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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  January 2, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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parts of rhode island, connecticut, eastern massachusetts well to the north. i know you're getting the feeling back into your ears after enduring the coldest new year's eve drop after 100 years. but that temperature you endured with andy i think the high temperature in new york on saturday might be 9 or 10 degrees. so it's really going to be massive. and just when we thought we were going to see the end of it on sunday, another batch moves in next week. >> time to hand it over to jake tapper. "the lead" starts now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. good evening, and welcome to a special prime time edition of the lead. president trump this evening responding to the nuclear threat from north korea n way the world has never heard from an american president. north korean leader kim jong-un
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said, quote, the entire mainland of the u.s. is within range of our nuclear weapon and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office, unquote. and that's a questionable claim in terms of north korea's actual nuclear capabilities. but regardless president trump took to twitter this evening writing, quote, north korean leader kim jong-un just stated the nuclear button is on his desk at all times. will someone from his depleted regime please inform him i too have a nuclear button but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my button works, unquote. the bellicose back and forth comes as the joint chairman of the chief of staff warns the u.s. is further quote with a war with north korea than ever before, adding, quote, he did not see this to resolve this diplomatically. president kennedy said every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of damicallies,
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the weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us. and president trump this evening is in a back and forth with kim jong-un about whose nuclear button ask bigger and whose is more powerful. it may be difficult for some of you at home to wrap your minds around a u.s. president who makes statements like this about nuclear weapons, which would of course murder millions of people. this warning from north korea followed by another warning. this one tweeted the president, quote, i would be announcing the most dishonest and corrupt media awards of the year on monday 5:00. subjects will cover dishonesty from various reporting from the fake news media. stay tuned. this is the president of the united states issuing a quote to use weapons and then turning on the media. this announced on the same day that a former clinton aide
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should be jailed. and another former witness to the investigation to the trump campaign should be investigated himself, and also said that his own justice department is part of conspiracy known as the quote, deep state. none of this normal, none of this acceptable. none of this frankly stable behavior. but let's begin with the back and forth on the nuclear war issue and bring in cnn chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. explain what is the significance of this message from the president? are we overstating how high the stakes are here when one uses language like this? >> well, let's just break down what the facts are. this is a leader of a nuclear arms state, america. it's a fact we have been for many years threatening the leader of another nuclear arms state or a state we believes the u.s. intelligence assesses very soon will be or very may well today be a nuclear armed start. whether they can get a weapon to the u.s. something of a question, but they're getting
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closer. to the point where i had one democratic grassman send me a note this evening and say this president wants this war. that's a remarkable thing to say. and if you think that concern is coming from democrats, look at the comments from lindsey graham, a republican who has repeated, i think on your broadcast as well, that this president put it rating as a 30% chance there would be a nuclear war from this president. that's a remarkable thing to say from a republican on a republican president. there are no stakes higher than a nuclear conflict. and there are times when the president's words and tweets go beyonds his actual words and actions no question. this may be one of those times. and there are times when people in the national security agency say there's always mattis and people holding him back. the fact is the way our system is it is the president who has
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the power by himself to order such action, and there are some believe the president at a minimum is considering. >> jim sciutto, thank you so much. and you'll be back on for a special called trump, one year later. laura rosenberg, kelly, a former principle deputy of defense for asia and pacific affairs and retired john kirby. admiral, kirby, i'll start with you. what's your response to the president's language and having served in the pentagon and state department, what might people in those buildings be thinking tonight? >> yeah, deeply troubling. juvenile to add insult to children would be what he's doing tonight. because he's the president of the united states his tweets are going to be taken as official policy. and here's the thing. they're going to be misread.
