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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  March 27, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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that's about all the time we have. thanks for watching. time to hand things over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. breaking news. a stunning turn of events involving the house investigation into ties between the trump campaign team and russia. is it compromised? and can it move forward? this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. intelligence chief devon nunes defending his visit to the white house grounds to review classified information that he claims suggested trump team communications may have been picked up during surveillance of foreign nationals. did the white house know that nunes was on the property? and who gave him the sensitive material to review in the first place? tonight the top democrat on the committee says he has yet to see those documents and calls on nunes to recuse himself from the russia probe.
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plus, new questions about a newly disclosed meeting between trump's top adviser, his son-in-law jared kushner, and the head of a russian bank that is subject to u.s. sanctions. we'll discuss all of that. but i want to begin with cnn's global affairs analyst david rhode, national investigative editor for reuters. also contributor emily jane fox, a staff writer at "vanity fair." senior political analyst mark preston, political analyst david drucker. senior congressional correspondent for the "washington examiner." and justice correspondent evan perez. good evening to all of you. evan, i'm going to start with you to gives us the news here. the chairman devon nunes says he met with a source on the white house grounds a day before his controversial announcement and now the ranking member adam schiff is saying he no longer has any credibility to head this investigation. so bring us up to speed because you have some new reporting i understand. >> well, that's right, don. one of the strangest parts of today was the fact that devon nunes's staff essentially outed that he went to the white house. he went to the white house complex.
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to meet with whoever it was that was providing this information. the white house says that it doesn't have any information to provide as to who was the source. they keep referring questions back to devon nunes. we're told, though, there's a lot of speculation that where this information could have come from, what exactly devin nunes is talking about because certainly in the intelligence community, the law enforcement community they don't have a clue as to what he's talking about. we've talked to people who have some guesses, some educated guesses including one republican lawmaker who told gloria borger that one of the things that devin nunes is talking about is simply gossip that was picked up by u.s. intelligence that were monitoring foreign diplomats, foreign leaders who were essentially talking and relaying information about their interactions with the trump transition team. this would have happened back in november, december and january after the u.s. election. we talked to intelligence and law enforcement officials who
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say that this is the kind of routine monitoring that u.s. intelligence does and if these people, these foreign leaders, diplomats were relaying information that they got from their interactions with the trump transition this would have been picked up by the nsa, by u.s. intelligence and summarized in intelligence reports that are kicked up to top officials inside the obama administration. so they say that there's nothing unusual here. devin nunes says that there is something wrong perhaps in the way the identification of americans was done in these reports. of course we still don't know yet. he says he doesn't have the reports in his hands to be able to share with his own committee. >> interesting. also there's something new that i want to discuss with you tonight. you have some new details about this meeting that took place between jared kushner and a russian bank, this v.e.b. bank. what do you know about the various explanations given for this meeting? >> you might recall a few
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weeks ago the white house, sean spicer described that there was a meeting between jared kushner and sergei kislyak, the russian ambassador here in washington. what we went back to them over the last couple of weeks, don, and asked them about any additional meetings including with kislyak. they basically said that there was not much more to tell about it except today that the "new york times" revealed that there was another meeting that kushner had with the head of a russian state bank who -- and apparently the bank also confirmed that this meeting took place. they said it was nothing unusual about it. they said they meet with foreign leaders, foreign officials all the time. kushner -- the white house spoke on behalf of kushner, and they say that because he was in charge of meeting with foreign officials on behalf of the trump transition that there was nothing untoward here, this is something that was routine as part of kushner's duties inside the trump white house. >> evan, i want you to stand by. i want to bring in mark preston
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now because mark, the president is tweeting now, i'm not sure if this is an effort to deflect or what but he said why isn't the house intelligence committee looking into bill can and hillary clinton deal that allowed big uranium to go to russia, russian speech, money to bill, hillary russian reset, praise of russia by hillary or podesta russian company? trump russia story is a hoax." and then maga, make america great again. is he trying to take the focus off of nunes? by the way, if you look at any fact check on the uranium deal, he's tweeting something that's absolutely not true again. >> he's not only tweeting about this but we also have seen, don, just in the past few minutes he has gone after and his criticized the freedom caucus, his own republicans as well. now he's fighting a war on a couple fronts right now. he's fighting democrats. he's fighting republicans. but i said this earlier this evening and i think it's worth mentioning again. let us stop and just think about where we are at this moment in time. you have a president who's in office for about 60 days right
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now and you have four of his associates at different varying levels of closeness to him who are going to testify on capitol hill about potentially, and i emphasize potentially, treasonous acts. that's pretty insane. i mean, it's a moment in time right now that i don't think we have seen certainly in our past history. >> you have one of them who had to resign as national security adviser. >> correct. >> then you had another one who had to recuse himself. >> well, that was -- >> for anything relate odd to this. >> right. that would be jeff sessions. okay. so five now is tied up. we won't see the attorney general up there. but we have carter page, who said he was a foreign security adviser. we have paul manafort who was his campaign manager. we have jared kushner who's his son-in-law. and we have -- he's going to get so mad at me but i'm glad i forgot his name. >> carter page? >> no. >> paul manafort. >> no. the -- oh, my god. this is so great. >> it's okay. >> roger stone.
