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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  March 29, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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good evening. thanks for joining us. we're waiting to hear from fbi director james comey, who is speaking shortly outside of washington at a dinner for members of the washington community. he's expected to take questions, possibly in the russian mess and the committees supposed to be investigating it. we'll bring you the questions live when they happen. earlier today, the top two members, the senate committee, spoke to reporters in advance of
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their first public hearing and all things russia. it's too soon to draw conclusions about the shape of their investigation, the shape that's going to take, it's hard to miss the sharp contrast, between today's rollout, for them, which was straightforward, devoid of drama, seemingly bipartisan, and the rolling train wreck on the house side. the house and senate intelligence committees are supposed to investigate meddling in the last election, as well as possible collusion between campaigns and moscow. as well, the house committees are on hold. and the chairman of the trump transition team member, devin nunes, is faced with collusion himself. collusion on the claim that president obama wiretapped him. we have developments on that. it's a tantalizing piece of information that was reported by ryan liza who wrote about it for "the new yorker."
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it's an important piece of information, that adds to the time line of what chairman nunes did last week that brought the house intelligence commission to a halt. it adds to that nunes colluded with the white house. making each domino in this story knock over the next. here's what ryan liza wrote in "the new yorker," what a white house official told him about that hearing, when the head of the nsa, mike rogers, told him monday. last monday morning, shortly before the start of the hearing, a senior white house official told me -- this is ryan liza speaking. you see the setting, the predica predicate. that's the thing to watch today. also, he said, and i quote, watch nunes. that's a senior white house official telegraphing a strategy in the hearing. telegraphing a punch, if you will. the official described what kind of bunch is coming, suggesting that liza read a report on the capitol hill, which was the 11th of march, nine full days before
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the hearing. here's the lead of that report from the hill. intelligence agencies could have collected and then searched donald trump's phone calls under a controversial loophole in surveillance law. even if it did not involve a wiretapping order from a federal court. that's really interesting when you consider it. that's a senior white house official, telling line liza of the new yorker, the morning of this hearing, the to watch for talk about inadvertent collection of donald trump. not direct wiretapping. and to specifically watch nunes and you guessed it, here is chairman nunes in his opening remarks. listen. >> we're officials subject to any kind of improper surveillance? the intelligence community has strict procedures for handling information pertaining to u.s. incidents, who are subject to incidental surveillance. and this committee wants to make sure all surveillance was
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followed all rules and regulations. let me be clear. i've been saying thr if several weeks. we know there was not a physical wiretap of trump tower. it is possible that other surveillance activities were used against president trump and his associates. >> he uses the term incidental collection. "the hill" article referred to it as ined aer haadvertent comp. it seems the official knew or made one heck of a guess about one of the things that nunes would be focusing on in his initial comments. before this hearing, the president himself, president trump, had said something was coming. and he seemed to make it sound like it was coming from the white house. listen to what president trump said in the interview with tucker carlson on the 15th. this is 11 days after his wiretapping claim, four days after the "hill" article, and five days before the house hearing. listen. >> we will be submitting certain things.
