tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN February 5, 2019 10:00am-11:01am PST
who accepts medicare patients. so, if you're thinking about a medigap plan, this is a great place to start. filled with great advice... ...like your dad, right? yeah, right. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now, the state of the union is divided. president trump goes before congress tonight, his first address before a democratically controlled house. plus, she's been chosen to deliver the democratic response to the state of the union, but likely contender bernie sanders has another plan. it wasn't the biggest crowd ever, but the president's inauguration did raise more cash than any other in history and now prosecutors want to know how. call it the new no labels group. what howard schultz wants you to
call him and other rich people instead of billionaires. we start with president trump getting ready to deliver the state of the union address, putting it center stage two weeks after the government shutdown. the president will be reaching across the aisle calling for bipartisanship and unity, but as we know president trump, that could all change without warning. we have to remember he's in nancy pelosi's house now, chief antagonist here, and she'll be perched over his shoulder for the entire address. we have abby phillip, pamela brown and dana bash. even though we hear, pamela, him talking about by paipartisabipa he's going after chuck schumer
here. >> right, he's saying chuck schumer criticized the state of the union speech. remember, last year it was about unity, too, and the day after his state of the union speech he was going after democrats on twitter. and so this is what you see from this president in highly scripted events like this where he's going to be reading from a teleprompter, where all the themes are laid out by his aides and he's prepared beforehand. he doesn't necessarily talk the talk before and after. in terms of what we can expect, we can expect some of these bipartisanship ideas on how democrats and republicans can work together on infrastructure and opioid addiction. what i don't think you'll hear in the president's speech is a lot of news, on issues like the north korea summit. he told the oval office last week he'll have more details on the speech, but now we're hearing that more than likely won't happen. and in this stage, it can change
at the last minute, so we have to be careful. at this stage there are no plans for him to announce an emergency declaration on the border wall. >> do they stand, do they applaud? in the case of the democratic caucus, the women, and this is a large contingency of women in the caucus, they're all going to be wearing white to send a message to president trump. that's really going to standcha. >> absolutely, and this is the first time trump will be in this chamber where a majority of the house will be democrats. the white house is controlled by democrats right now by a wide margin. the democratic women have been eager to send a message to president trump on a number of different fronts, but certainly because of what happened in the campaign, the "access hollywood" tape, the accusations of sexual
harrasment against him, but also just to demonstrate that they're there. this is a historically diverse house of democrats, a historically diverse chamber. it's in stark contrast to the republican side where they are not historically diverse, where they're still struggling to show more diversity that is closer to where the country is. i think it will be interesting for president trump who often kind of needs adulation from his audience, he's used to people cheering him on. to be around so many people who will be doing the very opposite of that, having nancy pelosi sitting behind him and not doing what paul ryan did for the last two years, it will be a very different experience for a president who typically doesn't like these types of stoic moments and would prefer a more raucous campaign rally to a state of the union speech. >> it's going to be very different, dana. >> very different. you mentioned the body language and the obvious difference
having the democrats in the chairs, in the chamber. democrats the majority in the house, and just the historic diversity, not just female but ethnic diversity as well. i'll be watching how nancy pelosi plays it sitting behind him. that is just going to be must-see tv because she has played -- played is maybe a pejorative word that i don't intend to use -- her strategy so far has been so incredibly attuned to who he is and who her caucus is. and there's a reason why she has the highest approval ratings at age 78 than she's ever had. it took her a long time to get the kind of kudos she's getting kind of political opponent she - has in donald trump in order to get that. so just to watch her, you know, i'm assuming she'll be stoic because it is to be respectful,
but there are going to be times where she's probably going to be signalling silently or not so silently to her caucus, you know, let's try to either be respectful or let's show we don't agree with this. >> let's talk about who is giving the democratic rebuttal. it's stacey abrams. she ran as a democrat for governor in georgia. was unsuccessful. usually it's someone who is serving in an office. but she has been chosen as the messenger why? >> first of all, to state the obvious, she's not in washington. even though the scene in washington is so unique and is so historic, it's still washington. and the democrats want to show that they are more than of washington. and even though stacey abrams didn't win, she did pretty well in the state of georgia. she had a message that the democrats think really
resonates, and so why not? >> i think the challenge for her will be to just make sure she doesn't say anything or do anything that will create a meme or something embarrassing. we've seen this in the past with others who have done the speech following the president. you remember marco rubio with the famous drinking the water when he had cottonmouth, so i think that is one of the things we always look for is just to make sure she doesn't do anything. >> let's switch gears because i want to get your opinion on syria. listen to what the u.s. central commander said at a hearing held by the central arms committee. >> general, were you aware of the president's intention to order a withdrawal of troops from syria before that was publicly announced? >> i was not aware of the specific announcement. certainly we are aware that he has expressed a desire and intent in the past to depart iraq. >> so you weren't consulted before that decision was announced? >> i was not consulted.
