turning systems off, looking at different wire systems all that training is crucial to keeping our community safe and our firefighters safe. together, we're building a better california. i'm wolf blitzer. 1:00 p.m. in washington. 8:00 p.m. in moscow. wherever you're watching from around the world thanks very much for joining us. we begin with breaking news. explosive and very fast-moving developments in the russian meddling innocent in the u.s. presidential election. donald trump jr. just releasing a chain of e-mails leading up to his meeting with a russian lawyer. a meeting where he hoped to get information damaging to hillary clinton. he released those e-mails, by the way, on twitter just after being notified by the "new york
times" that it was about to publish those e-mails. this is from one of the e-mails donald trump jr. just posted. it's from the british publicist rob goldstone who helped around the meeting with a russian lawyer. "good morning, emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting." emin is a pop star whose businessman father has ties to president putin and did businessry president trump. the e-mail says, "the crown mince met with emin and offered information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia and would be very useful to your father." continuing -- "this is obviously very high level and sensitive information but it part of the russia and its government's support for mr. trump helped along by emin."
what do you think is the best way to handle the information? and the e-mail goes on, would you be able to speak with emin about it directly? it continues. i could also send this info to your father by donald trump's longtime assistant but it is ultimate sensitive so wanted to send to you first. best, rob goldstone. bring in our senior white house correspondent jim acosta and chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. jim, these e-mails, very, very explicit. this is a bombshell. >> no question. listen, you have the senate and house intelligence committees, fbi, special counsel, for weeks and months been investigating the question of collusion, cooperation, whatever you want to call it. to this point, that's been based on the existence of meetings, right? perhaps unusual in number. perhaps unusual that they are with russian officials or others tied to the russian government. and unusual as well that many were undisclosed. but the reason of those meetings
until this point wasn't know. the meetings happened. the question, why did it happen? with one meeting you have the intention. damaging information on hillary clinton supplied by the russian government. not just russians. by the russian government pnd a and designed to help donald trump. written down in e-mail form to the president's son and that brings us at least with evidence. it's not conclusive. i'm not a lawyer. we're not prosecutors, jump and jury, but it is evidence at a minimum of a willingness to cooperate, and that is truly a momentous development in this investigation and in this story. >> it also refers to the russian attorney who was going to go in to that meeting with donald trump jr. and jared kushner and describes the attorney as the russian government attorney. >> exactly. >> she is denying she was a russian government attorney, but in this e-mail, it clearly stipulates she was a russian
government attorney. >> that's right. and she's denying it, but the fact is the president's son in this e-mail, that's how this person in the meeting was identified to him. as a russian government attorney. so at least a willingness to take a meeting in trump tower. one floor below the future president's offices, to take that meeting with someone that he believed to be coming from the government and coming from the russian government with information helpful to his father and damaging to hillary clinton. >> and the fact is that the information was very damaging and his reply, donald trump jr. says, if it's what you say, i love it. especially later in the summer. and now let's get the context here. this is in june. after he clinched for all practical practices the republican nomination, before the july convention, but the real campaign gets going later in the summer? >> absolutely. interesting. at this point, in june of 2016, based on our own reporting, speaking with investigators, cyber security firms, the
russian hackers had been inside the democratic national committee's computers for one year at this point. they had been able to be inside those computers exploiting, gaining information vacuuming up e-mails an documents for one year at this point. >> go to jim acosta over at the white house. jim, what's been the reaction so far from the white house officials? >> reporter: silence, wolf. the white house has not responded at all to these donald trump jr. e-mails that have come out this morning. we've tried to reach out to a number of officials. they just haven't gotten back to us. there an off-camera briefing with sandra huckabee sanders at 2:00. i suppose she'll get the questions then and of course, answers off camera and have to wait for the completion of the briefing to bring that to you. and talked to an official in the last minutes, frankly, there's nothing to say at this moment. so this is a white house, wolf that is essentially feeling its