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there's no question they're going to lead to miscalculation and confusion over there. all these statements he makes over twitter their parsed for nuance. and he doesn't have a lot of nuance in there. so i think we have to worry about how they're going to be perceived over there. and that's what my colleagues, my former colleagues in the state department are worried about right now. >> how much more difficult does this make the job of a secretary mattis or a secretary tillerson at the state department? >> i think secretary mattis is having a comfortable evening this evening. i was shocked and mystified because sort of what's the point? i mean he's just playing into kim jung un's rhetorical hands on this. >> there is a counter argument here from trump people and from some of his supporters on capitol hill which is, hey, look, the diplomatic language has been tried for decades and
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at the end of the day it didn't get bill clinton, barack obama, or george w. bush anywhere. why not try something new? >> yeah, i don't think this is question about diplomatic language or not but sending very clear signals, staying on the same page of your allies. this comes against the backdrop of potential talks following north korea's offer to have talks with south korea before the olympics. potentially actually driving a further wedge between the united states and south korea. >> is it possible at all that this might -- you know, there's this madman theory of trump's behavior when it comes to north korea, which is he's doing all this in a way of scaring kim jong-un, in a way that barack obama and george w. bush who were considered too rational, would never have done. is there anything there? >> i don't know, i don't think
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so. no. i know the logic, and i get that, jake. but i think that the trick is knowing when to blink. and we don't know when kim jong-un thinks. we can't predict with any great certainty. we don't have great intelligence into how his apparatus works. the other thing even more important than that is his national security team has actually done a pretty good job managing the north korean crisis to date. they've got stronger sanction than ever, they've got china to step up, yes they can do more but they've done a lot. and every time he does something like this, he undercuts his own team. >> sarah, is there any sense in the white house that this, frankly, stunning tweet was prompted by anything in particular or planned even? >> well, it's hard to say what prompted it in this moment. obviously we know kim jong-un has been bragging in recent days about his nuclear capability. and we know this is president
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who frankly responds to taunts with taunts. we talked about fire and fury when talking about north korea previously, and refer to kim jong-un as rocket man. and let's not forget what he said on his asia trip, saying why would kim jong-un insult me by calling me old man, i would never call him short and fat. so this is clearly not a president afraid of engaging with kim jong-un. recently we've heard secretary of state rex tillerson suggest maybe talks with north korea could be productive, maybe negotiatings could be productive. and the president seems to continue to cut him off at the knees on this. so it will be interesting to see how those folks in this administration in charge of the diplomacy side of this grapple with the president's latest tweet, jake. >> thank you so much. laura, let me ask you. so the president saying my
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button works as opposed to yours, and as a national -- former national security official, does that concern you that kim jong-un's response is going to be you know what, mine works too and let me show you and there'll be some sort of demonstration? >> wng we actually should assume at this point that north korea is on the verge if not having the capability to deliver nuclear weapons to the united states. >> to the mainland united states or hawaii, not that it matters? >> i think for all intents and purposes we're on the brink of it. the point being we should not be questioning or challenging this. we should be dealing with this in a very clear and considered matter. but threatening our button work and his doesn't is not the way to do that. whether we're talking about a nuclear war or some risk that john was talking about, this is potentially american lives on the line, south korean lives
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online. this is very serious matter, and it's not one we should be goading kim jong-un to prove something. >> do you hear from colleagues of yours who are still in the trump administration -- without naming any, of course -- about their concerns of this kind of language which we've been hearing from president trump in terms of fire and fury and the like? although i have to say i've never seen a president challenge like i bet your nuclear power doesn't even work. >> we're getting ready to enter into a period of intensity with the olympics coming up in february, u.s. military exercises in february and into march, so we're staring down an already difficult period. so this kind of rhetoric doesn't help out general brooks on the ground and secretary mattis. >> of course there are thousands of u.s. troops stationed in south korea and japan. even if the device can't reach the u.s. or mainland hawaii, of
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course there are plenty of americans not to mention innocent north and south koreans right there. >> and their families. and it doesn't have to go nuclear, this conflict. they've got plenty of conventional capabilities to wreak a lot of damage and cause a lot of casualties. what i really don't understand about all this is that the president is actually intentionally closing down his own decision space and the decision space of the people working for him on his team. we still have i believe, and at least i want to believe, that we still have some maneuver space for diplomacy here. but every time he does this he keeps closing it down. everyone stay with us. we have a lot more to talk about in our breaking news and the president's shocking tweet, challenging north korea. stay with us. ok, so with the award-winning geico mobile app, our customers have 24/7 access, digital id cards, they can even pay their bill- (beep) bill has joined the call. hey bill, we're just- phone: hi guys, bill here.
