tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN March 30, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
senators up for election, they can go home and say, look, i haven't opposed the president all the time. >> errol lieu w, s.e. cupp, thank you so much. that is all for john blake. >> happening now, breaking news. secret sources reveal the "new york times" reports two senior white house officials helped house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes view information on the white house grounds. the white house invites others to do the same. they accept but voices profound concern at the trump administration's actions. widespread meddling. the senate intelligence committee gets a chilling briefing on russia's election meddling involving cyberattacks, fake news and paid internet trolls. we will hear from a national security expert. threatening his party. president trump uses twitter to
attack members of his parties, the conservative freedom caucus, warning they need to get on board or face the fallout in 2018. one republican says he was threatened directly with a primary challenge. and west wing turmoil. the deputy chief of staff suddenly departs the white house as controversy grows over the gop's healthcare debacle. is this the start of a major shakeup? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." ♪ >> this is "cnn breaking news." >> breaking news. in a stunning twist, the white house invites leaders of both congressional intelligence committees to look over classified material that may be tied to president trump's claims of surveillance by the obama administration, but the white house won't discuss a "new york times" report that officials there helped republican house intelligence committee chairman view secret material in the white house complex.
the chairman, devin nunes, is under fire right now for going public with the material and briefing the president before informing his own committee. democrats accuse him of working with the administration, and the house committee's investigation of russian meddling in the u.s. presidential election remains stalled. the committee's stop democrat, adam schiff, says he is ready to look over the material but says the white house actions raise profound concerns. the senate intelligence committee is charging ahead with its investigation. in a public hearing today the panel heard about russia's efforts to influence the u.s. presidential election. one expert said the interference continues. the house speaker, paul ryan, targeted just this week, and senator marco rubio revealed former members of his presidential campaign were targeted from a location inside russia as recently as yesterday. meanwhile, president trump is threatening war on members of hiswn party.
llowing a gop infighting over the failed healthcare bill, the president tweeted today that the right wing freedom caucus will, quote, hurt the entire republican agenda if they don't get on the team and fast. the president added, we must fight them and dems in 2018. i will talk to cyber security expert clinton watts who testified today before congress on russian interference. our correspondents, analysts and guests are standing by with full coverage of the day's top stories. let's get right to the breaking news. the sudden willingness by the white house to share classified information beyond the sneak preview given to a republican committee chairman. let's begin with our senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny. what is t latest? lay it out for us. >> reporter: wolf, you increasingly need a timeline to keep track of all of these developments. now, it was nine days ago this afternoon that the republican chairman came over re to the white house to look at that classified information. of course, we didn't realize he
was here for several days. the white house said, in fact, he wasn't. now the white house today is opening its doors to the oth leaders of the intelligence committee, saying the too should come over and look at some type of classified information. but that has democrats tonight wondering if it is just another distraction. under fire, the white house abruptly changing crse today, inviting republican and democrat leaders of intelligence committees to view classified material as part of the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election. >> we have and will invite the senate and house ranking members and chairman up to the white house to view that material in accordance with their schedule. >> reporter: the letter from the white house comes after more than a week of refusing to explain how and why republican intelligence committee chair devin nunes came to the white house to see classified information. today press secretary sean spicer did little to clear up those questions that have shaken the credibility of the house investigation. >> we have -- are willing to
provide them with the information that we have, the materials that we have come across. >> reporter: spicer said the new information, which he would not disclose, was uncovered by the national security council. he would not say whether it was the same material nunes viewed last week. it comes on the heels of a "new york times" report today that two white house officials invited nunes over to review the intelligence reports. spicer would not comment on that story. >> in order to comment on that story would be to validate certain things that i'm not at liberty to do. >> reporter: the top democrat on the house intelligence committee accepted the invitation from the white house, but said it raised more questions. >> i think the white house needs to answer is this instead a case where they wish to effectively launder information through our committee to avoid the true source of the information. >> reporter: it is the latest twist in the ongoing russia cloud hanging over the white house. two weeks ago the president suggested in a fox news interview that new details were