way around. trying to find the best answer to all of this. i did talk to a former trump campaign adviser earlier this morning who was trying to offer some spin on all of this and what was essentially said is that during that time of june of last year, the campaign was receiving sort of an avalanche of opposition research offering from people all over the place, and this person, this former adviser i spoke to described as something that happens with all sorts of campaigns, that this happens all the time. yob usually, getting offers from people who claim to be, oh, at least connected to the russian government, that does not happen every day in politics. so that's what makes this so unusual and potentially illegal and potentially very troubling for this white house, but that was the spin that this person was offering and that this adviser was saying, donald trump jr. lukely did not really know what he was doing when he was setting up this sort of meeting. of course, when paul manafort,
former campaign chairman involved, jared kushner, the president's son-in-law is involved, this obviously is a meeting that was given a high level of importance inside the trump campaign. you would not have those three people at a meeting with a russian, a russian individual unless they thought it was highly, highly important to the campaign. now, we should point out, because you know, were she been chabeen -- we have been chasing the story so long. did associates, president's, associates have contact with the russians during the course of the campaign? so many denial from officials, members of the trump family and trump himself we should note vice president mike pence in january earlier this year was asked about all this and said, of course not. there were not contacts between associates of the trump campaign and the russians. we have a straight from the vice president and can put it on-screen and read it to you if we have it handy. it says, here, the vice president is, would go every day to advance the president's
agenda, what the american people sent us here to do. the vice president was not aware of the meeting, and, wolf, we should point out, people like to talk from time to time about that january 11th press conference that the president had during the transition at trump tower. he was president-elect at that time. you know, we were trying as a news organization, i was trying, as a reporter at that press conference, to ask the president-elect at that point, did you, can you categorically deny your associates had contacts with the russians during the course of the campaign? you know, we can all remember and go back and remember that the president-elect at that time would not answer that question. but later on as he was leaving that news conference, he said himself, no. there were no contacts. as it turns out, we see in e-mails today, his on seon was n contact with russians and contents of the e-mails, at one point the attorney is referred to as a russian government attorney and this is about russian government support for
mr. trump. and so a lot of very important, very critical questions are going to be thrown at sarah huckabee sanders at this press briefing coming up, top of hour and we'll be in the room to ask those questions. >> off-camera, as you point out. you say there's been silence from the white house so far to this bombshell, this e-mail chain that has just been released. it was released by donald trump jr. after being informed by the "new york times" they had it and were about to release it. you know, the silence that you described for the past three day, a thunderous silence on twitter and every place else from the president of the united states. >> >> reporter: right. >> you would think he would be coming out quickly, to strongly defend his oldest son, but we're not hearing that? >> reporter: that's right. my colleagues, jeff zeleny, jeremy diamond, told by sources he's been advised by aides to avoid tweeting on this subject and it appears at least in this category he is showing
restraint. you recall over the weekend when his daughter ivanka controversially sat down at that meeting at the g-20 taking the place of her father, the president came out and tweeted about that and defended his daughter. in this case, the president's own son, donald trump jr. is acknowledging here, making it known to the whole world he was meeting with the russians during the course of the 2016 campaign, and that the context of the meeting was to provide damaging information about hillary clinton, and that this was about support coming from the russian government, at least according to this associate of donald trump jr. now, we should point out, the white house is just not going to have the opportunity to be silent coming up here top of the hour. they have to answer this question. wolf, i think this is one of those circumstances where perhaps the white house should reconsider this policy of having this briefing off camera today. seems to me this is just such a critical day with the information that is detailed in
these bombshell e-mails, that they would want these answers on camera today, wolf. >> it's only going to be audio. at least so far. unless they change their mind and only audio delayed. we won't be able to play some of the audio until after the entire briefing has concluded. is that right? >> reporter: that's right. of course, reporters in the room can live tweet what is said at that time. we will get -- i'll do my best to live tweet what sarah huckabee sanders is saying during the briefing, but a form of instant response to report at the top of the hour if this briefing starts on time in terms of what she's saying. also we point out for the record, wolf, the white house has been saying in the last several weeks about these off camera briefings, we don't want to step on the president's message. he has a public event during the day and one of the reasons we have the briefings off camera. we don't want to step on the president's message. on this day, wolf, look at the white house schedule, no public ehave-nots and no white house message getting out today.