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andly be speaking about this. but it's before the committee. i think i want to leave it there. i think you will find very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks. >> well, five days later, the house hearing, chairman nunes does what the chairman predicted to ryan lizza. last tuesday, the white house press secretary, sean spicer, said this. >> can we expect the president to, this week, present evidence that he was wiretapped by barack obama? or will he speak about it? he didn't mention it last night in his rally. >> right. let's see how the week goes. >> we now know how the week went. it was the very next day the dominos i mentioned started to fall. last wednesday, the day after sean spicer said that, last wednesday began with chairman nunes made a statement that sounds like his talking point in the hearing. the same talking points that ryan lizza's source boasted
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about before the fact. >> i confirmed on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about u.s. citizens involved in the trump transition. >> there's that phrase, incidental collection. from there, he went to the white house, briefed the president on what he said was troubling evidence to that effect. then, he went before the cameras again. >> does this describe what the president was talking about when he was talking about, quote, wiret wiretapping, which they said was broader surveillance. >> when you -- what i've read, seems to me to be some level of surveillance activity. perhaps legal. but i don't know that it's right. and i don't know that the american people would be comfortable with what i've read. but let's get all the reports. >> chairman, was the president personally involved? >> it is possible. >> so, bear in mind that chairman nunes spoke to the
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press, the president, and then the press again, and house speaker paul ryan. but did not speak to the ranking democrat or his committee or any of the committee members. and the president makes a statement that he feels vipd kated, even whoa incidental collection is not what he claimed that president obama had done to his phones. as for the chairman, he saw what he got it, and why he viewed it on white house grounds. who cleared him to use that facility. the chairman hasn't told anyone else the details. the white house is referring questions back to nunes. and the work of the house intelligence committee has ground to a halt. you caught up with chairman nunes. and pressed him about more details about the investigation. what did he say? >> he didn't want to talk about the information he reviewed last week. the information he got from the white house source. that question continuing to linger. how did he get on white house grounds? who cleared him and who allowed him to see this information, in
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addition to who the source is. i asked him specifically, did anyone at the white house, give you permission, authorize you to review this information? he refused to say. he said, i'm not answering that question. but then, i asked him also about whether or not he communicated with the white house before he actu was actually talking to donald trump in the meeting last week. if he had communication about the information he reviewed. also would not answer. take a listen the. >> the surveillance information that you did see. did you talk to anyone at the white house before talking to donald trump? >> we have already talked about all of this ad nauseam. and the issues are critically important when it relates to american citizens who could have been picked up in incidental collection. and you guys should all take that very seriously. it's part of our oversight duties.
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>> will the committee see that information? >> that's the hope. that's what we're trying to get. that's what we've been trying to get since march 15th. >> reporter: what was the holdup? >> that was the march 15th letter i gave to all of you. >> reporter: what has been the hold jeff holdup with the information you saw? >> getting the agencies to get the information to us in a timely manner. >> reporter: it's unclear how the information the intelligence community has requested from the intelligence agencies on the march 15th letter. they ask for a bunch of information from the intelligence agencies. how that equates to what he saw from his secret source. apparently that's what will answer some questions from committee remembers. devin nunes willing to have hearings after cancels a tuesday public hearing. but not before the april recess here on capitol hill. perhaps that will happen later in the month. he needs to get an agreement with the ranking member of democrats on his committee, something he does not have quite
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yet, anderson. >> there's not going to be public hearing until after recess in april? >> reporter: what's that he said. when do you expect to have public hearings? anything before the easter recess? he said, i highly doubt that's going to happen. there's just not enough time. expect anything public would have to wait for a few more weeks at least, anderson. >> yesterday chairman nunes told reporters he invited fbi director comey to testify before house investigators, even though he canceled the public hearing. that was going to be a behind closed doors hearing. the fbi is pushing back, right? >> reporter: right. there was no agreement for james combny to come before the committee. for comey to come and brief them. they needed an agreement with adam schiff, the top democrat on the committee, to agree for comey to come forward. otherwise, comey would not do so without that bipartisan agreement. schiff has resisted because he wants to have that public hearing. he wants an afwregreement for a
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private briefing. and the hearing among sally yates will talk about the russian connections that may have existed between trump associates and russian officials. the question is whether or not there will be agreement going forward tomorrow. adam schiff, devin nunes, expected to meet. adam schiff telling wolf blitzer that will be the case. we'll see what comes out of the private meeting tomorrow, anderson. >> all right. manu, thanks. from the white house, cnn's jim acosta is there. they pressed about who let congressman nunes on the white house grounds. did he finally have an answer many he said he would be looking into it. >> reporter: the short answer, no, anderson. this is a daily ritual where reporters ask white house officials, namely sean spicer, the press secretary, for new
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information on the how the house intelligence chairman made his way on to the grounds of the white house during that visit last week. and we're not getting direct answers. as you just mentioned, spicer said he would look into all this and try to provide some answers to reporters, later on this week. that did not happen today. and i will tell you, anderson, i did press shaean spicer specifically on the question of whether he knew who the source of this information was. that was involved with devin nunes. no, he did not know who this mysterious source is. and so, we're going to continue to ask for those answers. it's not altogether clear we're going to get those answers. keep in mind, earlier today, sean spicer, while he was sounding somewhat willing to get to the bottom of this earlier this week, he was criticizing reporters earlier at the briefing today, saying that reporters were fascinated with the process of all this.
