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tv   CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera  CNN  December 23, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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great to have you on this sunday. it is hours before this christmas eve. right now, so many men and women, federal employees, 800,000 of them, are wondering when they will see another paycheck. the reason, washington infighting has stopped fighting for nine cabinet departments, they have shut down. the doors of government buildings are locked. there's no money to pay the people who work there. president trump and democrats in congress digging in, not moving for his promised wall on the s - u.s./mexico border. one senate republican is not happy with the dispute that has so many american workers in professional limbo. he says this fight is not even a real one. >> this is a maid-up fight so the president can look like he's fighting. even if he wins our borders are going to be insecure. >> the man who soon start as president trump's chief of staff says don't expect the shutdown to end before the new year.
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>> here's the problem of course, as recently as two weeks ago they offered us $1.6 billion for that same thing. they're moving in the wrong direction. there is a question whether this deal can be cut before this new congress comes in. there is an implication for nancy pelosi election for speakership and in that unfortunate position beholden to her left wing where she cannot be seen as agreeing with the president on anything until after she's the speaker. if that's the case, we go into the next congress. pushing out sooner than expe expect. retired general mattis retired thursday frustrated the president's views, in his words, do not align. mattis wanted several weeks to transition to new leadership. the president today tweeting he has already picked someone to act as acting defense secretary and wants him to start in just a few days. he is patrick shanahan, the
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current deputy defense secretary. more on that in a moment. it boils down to billions of dollars of funding to president trump's border wall. remember that border wall, the one mexico was going to pay for. here's what first candidate then president trump promised in speech after speech. >> going to be a very tall wall, very strong wall, very powerful wall. >> it will be such a beautiful wall, it will be so big, it's going to be so powerful. it's going to be as beautiful as a wall can be. who's going to pay for the wall? >> mexico. >> who's going to pay for the wall? >> mexico. >> who? >> mexico. >> mexico is going to pay for the wall and they understand that. we need security, we need the wall, we're going to have it all. >> mexico had a very different idea. its current president sworn in earlier this month said his country will not pay for the wall and his predecessor also
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said, nope. here's how former president vincente fox put it when asked on cnn. >> you can use my walls, we'll never pay for that [bleep] wall. >> blunt words there from vincente fox whether mexico will pay for the wall. even the president's own acting chief of staff, mick mulvaney said this about the president's wall in 2015. >> the fence doesn't solve the problem. is it necessary to have one? sure. will it help? sure. but to say, build the darned fence and have that be the end of the immigration discussion would be absurd and almost childish to take that simplistic view. and the bottom line the fence doesn't stop anybody that wants to go across. the ranchers tell us they don't need a fence. >> when the president started talking about the possibility of a government shutdown, what we heard from him if democrats
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refuse to use u.s. taxpayer money to pay for the wall, he, president trump, will shut down the government. listen to that exchange with senate minority leader, chuck schumer. >> 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. >> now, president trump is changing his tune. after saying he would take ownership of a government shutdown, he's now saying it belongs to -- drum roll please, the democrats. he also i had a slight change how he refers to what u.s. taxpayers are getting for their money, he shifts from a border wall to border security. take a listen. >> the house of representatives voted 217-185, approving strong border security, and the money necessary to take care of the barrier wall or steel slats, whatever you want to call it, it's all the same. tremendous enthusiasm for border
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security. they want to see something happen on border security. >> so now president trump says democrats won't pay for border security, substituting that term for a border wall. border security and a complete border wall are not the same thing. here's the kind of border security democrats have already supported. in 2013, senator schumer and house minority leader, nancy pelosi, both were in favor of spending $40 billion on a border security plan that called for building 700 miles of new fencing, and would have doubled the number of border security agents to roughly 40,000. it got bipartisan support and passioned in the senate but failed in the republican controlled house. so in the past, democrats supporting $40 billion on border security. they made it very clear now that they will not spend billions of dollars to pay for president trump's border wall. >> so, mr. president, president
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trump, if you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall. >> the current funding bill president trump is insisting on includes $5 billion for dhs, which will be able to replace about 115 miles of existing wall. it will also pay for more than 100 miles of new linear wall or steel slat, that's his new go-to along the southwest border. the u.s.-mexico border is 1,000954 miles long. there are currently about 650 miles of border fencing already built. it's seen here highlighted in red. you can do the math there. that's really what this government shutdown is all about since president trump insists that this is what americans voted for, to build a border wall, maybe mexico will step up to help him keep that promise? >> you can use my walls. we'll never pay for that [bleep] wall.
