tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN March 3, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
thanks for watching. time to hand over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. have a great weekend. president trump is at mar-a-largo but his russia troubles have followed him there. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. michael flynn, jeff sessions, even jared kushner, all meeting with the russian ambassador. what's that about? what is the connection between the kremlin and the white house? we'll investigate. and what does vladimir putin want from all of this. meanwhile president trump responds to all of this just as you'd expect with a twitter war against chuck schumer and nancy
pelosi. joining me. learn about the meetings with the inner circle and russian officials, what is the latest? >> counterpunching. going on the attack on twitter. favorite social media platform. maybe favorite communications. this time tweeted a photo of chuck schumer with russian ambassador in 2003. drink hot beverage and eating crispy krooem doughnuts, said should start immediate investigation into schumer and his ties to russia and putin. total hypocrite. schumer responded, saying happily talk about contact with mr. putin and associates. took place in full view of press and public. under oath. would you and your team?
latest from the president, upset about all the attention paid to what he has repeatedly called a ruse and distraction and way for democrats to make up for their big loss in november. >> this is interesting because this new homeland security report seems to undermine the president's travel ban or at least the reason they want to have this travel ban. this report found that after looking at 88 cases of terrorism, most foreign-born violent extremists do not arrive in the u.s. radicalized. how is the white house responding to that? >> the white house isn't responding specifically to that new report so far don. but this is interesting. even on the first weekend, remember the end of january the travel ban came out and created all this chaos at airports across the country, the white house held a couple of background briefings. officials argued this ban was
absolutely necessary to protect the country, prevent attacks like 9/11, the san bernardino shooting and boston bombing. and we pointed out at the time, all of these attacks committed by people not from these countries or u.s. citizens. facts seem to keep getting in the way of the argument the administration is making. remember we're still waiting for this ban, expecting to see the revised travel ban that the administration hopes will stand up better to legal scrutiny and challenges. expecting to see that this week. actually last week. hasn't come this week and white house says no announcement on timing on that. when they're ready they'llet us know, but it's proving to be complicated. asked for reports to justify it and the reports are coming back and delivering information that doesn't justify their point.
>> interesting. athena jones at mar-a-largo. bring in -- kirsten powers, and matt lewis. as athena was reading twitter, who would have thought that the president -- our president is in a twitter war. what is happening? >> it is -- he's always in twitter wars obviously but this response is especially childish. the allegations against the trump administration right now are really serious. if i was donald trump i would want to just clear my name and try to get everything out in the open so we can understand what exactly is going on with his administration's relationship with russia. for him to talk about something that chuck schumer did in 2003, what does it have to do with thing?
>> yes. absolutely. that's why i said what is going on here. anderson just spoke with carter page a short time ago. i want your reaction. >> write policy papers and send them to the campaign? >> i don't like talking about specifics of -- >> you told the "new york times" you did on march 25th. >> that's fair enough yeah. >> can you say who you sent policy papers to? >> i don't talk about internal matters. >> but they are saying you were not part of the campaign at all. >> i'm not surprised. he didn't know me. he with as there until he came from ted cruz's campaign. >> but nobody came out and said actually not true. carter page was adviser to the campaign. >> beauty of it -- part of the reason why i stepped back, wanted to prevent continuing to be a distraction. and i mean, this -- this news
cycle -- >> they said you weren't part of it to begin with which is just weird. >> jason didn't know. he was -- that's -- it's honest mistake. he was on a few months between ted cruz's campaign and moving on to something else right now. >> when sean spicer january 11th, two months ago, said carter page is individual the president doesn't know and put on notice months ago by the campaign, what were you put on notice for? what does that mean? >> i don't know. i haven't met mr. spicer either. >> there was report in the "daily caller" that the trump campaign sent you cease and desist letters after campaign ended is that true? >> i don't know. >> to your knowledge you didn't receive any decease and desist letters? >> you know, nothing specific that -- there's nothing that
