. . . “blowing up” the Investigation+

. . . the voices we did not hear today (3/28/17). We did not hear former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. We did not hear former CIA Director John Brennan, or former acting Deputy Attorney Sally Yates. They were supposed to testify at the House Intelligence Committee’s second public hearing. But late last week, Chairman Nunes abruptly canceled the hearing, offering no explanation as to why.

Former Attorney General Yates was expected to testify about communications between former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

Now, today, the White House denied it sought to block Yates from actually testifying.

There are the facts about former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a key adviser during the Trump campaign. In 2015, he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a black tie gala for Russia’s RT propaganda network which the Kremlin paid Flynn more than $33,000 to attend.

There’s a fact that during the campaign, Flynn had regular contact with Russian nationals and during the transition, he discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador Sergey Kislyak and then lied about it to the vice president and others. The fact that it cost him his new job as national security adviser — that’s a fact.

Then, there are the facts about President Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser Jared Kushner. Fact, in December, during the transition, Mr. Kushner met with the ambassador. He also met with a guy named Sergey Gorkov, president of Russia’s state-owned bank VEB, in late 2016.

Some facts about former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort. He worked for years in Ukraine for pro-Russian politician Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort also partnered with a Russian oligarch on business deals. And according to the “Associated Press”, he worked for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to benefit the Putin government.

Fact: former Trump foreign policy adviser of some sort, Carter Page, worked in Russia for about three years, was involved in deals with state-owned gas giant Gazprom, and traveled to Russia over the summer while he had been named a close advisor to the president. Then, the same month, Carter Page spoke to Ambassador Kislyak on the sidelines of the Republican Convention.

As you might know, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was the first senator to support candidate Trump. Some facts about him, he also met with Ambassador Kislyak twice during the campaign, despite testifying that he never had contact with the Russians during the campaign.

Michael Cohen is President Trump’s personal lawyer. Two facts about him: last month, he met with a guy named Felix Sater, a Russian immigrant connected to the mob accordingly. Mr. Trump also founded a grain company in Ukraine. Then, there — excuse me, Cohen.

Then, there are the facts about long-time Trump associate Roger Stone who communicated with someone known as Guccifer 2.0 through private messages on Twitter. The U.S. intelligence committee says that Guccifer 2.0 persona was actually a front for Russian intelligence and claimed responsibility for hacking the DNC before the election.

So, those are some facts. The ones we listed, they might be legal. They might be totally legal connections, or nefarious. We don’t know in some case. But we do know they exist. Those are the facts.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  . . . the White House has vehemently denied that today. They say they did not try to block her (Sally Yates) from testimony.

But a review of the letters from her lawyers to the Department of Justice and the House Intelligence Committee shows at the very least they tried to discourage her testimony.

Now, let’s take a step back and remember who Sally Yates is. She was the acting attorney general for the first ten days or so of this administration. She was fired by the president.

But, importantly, in this case, she was the deputy attorney general in the Obama administration and she was the one who fired some warning flares that there were those communications going on between Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, he (Nunes) said the logical next step for this committee would be to have a private classified briefing with Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, and FBI Director James Comey after that public hearing last week. He said a lot of unanswered questions. They wanted this private classified briefing today, so that’s why he canceled that hearing today.

But that private classified briefing also was canceled because of all the partisan acrimony on the committee. All meetings, in fact, of the House Intelligence Committee were canceled today as it’s showing just how gridlocked this committee is.

COOPER (host): So — OK, so the hearing wasn’t canceled but it didn’t happen today and it’s not scheduled to happen, right?

RAJU: Yes, that’s right.

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Of course, it was canceled. It was scheduled. The witnesses were there to testify. A room was reserved. We were all set to go. We had our questions and it didn’t happen.

And the idea that it didn’t happen because the Comey/Rogers meeting was to have happened, you know, there’s more than two hours in a week. Comey and Rogers are on Capitol Hill a lot. So, in my —

COOPER: Theoretically, there could have been a private meeting and a public one as well?

HIMES: Absolutely. I mean, it’s no coincidence that private meeting was scheduled precisely for the time that the open hearing was supposed to happen.