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>> thus, here we are at this shutdown with no money from mexico and no agreement in the u.s. congress to pony up your tax dollars to pay for a wall. that is the state of play. here's what we know now about where things could be headed. incoming acting chief of staff, mick mulvaney, made the rounds this morning on all the morning shows and said this about current negotiations. >> all i can tell you is the democrats offered us -- i think they offered us $1.6 billion a couple weeks ago then $1.3 billion this week. that's a negotiation that seems like it's going in the wrong direction. we insisted on 5 and the discussions are between 1.6 and 5. >> the white house will accept $2.15 billion for border security but democrats refusing to budge from $1.3 billion. i want to bring in our congressman from california. is that your understanding the white house is now offering $2.5 billion and if so, are you
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willing to accept that? >> i've heard many many things over the next several hours. the numbers are moving faster than i guess the planes out of dulles airport. the reality is we really don't know what this white house wants. keep in mind less than a week ago the senate thought they had a deal with the president. in a unanimous senate vote a bill was passed and came over to the house of representatives for final concurrence, guess what, the president changed his mind, demanded $5 billion, and that's at that point the republicans in the house put 217 votes up on the board and sent a bill back to the senate that was dead on arrival. so now we do have the trump shutdown, just as he promised. yes, there is a possibility of negotiating this thing out. but i'll tell you what i'm concerned about.
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this is real money from the taxpayers of america. real taxpayer money. where is this money going to be spent? which part of that 1900 mile border is going to have a flew fence or a wall or repaired fence. i want some very specific things. i'm on the armed services committee. we won't let the air force spend any money to build a new hangar until they tell us why it's needed, where it's going to be built, what it's going to cost, and then we will authorize that construction. the president said he wants a blank check. >> the democrats actually offered president trump border security funding at least three different times earlier this year at one point as high as $25 billion. are democrats dig ing now because they don't want to give the president a win? >> no, that's not the case. we want to be very careful about what we're doing here. we want border security. we're not going to give this president a blank check to do whatever he wants to do with a
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little slush fund. we've seen enough of that out of him already with his foundation. we want a very clear plan how this border is going to be secured. i will tell you this. if we're going to spend money wisely, spend it on the u.s. coast guard, which in tra tickets 10 times the amount of drugs the patrol agency does on the border. beef it up so every train and every car and every chuck that passes through is checked and the drugs are not in those. the drugs are not coming in the backpack of children crossing over the border. it's coming in other directions. we need to pay attention to that and be wise how we're spending the taxpayer money. >> it seems like everyone is acknowledging this could go on until democrats take over next week or even beyond. are you worried your party could end up paying a political price for this, for being unwilling to meet in the middle or perception democrats aren't willing to meet in the middle? >> just a moment here.