>> i mean, wow, abby. wow. this matters. >> yeah. it's incredible and it's the second week of people testifying on capitol hill and saying things that really put the president on the spot, either contradicting him or showing his public statements to be not squared up with what really happened. the white house has been trying to claim for many weeks that there's been no break with the military on syria, that they've been perfectly clear on the strategy there. we know that that is not true, because he caught a lot of these very same individuals off guard. this is a president who campaigned on being smarter than the generals, but now it's clear he didn't consult them on a really major decision that has put him now at odds with even republicans on capitol hill who are trying to tell him you need to slow down this process of withdrawing troops because you could be putting the troops that are still there in harm's way. the president lost a defense secretary over this, which in any other administration would be maybe the defining moment of
his presidency. and now it is just one more thing, but that testimony really just demonstrates everything the white house has been trying to claim about clarity on this, about consultations with his advisers. not exactly true, that's not the way it happened. the president made this decision in spite of disagreement from within the ranks of the military. >> and it's one thing to disagree with your generals, it's another thing to not even have them in the loop. ladies, thank you so much, abby, pamela, dana, i really appreciate it. bernie sanders is giving his own response after the speech despite stacey abrams representing the democrats. i'm going to ask speaker pelosi's guest about this. plus a committee slapped with a subpoena after a question about who donated money to it. and reporting after it was
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they subpoenaed the committee for documents related to every donor or donation including any benefits that were offered to donors. they're working to determine if there were any financial abuses related to the record $107 million in donations that were raised for the event. and this is just one of several major investigations that is involving trump entities. ronado marrieti is with me now. ronado, you were a federal
prosecutor. fl if there were donations from federal entities, is it only a crime if the committee was aware? >> yes, that's true, they not only needed to be aware they were receiving foreign contributions, but they needed to be aware that receiving foreign contributions was illegal. they had very good attorneys and compliance staff. there were some people who were aware of it, but the question is were the people who knew foreign moneys were coming in the people who knew it was illegal? >> right now i want to ask you about the president and sort of the legal fronts he's concerned about. he seems really concerned about this special counsel russia interference probe that. that's going to wind down, i suspect. the southern district of new york actually posed more of a threat to the president. >> i've believed that for a long time, ever since federal prosecutors in new york implicated the president in a contribution compliance crime.
they are looking at people in the trump organization, half cooperators. to me as a lawyer, that's a much bigger concern than the mueller investigation, but obviously, you know, that is more politically explosive. >> already, ronado, thank you so much. and former ceo starbuck's howard schultz says he prefers billionaires be called by another name. we'll tell you what he wants to be called, next. okay, max...time to help mrs. tyler reach her health goals! i'm in! but first... shelfie! the great-tasting nutrition of ensure. with up to 30 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals! ensure. for strength and energy.
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president trump is taking his case tonight to the state of the union address. remember, he was supposed to give this speech a couple weeks ago but that was shut down from the government shutdown and nancy pelosi deterring it. we just learned you'll be one of the speaker's guests tonight, so you'll have a front row seat tonight. >> i'm glad to be there. i'm quite honored to see her in the speaker's chair. >> that's what so many observers, i think, will be watching for. so do you think there will be any opportunities for applause from both sides of the aisle, are we going to see any sort of unanimous mustanding ovation, d
you think? >> that's up to the president. i had the pleasure of serving as undersecretary to president obama and there were plenty of moments that president obama stated universal values that brought together republicans, democrats, independents and the like. unfortunately, unity hasn't really been in his dna. just look at what he's doing on twitter this morning, going after leader schumer. that's not the tone to set on the day of the state of the union, but we're going to be fighting hard for the things that people care about. that's our singular focus as democrats. >> there is an expectation, of course, that he's going to make his case again for the border wall. speaker pelosi said absolutely no money for the border wall. in our reporting here at cnn, we've been hearing from some rank and file democrats who say they're worried about the president's messaging as he says the democrats are not serious about border security, they're worried that's taking hold. how do you combat that? >> with facts. we've been communicating the facts. the fact of the matter is we've
invested in border security for years, dating back to the obama administration and before that. and we believe that if you want to really secure the borders, what you need to do is make sure we're investing in technology, make sure we're investing in judges to adjudicate cases. make sure we're investing in airports, because almost two-thirds of the people who are undocumented in the united states didn't come in along the border, they came in through the airports. and so when we do things like that, we want to be smart on security. and that's the smart way to do it. >> can barriers be a part of that? >> again, the challenge with this president is he wanted a trophy, you know. if this were something that would make america safer, then it would be one thing, but this was a trophy during a political campaign -- >> but when you don't give incrementally on the idea of barriers, aren't you playing into his assertion that democrats aren't serious about border security?