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>> it's not difficult to find out who signed in the chairman of the house intelligence committee. i mean, if the white house wanted to give out that information, you know, i mean, it's on white house grounds. i'm sure there's a book or a computer they just look at. >> reporter: yeah. that's right. there is such a thing as the white house visitor logs. it does track the comings and goings of people who make their way on the grounds of the white house. i wipe my badge here every day. presumibly the u.s. secret service has me coming into the white house at whatever time that was early today. members of congress, dignitaries, people who have announcements inside the white house, with various officials. they have to go through the secret service. now, we should point out the white house visitor logs, anderson, while they are maintained by the secret service, it is the white house that keeps the keys to the castle here. they are the ones who can decide whether or not this information will be made public. as we've been saying all week,
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the obama administration made that information public. you wouldn't be able to search in real-tile. but you had a sense of going back and looking at the information later on. the trump administration is not doing that at this point, anderson. >> jim acosta, appreciate the update. much more on the joint appearance by the chairman and ranking democrat on the senate intelligence committee. and how sharply it appeared everyone on the white house committee. for that, let's go back to the hill and cnn's jessica schneider. what did they lay out about the investigation? >> reporter: they are, anderson. the committee moving full steam ahead. chairman burr saying he has a seven-chairman staff knee-deep in the document ps they're working hand in hand with the intelligence community. and senators burr and warner, they say they have 20 witnesses they want to interview. they've set up interviews with five of them. that brings us to the major players we might be hearing from
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down the road here. we know that former trump campaign manager, paul manafort, has offered to talk to the committ committee. and jared kushner, the same. the questions that been coming over after the disclosure that he met with the chairman of that state-run russian bank back in december, at the height of the transition. he will be talking with senators about that. the senators are pleased that jared kushner has made that offer. and there's the issue of general michael flynn. it was talked about at the press conference. however, i did talk to general flynn's lawyers. the lawyers have talked to the senate intelligence committee. michael flynn has not spoken to the committee. all of the plans moving full steam ahead. but at the same time, senators warner and burr, they will be working hand in hand on really a bipartisan basis. >> the circumstance in which you wouldn't share with mr. warner your sources on this investigation? >> he usually knows my sources
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before i do. >> i got his cell phone, which is hears from me more than he likes. >> reporter: there is a big change in tone from the partisan finger-pointing we've seen on the house side of things. these two senators saying they want to work together on this. and not get into petty differences. >> yeah. hopefully that will hold up. they were asked if there was any involvement between the trump campaign and russia. what did they say? >> reporter: the senators say they have been digging into these details. the thing is, they will not be revealing any of them. they're telling the public not to expect any detailed information. they say their they're going to keep things under wraps for now. >> what you have seen so far, can you definitively rule out there was no coordination whatsoever between trump officials and russian officials during the election? >> we would be crazy to try to draw conclusions where whefrom are in the investigation. i think mark and i have
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committed to let this process go through before we form any opinions. and i would hope that's what you would like us to do. let us get deeper into this before you ask us to write the conclusions. that's something we intend to do down the road. >> we're going to get to the bottom of this. you get nothing else from today, take that statement to the bank. >> reporter: this could be quite a different scene from what we've seen at the white house intelligence committee where we've seen that drip, drip, drip of information. at times the competing partisan press conferences. >> at the end of the senate intelligence investigation, is it clear what they will make public? obviously, all of the meetings are behind closed doors. they can ask, you know, information about things that are classified. what do they end up making public? or do they not? >> reporter: it's interesting
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ab, aa, abouterson. tomorrow will be the hearings. it really is unclear what they might reveal to the public in some of the closed door sessions. we're unsure how jared kushner will present himself to the intelligence committee. we understand that it might be in private. that it might be under oath. so, unclear at this point. but the first hearing does start tomorrow. anderson? >> all right. jessica schneider, appreciate it. the democrat on the white house intelligence committee joins us. does he think his chairman is sabotaging the investigation. and fbi director comey, waiting for his remarking tonight. apparently will be answering questions. we want to know, will he touch on the russian investigation? we'll find out momentarily. stay with us. court's in use bros, wait your turn.