really came up in that regard. yeah. >> i know you all -- i actually started to feel bad for the guy but he voluntarily accepted that interview as was pointed out. made no sense. seemed not to want to answer many or any of anderson's questions or get specific about anything. what did you think of that? >> and that's only a teaser. it went on. it was long interview. i don't even know. and i couldn't tell -- like you said, feel sorry for him but also the car wreck, you can't not look at it. that's how i felt. intriguing. found myself wanting to keep watching it. obviously he's not being truthful or forthcoming about everything. we don't know. unclear was jason miller misleading or this guy,
obviously it doesn't add up. intriguing television but very weird that he went on -- he decided to go on a prime time tv show but not talk about a lot of the things he was going to be asked. weird decision. >> and he's been on this show. nice enough guy but in that interview, boy. emily? >> he has every right to not talk about internal matters but that right goes off -- out the window when you decide to do interview on cable news live. but in a time when many head scratching things going on that happen on interviews and on live television probably way more important than this interview where we have a lot more questions after them. >> i think he's overstating his role in the trump kpachbcampaig. i texted somebody on the transition team who said he never advised donald trump. i think he was hanger on
exaggerating his role. why he went on with anderson and wouldn't answer direct questions made him seem even less credible. >> let's move on. that interview will be everywhere. he's going to have explaining to do, maybe not only to how it's investigated but to the trump folks as well. talk about jared kushner now. you have new reporting on his meeting with the russian ambassador in december. white house disclosed i think yesterday. what do you know? >> talked to white house official today who reiterated how short this meeting actually was between himself and russian ambassador. very quick. kushner met with dozens of foreign officials. i think the number i he gave me was 100 leading up to taking office in january. reiterated this is business as usual for kushner.
thing is isn't business as usual, there is a small number of people in the innermost circle of the white house, the west wing, and seemingly can't keep track of who is met meeting with one person. white house told me sean spicer did not know about this meeting as late as january. it's really unbelievable in small amount of people they can't keep track of this one guy. >> why this drip, drip, drip? can't get acts together? maybe they don't but makes them look like they're hiding something. do you agree? >> i do. this meeting is not nefarious. this role is one that jared kushner carved out for himself, no matter how unusual it may be but meeting -- fact that sean spicer didn't know about what
they should have known was controversial meeting. what it doesn't do is create a sense of confidence in the white house and it does make people think -- sitting there watching them create mess after mess and can't get to policy agenda if create messes and -- >> are they doing this on purpose? all self-inflicted wounds and very easy i to clear up. all jeff sessions had to do after flynn thing was go back and amend what i said. you guys need to know this. that didn't happen. could have released a lot of this information and we're not talking about one meeting or one person. all top aides with meetings with the russian ambassador, aren't you curious what russia wanted or the meetings were about? >> yes. this is complicated thing. first i agree, incompetence,
simplest explanation, is probably most likely right explanation. i think jeff sessions probably nothing nefarious, jared probably not nefarious but normal course of business. if you go back "vanity fair" had a piece that was quite good that diagnosed the question that al franken asked and answer that jeff sessions gave. if you actually closely read it, it's understandable that sessions thought he was answering a very specific question about talking to them on -- i know you're laughing at me. if you actually read it -- >> i understand where you're going but anytime you're having to explain something about how you answered or explain a joke or your strategy or policy, what does that say kirsten? >> well, you have a problem. right? you shouldn't -- thing is, i'm having a hard time following
this. jack kingston was making similar argument earlier. he offered up the information. kingston was saying he wasn't asked about this so fact he offered up doesn't matter. not true. he was under oath and i think it's plausible he was thinking one way when he got the question but why not correct it after the fact? and staffers in the meeting? and just like to know is this regular for him? did he meet with the ambassador in the preceding year? basic information. >> and also reported he used campaign funds to go to convention. does that undercut what he says? he's working -- >> pretty much everybody does that. all members of congress going to conventions use campaign money. but also underscores fact he was doing political work. not official capacity. >> we do know it's a mess.