the white house is choosing to have this briefing off camera for whatever reason they can explain that reason. but at least today there is no rationale that holds up that they're trying to not step on the president's message, because there are no video sprays, there are no opportunities for the press pool to go in and record him saying something about whatever. that's just not on the schedule today. it is a complete, blank, empty schedule from a public standpoint. he's just not out in front of the cameras and the white house really can't yao u.s. that excuse on this day. >> jim, stand by. you'll get more information from your sources and i want perspective from our panel. chief political correspondent with us, dana dash and jim sciutto with us. chief political analyst gloria gorger is here and cnn national security analyst susan hennessy, former national agency attorney and former federal prosecutors
laura coats and analyst bob baer from telluride, colorado. donald trump jr. says he released them to be totally transparent. the e-mails. >> the real story as tweeted by the "new york times," they had the e-mails. were asked to hold for a comment from donald trump jr. and in the interim he released all the e-mails. so while everyone might applaud his transparency, we also know that the "times" had the e-mails. >> first rule of damage control here in washington, if there's bad news to come out, it's best that you release the bad news. don't let your critics release the bad news. >> right. and then push the button and release the story almost immediately. i think the question now that we all need to think about. first of all, we know and i think senator warner said this today on the hill, it's that it appears without a shadow of a doubt from mr. goldstone's
e-mails that the russian government, in fact, was trying to help donald trump, period. end of sentence. and this is something that the president has been unwilling to admit, and i think that it's kind of here in black and white in this e-mail. if the e-mail is to be believed. the second thing we need to consider is this whole question of why donald trump jr. was so willing to meet with someone who had said that they had sensitive information from the russian government that could help them? one reaction of someone perhaps who had been in politics or in public service would be to call the fbi and say that you -- this is not really something we do. >> it happened in the 2000 campaign. >> with al gore, exactly. these are questions we all need to sort of chew on and try and get some answers to this. >> this is the first time, dana,
and jim, and others have pointed out, there is hard evidence of coordination between the russian government, at least if you believe these e-mails, and top leaders of the trump campaign. >> you know, i talked to brian fallon at the end of the 12:00 hour and he was, who was hillary clinton's press secretary. he actually looked shell shocked. he's not somebody who is -- usually searching for words and he said, my mind is blown. it is because just looking at this e-mail, at these e-mails. i encourage people to really read them. it's almost as if it's written by somebody who wants to get -- almost as if it's, you know -- somebody who wants donald trump jr. or the trump campaign to get caught. i mean, it's so explicit in using buzzword after buzzword. i'm not saying it was a setup at all. that might be ultimately their political defense, and that's even irrelevant, because --
the -- the offer was there. and the offer was accepted. the meeting was accepted, with enthusiasm. according to an e-mail response from don jr., released by don jr. this is not, you know, something we're reporting on base and sources. this is in black and white, e-mail that don jr. released, that he sent saying that, if this is true, that they had this information to hurt hillary clinton, to explicitly help donald trump from the russian government? if what you say, if it's what you say? i love it. especially later in the summer. later in the summer meaning as we get closer to the general election. >> and donald trump jr., he attached a statement to the release of this e-mail and at the end, it ended up being in his words the notice nonsense i ever heard. meaning nothing came up of it. meaning, it's not really a defense. sort of like saying someone opened the door to the bank but no money was in there. willing to accept. >> exactly.
>> the information, and it's not a -- not saying as a lawyer. just saying in sort of the political world it's not a an offense to say i was willing to take it but didn't come to the table with any goods i considered valuable. the fact is, he took a meeting with information that was specified to be coming from a russian government supporting his father in the election. >> and not unknown quantities. the agalarovs. the father did the miss universe pageant with donald trump. so they are -- they are known quantities. maybe that's one reason he was more willing to respond to this, but it doesn't change the fact of what was stated in goldstone's e-mail. although earlier the "new york times" points out that in their first interview, with mr. goldstone, who was the intermediary here, he said that he didn't know whether the elder mr. agalarov had any role in arranging the meeting but in the e-mail makes it clear he did. >> and laura coats, bring you
into the conversation. former federal prosecutor. laura, from the legal standpoint, seems to be the first evidence we've heard for months and months, there was no evidence of collusion before. heard that from trump officials and top members of congress. they've seen no hard evidence. is this evidence from a legal standpoint of collusion? >> absolutely it's evidence there has been some coordination of some sort that could link to a criminal statute that would justify this probe whether there was in fact collusion. interesting, the naivete people attribute to the trump campaign they used as an asset to win the election may be their downfall in a legal context. it you're unfamiliar with the campaign procedure or campaign finance laws you would make errors like this. of course, the campaign finance laws are quite clear that you cannot solicit or obtain or try to seek to get information or a contribution of some sort or a donation, and that's defined