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(mom) yeah. (matthew) the good thing about the surgeries is i get to have a popsicle at the end. (mom) he makes the best of everything and he teaches us to be strong and brave, too. (vo) through the subaru share the love event, we've helped grant the wishes of fifteen hundred kids so far. get zero percent financing for 63 months on select models, plus we'll donate two hundred and fifty dollars to charity. rocket man should have been
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handled a long time ago. we will have no choice but to totally destroy north korea. rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> welcome back. just a little smattering of some of president trump's past rhetoric on north korea as he ratchets up the threat this evening tweeting quote, i too have a nuclear button but it is a much bigger and powerful one than his, and my button works. my national security panel is still with me. president trump is having lunch tomorrow with vice president pence, secretary of defense james mattis and secretary of state rex tillerson. i guess one of the questions for this president is how much are these three gentlemen able to say, that's not such a great idea? what do you think? >> i think they absolutely should say that, and they have the wherewithal to do it. none of these individuals are
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afraid to speak truth to power. and they have run a pretty good set of plays here on north korea so far. given that they inherited a situation that was obviously more urgent. so this is an opportunity and i hope they take it, to absolutely tell him he isn't helping their larger efforts. >> what would you advise president trump if you were at that lunch tomorrow? >> well, i would actually say to kirby's point earlier, you know, h.r. mcmaster should be as national security advisor working really hard to frame decisions for the president in a way to give him more options not fewer options. so if i were secretary mattis or tillerson or especially m.r. mcmaster, his job is to make sure the president has that full range of options. and they have done a very, very good pressure campaign. i think that's one route mcmaster could take or tillerson could take with the president. i also think it's incumbent on
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secretary mattis to speak to the president about what a war would be with north korea. >> and also conventional war with north korea, nuclear weapons off the table would likely means millions of in the people killed. >> absolutely, jake. and you were talking about the command and control of the u.s. nuclear forces and the decision really rests with the president. but the other side of the coin as kelly and john were pointing out is miscalculation, kim jong-un reading what he's intending through his tweets, i think is a real risk here. conventional scenarios are very much a real possibility. we've seen in the past north korea take kind of asymmetric actions against south korea, sinking a south korean vessel several years ago. we could see more of that potentially as north korea is increasingly emboldened of the potential of having a nuclear e deterrent.
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i think the consequences of even a conventional war are really quite serious. >> i think there's this kind of myth out there that president trump could give the order to fire a nuclear weapon on north korea and general mattis or secretary of defense mattis would disobey it or that there are too many people in the pentagon who are good people and they wouldn't follow orders. that's not how it works, and actually it's pretty quick the process. >> it is. it's very efficient. it's effective. it's built for that. it's been that way for decades. there are checks and balances along the way. now, they move quickly because sometimes and obviously in a situation like this time's not going to be on your side. but once that decision is made by the president all the vetting at that point has been done. it may have been done quickly, but it would have been done by the secretary of defense, chairman joint of staff and chairman brooks. >> is it not possible that the president is trying to just get kim jong-un to give up his
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nuclear program and be scared enough to deal and negotiate with the u.s.? >> i think if that's his strategy, he's not going to win. so what's a more effective strategy would be to do what actually they're doing, which is to increase the pressure on kim jong-un to work with international partners, when they passed the latest sanctions resolution that was the latest step. those are the kinds of moves the president should be undertaking right now. >> great panel. we've got more breaking news tonight, including the cofounders of fusion gps, the company behind that trump dossier, the founders are firing back at president trump and other republicans who are attacking the russia investigation. what did they say? what are their really staggering charges? stay with us. i'm a road flare. laying here so traffic can safely navigate around this broken-down rv. really? a road flare? it's my new year's resolution. now i'm all about safety and stuff.