>> absolutely not, because you look at the facts and what we've invested in, and we've invested in things that work. we're not concerned about political trophies, we're concerned about safety. the whole conversation about border security is a colossal distraction. he doesn't want to talk about health care. he doesn't want to talk about making sure we provide coverage for people with preexisting conditions. if you want to get bipartisan applause, talk about the fact that you're going to tell the justice department to withdraw from that lawsuit in texas that's challenging coverage for people with preexisting conditions. >> so no need for barriers is part of it. >> we need security, we need smart law enforcement along the border. and this is not smart law enforcement. all the democrats -- all the members of congress, including a republican who represent these border communities, are against this. i think the people who live near the border understand it's the
best. >> i'm talking about a barrier incrementally. not a wall from sea to shining sea, just a piece of it. >> the challenge for him is he keeps moving his own goalposts, and he backed himself into a corner. this was, again, manufacturing a crisis to create leverage, and that was his fault. he owned and is responsible for uprooting the lives of a million-plus people and their families in a shutdown, and shame on him. >> stacey abrams is going to be delivering the democratic rebuttal after the state of the union, and she's an interesting pick because she came to national prominence but she ran for governor, obviously, as a democrat in georgia. she did not win that race. almost always in the history of this speech, the person who delivers that rebuttal is someone who is in office. she is not, so that is distinct. what do you want americans to hear from her? >> she's a historic pick and a
wonderful pick, and what americans are going to hear from her is a message of hope and opportunity as opposed to fear and division. stacey is going to talk about her own life and how she worked her way up. comes from a family of faith leaders and understands the zip code should never determine destiny. understands that health care should be a right for all and not a privilege for a few. understands that we should be making sure that our neighborhood schools provide real opportunity for kids and that we have shared prosperity for everyone, not just prosperity for a few. i can think of no better person to articulate the values of inclusion and opportunity for everyone in every zip code than stacey abrams. >> bernie sanders apparently can think of someone better, and that is bernie sanders, because he's going to be giving his own rebuttal. what do you make of that when he's sort of -- he's potentially stepping on stacey abrams? what do you make of that in terms of projecting a unified party, because that doesn't.
>> senator sanders has done this in past states of the union, so this isn't the first time he's done that. and he and others certainly have the right to do that. he moved the time so it didn't conflict with stacey abrams, and i respect that. and again, i'm very excited about it. i think people who haven't met stacey abrams tonight are going to understand why she is such a star. because her smarts,her humilit humility, her passion for justice for everyone, opportunity for everyone, is why we were so proud to invest in her campaign, and i think she has an exceedingly bright political future. >> it is such a high pressure position to be in, so it's going to be very interesting to watch. thank you so much, chairman. >> always a pleasure to be with you. >> thank you for staying. we really appreciate it. >> it's always a pleasure to be here. >> of course. the stunning cnn exclusive that's getting major reaction on capitol hill and around the
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civil war, sierra bagger has been tracking the devastation left in their wake. a u.s. official told cnn exclusively that an investigation into u.s. arms agreements by coalition partners is ongoing. this is yemen's exclusive report "made in america, lost in yemen." >> reporter: shells of millions of dollars worth of abandoned arm armorred vehicles litter the roads. welcome to yemen where weapons stolen and abandoned are everywhere. we're here to trail those weapons and the chaos they have left behind. a journey starts at the front lines where a cease-fire was recently assigned. climbing up a defensive berm for
a closer look, the noise is only 200 meters away. another shot that's coming from over there. they want to take us to the actual position. they want to show us the cease-fire violations. so they're now firing on us. you can hear it. i can hear a musa that's incoming. it's getting heavier and we're told we have to leave. even as we are driving away, even now you can hear that. it's getting much, much heavier. the influx of weaponry is prolonging the conflict. on our way back from the front line, we spot what we've come in search of. it's absolutely incredible
driving past, and it's like a graveyard of american military hardware. and this is not under the control of coalition forces, this is in the command of militias. which is expressly forbidden by the arms sales agreement with the u.s. on the outside of these mine-resistant vehicles, there are stickers proudly proclaiming them as property of a militia allied to the coalition. we zero in on the serial numbers, tracing them back to u.s. manufacturer navastar, the largest suppliers of armed vehicles for the u.s. army. we're told to stop filming. but we're able to find another vehicle. this one even has the export sticker from beaumont, texas to abu dhabi in the united emirates. as we arrive back in town, we
pass yet another militia-held m armor. everywhere we look, it's made in the usa. u.s.-backed and saudi-led in the country's south, iranian-backed militias in the north. we can't cross front lines to go north, but the emirates have. to the backdrop of chance to death of america, this u.s. mrap was cast by the deputy sitting behind the wheel. cnn was able to obtain the serial number from one of the houthi mrads and we were told it was a $2 billion sale to the uae, a coalition partner. so why does it matter?