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>> that was sarcasm. >> but still, look, this is an amazing time right now in history, that we're seeing this 60 days into a presidency. >> interesting. david, i have to ask you about this meeting with kushner and the russian bank. reuters has extensive reporting on this. what can you tell us about it? >> well, it's -- the problem here probably is not disclosing it. it might be seen as a routine meeting. you know, but it raises suspicions. why didn't they talk about this earlier? and this is a bank specifically sanctioned by the obama administration. these are the kinds of sanctions that russia wants removed. and this all plays into this theory of coordination or collusion. and to be fair to the trump administration, you're right. they will all testify. there is no sort of definitive proof yet that there was coordination or collusion. but it's an extraordinary moment. >> right. >> i think this will add fuel to the fire. again, the headline is russia-trump, russia-trump,
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russia-trump. >> i want to hone in on the kushner thing because there's in discrepancy, as evan reported, as to what the russian bank says the meeting was about and what the trump administration is saying, or at least what spicer is saying this meeting was about. and by the way, today when the reporter asked that question, he got very defensive. like he went from zero to 100 very quickly, spicer did. >> i'll tell you, a white house official, when the first meeting was disclosed, i believe that was last month, the white house official told me that spicer did not know about the meetings at the time, and this speaks to a broader problem within the administration. and the explanation for why spicer didn't know was that jared kushner did not think that this was anything out of the ordinary. the official said to me that he was meeting with 100 people throughout the time of the transition. the russian ambassador was one of them. i think the banking official was another. and to him it didn't stick out in his mind. the problem is he is a senior adviser to the president of the united states. that that wouldn't stick out, especially when there is this kind of cloud hanging over his head, that's an issue for someone who's one of the most
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influential voices in the president's ear. >> the bank is under sanctions as well. is this naivete or what do you think? being too cute by half? what do you think? >> it's hard to tell with these guys. but i think this all gets back to the fruit of the original sin here, and that is the president of the united states continues to coddle vladimir putin. he did so during the campaign. he has done so during his young presidency. and that is what fuels all of this speculation that contacts with russian officials, disclosed or not disclosed, could have some air about them that are improper. the president berates our allies. he berates some of our adversaries. who gets protected? who gets apologized for? the president of russia, vladimir putin, who's really more of a dictator, and that is what causes him all of these problems. it's something that he could wipe out if he would shift and treat russia the same as any other republican on capitol
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hill, and he just won't do it. >> i think getting -- i had a discussion with one of my producers, which is who was off last week. she had made a very good point. if you're just sitting at home, you probably need a russia 101 briefing to figure out what's going on. i think the average person sitting at home who tunes in occasionally is sort of -- doesn't really understand the complexity of the russia situation. you've got jared kushner and the bank. you've got nunes. you've got flynn. and on and on and on. so many different aspects. and the leaking you want to look into as well. this goes to your point where you said here we are 60 days into this administration and you've got all these people who are going to testify. but this nunes thing is perplexing to so many people because as a person who should have his hands clean in all of this, a person who's investigating, he's certainly not giving the appearance of that, david. >> first of all -- >> mark. sorry. >> i pass it off to david.
