tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN July 12, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT
can sort of keep the boat afloat in some way. so i see it that way as well. >> thank you all. i appreciate it. thank you for watching. i'll see you right back here tomorrow. "white house in crisis," jake tapper, starts right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> good evening. this is a cnn special report. "white house in crisis." breaking tonight. what an ally of the trump white house is calling a category 5 hurricane to a new story in "the washington post." the president's son, donald trump jr., trying to defend himself and explain what is arguably the most incriminating piece of public information into russian interference in the 2016 election and whether there was any demonstrable collusion between the trump team and the kremlin. i'm jake tapper, and this is what we know this hour. e-mails, preemptively released by trump junior just before they
were about to be released by "the new york times" show in 2016 trump junior was explicitly offered damaging information about hillary clinton. the e-mail claiming to trump junior at the incriminating information, quote, is part of russia and its government support for mr. trump, unquote. in a new interview tonight, trump junior says he did not tell his father about a meet with the russian lawyer last year following up ones the e-mails. he claimed there was nothing to tell. but in "the new york times," they are reporting this evening that president trump was involved in the damage control about this story in recent days. signing off on his son's initial and incomplete account of his meet with that russian lawyer. tonight, cnn learned that bob mueller is planning to investigate that meeting and that donald trump jr.'s e-mail exchanges will be part of the investigation as well. details of the contacts were not fully known to investigators until recently. the times is also reporting the e-mails were only discovered
after mr. trump's senior adviser and son-in-law jared kushner updated his security clearance form after initially failing to disclose his involvement in that meeting. as the possible legal and political consequences escalate for the president and his inner circle, we'll ask president trump's lawyer what mr. trump knew and when. we're covering this breaking story from every angle with our team of correspondents and analysts. let's begin with those explosive e-mails between donald trump jr. and rob goldstone who was working to arrange a meeting between the russian lawyer and the trump camp in june 2016. the russians were offering, quote, official documents and information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia and would be very useful to your father. goldstone adds this is obviously very high level and sensitive information. but as part of russia and its government support for mr. trump goldstone tells trump junior. i can also send this information to your father via rhona, but it
is ultra sense tough so wanted to send it to you first. donald trump jr. clearly seems to welcome the offer telling goldstone if it's what you say, i love it, especially later in the summer. now this evening, donald trump jr. is speaking ot about those e-mails and the meet with the russian lawyer saying he would have done things differently. let's take a listen to some of his interview on fox news that aired just a few minutes ago. >> do you tell your father anything about this? >> it was such a nothing -- there was nothing to tell. i wouldn't have even remembered it until you start scouring through this stuff. it was just a waste of 20 minutes, which was a shame. >> did you ever meet with any other person from russia that you know of? >> i've probably met with other people from russia. >> not in the context of actual -- a formalized meeting or anything like that. because, why would i? in the grand scheme of things, how busy we were. it was much more important to do this. this was a courtesy to an
acquaintance. >> our correspondents and analysts are here to help us sort through tonight's new r revelations. gloria borger, donald trump jr. stating he did not tell his father about this meeting. is that credible to you? >> well, it's difficult to say right now. i know that pamela has talked to donald trump jr.'s lawyer who also said the same thing. what we do know, this is a family that had a personal relationship with the trumps. the father was donald trump's partner in the miss universe contest in russia. >> you're talking about the family that reached out through rob goldstone -- >> through rob goldstone. >> rob goldstone is the intermediary here. when you get an e-mail like this. don jr. didn't say, are you kidding? both the intermediary and the family to him.