COOPER: So, what’s — what is he — in your opinion what is Nunes trying to do?

HIMES: Well, that’s the big question. I mean, we really — you know, all of his behavior since last Monday’s open hearing is bizarre. I mean, that’s not a partisan statement, right? I mean, you know, no less than Senators McCain and Lindsey Graham have said what is this guy doing, he’s out on a lark. But, you know, last Monday, we had open hearing, which was a tough hearing for the White House. Director Comey confirms, this is another important fact, forget about what Congress is doing, Director Comey confirms that there is an FBI investigation into his words, links and coordination between the Trump campaign and possible links and coordination between the campaign and Russia.

And, of course, both of them, Comey and Rogers, completely shut down this idea that Barack Obama was wiretapping Trump Tower. Pretty ugly five-hour open hearing for the White House. And I have to look at the fact that the open hearing did not happen today and say, that was not an accident.

COOPER: So, do you think Nunes was trying to basically — if there had been, in your opinion, a certain momentum after the last hearing, last week, was he basically just trying to shut that down?

HIMES: I — you can draw your own conclusion. An open hearing that was scheduled today, you can say canceled. You can say it didn’t happen. It did not happen. The American public did not get the opportunity to hear from people who would be able to contribute to this investigation.

COOPER: And when — you know, so, Sally Yates was supposed to be one of the people to testify. I guess her attorneys sent a letter telling the committee that — telling Nunes that she would testify about conversations relating to Mike Flynn and Russia, and that executive privilege would not apply if they didn’t hear back from them by Monday.

That very same day I think, if my timing is correct, it’s announced, OK, that hearing is canceled.

HIMES: You can surmise that the deputy attorney general was a particularly painful potential witness. She was apparently at the center of the whole Michael Flynn thing. And of all the characters that we talk about, Stone, Manafort, Carter Page, you know, Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn is the one person who lost his job. There was actually some sanction taken against him for something that he did.

And so, I do think that probably her testimony would have been particularly difficult for this White House.

COOPER: Does it surprise you to learn that — “New York Times” broke the story yesterday, we’ve been reporting — Jared Kushner, during the transition, met at the suggestion of the Russian ambassador with this guy from a Russian bank that is under sanctions? And the Russian bank, the White House was saying, oh, no, this was just a perfunctory courtesy meeting. The Russian bank says, no, no, this was a business meeting, meeting with him as part of the Kushner family.

HIMES: Well, and there’s other circumstances that make it particularly odd. Of course, the head of this Russian bank is a Russian intelligence officer, trained by Russian intelligence. And the whole thing, it gets to a much larger issue, which is there’s nothing necessarily illegal or bad about that, but what is odd here, and I think the reason we’re having this conversation, is that there are at least a half dozen people very close to this campaign who had a bizarrely intense set of ties with the Russians.

I’ve run five campaigns. I’d be surprised if any of the people involved in my campaign had any contact whatsoever with Russia. And those people, certainly the attorney general, certainly Michael Flynn, looks like maybe even Jared Kushner, were not entirely up front to put it nicely about the nature of those contacts.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, you put — you put that chart up, that’s a quick little flow chart. There’s a lot more there.

You know, for the White House to come out very aggressively today and say, this is all a media creation, if the president put Russian dressing on his salad, which is a clever line.

But you can’t say there aren’t interesting connections. I mean, Michael Flynn lost his job.

HIMES: Well, look, the White House will try — you know, has said all along that there’s nothing there. And they will try hard to paint this as a partisan thing. Now, I would point out that, you know, a midnight run to the White House that puzzles Republicans and Democrats alike by our chairman, who then does not turn around and give us answers, that’s not a Democrat or Republican thing to do.

And most importantly, come back to the fact that there is an active FBI investigation under way. That is not a partisan thing.

COOPER: So, has the work of your committee basically just ground to a halt?

HIMES: Well, and the way you say that, the investigation certainly has ground to a halt. But here’s the odd thing. All meetings have been canceled. We ordinarily have a meeting when we come back, that was canceled. We were to have a meeting tomorrow morning — Thursday morning, I should say, we were to have a meeting. That has been canceled.

