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tv   New Day  CNN  July 12, 2017 5:00am-6:00am PDT

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the greatest witch hunt in political history and blasting us for reporting on it. remember, his son's own e-mails just acknowledged and alleged attempt by russia to infiltrate the election and the president is saying that's not true. joining us now is president trump's attorney. counsel rr good morning. >> good to see you again. >> yes, sir. >> why would the president question the veracity of his own son's e-mails? >> he's not doing that. donald trump put out the e-mails yesterday. he put them all out. the entire chain. let's focus on what the president was aware of. nothing. he was not aware of the meeting. did not attend the meeting and was only informed about the e-mails very recently by his counsel. >> so he didn't have anything to do with the statement that don junior put out that was being worked on with his team? >> the statement that don junior put out -- you talking about
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yesterday? >> the one over the weekend -- >> that was written -- no. that was written by donald trump jr. in consultation with his lawyer. >> the "the new york times" is reporting that the president okayed the statement? >> they're incorrect. >> the "the new york times" is wrong? >> i know. is that shocking that sometimes they make a mistake? >> i'm not trying to be dis paraging. the president's coming back from the g20. this situation's developed. the information about the meeting and what happens? donald trump jr. who had the meeting, which, by the way, is not a violation of the law and you've had a lot of experts say it's not a violation of the law and he issues a statement. that statement -- by the way, i wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all nor was the president, i'm assuming that was between mr. donald trump jr., don junior and his lawyers. i'm sure his lawyer was involved that's how you do it. to put this on the president i think is absolutely incorrect.
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>> put what on the president? >> this idea that you just said the "the new york times" is reporting that the president approved either wrote or approved the -- >> that is not an outlandish suggesting. i take the "the new york times" reporting on its face and why wouldn't a father that's president of the united states want to have a say in what his son was putting out that involves him and his presidency. seems like a legitimate thing that's why i asked. >> 39-year-old son whose running the trump corporation and the trump organization, so he doesn't need to be looked over the shoulder by his father. here's what i think we need to really focus on and obviously -- i appreciate you having me on. i need to be clear about three things here. number one, the president was not aware of the meeting, did not attend the meeting and was only made aware of the e-mails very recently by counsel and not seen the e-mails. in fact, you know, i didn't see the e-mail until yesterday and i'm one of the lawyers. so there you have it. >> okay. so that's point one. what's point two?
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>> point two is, the three points were. he was not aware, did not attend and just found out about the e-mails or saw the e-mails yesterday. >> right. let me ask you something, how can you see these e-mails as anything other than proof of russian efforts to infiltrate the election? >> well, look, first of all i just heard your last guest who said the entire thing was a put up. that none of this true. >> i know he said that but if you don't think that there are questions of credibility in this situation, whether it's don junior who changed his story or the notion that this man, mr. goldstone who obviously is going to have to come forward and clear this up at some point, can you imagine not firing a guy who made up a lie like this about you, counsellor? can you imagine? if you had somebody working for you who said that you met with prosecutors and had sensitive information and that you wanted to help an election and you don't fire the guy, that's pretty strange?
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>> chris, give the lawyer a break here, the guy that was on just a few moments ago. this has happened in 24 hours. it's in 24 hours. so what his client did who he fired and did not fire frankly is not my concern. the lawyer i'm sure they're dealing with. i don't know even know if he's the lawyer for that part of the transaction. >> i'm not disparaging anybody. this guy spun some kind of tale, this guy goldstone, if he's lying, boy, this is some kind of pathological lying. >> wait a minute. what does that have to do with what's happening -- with what we're talking about? >> is it relevant because you are saying that the lawyer, your way of dismissing my prems is to say the lawyer just said none of its true. i'm saying, let's go to the veracity of that statement and i'm saying for this kind of detailed information that this guy goldstone put in about what he knew about the agalarovs, this guy say piece of work.