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>> is that what happened there? look, if you're a member of congress, you're never fully clean. your role is oversight but there's always politics at play. i think the big mistake that nunes made here was briefing the president before the he briefed members of his committee on what he says he has found. he hopes to have documentation by tomorrow. and if he has documentation he can show his committee what he has been looking at but has not possessed. >> isn't that getting ahead of yourself? isn't that getting out ahead of the investigation if you don't have the documents to show? or should he have brought other people in from the committee and they should have been in that skiff with the information because they're sworn to secrecy as well. >> let me point out what david said about how vladimir putin has been coddled by donald trump, which is absolutely true. this could all be cleaned up very quickly, right? this is not that -- it's a complicated subject. but if president trump just said
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listen, okay, who he asked, the united states senate who he asked to do the investigating, here's my books, open up all the books, let's get over with this. we just had a health care bill go down. that was supposed to be my number one priority. we want to do tax reform, legislative reform. there's legislating that has to happen. and as far as all those folks out there who are supportive of him, don, right? and that's fine. at some point, though, you have to wonder when are they going to be wary when things aren't getting done because everything is being derailed? >> i just have a couple questions here that i want to ask, and i'll ask you, david rhode. or emily. either one of you can answer this. we still don't have answers, who granted nunes access to the white house grounds. because we don't see white house logs and today sean spicer was asked and he said well, we're reviewing that. make the white house logs public. who let him in the secure room, who gave him access to these files. this all gets to the degree as you said this white house, about this particular issue there needs to be a bit more transparency so they don't look like they're hiding something. >> you talked about russia 101.
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and i feel like the white house could benefit from that course and i think they could benefit from governing 101. i think this is a case of political outsiders gone to the highest position in washington and they don't know how to govern. >> they seem to be rushing it. why not have him look at the documents at the cia? there is this facility on capitol hill. why not share it with schiff? it doesn't make any sense. and they sort of i guess try to change again the media headline for 24 hours and it hurts them in the long run. >> i want to bring in -- everybody stand by. i want to bring in now somebody who's going to be asking those questions and she wants answers to those questions. congresswoman jackie speier, a california democrat who is a member of the house intelligence committee. good evening, congresswoman. thank you so much for joining us. can you answer any of these questions for us about who granted the chairman access to the white house? how did he get into the secure room? who gave him access to view these files and on and on? does the committee know that yet? >> no, the committee does not know that. and don, this is what's really
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very important. devin nunes has gone rogue. and not only should he not be engaged in this investigation, he should be -- he should be replaced on the committee. we have very small quarters in the skiff where we do our business. i can't feel confident that he will not be attempting to influence the investigation or hearing about things that he's then going to run to the white house. i actually have a theory that this has all been orchestrated in conjunction with the white house. obviously, it has to be. how does he -- he's not talking to some mole on the white house grass. he is -- he is very engaged with the president in trying to deflect the focus which has been on russian meddling in our elections. now, that hearing last week was a -- a bomb went off. when director comey said not
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only are we investigating the meddling by russia in our elections but we are investigating those associated with the trump campaign and what relationships they had with russia. that was -- a fire went off. we all looked at each other thinking oh, my god. and that was the first time that that was clarified. not only should he be recused, he should be taken off the committee. i actually think, my theory is that they don't want this investigation to move forward. so they are going to sabotage it. and this is one of the elements. >> wow. that is quite a statement there. i have to ask you, though, because the president is tweeting about russia tonight and he's saying it's a hoax and he said this is all a hoax. and then he refers to the hillary clinton and bill clinton and podesta and uranium and all that and their connection to russia. do you think he's just trying to deflect and say look over here? >> well, absolutely. that's his m.o.
