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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  February 15, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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02/15/17 02/15/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> there is nothing in what general flynn did in terms of conducting himself that was an issue. what came down to, plain and simple, was misleading the vice president and others and not having a firm grasp on his recollection of that. amy: less than a month after trump took the oath of office, the white house made -- maybe facing its biggest crisis yet following the resignation of michael flynn over his calls to russia amidst reports that members of trump's team made repeated contact with russian intelligence officials before the november election. we will speak with democratic commerce member ted lieu of
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california. then we look at one of donald trump's most powerful advisors, stephen miller, a 31-year-old former aide to senator jeff sessions. >> the end result of this is that our opponents, the media, and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned. amy: we will look at how stephen miller went from pestering latino students to designing trump's immigration policy. we will speak with one of his former classmates and a reporter at univision. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. "the washington post reports the white house is in full-blown crisis following the resignation
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of former national security advisor michael flynn. on tuesday, the white house admitted that president trump new for weeks michael flynn had discussed center than a call on december 29 with the russian ambassador and then lied to vice president mike pence and other officials about it. "the new york times" and cnn are reporting phone records and intercepted calls show that members of donald trump's presidential campaign had repeated contacts with senior russian intelligence officials in the lead up to the november election. "the new york times" reports the u.s. law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the time they were discovering evidence that russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the democratic national committee. these advisers include trump's former campaign chair paul manafort and former trump advisor carter page. according to "the new york times," call records show paul
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manafort was in touch with russian officials before the election. the publication of the expose came only hours after white house press secretary sean spicer denied anyone from the trump campaign was in touch with russia before the election. during the press conference, spicer also refused to say when trump became aware of the contents of flynn's phone call with the russian ambassador, saying instead, flynn had simply lost the president's trust. >> we got to a point not based on a legal issue, but a trust issue, with a level of trust between the president and general flynn had eroded to the point where he felt he had to make a change. amy: while the white house has a knowledged trump knew about flynn's discussion of sanctions after former acting attorney general sally eight warned the administration weeks ago, many are questioning whether trump in fact new at the very time of the call. and december 30, the day after the call, trump tweeted --
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on tuesday morning, president trump initially responded to michael flynn's resignation by tweeting -- lawmakers are now calling for an investigation. michigan commerce and john conyers maryland congressman elijah cummings said in a statement -- not "we in congress need to know who authorized his actions, permitted them, and continue to let him have access to our most sensitive national security information despite knowing these risks. we need to who else within the risk to our national security." we will have more on that resignation of michael flynn after headlines. the office of government ethics has counselor to the president
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kellyanne conway committed a clear violation of federal ethics rules which he used a tv appearance on fox and friends last week to market merchandise sold by president trump's daughter training. stuff.utyivanka's i own some of it. i'm going to get a free commercial here. go buy it today. amy: in a letter released tuesday, walter shaub called on the white house to investigate conway and consider disciplining her. the thursday, following appearance on fox and friends, conway said she spoke to trump and he stands behind her 100%. conway is also under fire this morning after buzzfeed reported to ay tweeted ""love you" white nationalist on valentines day. the user has a bio that reads --
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it also includes an image of pepe the frog, which the anti-defamation league has classified as a hate symbol. "lib hypocrisy" tweeted at conway tuesday -- "your strength and resiliency in face of vile hatred, bigotry, & sexism of the unhinged left is a daily inspiration. love you!" conway retweeted the message and added, "love you back." president trump also signed legislation tuesday to repeal a dodd-frank anti-corruption measure requiring oil and mining companies to disclose payments to governments. pres. trump: this is h resolution 41, disproving the security's and exchange commission's rule on disclosure payments by resource extraction issue is. it is a big deal. we are bringing back jobs bigly at the plants level in the mine
