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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 303  Al Jazeera  October 31, 2017 8:32pm-9:01pm AST

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daughter's wedding a made no mention of a legal challenge but will the election result will undermine the public's faith in democracy the lawyers of social media companies facebook twitter and google will testify before u.s. senators later on tuesday is part of the investigation into whether russia used the companies to interfere in last year's presidential election facebook says about eighty thousand posts were produced and as many as one hundred twenty five million american uses may have seen russian based content russia has invited thirty three syrian groups and political parties to attend what it calls a syrian congress or national dialogue in sochi in mid november russian officials have suggested a new constitution for syria could be a key discussion point a seventh round of talks aimed at ending syria's war has now finished in cassocks dance capitalist honor at least three people have been killed by a bomb near the u.s. embassy in kabul the attack happened area where many foreign embassies and government departments a base a quarterly report to u.s.
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congress on tuesday found civilian casualties are up fifty two percent on last year and those are the latest headlines here on al-jazeera stay with us inside stories next. you with . three of donald trump's forma advisors are indicted the probe into russia's involvement in the u.s. election is digging deeper so whose name could be honest next and could this investigation sink the u.s. president's administration this is inside story. with.
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a welcome to the program i'm jane dotson critics of donald trump have been calling for his impeachment since he became the u.s. president ten months ago now some say a step has been taken in that direction three of his former advisers were charged with federal crimes on monday including tax evasion conspiracy against the u.s. and lying to the f.b.i. about contacts with alleged middlemen for russia and that's the key word russia trumps opponents say the indictments show trans campaign worked with russia to influence the two thousand and sixteen presidential election the white house denies this trump describing the investigation as a witch hunt but how far will it go and could trump's administration be on shaky ground we'll get to our guests in just a moment but first our white house correspondent can really help get this report from the u.s. capitol. donald trump do solemnly swear donald trump has been in
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office less than a year but this is perhaps the most significant day of his presidency so far on monday two of his former associates avoided handcuffs and turned themselves into the authorities in washington the first is paul mann afford the former chair of donald trump's presidential election campaign the other is rick gates a longtime business associate of matter forts and worked with the white house until march both men appeared in court pleading not guilty to a dozen charges they include conspiracy against the united states also to launder money acting as an agent for a foreign principal providing false statements to investigators and failure to report foreign bank accounts there is no evidence that mr mann of fort with a trunk campaign colluded with the russian government. the announcement which
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caught many off guard that a third person tied to the truck campaign george papadopoulos had pled guilty to lying to the f.b.i. that was over the timing of his meetings with alleged go betweens for russia he is now cooperating with the special investigation led by robert muller as with paul man of fort hood rick gates the white house is pushing back diminishing the role of papadopoulos as a foreign policy advisor this individual was the member of a volunteer advisory council them at one time over the course of a year and he was part of a list that was read out in the washington post and hardly call that some sort of regular adviser however it's the case of paul man a for which is getting the most attention the indictments paint the picture of a man living a lavish lifestyle when f.b.i. agents raided his home they even photographed his suits as evidence of money
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laundering more than seventy five million a form payments through offshore bank accounts on twitter trump reacted to the arrests he has repeatedly called the investigation into ties between his two thousand and sixteen presidential campaign and russia a witch hunt by political adversaries and the media without offering any evidence the white house says it expects the russia probe to wrap up soon and will the indictment states man a fourth charges involve actions from twenty sixteen on twitter trump contradicted the claim arguing the charges against man a fort emanate from actions taken before chairing trumps presidential bid trump against stated there was no collusion between his campaign and russia metaphor it's lawyer calls the charges ridiculous and on capitol hill top u.s. senators are also issuing statements about the indictments claiming it is proof the justice process is working kimberly helped get al-jazeera washington.