these mraps have already fell in the hands of enemies. cnn was told some u.s. military technology has already been transferred to iran. >> iranian intelligence are assessing u.s. technology very closely. there isn't a single american weapon that they don't try to find out its details, what it's made of, how it works. >> reporter: devised weapons are mass-pro du mass-produced by houthi sources, first achieved by u.s. forces. houthi leadership denied to cnn the existence of the preventive security force. cnn has also reached out to iran for comment and received no response. at the very least, these
hard-profile catches make them harder to fight. our next stop is where we're told a militia is in possession of american weaponry. in these images obtained by cnn, you see the abalabas militia quietly patrolling the streets. if that wasn't enough, there is also a watch with weaponry. arms markets are illegal in yemen, but that hasn't stopped them from operating. using undercover cameras, we are able to film armed cellars hidden by women's clothing
shops. we're told we can put in an order for an american rifle. sales like these are drawing a hard market for u.s.-made weapons. and that's just the tip of iceberg. cnn was told by coalition forces that a deadlier u.s. weapon was dropped to yemeni forces, an air drop proudly proclaimed by saudi charges. where were they used and by whom? we try to find out. can you hear me? we've been told we can't go ahead with the interviews we had preplanned. this local government is under the head of the coalition and they are completely blocking our ability to do any work.
it continued throughout that day and into the night. ultimately we're chased out of town. but we still want to find out what happened. we ask the u.s. department of defense whether they knew what happened to the u.s. tank. they said despite saudi tv coverage, they weren't even aware of the claim that the kingdom of saudi arabia used tow anti-tarng missiles in yemen in october 2015. after that, they said they have launched an investigation. a senior official denied to cnn that they were in charge of the arms sales agreement saying, the grints brigade are part of yemeni forces that light the houthis on the ground and the
united states or united kingdom did not authorize any sale to third parties. so far we focused on the weapons fueling the war here. but the seemingly endless conflict they sustain has also sparked a manmade catastrophe. just a short distance from the front lines, the human toll comes into full view. this is bashai, and she is so m malnourished, she can't walk. her mother has to carry her everywhere. there is so much malnutrition just in this one village. the local clinic had to shut down, so when word that the doctor is here gets around, parents come out into the street to meet her. lola is 14 months old but looks
far smaller. after the doctor finishs her checkup, her father takes us deeper into the village to meet other families. this is rehab. she's two years old and she is so severely malnourished that her chest has begun to cave in. but incredibly, this is rehab after she started getting better. the doctors said they have been able to get her to keep some of the nutrition in, and they're actually hopeful now. that hope, though, depends on peace. and what we've seen here doesn't give much hope of a lasting one. how easy it is to get your hands on high-tech u.s. weapons. how a swamp of uneasy alliances has led to sensitive u.s. weaponry ending up in both iranian and al qaeda linked
hands. how america's allies are making americans less safe. wherever or with whomever the weapons end up, the war goes on. and ultimately, it's the people here as ever that bear the brunt. cn cnn. >> navastar did not respond for comment. these u.s. arms are sanctioned by the u.s. government, and cnn's exclusive report has gotten the attention of american lawmakers. we have senator chris murphy along with nema al-bagger who had that exclusive report joining us next. by rootmetrics and j.d. power. now get $300 off our best phones.
