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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  May 23, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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officials temporarily halted intake of migrants at this facility behind me. there are still health concerns even though it's reopened. we saw a staff member leave the facility wearing a mask. border protection tells me they're operating 500 people over capacity. >> nick, thank you. our coverage on cnn continues right now. >> happening now, breaking news. inform his skin. president trump goes on a tirade as he tries to respond to the latest barbs from nance qui pelosi after crudely insulting the house speaker, he calls on the staff to vouch for his behavior as pelosi clearly gets under his skin once again, does she own the president? new charges. wikileaks founder says s. the espionage act accused of der unlawful obtaining and disclosing national defense information. can prosecutors make the charges
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stick? striking a deal. the president's lawyers will get another chance to fight a subpoena for records from the president's accounting firm after striking a deal with the house oversight committee for a rapid appeals process. federal judges will hear the case in july. and take shelter. that's the warning heard ais kro the country as tornadoes carve their way across the midwest and thunderstorms pose new threats in the east. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> breaking news. house speaker nancy pelosi is pushing president trump's buttons once again. he's once again taking the bait. after the speaker today said she is concerned for the president's well-being and that his family or staff should stage an intervention. the president just responded with an extended tirade saying pelosi is a mess and calling her, i'm quoting now, the president of the united states
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calling her "crazy nancy" and told the staffers on camera so they could say he was calm and cool during his meeting yesterday with pelosi and senate democratic leader chuck schumer. the speaker says the president walked out from that meeting was a stunt and that president is crying out for impeachment but the democrats will hold back. indeed by getting under the president's skin and provoking the fresh outbursts from the president, the speaker navy diverting an impeachment push. the oversight and arms services committees and our correspondents and analysts, they'll have full coverage of the day's top stories. first let's go straight to our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. jim, the president clearly just let the speaker nancy pelosi get under his skin again. and we just witnessed another truly extraordinary tirade. >> she is under his skin big time, wolf. the president is continuing his war of words with house speaker nancy pelosi after she suggested
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that many trump's aides and family stage an intervention as she call it and in a wild exchange with reporters, the president described pelosi as crazy as you said and he dub himself a extremely stable genius in front of the cameras. he talks about how stable he really is. trading b trading barbs, he took a swipe at nancy pelosi saying she can't comprehend the deal with mexico and canada now pending before congress. >> she's a mess. let's face it. she doesn't understand it. >> the president then got even more personal, relitigating the confrontation one day early we are pelosi and the senate minority leader. >> as extremely calm. i was probably even more so in that room. so i walked into the cabinet room. you had the group crying chuck
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and crazy nancy. i've been watching her. i have been watching her for a long period of time. she's not the same person. she's lost it. >> the verbal tussling comes after the president lashed out in the rose garden, a performance they derided. zbhi don't do cover-ups. >> pelosi has gotten under mr. trump's skin referring to impeachment. >> there's no question, the white house is just crying out for impeachment. >> and intervention. a new pelosi trigger word. >> i pray for the president the united states. i wish his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the better of the country. >> the president turned to his own aides to back him up. one after one top officials were called on by the president to reassure the public mr. trump is calm in it his meeting with democrats. >> you were very calm. >> you were very calm. >> very calm and straight forward and clear. >> the president said he's not goating pelosi into impeaching
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him. the white house is accusing democrats of being more interested in investigation than legislation. >> i think it's a complete lie that democrats and congress think they can do two things at once. so far we haven't seen them do anything. nancy pelosi had the majority in the house for months. and has yet to accomplish a single thing. they have not -- they literally haven't gotten anything done since she's taken over. >> but that's not true. the house is so far passed dozens of bills including legislation aimed at gun control and climate change. and just today lawmakers announced a multibillion dollar relief package that should make the way through the house and senate and be signed by mr. trump in the coming days. >> and as for his fight with speaker nancy pelosi, the house speaker responded with a tweet in the last several minutes. we can put up that on screen. she says with the extremely stable genius starts acting more presidential i'll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade, and other issues. wolf, a source close to the white house just a short while ago told me the president