loosely. it could, in fact, be the in-kind donation in the form of information of value to this campaign. and so you talk about collusion as being this nebulous term over the past months. what's the legal hook? what is going to be the criminal fact you'll link it to? now you got the federal campaign finance law now in play and got another sea term. the term conspiracy, c term. and the big thing every lawyer looks for, high bar of proof cases and claims, it's intent. you've got it in black and white. you've got somebody saying with glee they would relish the information. love having that information and you've got the second, taking the meeting. jim was right after talking about, just because i'm in with the information, doesn't mean i didn't perform the acts suggesting you were involved in a criminal enterprise. to be clear, though, is, if what donald trump jr. was saying is accurate. he did not tell paul manafort or
jared kushner about the actual substance of what the meeting would be about, they may not ba face the same legal perils they would not have the intent or knowledge, if you believe that, the knowledge actually happening what they were actually going to receive. >> you make an excellent point. susan hennessy into this conversation as well. soon as i saw the e-mails this morning i thought of the campaign finance laws. let me read one line from the law of the land. this is in terms of the campaign finance law. a foreign national shall not directly or indirectly make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation in connection with any federal, state or local election. it goes on and on, but that's the key point. you cannot accept money from foreign nationals if you're running for president of the united states, or any -- or
other thing of value here's the question -- is the damage about your opponent, is that a thing of value? >> right. so the entire sort of question of criminal activity here depends on that definition of "thing of value." the federal guidance says it should be construed broadly. the intention here is not for it to be a loophole. that said, derogatory information in and of itself is not necessarily a thing of value. it would be a thing of value essentially if it freed up the campaign from spending its own money to obtain that information. there certainly are -- >> opposition research can be a thing of value in a campaign? >> certainly forms of opposition research. the question, was that the expectation? in the e-mails it's not entirely clear what types of information they expected to receive. based on what we know now, probably a difficult sort of argument to make that this was a clear thing of value. one thing that's not going to be difficult or will be clear is whether or not false statements were made to congressional
investigators or federal investigators. we've seen that trump jr. and other sources close to the campaign have made materially false statements over the course of this weekend. they said that the, the substance of the debate was about adoption. no. actually somebody quite different. he said paul manafort and jared kushner were not aware. his own e-mails show, no. they were cc-ed on the e-mail exchange. they were aware. lying to the public, says the "new york times," not a criminal offense. lying to congress and the fbi, that is a criminal offense. >> quickly, dana, you and i covered politics for a while. maybe jared kushner, he was new to politics. he was not that familiar with the campaign finance laws. maybe donald trump jr., who is new to politics, not necessarily familiar with the campaign finance laws. but paul manafort, the campaign chairman, he's been in politics for 30 years. very familiar with the campaign
finance laws, and you would think before you have a meeting between, with a russian attorney you would go to the campaign counsel and say, is this appropriate? >> well, you might. think about that. but this was a very small insular group of people who maybe didn't have a campaign attorney at the time. i'm not quite sure if they did or not. i don't know. it they were facing a delegate fight. had other things to think about. especially paul manafort, hired to make sure that donald trump got enough delegates. according to the russian who was there, he was looking at a cell phone the entire time, but, you know, it seems -- it seems to me, everyone, just common sense is, this is a russian who says the russian government supports mr. trump, and we have sensitive information for you. yes, it was before russia became a big issue in the campaign, but common sense would say, and
again, they're inexperienced, i understand this, but common sense would say, there is something about this that isn't right, and this is not a meeting we should have. >> hold on one second. bring bob baer into this. former cia operative. bob, in the e-mail chain, it clearly identifies the russian attorney as "the" russian government attorney. she was -- interviewed. she de nigh denies this. she's a russian attorney. talk about cutouts if you will, because in a situation, a sensitive situation, issue like this, the russian government, the russian intelligence community, would not necessarily employ a specific russian operative, but they would have what they call cutouts. >> exactly, wolf. this lady you should look at, the lawyer, as an access agent. that's what the russians would call her. she was sent to the trumps to probe their willingness to cooperate.