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last week after that explosive hearing then it came out that paul manafort had not only been engaged in ukraine but he had a $10 million contract in russia with one of the oligarchs who improved putin's image in the united states. this hearing that we were supposed to have tomorrow was critical in understanding the russian playbook. the plans and intentions. there's actually a book that's i think an open source book called the kremlin playbook. and to your point and others that were making this, this russia 101, i'm actually having a town hall called "russia 101" next saturday in my district because it is very complicated and the public does have a right to know. >> i was prescient in that. i do think people may not know the details or may be a bit confused about what exactly is going on. congresswoman, i have to ask you about this -- i'm curious your take on this jared kushner thing. he has now volunteered to speak to your colleagues in the senate.
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what questions do you have for jared kushner? >> who asked for the meeting? did he initiate the meeting or did the russian bank oligarch? has the kushner family or the trump family had any business with that bank previously? do any of the bank's oligarchs or leadership own trump properties in one of the trump towers? we know that some 60-plus oligarchs have purchased condos in one of the trump towers. i mean, the relationship is so intertwined. and it would make any of us anxious. and then you have all the president's men taking a page from a book many years ago who are now seen as interrelated with russia. i mean, whether it's roger stone or carter page or paul manafort. you just kind of run down the list and they all have had a relationship.
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>> i have to ask you, do you -- how do you think this is going to affect the future of intelligence investigations going forward? how nunes is handling this. >> i don't think he can continue to be part of this effort. at all. >> but other investigations going forward. >> i think he has to be -- for the good of the congress, for the good of the intelligence community, for the good of the responsibilities we have in terms of oversight, i think he has to be replaced. >> you have lost confidence in him? >> absolutely. >> thank you, congresswoman. >> thank you. >> just ahead, more with the panel and the breaking news, growing calls for house intel chairman devin nunes to recuse himself from the russia investigation. sidelined. that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you. as after a dvt blood clot,ital
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new questions about a newly disclosed meeting between trump's top adviser his son-in-law jared kushner and the head of a russian bank subject to u.s. sanctions. back with my panel including evan perez who's been doing some reporting on this. evan, i think it's important for
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the viewer to know that this bank -- about this bank's ties to the russian government and to other russian entities. >> that's right. don, the reason this is even a concern, i think david brought it up earlier, is the fact that this is a bank -- a state-owned bank that is closely tied to the russian security apparatus. it's tied to the fsb. it is under sanction simply because it is close to the kremlin and helps finance a lot of their operations around the world. this is something that kushner and certainly the people surrounding him in the trump organization should have been aware of. they could have googled some of this and they could have found a lot of this information. and keep in mind the only reason why this is a story is because these guys won't tell the full story when they're asked. this is something they keep making the same mistake over and over again.
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everybody only panel goes right. this is essentially what everyone is saying -- >> this is exactly the problem. this is something we've asked before. even today i asked him is this it? is this the final story? and they said this is all -- we don't have an obligation to disclose anything else. go and find something else and we'll tell you if it's true. >> gorkov, this man he met with, the banker, he's a member -- former member of the security service. >> and he once trained with the spy agency known as fsb. in 2016 another v.e.b. official, evgeny buryakov, was sentenced to 30 months in jail for using his banking job to dispute efforts to recruit u.s. spies for russia. and then the v.e.b. itself was sanctioned by the u.s. government after russia's 2014 annexation of crimea. again, he's saying -- what you said, what you said, you what you said, and what you said is that if they were just a bit more transparent about it then this wouldn't be a problem. >> someone should be vetting these visitors and disclosing this information so it doesn't appear months later. >> biggest problem is donald trump can't say i'm sorry.