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a member of the senate armed services committee is calling for an end to u.s. involvement in the war in yemen. this push from senator chris murphy is coming on the heels of an exclusive cnn report, "u.s. weapons sold to yemen and emirates and al qaeda." the central command was asked about the situation in a hearing today. >> we have not authorized saudi arabia or the emirates to retransfer any of this equipment to other parties on the ground in yemen. i think we have to look more closely at the allegations in this particular situation to find out what happened. as we've seen in iraq in the past where we saw our partners overrun, we have seen american equipment provided to them, lost
in the course of a fight, end up in the hands of our adversaries out there, so i think we have to examine that better. >> senator chris murphy is with us from capitol hill. cnn's nema bagger is with us. when you heard that cnn had this report, what did you think? >> it's unif you afuriat ing bu surprising. there is a record of american weapons ending up in their hands. many of the troops we were training in syria ended up in the hands of isis. this was predictable and that's
why many of us have been advocating for years for the united states to get out of the civil war inside yemen. our support for the saudis has been allowing them to intentionally kill civilians, and now we find out fairly definitively that the weapons we gave to the saudis are ending up in very conservative, very radical sunni militias who may end up . >> you've been with this reporting and unique position of knowing more than the u.s. government does about where its weapons are ending up. what did you think about how capitol hill is responding to your report? >> reporter: to the general's point where he describes weapons being given to allies ending up in a conflict situation in the hands of enemies, that's not what happened here. these were weapons that were knowingly transferred from the united arab emirates, that they admit to knowingly transfer two groups under the coalitions
ejis. saudi arabia publicly announce it had on media channels in addition to what we heard, they publicly announced that they were air dropping which is incredibly irresponsible. that's not a mechanism that you have a lot of control over. they were air dropping antitank missiles with a three kilometer radius to a military front that includes an al qaeda linked group. where this seems to be breaking down is the united arab emirates believed that they had the right to transfer this weaponry even though the united states has been pretty categoric that they do not, brianna. >> senator, what do you say to that? what can congress do? that's on outstanding point that nima makes. this is knowingly being transferred in violation of these armed sales agreements. >> we have raised these concerns with the administration before. we have known for a long time that the saudis and uae have created coalitions with very dangerous militias on the ground
inside yemen. this is not news to the administration. many of us are worried about those groups that are inside the saudi led coalition, but the saudis also have been violating the rules of conflicts for years now when they use our bombs, they're not supposed to intentionally drop them on civilians and yet we have all sort of good reporting to show they've been using u.s. made bombs, u.s. refueling planes to intentionally attack civilian targets and so it is also not as if our military didn't have notice that the saudis have in the past violated the conditions of our alliance, so this should not be surprising to them given that history. >> how do you deal with this, senator, when we've seen the administration, the president in particular, rhetorically and in very real ways with soft on saudi arabia, for instance, what is -- what can be done aside
from the administration where we're seeing this ret sans to be tough on the saudis? >> congress can pull the united states out of this civil war and in a few weeks we will offer a resolution on the floor of the senate to do that which will likely get the majority of senators voting in favor of it. democrats and republicans. the house will take up that resolution. it will have a majority of the house as well. the president may still veto that resolution, but that doesn't mean that congress shouldn't exercise our responsibility to be a coequal branch with the president in setting foreign policy as the reporting shows, the danger of staying in this civil war is not just that more military hardware will be transferred to dangerous militias is that we will continue to be part of a war that is creating a humanitarian catastrophe that's already resulted in 85,000 little kids dying of starvation or disease. congress has got to take a vote to pull us out of this war. >> nima, your report was -- it took us right to that point that
the senator is talking about, to see these children who -- they look -- they look younger than they are because they're so malnourished and it is heartbreaking in the story you tell. what needs to be done to stem this humanitarian crisis? >> reporter: well, everyone we've spoken to on the ground is clear on one point. they need a real cease-fire and the problem is when you have so many parties to the conflict empowered by this easy access to weaponry, it's very difficult to police a cease-fire and that is what needs to happen. the parties to the conflict even on a higher level ie the coalition, they need to deliver on their promises to get aid to some of these areas cut off by the fighting and we saw very little evidence of that on the ground, brianna. >> nima, thank you so much. amazing reporting. nima elbagir really taking us into a place we wouldn't get to otherwise see and senator murphy, we really appreciate you being with us. >> thank you. so just hours away from the
state of the union speech that his aides say is going to be bipartisan, the president and senator chuck schumer are already trading barbs. also, a new report says the trump organization is firing more undocumented workers at its golf clubs. you'll hear from one worker recently fired. as the governor of virginia decides whether he'll resign over a racist yearbook picture, moments from now the medical school will speak about that yearbook.
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hi, there of the i'm brooke baldwin. we're live in the nation's capital today. you're watching cnn. after a very public squabble over when, where and how he would give his second state of the union address, president trump will give it right where he was expected to in speaker nancy pelosi's house. the president is expected to make a plea for unity and bipartisanship while staring a divided congress right in the eye. the white house started campaign really zeroing in on an issue that affects so many of us, fixing the nation's crumbling bridges and roads. >> certainly i think you can expect that the president will talk about infrastructure. you'll hear the president talk about the opioid crisis in this country. i'll leave some this