And the word in the committee is now that we will not get together as a committee. And remember, we’re charged with oversight of some profoundly important and potentially scary things. We’re apparently not going to do anything until this closed-door meeting with Comey and Rogers occurs.

COOPER: And any clue when that’s going to happen?

HIMES: It’s not on the calendar as far as I know.

Pundits present:  George Washington University law professor, Jonathan Turley, CNN political commentator and Washington correspondent for “The New Yorker”, Ryan Lizza, “New York Times'” Matthew Rosenberg, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, former Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston, who was a senior advise to the Trump campaign.  Also, CNN political analyst and “USA Today” columnist Kirsten Powers, Jason Miller, former senior communications advisor to the Trump campaign, and CNN political commentator, and Bill Press, talk radio host and CNN political commentator.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that if Sally Yates had testified, she would have been an embarrassment to the White House. And I think that starts sort of peeling the onion away from why Devin Nunes didn’t want her to appear and she may end up appearing, it may all backfire.

But I’ve been told from multiple sources that she did not go to see the White House counsel just to give him a heads-up about Flynn’s communications, as has been said by Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer. But, in fact, she went over there to say that she had significant concerns about an issue of compromise and that, in fact, he may have been compromised.

And I think then we have to ask the question about after she went to the White House, why did it take so long for them to finally decide they were going to fire General Flynn, only after “The Washington Post” had revealed in a story about his communications, only after it became public?

ROSENBERG: And that Sally was going to get up there. Yes, it’s good. Our sources basically seem accurate. Sally was going to get up there and talk about conversations they had in the White House about Flynn being compromised, potentially, about Flynn being a real security risk.

And then the fact it took another two weeks before he was let go. And that it looks a lot like he was let go because it looked bad, not because he was a security risk. And that doesn’t violate any security clearance for her to say that.

And from — by all accounts, Nunes did not want a repeat of Monday, of last Monday, when he had the director of the FBI get up and say, yes, there’s an espionage investigation involving the White House. He didn’t want that. And this is an attempt to shut it down.

LIZZA: The morning of the Monday testimony, I talked to a senior official at the White House who said, “Watch Nunes’ testimony, he’s going to lay the predicate here,” and directed to an article in “The Hill” about incidental collection. So, very clearly saying, we know what Nunes is going to say. Out of this hearing what we want is a conversation about incidental collection.

Then, of course, Nunes goes to the executive branch, gets these allegedly secret documents, the next day briefs the White House about it. And we have that whole, you know, arguably charade taking the focus away from Comey’s testimony that the FBI is investigating Trump’s associates and putting on this peripheral issue of incidental collection.

Aside from that, we then have the canceling of today’s hearing. And remember, it’s not just Yates that was going to be trouble for the White House today. Two other witnesses were essentially going to be hostile toward Donald Trump, Clapper and Brennan.

If you combine those, all of that, you basically have the White House and Nunes blowing up this investigation.

JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: Yates testifying is by no means a common appearance in D.C. The people objecting in the Justice Department were career people, not political people. And I’m sure, I often litigate against some of these people, they’re having conniptions.

The idea you could have someone involved in an early investigation in the middle of the investigation, go and talk about any part of the investigation, who held the role of a prosecutor, raises ethical questions. I think that she’s right, there’s a waiver issue here that might get around presidential privilege. I tell you, her description, her letter, is laden with deliberative privilege problems.

LIZZA: Look, you seem to have the president saying something’s going to come out that — about his claim on the famous tweet about Trump Tower being bugged by Pres. Obama.

And then you have the White House, at least to me and I assume other journalists the morning of the hearing saying this is now going to a place about incidental collection, and then you Nunes and most of the Republicans on that Monday hearing last week making the hearing about incidental collection, and then Nunes is going to the White House and say, aha, I’ve got some secret information that Trump’s associates were incidentally collected on.

And the entire conversation shifted from the big news of that hearing which was FBI investigation of Trump associates to this, frankly, peripheral issue of incidental collection.

MILLER: He (Nunes) needs to do one or two things, either come out and very much lay out the case, here’s the people you met with, here’s the evidence, or he needs to step back and have Speaker Ryan put in someone else to do this. Because the fact, what this is doing is stepping on the president’s message when we have this drip, drip, drip everyday of new information coming out. I don’t think that’s all.