coming to bolster his unsubstantiated claim that president obama wire tapped trump tower. >> i think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks. >> reporter: that comment came just before nunes's dramatic revelation he delivered directly to the president. >> what i have read bothers me and i think it should bother the president -- >> reporter: at the time administration officials said it was absurd to suggest the white house was involved. >> and it doesn't really eseem o make a ton of sense. i'm not aware of it but it doesn't pass the smell test. >> reporter: days later he admitted being cleared on to white house grounds to view the classified information, and tonight spicer is not saying whether the president has already seen it. >> and when was he briefed on it? >> i will look into that. i'm not entirely sure when or what the status of that is, but i can follow up on that. >> reporter: now that is the key question there, if the president ha already seen this classified
information and why it required having the republican chairman over last week to look at other classified information. we do not know if it is the same thing. sean spicer would not say if it is the same information. wolf, this is done, one thing for sure, muddied the water on the entire investigation. keep things sort of in tant to sequential order here, and it was on march 15th when the president himself said there would be more information forthcoming. after that, all of this began to transpire here, wolf. >> very intriguing indeed. our jeff zeleny at the white house. thank you. while the house panel is clearly bogged down by the bickering, the senate intelligence committee held a rare open meeting today on russia's interference in america's democratic process. let's go to phil mattingly who is on the hill for us. phil, chilling testimony today. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. it is worth keeping in mind this is a hearing that was supposed to lay the ground work for the pathway forward in the senate investigation, but some of the details that came out were
jarring. >> ain't nobody going to be -- i'm going to be on my own. >> reporter: tonight, the sheer scope of russian meddling in the u.s. election dramatically swinging into the open. >> the take-away from today's hearing, we're all targets of a sophisticated and capable adversary. >> reporter: in the first public hearing since the launch of the investigation, senators and witnesses laying out vivid detail. >> the other part that i think we should be looking at is follow the trail of dead russians. >> reporter: national security expert clint watts warned russia is still interfering in u.s. politics. >> this past week we observed social media accounts discrediting speaker of the house paul ryan, hoping to further foment unrest inside u.s. democratic institutions. we will watch them play both sides. they might go after a republican person in this room tomorrow and then they'll switch. it is solely based on what they want to achieve in their own landscape, whatever the russian
foreign policy objectives are. >> reporter: and while president trump wasn't the focus of the hearing, he and his top associates were rarely far from the minds of the witnesses, citing statements made during the campaign. >> he denies the intel from the united states about russia. he claimed that the election could be rig. that was the number one theme pushed by r.t. spudnik outlets up to the election. >> i would hope that the president is as anxious as we are to get to the bottom of what happened. but i have to say editorial that the president's recent contact with his wild and uncorroborated accusations about wire tapping and his inappropriate and unjust fie fied attacks on america's hard working intelligence professionals gives me grave concern. >> reporter: both sides pressing that the probe will be thorough and non-partisan. >> i realize if we politicize this process our efforts will likely fail. >> reporter: the bipartisan
senate hearing standing in stark contrast to a stall effort across the capitol where house speaker paul ryan is calling for calmer heads to prevail. >> i want the house committee to have a full and thorough and bipartisan investigation. this has gotten a little political. let's take a pause and get all of the informatioevidence, all documents and find out what happened. what i'm worried about with russia is you have elections coming online in europe, you know, this year. >> reporter: house intelligence committee chair devin nunes meeting privately with the panel's top democrat adam schiff, who just days ago called on nunes to recuse himself from the investigation after nunes secretly went to white house grounds to view intelligence about surveillance he says picked up and in some cases unmasked trump transition officials. >> the context is we had a foreign power intervene in our election. we need to understand what they've done here. we need to understand if they had help of u.s. persons here. that is the mission.