so it would seem to me that if he got this kind of e-mail, he might have told his father. in fact, rob goldstone said, i wanted to send it to you first. and don jr. never said, don't pass it along to my father. we have don junior's word and his attorney's word about this. and so i think this is a -- this is something that the special counsel is going to have to look at and get an answer to. >> you spoke with donald trump jr.'s attorney this evening. what did he have to say of note? >> he basically said that his client did nothing wrong. he didn't break any laws. he said the fbi has not reached out for an interview or reached out for any other documentation, but he said that don would do so. don jr. would hand over anything that the fbi would like. and he said when it comes to these accusations that he could have violated campaign finance law by his willingness to accept something of value as we've just talked about these e-mails where there was an allegation that the
russian government wanted to hand over incriminating information, he said his argument was that, look, we didn't even know what this was. we can't vouch for this e-mail. are you telling me when someone says i have incriminating information about your opponent you're going to hang up the phone? it was all puffery for this woman to get into the door and talk about adoptions. he stood by his client and said he didn't break the law. >> take a listen to donald trump jr. describing that e-mail from gold stone. >> didn't know if there was any credibility. i can't vouch for the information. someone sent me an e-mail. i can't help what someone sends me. i read it and responded accordingly, and if there was something interesting there, i think it's pretty common. >> he thinks it's pretty common, manu raju. obviously, i assume he didn't mean getting an e-mail with information coming from the russian government is pretty common. what has been the response on capitol hill to what i think a lot of people who are in the
national security field find a shocking admission. >> from the republican side, it's really been mixed. you have republicans who are dismissing it. the senate majority leader saying this is not for him to weigh in on. i tried to ask if he had any concerns about this whatsoever and he said this is something the senate intelligence committee is going to look in. he dodged it on three occasions. lindsey graham, john mccain. it's not that common. you shouldn't be meeting with a foreign adversary during the middle of a campaign. one who promises dirt on your opponent. and then others want more information. the senate judiciary committee chairman chuck grassley sending a letter to two senior trump officialed tonight saying how did this russian lawyer get into the country wanting more information into that. we do know that almost certain this is going to be part of the house and senate intelligence committee's investigations. the top two democrats on those respective committees asking for
at least private testimony from don junior who said that he's willing to cooperate, testify under oath, as well as anybody else who set up that meeting, but the interesting thing was at the press conference with adam schiff today, who was not there? mike conway, the republican leading the house intelligence committee's investigation. and someone else notably silent, richard burr. he did not want to comment on don junior. the whole episode but said they were very early in this investigation, a sign that they'll look into it but he department want didn't want to get in front of it. >> one thing schiff hypothesized is this may have been a trial run by the russians to see how interested the triumph team might be, were they to be offered damaging information. that it's entirely possible schiff seemed to be saying that
the meeting went exactly the way trump junior and others say it did, but the point was to probe to find out, would they be interested, and that this is exactly how russia would do this. they would do it through an oligar oligarch, through a family friend. what are your sources saying today? >> the cut-out model is the way russia operates. if they're going to offer you something like this, they'll not send someone in a kgb uniform. many of the meetings we've been reporting on that have taken place between trump aides and russians were not official russian intelligence officials, right? these were tycoons, businessmen, et cetera, like this lawyer who came in. and to keep in mind, this was not just any lawyer. this was a powerful lawyer tied to the kremlin connected to rich people in russia upset with sanctions against very rich people in russia. that's where the adoption issue is. the adoption issue, which was the first explanation for this meeting was raised as, just
talking about babies and so on. it's tied to the magnitsky act which penalizes russians accused of committing crimes, human rights abuses. this is all tied to big picture issues. so, one, the cut out, this is the way russians do this kind of thing. the way russian intelligence operates when it's dealing with foreigners and cultivating sources. two, even if both issues were consequential, the idea of incriminating evidence against hillary clinton but also the adoption issue is one that russia is pushing for. they want to water down these sanctions. that's a consequential issue that would be something of import for a russian government thapt that wants to influence an election and have someone friendlier in that office. that's something they might raise. the final thing is just this. this is the first meeting of many meetings we have reported on and that the intelligence committees on the hill and the special counsel are looking into. it's the first one we know the function of the meeting. it was set up to present this