politics are messy. thank you. i appreciate it. coming back, democrats calling for attorney general jeff sessions to resign. was his decision to recuse himself enough? card from capital one.ash with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on all of my purchasing. and that unlimited 2% cash back from spark means thousands of dollars each year going back into my business... which adds fuel to my bottom line. what's in your wallet? i'my bargain detergentgh a couldn't keep up.isaster. so, i switched to tide pods. they're super concentrated, so i get a better clean. tide. number one rated. it's got to be tide my belly pain i could build a small city with all the over-the-counter products i've used.
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ambassador before inauguration. talk to kristof, a frequent contributor. reporting about kislyak meeting with three campaign advisers, president trump's senior aide and son-in-law jared kushner, former national security advisor michael flynn, with the ambassador in trump tower in december. what is happening here? >> a, i don't know. i wish i did. i think the connections about the republican national convention are a little bit overdone. bunch of ambassadors there, sessions met with a group. i don't think any collusion going on there. >> do you think he misremembered? >> sessions? that would be a really charitable explanation. i mean i think he didn't tell the whole truth. what the reason for that is, i
don't know. every other liberal is calling for him to be ousted. >> little much at this point. >> i didn't call for bill clinton to resign when he lied under oath and we need to investigate this but that's diversion. >> first thing when i saw the democrats rushing up to the mike, i know they thought they had something but inclination to wait to see what happened and president saying overplaying their hand, my exact thought. >> and big problem is we in media chase the latest bright and shiny thing, that's it right now. bigger issue is larger question of the independent investigation with the connections to russia. >> i cut you off. was that you wanted to say? cleveland was overblown and -- >> that's right. and sessions meeting in cleveland doesn't matter too much. meeting in washington, that's a
good thing, senators should immediate the russian ambassador and shouldn't deny it later on in testimony and written questionnaire. what is weird is any individual meeting whether with kushner, sessions, can be explained. but you have this broad pattern of person after person in the trump campaign meeting with russians. and paul manafort is maybe the most important. and server communicating with a server in russia. we don't know what is going on there. but there is a cloud hanging over that and not going to be dispelled by senate committee investigation. got to be independent investigation. >> everyone is saying you have this while the president is dealing with sanctions and then you have meetings. if it was flynn by himself, if it was sessions by himself. if it was kushner by himself.
do you understand where i'm going with this? >> absolutely. it's a pattern. >> manafort by himself. >> at this point you have to ask who did not meet with the russian ambassador. >> and also the white house saying r saying repeatedly they had not had communications with russia. vice president pence said in january, no communications with russia. why would there be? that's excellent question. >> maybe all the meetings are innocent. we don't know. but the way they're handling it makes it seem like they're hiding something. tripping over themselves. >> it's always the cover-up. president reagan faced with similar challenge with iran-contra, called in independent commission and they in three months issued a report. and i think that kind of outside
commission, independent people with subpoena power, is going to be the only way to clear the air. i don't think a senate committee is sufficient. >> talked about the server and put up a time line last night and someone said to me, may be coincidence because i think the republican platform already making changes with ukraine. carter page, denied sessions met with the ambassador at convention and after this platform weakened against ukraine. and then first batch of hacked dnc e-mails released by wikileaks. more coincidence or not? >> awful lot of dots there. i don't know which dots we can connect. that's something a committee has to investigate. on that issue, also notable that president trump was asked by
george steppe nopulus about the weakening of the language. he says no idea where it came from. not from him and now j.d. gordon played a role in weakening that language. his aide. all these dots and connections. fundamentally back to the same question when i was in high school, back to watergate, what did the president know and when did he know it? we don't know the answer to that. i don't want to prejudge it but independent commission needs to do it. >> i was watching anderson cooper and wanted to say what just happened. didn't do that. what did you think of the interview? >> with carter page? i don't know what to make of it. i don't think that carter page was some sort of major secret liaison. i don't think jeff sessions was a secret liaison.