>> reporter: and, wolf, as the house panel tries to get its investigation back on track, one of the key things really uncovered or at least talked about during the senate panel hearing today is the fact that this meddling didn't just end in november of 2016. it continued. as you noted, wolf, marco rubio rather dramatically acknowledging that he was a target, not just during his presidential campaign and also when he announced his run for senate in 2016, but just as recently as wednesday morning, targeted by ip addresses located in russia. it is very clear not only is this issue not going away, it is not going away any time soon, wolf. >> it is clearly continuing. phil mattingly, thank you very much. joining us now, clinton watts of the foreign policy research institute and the center for cyber and homeland secured at george washington unit here in washington, also a former fbi agent. he testified today before the senate intelligence committee on russian meddling in the u.s. presidential election. thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> what is putin's objective in
this? >> the ultimate objective is to destroy democracies from the inside out. he wants to erode trust and sow division in the u.s. electorate. when we are fighting amongst ourselves it discredits the people that are elected and the institutions they represent. >> when he see it is fighting going on right now, for example in the house intelligence committee, he sits back and says -- >> this is exactly what i wanted to happen. if i'm putin, he is seeing dissension between republicans, democrats, now between the congress and the executive branch. this is a dream come true for him in terms of fomenting chaos, such that we can't focus on his active measures and focus on his foreign policy. >> is there a sense -- and you have done a lot of research into this, you are an expert, that the candidate, then-candidate donald trump or any of his campaign associates were aware of or involved with any of these russians in these cyberattacks? >> well, we can't tell is whether president trump realized he was actually citing russian
propaganda at times which did happen. but what did happen was his campaign manager cited russian propaganda seven days after it had been debunked in august of 2016. we see lots of lines that are pushed by the kremlin that are fed into information briefings, and so the otherart is the coordination. we see hacks, we see leaks, and those are very sink rynchronize come out quickly with the campaign in august, cemenseptem october. that tends to lend to the belief there was coordination. >> you think that trump associations, either the candidate himself were citing what we would call fake news spread by these fake russian news organization cincinnati. >> it goes both ways. sometimes they would cite fake news put out by russian state propaganda. where they did it knowingly or unknowingly you can't tell. other times they would put out fools hoods that were used as talking points by the russians. >> the president has been in office more than 60 days.
is the administration handling thisnvestigation appropriately from your vantage point? >> no. great concern to me is this report you just had at the top of the hour, which is that two people in the white house might have cherry picked intelligence that could have been part of active investigations and gave it to somebody outside of the normal process. >> you're talking about the "new york times" reporter? >> yes, the "new york times" reporter. >> two senior white house officials according to the "new york times" -- supposed reply according tonew york times" invited the chairman of the house intelligence committee, devin nunes, to come over and take a look at this intelligence? >> yes, and that would be circumventing normal investigative processes. when that breaks down and we see that cherry picking, it further confuses fact and fiction. what we need from if chief executive is fact over fiction. >> what are the kons kwens of this? >> what you end up having is huge political partisanship on both sides the other part is you have an executive branch and legislative branch that that don't work
together so you can't pass budgets. you can't come around a foreign policy, in particular to counter russ. >> i watched your testimony today before the senate intelligence committee, and it was fascinating. one thing you said, one way in your words to trace russian influence in the presidential election here in the united states is to, in your words, follow the trail of dead russians. >> yes. >> what did you mean? >> since the election there has been a series, probably seven to eight russians either that are official people of the government or were investigated that have turned up dead. you've had ambassadors turn up dead under suspicious circumstances. you had people at different cyber security companies arrested unexpectedly. if you followhat trail, that's where most of the leaks are that are allegedly coming from the xmi 6 dosier. that's what i believe those to be. >> do you believe the fbi is fully equipped to do an investigation into this? you heard james comey, the fbi director, say a week ago they are engaged right now in a
serious criminal investigation. >> i think the fbi has the capability to do it, but all of the political bargaining, the cherry picking of intelligence inside the government, using it for political purposes with congressional committees, that just derails investigations. how on earth could the fbi do a good investigation when intelligence is possibly being leaked from inside of the government in a different location? it is hard to run down leads or come to decisive conclusions. >> there were a few chilling moments during the testimony before the senate intelligence committee where you even expressed concern about your own security. tell us about that. >> right. i know that i've been target either by trolling attacks, i've been notified by the fbi through the think tank, foreign policy research institute, they were notified i was a target of malware attacks and i know i'm on the list. if i speak today my bank accounts could well be compromised. i could be discredited through compromising material, some true, some false. i think the biggest concern is i'm not confident right now the