information. now you have the special counsel and others. they have several meetings to look into between trump world and russians to see what and why -- what was discussed, why did kushner seek a secret back channel with russians? why did they sit down at the table in europe? why did kushner meet with a russian connected banker in europe? all these are issued to be mined by investigators to see if you get similar evidence that there was an attempted cooperation. >> gloria, donald trump jr. kept repeating the meeting produced nothing of value. a waste of time. take a listen. >> if the meeting resulted in information that you felt in any way was illegal, or compromising, or collusion, to use the media's term -- >> i said it earlier. 100%, i would bring it to the proper authorities. there's nothing i would do to endanger this country. the reason we fought so hard during this campaign, whether it was my father, the rest of our
familiarly and the efforts we sbout it and you know those efforts well. we'd do anything for this country. we'd never put that in jeopardy. >> i guess i'm a little confused by the answer because one thing that, to give donald trump jr. credit, he's been completely candid about in the last 24 hours, is that he wanted oppo on hillary clinton. he said that he loved it. he would -- in that e-mail, went there, expressed in the interview on fox earlier several times what a waste it was and how disappointed he was. >> he didn't get it. >> he confirmed the russian lawyers' account to a degree when she kept asking, where is the information, where is the information. so i guess i don't fully understand what he would have reported to the authorities given that he wants oppo. >> he wanted oppo. would it have been illegal oppo that he would have reported to the authorities? the fact that it came from the russians might have been something one would think you'd
report to the authorities in the first place if you had gotten this kind of an e-mail. you might pick up the phone and call your counsel and say what do i do about this or should we report this to the fbi immediately? because this is a country that doesn't have our best interests at heart and it's clear in this e-mail they say that we have sensitive information as a part of russia and its government support for mr. trump. so when would he have reported something? i don't quite understand what he's saying there, and i think honestly issue he's speaking with hindsight here, not as he perhaps felt at the time. >> pamela, you have some reporting on how it came to be that this story even broke. you would think that for -- we would have learned about this a long time ago given that it happened more than a year ago. why is this story being reported now? >> well, i think this is a significant part of the story. as jim said, committees on the hill will have a lot of meetings to look at. some just coming to the surface,
like this one. the only reason it came to the attention of fbi investigators is because jared kushner, six months, as gloria has reported, six months after he filed his initial security clearance form, updated it, amended it with this meeting at trump tower with don junior and paul manafort after doing a document review because he'll be testifying on capitol hill. this was not something the fbi had on its radar up until late june when he put it on his security clearance form. that can't be lost in all of this while there's so much focus on don junior. prosecutors are particularly interested in jared kushner as well. what was he doing there. he is the one in the white house. don junior is a private citizen now. jared kushner is in the white house. why wasn't this put on his security clearance form sooner? >> and that this came about as he was doing his review. >> kushner. >> kushner's review to get ready
to testify before congress. now there's been a report, i believe it's in politico, that paul manafort has said he only read the first line of this e-mail chain which said -- changed when the meeting was or where the meeting was. i wouldn't be surprised if jared kushner says the same thing. we don't know. he hasn't commented on it yet. because their role in all of this is going to be questioned, especially jared, who has an interim security clearance right now but has not been officially gotten a full security clearance yet, and i am assuming that this is perhaps one of the reasons. >> one of the hang-ups, perhaps. >> man dlu, i want to play anot part of the interview where donald trump jr. describes the meeting with this russian lawyer. >> let's go into the lawyer. you meet at trump tower. >> yes. >> the meeting was described earlier today on the "today" show. did she describe it accurately? >> i think fairly accurately.
i was a little taken back by her talking about me pressing for the information. as you can see, the pretext of the meeting was we have information and there was some maul talk. i don't even remember what it was. nonsensical and then quickly went on to a story about russian adoption and how we could possibly help. and really that's where we shut it down which is, wait a second. what does this have to do with -- >> did you even know what the magnitsky act was? >> i think it became apparent to jared and paul. jared last after a few minutes, paul got on the phone -- >> you remember that? >> we were all there. i was sitting there listening as a courtesy to my acquaintance who set up the meeting. you can hear what he said, and you played it earlier, about it. he apologized to me walking out of the meeting for wasting my time. >> the magnitsky act passed in 2012 overwhelmingly, enables the
u.s. to sanction human rights abusers in russia. people who have committed corruption and horrible crimes against people there. and it actually, according to a lot of russia experts, is the -- they are the sanctions that vladimir putin hates the most because they are the ones that affect people around him, the oligarchs and people he does business with. if this issue of adoption and the magnitsky act was brought up, theoretically, this could be one of the things, if this was a meeting set up by the russians, one of the things they were probing for. congress is relatively hawkish. democrats and republicans. but especially republicans on the issue of russia and russian sanctions. right now there's a bill keeping sanctions even tougher against russia. and it's kind of in a little bit of limbo in the house. >> it is. even though it passed overwhelmingly. nearly unanimously.
