tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN February 20, 2020 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
tonight do not miss joe biden and elizabeth warren in back to back cnn town halls. thank you for being here. i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. roger stone gets three plus years, but could friends in high places keep him from spending even one night behind bars. "the lead" starts right now. breaking just minutes ago, president trump weighing in on the sentencing of his former political pitbull and attack in the jury foreperson in the case and dropping hints that me he might use his pardon power to free the man who broke the law in service to him. rerolled snake eyes in vegas, but still up $64 billion. did the bad showing on the debate stage change any minds today in those states he's essentially taken over
commercial breaks. and the next intelligence chief and election security boss short on exper tees, long on loyalty. why the president's pick for acting director of national intelligence is setting off some alarm bells. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we start with breaking news. just hours after his long-time friend and adviser roger stone was sentenced by a judge to three years, four months in prison, president trump just moments ago dropped some strong hints that stone might never see the inside of a jail cell. >> roger has a very good chance of exoneration in my opinion. >> in terms of a pardon, president trump said he would not take any official actions now since he would like to see the process play out. they make a determination at a later date. and in his view, stone was treated unfairly. stone was convicted by a jury
last fall of lying to congress and threatening a witness. the president has in the past attacked the prosecutors in the case and the judge in the case. today he specifically singled out for criticism the forewoman of the jury. >> the woman who was in charge of the jury is totally tainted. when you take a look, how can you have a person like this. she was an anti-trump activist. >> there's no evidence she's an anti-trump activist. the woman is a democrat and had run for office before, but stone's attorneys were well aware of this. they asked her if she would be capable of judge iing the case without bias. she said yes. they took no actions to remove her from the jury. we should also note the president's attorney general seems to think quite the exact opposite about the fairness of the case as he told abc news just days ago. >> the stone case was prosecuted while i was attorney general.
i supported it. i think it was establish ed he was convicted of obstructing congress and witness tampering. i thought that was a righteous prosecution. and i was happy that he was convicted. >> trump's comments come in the midst of his post acquittal tour, where he seems to be punishing his enemies ask rewarding his loyalists. cnn's sara murray pick kiks off our coverage. >> reporter: she delivered a a scathing condemn in addition of the actions of president trump's long-time friend and political adviser. it arose because roger stone injected himself smack into the middle of one of the most significant issues of the day. jackson said the dismay and disgust over stone's behavior should transcend party lines.
stone was not prosecuted for standing up for the president. he was prosecuted for covering up for the president. stone stood quietly, his hands in his pocks, slightly slouching as jackson delivered the charges. obstructing a procedure and lying to congress. including lies that protected the president. >> the fact is that roger stone was treated horribly and so were many other people their lives were destroyed. >> reporter: the case played out amid-extraordinary political intervention. as trump called the prosecution unfair and suggested the judge was biassed. the judge and government prosecutors appeared determined to defend the judicial system in the the face of trump's attacks. prosecutors asked the government to sentence stone to seven to nine years. but william barr overruled the recommendation in favor of a lesser sentence. in response before prosecutors resigned from the case. the new government prosecutor name to the case defended the original trial team. this prosecution is righteous,
he said. jackson drove home the seriousness of stone's crimes. roger stone left court today without speaking on his behalf. he did not speak in the courtroom. he did the not speak to the press when there was a frenzy on the way out. he left here and went to washington, d.c. restaurant. where he watched the president's remarks about him on his phone. >> hold on right there. i want to come pack to you. president trump just went off about roger stone while speaking to a group of tomorrower prisoners a at a criminal justice event. as we keep refreshing his twitter feed to see if he's going to make an official comment about whether or not he's actually going to issue a pardon before stone goes to trail jail. let's bring in kaitlyn collins a at the white house. the president did not say a pardon is coming. he said he wanted the process to play out. he was clear he doesn't like the way this has gone down and roger
stone is going to be exonerated. >> i want to highlight where the president made these comments. he's speak at the las vegas police department at a graduation ceremony for former prisoners reentering society where he indicate d he's not going to pardon roger stone right now. but he is leaving the toor open to doing so in the the future. >> i'm mot going to do anything in terms of the great powers bestowed upon a president of the united states. you want the process to play out. i think that's the best thing to do. because i'd love to see roger exonerated. i'd love to see it happen. >> reporter: the president down played roger stone's crimes saying they say he lied, but other people lied too. >> stay there. sarah, take a listen to president trump just moments ago talking about the forewoman of the jury.
