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CNN’s Acosta On Trump: “What We’re Witnessing Right Now Is The Erosion Of Our Freedoms”


On CNN Wednesday, network White House correspondent Jim Acosta declared, "what we're witnessing right now is just this erosion of our freedoms in terms of covering the president of the United States." Acosta did acknowledge that some of the "coverage can get a little too negative sometimes," however equivicated it to the criticism former President Barack Obama recieved when he was in office. From The SItuation Room: JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I asked this question of the president when he was running to win the White House, 'Can you withstand the scrutiny that comes with being president of the United States?' He didn't like that question. He snapped at me during that news conference. It was May of last year. And, you know, I think that there are moments when this president is just really sensitive to criticism and he lashes out in this fashion. I think [guest] Matt [Schlapp] is right to some extent, that yes, some of the coverage can get a little too negative sometimes, and that happened during the Obama administration. That happens during other administrations. Coverage of the president is tough, but that's the territory we're in right now. But I think to paint everybody with a broad brush is just not the right thing. And Wolf, what we're witnessing right now is just this erosion of our freedoms in terms of covering the president of the United States. The president has only held one full news conference since the beginning of his administration, and that was in February. That's way behind the average of other presidents in modern times. This issue of turning off the cameras in the briefing rooms. Wolf, I could hold up my phone tomorrow and livestream that press briefing with Sean Spicer or Sarah Sanders, whoever comes in there, and that is just where technology is right now. To think that we're going backwards and not having things on camera to me is just preposterous.

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Feinstein: No Evidence Of Russian Collusion With Trump Campaign, But There Are Rumors


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), pressed twice by CNN's Wolf Blitzer for evidence, said she still has seen none that would show collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. "There are all kinds of rumors around, there are newspaper stories, but that's not necessarily evidence," she said. WOLF BLITZER, CNN: The last time we spoke, Senator, I asked you if you had actually seen evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and you said to me — and I am quoting you now — you said, ‘not at this time.' Has anything changed since we spoke last? SEN. FEINSTEIN: Well, no — no, it hasn't… BLITZER: But, I just want to be precise, Senator. In all of the — you have had access from the Intelligence Committee, from the Judiciary Committee, all of the access you have had to very sensitive information, so far you have not seen any evidence of collusion, is that right? SEN. FEINSTEIN: Well, evidence that would establish that there's collusion. There are all kinds of rumors around, there are newspaper stories, but that's not necessarily evidence. Watch the full interview:

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Dem Rep. Jeffries: Denying Funds To Sanctuary Cities “Not Consistent With Protecting The Safety Of People”


In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Rep Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) explained his opposition to the Trump administration's push to deny federal funds to sanctuary cities. The Congressman said sanctuary cities only have a responsibility to be consistent with the federal law "when it's humane." Jeffries said cities must do "the right thing" on behalf of the people they are charged to protect. "Penalizing and forcing cities like New York to enforce draconian aspects of the law in ways that would target undocumented families, not felons, is not consistent with protecting the safety and well-being of the people of New York City, of these other places," Jeffries said Wednesday afternoon. WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Very quickly, I want to get your reaction to the latest criticism from the White House. This federal district court judge who has now blocked the attorney general, the Justice Department's recommendations that federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, like San Francisco or Los Angeles or New York City. That federal funding grants be blocked unless they cooperate with the Justice Department, with the Department of Homeland Security on providing information on any of the undocumented immigrants that might be picked up in these cities. What's your reaction to this? REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Well, Donald Trump has, you know, challenged the legitimacy of the independent press, challenged the legitimacy of the national security apparatus, challenged the legitimacy of federal judge after federal judge, not recognizing that we have a separate and coequal branch of government. The independence judiciary is important to democracy. With respect to this particular decision. It was a clear-cut decision anchored in the United States Constitution that the executive, the president, doesn't have the power to threaten or withhold funding in order to accomplish a public policy objective. That has to happen through the legislative process, Wolf. And I'm hopeful that we can deal with the issue, generally, of improving border security without demonizing cities like New York City that regularly send $25 billion more to the federal government than we get back in return. BLITZER: Do you think that cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, others, there are dozens of other cities, so-called sanctuary cities, have a responsibility to pay attention to federal law? JEFFRIES: We certainly have a responsibility to act consistent with federal law when it's humane. But also to do the right thing on behalf of the constituents that people in the city of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, are charged to protecting. And by penalizing and forcing cities like New York to enforce draconian aspects of the law in ways that would target undocumented families, not felons, is not consistent with protecting the safety and well-being of the people of New York City, of these other places. And that's why I'm pleased that the federal court so far has declared that what Trump is trying to do through his executive order is unconstitutional and is wrong.

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Haley: Trump “Has Given Me A Lot Of Leeway To Just Say What I Think And Interpret What He Thinks”


JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Has he ever said to you, you shouldn't have said something? NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: No, he has not. GANGEL: You're surprised? Are you surprised that he's never? HALEY: I'm not surprised because he knew that when he hired me that I made it clear, I didn't want to be a wallflower or talking head. I'm very passionate by nature, and he's fine with it. GANGEL: How much of it is you're going to the say what you think and you feel, and how much of it is coordinated with the White House and the State Department? HALEY: Well, it's always coordinated with the White House. I mean, I'm very — GANGEL: You're not going rogue? HALEY: No, I would never go rogue because I'm very aware of who I work for. And — but what I'll tell you is, it's a sign of how this president works. It's not uncommon for him to pick up the phone and tell me what he feels on an issue, it's not uncommon for him to say, make sure you say this, don't be afraid to say this. He has given me a lot of leeway to just say what I think and interpret what he thinks. I'm a strong voice by nature. I'm sometimes a bull in a China shop, and, you know, he allows me to do that.

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