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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  July 6, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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happening now, breaking news. tense protests, violence erupts at a demonstration of the g-20 summit in germany. police are pelted with bottles and smoke bombs and turn water canons on angry crowds to break them up. will there be more clashes? russian spies. sources tell cnn that russian agents are ramping up espionage efforts inside the united states in the wake of the presidential race with what is being described as aggressive intelligence gathering. president trump casts fresh doubt on russia's meddling on the campaign questioning the consensus of the u.s. intelligence community. we will talk more about it with james clapper. severe things. trism accuses north korea of behaving very dangerously and says he is thinking about severe consequences for the kim regime
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though he won't say what they are. president and the pentagon on the same page? we want towelcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off. i'm jim sciutto. you are in the situation room. this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news tonight. fresh protests at the g-20 summit in germany. new clashes have erupted between police in riot gear and demonstrators with police turning water canons on the crowd to disperse them. current and former u.s. intelligence officials tell cnn that russian spies have ramped up intelligence gathering efforts inside the united states in the wake of the presidential election. one official says that moscow has been emboldened by its successful interference in last year's campaign.
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president trump is again questioning whether russia was actually behind the political hacking. sources tell cnn that secretary of state rex tillerson and russian foreign minister will be only other officials inissed the room. and the president is suggesting that a military response is possible saying he is thinking about quote pretty severe things. james mattis warning it would be quote tragic on an unbelievable scale. we're covering that and more this hour with our guests including james clapper as well as our correspondents and specialists also standing by. let's get right to breaking news. cnn senior international correspondent is in germany at the scene of these violent clashes between police and protesters. what are you seeing there right now?
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>> reporter: you can see -- we are right sort of on the front lines between protesters and police. there is a large police presence here. there has been a standoff. we just saw a section barricaded. it seems like the protests which were supposed to have been done a couple of hours ago are far from having to reach a place. you can see a massive police presence here in the side streets. you can probably also hear that the mood is fairly charged here. there have been clashes going on. there is a lot of anger towards police as bottles flying towards police officers. and police are responding. so the atmosphere -- >> we just lost the signal there. we will go now to our white house correspondent. president trump meeting with
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russian president vladimir putin tomorrow. mr. trump is casting fresh doubt on moscow's meddling in the presidential election. senior white house correspondent traveling with the president. we are learning details about who will be in the room tomorrow for the meeting. >> reporter: we are, jim. secretary of state rex tillerson and sergey lavrov will be in the room. they will be the only four in the room besides the translators for that big meeting tomorrow. jim, the president is back overseas throwing his weight around on the world stage except it seems when it comes to the subject of russia, an area where the president continues to tread very carefully. the president of the united states once again contradicted the u.s. intelligence community assessment of russian meddling in the 2016 election. >> nobody really knows for sure. >> reporter: at a news
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conference in poland president trump held open the possibility that other countries were involved. >> well, i think it was russia. i think it could have been other people in other countries. could have been a lot of people interfered. >> reporter: as he insisted it was not clear moscow interfered the president tried to blame former president obama for failing to stop the russians. >> he did nothing about it. why did he do nothing about it? he was told it was russia by the cia as i understand it. it was rel reported and he did nothing about it. >> reporter: while some democrats say the obama administration didn't go far enough obama did confront russian president vladimir putin directly and the obama administration accused the russian government of interfering in the election in october. president trump's uncertainty runs completely counter to the u.s. intelligence community's analysis. >> do you believe that the 2017 intelligence community assessment accurately characterized the extent of russian activities in the 2016
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election and its conclusion that russian intelligence agencies were responsible for the hacking and leaking of information and using misinformation in order to influence our elections? >> yes, i do. >> yes, i do. >> yes. >> yes. >> president also issued a stern warning to north korea over its missile launch this week. >> pretty severe things that we are thinking about. that doesn't mean we are going to do them. i don't draw red lines. >> reporter: the president did make a course correction stating his support for nato's article five that an attack on one alliance members is an attack on all, a stance he declined to take on his last foreign trip. >> to those who criticize our tough stance i point out that the united states has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind article 5, the mutual defense commitment.