>> 98-2 in the senate. you never see that. what the real concern is that trump administration officials are raising concerns about a key provision in there that essentially would give congress the opportunity to veto any effort by the administration to loosen sanctions on russia. and this is being, by mark short, the legislative director at the white house, said to reporters earlier this week, they view it at 535 members of congress who believe they have greater authority than the commander in chief himself. there's significant pushback from senate, even senate republicans about that. i spoke with bob corker about that. the author of the bill. he says that the white house is not reading that correctly, but they are getting some receptive audience from members of the house republican leadership, as well as others in the house republican conference who are listening to the administration's concerns. one reason why that is being
held up right now in negotiations but expect this pressure campaign from senate republicans to intensify in the coming days. >> an example of how many senate and house republicans, even if they're being quiet publicly have a lot of concerns about president trump and his views on russia, to say nothing about all of this. everyone, stick around. we'll come back to you in a little bit. coming up, i'll talk to one of the president's lawyers about president trump's response to this meeting, to the e-mails and the possible political and maybe even legal consequences. we'll have a lot more ahead on this special report "white house in crisis." stay with us. ch! watch this!... >>yikes, that ice cream was messing with you, wasn't it? try lactaid, it's real ice cream, without that annoying lactose. lactaid. it's the milk that doesn't mess with you.
a few hours ago president trump sent his first tweet defending his son donald trump jr. over today's release of the e-mail chain with the russian attorney calling his son a great person who loves our country. joining me is a member of president trump's legal team, jay sekulow. thanks for being here. just as a principle -- >> yeah. >> if somebody says he wants to set up a meet with your campaign was a foreign government wants to give information about a rival to that campaign, is that okay to do? >> it's not illegal. you had the situation with the dnc and the ukrainians.
and the ukrainian government there was giving information about -- remember, about that it was against president trump's, one of his campaign managers. >> i think it was a little different. nobody was meeting with any senior people of the clinton campaign, and the person that was -- >> but the law wouldn't be any different. the question is the legal question. is there any illegality, anything wrong with a meeting that took place here. the meeting takes place. it's not illegal. >> is it ethical? >> you are in the middle of a campaign. opposition research is very common. we've been covering these for a long time. >> not from russians or -- >> well, i mean, but the fact is you look at the context of where this took place. the middle of the campaign. a meeting that ends up where they had evidently, purportedly, which ends up not being the case, opposition research on hillary clinton. the meeting is set up. don junior does the meeting. it's 20 minutes. nothing transpires. is on the whole adoption issue and the magnitsky act.
i go back to this. what law has been violated here? >> okay, but let me ask you this. if donald trump jr. said i got this e-mail. the russians say they want to help my dad. they have damaging information on hillary clinton. what would you advise him to do? >> it's easy to go look back and say, if donald trump's lawyers were saying, look at this, what should we do. that's not what this is. let's get what the situation is. this is in the middle of the campaign. they are getting hundreds, thousands of people having information and, by the way, it's the same thing on the democratic side of this. this is not unique to donald trump's campaign. this is not unique to republicans. opposition research. let's not forget -- there was a whole dossier purportedly done on president trump and ended up being completely false. where was that funded? check where the money comes from on this. >> my understanding of the dossier is that originally it was paid for by republican opponents of president trump in
the primary, then democratic opponents, but that dossier -- >> and then the fbi was going to buy it? >> yeah, but i don't know of any instance of that individual, christopher steel, who did it, handing it over to the clinton people. >> we don't know of any instance like that. >> what happened here? did any information get handed over? nothing. >> if we take donald trump jr.'s word for it, no. >> here's the thing -- and i understand, there's this whole russia thing. let's talk about what's happened here. donald trump jr. today releases an entire e-mail chain. >> preemptively because "the new york times" is about to release it. >> hillary clinton erases 33,000 e-mails. >> she shouldn't have done that. >> she shouldn't have. what's happening on that? >> i believe the fbi did an investigation about it. >> and decided it was okay. >> you can talk to the fbi about it. my point is -- >> a meeting where nothing transpird. donald trump releases the information. >> you're very good at the deflecting. >> but that's last year. >> the law doesn't change last
year to this year. the law is the same. law doesn't change. >> i doin't know what you're talking about. donald trump jr. released the complete e-mail chain today. you got it. everybody's got it. >> right. so let me -- >> hillary clinton erased 33,000 e-mails. the irony in that is something you have to -- this is in the middle of a political season. >> it's not ironic and also the reason donald trump jr. did it was because "the new york times" was about to publish it. "the new york times" had the chain and they were about to publish it. and donald trump jr. -- >> i don't represent donald trump jr. but he released it. it was fine. >> let me ask you a question. it's escaped none of our attention that president trump has been very restrained in his twitter and public comments about this while his beloved son is in the middle of this. and i'm not making light of it. it must be very tough. you have a son. i have a son.