>> it's my strong opinion that the forewoman of the jury, the woman who was in charge of the jury, is totally tainted. when you take a look, how can you have a person like this. >> fact check that for us. >> reporter: you know, there's a foreperson of the jury that roger stone and his allies have taken issue with. and actually used jury misconduct as a basis for a new kritrooil. and the predom innocent thing that got their attention was the foreperson posted on social media about how she was defending the integrity of the prosecutors. the prosecutors who reseened from the case, the president's allies have attacked. now roger stone's allies flagged other social media posts trying to headache this woman appear to be anti-roger stone, completely anti-trump. and look, this is an appeal that's before the judge. the judge said she's going to consider it, but they also had an opportunity to remove this
person from the jury at the beginning and didn't do so. >> that's right. it's not like we live in a world where only democrats are on juries for democrats and republicans for republicans. take a listen to what a different member of the jury told our chris cuomo last night. >> she was perhaps the strongest advocate in the room for the rights of the defendant. and for making sure that we took it seriously and looked a at each charge. without her in the room, we have returned the same verdict and would have returned it more quickly and without looking as toeply into the evidence. >> say what's on your mind what president trump is saying. >> it does undermine what trump is saying. you see any member of the person saying this person made us lock harder at the facts. when we talk about how it was selected, the judge was one of the people getting out any bias. but roger stone's team also had an opportunity to question these
jurors about political bias before they were selected. it wasn't just the judge hand picking these folks. it's not like roger stone's team is learning about this member of the jury for the first time. it's ultimately up to the judge who evaluate facts to decide whether roger stone deserves a new trial. this is not someone who was flagged to be removed from this group at the beginning when they were screening for political bias. >> take a look at what president trump tweeted this morning. the same time that roger stone was being sentenced by the judge. the president tweeted, they say roger stone lied to congress. i guess he was watching cnn. then the president says, so did comey and he leaked classified information for which everyone goes to jail for a long time. so did andy mccabe. fairness? i find it very difficult to imagine president trump just letting the system play out and if that includes roger stone
going to jail. >> and you would be right. the president is essentially saying let's let this play out. we know roger stone wants a new trial. the president is making pretty clear he's indicating if that does not play out to his satisfaction, a commutation is in the future. roger stone's allies have been lob big the president for months to pardon roger stone if he did get jail time. he did not get a short sentence from the judge today. so it's hard for the people who know the president to see how he does let this go. >> it's a shorter sentence than the original recommendation. but still three years, four months in jail is not pleasant for anyone. . coming up, how new attacks could have a lasting impact on the judicial system. it's not as if he's overseeing multiple u.s. intelligence agencies. president trump a names a new acting director of national intelligence who has key expertise missing from his resume. stay with us.
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sglmplgtsds roger has a good chance of exone see roger exonerated. i would love to see it happen. i personally think he was treated unfairly. i'm going to watch it closely. and at some point, i will make a determination. but roger stone and everybody has to be treated fairly. this has not been a fair process. >> that was president trump just moments ago in las vegas doing nothing to dispel the rumors that he will pardon his long-time friend roger stone he went off about the tearness of the conviction and all by but assured that stone will be exonerated. let's chew over all of this. he said he's going to be watching the president prost. the next step in the process is that the judge will consider whether this petition from stone's lawyers that the whole case should be thrown out and retried because there was a foreperson who had said things critical of president trump on her social media post.