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president trump can't say you know, what i made a mistake. because all you'd have to do is say you know what, my son-in-law jared made a mistake. put everything on the table. but he's incapable of doing that. >> or get tough with russia. >> or both. of course. >> look, everybody looks at him apologizing for vladimir putin and they say so why is that? why will he jawbone china? why will he jawbone nato? why will he jawbone north korea? why does russia, who is a u.s. adversary and any republican you talk to on capitol hill, the one area they don't want to give to trump is they don't want to give on russia. they do not want to join him on russia. and if he would move on that issue over time people might stop asking questions, why are you being so deferential to vladimir putin, there must be something there? those questions wouldn't be asked as much. >> this isn't just anyone. this isn't like some low-level person or someone with a tangential relationship to the campaign. this is one of his top advisers and his son-in-law, it should be
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pointed out. >> it is pretty much the tippy top of the white house food chain right now. but we forget this was supposed to be a very good news day for jared kushner. this story about him getting this white house s.w.a.t. team to solve inefficiency in government and to solve all sorts of bureaucratic issues was supposed to be the good news story to take the attention away from health care. and the problem with the trump administration is they can't get out of their own way with russia. every good news story gets stomped on because they won't disclose these kinds of meetings with russia. >> they're saying nothing was -- the white house is saying that nothing was discussed. >> it doesn't matter. >> the bank said in an e-mail statement that as part of preparing for a new strategy its executives representatives of financial institutions in europe, asia, and america and said it was a road show meeting that took place with a number of representatives, the largest bank and businesses established in the united states including jared kushner the head of kushner companies.
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v.e.b. declined to say whether the meetings took place or dates. but then they released -- >> maybe nothing happened at the meeting. likely nothing happened -- >> but just say the meeting happened. >> say the meeting happened. but the problem is it's one thing that's built on top of another thing, that's built on top of another thing on top of another thing and then there's something. that's what the problem is, is that there are too many things that very well could be not interconnected, might not even be connected at all but they all seem to come together in a jigsaw puzzle. >> do you know who might know something about this? the former u.s. ambassador to russia, who we're going to speak to next. >> that'll be fun. >> so thank you, everyone. and we'll be right back. let me talk to you about retirement. a 401(k) is the most sound way to go. let's talk asset allocation. -sure. you seem knowledgeable, professional. i'm actually a deejay. -[ laughing ] no way! -that really is you? if they're not a cfp pro, you just don't know. cfp. work with the highest standard.
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the biggest week in tv is back. [ doorbell rings ] par-tay! xfinity watchathon week starts april 3. get unlimited access to all of netflix and more, free with xfinity on demand. jared kushner's ties to russia. president trump's son-in-law and senior adviser will meet with senators investigating the trump campaign's connections to putin's government. let's discuss now. alexander vershbow, former u.s. ambassador to russia and former nato deputy secretary-general. so good to have you on, mr. ambassador. thank you so much. >> good to be here. >> i'm going to ask this question and in the question i want to explain to you and our viewer what's going on. there's more questions now about revelations about trump, the russia ties today, jared kushner. he's the president's son-in-law, senior adviser, previously undisclosed meeting with sergei
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gorkov. sergei gorkov is the head of a russian bank that is under u.s. sanctions and has close ties to vladimir putin. the meeting was set up at the request of russia's ambassador sergei kislyak, who we've heard so much about. does that raise a red flag for you? >> well, it raises some questions. the first question of course is why do we keep finding out about these meetings so late, why are they not putting everything on the table to begin with? that itself raises suspicions. but then when you look at this particular bank it's putin's kind of pet bank which has been involved in financing some of his pet projects like the sochi winter olympics. it's helping bail out some of the oligarchs closest to putin. it's a very politically sensitive institution. it's also been under u.s. sanctions and e.u. sanctions since the aggression against ukraine. and it's in deep financial trouble as a result of that.
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apparently it has something like a $20 billion debt. so they were clearly looking to establish a relationship with the new administration, maybe to get out from under those sanctions. we hear that it was just an inconsequential discussion. but even establishing a relationship obviously had some kind of ulterior motive on the russian side. >> why would someone ask a u.s. official to meet with a russian bank? is that common? >> well, it's not totally common but it's not out of the question for an ambassador who's supposed to be representing his country's economic interests as well as political interests to seek a meeting with a high-level visitor. >> but when we talk about banks and russia, this is -- i want you to explain to our viewer, this isn't like going to citibank or bank of america here in the united states or your local bank. there's a different relationship with some banks in russia and the russian government. >> yeah. this is not a retail bank. they call it a development bank. it's very connected politically.