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level. the energy jobs are coming back. amy: the rule had required public oil, gas and mineral extraction companies to disclose annually its payments to both foreign governments and the u.s. government. lawmakers say these disclosures help fight corruption in resource-rich countries. the oil industry had fiercely lobbied against the measure. politico reports longtime exxonmobil ceo rex tillerson, who is now secretary of state, personally lobbied against the rule, flying to washington, d.c. to meet with then-senator , richard lugar in 2010, to try to get the measure removed from dodd-frank. president trump is meeting with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu today. a u.s. official told reporters tuesday trump may not focus on a two-state solution as the path to peace between israelis and palestinians. if so, trump would be departing sharply from the u.s.'s public diplomatic stance for more than 20 years. since trump won the u.s. election, netanyahu's far-right government has announced the construction of hundreds of
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settlement housing units -- as well as the first brand new settlement in two decades -- in the israeli-occupied west bank. trump's pick for ambassador to israel, david friedman, is a longtime political and financial supporter of israel's settlements, which are illegal under international law. netanyahu is a close friend of the kushner family, jared kushner in advisor to president trump and also his son-in-law. in washington state, lawyers are suing the federal government over the arrest and detention of daniel ramirez medina, who was arrested friday by agents with immigration and customs enforcement, or ice, even though the 23-year-old has permission to live and work in the united states under president obama's daca program. that is deferred action for childhood arrivals. his lawyers have called his detention unprecedented and unjustified. ramirez was arrested when ice agents came to his father's home and detained both men on
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friday. ramirez has been living in the united states since he was seven years old. his family is originally from mexico. he's now being imprisoned at tacoma's northwest detention center. advocates say his detention may be the first of a daca recipient since trump took office. it came amid a wave of ice raids nationwide last week, in which more than 600 people were arrested and detained. in california, authorities have lifted a mandatory evacuation order, allowing tens of thousands of residents near the oroville dam to return to their homes. nearly 200,000 residents living near the nation's tallest dam were forced to evacuate over the weekend after erosion caused a hole to open up in the dam's emergency spillway, threatening to unleash a 30-foot wall of water onto nearby towns. environmental groups had warned california officials more than a decade ago that the oroville
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dam's emergency spillway was at risk of erosion, but the officials ignored the warnings. scientists say this season's record-breaking levels of rainfall in california, which has filled the oroville dam to the brink, is one of the latest examples of extreme weather caused by climate change. in more climate change news, preliminary data from the national snow and ice data center shows the sea ice around antarctica has shrunk to the smallest annual extent ever recorded. meanwhile, in bolivia, a state of emergency over drought conditions has now been in place for over 100 days. scientists say the drought is fueled by the retreat of bolivian glaciers as a result of global warming. protesters in bolivia also say the water shortages have been worsened by government mismanagement and industrial mining projects. this is bolivian president evo morales.
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>> perhaps global warming brings with it many issues. my concerns are in the bolivian highlands. in january, there was a lot of rain but now there is no rain. if it does not rain this month and the next month of march, we are going to have many problems with the issue of water. amy: russia's foreign ministry says russia will not relinquish control of crimea, despite calls from the white house that russia return the territory to ukraine. on wednesday, a russian spokesperson said -- "we don't give back our own territory." russia illegally annexed crimea in 2014, prompting the us and -- prompting the u.s. and the european union to impose sanctions. russia's announcement comes as the u.s. is embroiled in the political scandal of former national security adviser michael flynn's resignation after revelations he discussed separate sanctions imposed against russia with the russian ambassador in late and then lied december about the phone call. human rights watch says the
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syrian government repeatedly and systematically deployed the chemical weapon chlorine gas against residents in aleppo during the final weeks of a siege and battle to retake the city from anti-government rebels late last year. the report, released monday, accuses syrian military helicopters of dropping chlorine gas canisters on residential neighborhoods at least eight times. last week, amnesty international published a shocking report accusing the assad government of engaging in a deliberate policy of extermination by hanging thousands of civilians at the saydnaya prison near damascus. in china, mass protests have erupted against the proposed construction of a $6.7 billion aluminum plant in a city near the siberian border. on tuesday, thousands of people poured into the streets of daqing for a third straight day of protest against the plant over concerns of pollution. protesters say there are already
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two chemical plants in the city, which they say have caused high levels of pollution. in the dominican republic, two radio journalists were shot dead tuesday morning after gunmen opened fire in the middle of a broadcast on facebook live. radio host luis manuel medina of the program hot millennium was killed and producer and director leo martinez at the station in san pedro de macoris in the middle of the live broadcast, during which one can hear the sound of a gunshot, and then the words "tiro, tiro" -- or shots shots -- before the video cuts out. in more journalism news, back in the united states, the "wall street journal" is facing accusations of being too favorable in its coverage on president trump. on monday, the "wall street journal's" top editor gerard baker called a staff meeting to address internal dissent. the paper is owned by conservative mogul rupert murdoch.