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let's go now to our guests joining us in washington d.c. melanie sloan an attorney who served as founding executive director of citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington and taipei ross darrell feingold attorney and republican political consultant and also in washington d.c. thomas pickering former u.s. ambassador to russia very warm welcome to all three of you russ feingold you've had time to absorb these staggering revelations and these charges how's this playing out do you think in the republican party well the key thing republicans especially republicans in congress but across the united states are going to continue to be focused on is advancing the legislative agenda that republican voters elected a republican congress and president trying to pursue most notably in the coming
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days that's the legislation to in action if we can tax reform and whatever is going on in the white house should not stop congress from working on these important legislative goals i can see you know the white house going to charlie this should have caused a a moment of shock and horror and wondering who's next what's next could this be true but that still wouldn't stop congress from going about its work or frankly it shouldn't stop congress they have things to do they have to hold hearings they have to hold votes and it would be irresponsible of them to let events in the white house stop them from doing that thomas pickering you've been in this business for a long time i'm just wondering what you make of the developments that we've seen in the last twenty four hours what it means as far as the bigger picture his concern. leaving aside the fact that i'm not a lawyer and i focused on the russian side just let me say one comment on mr fine goes i'm sure that he follows washington closely there's not been
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a howling success in the legislative agenda up until now despite his hopes and i do see a lot of distraction there on the russia side it's fascinating because while there were claims that all of this took place in respect to mr amount of fort and mr gates before in fact the suman chairmanship of the of the campaign it's quite clear from the data and information that some of the money laundering a lot of it transcended that barrier it's also fascinating with respect to russia as well that mr muller i think led with the kind of sucker punch he pushed with men afforded gates waited for the reactions it seems from the president no collusion and then put mr papadopoulos forward who it obviously made it to crimes was clearly i think now recruited by the justice system to help them out in pursuing this particular question further and he himself had played some kind of
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a role in trying to set up meetings with a relationship with a mysterious. russian professor in london named by some as mr ms sued and clearly related in some way or another to our diddy pasko among others so the russian connection is there in addition to obviously the early and preceding information on the hacking by the russian military intelligence service the g.r.u. so we have in fact a kind of situation in which we have an on rolling piece of the russia connection continuing law and we have great uncertainty about where this will go mr muller's running a very tight ship as we have seen we have some indication with. ana forte that he's moving up if you could put it this way the latter toward perhaps higher figures but no certainty with respect to that and i think a lot of attention this morning and yesterday was focused on this particular issue
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perhaps to the detriment of the legislative process melanie sloan i mean that certainly was a sucker punch wasn't i mean quite a day of drama wasn't it delivering first manifest in gates and then eventually a puppet awfulness of the what do you make of how it was all delivered and what is being set up legally now the next steps well in many ways it's the papadopoulos information that so much more serious for mr trump while president trump has been saying there is no collusion papadopoulos information indicates that he was indeed colluding with russia he was working with russians to try and get obtain negative information about hillary clinton which included by the way a trove of e-mails and that is the same kind of information that the russians that have set up a meeting with donald trump jr and jared kushner to again talk about this issue of hillary clinton related e-mails and dirt so it's clear that we've seen collusion
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and also very worrisome for the trump campaign is the fact that mr papadopoulos has clearly been working with the special counsel for months and months he was first arrested back in july this in criminal information indicates that he pleaded guilty at the beginning of october it's released only at the end of october they talked about him as a proactive cooperate or meaning he may have been welling wearing a wire or otherwise speaking to other members of the trump campaign to try and obtain more information so i think there's a lot more to come and this is only the beginning so does this on so then the question melanie that there was indeed and it doesn't fit into the legal framework collusion between the trunk campaign and the russians. is that it no collusion is just another word for conspiracy really and conspiracy would be the criminal element that we've been talking about and we're certainly seeing that certainly
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what mr moller is setting up he's shown us that mr papadopoulos was working with the russians to obtain information about hillary clinton we've seen the same thing with jared kirshner and donald trump jr the question is whether it will amount to a criminal conspiracy and i think that's why mr moller is working on it and his team they're working on and we'll see much more about that but it's clear that this is just the beginning that's the only reason mr moller would have done what he did which is have the manner for it and gates indictments and then an hour later give us the papadopoulos information which includes that information showing that he's been working with the with the special prosecutor for months and months russell comments about. mini's comments there from a legal perspective and when do you think it means something adults trying to confuse aapl as they're all innocent until proven guilty that's the way our justice system works but regardless the bar for a conspiracy conviction is extraordinarily high in these circumstances the fact is