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and we're back with our politics lead, breaks news an
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explosive new opinion piece from the founders of fusion gps. that's the opposition research organization that commissioned the infamous trump dossier. the founders say that instead of investigating the evidence they have provided on russia influencing the election and ties that the trump team and camp have with russian organizations, trump's allies are instead targeting them. cnn's manu raju and evan perez join me to talk about this. a sales dossier saying to fuel a quote, investigation by republicans. they don't believe the dossier was the trigger for the investigation. break it down for us. >> what they're saying here, jake, is they're defending the decision to hire christopher steele, that former briltish agent that did pot together that dossier that included allegations of trump and russia connections. and when they enlisted christopher steele, they did not tell him who were the source
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behind the funding. they just charged him with a single question, to find out why trump did all this business with a state like russia. and they said mr. steele was a noted russian expert, went to length to investigate what happened and became so alarmed by what he found out that he went and briefed the fbi about what happened. now, they've said this about their meeting with the senate judiciary committee, one of three committees on capitol hill they met with earlier in the last year. they said as they told the senate judiciary committee in august, the source said the dossier was taken so seriously because it correspondented reports the bureau had received from other sources including one inside the trump camp. allegations of collusion between the trump camp and russia were pouring in from independent during the campaign. what they're saying in this
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op-ed they had urged the committees to investigate what they say were dubious dealings with russians, may have been involved with some money laundering with russian sources. and they said the committees had no interest in investigating what they said were serious allegations and saying it raises serious questions about efforts to collaborate between russian as and the trump campaign during the presidential election. and jake, also they're demanding these committees release the transcripts of their 21 hours of interviews behind closed doors, but no sign that's going to happen just quite yet, jake. >> evan, tonight we're learning the trump legal team talked with the special counsel before christmas. do we have any idea what they discussed? >> we don't know exactly what was discussed, but there were talks. while there are been other meetings between the two sides, this had some importance for the
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president's lawyers. they wanted to get a sense of where mueller's inquiry is going and more importantly get some indication of how much longer this cloud of investigation is going to hangover the president. even since the meeting we have continued to see optimism from the president's lawyers that the investigation is going to end soon, even if they're no longer giving dates predicting exactly when it will end. one source told us the president's lawyers still think it will eventually clear the president. jake, they looked at this as sort of a doctor's check up and were hope frg a clean bill of health for the president. it looks like they got something along the lines we have more tests to do. >> my political panel is here to talk about it. brian, let me start with you because one of the things so interesting in this op-ed from the founders of fusion gps, was that the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports they had received from other sources including one from inside the
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trump camp. we don't know what it means. trump allies or whatever. that's fascinating they're alleging, and i don't know the truth about this, they're alleging there was a source inside the trump camp giving the fbi information. >> i think we have to look at it under the lens this is democratic opposition research of trying to paint a negative narrative about a republican president. it sort of says, hey, you need to look at this records, these things. they're trying to participate a different narrative. going back to who they were talking to during the campaign, whether the fbi was involved, we had an investigation that started in the middle of a campaign, apparently. and now a here and a half later, and we had senator feinstein say several times she's seen no evidence of collusion. there's still no signs of collusion, so what woo actually investigate at this point? >> go ahead. >> senator feinstein, i would
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guess if you asked her today -- she said that months ago -- in the op-ed today the guys that did the research say the guys who did the intelligence for months were pouring from independent sources during the campaign -- this is what the guys who did the research said in their op-ed. the community has that information and yet they haven't released a transcript of the interview they did with fusion gps. i suspect that's why they wrote this op-ed to try to push them. they also tell us that the only bank records that had been subpoenaed were from fusion gps. the records fusion already had. this suggests that perhaps the investigation on the hill by the republicans of a republican president is not on the level. follow the money is what we learned in watergate. they're not following the money. >> we should point out the mueller investigation -- we should distinguish tlerz the mueller investigation and the house and senate intelligence
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committees. and the house and senate intelligence committees they're looking at collision with russia, not necessarily possible money laundering and allegations peter is talking about. >> and not following the tips these investigators have given them. this idea, gps was hired by the conservative online publication to find dirt on trump. but glen simpson has been hired in the past to find dirt on the clintons. this guy has been around for a long time and he's worked for republicans and democrats. he's gone to the committee, given them all this information and said look at trump's real estate dealings, look at paul manafort. and he's openly saying republicans won't look into it. his facts will be proven out or
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not. but we will find out at the end of the day, because there will be a majority report from the senate and house and a minority report. and i can suspect or predict the minority report will be far more interesting probably because it'll contain the details from the investigators that can be corroborated and found out. >> what's your take? >> ultimately this is partly an exercise by this company to clear their name. they've gotten caught up in a situation that's really difficult for them. and i think all of this, especially what's gone on the hill it's become increasingly partisan over the last several months, it's a little bit of a sideshow. the real investigation is happening in the special counsel's hands. it's a continuation of an investigation if you believe this op-ed was ongoing for quite some time, that was maybe deeper than we knew about. and if you don't believe that, we knew there was an investigation that pre-existed before the special counsel was formed and they took the ball and are running with it.