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under baker's direction, the "wall street journal" ousted opinion editor mark lasswell, after blocking him from publishing editorials critical of president trump. the paper refused to run a story about white supremacist support for trump. "business insider" reports baker even tried to avoid highlighting that the seven countries included in trump's travel ban or majority muslim instead , suggesting to editors the nations be called "terror hotspots." meanwhile, the white house has given press credentials to a reporter with the far right-wing outlet "the gateway pundit" one of the most fervently pro-trump blogs. it's considered even farther to the right than breitbart media. even conservative commentator erick erickson has criticized the move, writing -- and in health care news, humana
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has announced it will no longer offer health insurance coverage in the affordable care act state marketplaces, dealing another blow to obamacare. the announcement came as aetna said it was abandoning its plan to merge with humana after the proposed $37 billion merger was block on antitrust grounds. last year, aetna announced it would cut its participation in the affordable care act's marketplaces by two thirds. president trump and republicans have vowed to dismantle the affordable care act. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. "the new york times" and cnn are reporting phone records and intercepted calls show that members of donald trump's presidential campaign had repeated contacts with senior russian intelligence officials in the lead up to november's election. "the times" reports u.s. law enforcement and intelligence
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agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the democratic national committee. "the new york times" and cnn published their stories tuesday night less than 24 hours after , trump's national security advisor michael flynn resigned following revelations he spoke with the russian ambassador about u.s. sanctions during a late december phone call. former acting attorney general sally yates had warned trump's administration weeks ago that flynn might be lying about the call but the white house took no , action for 17 days. days after yates issued the warning trump fired her for , refusing to enforce his muslim ban. michael flynn is at least the third trump official to reportedly have ties to russia. others include trump's former campaign chair paul manafort and former trump advisor carter page.
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according to the "new york times," call records show manafort was in touch with russian officials before the election. hours before the "times" published its expose, white house press secretary sean questioned if anyone was in touch with russia before the election. >> back in january, the president said no one in his campaign had been in touch with the russians. now, today, can you still say definitively that nobody on the trump campaign, not even general flynn, had any contact with the russians before the election? >> my understanding is what general flynn has expressed is that during the transition time -- we were clear during the transition period from he did speak with the ambassador -- >> i'm talking about in the campaign. >> there's nothing to conclude there's anything different. >> 17 days ago, flynn had misled otherice resident, officials, and he was a
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potential threat to blackmail by the russians. why would he be kept on for almost three weeks? >> that assumes a lot of things that are not true. the president was informed of this. toasked white house counsel review the situation. the first matter was whether there was a legal matte issue, h the white house counsel concluded there was not. this was an act of trust. amy: on tuesday morning, president trump initially responded to michael flynn's resignation by tweeting -- "the real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of washington. will these leaks be happening as is ideal on north korea etc.?" earlier today, trump wrote -- "the fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred. @msnbc & @cnn are unwatchable. @foxandfriends is great!" he then added -- "information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes &
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@washingtonpost by the intelligence community fbi? just like russia." the pro-trump website has described the dismissal of flynn as part of a deep state coup. on capitol hill, congressman elijah cummings, the ranking democrat on the house committee on oversight and government reform, called for a congressional probe into trump's ties to russia. >> whited flynn continued to sit in on the most sensitive classified meetings until just two days ago? ladies and gentlemen, something is wrong with that picture. i want the press to press these questions. who at the white house decided to do nothing for three weeks as flynn sat in on meeting after meeting after meeting? did the president decide? did council decide the way?