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appears to appears settling on a new strat jichlt the president according to the source appears to be saying to the house speaker at this point, put up or shut up on impeachment. but, wolf, despite the assurances from top white house officials about how calm the president is, things are very uncalm over here at the white house this evening. wolf? >> certainly was an extraordinary exchange he had with those reporters. jim acosta at the white house, thank you very much. let's bring in our cnn political director. another extraordinary moment. a public rant by the president. what do you think? >> you are the presidentst united states of america. so your voice carries most weight in politics. and you have to call up your staff who work for you to serve as validateors of your behavior because you want your version of events told so they robotically one by one are there in some kind of forced fashion to back up your story? we have left the world of normal so far behind here, wolf, it is
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so clear that he is overmatched politically. i it this president understands it. i think that's why we're seeing him act out in this way. sher remarks when she requested who is in charge over there is something that she asks herself. i mean that is not something that donald trump is happy to hear. that's why you get that kind of behavior in the roosevelt room. this is not an evenly matched political fight right now. >> until today, he never had, you know, an adjective to describe the speake. today he labelled her crazy nancy. that is the first time he's done that. he says that with a lot of other democrats. but that's the first time we heard him specifically go after her and at one point he said she's lost. she's not the same. >> i don't know what he's basing that on. i mean, i think what he is doing and i don't know if the president gets this or not, he's being an unwitting co-conspirator in nancy pelosi's effort to unify her caucus. think about how it week started. there was a growing minority of members in the democratic caucus
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wanting to go to impeachment proceedings sooner rather than later. she doesn't want. that but that voice was getting a little louder. she had to deal with. that guess who had to deal with that. donald trump. by behaving the way he's behaving, they rally and unify around her in this fight because she emerges the victor. he is helping nancy pe hosy's standing among her fellow democrats. >> he's not budging from the position he took yesterday following that three or four minute meeting he had with the democratic leadership that there's not going to be any negotiation on anything substantive until they end the investigation. >> it is an unthinkable thing that you can't do both at the same time. i just -- that makes no sense. so when sarah sanders is saying today, the democrats can't do two things at once. well, that's clearly not the case. they are passing laws and also investigating the president and exercising their oversight responsibility. you can and many passed at mgss
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have seen both the white house and the congress work on duel tracks even with the oversight role of congress being employed. donald trump is wrong when he said you can't do two. >> bill clinton was under impeachment proceedings in the house of representatives and then newt gingrich would rail against him during the day. at night, he goes to the white house and work out a balance budget deal. >> joining us is a member of the oversights committee. thank you for joining us, congressman. >> thank you for having me on. i gr he with everything david just said zbhchlt all right. i'll let him know. i think he is still listening. let's begin with your reaction from what we heard from the president of the united states. he is calling the house speaker nancy pelosi crazy. saying she's lost it. what was your reaction when you heard that?
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>> the reason she is so effective is she doesn't get in the mud with him. but she expresses the same disappointment she has as a mother of five kids. she says, look this is just silly. it's sad what he's doing. it's sad for the country. and trump doesn't know how to handle her. that's request he's lashing out. >> is there any remaining hope for democrats to pass legislation with this president? >> there is. we're always going to try. unlike mitch mcconnell who said he wanted obama to be a one term president and was unwilling to do anything, we're willing to pass legislation on infrastructure and reach a compromise with the white house on lowering the cost of prescription drugs. >> we've already passed a number of bills in the house. and we still would be happy to work with the president. it's he who is saying he doesn't want to do anything. >> at least 35 democrats, one republican, they've publicly called for either beginning impeachment proceedings against the president or said he
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committed impeachable offenses. yesterday was 29. now it's up to 35. problem bhi more. where do you stand? >> i support the speaker in the leadership. i think we need to have all of our committees investigate, get the facts out and also focus on the legislative agenda. i was in a meeting yesterday morning. i'll tell you, the vast ma jojoy of the caucus is behind the leadership. the majority would vote for the speaker's aproechlt i think he's right. >> you said on the oversight committee that chairman says he's getting there on the issue of impeachment. do you think the president's attempts to make impeachment more likely? >> i think he's making it more likely than more house members are going to feel that way. the irony is the one person that he should be most gracious towards or most he could praapp speaker pelosi.