if there was collusion as the dossier said, i think it was other people. paul manafort is someone who i think everybody has got to focus on. has to be research on him. >> one other note -- >> can i also say, trump taxes, there's real question whether the russians had leverage over the trump family through investments they had made. can't resolve that without seeing the trump taxes. >> mark sanford is calling on the president to release taxes to show if there is a connection to russia. do you think more republicans will continue to do so? >> i hope so. it also raises national security question of whether the russians had leverage on him. >> you see the hypocrisy of pence using private e-mail and
his criticism of hillary clinton. she also had a personal server as well. >> absolutely. pence was denouncing her all along for private server -- >> private e-mails. >> she may have been hacked. >> we don't know she was hacked. i gather he was. >> no indication she was at this point. thank you. just ahead, what were vladimir putin's motives for russian hacking of the election? ask our experts. if you head to the bank and wait to get approved for a mortgage, that newly listed ranch will be gone. or, you could push that button. [dong] [rocket launching] skip the bank. get approved in minutes. lift the burden of getting a home loan with rocket mortgage by quicken loans.
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meeting with top aides to trump. he keeps denying there's any -- but don't you want to know why so many contacts and what were the meetings about. >> weren't you intrigued about who this donald trump guy was and whether or not he could win? the russians, he was just as much of a puzzle to them. how many asked me, is he for real, what is he going to do? could he win? is he a caricature, he's not a normal american politician and explain same thing in russian so they could get confirmation. some of this goes on -- getting secret instructions, i doubt it. >> explains the russian side about it. just because they want to learn about it doesn't mean they must meet with them. doesn't explain why the folks on
the trump side wanted to meet as well. >> this is the black box. still not had a serious explanation from donald trump about his intrigue with russia. what does he want to do? does he want to do it? does he like russian souls? want to do it because it's contrary? like putin because everyone in american establishment can't stand him? get a lot of money from russians? see sputnik as little boy and want to see the other part of the world? does he find new russians like him, crass and crude and liking to do things in exaggerated fashion. >> part of the things you're saying are serious, some are not. do you think we need an investigation into this? >> yes. and also include how america interfered into the last free election in russia. didn't have impact but maybe
taught the people there to invade our elections. >> matthew? >> one motive for russian representatives, especially diplomats, to be meeting with either presidential campaign, especially later in the elections after the primaries when we now know from u.s. intelligence sources that a russian information operation was well under way. they may have wanted to see how the potential leaders of the united states were reacting to the revelations. were they going to punish the united states. whatever the likelihood, was there a chance impose further sanctions or continue the sanctions that obama administration at 11th hour impose of. i would want to know that if i were vladimir putin.
beyond that real curiosity. what were their policies going to be? and this the work of diplomats, reporting on the perspectives of americans whether in power, out of power. and by the way the russian ambassador has been doing that for years. i've watched him do that. he does it very well. >> jill, keep saying these meetings could be innocent but are a lot of them. more conventional wisdom from people -- average folk. follow the money. potential financial connections here, ties to moscow at least. do you think it's a possibility? >> i do not know of course because i'm not with the fbi. but i do think that when you look at the history of donald trump, his -- first thing we know other than being impressed by sputnik was seriously when he went to moscow and wanted to do deals in moscow.
so lot of his early connections it appears with russians were based on business and money. many of the people that he met from that world are business people, money people. when you get into that part of the world, former soviet union, there is a lot of murky activity. everybody knows that. so you're going to bump into a few shady characters along the way. all i'm saying is that it's entirely possible that those -- that's the beginning of the nexus. whether you take to nth degree and collusion and blackmail, i can't say that. but so-called mystery why donald trump is interested in russia, many different reasons and not that unclear. money. he likes power. he likes powerful men. thinks of himself as powerful
man. he really disdains old forms of government. that's very much a putin would go along with that. many different cross currents going on in this. >> everyone stand by. anderson had a former trump adviser on earlier. i want to play part of that interview. it's interesting and i want your response. we'll be right back. ta... t-mobile one save you hundreds a year. right now get two lines of data for $100 dollars. with taxes and fees included. that's right 2 unlimited lines for just $100 bucks. all in. and right now, pair up those two lines with two free samsung galaxy s7 when you switch. yup! free. so switch and save hundreds when you go all unlimited with t-mobile.