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something is wrong here. amy: we go to washington, d.c. where we are joined by , democratic congressman ted lieu of california. he's a member of the house committee on foreign affairs. he served on active duty in the u.s. air force and continues to serve as a colonel in the air force reserves. welcome to democracy now! your response to the resignation, the forced resignation of general michael flynn as national security adviser. >> thank you, amy. let me say have a problem. the president of the united states new for weeks that is national security adviser lied to the vice president, lied to the american people, and was horrible to black -- vulnerable to blackmail by the russians. the president did nothing until the press exposed the truth a few days ago. that means the president placed the interest of russia above that of the american people. that is not acceptable. then we learned last night that
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trump campaign aides had multiple contacts with russian intelligence agents during the presidential campaign. safety say, they were not talking about the weather. amy: talk about the significance of this. what the allegations are is during the campaign, manafort, among them, the campaign chair, did not just have conversation with, but repeated contacts with . what was the significance and what do you understand was the for these communications? >> we don't know what the content of the conversations were, but the fact that they were even with russian intelligence agents raises huge red flags. because there were many of these contacts, that abrogates the red flags. red the this shows there is the possibility of collusion between the trump campaign and the russian government. if in fact there was collusion,
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that is a serious federal crime and then it raises issues of what did donald know and when did he know it? let's talk about, what did donald trump know and when did he know it fult. flynn said in his resignation hader yet inadvertently incomplete information. why do you think it took trump weeks? i was also interested in spicer's press briefing yesterday, he talked about the vice president and others were given -- according to the president, the vice president and others were given false information. they do not actually say that the president was. todonald trump, according media reports, new for weeks from the department of justice that michael flynn was vulnerable to blackmail by the russians because he lied about the content of his conversations with the russian ambassador when
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he told vice president pence that they did not discuss sanctions, when in fact they did. michael flynn's resignation letter essentially confirms that fact. donald trump new, you now had a national security adviser in that position who could be blackmailed by the russians and donald trump was ok with that. until a few days ago with the press, and thank goodness for the press, exposed what had happened. amy: let's turn to donald trump speaking in july, candidate trump, when he called on russia to hack hillary clinton's gmail. pres. trump: russia, if you're listening, i hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. i think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. any code that was in july. no one should ask them to hack emails.
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no donald trump is president of united date and we're learning more about the context of his campaign with the russian government. we absolutely need a bipartisan congressional probe. this is serious. we have a russia that has done mass of cyber attacks on the united states to influence our elections. i encourage everyone watching to go ahead and google unclassified intelligence report, and you will see that this shows they 20ked our government, hacked state election boards, and they tried to undermine our democracy and help trump and hurt secretary clinton. highly disturbing. amy: president trump is tweeting up a storm this morning. among them -- your response? a bizarre tweet.
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the press does not care at this point about hillary clinton's campaign. what they care about is was there collusion between the trump campaign and the russian government? what are the connections between trump associates in russian intelligence agents? what did trump know and when did he know it? these are very serious allegations. these are the kinds of allegations they get people sent to federal prison. , we're going to go to break and come back to this discussion. ted lieu, member of the house committee on foreign affairs and a served on active duty in the u.s. air force and is a colonel in the air force reserves. among the things we want to talk about, actually, yemen as well, but also investigations by congress, the republican led congress, where would they be? what committee? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we continue our conversation with congressman ted lieu of california, in light of the latest revelations in the white house chaos underway right now. on tuesday morning, president trump initially responded to michael flynn's resignation by tweeting -- a tuesday afternoon, white house press secretary sean spicer was questioned about trump's comment. >> the president tweeted this morning, the real story is leak. >> it is. but understand all of this
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information was leaked -- again, i know we got this me lecturing you about with the story would be, but i think there is a real story here. the idea that not just in this administration, but he obama administration, the bush administration and back, we have a history that classified information has been given out. i know in some cases it is a good story and to some degree that is your responsibility to rights that, but there's also a story here were the amount of leaks coming out of people that are interested with national security secrets and classified information are leaking it out. amy: when greenwald of the intercept wrote -- "it is hard to do more to how strange it is to watch the very same people from both hardees across the ideological spectrum who called for the heads of edward snowden, chelsea manning, tom drake, and 70 other obama euro leaguers, today he