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breaking news tonight, congressman adam schiff ranking member of the house intelligence committee will meet with devin nunes. it comes with the committee seemingly melting down with what seems like the chairman's collusion with the white house or a string of unlikely coincidences. joining me now is eric swalwell of california. thanks for being with us. the fact that a source in the white house, a senior white house official, was described as by ryan lizza. gave ryan lizza a heads-up. as to what chairman nunes would talk about in last monday's hearing. is there any way that could have
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happened without direct coordination between the white house and nachairman nunes? or is it possible it's a coincidence? >> chairman nunes has shown it's too close to the white house to have an independent credible investigation that makes progress. that's why it's time for him to step away. our country was attacked by russia the last election. and this investigation is bigger than any single person. for that reason as well as going over to the white house the day after our open hearing, i'm concerned that the public is losing their trust in our ability to conduct the investigation. >> do you trust that he's not colluding with the white house? >> i like chairman nunes. and for him to keep the credibility that he needs to commit our committee on nonrussian issues, i think he should step aside. i think this white house, its
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behavior, is consistent with trying to cover-up something that happened. i'm talking about michael flynn lying to the vice president. and jeff sessions misleading the senate panel. the president making a se seatful claim about wiretapping. and having chairman nunes come to the white house grounds to receive information. it would be easier for someone to take what he saw to the president, than to bring a chairman from the house over there to receive it. it just isn't adding up. >> what is the status of the investigation? it look likes it's at a stand still. >> it looked like the press conference with senators burr and warner. that's what an investigative road looks like when you have republicans and democrats going down it together. last week, it was stalled when the chairman went over to the white house. we can get back to that moment. but the only way to have
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independence, dependability and progress is to have a new leader on their side. >> is it fair to say there is an investigation that is ongoing? are people investigating from your committee? or are things just stalled? >> it's stalled. we are receiving information and able to review documents. right now, as far as the public is concerned, there's no public hearing. our hear yesterday, with no given reason, was canceled. there's no future public hearing. and we want to hear from acting attorney general yates and brennan. and they can give a lot of about what russian was doing and individuals that may have been communicating with them. >> you don't believe or don't want to say whether or not you believe that chairman nunes is actively trying to sabotage the investigation. >> i can only point out, sandersosand e anderson, what he has done.
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the fact he canceled a hearing. the fact he went over to the white house, two days on tuesday and wednesday, both days after the public hearing. to me, it just looks like there's a conflict of interest. whether he thinks there's one or not, the perception undermines our duty to have a real investigation. >> i'm wondering, personally, when you saw, you know, two ranking members on the senate intelligence committee, giving the press conference today, do you watch that thinking, i wish i was on that committee? or that's the way it should be? >> i watched it with envy. it looked familiar. we've seen chairman nunes and ranking member schiff work together in the past. but there was a sense of betrayal when our chairman went over to the white house and didn't share it with us. and you know, anderson, what's so concerning was he said that he had this information long before the president's wiretapping game. and to me, that means there was deliberation and thought.
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and it was intentional that he went over there. he had the opportunity to read us in. he chose not to. and right now, it looks like he's wearing a uniform that has the white house's name on it, not the uniform of an independent committee. >> interesting to use the word betrayal. that's what it feels like for you, of the committee itself? >> this committee has worked so well in the past. and maybe part of that is because we work often in secret. three floors below the capitol. there's no cameras or reporting of what we want to do. but national security is on the line. right now, all of that work is in jeopardy because we have a chairman who seems more loyal to the white house right now than the investigation we're charged with doing. >> congressman swalwell, i appreciate your time. thank you so much. we're going to get the panel's take on all of this. plus, we bring fbi director james comey live when he takes questions at a dinner where he's speaking at this moment. we'll be right back. ies?
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on a busy night, there's more breaking news. james comey is expected to speak at a dinner in alexandria, virginia.