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every time he snubs the judiciary committee or the oversight committee, he is forcing the hands of congress to escalate the conflict. if he were more transparent, if he cooperated, i believe actually would be in his interest to avoid impeachment. >> will mueller report documents the president's behavior. what more do you need to see before you make a decision on whether the house of representatives should formally begin impeachment proceedings? >> well, wolf, there is in doubt that the president mitted misconduct. there is serious -- in terms of violations of the law. the question, impeachment is a political question. what the speaker said and what i believe is you have to have the american public with you. you can't do something that the majority of the country doesn't believe in. they testify and then see whether the public is convinced. >> how do you respond to those of your democratic colleagues, some of the critics out there who say you're putting politics
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over principle? >> i don't think it's putting politics in an lekt ral sense. there is a principal of not ripping this country apart. there is a principal of finding a way to heal this nation f you're doing something that doesn't have the support of the majority of americans, then that is doing further damage to a politic that is already polarized. they want this judgement to be made in congress. we're aggressively investigating. we're willing to have people come and make the case and watergate as you know it took almost a year and a half. i believe that the american people may get there. but it would be irresponsible in my view to act before we made that case to the american people. >> congressman, thank you as usual for joining us. >> thank you for having me on, wolf zbhchlt we're following more breaking news here in "the situation room." the wikileaks founder has been hit with a string of new charges under the u.s. espionage act. let's bring in our senior justice correspondent. how serious is this move by the justice department? >> this is a big deal, wolf.
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this is the first time that certainly any of cuss remember the justice department bringing charges like this under the espionage act. it's specifically these are 17 new charges against julian assange that accuse him of unlawful obtaining and disclosing national defense information. this is information that was classified. again this is in concert with chelsea manning. this is the information that was essentially -- he was encouraging chelsea manning to go into the defense department computers in order to obtained this information according to the justice departmnt. they believe that this makes julian assange not just a publisher, not just a journalist, but a criminal. and so it's a big deal though that this is a charge that they decided to bring under the espionage act because, again, he's awaiting extradition from the -- from britain, from the united kingdom. this could make it more complicated for them to send him here to face these charges. julian asank, as you know, has
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described this as a political case. and so this is now probably going to add to that information. he's trying to present there. to make the case he should not be sent to the united states to face the charges. >> it's a dramatic step by the justice department. does it set the stage for other major steps involving russia, involvement in the u.s. elections? charges that could be brought against other individuals? >> well, it's pos tlibl is other information here that, again this is a case that they're still pursuing, as you know. chelsea manning is under a new subpoena. and she's fighting the subpoena in the eastern district of virginia. so he went dough who else the justice department and the fbi has with relation to what wikileaks is up to, whether or not there is anything this had to do with the russian hacking. by the way, they have tweeted in reaction to this saying this is madness. it is the end of national security journalism. and the first amendment this is something, wolf, that the previous administration under the obama administration
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struggled with. because of the differences, how do you tell the difference between wikileaks and "the new york times" or cnn or any other news organization that obtains information that may be classified that, may be secret but which has a public interest. so that's the big question here is does this make it more difficult for journalists to do their job? i think that's the big question everyone is asking at this hour. the justice department says that wick qui leaks and julian asank is now charge because the publisher, they're saying this is a pure case of someone who is encouraging someone to break the law. >> evan perez, thank you for that update. president trump lashes out as he tries to answer the latest jabs from nancy pelosi. he calls the house speaker names and he calls himself once again a stable genius. anticipate president trump rips his former secretary calling him dumb after tillerson says russia's putin not prepared the
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we're following the breaking ne including president trump lobbying insults at the house speaker nancy pelosi, clearly irritated by her latest remarks about the president. let's dig deeper with our correspondents. nancy pelosi clearly got under the president's skin. listen to what she said earlier today. >> i can only think that he wasn't up to the task of figuring out the difficult choices of how to cover the cost of what the important infrastructure legislation. he was not prepared. and sow used some excuse to go out the door. who is in charge here? you agree and then all of a sudden something changes. what goes on there? who is in charge? i pray for the president of the united states. i wish his family or his administration or staff would have an intervention for the good of the country. maybe he wants to take a leave of absence, i don't know. we can walk and chew gum at the same time, i hope he can too. >> that didn't take long for the president to respond.