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preys on those who leave the highly classified information that brought down general flynn. pulitzer words of the produc prize winning journalist glenn greenwald. ted lieu, your democratic, smith from california. your response to this. you are praising the pressing the press has broken the story showing the importance of an independent india. what about the importance of whistleblowers that provided this information? this is clearly coming from the intelligence committee. what did the senate majority leader chuck schumer recently say? he was shocked how president trump was going after the intelligence community because he said, they will get you six ways from sunday. but what about the importance of was a blowers? >> let me first say congress has recognized the importance of
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whistleblowers for democracy. that is why congress passed the whistleblower's protection act as well as an enhancement to the act. i encourage all federal employees to read that law. in addition, there's a presidential directive -- i believe number 19 -- the provide certain protections when it comes to classified materials. it is important in a democracy that is people see evidence of wrongful misconduct, that they get that out so that people can do something about it. in this case, i want to commend the patriots and the whistleblowers that told america that basically michael flynn had lied to the vice president and lied to the american public. we need a free and fair press that can expose these evidence in this kind of misconduct so the american people know what is actually happening with her own government. amy: so michael flynn is out. he resigned. clearly, a forced resignation with president trump under
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enormous pressure for many days as this information was coming out. then you have his counselor kellyanne conway. can you comment on this latest news of the office of government ethics saying she violated the law that the counselor violated the law -- the federal ethics long rules when she used a tv appearance on fox to market merchandise sold by president trump's daughter ivanka? she actually was following up on president trump using his potus account to castigate the department store nordstrom for dropping the training line. >> i can't believe i have to say this, but the white house shall not be used for the purpose of enriching the president's family. that is basic common sense. it is also federal regulation.
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so the federal regulations say that federal employees cannot promote or endorse a product product line.'s kellyanne conway did exactly that. she violated the federal relations -- regulations very clear. last week i wrote a letter asking to take action. i am pleased that yesterday they wrote a letter saying the white house needs to investigate and discipline kellyanne conway. i hope the white house does that. amy: what about president trump? actually, she was just defending him. he used the government tax funded -- taxpayer-funded account, twitter account, his potus account to retweet this comment about going after nordstrom's. said they made this decision because, you know, it was not financially working out for them. >> donald trump has in many instances placed america second
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and placed himself or his family first. that is wrong. in addition, this is more evidence that donald trump has vast amounts of conflicts of interest, both the united states as well as globally. united states constitution says you cannot actually have these foreign conflicts of interest. it is known as the emoluments clause. donald trump is in violation of the clause. he is getting payments and gifts from these foreign entities. that is why i have created and illegitimacy clock on my website. it tells you how many days and hours donald trump has been illegitimate as president. he is in violation of our constitution. who should be investigating this right now, all of this, particularly the top news them a what michael flynn new, what president trump new post -- was
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typically, when he knew it, and what were these contacts at having going on for a long time? >> congress should be doing this. officially, the republicans are in control. i believe in 21 months, democrats will take back the house and then we will investigate. in addition, there are lawsuits being filed against president trump for his violation of the constitution and the emoluments clause for his foreign conflicts of interest. keep in mind, donald trump can resolve some of this just by disclosing his tax returns. then we will know, does he of special business holdings in russia or other countries? for example, with the muslim ban that donald trump instituted, if you read it, their very first paragraph says the purpose of that and is because of 9/11 and the horrific terrorist attack. then they an seven countries that had nothing to do with 9/11. they do not ban a countries that did have something to do with 9/11 and is a because donald trump has is this interest in
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those countries? i don't know. if you disclose those tax returns, we would know if that is the case. amy: i want to ask you about yemen. the white house has warned journalists and lawmakers against criticizing a botched raid by u.s. commandos on a yemeni village last month. it left 25 civilians and one u.s. soldier dead, a u.s. navy seal. the bureau of investigative journalism reports the january 28 assault killed nine children under the age of 13, with five other children wounded. among those critical of the raid was arizona republican senator john mccain. >> when you lose a $75 million airplane, more important, american life is lost and wounded, i do not believe you can call it a success. amy: white house press secretary sean spicer lashed out at senator mccain and journalists for criticizing president trump's decision to order the raid. >> it is absolutely a success.