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>> reporter: next stop in germany the president made sure to shake the hand of angela merkel. they did at other times during the white house visit. his meeting with vladimir putin friday that the whole world will be watching a. senior administration official says it is believed this will be mr. trump's first ever face-to-face encounter with putin. the president has given a range of answers on this question in the past. >> i was in moscow recently. i spoke indirectly and directly with president putin who could not have been nicer. >> i don't know who putin is. i have nothing to do with putin. >> i have no relationship with putin. >> if you have no relationship with putin why did you say in 2013 i do have a relationship? >> because he has said nice things about me over the years. >> and there will be others to watch especially any interaction
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with blizza between president trump and chinese president xi. as for the president's meeting with vladimir putin it is going to be a small crowd in the room but not clear how much ground they are going to be covering in that meeting as they will only have about an hour perhaps less than that for this scheduled meeting. >> traveling with the president. there is more breaking news. cnn has new reporting about concern in the u.s. intelligence community over stepped up russian spying inside the u.s. in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. cnn justice correspondents are working the story. tell us what you have learned. >> we have learned that russian spies have been ramping up their intelligence gathering efforts in the u.s. according to officials who say they notice the increase since the election and the officials that we have spoken with, some say they believe one of the biggest
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adversaries has not been slowed after efforts after it medalled in the u.s. election according to the u.s. intelligence committee. since the election u.s. and law enforcement agencies have detected an uptick in suspected russian intelligence officers entering the u.s. under the guys of other business. officials say the russians have been replenishing their ranks ever since the u.s. disspelled 35 diplomats. in some cases russian spies tried to gain employment at places with sensitive information as part of intelligence gathering efforts. one source says one familiar with the concerns described it as a quote aggressive collection posture and the official added that the effort was undeterred by the election meddling success. the fbi would not comment. the request for comments were not responded to. >> if u.s. intelligence knows
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this, why aren't they stopping the suspected russian operatives from entering the country? >> we are told that counter intelligence is speaking to keep an eye on this activity. in some cases the fbi uses surveillance to track the suspected russian intelligence officers as part of their counter intelligence effort. that was how the u.s. is able to identify and expel 35 russian diplomats accused of spying in response to the alleged russian election meddling according to officials we talked to. u.s. law enforcement officials say some of the russian diplomats have violated protocol by leaving the washington, d.c. area without notifying the state department. russia has similar rules in place for u.s. diplomats in russia. another issue is this ongoing frustration with the state department over granting of visas people that the u.s. intelligence community suspects are intelligence officers. state department official would not comment specifically on the
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visas issues citing con fideniali fideniality. the official said they worked with russia they can where we don't see eye to eye with russia the united states will continue to stand up for the issues and values of america and allies and partners. the homeland security department would not comment on the russian visas but said there is an extensive visa vetting process for granting those visas. >> final questions, why do your sources believe that this is happening now? >> a few reasons. it is multi prong. even after the meddling in the u.s. elections in 2016 the u.s. under obama and now trump have been slow to thake measures to respond. partisan political disagreements over russian activity and president donald trump's reluctance to accept has low efforts to counter the threat.