so here's a question. is he taking your advice and other lawyers around him? are you telling him, don't tweet. the best thing you can do is don't tweet? >> i'm not having conversations -- i can tell you this. we're not telling the president what to tweet or not tweet. here's what the president said today. he's supporting his son. you would do the same thing. i would do the same thing. i've got grandkids now. nobody wants to see their child going through this. the president's reaction, i think what he said today is exactly what you or i would do. >> i'm not criticizing it. i'm just saying it's been very restrained. >> donald trump jr. put it all out today. it's all out there. >> after several days of different stories and -- >> but there's a couple key points here. one key point, this is not a situation where the president was involved in this meeting, was not aware of the meeting, did not attend this meeting. >> he didn't know about this meeting until a few days ago? >> that's correct.
>> you don't find that surprising? his campaign chairman, jared kushner and his son have this really weird experience -- >> for how many minutes? >> 20. >> and what did the russian lawyer say how long? 15, 20 minutes and nothing happened. >> what would you report? we had a meeting that nothing happened. you assume serve sitting in a room. you haven't sitting in a room and having a discussion -- if they did that, they'd be having meetings about meetings all day. >> you are down playing the oddity of getting an e-mail saying the russian government wants to help us and here's this meeting. "the new york times" is reporting this evening that the president's lawyer mark kasowitz is threatening to resign over frustration with jared kushner because the feeling in "the new york times" story is that kushner might be not disclosing everything and not working with the president's team. what can you tell us about that.
>> that's categorically false. i speak with kasowitz and my other co-counsel on this every day. i don't know where this is coming from but let me be really clear. mark kasowitz is the lead lawyer in this case. i'm one of the lawyers on the team. mark kasowitz's firm is the lead on this case. there is no dissension in the ranks. this is a completely false story. i don't think i can be any clearer than that. >> in the ranks, you're included jared kushner? >> anybody. in a situation like this, there's multiple lawyers. people have lawyers. different clients have different lawyers. but there's no -- >> no frustration? >> no frustration. there's cooperative arrangements. lawyers are working well together. you put a group of lawyers in the room, we work through issues. one wants to go in this direction, one in that direction. you work it out. you know what the situation is like in any case? you make a strategy decision, talk to your client about the
strategy decision and they accept it. the idea that mark kasowitz who has represented the campaign for years. >> the president personally signed off on the original statement that donald trump jr. issued on saturday. that one that required a follow-up clarification because it didn't disclose the idea of opposition research. >> that's not true. >> the president did not sign off on that statement? >> the statement was issued by donald trump jr. the president was on the return from his trip to the g20. again, these are stories that are out there. people can say anything they want. the fact is that's just not true. so again, the situation as it developed, donald trump jr. and he was very explicit tonight and very clear. he issued a statement. his lawyers decided to issue the e-mails. that's perfectly with -- i would advise the same thing. i think they did the right thing. and that's the fact. we can look at it and say, a year and a half ago or a year ago in the middle of a campaign, would have, could you, should