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i think anyone who would suggest it is not a success does disservice to the life of chief owens. he fought knowing what was at stake in that mission. anyone who would suggest otherwise does not fully appreciate how successful that mission was. what the information that they were able to retrieve was, and how that will help prevent future terrorist attacks. i think my statement is clear on that. i think anybody who undermines success of that raid owes an apology and a disservice to the life of chief owens. amy: spicer's comments came as the united nations appealed for $2.1 billion in emergency aid to yemen. the u.n. warns 12 million people face the threat of famine brought on by a u.s.-supported, saudi-led war and naval blockade. congressman ted lieu, you have requested a pentagon briefing on the raid? do you call it a spectacular
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success as the white house has? on active duty, i am deeply of in a by the comments coming from the white house by a president that has never served in the military and is now attacking people simply because people are raising issues about the military raid. what makes the american military so great is we learned from our miss takes. and what we want to do is learn from what happened, not stifle dissent. that is why concluded donald trump is a danger to the republic. he is stifling dissent. he is attacking institutions of democracy such as a free press, such as a judiciary. this is what leads us down to authoritarianism. specifically in yemen. his white house press secretary said it was a success by all standards. that is simply a lie. we lost a 75 nine dollars airplane. we lost an american hero. nine children were killed.
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that is not a success by all standards. we need to find out more about what happened with this raid and we do know the reuters used -- news agency reported donald trump ordered the raid without adequate intelligence are ground report or backup preparation. we need to find out what happened, not have dissent stifled. amy: and the comment that anyone who questions this raid in any way has to apologize to the owens family because he died there and that it is unpatriotic to do so? >> chief owens is an american hero. and i believe one of the best ways to honor chief owen is to find out what happen in the raid and how u.s. military can do better. that is how the united states military has always operated. that is how we should continue to operate. we need to learn not to stifle dissent.
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, you'regressman lieu introducing legislation that would require a psychiatrist in the white house will stop can you explain what you are doing? >> sure. we're looking at legislation -- let me just tell you the context for this. in 1928, congress passed a law requiring that doctors be at the white house because, was concluded that presidents are human beings and like all human beings, we have our own frailties. because of how people viewed mental health at the time, there was no psychologist or psychiatrist required. in the 21st century, we know mental health is just as important as physical health so it seemed to make sense that the white house should also have a psychiatrist or psychologist available. and not the first to bring this up also republican chairman "the chaffetz told
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washington post" earlier this year hugo the president should have an independent mental-health exam. i also know in 2015, the national defense authorization act, which was supported by over 300 numbers of congress on a bipartisan basis, required incoming military recruits to get a mental-health exam. keep in mind, the president is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and he can launch 4000 nuclear weapons in a matter of minutes. that is what we are at. amy: what makes you particularly concerned about president trump mental health? >> there is a structural issue that i believe the demand of the presidency have increased significantly, especially since nuclear weapons, the president should have the best treatment available. in terms of this bill, we're trying to see if this is the best way to go about it. clearly, to me, when you have a president that lies have
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logically, do believes in alternative facts, it suggests to me there is a problem. i do not know the extent of that problem or with the best solution is, but i do think this issue should be rrtisan issue. we are trying to get more information to see what is a good next step. amy: before we finish this conversation, i want to ask about north korea. right now in his tweets, president trump says user concerned about if all of these intelligence leaks, because what would it mean if they were doing this around north korea. it did not see mike that when he was learning of the north korea missile launch in the middle of the public dining room at mar-a-lago. you can see those pictures that were put out of him having these conversations about what could be classified information among the diners to their shock as well and his aides shining flashlights so he good look at documents.