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white house dealing with fallout tonight from revelations that multiple trump advisers had meetings with russian ambassador prior to the election. back with me now, jonathan sanders, matdue rojansky and jill dougherty. carter page with anderson cooper. here's what he said. >> i never shook his hands. been in many rallies with him from arizona to north dakota to many in new york. >> rallies? >> which is meetings. >> ask you about that. you said in meetings with the
president. in moscow in 2016, held a press conference at sputnik headquarters and to reporters denied claims you never met donald trump in your time as adviser. certainly been in number of meetings with him. that implies conference room, around a table. now saying those were actually rallies? >> that is -- listen, if you look at definition in russian context, 90% of the students from the university and other media people that came to that meeting, that briefing or presentation i gave were russians. so when they have demonstrations and gatherings in bloet myia quare and other places, the term for that is meeting. >> so jonathan -- glad i'm not
only one. matthew? who wants to go first. >> we're all kind of laughing because technically that's true. technically the translation that russians use, term "meeting" to describe things we might call rallies or bigger galleries. kind of a funny point but that's pretty strangely evasive. and you know, i was just in moscow myself last week. and what's amazing to me about this whole story, you hear carter page conveying his efforts to clarify things to the russian press. russi russians are also befuddled. maybe somebody at very top knows what is going on but most that i talk to don't have a clue. and worrisome of all, if there was a plot to hack the election,
against them now. trump is more hemmed in before. no room to roll back sanctions. russia hawkish a policy in front of him now as hillary clinton would have had. >> keep that in mind, talk more about that. quick reaction. jonathan, you spent time in russia as well. what did you think of the explanation there? >> absurd, bordering on satire, i don't know if be on news program or children's cartoon program with homer simpson. >> it's ridiculous, i'm surprised he knows the word "meeting" which really is a word. i saw carter page in moscow over the summer giving a speech at a university. and it was interesting, even at that point, people were very
interested, oh, here's a man from the campaign, from trump, we'll find out about trump. he refused to answer any questions about the trump campaign. even there in moscow. he did a very good job of dissing american foreign policy in central asia but wouldn't answer any questions about the trump campaign. that to me was a little odd as well. >> i don't know if it was last night or night before, but talk about the russia reaction that matthew brought up. russian people's reaction to what is going on over here about the meetings and so forth. >> i totally agree with matt. it's very difficult. i would say in the kremlin, people are not naïve. and i think that they understand -- they understood even from the beginning that donald trump was unpredictable, kind of a wild card, with a lot of ego. and this all would play into the
way that russia would eventually play with him. so you saw the early comment by president putin, stroking the ego of donald trump. you saw other comments but never really any complete commitment. so yes they didn't want hillary clinton to win, but i'm not too sure they knew what they were going to get with donald trump and right now they certainly do not know where all of this is going. and it is backfiring because any chance of having any type of deal as we said on sanctions, et cetera, is out the window at least at this point. >> got to get this in quickly. jonathan weigh in on the report that seven russian officials murdered or found dead since the u.s. election? >> if i had a dollar for every russian official that's been killed, jill and i have 30 acquaintances, journalists
killed. that's something putin and trump share, don't like the press. but putin can really do something evil about it. >> wow. and not saying the president would never murder anyone, want to make that clear. >> only in his dreams. and you might be one of them. >> i think he actually likes me. >> invite him on and see. >> thank you everyone. appreciate it. president trump expected to sign a new travel ban any day now. last one caused worldwide chaos. what will happen this time? lose the contracts, mystery fees and overages. switch to straight talk... ...to get coverage on america's largest and most dependable... ...4g lte networks. for half the cost. that's right. half. get any of the latest samsung phones or bring your own phone. unlimited talk, text and data is 45 bucks a month. and nothing more. straight talk wireless. only at walmart.