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the democrats are more than willing to meet in the middle. we're willing to meet even beyond the middle, as long as there is a rational use for the money. it's not about fulfilling his promise. >> a rational use for known, if he says, not just about the border wall, i want to increase technology or personnel, a couple random ideas i'm throwing out, how much money are you willing to offer? >> well, we know the top side is $5 billion. show us how you're going to spend that money wisely? how will you use it to interdict -- >> you would be willing to go to $5 billion, if it's for border security and not the wall or not just the wall? >> it's not just the wall, it's what is going to be done with the $5 billion the president is demanding. if that money is to be spent wisely, you mentioned technology, we know that's a more valuable and better use than putting up a fence you can crawl under or go over, we know
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we need to fund the coast guard and we know we need better security at the ports of entry to check the various contraband we know is passing through those areas. these are things we do and border patrol agencies. one more thing this country desperately needs is a sense of humanity and understand we're housing thousands upon thousands of kids in crummy jails separated from their parents. this is wrong. we're here two days before christmas in a time we ought to be caring about each other. this nation is totally doing inhumane horrible things to children across our and various detention facilities. you want to spend some money, let's spend some money on processing so those children can get back to their parents. >> i want to talk to you about james mattis and his
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resignation, your original response you heard when he was resigning was oh bleep. trump announced today deputy patrick shanahan will temporarily replace mattis? does that apiece some of your concern? >> no. we're going to put in charge $700 billion a year a fellow that comes from one of the largest contractors in this nation, has no military experience, certainly has experience as a defense contractor. but we need somebody there that understands the geopolitical reality of this world and understands the role of our u.s. military. the strongest most capable military in the world has to be used most wisely. >> what makes you think he doesn't understand that? >> he has nothing in his background that indicates he has that military experience. >> congressman, really appreciate you joining us and offering your perspective on those important issues. thank you, happy holidays, merry
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christmas to you. >> thank you. >> thank you. president trump forces mattis out early as secretary of defense. he names his replacement. will the new pentagon chief be on the same page as his boss? we'll talk about that just ahead. ♪ ♪ ♪ the greatest wish of all is one that brings us together. the final days of wish list are here. sign and drive off in a new lincoln with zero down, zero due at signing, and a complimentary first month's payment. only at your lincoln dealer. douglas! we're running dangerously low on beans. people love your beans, doug. they love 'em. doooooooooug! you want to go sell some tacos? progressive knows small business makes big demands.
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the president planning to yank all u.s. troops from syria, declaring victory over isis. the ramifications of this extraordinary decision are, to use a word of the president, huge. and his defense secretary, james mattis resigning. president trump is facing a wave of concerns from both sides of the aisle and around the world. could it create an isis growth spurt or assad that's backed by russia. here's senator rand paul. >> when the president declares victory over isis, he's exactly
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right. we took back 99% of their land. aren't these people going to stand up and fight for themselves? can they not do anything? it doesn't work to have americans policing muslim lands. it just engenders more terrorism. >> let's look at the numbers. the u.s. has about 2,000 troops in syria, mostly special operations forces. their job, train local forces to fight isis. president trump says isis is defeated in syria, true or false? bottom line is we just don't know exactly how many isis fighters remain in syria. as a general rule isis fighters don't like to be counted, staying underground. some 2,000 isis fighters remain in one syrian town alone. the defense department says up to 30,000 isis members are still in syria and iraq combined. you know who is cheering? take a guess. russia. president trump and the white house falsely claim russia is not happy about this decision. here's white house press secretary, sarah sanders.
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>> look, the idea that putin is happy about this is ridiculous. he's not. this puts a greater emphasis and makes them have to actually step up and do something and do more in the region and puts them at a greater risk. i think that's just silly. >> silly? no. what she just said is not true. the fact of the matter is, russia's president, vladamir putin, expressed delight about president trump's announcement. watch. >> translator: as far as isis is concerned, i agree more-or-less with the president of the u.s. we, and i have speculated about this before, have really achieved substantial changes with regard to the militants in syria. >> even the president's favorite tv show, fox&friends, had mixed reviews on his bold syria move. >> he's giving russia a big win. vladimir putin praised him and doing exactly what he criticized
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president obama for doing. he said president obama is the founder of isis. he just refounded isis. >> take that in for a moment. when fox&friends is throwing shade on president trump's syria policy, some of his biggest political allies is saying, this is a mistake, you've got this wrong, mr. president, why doesn't he listen to them? what happens next? time will tell. friday, isis militants backed syrian forces from the ground and tweeting isis is still strong. that's why the syrian decision is such a big deal. more on that shake-up at the pentagon. defense secretary mattis is out of the job january 1st forcing him out with patrick shanahan. bringing in james spider marks, a senior military analyst and susan, from "the new yorker."
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thanks for being with us. what do you think of the president's pick for new acting defense secretary, patrick shanahan? >> he has the continuity. he's been the def sec for general mattis and understands what the priorities are. it's been reported he has the ear of the president so he is probably a little more aligned. typical of most deputies, he's probably been working the internals of the pentagon, in other words, he knows where the bodies are buried and understands the mechanism. he has his finger on the pulse. he certainly has a reputation and resume that would support his being in the position. essentially, there are three types of people you want to have. somebody who has great management and leadership capability, you need somebody who might be a warrior or somebody who has both, warrior and leader management piece.