it's very clear at this point. and once they said absolutely, yes. then you handed off down the line whether it's to a kgb officer, another cutout, but the russians are very clever and not going to send a diplomat from new york, for instance, to make an indecent proposal like this. they send somebody where there's plausible deniability. this lawyer and they're denying it now, of course. but this is a classic kgb m.o. trade, craft. anybody with any sense at this point would have called up the fbi and said, you wouldn't believe this, bust i just got approached from the russian government. something that's illegal. you know -- i've got to say this. this is looking more and more like treason. from a cia perspective, this it doesn't pass muster in any level. dealt with the russian intelligence or a proxy would are fired same way the fbi, national security council and the rest of it, for our
standards. i have to ask the question, how did jared kushner still have a security clearance at this point setting up something apparently illegal with the russian government? the standards have fallen in washington. sorry. >> you're not the first person today that we've heard that word "treason" from. senator tim kaine said possibly treasonist as well. everyone stand by. showing you live pictures from capitol hill. the top republican and democrat on the senate intelligence committee. just weighed in what they are saying in this exclusive new question is coming up next. [car tires screech] [bell rings] won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry
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ready to of your back pain? new icyhot lidocaine patch. desensitizes aggravated nerves with the max strength lidocaine available. new icyhot lidocaine patch. back to our breaking news. donald trump jr. released copies of what he says are complete e-mail chain between him and the british publicist rob goldstone. talking about setting up a meeting with a russian lawyer with the promise of providing incriminating information on hillary clinton. goldstone said was part of russia and its government support for then candidate donald trump. let's go to our senior congressional reporter manu raju up on capitol hill. manu what are you hearing from members on the democratic and republican side about donald trump jr.'s meeting and these newly released e-mails? >> reporter: serious concern,
wolf, from both parties right now who want more information from donald trump jr. almost certainly he will be forced to come up to capitol hill. he said he would be willing to do so. expect that to happen before the senate intelligence committee. mark warn top democrat on the committee says he wants to call donald trump jr. for a, at least a classified hearing to hear exactly what happened including interviewing people who were at that meeting and helped set up that meeting and said today's revelations make it crystal clear there was an effort by the russians to try to coordinate with the trump campaign and the trump campaign seemed to, at least, donald trump jr. seemed willing to accept that help. here's what he said. >> your virginia colleague tim kaine said it could be potentially treasonist. >> i'm not going to weigh in on anybody, any of my individual colleagues characterization of what's going on. >> do you think it's treason?
>> my job is to keep this bipartisan investigation on track and reserve judgment, until i see all the facts. but as i said yesterday, now the public is for the first time seeing some of these facts, and these facts that have shown in the last 24 hours that there clearly was a russian government effort to discredit clinton and to help trump and that trump officials at the most senior level were aware of that. how high that goes? we still have questions to ask. >> reporter: and, wolf, warner stopping just short of what tim kaine, his fellow virginia democrat said to us earlier in the day, that this could be potentially treasonist activity by donald trump jr. here's what tim kaine said. >> this question of collusion, which essentially starts to transition into potentially a treason investigation, when he was approached with this idea, he should have turned it over to law enforcement immediately. that's what anybody should have
done. very serious, but i think the senate intel committees and special prosecutor now have a lot more work to do. >> you think this is treason? >> the investigation, it's not -- nothing is proven yet, but we're now beyond obstruction of justice in terms of what's being investigated. this is moving into perjury, false statements and even potentially treason. >> reporter: the senate intelligence committee, richard burr, north carolina republican, would not comment specifically on donald trump jr. saying he's not going to say whether or not he would call him before the committee, wolf, but raised, did say he wants this issue to be "fully vetted" he said we're very early in the investigation. his words. very early in this investigation, to determine whether or not there was any collusion between trump officials and russian officials which is a little different than richard burr told me a couple weeks ago casting skepticism about whether or not there has been any collusion so far and other republicans, wolf, raising
serious concerns, and including senator lindsey graham who said, if there's any effort by any foreign adversary to help a campaign, if you work with that campaign, you should say, no. not accept that help, and fellow, close friend, john mccain said this potentially could be a classic scandal in washington. he said, this is just another shoe that is dropping in this growing controversy. wolf? >> any help of any kind, whether cash or other kind of assistance from a foreign national potentially is a violation of the finance, campaign finance laws of the united states. manu raju up on the hill working your sources as well. we'll get back to you. meantime, bring in congressmansicilini. thanks so much for joining us. do you agree with senator tim kaine that potentially we're talking about treason? >> i think there is no question that this is the most serious information we've learned about