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it has created wider tensions with russia, as well. one of the things the obama administration did in retaliation was to shut down russian diplomatic compounds in december. officials pressed u.s. to return the facilities in a bid to return relations. one said u.s. watched as russians removed suspected surveillance equipment from the compounds. russia has denied the compounds were being used for intelligence gathering. russian experts we have spoken to say as the relationship between russia and the u.s. sours the more they want to ramp up to figure out intentions and plans of what they see as adversaryial government. >> thanks very much. we are joined by the former director of national intelligence james clapper. served in that role for 2012 to 2017. thanks for taking the time
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today. your reaction to this new cnn report. you said many times in public while you were still in your role that russia was emboldened by its success in interfering in the u.s. election. do you believe that is what we are seeing here now with this stepped up espionage? >> i don't have official access to classified information, but this certainly fits the standard russian pattern which comports with their behavior going back decades. and they want to i'm sure repair the loss by virtue of the 35 operatives that were expelled by the obama administration. their general push, they are going to stretch the envelope as far as they can and collect information. i think largely if i can use the military phrase, prep the battlefield for 2018 elections. >> prepping you think, putting
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themselves in position for further attempts. >> i think they are here to collect as much as they possibly can on the united states who they consider as their prime. >> let's talk about the president's comment today. the president of the united states visiting poland once again cast doubt on russia's role on the election meddling saying it could have been others. we played this earlier echoing comments we heard from the russian president himself. you in your position as director of national intelligence oversaw the entire u.s. intelligence community. in your view, is there any doubt about russia's role? >> absolutely none. that has been reaffirmed by those who are still in positions of responsibility in the intelligence community. there is absolutely no doubt about it. the high confidence levels, the multiple sources of information we had and the high fidelity still leave me very convinced of
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the report. >> i want to play, if i can, some of the president's comments because he implied in his statements that there was disagreement within the intelligence community as well as making other accusations. let's have a quick listen. >> you again state you think it was russia. your intelligence agencies have been far more definitive. they say it was russia. why won't you agree with them and say it was? >> let me start off by saying i heard it was 17 agencies. i said that is a lot. do we have that many intelligence agencies? let's check it. we did very heavy research. it turned out to be three or four. it wasn't 17. many of your compatriots had to change reporting and apologize and correct. with that being said, mistakes have been made. i agree. i think it was russia, but i think it was probably other people and/or countries. and i see nothing wrong with that statement. nobody really knows.
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nobody really knows for sure. i remember what i was sitting back listening about iraq. weapons of mass destruction how everybody was 100% sure that iraq had weapons of mass destruction. guess what. that led to one big mess. they were wrong. it led to a mess. so it was russia and i think it was probably others, also. and that's been going on for a long period of time. my big question is why did obama do nothing about it from august all the way to november if he did nothing about it and it wasn't because he choked? >> there is a lot to unwrap there because he levelled a lot of charges in the way of the u.s. intelligence community. in a foreign country the day before he meets russia the president of russia, did he just throw the u.s. intelligence community under the bus? >> it is hard not to reach that
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conclusion that exactly so. first of all, on the number of components he told us. yes, there are 17. 16 components by law and officer of national intelligence. when president-elect trump was briefed on this on the 6th of january. there were four of us meaning directors of fbi, cia and myself. we explained who did the report. how the narrative got out about 17 components. the report itself makes it clear that it was the three agencies plus the office of director of national intelligence that put this intelligence community assessment together. as far as others doing this, that's news to me. we saw no evidence whatsoever there was anyone involved in this other than the russians. as far as the infamous weapons
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of mass destruction, national intelligence assessment done in october of 2002. i remember it because my finger prints were on it. it was 15 years ago. the intelligence community has done a lot of things to make sure that never happens again. yes, it's true, that was a big mistake. we have learned from it. the intelligence community has, i should say, injected a lot of safe guards to prevent that from happening again. because of that experience and my having lived through it that is why my confidence level is so high and fidelity of the information. >> let me ask you this because as you mentioned the agencies who are involved in collecting intelligence for this assessment, the nsa monitors international communications. the cia monitors foreign governments. fbi handling threats to the homeland, illegal activity here. folks at home might know that
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some other 17 intelligence agencies include things like coast guard intelligence or drug enforcement agencies. the department of energy's intelligence branch. as director of national intelligence, when you are making a hacking assessment, an assessment about a cyber attack, any reason why you would call on the coast guard to pipe in? >> the reason that we limited it to those three agencies plus my office was the three agencies were the only ones that could really contribute to this report and because of the great sensitivity of some of the sources that we depended on to make that assessment. and so others -- because of the short timeline we had to get it done because president obama mandated it be done before the end of his administration. there are other componentants that have absolutely no way to contribute to such a report.
