north korea. why should north korea believe anything we say to them about assurances of their security if they denuclearize after watching
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this decision? >> that is a fascinating perspective that i think a lot of people will now be considering after you mentioned it. directoric thank you for coming in. great to see you. >> thanks, kate. >> still ahead for us, the acting attorney general, matthew whitaker, bucking ethics officials over at the justice department who advised him to recuse himself from overseeing the russia investigation. so if he bucks their advice, what does this move mean for special counsel robert mueller and the russia probe? k... a lot will happen in your life. wrinkles just won't. neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair's derm-proven retinol works so fast, it takes only one week to reveal younger looking skin. neutrogena®
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new details on matthew whitaker and rejecting a top official's advice. saying he should recuse himself from overseeing the russia investigation. why is he disregarding that investigation and what does it mean for the special counsel's investigation? what is the advice that whitaker got and why isn't he following it? >> the reason he is not following it is he learned whitaker never sought a formal recommendation, but instead got guidance according to a source. as part of that guidance, a senior career ethics official told whitaker he should recuse himself because of his extensive public comments disparaging the probe before he joined the justice department. the reason they suggested he recuse is people might question his impartiality.
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that was an opinion that was not binding and they recommended he not recuse, especially because there was no actual legal conflict like a personal relationship like jeff sessions had with the trump campaign and no family member that was involved in the russia probe. those were the reasons for not recusing. matthew whitaker decided since it was a close call here and he department want to bind any of his successors by the press depth of recusal, he decided he would continue overseeing the probe. the doj sent a letter. this is it right here. they sent it to paul ryan and nancy pelosi, explaining why whitaker decided not to recuse. of course that decision really drawing the ire of democrats and leaving that question open. what will whitaker do when it comes to at this time russia probe, if anything? >> you know he is already a focus of democrats in the house when they take over. we will see what happens in january. thank you so much. great to see you.
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up next, defense secretary jim mattis says his views are not aligned with president trump's, what does the stunning resignation say about the current state of the white house? we will discuss, coming up. i'm ray and i quit smoking with chantix. smoking. it dictates your day. i didn't like something having control over me. i wanted to stop. the thing is i didn't know how. chantix, along with support, helps you quit smoking. chantix reduced my urge to smoke to the point that i could quit. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. some people had changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts or actions with chantix. serious side effects may include seizures, new or worse heart or blood vessel problems, sleepwalking, or allergic and skin reactions which can be life-threatening. stop chantix and get help right away if you have any of these. tell your healthcare provider if you've had depression or other mental health problems. decrease alcohol use while taking chantix.
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in a tumultuous white house plagued by firings and defections, jim mattis is
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different. shockingly so. a career military man revered by troops and respected by peers could no longer stand by the side of the commander in chief. he said so in a rebuke over president trump's decision to pull troops out of syria. jeremy diamond is joining me now with more on the inside story of how that relationship fell apart. jeremy, everyone can remember trump could not say enough good things about mattis when he was nominated and early on. what happened? >> it was mad dog mattis. the president relishing in the storied career of this retired four-star marine corps general. perhaps what the president did not realize early in the relationship was how different the two men were as far as their moral compass is concerned and their policy beliefs are concerned. it was yesterday at about 7:30 in the morning the defense secretary realized he needed to speak with the president. the turkish defense minster was threatening to put the kurdish
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forces in ditches when the u.s. pulled out of syria. the secretary made a last ditch effort to appeal to the president in the oval office to try to get him to reverse course. that was something that the president would not do and the defense secretary, jim mattis resigned on the spot. it was a culmination of all the various policy differences the two men had over mattis's tenure there. aides began to fear that it was when rex tillerso and hr mcmaster, it was at the time when they were ousted from their positions that aides felt mattis's relationship with the president was also going to be on the decline. that was because those three men teamed up together to work and try to dissuede the president that were unwise and rash. it was the last bull work and now he is announcing his resignation.
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he will be leaving atted the end of february. kate? >> with jim mattis gone, who is left with that kind of a position? maybe that is the whole point. jeremy, appreciate it. thank you so much. thank you all so much for joining me. inside politics with john king starts right now. thank you, and welcome to inside politics. i'm john king. thank you for sharing a chaotic day with us. the senate seconds ago gaveling at the session. mitch mcconnell and other republicans are waiting for them to show up at the white house, meeting with president trump. his demand? the impossible. the president's last minute protest yesterday did get him a big win in the house. $5 billion for the border wall and nearly $8 billion in disaster relief fund. the votes for the wall are not


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