this russia in1re69 gatievestig. the president's campaign manager, son and son-in-law meet with a russian government attorney, identified in the e-mail, for purpose of sharing information about his opponent, part of the campaign of the russian government to support the election of donald trump. think about that. and this is very, very serious. donald trump jr. released e-mails confirmed he knew these facts identified as a russian lawyer, part of the russian government campaign to help his father. this is russian interference with our most sacred institution. the election of our president. i think there are a number of statutes implicated but this is further evidence that we have got to continue with these very thorough investigations by the intelligence committees, the special counsel, but it's breathtaking to the idea that they were willing to receive information from an adversary of the united states, from the russian government are and in the context of, don't forget. the only part of the republican party platform changed at the
request of the trump campaign was the policy on ukraine, to be more favorable to russia. the only area. and presidential candidate and president who is fawning all over vladimir putin, can't manage to say one critical thing about vladimir putin. you have to view it in that context. very disturbing. >> this is the first hard evidence, do you believe, of collusion? >> the first hard evidence of a coordination, a willingness of the trump campaign to receive help from the russian government or for something that was identified as a russian, attorney for the russian government. i think that's very, very significant. it's different -- it confirms what we already knew, that the collusion of 17 of our intelligence agencies that russian had an active campaign to elect donald trump and undermine hillary clinton. >> and the conclusion the fbi, cia, nsa, national security agency, and the director of the office, office of the director of national intelligence. all other intelligence agencies,
may have made that conclusion but weren't involved in the -- i want to be precise on that specific point. the four major intelligence agencies including the fbi that were involved in looking at russian meddling in the u.s. election, they all came up with the same conclusion that russia interfered. they didn't just interfere to try to upset the u.s. or weaken the u.s., but they were deliberately trying to hurt hillary clinton and help donald trump's campaign. which is a significant conclusion. >> apparently everyone accepts that except the president, who continues to, even as recently at the g-20, say, well, i don't know. lots of people do that. maybe russia, maybe others. this is very disturbing. this is direct information, and those e-mails confirm it about the trump campaign's willingness. this is his campaign manager, son-in-law and son meeting in trump tower. >> jared kushner's going to be testifying i believe before either the house intelligence or senate intelligence committee, and donald trump jr. says he's more than happy to cooperate, to testify as well.
we haven't heard from paul manafort yet, what he's planning on doing, but they're both basically suggesting they have nothing to hide and are willing to talk. that's a positive development. >> i think they certainly have to be put before the relevant committees, the special council and testify under oath. testify on a lot of other information collected in the course of these investigations, but they have been untruthful in terms of not willing to disclose these visit, these conversations. seems the only time the trump associates acknowledge their meetings with the russians is when it's reported and they're sort of forced to. jared kushner now has had three occasions met with the russians and mailed to include on his disclosure report. i think these investigations have to be properly resourced, have to be sort of left alone and free from political interference and important we get to the bottom of it and have the intelligence communities going ta work and the special council. one other thing to mention, the
tragedies this, this is very serious. as a result of this white house involved in scandal, russia investigations, none of the work for the american people is getting done. no jobs bill. no infrastructure bill. no bill to deal with higher education, workforce training, securing the future of medicare and social security. the work is not getting done because this white house is consumed with these ongoing investigati investigations. they're serious, shouldn't lose sight but as a result not getting the work done of the american people. >> thanks for joining me. up next, 2016 campaign manager for the hillary clinton campaign standing by to join us live. his take on the e-mails, the meeting what they all suggest, much more on the breaking news, right after this.
lawyer. a meeting where he hoped to get information damaging to hillary clinton. those e-mails were dated june of last year. now listening to what donald trump jr. told our jake tapper just the next month, july of 2016, when talking be a the democratic national committee hacked e-mails. >> robby mook, the campaign manager for secretary of state hillary clinton, i asked him about the dnc leak and he suggested that experts are saying that russians were behind both the leak, the hacking of the dnc e-mails and their release. he seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help donald trump and hurt hillary clinton. your response? >> well, it just goes to show you they're exact moral compass. they'll say anything to be able to win this. this is time and time again. lie after lie. notice, he won't say, well, i say this. we hear experts. his house cat at home once said this is what's happening with the russians. it's disgusting.