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the national reconnaissance office has no analytic responsibility or capability. it would not be included nor would the services to include the coast guard really wouldn't have anything to contribute to this. because of the sensitivity of the accesses, the sources, we wanted to restrict that and because of the timeline we did not have all components participate. >> bottom line, though, without those 17 agencies, do you have any doubt or was there any objection from inside the intelligence community on the inclusion that russia was behind the attack? >> absolutely none. >> you have trump meeting putin. putin has repeatedly denied involvement in these hacks and has often cited president trump's own expressions of doubt to bolster his own position. to have president trump the day before that meeting with putin again express those doubts does
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it give putin ammunition? >> it does. it gives him i think reassurance and encourages them to keep doing what he is doing. if these reports which i have no doubt about about stepped up pace of intelligence collection in this country, i think bear that out. so as long as we don't push back with the russians and take the necessary measures to foreclose, they are going to continue. >> folks at home might not know that you served as a military intelligence officer going back to the 60s i believe right to the senior most spy. you have seen it from top to bottom. tell me how statements like that -- it's not the first time president trump has undermined the credibility of the u.s. intelligence agencies. how does that effect the rank-and-file members? >> it doesn't help. i believe that the intelligence community and the men and women in it are pretty resilient.
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and they will do their duty as they know it to be. so it certainly doesn't help with the moral, i don't think, but i am absolutely convinced the professionalism of the intelligence community and they will continue to do their duty and do what they can to tell the truth to power whether the power receives it or not. >> president trump, of course, also raised public questions about the other line of inquiry in the russia investigation, whole host of questions including whether there was possible collusion. should the american people see that investigation as a witch hunt? >> excuse me. i don't think so. i think just the opposite. i think it's in the best interest of this country and the president and best interest of both parties to get to the bottom of this. that is why i had great hope for
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special counsel bob mueller to get to the bottom of this. >> i get the sense and i speak and i'm sure you do, i speak to my family and friends and say where is this investigation going? we don't know where it is going to end up. can you explain to the american people why it is important to continue to go down these paths wherever they lead, even if they lead to nowhere at the end? >> i think truth is a great virtue. i think we need to get to the truth. the big picture, the big event here is the russian interference in our election process. a fundamental pillar of this country, of our way of life. we should know the facts. i say we, all of us as a nation should know the facts of what happened here and whether or not there was collusion i don't know. we need to find that out once
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and for all and to take whatever corrective actions that are necessary to prevent this in the future. because the russians for their part will keep at it. >> do you have doubt that they will try to interfere in the 2020 elections? >> no doubt. next time they can go after republicans which i wish people would remember. this is an assault on us, our nation, our country regardless of party. and we need to get to the bottom of this and figure out what to do to prevent it in the future. >> we will have more time, more of our exclusive interview in a moment. using artificial tears often and still have dry eye symptoms? ready for some relief? xiidra is the first and only eye drop approved for both the signs and symptoms of dry eye. one drop in each eye, twice a day. common side effects include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision when applied to the eye, and unusual taste sensation. don't touch container tip to your eye or any surface.
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pictures from the streets of hamburg, germany where protesters there, antiglobalization protesters clashing with police. this as leaders are gathered there for the g-20 summit. we are back with former national dreker of national intelligence james clapper. we wanted to talk about the crisis sparked by north korea's test launch of intercontinental ballistic missile. president trump says he is weighing a response. let's go to barbara starr. >> military options very difficult. in a very rare instance today here at the pentagon defense secretary shared publically for the first time his thinking about the north korea situation and the launch. north korea's new intercontinental ballistic missile rolled up to the launch
quote
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pad, fired and changed the world for president trump. >> i don't draw red lines. >> reporter: after declaring the era of strategic patience is over the north korea threat is now an issue at the summit. president trump trying to leave all options from sanctions to military action on the table. >> i had some pretty severe things that we are thinking about. >> reporter: in his first public statement defense secretary says diplomacy still is the priority in controlling north korea's new missile launches. >> i do not believe the capability in itself brings us closer to war because the president has been very clear and secretary of state has been very clear that we are leading with diplomatic and economic efforts. >> reporter: the secretary has long warned that war with kim jong-un could lead to catastrophe. >> if you know if this goes to a
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military solution it is going to be tragic on an unbelievable scale. >> reporter: military options have been updated for the president but the problem is unchanged. a limited u.s. strike poses significant risk. kim jong-un could quickly attack seoul, south korea, killing millions. >> we would have to be prepared to go all in meaning all out korean war. >> reporter: the u.s. does have a limited missile defense capability on land and at sea but there are questions about its reliability in some cases. >> the same situation applies even if we are to just take out one missile in mid air, that could escalate to an all out war. >> reporter: the map is simple. north korea has thousands of infantry forces and armor and artillery. much of it according to the pentagon in thousands of underground facilities in bunkers ready to fire on seoul.