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what about what is happening with north korea? >> let me first address what you just said. about the sunday letter asking for an investigation into what happened at his resort. his resort is not the white house situation room will stop issued not be treated as such. in addition, there's been some evidence he is using an unsecured android phone that can be easily hacked. we want to see if that is true or not. with regards to north korea, that is a problem. north korea is developing ballistic missile technology. they do have nuclear weapons. the united states needs to work with our allies to try to reduce and mitigate this threat. we have a president that has offended many of our allies from mexico to australia to countries in europe. hopefully, this president will learn that the best way to handle danger such as north korea is to work with other
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countries, not offend them. amy: ted lieu, thank you for being with us democratic , congressman from california. member of the house committee on foreign affairs served on active , duty in the u.s. air force and continues to serve as a colonel in the air force reserves. thank you so much for being here. coverl also continue to these issues as they unfold. you can check updates at when we come back, we look at one of the top aides to president trump. stephen miller. he is 31 years old, former chief of staff of then senator sessions who is now the attorney general. he would warm up the crowds at candidate trump's campaign rallies in the last year. we will bring on people who have investigated him and know him from high school. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. to stephen miller, president donald trump's senior white house policy adviser. over the weekend, miller appeared on the major networks
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to defend trump's travel ban. speaking on the cbs program "face the nation" on sunday, miller said trump's authority will not be questioned. >> the end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media, and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned. amy: viewers took to twitter to blast miller's appearance as scripted and robotic, but trump expressed glowing approval tweeting -- "congratulations stephen miller on representing me this morning on the various sunday morning shows. great job!" several reports have identified 31-year-old stephen miller as the architect of trump's controversial executive order that temporarily banned people from seven predominantly muslim countries from entering the united states. miller reportedly also wrote trump's aggressively nationalist inauguration speech along with trump's chief strategist steve
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bannon, and in penned a draft of july, trump's acceptance speech to the republican presidential convention. miller's central role in the trump administration has drawn praise from white nationalist leader richard spencer who famously coined the term "alt-right" to describe the insurgent right-wing movement that has attracted white nationalists and supremacists. spencer told mother jones last year -- "stephen is a highly competent and tough individual so i have no doubt that he will do a great job." prior to serving as a top aide to trump's presidential campaign, stephen miller worked as a former staffer for then republican senator jeff sessions of alabama, the new attorney general who has a record opposing the voting rights act, supporting anti-immigration legislation and making racist , comments. for more, we're joined by two guests. in miami, florida, we're joined by fernando peinado, a national political reporter at univision. his new piece is headlined "how , white house advisor stephen
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miller went from pestering hispanic students to designing trump's immigration policy." and in los angeles we're joined , by cynthia santiago who attended santa monica high school with stephen miller. she was the first latina president of the school's associated student body. santiago is a currently an immigration defense attorney. she recently assisted people impacted by trump's travel ban at the los angeles airport lax. fernando peinado and cynthia santiago, welcome to democracy now! fernando, what it to take on this subject for univision? >> as you can imagine for us, immigration topics are very important. our audience once to know. it turns out this mr. miller went to this high school in santa monica where he studied -- he woke up politically and developeds -- his hard-line positions. he asserted writing articles for the student newspaper and other
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newspapers and contributed to radio -- conservative radio shows. in this high school, it turned out the latinos are the most important minority. we decided to take a look, a closer look into those years and to those who knew him. talk about what you found. univision obtained a video made by four of his high school classmates for a class at the time. the video contains fragments of a brief 92nd speech during his junior year at santa monica high school in the spring of 2002, including a controversial reference to the job of janitors. >> exactly. amy: let's play the clip. >> i'm stephen miller. some of you may or may not know i'm the only candidate of your who really stands out. i will say and i'll do things
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that no one house in their right mind would say or do. am i the only one who is sick and tired of being told to pick up my trash when we have plenty of janitors -- amy: that was stephen miller speaking in his junior year at inta monica high school 2002. donald trump, senior white house policy adviser now. fernando, onat, that quote. >> i spoke to his best friend at the time. he said it was just a joke. but he made that comment around 2000 students of the school. any student i interviewed, they said this comment was offensive because the janitors were all people of color. interviewed,that i
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they described miller as a provocateur. some said he enjoyed offending people. some even described incidents in , say, speak english, this is america, to students who spoke spanish in the hallways. that is what they told me. amy: cynthia santiago, wendy to come to know stephen miller? talk about his views and high school, your experience of him, and what you are seeing with him today and one of the highest positions in the white house, advising president trump. i was in highn school about my junior year, which is the same junior year of 2002, i first came across an article that he had written for local newspaper and in that article, he made reference to latino students that he basically said "lack basic
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english skills." in the same article come he made a reference that there were some causal link that the reason -- that would be the reason why the latino students were not in the honors classes. he pointed out there was a small number of latino students in honors classes. therefore, it was because of their lacking basic english skills. these comments were very degrading because he made an overgeneralization. he did not make a link or do not even try to address the issues of academic inequality and disparity and access to those glasses. classes. those were the statements you made and that is when i became aware of him and aware that he was starting to provide more commentary. he was starting to have more interaction with students. he also made statements to some's events about reading english only in this country.