it's so phony. i don't mind a fair fight but these lies and the perpetuating of that kind of nonsense to try to gain some political capital is just outrageous, and he should be ashamed of himself. >> president obama -- >> calling for people to bring out the electric chair if it was republicans. >> and back with us, cnn commentator and former campaign manager robby mook with us, and the man just referred to and gloria borger is still with us. i assume you remember those words in july of last year. he really went after you for suggesting what now appears to have occurred at least in these formal e-mails that have just been released. >> i think he did protest too much there, and, look, i'm glad this is all coming out now. what's concerning to me is, he was forced to release these e-mails. the "new york times" got ahold of them and when he was aware,
he pushed them out. what else is throughout? and we know the president was in trump tower that day. the campaign manager, the son and the son-in-law were all in this meeting. was the president briefed on it? what else did the president know? >> because you know yesterday sarah huckabee sanders, deputy white house press secretary said the president found out about this meeting with this russia lawyer only in the last few days. that's what's so hard about this. they lie. i hate speaking in language like that, but these, this administration lies. you just saw donald trump jr. lie at the convention. they've lied repeatedly about whether they met with the russians at all. they've lied about their intention to coordinated with russians we now have. i think they're -- it's entirely likely they're lying about the president's knowledge about this. and the other thing that i think is very urgent now, we're seeing our foreign policy in realtime influenced by this relationship with russia. all this strange behavior from the president. his behavior at the g-20
meeting, coziness towards russia, explains now. they were his campaign supporters, helping his campaign. that's why congress has to step up immediately and say, stop it. enough is enough. if you are tied to russia, you're out of the administration and you're certainly not representing america's foreign policy. >> what's your reaction to the argument making, a one-shot deal. a stupid meeting. nothing came of it. this russian lawyer had nothing and it was over with as soon as she left trump tower? >> again. no credibility. what they say and what turns out true it are often two completely different things. that aside. look at what else we know. foreign policy at carter page went to moscow at this same time and gave a speech critical of american foreign policy in russia. we know that roger stone who spoke to donald trump very frequently claimed he said himself that he was talking to julian assange at wikileaks, and he naturally predicted john
podesta's e-mails would be put out. enormous evidence already that this kind of coordination was happening. i think this was an important installment today, but there is so much more to come. >> you wanted to weigh in? >> you know, i think in terms of what donald trump knew and when did he know it, there is a sentence at the end of rob goldstone's e-mail in which he says, i can also send this info to your father via rhonea, hi longtime personal assist, but it is ultrasensitive so wanted to send to you first. >> donald trump's first longtime apr assistant. >> trump's longtime assistant. nothing where he said, don't send it to my father. we know trump says he knew nothing about it, but we don't know whether rob goldstone had an entire other e-mail chain with rhonea, the personal assistant to donald trump. so -- this is, i presume what investigators on capitol hill
and potentially the fbi would be looking at. >> i have to assume, dana if we're learning this now, investigators on capitol hill and the special counsel, robert mueller and his team, they know a lot more about all of this than what we're learning right now. >> right. the thing to keep in mind, this is all about the setup of the meeting. all about how the meeting got to be, what the pretense was for the meeting. how it was received. who was there. we don't know what happened in the meeting. now, in some ways, that might not matter, but in other ways, it could. were there e-mails after the meeting that has, have more explicit sort of reporting, internal reporting, to various people in the campaign about what happened or didn't happen? it was a bust. or, my gosh, they told me this. whatever. and those are e-mails that are now probably fair game for the investigators on capitol hill and more importantly as you said
the special council to get their hands on. not just on jr. but others copied. paul manafort, jared kushner. >> i'm sure they're asking for all of those e-mails as quickly as possible. stand by. more on the breaking flus. the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell announces he will delay the august recess for the united states senate. details on that when we come back. actually, manu raju is joining us with that. thought we were taking a break. go ahead. tell us what mitch mcconnell just announced. >> reporter: yes. announcing that actually this recess which was going to begin on the first week of august. actually delayed for two weeks until the third week of august, as the senate tries to complete a range of legislative efforts at the beginning of the month and as the -- the senate majority leaders come under enormous pressure to at least delay, scrap, the recess in
order to get some more done from the republican agenda which has essentially been stalled in now, this is a very significant development, wolf. rarely, if ever, does the senate cancel its recess. this is something that is considered pretty sacred on capitol hill. the august recess. members leave town, they travel across the world, they do things with their family. they do things back home. they campaign. but under enormous pressure not just from republican senators but also the president of the united states, weighing in on twitter over the weekend, saying he could not see how the senators could be prepared to go on an august vacation if obamacare repeal and replace is not yet been completed, mitch mcconnell bowing to that pressure and saying that, yes, indeed, at least will be delayed for the first two weeks in august, giving them about a three-week august recess. now, this comes, wolf, as the