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>> the military maintains military options for the commander in chief. >> the essentially challenge remains unchanged. the program is accelerating and there are no signs that kim jong-un is thinking about pulling back. >> thanks very much. we are back with former director of national intelligence james clapper. just returned from south korea and served at intelligence officer. are there any doable workable military options? >> none that i can think of. >> i think the caution that secretary of defense jim mattis expressed is well put. i believe if we did some military action against north
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korea that they would reflexively do what they vowed on more than one occasion which is to change into a sea of fire. i think it would be a dreadful reckless thing for us to do that. so i believe that the only option is diplomacy. and when i was in pyongyang three years ago bring out a couple of our citizens and had pretty intense and pretty nasty exchanges with north koreans. i do believe the best hope here is to engage with them. and frankly i don't find their demand for or their desire for discussions about peace treaty. all we had was a 64 year long armicist where we stopped firing. sitting in their shoes they -- i was amazed at siege of mentality and paranoia that exists in north korea. everywhere they look are
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enemies. so i think that i get all the rhetoric about things we're going to do but i think the need to be very, very cautious about it initiating any kind of military action against north korea because all that artillery they got lined up will be unleashed in a heart beat. >> you are talking direct talks between u.s. and north korea? >> i am. in a speech i gave in seoul advocate to give considerations with coordination with the stake holders to proposing intersection in pyongyang like we have for years to deal with a government we never recognized. >> u.s. diplomatic presence. >> achieve i think three objectives. one to have in residence dialogue to gain a better understanding of what is going on in north korea and most
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importantly perhaps maybe more than the others is conveying information into north korea. >> let me ask you this because the u.s. and other nations have spoken with north korea before. they made agreements and north korea has repeatedly violated those agreements. how do you have faith in whatever product of those talks. >> you don't. and this is clearly the case of trust to verify with them. i think the best we can hope for is getting them to a cap. in other words, stop the testings in both underground nuclear test as well as missile test. in return for serious dialogue and perhaps moving towards peace treaty. that would also serve to deflate a major argument that they make particularly to their domestic audience about why they need to have a fortress and spend this grotesque investment in things military north korea at the great expense of their people. >> you are saying the u.s.
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should get to the place where it recognizes north korea's nuclear power and maybe caps but lives with them having nuclear weapon intercontinental ballistic missiles? >> i think the train has left the station a long time ago on whether or not north korea will denuclearize. it was made abundantly clear to me when i was there there was no way they were going to denuclearize. that is a nonstarter. they have gone to school on the likes of moammar gadhafi and saw what happened to him when he negotiated his weapons of mass destruction. they are not going to willingly give up nuclear weapons. >> director clapper thanks for taking the time. >> thanks for having me. breaking news. we are following fresh protests at the g-20 summit. clashes between police and
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demonstrators. new reporting about increased russian spying inside the u.s. will it come up with president trump meets vladimir putin tomorrow?
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president trump is questioning the u.s. intelligence consensus that russia was behind cyber attacks designed to interfere in the u.s. presidential election. ahead of his meeting
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face-to-face with vladimir putin tomorrow mr. trump said nobody knows who is responsible for the interference adding that it could have been others. let's dig deeper with specialists and analysts. i just spoke with james clapper who oversaw these assessments and the agencies who made the judgment, his words he said russia is prepping the battlefield for interfering in elections in 2018 and 2020. that's an alarming prospect. >> it is but i completely agree with him. i think it is absolutely right. i believe they got away with it in 2016. why wouldn't they want to try. ukraine 2014. germany this year and france in their presidential elections. it's not like the russians don't have experience in this and will keep sharpening that experience and use it again. >> you cover this beat closely as i do. let's disspell this notion that this is a partisan judgment that democrats think russia did it.