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is that political campaigns whether it was the clinton campaign or the trump campaign regularly interact with representatives of foreign governments that by itself is not a crime whether they have violated the federal statutes with regard to receiving monetary or non monetary benefits from a farm party remains to be seen and one thing that's interesting about the papadopoulos guilty plea it really is limited to why to the f.b.i. which is obviously a foolish thing to do and in fact it's criminal and that's why he was caught and as my colleagues on the panel will know that very often when prosecutors in a washington investigation can't find a crime they do catch some of the people involved in lying and it becomes an obstruction of justice charge. melania and i'm going to come back to you in a moment thomas i'm just wondering what sort of emma's evidence miller must have had to get the jury to sign off on these charges and and where it
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goes to from here i mean did did he bring in manifest gates in order for them to to speak eventually is this is this a form of leverage he's using against. well i certainly think he's going to attempt to leverage a manner for him gates i mean looking at the charges that twelve charges apiece they're facing potentially decades of prison time for these violations and for white collar defendants that's obviously a pretty scary prospect so i'm sure that he's trying to leverage them and see what they'll give him man a for it has greater resources greater ties to washington he might be a little harder to break but gates might be a little more willing to use much younger and at the beginning of his career may may be willing to provide information so i certainly think that's the goal here for mr miller told us we know now that man if it was lobbying for ukraine how do you think that would have helped russia if that was the plan. well he
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was love being for the president of ukraine mr young of course he who had in fact a very very close russian ties so it's almost impossible to see that is a purely independent ukrainian approach and mystery in a cove each was then later in fact left ukraine under difficult and unseemly circumstances arrived in russia and now seems to have been dissed by mr putin so whatever happened there it was a clear russian connection through janak which that everybody i think now is pretty much convinced was operative on this sort of situation mr gates worked extensively in cyprus cyprus is in fact the home of perhaps more russian banks than russia these days and more people engaged in what one would call promoting russian economic activity sometimes on the seamy side so this is clearly the kind of
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indication that puts this much more in the russian lap could one blame russia for wanting to interfere in american elections well it's certainly against our law as melanie has pointed out for that to be done although the russian intelligence services don't seem to be in any way held up by that let me just ask you tarzan i mean i think a good lesson i find that i said give me jump in earlier and get that process here has a nation really to see thousand and sixteen u.s. election campaign he also said that the u.s. should investigate links to you train how does that fit into the scenario lover of his the russian foreign minister clearly what he has to say should be taken seriously i'm quite convinced however that sitting a lover off would be in the front and center of denying any russian interest that in any way at all implicated rushed. in an effort to try to one way or another
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influence the american election campaign that doesn't seem to consult coincide with the fragile basis that is now being developed in that part of which is exposed i suspect that there is more to come and that mr moller is careful moving slowly. making sure that each step of the way what he has to do is significant and perhaps if we could assume this moving up the ladder rather than in fact going from his best case down the road to the worst case or now the investigation into the trump campaigns and lage ties to russia goes back months the accusations started before trump even took office and signs of russian meddling led president barack obama to expel russian diplomats in december then former national security advisor michael flynn resigned in february when it became clear he'd met with the russian
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ambassador joining the campaign and transition period attorney general jeff sessions also met with ambassador sergei kislyak and failed to disclose it this revelation forced him to recuse himself from the russian investigation leading former f.b.i. chief james comey to take charge but he was abruptly fired in may komi says he was sacked because trump wasn't happy about his investigation into possible collusion and then there's also the meeting trunks eldest son had with the kremlin connected lawyer in june two thousand and sixteen trying son in law joe krishna was also at that meeting they were allegedly there to get damaging information on his rival for the white house hillary clinton how nervous do you think those all are ross the jarrett's coaches and those involved do you do anything i say and only trouble. well it depends on the individual and the specific action involved one of the accusations in yesterday's indictment of man of four gates was not registering
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as a foreign agent the reality is that there is a lot of noncompliance with that particular law and people who are caught out of compliance typically make an amended filing they typically don't go to jail the f.b.i. or the department of justice typically doesn't prosecute people for this violation so there is so the man of course gates are going to have a very significant defense to build on that so their advocacy work on behalf of ukraine however distasteful it might be to some people in the united states frankly that's a normal part of advocacy in washington d.c. and if they were noncompliant bill though they'll argue that we shouldn't be prosecuted we should just make an amended file away as for the other personalities involved that you mentioned again the issue's going to come down to whether any of their behavior actually violated a criminal statute of the united states it might seem unseemly that they met with foreign parties but that by itself is not a crime men and they want to take to get that step closer to the cushion is if