u.s. government would come to bat for me. >> you're not confident? >> no, i've seen president trump call for russia to leak e-mails against, you know, a political opponent. i've seen him discredit the u.s. intelligence committee to cite conspiracies he has seen on twitter feed. if i say things that the trump administration doesn't like or counter to putin, i'm not sure it is not, you know, trump first, russia second and the rest of america third. >> what you seem to be suggesting, is there still some coordination in your analysis between the russians -- >> no. >> -- and trump associates? >> no, i think it is that in terms of the political bartering going on right now, it is opportunism. whenever there's a tme or a message someone wants to push, whether it comes from russia, some other sort of fake news outlet or it comes from a political party, they will push falsehoods to achieve political objectives before they push the truth for the american people. >> stand by, clint, baugh there's more questions i have. your testimony today was fascinating before the senate
. welcome back to breaking news. the white house pointedly not reacting to a major "new york times" report just out that officials there helped the republican house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes view secret material in the white house complex. back with clint watts of the foreign policy research institute and cyber and homeland security at washington university. he testified today before the senate intelligence committee. a lot of folks don't necessarily understand. when the vice-chairman of the intelligence committee says there's a thousand russians working out there day and night spreading false information, calls them trolls. explain the impact of that.
>> it is a mirror image of what they've done inside russia for many years, which is they take any sort of dissidents or any sort of opposing view and they shout it down. that could be on the comments page of a newspaper article online or that could be even calling in to radio shows or television shows. but in the cyber space and social media, what you see is a series of actors portraying people in the target audience they want to reach. back in 2016 that was the united states. now it might be germany, and they're befriending them, attacking those that are opponents of russian views and pushing in information that's supportive of their line, which would be white outlets -- which we call russian state-sponsored outlets -- or fake news manipulated truth. >> how persuasive is this? >> it goes on in waves based on when there's a campaign. any buildup to an election you will see them move in with active measures, which is to erode these electorates from the inside out. you will also see it pop up ad
hoc. when they see an opportunity to get in the middle of social unrest like black lives matter protest or they see an opportunity with a financial company, an american company with a tragedy, they will amplify that too. >> what you testified today is a lot of americans are fooled by the information they're receiving. it is coming from these russian trolls but they don't know that? >> yes. a lot comes from russian trolls. there's several kinds of fake news. you have heard it broadly thrown out there. state-sponsored is disinformation which we are worried about regarding the election, but there's profiteers who turn out fake news. what is different about the state-sponsored is directly targeted into audiences they want to sway in an election. so if you are gaming the system, 50 states, six of them end up being swing states, you target thatinformation at those voters. >> you are talking about fake news coming from russian trolls. when the president of the united states speaks about fake news he is talking about mainstream media in the united states. that causes confusion.
>> right. fake news has become synonymous with news i don't want to hear and i don't like, so you can use it as an attack point. over the horizon, the mainstream media needs to be accurate in its reporting at large, but we need to come up with systems "the insider" form consumers about what they're reeding. >> you're not optimistic any of this can be stopped any time soon. tell us why. >> i think the fake news issue can be dealt with. social media companies are taking great steps for it, but we cannot counter act measures from the russians until we have a president not citing them to go after political opponents. anti-nato and anti-e.u. seems to be a policy stanls we are taking in the united states. you can't counter if we are parroting it at home. >> the bottom line is we should anticipate this going on. they may have gone after hillary clinton and the democrats in the
2016 presidential leelection bu they could flip and go after trump and friends soon? >> exactly. as soon as the trump administration or republicans or democrats are opposing putin's agenda and russian aggression, you're going to see this whole system turn on them. it will go either way. in the hacks that you saw, we've heard about the dnc. they hacked thousands of accounts. right now inside russia they probably sit on thousands of people's personal information, and when it is opportunisting for them they can do data dumps. >> would it make sense for the u.s. or elements in the u.s. to do to the russians what they're doing to the u.s. right now? would that be a deterrent? >> i don't think that's the way to go because we ultimately want to stay true to our democratic values. we want to put out truth. i think the better way to go is to expose these things they're doing, expose active measures for what they are, which are people pushing fake information. if we produce propaganda that's fault we undermine ourselves doing that. >> thank for your testimony
today and coming in. >> thank you. >> much more on the breaking news. we will take a quick break and be right back. i. 6:30? sam's baseball practice. you are busy. wouldn't it be great if you had investments that worked as hard as you do? yeah. introducing essential portfolios the automated investing solution.