whether or not that would necessitate a new trial. assuming that does not happen and i'm pretty sure it won't, don't you think he's going to pardon him? >> i think he just set it up to pick a time frame. maybe second week of november of 2020. if you look at the way he was talking, he was clearly way leiing out i want all the appeals. even used some of the defense's points on the chairperson in their appeal for a retrial. so i think he's set it up for that. but i was not happy with the the sentence guidelines. i thought the prosecutors overstepped their bounds. >> obviously, the judge agreed. >> my argument is this is a really a great day for the judicial branch. she could have taken emotion into this and given him a lot more time. she had the document in front of her. she said the fair sentence is this basically three years, four months. i argue this is a great day for
the judicial branch of the united states. it shows despite the misgivings and the teams there could have been a circus. she came out ask based on the facts she heard before her and what she was doing, gave a fair sentence. that's a good day. i feel more confident about the judicial branch moving forward and doing the right thing. >> so let's -- because you have tried cases. a hot of people may not be familiar with the process of selecting a jury. this woman ran for office. she's a democrat. she said negative things about president trump and social media. that doesn't sound fair. explain how the process works. the lawyers knew that that she was a democrat. knew she ran for office. >> they went through the voir dire process. >> that's the process of select ing the jury. >> so lawyers ask a whole series of questions to try to discern
whether or not a jury would have bias or not. they want they have a an option to ask not to be part of the the jury. so in this case, the lawyer delirium tremens ask fer a series of questions. some that are revealed that she had been a candidate for some kind of political office herself. that she had heard a little bit about roger stone in the news. so they did not request she be excluded from the jury. so that was the process. they are going to use that information to try to argue that he should have a new trial, but based on what we have seen so far in terms of what's been reported and that record in the case, i don't think it looks like there's a substantial basis on which a judge would decide he is deserves a new trial. >> the other side issue here is attorney general bill br. had wished president trump would
stop tweeting and interfering in carrying out justice. this is what barr said just a few days ago about this specific prosecution. >> the stone was case prosecuted while i was joern general and i supported it. it was established, he was convicted of obstructing congress and witness tampering. i thought that was a righteous prosecution. and i was happy that he was convicted. >> president trump says not a fair process. he's getting ready to give him some sort of clemency. the attorney general says it's a righteous prosecution. how long can barr stay on the job with president trump doing this? >> those are completely different messages. not only is barr seeing a righteous prosecution, president trump is attacking the prosecutors. he attack iing the judge and the foreman of the jury. that makes it impossible for him to do his job. when the president keeps tweet
ing about a legal case, he can't do his job. the president continues to comment and tweet about the case. it does make it harder to have credibility in the justice department that he's willing to stand up to the president and if he's not willing to stay on, there's barr is not going to defend the independence of the justice department. >> and during sentencing, judge jackson said, quote, the truth still exists. the truth still matters. roger stone is insistent that it doesn't. his lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions to the foundations of our democracy. >> the president took into account that roger stone didn't tell the truth and everybody lies. this boils down to loyalty. roger stone has been a friend of the president's for several decades now. and as roger stone does, that
trumps what the attorney general says, what the judicial system decided. it's the feel for the president. >> everyone stick around. attacks have not ended after the debate. why one candidate says the real winner of the debate wasn't even on the stage. stay with us. knowing you're on the right path isn't always easy.
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♪ here's wishing you the bluest sky ♪ there's nothing to stop you from moving forward. [cheering] when you need the fuel to be your nephew's number one fan. holiday inn express. try to win by attacking, now, we know the trump strategy- distorting, dividing. mr. president: it. won't. work. newspapers report bloomberg is the democrat trump fears most. as president, universal healthcare that lets people keep their coverage if they like it. a record on job creation. a doable plan to combat climate change. i led a complex, diverse city through 9-11 and i have common sense plans to move america away from chaos to progress! i'm mike bloomberg and i approve this message.
after the most contentious debate this cycle, michael bloomberg is declaring president trump the winner of democratic debate to which the president tweeted i fwrae. there's other good news. a new poll shows for the first time ever more people approve of the job president trump is doing than disapprove. that job approval poll is an outlier, be but it comes as new polls in battleground states that hillary clinton lost last time find trump leading the top democratic contenders in wisconsin. though he's trailing or about even with the democratic candidates in michigan and pennsylvania. a reminder democrats only pick back up pennsylvania and michigan but not wisconsin trump
get res eles reelected. the race right now is shaping up to be bernie sanders to lose. >> how is was your night? >> michael bloomberg today joking around hoping to move past his lackluster debate performance. even as elizabeth warren kept piling on. >> i bet he's reaching in his pocket and spending $10 million more on advertising to try to erase everyone's memory of what happened last night. >> reporter: but at a campaign stop in utah, bloomberg kept his eye on the front runner. >> if we choose a candidate who appeals to a small base like sanders, it will be a fatal error. >> reporter: bernie sanders telling me that bloomberg's attacks are not what democratic voters are looking for. >> we have more wealth inequality they any time in the last 10 years. bloomberg is worth more.