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fact is this is bipartisan. >> it is throughout the intelligence community. officials have said we believe russia sought to interfere in the presidential election and they are still laying ground work for future interference. i think the president and people around him will have to reckon with the fact that vladimir putin does not share their interest. in 2016 that was hurting hillary clinton probably and maybe helping president trump. if the goal is to undermine america you run america now. >> did the president again today weigh this prospect that others could have done this going back to 400 pound guy on his sofa. i asked director clapper top spy in the country oversaw the agency whose did this report have seen all classified intelligence. he has seen no evidence that others have done this. the president has been briefed on this repeatedly.
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>> what i think is more alarming than not acknowledging full stop the russians did this is the fact that he seems to not at all think that it was a significant development, that it was sort of run of the mill, that this happens all the time, that it has been happening for years. i understand there has been interference in the past, not suggesting it is the first time. that tone from the president suggests the battlefield being prepared that clapper told you about is not at all a battle that donald trump is interested in fighting. what does that mean for the freedom of the united states elections if the leader of the country doesn't see it as a significant development? that is far more alarming than him coming up with a definitive statement that russia did it in the last election. >> and on the eve of sitting down face-to-face with a man that u.s. intelligence community assessed with confidence directed these attacks.
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i want to play some sound of trump today and sound of vladimir putin and compare how they speak about the hacking. go ahead. >> i think it was russia. i think it could have been other people in other countries. it could have been a lot of people interfered. i said it very simply. i think it could very well have been russia but i think it could well have been other countries. i won't be specific. i think a lot of people interfere. i think it has been happening for a long time. it has been happening for many, many years. >> hackers can be anywhere, in russia, asia, even in america, latin america. they can even be hackers, by the way in the united states who very skillfully and professionally shifted the blame as we say on to russia. could you accept that? >> putin and trump there virtually on message about russian hacking undermining the intelligence community's assessment. >> absolutely. for different reasons, of course.
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vladimir putin's incentive was to influence the u.s. election. donald trump's incentive to keep brushing this aside dismissing it is much more personal. he feels or has suggested that he feels that this delegitimizes his presidency so he does want to address it because it is so personal for him. he also has a deep skepticism of the intelligence community and their assessment which i think is also reflected in his approach to this. if donald trump campaigned on being this strong leader who would show strength towards other countries and towards countries who would antagonize the united states this is sort of the opposite of that. we had a country directly trying to influence and interfere in our elections and he is just doing nothing, saying nothing. >> you are aware of cnn's new reporting that there is evidence of increased russian espionage activity in the u.s. based in part the assessment is on their
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success in interfering in the 2016 election. you served in government. you dealt with national security threats for some time. if the president of the united states will not acknowledge the perpetrator and the seriousness of this, what is your confidence that this administration is going to fight this increased russian espionage? >> little confidence at all. clearly they are turning their back on this. the russians have always had an espionage effort here. that is not new. they feel emboldened by their success. some of this is retaliation. they are still angry that we kicked out diplomats and shut down spying compounds and some of it is the unpredictability of trump. it is buyers remorse. they are not sure which way he is going. to matt's excellent point, we have two elections coming up and this administration may not be on the winning side of russia's espionage efforts and
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interference. >> this is the party of reagan. he built his name and reputation on soviet union tear down that wall. you have the turn among republican base now they view it more as a friend. deep doubts. explain to me the politics. it is a winner with his base. he portrays it as battle. that certainly is a winner for donald trump with his base. i do think when you are looking at politicatize is not uniformly across republican party which is why his scripted speech today actually had very tough language for russia and was exactly the kind of language that you would
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expect the republican party establishment especially from the more hawkish side to put into a speech. that was on the prepared, vetted written speech. >> but when in a press conference and he is free wheeling with his own thoughts you get such a different side of what donald trump is thinking that is not at all in alignment with the republican -- >> no election meddling in his speech. >> exactly. you have a face-to-face tomorrow where trump can say whatever he wants. we know he has a briefing booked. we know he has prepared notes and talking points. in fact, when you look at previous meetings with russian foreign minister there were off the cuff remarks. >> i'm sure there are people who are just praying. sticks to the script. when he met russian foreign minister he is smiling with them taubing about firing the fbi