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>> what did the russian lawyer say, natalia? it wasn't true. >> as opposed to what saying i worked for the kremlin -- i was trying to pass along bad information. >> what statute -- a meeting take place between be donald trump jr. and this lawyer? what criminal statute, what civil statutes's been violated? none. >> honestly, if you've been watching the show, you've never heard me say that this is clear indication of a crime. >> right. i think -- i'm sorry. >> this is 100% inappropriate to take this meeting. he should have known better. donald junior has said as much. i'll leave the laws to the special counsel. >> you just acknowledged that this is not a question of legal violation of the law. >> i never said it was. >> i understand that and i appreciate your honesty and integrity. it's also the law. it's not a violation of the law here. but donald trump jr. yesterday
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said in the heat of the campaign, there's a lot of activity going on, 20 minute meeting that did not produce anything, so there was no -- >> we don't know that. >> donald trump jr. said that, the lawyer natalia said it did not. so we've got -- >> you have such credibility issues here. you don't know that to be a fact is all i'm saying. you do not know that to be a fact. >> what do i not know to be a fact? >> you do not know what was said in that meeting and what happened after it for a fact? >> like any lawyer, chris, you base it on the evidence you see. the woman -- >> you have no evidence. >> hold it. your network has aired interviews with natalia saying it did not happen. you put it on the air. >> there's no question that we've done it and we're probably do it a lot today. that doesn't mean it's true. >> i have a lot of people come on my show and say things and it ain't true. >> look, chris, here's the interesting part of it. the way you are framing it, though -- i'm here talking to
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you about it. >> it's an important conversation, please. >> the way it's been framed, you're putting her on, the network, all the networks are put those statements on about her as a fact statement. >> no. i'm putting her on that this is her say. she also said don junior and jared and manafort all wanted dirt so badly. she said that also which takes you back to the appropriateness argument for donald junior and a disclosure argument for jared kushner who subsequently amended his disclosure statement and paul manafort which we haven't heard from. >> i don't represent paul. jared kushner, he amended his disclosure form, so and then donald trump jr. put out the entire chain of e-mails. here's what you have. the e-mails are out. the information about the meeting is out. it was discussed by two of the principals that were at the meeting and what do we have? not a violation of the law. and of course i'm a lawyer and
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you understand that. i appreciate you having me on. >> you have two other things. >> go ahead. >> one, you have obvious intent to participate in this situation by donald junior, jared kushner and paul manafort and that is at a minimum inappropriate. you also have demonstrable proof that this investigation into russian -- >> what is the legal -- you're saying it's obviously inappropriate. >> obviously. >> okay. what is the legal standard where inappropriate as you put it obviously what legal standard is that? >> no, no. you want to talk about the law. >> i'm a lawyer. >> i'm not talking about this being illegal. you're doing a lot more about this being illegal and i respect that. you don't take a meeting with someone who says they're working for the russians and want to infiltrate an election. you don't do that. why? because it's unethical? why?
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because you don't let russia interfere in american election? you know that. doornd junior has said as much. >> don junior was very direct last night when he was on hannity talking about that. you know political campaigns well. you come from a long line of families in political campaigns. you know what happens. there's a lot of meetings. the ukrainian government was giving information to the dnc and hillary clinton's people on who, donald trump. we're acting as if this doesn't happen. >> let's look at it very quickly. ukraine is not russia, okay? >> you can get -- you can get research from whomever you want, but if you solicit information from a foreign government, let alone a hostile one you could be in trouble with the fec. i don't want to talk about legality that's not my place. if you don't think it was inappropriate to take this
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meeting, not only are you disagreeing with donald junior, i think we have different ethical standards. >> donald trump jr. said he would have handled things differently. >> which i think is the right thing to say and that point is there. >> i want to finish up with this. you just said that if it's the ukrainians it's okay, if it's the russians that's not. that's not the law. >> i'm saying ukraine is not russia. i think they would be analyzed differently in terms of potential threat to the process, so hesitation is the legal key. >> we can agree to disagree. why did he say it was inappropriate? >> what he said was in retrospect he would have looked at it differently. >> so he would have done it at a different time or thought differently of this decision. it's been criticized on both sides of the aisle. i don't know why you would fight that proposition. >> i'm not fighting and he took it. he had the meeting. >> you're saying it was okay to take it i think.