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president trump's new executive order on immigration is expected any day now. first one created chaos for travelers around the world. discuss that and more with man who traveled the world himself with his new series "believer." reza aslan. watch the president signing original travel ban on january 27th. >> and this is the protection of the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the united states. we all know what that means. protection of the nation from
foreign terrorists entry into the united states. big stuff. >> i see it pains you so much you have to laugh? why are you laughing? >> clearly first time he's ever read that. this is the -- what is it again? what is it? foreign -- i mean what are we doing here? what are we dealing with. i'm sorry, i know it's late at night and i've been doing a lot of interviews. i can't stand it anymore. >> this is the show where you people come on, end of the night. >> you're on at 11:00. i can't stand it. >> going to redo it. but after the speech he gave earlier in the week wanted the good publicity. >> that's how urgent it was. >> exactly. is it that urjts? really bad dudes he said are getting in. >> argument of the white house to be fair these countries
chosen through objective analysis of the threat their foreign nationals pose to american citizens. urgent threat and every part of the argument is crumbling. first the fact that zero americans killed on u.s. soil from foreign nationals from any one of these countries. second by reports going to remove iraq from that list. good idea. we are fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with iraqi military personnel against a common enemy so bad idea to talk about banning their citizens from the u.s. but further erodes the notion it's objective notion about threat. now we have a report stating clearly that the real fear from foreign-born terrorists is they get radicalized long after they're into the united states.
any extreme vetting this reports will be useless anyway. >> do you agree with that report? and how can we prevent it if you agree? >> i don't know what polls or statistics dhs is using but in my academic work on radicalization, it is true. radicalization happens through a long, long period of disaffection, through a crisis of identity with the individuals themselves. that's how it happens in europe and united states. >> you broach these issues in new series "believer" that airs on sunday at 10:00 p.m., you examine smaller religions to see how people become radicalized. what did you find out? >> start with the notion that religion is first and foremost a matter of identity, and after that a matter of -- making a
statement of who they are as human beings and that's not just religion but politics, social views, economic positions. all those are included in it. one of the things i'm trying to do with a show like this is to educate people about the varieties of ways in which a single faith can be expressed. first episode you see aghori mystics who take part in the most really scary rituals, eating corpses, things like that -- >> there's one man you talk with, believes -- from india's untouchable population and believes his karma leads him to lifetime of zpoegz of indian's deceased. >> he's untouchable. >> let's watch. >> how long have you been
things that can pollute you. nothing more than dead body. but you have to get rid of the dead bodies. entire caste is responsible for the disposal. but because they touch those bodies continually more and more polluted. not only outcast from society but according to hinduism, when they die born back into the untouchable caste. eternity of suffering in social positions. but perfect example of what we were talking about. just as many hindus will say if you're untouchable, it's because you did something in previous life to deserve it. part of religion. just as many would say no our religion is about liberation and freedom and justice and caste system is against that. that's the thing, religion is whatever a religious person says it is. >> fascinating. you must love doing this. i'm sure you learn a lot.
>> dream job. i can't believe you guys pay me for it. >> don't want to jinx you -- not you guys, you're one of us now. welcome. thank you so much. don't miss original series "believer," premiers sunday night 10:00 p.m. on cnn. we'll be right back. ♪ (vo) do not go gentle into that good night, old age should burn and rave at close of day; rage, rage against the dying of the light. do not go gentle into that good night. ♪
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what a week it's been for the president. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. team trump was expecting to take a victory lap after the president's first address to congress. that victory lap turning into another political firestorm for the administration with revelations that multiple trump advisers, michael flynn, jeff sessions and jared kushner met privately with russian ambassador even before