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so whatever is happening on the hill, whether republicans are launching a counter investigation or whether democrats are actually able to do any of their own digging, it's kind of irrelevant because clearly that has devolved into a partisan sideshow, and the mueller investigation is going on. and frankly, we probably don't know very much about what's happening there. a lot of the leaks that we've gotten so far have not come from within the mueller camp. so it's a little bit of a black box when it comes to where the people are handing out indictments and what they're doing with their time. >> now, brian, you didn't know about -- you worked on the campaign. >> correct. >> you didn't know a lot of things that had been reported in terms of the meeting that don junior had, the meeting with the russian lawyer, you didn't know about george papadopoulos. isn't it possible there were plenty of other things you didn't know about? i'm not accusing you of anything. >> i think that's always the case. you always have individual people talking that can't sort of be part of that conversation.
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but i think where we are if we take the fisa warrant which started in june of 2016, we're now a year and a half since that fisa warrant, and i just haven't seen any demonstrated evidence of real collusion. >> doesn't the smoke warrant an investigation? >> and that's what's taking place. what we've seen is a partisan food fight, which is what always happens when you do these types of investigations. look at benghazi. you have mueller and what he's doing. and you have some honest senators who will actually saying the truth that they see. i respect senator feinstein, she's from my home state. >> she's a good senator. >> and when she's saying we've seen -- >> having been a spokesperson and advisor to her, i would be careful speaking -- >> the reality is we've seen this going on for a very long time. >> it's worth noting on the idea -- one of the things we
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hair a lot from trump associates the campaign was so disorganized, no one knew what was going on, it's not possible we could have colluded. it might be true it was so disorganized that people didn't know what was going on, but that's not proof or evidence there was nothing there. it just means people may not have been aware of things someone was doing. especially folks like papadopoulos and others on the kind of outer band of the campaign, it was just -- there are a lot of people out there who have potential problems that maybe trump campaign folks don't know about. everyone stick around. we're going to have more on the stunning trump tweet about north korea. we're going to talk to the secretary of defense and lion panetta about the president ramping up his rhetoric on north korea and the question of could kim jong-un really fire back? ♪
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we're back with our panel on our world lead, and president
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trump taking thing tuesday the next level on twitter. declaring moments ago he too has a nuclear button, a bigger more powerful one that works asupposed to kim jong-un's nuclear button. earlier i spoke to cia director leon panetta. he was already worried about things spiraling out of control. i want you to take a listen to the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullein. >> we're actually closer in my view to a nuclear war with north korea and in that region than we've ever been, and i just don't see how -- i don't see the opportunities to solve this diplomatically at this particular point. >> that's a pretty grim, bleak assessment from admiral mullein. do you agree with that? >> i agree with his concern about the fact that i think this is probably the tensest i've
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seen the relationship between the united states and north korea. and that the reality of the exchange of these kinds of contemptuous comments by not only the north korean leader but by the president of the united states regarding each other have only increased the tensions. i still am hopeful, though, that the we can find a diplomatic way to try to engage here. i wouldn't lose hope on that because i think the alternatives, frankly, are unacceptable. >> in a new year's day address kim jong-un said he had a nuclear button in his office that could fire intercontinental ballistic missile as that mainland u.s. do you think that's bluster or do you think he actually has the capability at this point? >> i don't think there's any question it's largely bluster. he's been saying those things for the long time, but the
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reality is that he really doesn't have the capability to immediately launch any kind of icbm. they're still working on that. they are making progress on it, but they are still a long way from achieving what their goal is to achieve, which is that that capability. so i think right now it is bluster. but at the same time, you know, if there is the possibility that we could at least begin a dialogue between south korea and north korea with regards to the olympics and how north korea and south korea can basically come together to allow those games to be played successfully, i think that would be an opportunity to at least begin the kind of dialogue that has to begin. >> let me ask you about the last time there were mass protests in iran, 2009 when you were in the obama administration. do you think the obama administration dropped the ball