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talking to members of the intelligence community and is expected to take questions after his speech. we're going to go live when that happens, see if he talks about russia or anything else. we're getting conflicting versions of whether devin nunes formally invited director comey to answer more questions before his committee. nunes says he did. the fbi says he didn't. the hearing was canceled. adam schiff, the committee's ranking democrat, said he will meet with chairman nunes. joined by our partner. gloria, you see the faceoff between nunes and schiff. what do you make of the key players, whether it's the director himself or sally yates have become chess pieces for the house intelligence committee. >> they have. they've become completely partisan. you can see that devin nunes didn't want testimony by people who could be damaging to the
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administration. i mean, we know that sally yates, for example, who went to the white house counsel about her concerns about then-national security adviser, mike flynn, saying he may have been compromised in his conversations with the russians. we know that having her public testimony would have been really damaging. we know that comey's testimony publicly was already really damaging to the white house. when you said there is an ongoing investigation, publicly. i think what you see in devon nunez who wants to push this to closed hearings. and adam schiff saying, this ought to be in the open. and they are playing off very, very different pages here. >> congressman schiff points out that sean spicer wants sally yates to receive. spicer said that from the white house podium. don't democrats have chairman
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nunes backed into a corner on that one? >> i don't know if they have him backed into a corner. one of the things that's not being observed here, all of this inference that chairman nunes is somehow colluding with the white house, let's remember here, the american political system, the minority leader of the house is the leader of the political party that is the minority. that's nancy pelosi. the question, if we're going to start going down this road, is adam schiff colluding with nancy pelosi. they're putting out statements on the same day, on the same subject. what members of the intelligence committee are doing this that are democrats? if you want to go town this load, not just you, if you want to go down the road, we need to go down the road in full. we need to get all of this out. every last bit of this out. what the members' responsibilities were, who talked to who. >> right. but, jeffrey, that committee is not investigating nancy pelosi.
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they are investigating people who were associated with the trump campaign. >> maybe they should. she said she never met with the russian ambassador. and then, there was a picture of her meeting with the russian ambassador. >> okay. but the idea that -- a senior official told ryan lizza, watch for this, and nunes does that. and you have another series of events and the president himself telegraphs that something is going to come out. >> did nancy pelosi know what adam schiff was going to say? if you come down that road, you have to play fair play with each side. >> nancy pelosi is not the one being investigated. the white house is. >> she's the investigator. if she's not impartial, then there's a problem. >> she's not on the committee. >> if you have the ranking
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member of her committee taking signals from her and putting out statements in sync with her, she is effectively on the committee. >> was devin nunes talking to paul ryan? >> i'm sure he is. >> yeah. okay. yeah. there you go. >> i have plenty of -- >> the house and the white house, this is normal stuff, folks. >> paul, democrats have plenty of p.r. leverage against chairman nunes, given the time line on the white house grounds and what lizza is reporting what coordination there might have been of the white house hearing last week. democr democrats, that being said, have procedural leverage to use against nunes. as long as speaker ryan is behind him, he can do whatever he wants. >> that's right. they have moral persuasion and moral argument and you, the media. a chance to make their case to the public.
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as a democrat, we haven't seen any evidence at all of collusion between trump and a's campaign and the russians. i have to say that for my own integrity, right? but they're sure acting like it. if there's no collusion, then the thing that the president needs most is a credible, bipartisan investigation to clear his good name. nunes' conduct has taken that away from him. nunes is no longer credible and seen as partisan at all. he has destroyed is his own credibility for the good of the trump white house. nunes has to go. and they have to have a credible bipartisan investigation. there's some hope on the senate. for right now, devin nunes has destroyed what one evidence through which trump could clear husba his allegedly good name. >> karl, what do you make of the developments we've seen in the last couple days? >> we are so deep in a fishing expedition for red herrings
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here, we forgot what this is about. as the congressman suggested a moment ago, there is a cover-up going on. the fbi knows, and i say this as a reporter, that a cover-up is going on. the intelligence community, both of the obama presidency and the trump presidency, understands there is a cover-up going on. people on capitol hill understand that there is a cover-up going on. does that mean there is an active obstruction of justice, laws have been broken by this person, that one and another one? we don't know yet. but all of these deflective actions by the white house, in the form of the white house, in the form of chairman nunes, are about abetting a cover-up and trying to keep the american people from understanding what the connections are or might not be, between donald trump and the russians. between his campaign and the russians. between his -- let me finish,
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please, jeffrey. between the campaign and the russians and between his associates and the russians. we are seeing impediments thrown out by the white house and by republicans on capitol hill, almost every day here, particularly in the house, to keep the truth from being known wherever it goes. this is an extraordinary situation. and the important thing is, that the leaders of the counterintelligence investigation inti tby the fbi, and other agencies, understand there's a cover-up going on. >> we have to take a quick break. we're going to continue this discussion. we're monitoring what director comey says tonight in case he makes news. we'll talk about that and more. i noticed it as soon as we moved into the new house.