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>> i'm saying -- no. i'm talking about -- you asked -- >> i don't want to talk about the law. appropriate is not a legal standard. >> i'm the president's lawyers. i understand that. >> if our culture is only about what you can go to jail for, we got a messed up democracy. it's got to be about doing what is right as well. >> you just said if the ukrainians did it, it's fine. if the russians did it -- >> i did not ever say that. i never said it. what i said was -- >> in your view is it okay for the russian -- chris. is it okay in your view for the ukrainians to give dossier information they got governmentally on then president trump to the dnc and the hillary clinton campaign? is that okay with you? is that okay? >> one, let's be honest. >> is it okay? >> not my call special counsel. two, is it illegally no because i think solicitation is what triggers election law standards. this is not about the law.
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>> the ukrainians came to the clinton campaign and supposedly this lawyer came to donald trump jr. >> two observations, one, again, i think it depends who it is coming from in terms of appropriateness not legality. i want people to remember this moment. you and people who support the president and the president himself cannot say enough that the media can't forget the election. we keep dwelling on the election and yet it is you, sir, that brings up hillary clinton as the excuse for dealing with this current situation. >> no, no. >> you use hillary clinton because you guys can't leave the election alone. we have moved past -- >> no you haven't. >> you are the one who brings up hillary clinton, not me. >> you asked me and you just said again, chris, with due respect, you said, if ukrainian does it could be different. >> i think it would be a different analysis, if a known
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hostile actor that was cited by our intelligence community for trying to interfere in our election, yes, ukraine is not known for that. >> do you think the meeting that donald trump jr. took, do you think that the meeting he took was the violation of the law? >> i don't know. it's not for me to say. the standard is tight. treason say very tight statute. >> you know it's not statute. chris, you know this isn't treason. >> it's not my call. by the way, jay, like i feel about running down the road of hillary clinton every time something is brought up about the president, i feel the same way about legal arlts leave it to the special counsel. my concern in this situation is this, forget about donald junior, however, this is proof of an alleged russian agent trying to infiltrate the campaign to the disadvantage and potential. >> you think she is a russian
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agent? >> i'm saying that that was the suggestion, that this information was coming from the russian government. why the president would insist on calling this a witch hunt instead of doing what you would think the responsibility of the president would be which is to put your arms around this investigation and you see you see what the russians tried to do to my son, we have to figure it out, all the different ways they did it and stop it, not on my watch. why does he insist on calling it a witch hunt despite what he just saw in his son's own e-mails? >> look at the basis upon which this investigation was triggered. james comey leaks internal memos that he took of conversations with the president of the united states. he takes them in his meeting with the president. he puts them in his government computer, sticks them in his government desk and creates a memo that he leaks when he gets fired to a friends of his to go to the press for the sole purpose he said under oath of obtaining a special counsel.
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which is then appointed. there's a special counsel appointed and think about this for a moment. he gets a special counsel is appointed based on what, illegally leaked evidence. i don't think that's okay, and if you were a lawyer in my situation -- >> i don't know that it's illegally leaked evidence. >> if an fbi agent -- rosenstein. >> he didn't leak the information. >> rosenstein is responsible for the special counsel. that is someone that the president leaned very heavily on, said he was of the highest regard. >> what was the basis of the special counsel being appointed? the whole world knows it. he did the release and leak the information that was to get the special counsel. >> you have to ask -- you have to ask mr. rosenstein. >> oh, okay. chris, chris. >> he didn't say he did it because comey wanted it and you have republicans stand up and say this was a great move. >> yeah, chris, do you think that it's okay for james comey, the fbi director to take the
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notes of his conversations with the president and then release them? a conversation he had with the president of the united states on multiple times, you think that's okay? >> i don't think it qualifies as a leak unless it's confidential information. you take government property which is this and, by the way, the government's take in the position that it's government property temporary to james comey and you distribute that that's a violation. >> how come -- how come the doj doesn't act on it? >> how do we know they're not? >> how do we know they are? we don't know is the answer. i get what you're answer but at the end of the day. you still wind up where you are and what we just learned about we learned about a couple of different ways. one is from donald trump jr. himself and the other is from what you would call leaks i wouldn't. >> what would you call them? what would you call a conversation -- chris that the president of the united states that he gave to a third party to the "the new york times"? why is that not a leak? >> i don't think it's material. if that's something that's separately investigative that's fine. but as a journalist i look at
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the sum and substance of the actual information. >> but this was an fbi director having a conversation with the president of the united states. >> i understand. it's immaterial to our current conversation. >> no, it's not. you know this and i know this. conversation between the fbi director and the president of the united states are protected by what, the executive privilege. >> sure. >> james comey ignored that and he shouldn't get away with that. >> that's your position. i accept it but that does not mean that what don junior put out in his e-mails and what came out from people in the white house around the president doesn't matter and that's how we got to where we are right now with this chain. a chain that the president, our president still refers to as evidence of a witch hunt and i don't get it. i don't get it. i don't understand how you can make -- >> i'll answer the question. the entire basis upon which this investigation was triggered and took place was what, leaked information by the fbi director. >> do you believe this is a witch hunt? do you believe there's no validity to the russian interference einvestigation?