LIZZA: I think what happened — what you’re talking about is, Nunes and Schiff did get a private meeting by Comey about the precise nature of the FBI investigation. After the Schiff testimony, Nunes was clearly not happy with some of the answers about whether the Trump White House and Trump himself were under investigation.

And just reading between the lines the way I interpreted what Schiff and Nunes knew privately, versus what Comey was willing to say privately, was how close to the White House the investigation was. And this was the reason that Nunes said that there’s a cloud over the White House now that he thinks is —

TURLEY: Well, first of all, for the White House to say, look, we’re cool just go and testify. You should understand that is very uncommon. The Obama administration, the Bush administration, going back to the Clinton administration, they hold these privileges jealously.

COOPER: — executive privileges for people who don’t follow this as closely, it’s communications conversations that are taking place in the White House, the president has to be able to feel that conversations he’s been having with people.

TURLEY: Ever since George Washington with the Jay Treaty, the president has said we need to have some confidentiality. And then 1974, the Nixon case, the Supreme Court really recognized that in a substantive way, and say, yes, there’s this executive privilege not in the constitution, it warns protection.

There’s a lot of ambiguity there. One of the privileges that comes up is delivered privileges which goes to precisely a type of thing that Yates was doing, it is building cases, investigating.

And the concern you have when a prosecutor, which to effect, if she was, talks about an ongoing investigation, is it raises a question about fairness. For criminal defense attorneys like myself, we tend to crawl in the fetal position when you see prosecutors go out in the middle of an investigation, because no one has been indictment here.

COOPER: Even if she’s not revealing classified information or just talking about things which have — are already in the public record?

TURLEY: That’s what’s going to be tough. If you read her letter, if she can thread that needle, then she’s a very, very good lawyer, but she’s going to walk — this is — it’s got to be a very careful performance. If you read the letter about what she’s not going to talk about, this could be mono syllabic testimony.


ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: I don’t think Donald Trump has any credibility left on this issue of health care. I mean, he said he only had plan “A.” There was no plan “B.” And then all of a sudden just a couple of days later, he has plan “B.” And presumably has plan “C” and “D” and “F” and “G” and every time he takes a stand, it looks like there is really no stand there.

You know, a lot of Republicans called his bluff over this health care. And, he, it turns out, was — that there’s no ability — he had no ability to stand his ground.

So I don’t know what he’s talking about, unless he is talking about maybe a back channel with what, the Democrats. Maybe Donald Trump — I mean the chance that Donald Trump is actually going to be making a deal with Democrats and have enough votes with a few Republicans to come up with some changes that are strengthening the Affordable Care Act, well, I’ll eat my hat, but it will be great if he did that.

STEVEN MOORE, FORMER SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, I’ll tell you, by the way, Bob you’re not going to have to eat your hat, because the negotiations that are going on right now — and I’ve been in touch with a lot of the House members today, Anderson, is that they are very getting very close.

And by this way, this is standard negotiating tactics. When you have plan “A” on the table, you don’t tell the people you are negotiating with, — oh by the way, there’s a plan “B.” But there is a plan “B.” And they’re getting close, I think, to getting this thing sewn up. I don’t know if it will be in next three weeks or three months. But as I said on your show the other night, Anderson, they are going to get this done. They’re going to get it through the House and they’re going to it through the Senate.

Here is the argument, by the way, that’s been I think very persuasive for these people, these Republicans who’ve been on the fence. A lot of them said, look, we can’t vote for this because, you know, any negative ramifications of this bill are going to affect us when we run for re-election. And one of the points I told them is, look, Obamacare is falling apart. The premiums are going to go up and up and up. And Barack Obama isn’t going to get blamed for that. It’s going to be Republicans. You better fix this now or you’re going to have a tough re-election in November of 2018.

REICH: Steve, I agree with you that they better fix it. That it is not Barack Obama’s problem anymore. It is Republicans’ problem.

On the other hand, unless they — how are they going to fix it? I mean, they want it repealed. The taxes that actually keep it going. They also want to get rid of the individual mandate that requires healthy people to have insurance. If you get rid of both of those, you don’t have any funds left to actually provide the subsidies that are needed to enable these to function.