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need be the junior the flynns. oh i think they're getting closer all the time i have to disagree with russ here the fact is that the foreign agent registration act does include criminal penalties and yesterday that chair of the republican the republican chair of the senate judiciary committee charles grassley said that he was pleased that mahler was actually going to be prosecuting violations of foreign which are all too common jared kushner and donald trump jr also have a lot to worry about knowing that they too were having meetings with russians about damaging information on hillary clinton but also i think they might be looking at the man a for in gates' indictments and seeing all the problems that they had regarding money laundering and tax fraud that stem from mr man a for its business interests and i think jared sister and donald trump jr may also have some very questionable business interests this is what donald trump the president has always feared that mr moller would delve into his finances and into his his real estate holdings and
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mr mahler's allowed to do that he's got a very broad reign so i think we might be seeing some of that kind of thing looking at jared kushner and donald trump jr and i think they both have a lot to worry about there as well ross where does this leave donald trump and what sort of response do you think he is gearing up for what sort of action is he going to take and is in the crosshairs well we all know donald trump's personality and his style but there's a candidate and in ten months is a president and we saw that with how he responded via twitter in the immediate hours after the indictments were announced we should expect him to continue to aggressively pursue his policies and frankly part of that will be aggressively pursuing action in congress with regard to tax reform in the coming days and other issues that i'm asked about i want is he going to go look what he did to me is it is going to go off to mutiny if he does i mean could there be
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a constitutional crisis. well the likelihood of going after miller is probably low and i would expect that his legal counsel both in the white house and externally are advised him against doing that because it would set off a crisis there's clearly support by republicans in congress to prevent that occurrence so that would be a very difficult decision for donald trump to make and i think most of the counsel he is receiving is not to do that the best thing he could do frankly again though is to continue to to do the normal day to day activities of president and to cooperate with the special prosecutor which is what you're say they are doing thomas what do you think donald trump should do in this state of play do you think people like kim jong un and north korea will frighten them the ever have been. i think it's. what he should do and what he will do are probably two different
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things i think what he should do is to stay quiet watch carefully what goes on make decisions along the lines that i think mr fine goal recommended of getting is is. part of his a legislative plan through if he can not go to war with kim jong un not to go to war with the iranians and i think toned down what he's been doing particularly of voiding the question of the mall or muller issue muller issue came up once before about three weeks ago it was clear that it was put to rest at least for a while but i can think of nothing that would be more self incriminating than interfere in an investigative process which he himself set up which his administration advised people to cooperate with in the past and now in fact in whatever way he might be able to do that totally interfered with seemingly to his own benefit and i think that would be
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a very serious mistake it would at least in my reading particularly even beyond the beltway here in washington create some consternation in the american public about what he was doing hopefully seriously enough that he would never do that and as russ mentioned i think the there are republicans in congress who would find this reprehensible i think the democrats universally would for a combination of reasons melanie i wonder what we're going to see the media doing at this stage i mean we've already seen fox units izing about mia and then turning him into the devil incarnate very briefly if you will where do you see the the media in all of this if not. well i think we're going to also be now looking at somebody else who played a role sam clovis sam clovis was another person in the campaign that's who it is appears that george papadopoulos was talking to as well as paul man of fort sam clovis has a confirmation hearing coming up to be the chief scientist for the u.s.d.a.
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the agriculture department even though he has no science background so i think we'll see the media digging in a little there again to cover a couple of wood responses from each of you melanie is donald trump any closer to impeachment or not i think there's definitely a step closer to him impeachment if not and if not that indictment so i think the walls are closing in on mr trump and he's going to be panicking and it'll be interesting to see what he does as we all know he can be fairly erratic ross. there is no chance of impeachment as of today based on these indictments and with the current makeup of the congress the new whistle thomas. indictment is a legal act impeachment is political and legal we have to see whether in fact there are enough legal facts to carry it there the question of politics is extremely important i think until the republicans who have impeachment in their hands at the
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moment understand that the the base that mr trump seems to be carrying with him is washing away as a result of these facts ok thomas i'm sorry we're going to have like a quiet we run out of time excuse me for interrupting thank you very much to all three of my guests thomas pickering there with a final words ross darrell feingold and melanie sloan and thank you too for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting a website or dot com for further discussion please go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com ford slash agents story you can also join the conversation on twitter a handle is at a.j. inside story mine is at jane dr brian thank you very much for watching.
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