>> sanders seeming to survive with the focus on the new dpie on stage. >> democrats take a huge risk if we substitute one arrogant billionaire for another. >> i don't think you look at donald trump and say we need someone richer in the white house. >> not just bloomberg's billions. his opponents also attacked his past. joe biden raising bloomberg's previous support for stop and frisk policing. >> it's the policy. the policy was abhorrent. and it was, in fact, a violation of every right people have. >> reporter: while warren challenged bloomberg to release women who have alleged sexist behavior by bloomberg and from nondisclosure agreements. >> are you willing to release all of those women from their nondisclosure agreements so we can hear their side of the story? >> we have a very few
nondisclosure agreements. and let me just -- there's agreements between two parties that wanted to keep it quiet. that's up to mem them. >> one of the big knocks on bernie sanders from his democratic opponents is he won't have the ability to unite the democratic party should he win the nomination. to that and i ask sanders today about his outreach to former president obama, who promised to play a big role once the contest completes. sanders said he's a regular contact with president obama talking to him a couple times in the past month or two and he is very confident that should he win the nomination that barack obama will be at his side. >> thank you so much. appreciate it. let's chew over all this with our political experts. a lot of people think elizabeth warren had a good night. >> i'd like to talk about who we're running against. a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced less
bee yans. no, i'm not talking about donald trump. i'm talking about michael bloomberg. >> bloomberg denies saying those things from a joke book from 30 years ago. some people say he did say them. i do wonder. do you think that ultimately the debate benefitted bernie sanders because there was so much attention on bloomberg and not any really on the front runner bernie sanders? >> 72 hours before the nevada caucus caucuses, you're in nevada. there's a front runner standing next to you for nevada and you attack somebody else. >> somebody not even on the ballot. >> you'll never see a debate like this where there's a clear front runner. bernie might run away with it in nevada. he has a lead there. and yet no one slowed his role. i have never seen anything like it. warren was trusk. maybe this will get her some traction. it was a bank shot when you had
bernie sanders. he skated on his pledge to release medical records. he skated standing in the shadow of a spot where 68 people were slaughtered with assault weapon. he opposed the assault weapon ban. he wasn't call ed on that at al. it's aa missing. bernie sanders should be very happy today. >> take a listen to bloomberg today and his take on the debate. >> look, the real winner in the debate last night was donald trump. because i worry that we may very well be on the way to nominating somebody who cannot win in november. and it we choose a candidate who appeals to a small base like bernie sanders, it will be a fatal error. >> what do you think? >> i think he's rooigt on the merits. this debate sofs many things. democrats saw potus take the beast around daytona and they are like how do we compete? wednesday night raw.
warren with several folding chairs. bloomberg who was just getting pummelled for the first half comes in with the surprise arm bar on the socialist to make him lift his houses. it was magnificent is. it may mark the decision degree ga dags of the republic. but this real housewives dinner party was what i was here heart. >> bloomberg had the worst debate performance of in the history of presidential debates. not only did he show he cannot defeat bernie sanders, he showed he isn't is capable of defeating donald trump. >> that's fun. pete buttigieg was the only one other than bloomberg to try to take a shot at bernie sanders. but when it comes to warren, i wanted to say the reason she didn't go after bernie sanders, there's no money in that. there's no fundraising in going after bernie sanders if you're elizabeth warren. there's certainly is with michael bloomberg. we saw that last night. she even got a superpac she didn't want after the fact.