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by not more aggressively standing with the protesters whether on its own or in congress with our european allies and others? >> i remember that -- that movement. it was a much larger protest than what we're having today. it was based on the green party and what happened in the election then. i do think that was an appropriate time for the united states to have sent a clearer message that we standby those who try to represent the rights of people. that's what the united states was all about. and it would have been important to have sent that message at the time. >> secretary panetta, thank you so much for your time. appreciate it. >> good to be with you. coming up, a former man of the law and a passionate trump supporter temporarily suspended from twitter after telling followers to make the media taste its own blood. that's next. that includes security panel, keypad, key fob,
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tonight former milwaukee sheriff david a. clark, jr., the outspoken trump supporter has his twitter privileges back after he was temporarily blocked for posting messages that seemed to call for violence against the media. here's one of the tweets he was forced to delete. in which he wrote, the antidote
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is to go right at them, punch them in the nose and make them taste their old blood, all caps. #never back down. and i'm glad he had the hashtag in there because he was mincing words there for a second. should note the meme. also a wrestler kicking cnn in the face. ouch. a tweet somewhat reminiscent actually a video meme slamming himself and the cnn logo to the ground. twitter's rule page states you cannot make statements of violence or risk harm. twitter locked sheriff clark's account putting him in read only mode until he deleted three
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tweets. note despite the up roar last summer twitter did not lock president trump's account. he did seem to tweet about this whole episode writing on twitter in part, i know i'm winning. some snowflake lib made a complaint to twitter. i'm back with the panel. as i said, he makes president trump's tweets look like walt whitman. blind lib media, it's quite a thing. >> i mean it's a whole sideshow. i think what's also interesting what he's so upset about are reports that are completely factual, including reports that he had plagiarized some things, which no one ever said was untrue. and also some more serious concerns we should add about conditions in his jail. these are reports he's upset about. and i think one of the interesting things about social
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media these days is you get rewarded for being as outlandish as possible. and sheriff clark is clearly seeking to reap the rewards of saying the most ridiculous things on social media before he has to take it down. >> we should note all of us here have had nasty things written on social media or even regular media. it's frustrating, but i can't remember you writing, amanda, anybody that appears you should punch them in the face until they bleed. >> before the break you had on panetta, and he was talking about how he hoped that president trump was engaging in bluster in his tweets about north korea and nuclear war. sheriff clark, this is bluster. he doesn't really care about that. but there's a lot of bluster that comes from the trump universe. and forgive me for being a little hung up on nuclear war. donald trump, people say it's just talk. it is just talk until one day it's not. and when i see a tweet like
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that, i hear it come on the news, i mean my heart drops when i hear the words nuclear war, bombs. my palms get sweaty. i cannot imagine people in a country where we drop bombs actually hear the president do that. there's a big difference when sheriff clark does it, he gets in twitter time out and the president, but there's a lot of sheriff clarks who follow the president and what he tweets. and that's worrisome. >> he also tweeted today aberdeen should be investigated and possibly jailed for -- there was a freedom of information act requested showed she had forwarded her passwords to her yahoo account and we know years later yahoo was hacked, and he's saying she be investigated because she committed a crime.
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>> many people believe he was a spy, kislyak and foreign minister into the oval office and gave them classified secrets directly person to person. now, i think it's kind of pathetic. you know, there's something going on. i think it's something about mueller and russia. he loves to make these diversions. it's something that he's really losing sleep about. and it's not whether huma abed in as y in in's yahoo! account was hacked. the founders of fusion gps, they said that there was ample evidence of alleged money laundering going on in trump world. i wrote down the exact quote, i won't bore you with it. people should they can that out. there's something going on here, and i don't think it has anything to do with sheriff
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clarke or huma abedin. >> he just had a successful year, and north korea is a threat. people talk about his messages or tweets in a negative way. his provocative tweets have also led to a u.n. resolution on addressing north korea in a very positive way, the international community unified. where some people see fear and are apprehensive about his tweets, at some level in the international community it is working, because now they're more unified than ever before. china is more engaged than ever before. is it working to us or is it working to the international community? there is a disparate there. but i also look at the what the results have been. >> it seems to me nikki haley has much of the same message in getting other people to the table, and following an america first policy. the way she does it seems more effective and reassuring and