you? that's easy to say a year later. in the middle of the campaign, they are going 20 hours a day and 20 minutes out of one day and it ends up being nothing. why would you go to the president and say it resulted in nothing. >> the president was asked in february if he was aware any of contacts on the campaign between any russian and anyone affiliated with the campaign. here's what he had to say. >> can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with russia during the course of the election? >> well, i told you general flynn obviously was dealing so that's one person. but he was dealing, as he should have been -- >> during the election? >> not anybody that i know of. >> you're not aware any of -- >> how many times do i have to answer this question? >> so it's true. not that i know of. because he said not that i know of because he didn't know of it. >> correct. >> is it fair -- >> he answered it correctly. >> they put the president at a disadvantage by not telling him about that meeting because that
answer, if you take out the not that i know of, was not -- >> but you can't take out the not that i know of. >> shouldn't he have known? shouldn't they have told him? >> no it was a meeting that produced nothing. let's be realistic. it's a 20-minute meeting out of ap 18 or 20-hour day. it produced no results. no information. no knowledge of anything. it ends up being basically a false pretense. and the meeting takes place. nothing happens. we walk into the republican nominee's office. he's probably in another state. i haven't look at the logs. he's probably in another state. and say we had a meeting that didn't result in anything. why would you do that. they're having hundreds of meetings, thousands over the course of the campaign. >> "the washington post" reporting that it's tumultuous in the white house right now. somebody, a republican, who was allied with the president, referring to it as a category 5 hurricane. that some people in the president's inner circle are
calling for reince priebus to step down. all sorts of dissatisfaction and backfighting. >> this is a category 0. the president of the united states is dealing with issues that include a situation with north korea that we all know is quite serious. there are other situations and hot spots around the world. major action as you know going on in syria right now. so this idea that this has consumed the white house is false. and what's happened is there's this idea that, and you started it this way, and i understand that you are starting it this way. the white house under siege. they are operating and running the country. they're governing. if you want to disagree or agree with the policy, we live in america. you get to do that. this idea that the white house has stopped working and everyone is focused on this is categorically not true. >> when did president trump find out about this meeting, the full story of this meeting? >> the full story of the -- >> the e-mails. >> you're talking very roont ec. it was a conversation between his lawyers and the president very, very recently.
the president was not aware of this until very -- >> today? yesterday? >> you know it happened -- it started coming out, the situation started coming out over the weekend so within that time frame. >> that's when he found out -- >> the president, by the way, never saw an e-mail. did not see the e-mail until it was seen today. so i want to be clear on that. >> the first time he saw the e-mail was today? >> that's correct. >> jay sekulow, attorney for president trump. >> donald trump jr. says the meet with the russian lawyer was such a nothing. coming up, will prosecutors see is that way as well? stay with us. carrying flowers that signify why we want to end alzheimer's disease. but what if, one day, there was a white flower for alzheimer's first survivor? what if there were millions of them? join us for the alzheimer's association walk to end alzheimer's. register today at alz.org/walk.