>> i'm glad you brugt that up. she's been really talking about how evil superpacs are. it's all this unregulated money and all this stuff. but today she said, superpacs are okay. i don't have the exact quote. there was something because the male candidates have superpacs while she and amy klobuchar do not. so she's flip-flopped on superpacs. >> the purity test we're so in vogue at the beginning of the process are starting to fall by the wayside as some candidates realize they are running out of time. if they dent show up in the next couple race, they have to drop out. whether it means having a superpac or whether it means moving on some of their policy position, they are trying to do whatever they can to stay in the race. when you have bhoom bloom coming in with hundreds of millions of tlars, it big target. it's part of the reason b they spent so much time focusing on him and not the front runner in bernie sanders. he'll are is a lead in
delegates. >> you know who is upset about this flip-flop? democrat who is ran for president, did not have superpacs because they were afraid of elizabeth warren's purity test facing them and ultimately had to drop out. how will kamala harris, tim ryan, how are they taking the news? >> that's a really good point. i suppose senator warren is thinking sometimes the politics you have to rise above principle. and that's what she's doing. she's terrific. i don't have a candidate in this rays. but she seemed to stand for reform. and i used to help run a superpac. i don't think they are per se immoral at all. priorities usa, i have no longer affiliated with them, but they are not evil this my view. but i'm not senator warren telling everybody else that you have to meet my standard of purity. i doubt actually it's going to hurt her very much. i think she will plow ahead. i just saw her debate
performance sofs impressive. she will probably raise some muff off of that. i don't know if it's going to be enough to climb back the liberal lane from bernie, who has a commanding lead. nobody among the moderates has a lead that bernie has. >> elizabeth warren used to have that lead and then it changed last fall. more to talk about. coming up, it's not just as competitors expressing concerns. members of one very powerful group are raising concerns. stay with us. ♪ all around the wind blows ♪ we would only hold on to let go ♪ ♪ blow a kiss into the sun ♪ we need someone to lean on ♪ blow a kiss into the sun ♪ all we needed somebody to lean on ♪ the new xc90 plug-in hybrid electric. xc90. recharged.
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from the debate relatively unscath unscathed, it's a battle with the union that could hurt his chances in the caucuses. as even a promise on last night's stage may not be enough to calm fears about what sanders medicare for all proposal might mean for union members who have generous health insurance plans. >> just hours to the the nevada caucuses, the 60,000 member culinary union. >> is fights on the picket line to unionize more workers. >> my husband has asthma. we fought for that because we couldn't afford it. now i can can. and he can. and he could be with me longer. we should be able to have that. it's our choice. >> she's talking about her union health care. in one building she gets doctors
visits, prescriptions and eye covered. a vote for bernie sanders and his medicare for all plan would mean an end to union health care. >> i'm not sure about medicare for all if that's a good idea or not. it always sounds good, but i'm not sure. >> the battle spilled on to the debate stage. >> you're the one at war with the culinary union mere noo las vegas. >> we have more union support than you have ever dreamed of. >> my food friends in the workers union, i will never sign a deal that will reduce the benefits they have. >> one by one, every top candidate on the nevada ballot except for sanders marched with woerks. while medicare for all is not a deal breaker for every union
member, it is weighing on susan. she met at the culinary health care center. >> medicare for all will replace this and take care of everybody. >> no i really don't believe that. >> where are we going to go? >> reporter: while the union made clear what they think about the health care plan, they specifically did not endorse a candidate. here's something else to know. it is powerful. it is also majority latino. bernie sanders made efforts here in nevada. the question will be is if this issue with the union will blunt his campaign's efforts. >> all right, thank you so much. obviously, the nevada caucuses
coming up on saturday. fresh off the democratic debate, presidential hopefuls joe biden and elizabeth warren will join cnn for a live town hall this evening at 8:00 p.m. eastern tonight only on cnn. coming up, the one quality president trump seems to value above all else. loyalty to him. we'll ask a former director of intelligence how much that will help or hurt trump's new acting intelligence chief. [ distant band playing ] have you ever wondered what the motorcade driver drives when they're not in a motorcade? [ upbeat music starts ] [ engine revving ] ♪ this one drives a volkswagen passat. ♪
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beloved by conservatives for his outspoken defense and advocacy of the president and his policies. grin knelt has a long his oi of knife fighting as a fierce and vicious partisan. >> reporter: it's a job that by definition demands experience. it requires objective presentation of intelligence and a non-plait political approach. the president has chose b the direct opposite. >> i found the position of director of national intelligence a very tough so i can't imagine the challenge that somebody has. committee blasting the choice today. that echoed by nancy pelosi today who said the soul qualification is his absolute
loyalty to the president. senior republicans though are silent over making gre ining hi acting director. he has a history of lull vvulga tweets about women including about hillary clinton and michelle obama. saying michelle obama is working out on "the biggest loser." she's sweating on the east room carpet. >> there are times what was intended to be humes rous turned out to be not so humorous. >> while trump want to see the president tweet less, he supports it. >> it makes my job easier. i like having a president who is willing to be tough. >> grin knelt replaces mcguire.