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those were signs -- amy: can you elaborate on that about the issue of speaking english only and his views on this, what he talked about in high school? >> in high school, i was also promoted a group that cultural heritage and pride in your background, but it also promoted access to higher education. he was known to go to those meetings and stand outside and harass the members that were trying to leave this meeting. i believe that the statements about english only were because he viewed these groups, groups of pride and heritage, as being groups that, you know, did not promote american values. about a speechlk
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he gave -- i think you are on the stage at the time of the speech when he ran for election and set them on a guys go? >> i was a candidate for the student body president. i was also on stage. when he said the speech, immediately students were reacting to him and you could tell that in the video that students were booing and getting louder because they were extremely upset about this kind of statement because a lot of the students perceived these as statements of racism. many of the janitors were of american and latino. amy: for those who could not hear the video, at the end of that clip we played, stephen miller said, and my the only one sick and tired of being told to pick up our trash when we have plenty of janitors who are paid to do it for us?
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feltnerally, most students , even though we were teenagers, that we viewed our custodians, our janitors on campus as people deserving of dignity and respect. those statements were quite the contrary of what you would treat staff and individuals in human beings -- amy: i want to ask fernando peinado about what radicalized stephen miller. some may say, why are you going back to high school, that is a real stretch for someone like, what, president trump, 70 years old? but for someone like stephen miller, he is 31 years old, so high school is less than 15 years away. i want to turn to comments by stephen miller during his appearance on fox news sunday making about recent immigration raids. >> right now a result of the president's order, greatly expanded and more vigorous
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immigration enforcement activities are taking place. it is true that operation crosscheck is something that happens every year him a bit this year, we have taken new a greater steps to remove criminal aliens from our community. amy: before we go back to fernando, i would ask cynthia, what you're doing now, what, 15 years after high school, is you are involved in challenging what many have called, including president trump, the muslim ban. what stephen miller has so clearly defended and many say helped to craft. your thoughts? >> it is very unsettling that a person with these types of views , a person, you know, that expressed these views many years ago and still seems to express them is in a position of authority. if he was part of that team that crafted this, this is unsettling because it truly does not
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represent a person who values what it is, the balance of power, rights in this country, the branches of government. it is unsettling and frightening that someone could be in a position as he holds without some extreme vetting to determine if he is able to be in that position. given out his views. amy: fernando, what regular cries him -- what radicalized him? what was your sense from what you found? ismy sense from what i found that it caught the attention of well-known conservatives nationally. i guess he was encouraged by
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well-known figures. he has said he was reading about the second amendment, about gun rights, that made him discover this idea. the thing is, he studied -- he paid a lot of attention to issues of race and culture. againsted this war multiculturalism and advocating for total assimilation. identities that he does not perceive american. he perceives them as foreigner -- as foreign. amy: fernando peinado and cynthia santiago, thank you for being with us. fernando with univision, cynthia attended high school with stephen miller.
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that does it for our show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or
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