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him. ah. oh hello- that lady. these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh. sure. still yes! you can get it too. welcome to the party. introducing gig-speed internet from xfinity. finally, gig for your neighborhood too. following the onslaught of breaking news today. donald trump jr. speaking out trying to defend his decision to meet with a russian attorney. admitting in retrospect he probably should have done things differently. robert mueller's investigators plan to investigate that. let's dig deeper on these questions. legal and political. jeffrey toobin, let me start with you. has anything been revealed so far that showed that anyone, paul manafort, jared kushner, donald trump jr., any of them
violated any law? >> not clear. and i think, you know, we all want to jump and decide whether someone is guilty or innocent of a crime. and this is an unfolding investigation. it is not a crime, under federal law, to collude. that collusion is a big word but that is not a crime. >> more of a political term than a legal term. >> it's important. a lot of people talk about collusion as if it's a crime, and it's not. the only possible crime i see coming out of this particular event involving donald junior is possibly a campaign finance violation where it is unlawful to solicit any sort of thing of value from a foreign government. and perhaps, depending on what went on in this meeting and i don't necessarily credit donald junior's description of what went on since he's lied about so much of what went on. whether he solicited some sort
of aid from the government. that's a long shot. to answer your question simply, no, i don't think there is any crime that has been uncovered specifically by -- regarding this meeting. >> you think the media and some democrats on capitol hill are a little breathless about this compared to the facts? >> i think that instead of analysis, we're seeing a lot of rage. people are willing to take criminal codes and twist them in order to bag a trump. and that's a dangerous game to play. people suggesting this may be treason, which is ridiculous. >> i agree with that. >> and senator tim kaine, hillary clinton's running mate, said probably this could be treason. >> and that destroys his credibility. destroys the credibility of his party in making statements like that. >> well, that's ridiculous. >> of course, i'm very careful to keep the definition of treason narrow because they don't want it to be used as a
political tool in this willy nilly way. where i disagree with jeff is i don't see a viable federal election claim here. you have to take this thing of value language and jeff is right about that. it's designed to say that, yeah, you don't have to give something in a monetary way to be contributing to a campaign. but no court has taken information and said that that is effectively a substitute for contributions. if they did, it would present a huge threat to the first amendment. it would encompass enormous amount of political speech, allow the federal government to investigate campaigns simply because they are receiving information from foreign sources. like ngos or public interest organizations or individuals. i don't think a court would sign off on that. that would be a particularly dangerous interpretation. >> okay. carl burnstein, there's the law, what's legal, what's not legal and then there's what's right and what's not right. what mistakes do you think have been made in this episode? >> well, i think honest, earnest
mistakes are one thing and that's not what we're talking about here. we are talking about a malignant presidency of the united states, and the reason at the core of the malignancy has been lying throughout the presidency by the president. now we see by his son. we see his son-in-law has also lied or obfuscated or not filled out his forms correctly and has had to redact them and change them twice. at this point, the credibility of the president of the united states, members of his family and this is very much about his family, and mr. mueller is now focused in his investigation in part on trump's businesses, his family, the way those businesses are run. what we need is to let these investigations go forward. find out the facts. see whether or not the law has been violated by the president or those around him, but,
meanwhile, we have seen today the knowing subversion of the interest of the united states by the son and son-in-law of the president of the united states when they took this meeting. enthusiastically. as it says in that e-mail, i love it, donald trump jr. said. i'm paraphrasing a little bit. that is not about mistakes being made. that is about pursuing a kind of subversion that we should never, ever forget about, and it needs to be thoroughly investigated whether there are legal ramificati ramifications, we'll find out. >> it was jared kushner's legal team that initially found these e-mails we believe, which caused jared kushner to update his security clearance forms, the meetings he had with foreign nationals. give us insight into how this might have unfolded from there. >> many of us have filled out these forms. you need them for clearances.
i am surprised a meeting like this would be omitted. most of us write down even trivial meetings with foreign nationals. one thing a legal team does is to go back and look for anything that could cause further damage below the wart line. look at appointment schedules, who you've met with and this obviously came up in that review and they did notify that they had to amend. that's correct. now this does happen. you do have people that have omissions. it's usually not prosecuted. if there's a pattern to that, it can become quite serious. and as jeff and i talked about in the past, the thing that gets people nailed in washington is generally not these other crimes. it's false statements. they try to talk their way out of problems. and that's where they get into trouble. it's that which is usually the crime people get indicted with. >> and what's interesting is that this is, obviously, not the first time that we have seen somebody who is part of the
trump team misrepresent in one way or another a conversation with a russian national. mike flynn, jeff sessions, jared kushner, donald trump jr., i know i'm forgetting others. >> it's always russia. it's always russia. it's not sweden or china. it's always russia. why are they not being forthcoming about their relationships with russia. >> carter page. >> and, you know, here we now have this concrete example of an attempt to have the russian government to influence the election. do we think, through the trump campaign. do we think this was the only time it happened? i think one of the most interesting things about donald trump jr.'s reaction to the e-mail is his nonreaction. what do you mean the russian government is trying to -- that might be a normal reaction, but unfortunately that's all the time we have.