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director. they don't want a repeat of that. trump does kind of go off the script and putin is really good at working with people. putin this is smaller than we thought it was going to be. i thought it was going to be what i had seen in the past when you have eight, ten people at the table. now it is going to be the two presidents and their foreign ministers and maybe a note taker or two. that gives him more freedom and i think that is dangerous. >> matt makes an excellent point about vladimir putin being able to charm president trump. he complimented trump, praised him, said he was very smart and trump responded he must be a smart guy and responded positively to that. >> listen, rebecca, john, david, matt, thanks as always. stay with us. there's more right after this. (vo) when you wake up with
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when heartburn hits fight back fast with new tums chewy bites. fast relief in every bite. crunchy outside. chewy inside. tum tum tum tum new tums chewy bites. this sunday night cnn presents the new original series the '90s, exploring the decade that brought us the clintons, nirvana, seinfeld and the o.j. simpson trial. >> the o.j. simpson case was such a national phenomenon that those of us who were covering it just lived this case 24 hours a day because there was so much demand for people to hear about it. >> as simpson struggled to slide the gloves on to his hands and turned towards jurors saying, they're too small, prosecutors
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were incensed. >> the trial was on television during the hours that had traditionally been the time for soap operas. and o.j. was very much a soap opera. >> he's impeached by his own witness. >> put a stop to it. >> excuse me. stand up and speak when it is your turn. >> no question that the best tv show of the '90s it was the o.j. simpson trial and everybody on it was riveting. >> the simpson trial finally winding to a close. >> we, the jury, in the above entitled action find the defendant not guilty of the crime of murder and violation of penal code section 187-a. >> the verdict of the o.j. simpson trial viewed by 150 million people. it's more people than watch presidential election returns. that's crazy. >> jeffrey djoins us now.
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you covered the o.j. simpson trial. why such a phenomenon in the decade, in the century, really? >> well, think about this, brother jim. the o.j. case had everything that obsessed the american people. it had sex. it had race. it had violence. it had hollywood. it had sports and the only eye witness was a dog. so, you know, what more did you need? and it was on television. and it was on cnn. and one of the fascinating things about this documentary is that it points out that there was only cnn in 1994 and 1995. there was no msnbc. there was no fox news. and both of them were started in part in response to the ratings that the o.j. case got. >> and it's interesting. race such a central role in this and sometimes we think that the divisions in the country today are somehow new, but this is -- that o.j. -- that chase we're
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seeing right now is more than 20 years ago. >> it's true. and, you know, what's so interesting about this documentary is that, you know, it is full of great clips from all the shows we like. but one of the points it makes is that the '80s were basically a sun anier time in america. the classic television show of the '80s was the cosby show, which at least at the time seemed like this very happy view of america. and the documentary makes the point that in the '90s it really began with the simpsons on television, which was much more cynical, "seinfeld," which was also about, you know, these characters who were funny, but not terribly likable and it finishes with the sopranos who are nothing but dark and fascinating and fundamentally unlikable as well. and sort of that shift of television getting grittier and
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more, you know, realistic and darker is something that i hadn't really thought about. but the documentary certainly makes that case. >> you're a lawyer as well. o.j. has a parole hearing later this month for a separate crime, armed robbery in 2007. a chance for parole here? >> this is a chance c. one of the things, just like it is kind of shocking to think that monica lewinsky is in her early 40s now, o.j. simpson is nearly 70 years old. there are not many people that age still in prison. he also got a very long sentence for a very peculiar crime. as i have said many times i think he should be serving life in prison for killing ronald goldman and nicole brown. but this case was a pretty bogus case. and, frankly, it seemed like this he might -- he might get out because he's already served quite a few years already. >> jeffrey, thanks very much. it airs this sunday night at
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9:00 eastern time and pacific only here on cnn. i'm jim sciutto. thanks very much for watching. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. >> the breaking news, intelligence sources telling cnn russia is ramping up espionage activity in the united states. more than 150 russian spies now believed to be in america. the news coming hours before president trump's first face-to-face meeting with vladimir putin. >> plus russia wants the u.s. to give back two mansions suspected of housing spies. will trump agree. and a north korean nuclear missile could hit the west coast in 20 minutes. but is the u.s. ready? let's go out front. out front tonight the breaking news. cnn learning that russian spies are stepping up their intelligence gathering in the u.s. this is spying that has increased since the election. this is according to current and former u.s. intelligence

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