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right now, the panel, gloria, you have reporting. >> i do. jared kushner has said he would voluntarily testify before the senate intelligence committee. we don't know when they're going to call him up. and i've been told by somebody who is familiar with what transpi transpired, jared kushner is going to say that all he was doing, in his meetings with ambassador kislyak was to try to establish a back channel way to get to vladimir putin and
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establish some sort of a relationship. >> we should explain -- we should explain kislyak is an ambassador who many folk thes have met with. the other is the head of the russian bank who has a background with intelligence services in russia. it was revealed, reported by "the new york times," and cnn matched that, that kislyak asked kushner to meet with this guy. and the white house said it was in jared kushner's liaison, who met with many diplomats. the russian bank said it was meeting with him as a member of the kushner family and kushner corporation. >> that's right. this source says it was in jared kushner's role as trying to sort of establish this back channel to putin that sanctions were not discussed that it was not about business. the question i asked was, why would jared kushner meet with somebody affiliated with a bank
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at a high level who was -- that was sanctioned by the united states? why would anybody in a trump transition do that? i mean, it's a google click away to try and figure out who this person was. and i was told by this source that -- and this is a quote, in a more organized transition, there would have been someone to vet people before there were meetings and that wasn't done. it was disorganized and maybe kushner should have done it. it's clear he's going to stick to the story. this was a back channel to vladimir putin. nothing more. an when rex tillerson came onboard and had a close relationship with vladimir putin, jared kushner no longer needed to establish that back channel. >> they're saying that jared kushner didn't have an assistant who -- if i'm meeting with somebody who i don't know, usually, an assistant would do a quick google search on somebody
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and give you a one sheet and give you background information. jared kushner found himself in a meeting with a russian banker, that heads a bank that's under sanctions and has connections to vladimir putin and russian intel je >> i was asking that question. you can google this person. and the answer was, no. it was completely disorganized. and that should have occurred, as it does in most transitions. but it did not occur in this one. >> le's bring the panel in on this one. jeffrey, could be an innocuous meeting. nothing nefarious there at all. why was this information not made public by them at all?
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and even when they were asking about kushner's meeting with kislyak they didn't say there was this other meeting, as well. it's something that gets pulled out. >> i want to address what carl was saying in terms of the cover-up. the three people that been mentioned here, paul manafort, roger stone, and carter page. i have heard from carter page with a letter he sent to the committee. they're dying to receive for this committee. they want to get out there and get their story known in public. that's not conspiratorial in nature. they want to get out there. >> i guess, the question -- >> the other, as well, jeffrey. >> the other question, is does the white house have --
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>> a whole constellation. >> does the white house want the meetings to continue? chairman nunes, for reasons that are unexplained, canceled the public hearing that was to take place on tuesday, is now telling manu raja, maybe there will be more meetings after april recess. >> i'm believers that sunlight is the best disinfectant. not only should folks on this side testify, but folks on the other side who were dealing with classified information that leaked, ellen far cacas what wa defense official in the obama administration. who went on television who said she was helping to leak this information. she should be called. president obama, himself. >> we're not calling anybody in any public hearing. we're going to have more with the panel ahead. we have more breaking news. first daughter, ivanka trump taking a new official role in
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the white house, to go with her office in the west wing. she will be an unpaid adviser to her father. it just feels like anything is possible here in upstate new york. ( ♪ ) at corning, i test smart glass that goes all over the world. but there's no place like home. there's always something different to do like skiing in the winter, jet skiing in the summer. we can do everything. new york state is filled with bright minds like samantha's. to find the companies and talent of tomorrow, search for our page, jobsinnewyorkstate on linkedin.