we're following multiple breaking stories. the white house announcing it is inviting the heads of the house and senate intelligence committees to view what it calls newly discovered information about leaks and miss handled information. that announcement came just after the "new york times" named two senior white house officials, saying they gave the house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes access to secret reports about surveillance. lots to discuss with our experts. phil muld, let me start with you. the "new york times" reporting
that nunes's sources are actually senior officials in the white house counsel's office, the national security council. where does it go next? >> i think we have a couple of questions here that are pretty basic. the question so far have been about representative nunes and how he's led this hearing. i think the questions will shift to the white house and let me tell you why. just because you have a sop secret clearance, wolf, doesn't mean you get to see everything that's top secret. i know that sounds odd, but when i worked counterterrorism i had a top secret clearance. i didn't have to see everything related to russia. some of the most sensitive information you collect in the u.s. government relates to u.s. citizens who communicate with foreigners including people like the russians. here is the bottom line. were the white house officials authorized to release that sensitive information to the congress, another branch of government. i think the question should go to sean spicer at the white house tomorrow is that simple. did the officials have the authorization to release that? if they did not, should they be stripped of their clearances.
it is that simple, wolf. >> it is not that simple because he could be asked those questions. you know he is not going to answer, phil, those questions. he is going to deflect. >> he is going to deflect, but it is like the question about how gave nunes access to the white house. i mention when i worked in the executive office building, if i wanted my family in i had to go to the security office and electronically put my mom's name in the database. it would take five minutes to walk over there. it is not secret information, and reveal who allowed nunes into the executive office building. it is simple. he is just not going to want to answer the question. >> would you believe those two officials that the "new york times" cites as giving him the cleernls, inviting him to look at this information, had clearance and authority to do so from higher officials, top officials at the nsc? >> i'm not concern. this is not a judgment call. i think there's a technical question about whether they were authorized to reveal that kind of information. i can tell you when i served at
the nsc in the same building my boss was condoleeza rice, serious as a heart attack and smart as all get out. if i had done it she would take out a chain saw, cut me into 100 pieces and served me to sharks. you can't do this stuff if you are a member of the national security environment and you have taken an oath not to reveal certain information, you can't do this stuff without consequences. the question has to get to the bottom line. were they allowed to do this or did they do it without authorization, yes or no. >> i believe that's the kwee question. mark preston, i would like you to listen to the exchange i had with the house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes here in the situation room on monday. >> who clear you for admission? >> well, i'm not going to get into how that proce works, but the white house has a process. >> was it a white house staffer? >> look, i'm not getting into sources and methods and how we review documents, especially classified information. this happens all over the executive branch and it is quite common. >> eventually these records,
notice how it works. they're going to come out anyhow, right? >> yeah. >> i believe the "new york times" report, they came out today. this is a serious business right now. >> well, it is, and there's so much more questions than answers at this point. how would the chairman of the house intel yenligence committe know this information or told this information by white house staffers presumably but the white house staff wouldn't have told the commander in chief beforehand? and devin nunes decides to go down and brief the president on information that ostensibly he would have already known. if we go back two weeks we saw president trump come out and say, let's see what happens in the next couple of weeks, there's interesting information. they seem to be creating more of a maze right now for what is a very, very, very serious charge. >> because after devin nunes, the chairman, got this information from these white house official also according to the "new york times," it was the next day he rushed back to the white house to brief the president. the senior nsc officials could brief the president directly. they don't need to do it