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the prime minister, medvedev, is on its board of directors. and as i said, it's the bank that putin goes to for financing his most important projects. the fact there are intelligence connections to the bank adds to the mystery surrounding it. so it's not just your average bank like ing or deutschebank. >> i want to get your reaction, mr. ambassador, cnn's reporting the intelligence representative nunes saw at the white house, what he saw could be from surveillance of foreign leaders early in the transition when then president-elect trump was exchanging a lot of calls with foreign leaders at trump tower. was it a mistake to be talking on unsecured lines? >> well, no. most conversations, particularly in a transition when you're largely getting to know people and convey messages of congratulations and looking forward to working with you, those don't have to be on secure
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lines. but you know, there's a lot of questions raised by exactly what intelligence even exists. and i'm very curious to find out. >> he said there were -- i'm not sure if he said the same word but he said collateral. >> or incidental. >> incidental collection. is that out of the ordinary? >> no, it's definitely not out of the ordinary. if you're -- we don't like to talk about this in the government but it's now out there. when you're collecting on foreign diplomats or military officials they might be talking to an american. so you incidentally collect a conversation involving an american. but then there are strict rules about how you're supposed to manage that information. take the names out of the reports. >> which means unmasking of names. those names are masks when you say u.s. person. and you take that off of it and reveal it, that's called the unmasking of names. and that's what devin nunes says he is concerned about, at least
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partially. >> those are all secret procedures that now everybody knows about. >> everybody knows about. so the representative devin nunes is under fire for actions as chairman of the house intel committee. given everything that we have learned about his conduct, do you think he has the credibility to lead the house investigation? >> well, just judging by the comments of so many congressmen and senators in the last 24, 48 hours i think his credibility is in trouble. and what congressman schiff in particular has said does, you know, have a big impact. and for me it worries me that this investigation may not be a serious enough one and it may get drawn out endlessly in time, timewise, and we'll just waste more and more months trying to get to the bottom of the whole hacking story. so if need be, a select committee i think will be a much
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better way to proceed, a truly bipartisan effort to get this done so we can get on with the business of defining a policy toward russia, which is what's lacking here. every time the administration trips over its own two feet we lose more time in getting the administration to focus on how are we going to deal with today's russia, which is a really challenge to us, not just with the hacking but what they are doing still in ukraine, their approach to the middle east isn't very much compatible with our interests. so the policy is what we need to do. but we keep getting bogged down in new revelations day after day. >> ambassador, your expertise is much appreciated. thank you so much. >> you're very welcome. coming up, president trump's russia problem is not going away, but the house investigation has some problems of its own. when did you see the sign? when i needed to jumpstart sales. build attendance for an event. help people find their way. fastsigns designed new directional signage. and got them back on track. get started at fastsigns.com.
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questions tonight about the house investigation into possible ties between the trump campaign and russia. i want to bring in cnn national correspondent steve hall. sally quinn, "washington post" contributor and founding editor of on faith. legal analyst laura coats, political commentator jason miller the former trump senior communications adviser. and jonathan sanders, professor
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at stony brook university school of journalism and the author of "the russians emerge." i want to ask you, jonathan, about -- tell us about this recent case, this bank because there was a recent case in new york where one official with this bank was sentenced as a spy. >> well, don, what you need to know is it's been around since 1922. it had a monopoly in soviet times doing all the business of the soviet union with any foreign country. so it attracted two kinds of very interesting people. people who actually wanted to learn about capitalism and have contact with the west and spies. and so for a long time it did things like it facilitated the purchase of american ice cream technology so that all russian kids are addicted to vanilla ice cream now. but it also served as a cover for spies. and this young man in the putin era was using his cover as a
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bank official here in new york to do some not so kosher things and he got caught with his hands in the cookie jar, is in prison, and i understand his good behavior is going to get him out of prison this coming weekend. maybe we could give him a cake on the way out of jail. >> it's interesting because preet bharara the former u.s. attorney here in new york is the one who was in charge of that investigation. steve, i want you to listen to this. as a republican hard-liner today. listen to what the former vice president dick cheney had to say about russia. >> there's not any argument at this stage that somehow the election of president trump was not legitimate. but there's no question but there was a very serious effort made by mr. putin and his government, his organization to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic processes. in some quarters that would be considered an act of war.