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watch this. >> crazy nancy. i tell he you what, i've been watching her. i have been watching her for a long period of time. she's not the same person. shez lost it. >> they used to have a fairly respectful decent relationship. what happened? >> nancy pelosi conducted a master class today in how to get under donald trump's skin. she pushed his buttons over and over and over again. and i think what we saw here was a meltdown. a venting, a therapy session over and over again. he wasn'ted to prove he had been calm. he goes around the room to staff calling on them as witnesses to how calm he was. but there is one phrase he used over and over again that i think speaks to this. he kept saying i thought it was over. he cannot stand that the investigations are continuing. and what nancy pelosi is doing with or without impeachment is
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it's not over. >> yeah. i mean, i tell my kids this. smart people don't need to tell you how smart they are. athletic people don't need to tell you how athletic they are. calm people don't have to make sure that people say they're calm, right? it should be demonstrated whether it's on the athletic field or in the classroom, whatever. when you do that as donald trump does or say things like i'm an extremely stable genius, everyone knows that. i have a great temperment, i mean it does not take a psychology degree to see he is overcompensating. he's always been since he's been in the public eye, 30, 40 years, he's always sensitive about his intel sequence, how smart he, is where he went to school. he does not like -- between that and his physical appearance, hand, size, those are the things that we know are buttons for him and she did push them zbhchlt what do you think? >> well, his money too. don't forget. that he doesn't walk around talking about how rich he is. and, yet this president has been doing that for decades. look, if he talks about the
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speaker and her position, it's been stable for, to use the word stable, it hasn't changed since she was -- since the mid terms. since she was once again lekted speaker. she has said from day one she is not looking to impeach this president. she said a few weeks ago. at least with a republican controlled senate, you're not going to have president trump remove through impeachment. in fact what you need to havecy -- have is a resounding victory. what is interesting, what has changed is that, remember at the time when her speakership was on the line, president trump went out of the way to endorse her. the narrative is he hoped and understand that he was not going to be pushing for impeachment. now he is using this sas a get toing mechanism. >> i'm sure he's upset the two federal courts in new york and in washington have ruled against him in favor of house democrats.
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>> and that's because the president pushed the buttons of the judiciary by challenging separation of powers. up until now you had this chicken game going on between the congress and the president about who is going to go off course first. they stepped in to say congress not only has like legislative authority and power of oversight to say if i can actually remove you, i can investigate you and pursue that as part of it. the other attitude is the idea of mr. president, they don't have to prove to you legislative intent. that solidifies the minds to say if you're going to challenge the co-equal branch theme, be prepared to actually get the wrath of the courts. >> stand by. there is a lot more developing as we speak. we'll take a quick break and we'll be right bakt. bakt. (paul) great. another wireless ad.
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nancy pelosi is pushing back the democratic colleagues twhant this impeachment process to begin. >> she's also protecting more moderate constituents as well as part of her caucus who were elect during the mid terms on policy issues. whether it be health care, whether it be the economy overall. so she's got to vouch for them as well and make sure that they are voted once again in to office. it's going to be a tough race for them. it's a balancing act for her.