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jim mattis had the latter in spades, an incredibly gifted guy. i would suggest jim mattis is the latter day version of george marshal. what you get in now secretary shanahan is somebody who has that management and leadership capability. we'll see what happens from here. the department of defense will be fine moving forward, it just is a very difficult step for him to take to try to follow and really try to replace jim mattis. >> susan, what's your take on the president's pick? is this someone who will be in lock-step with the president's world view? >> i guess the president hopes so. this is part of a pattern we have seen this year of president trump replacing those, especially on the national security and foreign policy side, who challenged him, with people who have been on notice from day one that that kind of offering your own opinion, disagreeing with the president is no longer welcome in the trump administration. to the extent that this is a
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more permanent solution, i think, you know, president trump is looking for yems, men, in th job. i found it striking today secretary of state, mike pompeo who delivered the news to secretary jim mattis he was out january 1st because the president didn't have the willingness to deliver that news himself. he apparently has not spoken to mattis since thursday. this is obviously not normal. you do not have the secretary of state in no way in the chain of command transmitting orders normally from the president to the pentagon chief, and it speaks to how unusually president trump is running his administration. remember, our allies are in a deep state of concern, some verging even on panic at the instability and erratic nature of the national security policy playing out from the trump administration right now. this is going to reinforce that
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in a major way. >> general, the president touted his generals, flynn, mcmanus, kelly, masters, why has he pushed them all way? >> clearly the generals, senior leaders, understand their relationship with their respective bosses and those they're charged with leading. that requires transparency and pushback, requires a routine look in the eye of your boss, and to tell them what he or she often doesn't want to hear. that obviously is pushing the president to a point where he wants to move these folks away. that's how senior military leaders are trained. that's how we grew up. that's what we're required to do. sure, we're part of a higher arcual organization, at the same time the boss has to turn around and you say i want you to do something amazingly difficult and may cost some lives. what about this? you better be honest and
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prepared to give that individual the best counsel. in this case, the commander in chief, the president of the united states, irrespective who that person is. >> susan, who is left to stand up to trump to tell him what he doesn't want to hear? >> it's not clear to me, especially when it comes to materings of national security, there's anyone willing to stand up to him. john bolton and mike pompeo have views differ quite strikingly from the president given their pronouncements before they took these roles. in both cases it's not clear they have continued to stand up to trump in private. john bolton seemed to have come close to losing his job early on in his tenure as national security advisor when he seemed to be signaling to the north koreans a skepticism about the peace talks. since then, we have not heard a lot to suggest bolton is pushing back aggressively on trump. i think this is again a real
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challenge to our system. remember, democrats are going to be taking control of one of the houses of congress, starting in january, so you will see more public pushback, more challenge to his administration's on for policy from capitol hill starting in january. what does that mean in terms of how trump will choose to respond to it? it's not clear. already, i would say, since november and the election, he has significantly escalated his rhetoric. he's made these decisions about troop pullouts in syria and afghanistan despite the recommendation of these advisors. >> susan and general marks, thank you. happy holidays and merry christmas. after the latest plunge on wall street, will your 401(k) get a break this holiday week? here's more. >> reporter: hi, ana. there's no sight of santa claus on wall street this year.
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instead, investors considered jerome powell the grinch. last week, the fed chief did signal fewer interest rate hikes in 2019 but the struck a more optimistic tone than the market was looking for. that sparked fierce selling on thursday. the dow fell below 23,000 for the first time since october of 2017. both the dow and s&p 500 are negative for the year and puts the dow to have the first worst annual lost since the recession in 2008. and first annual loss since 2015. there are only three full trading days. the market closes early on christmas eve and closed on christmas day. in new york. now to our top international story, rescuers frantically trying to find victims of a deadly tsunami and new volcanic
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eruptions raising fears another one could happen. just ahead, a survivor shares her terrifying story with us. [leaf blower] you should be mad at leaf blowers. [beep] you should be mad your neighbor always wants to hang out. and you should be mad your smart fridge is unnecessarily complicated. but you're not mad, because you have e*trade which isn't complicated. their tools make trading quicker and simpler. so you can take on the markets with confidence. don't get mad. get e*trade and start trading today.