circuitously through the chairman of the intelligence committee. >> it hangs a major question over why nunes was doing this, and the answer seems to be for political purposes. that's problematic, wolf, for a host of reasons, but one is that it really puts his credibility into question for future intelligence investigations as well as the current russia investigation that the house panel has been pursuing. i mean even if devin nunes is raising a serious and relevant issue with unmasking, even if these documents show something important, people are going to ask, well, why are you showing us this now? it is going to show the credibility of that into question. it is a serious problem for the chairman of the intel -- >> i want to know, general mcmaster, the national security council, top adviser to the president, if he was aware of this. eventually we will find out. where do you see it heading now? >> i think there are a couple of basic questions we have to ask. first is we're dealing with a coverup that's killing us. you have to front this
information. for example, devin nunes saying revealing how he got in the white house is somehow sources and methods relating to intelligence is completely ridiculous. that's a visitor log. pardon me, that is not intelligence and not sources and methods for how you intercept russian communication. there's a second questions i mention earlier. did the people who revealed this information, were they authorized to reveal it. i think one reason the white house in the past couple of hours has said everybody can see it is because they don't want to answer that question. why didn't you say that three days ago? i think it is because you weren't authorized to reveal it to all of these people. i think the coverup is killing 'em and i think the questions will get harder and harder to answer. they will not be questions about the congress. they will be questions about white house conduct. >> and all of a sudden they invite the republican and democrat leaders of the committees to come over as the "new york times" is publishing this major report. let's take a quick break and we'll be right back. [vo] quickbooks introduces jeanette
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back with our experts. rebecca, the president seemed to go to war with fellow republicans, members of the freedom caucus. today he tweeted earlier this morning, the freedom caucus will hurt the entire republicans if they don't get on fast. he mentioned certain ones and said if they don't get on board -- if they get on board we would have great health cared an massive tax cuts and reform. he is launching a major war against them right now.
>> he really is. you could see why, because this was a major embarrassment for the president and his agenda, having the freedom caucus say we're not going to support your healthcare bill. but at the same time f someone who fancies himself a master negotiator, who wrote or at least his name was on "the art of the deal," this isn't the best negotiating tactic when it comes to the freedom caucus guys. this is actually probably the exact wrong thing you can do to persuade them to work with you. i feel that this will actually make them more entrenched. you have to talk to them as equals about policy. i mean this is going to merely 'em bolden them and give them a chance to step into the spotlight and make their case. >> mark, the speaker, paul ryan is now worried that the president may actually reach out to democrats and try to forge a deal with them. >> well, it looks like that might be the only way he can get anything done moving forward. if you were going to maeken mys in washington, you better have allies lienld up. if you are going directly at members of your own party, you better go at them hard.
sending out tweets like this is haphazard, it is not strategically smart. if you are going after them, you better going after them hard. show up in their districts, campaign against them and make sure you have allies on the other sid otherwise you will be a diminished leader in the town and get nothing done. >> you know that the accusations leveled against the president right now, phil mudd, he is doing all of this to try to change the subject from what is clearly a much bigger issue, the criminal investigation into alleged contacts or connections between trump associates and russians during the campaign. >> accusations, wolf. it sounds like a fact to me. from day one we had the president of the united states suggesting some of the hacking the russians have done could have been a 400 pounding person in their basement. he want on to accuse the fbi and cia of being politicized and compared cia activities to nazi germany. then we had the accusation that the former president of the united states was involved in
wire tapping trump tower. now diversion into personal attacks on members of his own party. i think what we have to go back to for every high school student in a civics class in america, what we saw from the senate intelligence committee yesterday. that is the chairman and the vice chairman getting back and saying, we're here to talk about how an american election for american citizens we all represent was damaged by a foreign power. that's it. the rest of this, nonsense. that's about it, wolf. >> it is a huge prlem for this president right now, not just the hou and senate investigations but the fbi instigation as well. >> yeah. there's just a lot going on right now, at a time when he is looking for wins. so not only do you have these investigations and this dark cloud over the white house, you're also seeing a lot of missteps by the white house even trying to govern and trying to legislate and making promises, frankly, you can't keep. donald trump right now, president trump is learning the hard way that being successful in business doesn't mean you will be successful as president. >> further hurting the president right now, his low job approval