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as we note to be pressing at the president's buttons. >> wolf, just politically speaking, that's a savvy strategy. hook at any poll that asks people what is your -- what do you think the most important issue facing the country is. it may be health care or immigration, education. impeachment is not anywhere near there. nancy pelosi knows that. she has what worked in 2018. they tried to ignore largely donald trump when it came to ads. they spent all of the money on tv ads on health care. the republicans in the house repeal at fordable care act. they want to take away this, that and the other thing. it worked. she said sh was a health care election and we won on health care. she is right. it is important to different ship what members of her caucus want from what actually we know motivates voters to vote. and she's -- it's a hard line to
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walk. i think she's on the right side of it millie speaking. >> politically and here's the thing on day like today when donald trump responded the way he did, she won. she can go back to her caucus and say okay, guys. let's keep going. it is working. she can stick with her position and he is going -- >> do they need a formal impeachment process, laura, in order to have a better legal argument to obtain documents and testimony from the add sngs. >> not according to the judge who actually said that because the founding fathers, not farmers, envision there is a check and balance system on the president of the united states, they can investigate even without opening an impeachment inquiry. they want to be able to have the power to oversight. one thing that is important here is what is one way to diffuse this mentality of a pitch fork
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mob against the president in a witchunt to have contemplated strategies that have the entire process go on? the reason they use the entire process of going to the courts and issuing subpoenas and looking for compliance to do so and using the last resort impeachment, the more they team like it's not a mob or witchunt. it underminds the president's 2 1/2 year argument. >> did not only attack nancy pelosi, rex tillerson who appeared behind closed doors for several hours before the house foreign affairs committee spoke at length there is one report he suggested the president wasn't as well prepared for his conversation with putin. putin was today the president tweeted rex tillerson, a man who is dumb as a rock and totally not prepared and not equipped to be secretary of state made up a story and got fired. i don't think putin would agree. look how the u.s. is doing. >> i have one question, who
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hired rex tillerson? how is that all of the best people, there are always the best people turn out to be lousy or liars and i went back and hooked looked at a tweet from december 13th, 2016, donald trump, i have chosen one of the truly great business leaders of the world, rex tillerson. >> what -- go ahead. >> i recall coming out of that meeting in germany the president tweeting and announcing grate de a great deal that he and putt yun came up with and that is the great cyber commission which was quickly dismissed obviously. but if that's his idea of graa great meeting that, is troublesome. can you look to any of the predecessors whose top russians advise yoz would have discussed and you could have called me to know what putin does in these situations. he keeps people waiting for many hours and then comes in with the long list of grievances and his
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version of history and how many times he believes russia was betrayed by allies, friends, foes alike. so this was an embarrassing incident and embarrassing that we should note that a former secretary of state had to say something like this before close doors and also, you know, a security threat to not to say the least. >> and rex tiller son, remember, to jamie's point this is not just some guy. if you think back to december 2016, donald trump painted rex tillerson as maybe mitt romney or bob corker. then it was rex tillerson. he was the crowned jewel of the donald trump cabinet because he was the only guy who could convince someone of the stature and business aptitude of rex tillerson to come into the cabinet. it was -- that was 819 days ago. now he's dumb as a rock and not equipped and not prepared. maybe you should have thought about that then. >> quickly, rex tillerson is not alone. we have heard from john kelly,
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general mattis, gary cohn, it goes on and on. you know, dozens of people who left the administration. >> everybody stick around. there is more news we're following. millions of americans now facing very severe weather tonight. we're going to get the latest on the tornadoes, flooding, ravaging parts of the midwest and leaving at least three people dead. plus, the u.s. files serious and controversial new charges against the wikileaks founder julian asank. the introducing the all-new 2019 ford ranger, it's the right gear. with a terrain management system for... this. a bash plate for... that. an electronic locking rear differential for... yeah... this. heading to the supermarket? get any truck. heading out here?
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midwest are bracing for more severe weather including tornadoes and flooding as cheenup continues in one missouri town ravaged by a twister packing 160 mile-per-hour winds. we're in tulsa, oklahoma. he has the latest. we saw 29 tornadoes yesterday and today. >> yeah. wolf. and one of the biggest factors on top of the tornadoes is, of course, the flooding that came with the drenching rain and these rivers cresting as well. the city of tulsa specifically is bracing for more flooding on top of the water they have already seen. in fact, a few hours ago the city began sounding the flood sirens up and down the arkansas river. on a localized basis, serving as a warning for residents to seek higher ground and then in their words, i'm quoting here, this is a dangerous situation. >> reporter: a night of violent storms and tornadoes. that tore through the midwest. >> there's a tornado right there, anyy.