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♪ mom. ♪ as range rescues comb through rub rub badge in
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indonesia, they say there is a potential for another tsunami. at least 222 people are confirmed dead and 800 injured. officials said the death toll could rise since dozens are still missing. the moment of impact caught on camera at a beachfront concert. i have to remind you the images are graphic. no warning whatsoever, as a wall of water slams through the back of the stage, the lead singer confirming one band member was killed, along with the band's manager, lead singer's wife and other band members. joining us, the survivor of this, dr. natasha phoebe. can you walk us through what happened, what you witnessed when the tsunami hit? >> so, when the tsunami hit, actually, we just left the beach
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around 10 minutes because i had dinner with friends at a restaurant. when we arrived at the main road after we left the restaurant, it was security because people tried to run away from the beach. that's what happened at the time. >> how did you escape? how did you get to higher ground quick enough? >> actually, once we arrive, it's not very far to go to the evacuation route. i was in the car with one of my colleagues and our driver, so we just quickly blend with other people, and then go to the evacuation route and stay there for a while. >> the pictures that we're seeing look like there's catastrophic damage in some place, reporting more than 200 people already confirmed dead, hundreds injured and dozens still missing. what's happening on the ground right now? what have you seen? what have you been a part of?
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>> yes. so -- >> i'm sorry. we lost dr. phebe there. we do know she has been working to try to treat some of those injured. we continue to follow the developments after this tsunami that struck indonesia, killing hundreds of people already. you can see what they are left with right now, as they continue to prepare for what could be an additional tsunami with ongoing volcano activity in that area. we'll try to get the doctor back as soon as possible. meantime, the incoming chairman of the house intelligence committee says the president's own conversations with the acting attorney general about the mueller probe are quote wrong aeft every level. end quote. i have dr. phebe back. we'll try to continue the conversation again. things are moving on there on
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the ground. communications and technology could be disrupted. tell me what's happening on the ground there, dr. phebe, what you witnessed and been a part of it. >> helping the locals in a health facility, the patients that came from the field. we just started evacuation yesterday morning. of course, people were afraid to get into the area again. evacuation started in the morning, yesterday. since then, there was collaboration with the local society and now what we have seen is some of the heavy equipment already transferred to the area to help the next evacuation for today. that's what we see, we saw last night. >> can you tell us about what kind of injuries you're seeing? >> yes.
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mostly multiple trauma, because people were -- talk about the water and drown and all the debris in the water hit them. several had injury. some people get injured as well when they tried to evacuate themself on the motorbike because they were scared and maybe they are panicked, so road accidentals happened at the time. >> what is your plan now, moving forward? >> our plan moving forward, of course, we continue to find as much as we can with the evacuation. of course, we are prepared for the evacuation for the next things that might be happen. that might be happen. and we move to the car because we need to leave now. >> okay. we'll let you go. dr. natasha phebe, thank you for
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taking the time and wish you the best. stay safe.