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i think it's the kind of conduct and activity we'll see going forward. >> i mean, that's serious stuff. is that an act of war? do you think the president and his aides are taking it seriously enough? >> i think it is being taken seriously. i'm not sure if by the president and his aides act of war, those are all kind of strong perhaps political types of terminologies. but there's no doubt that it does strike at the heart of what our democracy is. i'm not sure that i would agree with dick cheney. i think what we do know is that the russians were doing an information operation, an influence operation and if they convinced americans to vote one way or the other that's bad on -- it's not the russians' fault per se, it's bad on us for listening to russian propaganda. but if it went a step further and there was actually some sort of cooperation with the donald trump campaign then i think that is more serious and perhaps would at least cause me to
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think, well, is that part of -- is our election process legitimate? it all depends on exactly how far it went. >> you know who's leading the investigation, and that is the house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes is leading this investigation into the possible, possible collusion. nothing has been found yet between the trump campaign and russia. many say that he has now compromised the investigation with a secret meeting at the white house. can he still lead this investigation, laura? >> i don't think he can credibly and still preserve the appearance of impartiality for that committee. remember, the reason you have these committees is essentially to have to oversee these operations and not to have partisan values and politics come into play. but when you have somebody who's acting apparently more as a surrogate who wants to warn as opposed to enlighten other committee members on evidence that still has not been seen it starts to smell as if you are obstructing or interfering or even trying to undermine a federal investigation. remember, he is not in the
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position as the chairman to evaluate whether the intelligence is good, whether it's bad, whether it's relevant to the overall russian collusion investigation. he is unilaterally making a decision that, one, it's irrelevant to the russia investigation and, two, that it need not be shared to anyone besides the people who mie indeed be the subject of the investigation. this is someone who's acting in an inappropriate way, that does not give the public a lot of confidence that this is being overseen in an impartial way. >> might it help if they, jason, release the logs from the white house about who enters and leaves the white house and who they're seeing? >> i'll let the white house deal with who they're going to announce or what logs are going to be released. that's not up to me. but don, here's the thing that someone who's watching this really kind of drives me nuts is for weeks we've heard the democrats act in a very partisan fashion, saying that there is some sort of evil collusion between the campaign and some foreign entity, which number one
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is completely false and just didn't happen. but now with this -- they're saying that devin nunes needs to step aside from being the chairman of this committee or from overseeing this investigation because he received intel that had nothing to do with russia after the election which he's made very clear and he did his job by following up on it. and going back to even on the jared kushner point this had nothing to do with the election. he's a member of the transition team. he took a meeting. and again, i don't know how the democrats are trying to pull this back into the election and collusion and all this and this whole thing. look, i think the president's right. i think this whole thing is a hoax and we should be getting back to the issues that actually matter here. >> sally -- go ahead, laura. >> you're using the term "the democrats" as if it's synonymous with the fbi. because the fbi director did come out and talk about there being an investigation into this very thing. and my point is simply that when you have an overall investigation into whether there is a possibility, not the confirmation but the possibility of collusion, if you have a
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horse in the race i cannot doubt -- i cannot attribute a lot of credence to your bet. and it sounds like a member of the transition team who is the chairman of the intelligence committee at this point has a vested interest in making sure that the president is briefed. and that can compromise the overall purpose of an independent investigation. >> sally, let me ask you this question. how -- >> laura. >> i'm sorry. laura. how could jared kushner taking a meeting after the election or how could chairman nunes following up on what looks to be a gross abuse of unmasking that happened after the election, how could either of those two things have had anything to do with, quote unquote, collusion or something during the campaign? >> the only way we find that out is if an investigation is held to reveal the answer to that instead of just taking one's word for it? even if you look at -- i'm not an attorney. but it's always innocent until proven guilty. you have to prove it. and i think that they're looking at the information now to try to figure out if the person or the
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entities are guilty or innocent. you don't go into an investigation thinking that someone is automatically guilty. >> but you see my point. that they're bringing things up from after the election and saying that they -- >> go ahead. >> -- somehow pertain to things before the election. i don't see the connection here. >> go ahead, sally. >> we don't have any answers here. but one thing we know for sure is that nunes is not going to try to help get any answers. i think that adam schiff and nancy pelosi were very kind to him when they said he should recuse himself. i agree with chuck schumer that i think he is now completely, completely just let himself -- made himself incompetent by doing what he did. i mean, he's not ethical. his behavior has not been ethical. he's not shown any values. he's not shown any morals. and not only that. he hasn't shown any sense. i mean, i have to tell you, when i'm trying to listen to the story about him going to the white house and looking at the papers and then going rushing back to the congress and i'm sitting there and i'm trying to think, i don't understand what
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is -- i need somebody to keep explaining to me because it is craziness. but this man -- i mean, i think the most important thing that i've heard anybody say this week was when mark warner, who is vice chair of the senate intelligence committee, said on "meet the press" this is the most important thing i have ever done in my entire public life and i'm going to double down on this because i will never do anything more important. this is incredible. and i think that was chilling. and i think that -- i think that nunes cannot possibly function in this job. and the whole point of this is to try to find out what happened . so you can say this meeting didn't mean anything that didn't mean anything. but we don't know. >> and we won't know unless there's an investigation. hold your thoughts.