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>> where? >> missouri hit hard. devastation scattered across the state. >> there were storms everywhere last night. >> reporter: from golden city to the capital jefferson city, one tornado on the ground for miles threw debris thousands of feet in the air. >> it sounded like you picture it. it's like a train. you don't expect it. like it just came within seconds. we barely made it to the bathroom. >> reporter: the state waking up to battered communities. three people were killed and dozens injured across missouri. >> it's terrible. it's destroyed. it's not home. anymore. it's not. i don't know. i really don't know how to describe it. it's just depressing. it's severely depressing. >> we were already prepared somewhat but we were not prepared for this. >> reporter: rescue crews are searching the damage and neighbors are pitching in to help in the aftermath. >> we found cheesy! we're trying to get him out. >> this man repg to rescue a neighbor's trapped cat. jefferson city's mayor
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reiterating the devastation could have been worse zbhchlt we're very, very thankful that happened at night when most people were likely, you know, at home and they heard the outdoor warning sigh republicarens. >> and missouri just one state in a region hard hit not only by 170 reported tornadoes in a matter of days but also by high level flooding in recent weeks. >> we're still in flood stages all over the state. we still have water coming out from the north up there. we're concerned about that. >> reporter: homes in oklahoma also under water. residents evacuated ahead the rising water, some who thought they could ride out cresting rivers, rescued. officials preparing in case of threatened dam in tulsa fails. >> the biggest concern is more rain. there is more rain in the forecast for north tulsa. >> reporter: two barges broke through along the arkansas river crashing into another dam and sinking soon after. the chaos and destruction still on going as residents wait to
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see what will be left of their homes and communities. and while it hasn't happened yet, officials say they're preparing for a level of flooding they haven't seen in more than 30 years. wolf? >> all right. thank you very much. he is reporting from tulsa. there is more breaking news. the house speaker nancy pelosi tweaking president trump and getting under his skin, prompting the president to lash out at her. it's in here. new from revitalift: derm intensives hyaluronic acid serum with our highest concentration of hyaluronic acid visibly plumps skin and reduces wrinkles. bounce back! new revitalift hyaluronic acid serum from l'oreal. behr presents: outdone yourself. staining be done... and stay done through every season. behr semi-transparent stain,
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for h t understand then in january, trump stormed out of the white house situation room when pelosi refused to fund his border wall. >> we saw a temper tantrum. she speaks to trump. that's what she is doing. from this mocking clap at the state of union to her mocking had toim day about whether he can handle his job --
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>> i said one time, who is in charge here? >> pelosi's own children say she is sharp, relentless and effective. >> she'll cut your head off and you won't even know you're pleaing bleeding. >> there is another dynamic at play too, the fact that pelosi has as much real power as any woman he's ever square off against. >> i is very confuse by strong women that won't do what he says. in his lifetime, he's been really attended by any more cap put all of those talents. >> i'm sure he's barking at his aides and trying to figure out how to undercut her. how to exact his revenge. >> so does nancy pelosi have an aquill these heel? one card he can play is to stoke the pressure he is under from
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the far left element in her own party. >> what he can do is take action that makes that caucus winter to pu -- want to push her. she may have to move forward on impeachment. >> reporter: nancy pelosi does not want to initiate impeachment proceedings but the timing of her latest battle with trump could also work well for her in that regard. now experts say pelosi can tell democrats what she is doing right now with president trump besting him in legislative fights and beating him in public perception is working just as well as impeachment ever could to damage the president politically. wolf. >> brian todd reporting, thank you. coming up, the breaking news, julian assange is charged with 17 new counts accused of n unlawfully obtaining defense information.
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his aides to publicly defend his temperament. indicted again, the u.s. files new charges against wikileaks founder julian assange accusing him of illegally obtaining classified information and putting lives at risk. destructive weathe threaten parts of the midwest and northeast. cnn is on the scene where a twister hit with the devastating power of a hurricane. publicity stunt. that's how howard stern is describing president trump's candidacy. stand by to hear directly from howard stern as he shares inside information about mr. trump in a new cnn interview. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn brea


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