MOORE: You are wrong my friend, because I was just looking at the bill, Anderson, that passed — the House you may recall two years ago when they repealed Obamacare. And the congressional budget office, thought, said that that bill saves $500 billion over 10 years by repealing Obamacare.

So here’s the plan. You use some of that $500 billion to cover people now. As I said the other night on your show Anderson, you basically say, it’s repealed on January 1, 2019. And for the next two years, you provide coverage for people so nobody loses theirs coverage and then you come up with a plan that is market driven. I mean this is ideologically —


The first Republican member of the House has called for House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes to step aside, Walter Jones of North Carolina, saying it is up to the speaker, to Speaker Ryan, but he does think that Nunes should recuse himself.

As we said, the White House was on the defensive today, somewhat denying that it tried to block former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying at a public hearing that was scheduled for today, but then canceled last week without explanation by Congressman Nunes.

Today, Nunes says that he invited FBI’s Director James Comey to testify again in a closed door hearing. It’s been eight days since Comey testified at the House Intelligence Committee’s first hearing and only hearing that’s when he asked for first time public — he said for the first time publicly that the FBI is investigating possible contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. Since then, the questions have certainly been mounting.

CNN REPORTER JIM ACOSTA:  Sally Yates was scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee along with the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the former CIA Director John Brennan. But that hearing as you know is scrapped by Nunes. And, of course, you heard Democrats speculated that all of this was scrapped because this was not going to present itself very favorably for the president. But, no word yet when that hearing will be rescheduled.

We should also point out, Anderson, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked yesterday. He was asked again today, whether he could provide new information as to how Devin Nunes made his way on to White House grounds last week. Spicer simply did not answer that question today when he was asked the question. He blamed the media once again for its coverage of all of this. And as we’ve seen for the last several days, Anderson, we’re asking these questions. There’s just not answering them.

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD, (R-OK) SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Here’s the challenge that we have with that. If we can do our business and do it the right way as we handle information in hard investigations a lot on some very difficult issues we deal with this nation. Our staff is up to speed. We all have clearances. We all have access to the information. We know what we are reading. We know what the code means.

If you set up some independent commission, you’re going to have to deal up a new staff, you’re going to have to go through the process, everybody is going to have to get up to speed, everybody is going to have to get additional connections, its months in the process.

Let us finish our work. At the end of the time, finishing our work, we’re going to put out a nonpartisan, bipartisan report. All of us will sign on to with all of the staff and all the members. Let everyone take a look at and be able to see.

This is similar to what President Obama did at the end of his time. He went through an investigation of all the Russia. He put it out in December. He came on and said, “This is the investigation we’ve done. The American people aren’t going to be happy with it because there will be some aspects we can’t share.”

COOPER: Do you have a timeline?

LANKFORD: We don’t yet. We’re going through all the interviews. We’re going through our background information. We’re doing the source documents. (Inaudible) essential things in going through it as fast as we can possibly go through it and it’s a lot.

We are learning more tonight about Senate’s — Russia investigation as plans to question president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

Kushner’s testimony is likely be under oath in a private interview and it’s likely to focus on his newly disclosed meeting with a Russian banker who has ties with Vladimir Putin.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: . . . this isn’t just any banker. Jared Kushner met in December with Sergey Gorshkov, the chairman of VEB. That’s a state owned bank that has deep ties to the Kremlin and to Russia’s security service.

Now, Gorshkov was put in the job by Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and he’s a product of the Russian Academy of the Federal Security Service, which trains Russia’s spies.

And, of course, the Obama administration slapped sanctions on VEB after Russia annex Crimea from Ukraine, but Kushner didn’t necessarily violate any sanctions by meetings with Gorshkov. But these meetings just add — this meeting just adds to the questions about what the Russians were up to with all their efforts to reach out to people close to President Trump.

COOPER: How is the White House characterizing Kushner’s meeting?

PEREZ: Well, they’ve defend Kushner’s meeting with Gorshkov. They say all of this was above board.  But that doesn’t quite settle the issue, Anderson. VEB confirmed the meeting with Kushner in a statement to CNN. But they described Kushner doing this meeting in his role as the head of the Kushner Companies, his family’s real estate development company.