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. back now with my panel. jonathan, we haven't heard from you in a while. you say that congressman nunes operated like a good, loyal soldier of vladimir putin. i mean that is quite a charge. >> it's outrageous. >> i mean, don, i think exactly in the putin regime it's personal loyalty as above rules and normal waz of behaving. and it seems to me the way he was buzzing about and doing all these things, not going to read his records from someone from his staff or the other side, reminds me on the young days of
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when the government changed in russia. and nobody really knew what the rules of the game were, so everything depended not on rules but who you were loyal to. to me this thing looks like an incompetence of young people who don't know what they're doing, but of course the people involved are not so young. >> why do you say it's outrageous, jason? >> because it shouldn't be about the intrigue. it should be about the intel, the fact that devin nunes was so concerned about something -- >> okay, let me stop you right there. if you're part of the investigating committee, don't you give it to the investigating committee instead of the person or the group that may be the target of the investigation? i mean that makes sense with anybody with half a brain would understand that. >> so i do think that the chairman could have explained
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and laid out his actions a bit bettorthen front end. i do think he could have come back -- >> not explaining after -- shouldn't he on jonathan's point that they're acting like children instead of grown ups, as a person investigating, shouldn't he have gone to the investigating group with his information? >> i'll leave that to him. again, i'm not part of the house intel committee. but clearly he saw something that so concerned him that he had to take to the president, and i don't think that should be swept aside. i still wish we had that list of names from the nsa and the cia -- >> but you don't want the list of names of people who enter the white house? >> i'll leave that up to had white house. >> steve, is that an explanation that it was so important that he
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had to bring to the president of the investigating committee? >> no, absolutely not. but i have to get one thing off my chest here. this masking this is simply nonsense, and the unmasking. this unmasking thing, which is i guess what nunes was saying was so horrific when he saw it he had to keep it all to himself and not talk about it, the people who do this masking and unmasking, they're very few. it's just another piece people are trying to throw up -- think about it this way. under what conditions would it be okay for members of the trump campaign or trump transition team to be in any type of contact, masked or unmasked, the type of intelligence posts that the fbi is investigating in -- >> hey, laura, i've got ten
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seconds left. if someone when you were doing law, if someone had done this in an investigation committee, what would have happened to them? >> we would have prosecuted them because they would have possibly undermined an investigation. and that's not the point. various: (shouting) heigh! ho! ( ♪ ) it's off to work we go! woman: on the gulf coast, new exxonmobil projects are expected to create over 45,000 jobs. and each job created by the energy industry supports two others in the community. altogether, the industry supports over 9 million jobs nationwide. these are jobs that natural gas is helping make happen, all while reducing america's emissions. energy lives here.
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breaking news. growing calls for the chairman of the house intelligence committee to recuse himself from the russia investigation. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. nunes defending his visit that he says suggests trump teams may have been picked up by foreign nationals. the top democrat has yet to see those documents and calls on nunes to step aside from the russian probe. growing

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