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white house as an unpaidads visor to her father her husband jared kushner is also an unpaid adviser and seen as one of the most powerful people in the president's inner circle. jim acosta joins me. what are the details of this official position? >> reporter: well, anderson, it shouldn't surprise people at home that running the country, running the white house is becoming a family business for donald trump. the white house did confirm that ivanka will be an unpaid employee with the title of assistant to the president. ivanka released a statement saying she decided to take on this government role to avoid any questions about conflicts of interest because they were certainly being raised. we can put that quote up on screen. it says, i have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules and i will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the white house. throughout this process i have been working closely and in good faith with the white house counsel and my personal counsel
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to address the unprecedented nature of my role. it certainly is unpressanted. this may raise questions and this has before of whether ivanka trump will be violating federal nepotism rules as her father is the president, her husband jared kushner is also a white house adviser. the president's lawyers we have heard from the white house counsel office, all sorts of lawyers working for donald trump, they maintain the law gives him broad discretion to name his own team of advisors. if this question comes up again, that will be the answer we get. >> jim acosta, thanks very much. joining me is norm oisen, and jeffrey and gloria are with us. gloria, you have been talking to sourcess about this. what have you been been learning? what's she going do? >> i think that in the ivanka camp, they were troubled by a letter that norm sent along with fred wirthheimer to the white
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the house counsel which suggested in a way that perhaps ivanka was doing this as a way to get around ethics rules. and i was told they were kind of troubled by it, they listened to. and as a result, she now has to file her own form 278 as it's called. so she is legally bound now by the ethics rules in the white house. >> so, ambassador, as gloria, said, the letter you sent to the white house influenced this decision reportedly. are you satisfied with the steps they have taken here? what does that mean that she will have to follow all the rules of a federal employee? is she still going to be involved with her company? do we know the details on this? >> thanks for having me, anderson. we do know that she will like her father maintain ownership interest in her company,
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although, she's stepped away from day to day management. anderson, i do appreciate that mr. trump has responded to the letter by admitting that no american is above the law. not even the daughter of a president. so you shouldn't have to litigate that issue in order to have a concession that the law applies to you. we're a government of laws, not of people. that's the fundamental idea of the united states. what disappoints me is that this step leaves so much else undone in this white house. there is an ethics crisis in the white house. and it starts at the top with the president. who claims that the law does not apply to him, even the constitution, which prohibits many of the foreign government benefits he is getting, for example. until the president gets it right, the white house is not going to get it right. we do have, despite this
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positive step, a white house in ethics crisis. no wonder they're under investigation for russia affair. >> ambassador, you are a former white house czar. in terms of the nepotism law, does it apply? because the white house cleary seems to thing it doesn't. >> the question of whether ivanka was an employee was a clear one. she was. i'm glad they conceded it. my view -- it's a bipartisan view. the bush ethics czar agrees with me. the nepotism statute does apply. in both the bush and obama administration for decades the justice department held, yes, the nepotism statute does apply to the white house office. now, it's a murky area, reasonable minds can disagree. president trump got an opinion from the justice department that the nepotism statute doesn't
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apply to his white house. we disagree with that opinion. but we recognize that reasonable minds can disagree. >> jeff, obviously, there's a lot of ways to look at this. one, the president should have the people around him who he wants to have who he feels comfortable getting advice from. do you have any concerns though that you now have two of the most powerful positions in the white house are filled with relatives of the president, people who have a direct line to him in a way that maybe other people in the white house don't? would you want to work in that office environment? >> anderson, i will tell you why. ten presidents of the united states have had family members as senior aides, cabinet members or they position them at senior aides to other members of the administration. that includes john f. kennedy, abraham lincoln, andrew jackson, franklin roosevelt. >> in modern times. >> this has been going -- >> with security clearance?
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>> anderson, none since the anti-nepotism was passed after rfk. and it's called the bobby kennedy statute because there was such profound concern in this situation -- this situation raises those same concerns. when we have the most critical questions of domestic and international security, do we really want people whose first loyalty is to donald trump as a father or a father-in-law or do we want ones who first loyalty is to the country? >> we've got to take a quick break. just ahead the latest on the trump investigation and the melt down on one of the committees carrying out. also a $25 million settlement class action lawsuit is hang in the balance. details ahead. grown man now.
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