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our because of smoking.ital. but we still had to have a cigarette. had to. but then, we were like. what are we doing? the nicodermcq patch helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. nicodermcq. you know why, we know how. welcome back. in just 11 days, democrats take control of the house of representatives. they're eager to use their subpoena powers. one of the first they want to question is acting attorney general matthew whittaker before reports came out this week. trump has been lashing out at whittaker, specifically about
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those charges that implicate the president in a hush money scheme. congressman adam schiff tells cnn he wants to get to the bottom of those conversations. >> the president of the united states is dis-gusing a case in which he is implicated with the attorney general. that is wrong at every level. of course, it will taint anything that this acting attorney general does, any role he plays in this investigation. this is a real assault on the rule of law and we are going to scrutinize every single action by matt whittaker to make sure that the public knows just what he does. >> former federal prosecutor, jennifer rogers, is joining us now. thank you for spending part of your holiday weekend with us. i really appreciate it. our reporting, based upon multiple sources, and i want to read you this key line exactly as it's written. trump pressed whittaker why more wasn't being done to control prosecutors in new york who
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brought the charges in the first place suggesting they were going rogue. is that obstruction of justice? >> well, that's the big question, right? one of the problems is the president does have the right at some level to oversee the entire executive branch. that includes the department of justice. the fact is while it's not technically a legal violation, the president never does and should never really inquire into any matter that involves him. instead, the mechanism for making sure his oversight is appropriate is congressional. i think congressman schiff is right to say they should inquire into that in hearings. i don't think it's likely to be obstruction of justice as far as a criminal charge goes and something congress should look into, and it's highly inappropriate. >> if they called him to testify before congress, could he claim executive privilege? >> i don't think so. they throw around the term
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"executive privilege" frequently when people want to inquire into what the president is doing. not as broad as all that. congress's role is to insure the executive branch is working properly and within their mandate to speak to whittaker about an attempted interference into that. we have to remember about why whittaker was appointed in the first place. he didn't have the credentials for the job and didn't have the reputation and doesn't have the experience. he wasn't next in line or next to next in line. i think everyone anticipated the reason he was put there was to be someone willing to do the president's bidding in this way which makes everyone even more suspicious this is what's going on here. the fact cnn has learn about these conversations, what are the chances mueller knew about them already? >> if we know, mueller knows. i think that's fair to say
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across the board. he has a team of terrific investigators and lawyers obviously are working diligently and have been for some time. if the public knows, there's no question mueller knows that and a whole lot more. >> what can he do about this, given whittaker is the oversight, his boss, essentially? >> i don't know there's much mueller can do about this in particular. this really goes to the oversight congress should be having. mueller's job is to investigate and where appropriate bring charges and at the end of the case, write a report about what he has found. this would only factor into the extent it would play into a criminal charge or need to be put into his report. i don't see it as linked up to anything that mueller is doing. even the obstruction piece mueller has been investigating has to do with the intent to obstruct the russia investigation specifically, and this is not a part of that. i wouldn't expect this episode to really make it into mueller's
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work so much, i think it will be handle more on the congressional side. >> all right, jennifer rogers, good to have you with us. thank you, happy holidays, merry christmas to you and your family. >> thank you, you, too. for a decade, a young boy in the philippines was pen pals with a charity sponsor in america. for those 10 years he had no idea he was corresponding with a president of the united states. details on how this secret was kept and finally revealed in the cnn newsroom. (burke) parking splat. and we covered it.
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president trump george h.w. bush . the 41st president of the united states secretly sponsored and wrote to a filipino boy for ten years all while dropping hints as to who he really was. our kaylee hartung has the story. >> even in death, the legacy of former president george h.w. bush lives on through the lives he touched in america and abroad. compassion international, a global nonprofit organization that uses local churches to help children in poor communities released letters shared between the former president and a young filipino boy named timothy. dear timothy, i want to be your pen pal. i'm an old man, but i love kids, though we haven't met, i love you already. so began a decade-long friendship between timothy and the president. how are you? i hope you're in good condition. thank you for not forgetting me. you're so nice and good. god is so good to us. bush wrote his letters under the
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alias of george walker to protect his identity. wes stafford, served as an intermediary. although former president bush used an alias, he became worried when the president sent this picture of his dog. bush's habit of revealing hints of who he could be made the job of keeping the former president's identity a secret harder. timothy, have you ever heard of the white house? i got to go to the white house at christmastime. included with most of those letters was a give the and a challenge. be sure to say your prayers. i do every day. this birthday present will show you the time all around the world. timothy never caught on to the hint and only found out the real
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identity of his pen pal after he graduated from the program. when he did find out, stafford says he was surprised to have been pen pals with someone who had been president of a nation. although compassion international and timothy have lost contact, the bond he had with the president is not forgotten. kaylee hartung, cnn. ♪ it's the time of the season for loving ♪
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it is 7:00 eastern, 4:00 in the afternoon out west. i'm ana cabrera in new york. great to have you with me. you are live in the "cnn newsroom." the government is shut down, why? the wall. mexico won't be paying for it, and if your tax dollars don't go to following up tab, the government won't opening for business anytime soon.


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