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positive. >> i'm not going to take anything away from nikki haley. president trump is using his language and using it effectively via twitter. look at the security council resolution. president obama wasn't able to get that, president bush wasn't able to get it. >> i hardly believed an unhinged 5-year-old with nuclear weapons is getting resolutions passed. stay with us. the great emperor penguin migration. trekking a hundred miles inland to their breeding grounds. except for these two fellows. this time next year, we're gonna be sitting on an egg. i think we're getting close! make a u-turn... u-turn? recalculating... man, we are never gonna breed. just give it a second. you will arrive in 92 days. nah, nuh-uh. nope, nope, nope. you know who i'm gonna follow? my instincts. as long as gps can still get you lost, you can count on geico saving folks money. i'm breeding, man. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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i wanti did my ancestrydna and where i came from. and i couldn't wait to get my pie chart. the most shocking result was that i'm 26% native american. i had no idea. just to know this is what i'm made of, this is where my ancestors came from. and i absolutely want to know more about my native american heritage. it's opened up a whole new world for me. discover the story only your dna can tell. order your kit now at ♪ ♪ there are two types of people in the world. those who fear the future... and those who embrace it. the future is for the unafraid. ♪ all because of you ♪ ♪
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welcome back. "the new york post" just published a claim about the racial makeup of the grand jury empanelled in the russia probe. a witness told page six they don't appear to be fans of
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president trump in the grand jury box, but which he appeared to me there were too many black people. quote, the jury room looks like a bernie sanders rally, maybe they found them in central casting or in a black lives matter rally in berkeley. the witness said 11 of the 20 jurors were african-american while two were wearing peace shirts, whatever that means. the grand jury has handed up indictments against trump's former campaign chair paul manafort and his partner rick gates. let's talk more about this with cnn's legal analyst jeffrey toobin. first of all, jeffrey, richard johnson who wrote this report, has a lot of sources in the trump camp which is why i'm taking this with any seriousness at all, although many people find this story blatantly racist. we've seen president trump and his team undermining or attempting to do so, a range of institutions that they've felt threatened the president's power. the intelligence community, justice department, fbi, the
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media, fbi director comey, judges, special counsel mueller. might this be the next line of attack, the grand jury is biased? >> right, it's part of the attack on mueller in particular, because he is the supervisor of the grand jury. by the way, mueller had absolutely nothing to do with selecting who is on the grand jury. that's something that's run by the court. and if the story is correct about the racial makeup of the jury, that would be very common for the district of columbia, which of course has a substantial minority representation. it's of course racist to suggest that they are somehow incapable of doing a fair job. but remember, mueller has been attacked because the fbi agent supposedly had a bias, that some of the prosecutors supposedly had a bias because they gave campaign contributions. here we have another part of the investigation, the grand jury,
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potentially under attack. this is just one item. but it just shows the comprehensive nature of the attack on mueller in particular and trump critics in general. >> as you point out, mueller didn't convene this grand jury. he didn't select the members. but even if he had, washington, d.c., as you note, it's 48% african-american, according to the census. that's almost half african-american. would 11 out of 20 jurors being black really be that surprising? >> no. i've practiced in that courthouse, and that would be a very typical makeup of any sort of jury, a grand jury, a petit jury in washington. there's nothing surprising and there's certainly nothing sinister about that. >> and the idea being that i guess from this witness who talked to page six, that black people won't be fair to president trump, that they're going to -- go ahead. >> well, right, that's certainly
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the implication. there is no question that the president, one of the defining aspects of his presidency has been, you know, criticism of african-american athletes, criticism of african-american athletes' parents, football players. this looks like an attempt to bring that ugliness into the mueller investigation, which whatever other controversies it's caused, has not been racially oriented so far. >> we might as well also note that there have been two guilty pleas. that has nothing to do with the grand jury. >> right. >> papadopoulos and flynn, they pleaded guilty. >> right. which they plead guilty to what's called an information, which skips the grand jury process altogether and simply goes directly to trial.
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the grand jury had absolutely nothing to do with those two successful cases by mueller. >> jeffrey toobin, thank you so much. follow me on twitter, that is it for "the lead." i'll see you tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m. eastern. i know turn you over to a special program, "the trump presidency: one year later." after 348 volatile days in office, president trump kicking off 2018 by lobbing twitter grenades right into global hotspots including nuclear armed north korea. i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm pamela brown. the president is also fanning fears of interference in the russia investigation. we're covering it all this hour. breaking tonight, the president is mocking the threat of a nuclear war with north korea. in a stunning new tweet, he boasts


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