The Russian bank says that it was part of a series of meetings with big financial institutions here and around the world. The Kremlin said they have no idea about this meeting. So this raises new questions. Was Kushner acting as a Trump transition official in charge of foreign relations as the White House says or was he doing his family’s business?

MATTHEW ROSENBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES: That’s also under sanction. And so here’s the thing. So he supposed to meets with the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. Fine, he’s with the transition. That’s appropriate.

Why does somebody doing transition come diplomatic initiatives need to be — with any Russian banker, you know, from a state owned bank? I done think our state department officials normally meet with Russian bankers just for courtesy calls. And so, what were they talking about? I mean, that’s the key question here. Was it just a pleasantry kind of exchange as hope exist (ph) private? Or was it a meeting above business?

And if they’re talking about business, why are you talking business with a bank that’s under sanction? Those are serious questions and it goes back to what goes on at this White House where we get a little bit information and we’re told, “Nothing to look at here. It’s all fine.”

And let’s also keep in what was going on in December. We’re having the kind of realization by the intelligence community and in public that there was a Russian campaign to attempt to interfere the election.

At the same time, Kushner is meeting somebody who was once part of — tied to Russian intelligence, a bank that is intertwined with the Russian power structure, with Vladimir Putin’s regime, with this Russian Security Services. And this is all — you can literally Google this. This is one Google search.

And, did nobody do any due diligence? I mean, if they were coming from the business world, what kind of businesses are you running, you don’t check out who you are meeting with.


re: Trump’s promise to the coal miners

Reporter JEN PSAKI: It’s just a dishonest promise to the coal miners and people who are in these towns, because coal jobs are going away because of competition, because of automation, because there’s a lack of demand by the steel industry in China. It’s not going away because of the federal leasing on lands.

In fact, that CEOs of coal companies who are going to benefit financially from that, so we’ll see in a year or two when coal miners’ jobs don’t come back and that’s when we we’ll know. But it’s a shame that, you know, it’s a promise made that just not going to be delivered.

LIZZA: . . . this is a classic elections have consequences where one of the only industrialized countries in the world where our two parties actually disagree about climate science.

Every other democracy — this isn’t a debate. The science is settled, but we have a Democratic and Republican Party where this is a fundamental divide. And I don’t think — it’s not surprising that Trump is keeping this promise.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The destruction here in Western Mosul appears to be significantly more vast and widespread than it was in the eastern side. And you also see that there are a lot of these really narrow alleyways that winded deeper into the neighborhoods. And this is one of the main challenges that the security forces are facing.

You barely see any civilians, but you do see the traces of the life that was, of how bustling these particular areas would have normally been. And part of the challenge when it comes to trying to protect the civilian population is that even though the Iraqi government did, yes, encouraged people to stay foot in their homes, even if they wanted to leave, they wouldn’t have been able to, because ISIS would not allow them to leave these neighborhoods. ISIS was holding everyone that lived across this entire city as human shields.

He’s saying that ISIS as the forces were coming through really began to decrease its presence, so at least this family felt that they could stay. That’s the other reason why they couldn’t go obviously, because it’s very difficult for them to try to flee.

The day before this area was liberated ISIS took her husband away. They had no food left and he went out to buy food, to try to get some food and ISIS took him away.

She’s still here because she’s waiting for her husband, who’s the little girl’s uncle to come back. And now she’s just hoping that somehow he’s going to return home.

The people here are trying to get information as to which route may or may not be safe and where there are possible sniper positions. The sounds of battle are still all around. And just being in this one small part of Western Mosul, one — again, a little bit of appreciation for the intensity of the battle, just how terrifying it must have been for those civilians that were stuck here amidst all of this. And just how phenomenally massive the task of eventually rebuilding this city is going to be.

DAMON: . . . the situation is just growing even more difficult and as the U.S. and Iraqi military search for answers and for ways to try to decrease civilian casualties, we have also just heard from the high commissioner for human rights for the United Nations who says that within the time frame of 17 March to the 22nd, at least 200 civilians have been killed in Western Mosul alone.

 

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