republicans are really struggling right now to get this health care bill passed. there's an effort right now by mitch mcconnell to rewrite the bill that they delayed and did not have the vote on, initially, right before the july fourth holiday. and that new bill is going to be unveiled later this week. we expect a vote as soon as next week, but right now, we're getting indications from people on capitol hill that this is a very little chance that that bill will pass the senate next week, given the opposition from not just democrats but a number of republicans as well, and as a result, the republicans realize they can't just go home for a five-week break, not accomplishing some significant pieces of the president's agenda, so they'll at least delay the recess. the question is, wolf, will that actually lead to any more accomplishments in that extra two weeks. unlikely that it would if they can't pass an obamacare repeal plan. >> and manu, very quickly, can we simply assume that the
speaker of the house, paul ryan, will also delay the recess on the house side? >> reporter: it's unclear yet, wolf, that simply that probably would occur. i would assume they would at least delay it for part of the time. but again, there are no -- this, in a lot of ways, is just a show, if you will, thesaterics, if you will, because if obamacare repeal -- this obamacare bill fails, there isn't any major piece of legislation that either chamber will have to try to pass before the august recess. now, there are things that have wide bipartisan support, like defense policy, legislation, the defense authorization bill that they will try to move forward, but not those main big ticket items on the president's own agenda, health care, tax reform, infrastructure, those things are way down the line, particularly if they cannot pass the health care bill as soon as next week
in the senate so it's unclear what they would actually accomplish by delaying the recess but they know it looks really bad if they go for a five-week break, which is one reason why mitch mcconnell announcing today that he will delay the recess for two weeks and begin that in the third week in august. >> very interesting developments. thank you very much, manu raju on the hill. from a legal point of view, there are potential violations of law here, no confirmed violation of law, but potential violations that robert mueller, the special counsel, certainly is going to have to look at. >> absolutely. and in fact, i'd be surprised if this was news to him. perhaps he's already aware of these "new york times" articles that were already distributed in advance of trying to get ahead of the story. but one thing to be very careful about is the word "treason" is often thrown around in these contexts. >> we heard tim kaine, the democratic senator from virginia use the word, possible treason.
>> that word will continue to be thrown around, because the conduct is what you believe treason to be. however, in legal terms, it's a very specific context, and one requirement is we actually have to be at war with the people who we're giving information to or sharing information with. and a geopolitical rival that may be russia not one we're at war with in actuality. so the word treason has legal connotation. but words like espionage, words like campaign finance violations, et cetera, those are more apropos in this context of what we know right now. given the last couple days, you can't rule anything out at this point in time, but the legal connotations are very, very specific, and the hook they're going to use from now on, i think, aside from that nebulous term of collusion, is that they have received or tried to get something of value to the trump campaign, and for the very first time, you have the counterespionage probe that was geared towards looking at the trump campaign associates, having a direct evidence, saying
that somebody on the campaign tried to give something of value. it's a legal term, what value means, but certainly of value means what can be used to leverage your campaign and what you do not have to spend money on yourself to get access to. >> because the law states you cannot accept a donation of money from a foreign national or other thing of value as opposition research a thing of value. >> i believe it is. and the way that it's written is in a nebulous way to encompass many thing. it's campaign finance, meaning, what do you have to spend money on and what don't you have to spend money on and what would be an amount that would violate the campaign finance threshold. if you can use another entity and a foreign government, at that, to obtain what you don't have to spend your money on, you try to circumvent the actual campaign finance law. it is not an arguable concept. it is a fact. it is of value to not have to spend your own money to get information that would be useful to your campaign but i want to re-emphasize, because of what he
said, if donald trump jr. has said the truth, manafort and kushner may get a pass here. >> bombshell reports, the e-mail chain, we're going to stay on top of all of this throughout the day. in the meantime, that's it for me, at least temporarily. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in the situation room. anderson cooper will continue our special cnn coverage right after this. of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com i'm anderson cooper. this is cnn special coverage of a major development in the investigation of whether the trump campaign colluded with the russians. donald trump jr. has released an e-mail chain detailing the plan for his secret meeting he had with the russian lawyer last summer during the campaign. a meeting that clearly was set up with the intent of getting incriminating evidence against hillary clinton from the russians. the meeting that we're told the fbi did not know about until now. the first e-mail from rob gold stone, a confidant of the trump family, sent june 3, 2016, reads in part, the crown prosecutor russia met with his