numbers that weakens not just with democrats but republicans as well. >> right. you wonder how the healthcare fight might have looked different if his approval rating was 60% instead of in the 40s. maybe he could have persuaded the freedom caucus guys and had a strong case to make to come along and support him because he had more clout in their districts. he doesn't have a lot of clout now. >> don't go too far away. coming up, they have names from children's stories but far from innocent. stay with us for an alarming look at how russian trolls and bot nets, as in robots, are using the internet to try to fool you. ♪ your insurance company
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. he senate intelligence committee today heard chilling testimony about the extent of russia's meddling. brian todd has been dig into the very sophisticated campaign to issue fake news. what are you learning. >> experts have a benign phrase for fake news and other forms of russian meddling. they call them active measures. it means using information rather than force to beat your opponent from the inside out and today we got chilling new information on the methods used by russian hackers and trolls as they try to create chaos and fear inside america. it started with several tweets alleging a terrorist attack at the air base in actuary can i last summer. russia state media outlets posted variation of the story. even donald trump's campaign manager apparently thought it was true repeating it on cnn. >> there's plenty of news to cover this week. you had the nato base and turkey under attack.
>> no attack had occurred at the base. researchers say it's an example of fake reports spread online on purpose with the help of pro-russian users in what's believed to be a disinformation campaign supported by vladimir putin. >> all designed to influence elections and so dissent and confusion in the west. >> they have a coordinated information campaign and a deliberate strategy s they pick their objectives and the information space. >> in another case a leaked e-mail from hillary clinton's campaign in which she asked a question about a treatment for parkinson's disease was spun in auto a fake story alleging she was sick triggering allegations and chatter that she had the disease. researchers say the story was shared and reposted by pro-russian cites and read 8 million times. of how russia was trying to throw last year's election. >> how easy it is for them to spread bogus stories? >> once they build an audience with their accounts it's very easy to do that, just throw amplification. any time you have the ability to
promote stories, hundreds or thousands of times then that puts it into trending feeds. once it's in a trending feed it takes on a life of its own. >> experts who research russia's campaign explain how putin's government uses an army of trolls, online critics who push their agendas to confuse and frighten audiences in the west an idea that played out dramatically on the show time series homeland. a troll factory where hundreds of employees toil away. >> iraq bob, that's me. navy wife. that's me too. >> they're marching orders. post phoney stories and tweets and spread them as widely as possible. >> you find a new set of talking points in your folders. get outraged. >> the real life troll factories used by russians may not look at slick as the tv version but they are real. paid trolls who spread fake reports can amplify their impact by using bot nets. thousands of other peoples
computers infected with viruss. analysts say putin's goal is to cause distrust in their political systems. >> they didn't just want to discredit u.s. elections they want to discredit hillary clinton. sewing division within the european union these are all things part of russian agenda. >> when asked today about accusations of russian interference vladimir putin said, quote, read my lips, no. but experts who testify before congress today say we can expect putin's government to continue supporting fake news campaigns. they say for putin, it is easy, effective and best of all for him, it often cannot be traced directly back to him. >> do these fake news troll sometimes target president trump himself? >> according to the cybersecurity expert clint watts who you had on earlier they do, in fact,o that. watts testified todayhat some outlets pushing fake or misleading stories will tweet right at president trump during high volume periods when they
know he's online. they're pushing conspiracy theories hoping he clicks on one and cites one publicly. >> brian, thank you. comi up more breaking news after the "the new york times" reports two senior white house officials helped the republican house intelligence committee chairman view classify material the white house is left reeling from questions about who gave chairman nunes access to this information and why. >> told us that y're willing to look into -- >> i am. >> and provide us. >> no, no. please don't put words in my mouth. i never said i would provide you answers. i said we would look into it.