mcguire stayed urn the president's radar rarely speaking in public, but he did voice his support for the whistleblower who sparked the investigation that led to the impeachment of president trump. >> i want to plooef the whistleblower have acted in good faith throughout. >> so this now means that yet another player in this ukraine investigation is being pushed out. the news coming the same day that a top pentagon official who is also involved was asked to resign. truth tellers and non-loyalists clearly not valued by the trump administration. meanwhile he tweeted today this is a temporary appointment and that the president will nominate someone else to be director of national intelligence soon. >> thank you so much. joining me to discuss is retired admiral dennis blair. he served as the director of
national intelligence under president obama. thank you for being here. we appreciate it. what are the most important qualifications for this job? this position was created after 9/11. so what do you need to do to be able to to it well? >> the fundamental skill and mission of the director of national intelligence is to integrate the 17 agencies each with matchless skills, but the real challenge of intelligence is putting them together to steal the secrets of people and countries that are against us and feed them to policymakers and troops in the field who are are trying to do their job and make the picture to do it better. >> is it important to have expertise in intelligence? >> yes, it is. like all complicated organizations, the person at the top ought to have experience of what's going on down below in order to be able to make it better. we all try to leave it better than we found it. you have to know something about it. >> so the ambassador to germany
attended harvard's kenny school and worked at the u.n. based on what you know about his expertise s that enoughf dependr he's a good manager or thinking and if he listens to his people. i don't know the gentleman. so if you look at temporary appointment, he's the fourth director of national intelligence within the last year. and now we're heading into an election. the place will be basically treading water for awhile no matter how good he is. without experience, even if he is good as the manager, he's got to take time to learn the issues and so it will be much better to get someone with experience to move things to give us better intelligence for the country. >> it's hard to not look at this in terms of how president trump picks people. he wants loyalty to him. not necessarily the best person
for the job. he wants somebody that he can trust 100% and i don't think it's any secret that joseph mcguire, who is on his way out the toor, by saying the whistleblower in the ukraine scandal acted with integrity and backing that up and ultimately geting the whistleblower report to congress as he was required by law to do that it's easy to see how that person could have run afoul of president trump. >> i know joe mcguire. i think he can pass the big test, which was can we look in the mirror when we're shaving the next morning and be proud of what we see. i think there's one thing that's important to note. the national intelligence enterprise is a huge over $60 billion for the people. hundreds of thousands of people. what they do with the president is only a tiny fraction of what they actually accomplish, which is providing intelligence to the troops in the field and
diplomats, to policemen, to the director of homeland security. so what we read about in this interaction with the president, the daily briefing is really just a tiny fraction. 99% of the intelligence professionals are working with people who value intelligence and want want it to be good and tell the intelligence people if they get it wrong. work together to make it better. it makes for better policy and better actions. fewer americans hurt and killed. don't be distracted by the sort of at the top. it's what's going on with the huge organization a big part of our national security apparatus. >> with all certainly hope he figures it out quick olympic thank you so much. i really appreciate it. >> mick mulvaney taking a a shot at his own party for something he actually is in charge of. that's next. jay? he helped me set up my watch lists. karl! he took care of my 401k rollover. wow, you call a lot. yeah, well it's my money we're talking about here.
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tax cuts in a budget deal that boosted federal spend iing. if only he knew somebody powerful who might be a able to work on solve iing the problem. coverage on cnn continues right thousand. thank you for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. we're following major stories including a 40-month pregnaniso sentence for roger stone. they dismissed claims he was singled out for politics saying he was prosecuted not for standing up for the president, but covering up for him instead. trump says he won't pardon stone at least not now. but he thinks he has, quote a good chance of exoneration. we're also following the race for the white house. and the fallout from the most heated debate so far.