. welcome back. our correspondents and analysts are back to give us their final thoughts and look ahead to where this story might go from here. jim sciutto, let me start with you. where might the special counsel investigation and the senate and house intelligence committees, their investigations go? >> i think on this donald trump jr. meeting, if he thinks a friendly interview on "hannity" is going to put a fork in this, he's mistaken. the special counsel will have far more questions to ask about this as will the house and senate intelligence committees. his explanation that, well, there was nothing useful there. is he saying had there been useful, incriminating evidence then it would have been a worthwhile meeting? and that's just one meeting. there are many other meetings where hill investigators and the special counsel will have reasonable questions to see why did you meet? what was discussed? and not just that. they'll have reasonable questions. there's also a lot of evidence they have access to.
meetings that took place in europe with russians may have been surveilled by u.s. intelligence or by our intelligence partners there. there are transcripts, whole host of evidence still to be mined on that. that's a very important thing going forward. this is one meeting we learned about today of several meetings, and there's much further for investigators to go. >> this puts to rest the question of whether the russians were trying to influence the election to help donald trump. i mean, i think senator warner said that today on the hill, manu, and i think we get, in looking at what occurred, a real bird's-eye view of just how they operate. and whether donald trump jr. was played or whether the intermediary was played or whatever, the russians were trying to get an in. and see how far they could get into this trump campaign and, lo and behold, this woman ends up with a meet with three of the top people closest to the
president, to the candidate. and i think that we're going to continue to peel the onion on this and see exactly how the russians operated to try and help donald trump. >> and, obviously, we're hearing a lot in "the washington post" and elsewhere about there being turmoil in the white house right now. manu raju, on capitol hill, how much does this story hurt the president's and the republican party's ability to get their agenda done? >> significantly because of the fact it just is overshadowing everything. right now they are trying to pass a major health care bill in the senate. they are having a very difficult time in doing that. they're getting no support from the white house. no messaging operation coming out of the white house. not a -- very different than in 2009, 2010 when they passed obamacare. the reason there's not one right now is because the white house is mired in this controversy and is struggling to defend itself and president trump is going for
a third day tomorrow, not having any public events. there is no messaging operation. this is a real frustration right now talking to members who don't want to go out and criticize the president, who are still tepidly behind him. the real concern is that he's causing so many distractions that it's undercutting their one opportunity to get stuff done. >> pamela, is this likely going to be all we hear about this meeting? these e-mails that have been released and donald trump jr.'s and the lawyer's word of it, or do you think we'll hear more about this? >> just when you think, okay, this could be it, more comes out. i'm just thinking, it's july, right? this investigation was opened up last july in the fbi. this has been going on for a year. and to put this into context, it started off with looking at russia's meddling when it came to hacking the dnc server, releasing information. i'm told simultaneously the fbi noticed there were individuals connected to donald trump talking to russians. so they wanted to figure out,
what's going on over here. at some point the two investigations converged, and they wanted to look at possible coordination. there was indications that there was possible coordination. but at that time, don junior wasn't even in the picture. jared kushner, the focus really was on paul manafort, michael flynn, carter page as we previously reported. they've all denied they have done anything wrong. so it is amazing how this has unfolded. and to glorwia's point, how we continue to peel back onions. >> let's talk about the tumult "the washington post" is reporting. we only have 30 seconds left, but is it considerable? >> yeah, look. i think you have people inside the white house now who are trying to figure out how to get back on track, how to get off the russia story. you have a president who is clearly concerned about his son, about how he's being represented. and about when this is going to end. this is a president who told james comey, if you believe
james comey, go easy on michael flynn. all of these revelations that we are hearing about now make his conversations with james comey, i think, that much more important. >> very interesting. manu raju, pamela brown, gloria borger, jim sciutto and you at home, thanks for joining us. much more on this breaking story after this quick break. i'll see you again at 4:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow on "the lead." thanks for watching.
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megan's smile is getting a lot because she uses act® mouthwash. act® strengthens enamel, protects teeth from harmful acids, and helps prevent cavities. go beyond brushing with act®. in retrospect, i probably would have done things differently. >> donald trump jr. on the offensive. showing he was ready to accept russia's help defensive after row leasing e-mails that he was ready to help russian e-mails. all the chaos the white house is reaching. early start coverage begins right now. >>