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>> i think the whole underlying matter this is started is wrong. >> you don't think russia interfered with the election. >> president obama supposedly knew that the russians were trying to interfere with the election? what did he do? >> he went to vladimir putin and said stop it reportedly and he took a couple of their properties. >> for a couple months. that's what he did. if he thought it was that bifg a deal. what happens? >> is that a no? is that a no from you that you don't believe russia interfered in the election? >> i have no idea what the russians did or -- look, i have no idea what russia tried to do or didn't try to do. >> you have no idea therefore you must reject what the intelligence community is saying. >> one step at a time. >> if you have no idea what they did, you must necessarily therefore believe what the intelligence community said is a lie? >> no. the intelligence community said to president obama from what we've seen and what you've reported and others have reported. >> they put out a report that said it is in controe vertable.
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there is no question russia interfered in the election in many different ways. >> they also said it didn't impact one single vote. >> which is different. >> no. >> no one is suggesting that it changed the election outcome. >> no, chris, who was the president of the united states when this was taking place? >> this is a distraction. >> i'm answering your question. who was the president of the united states? >> yes, they interfered, no they didn't interfere. >> look, based on the information we've seen of the russia's supposedly attempted. i haven't seen the data. you haven't either. >> i'm a lawyer and i didn't even understand it. >> did they do it or not do it? >> the russians hacked it or not. i have no idea if they interfered. >> you don't believe the intelligence community. >> the intelligence community has given inconsistency reports over 17 intelligence agencies. said it all happened then it was reported that it was four. i'm not looking at intelligence reports that anywhere different than what you would see in the
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public. here's what i know. president obama -- >> trump's own chiefs, his appointments have said yes this is what happened. you're saying they're lying. >> no, i'm not. that's not correct. what i'm saying. >> what's the other possibility? either you believe them or you don't. >> have you seen internal intelligence reports on this? >> nope. >> no. have i? no. but i have no reason to disbelief these people who are trusted with serving the people of the united states and evidently you do. >> here's the great question, so president obama knew this was going on, he did very little about it and you ask yourself that question. we have a special counsel investigating issues surrounding the russian probe. that's what the special counsel's appointed for. and the information about the russian hacking and russian attempts to interfere were already previously known. you tell me if you think it's right to have this kind of investigation. i don't think it is. >> i don't understand the premises.
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>> the premise is -- russia interfered in the election and you want to protect your deposition, you have to investigate how did they do it, what worked? how do we stop it? where are the holes? >> sure. that's not a job of a special counsel. >> no. he looks at different criminal aspects of that. did people work with them? was there criminality? if there's nothing there there's nothing there. >> the special counsel can handle the counterintelligence investigation which is what you're talking about. >> that's your opinion. >> they can't. that's not within their purview. that's not what he's doing. >> he's doing the criminality around this. i asked you if the russian interference investigation is worthwhile or a witch hunt. you didn't want to answer whether it happened and now you're just going into whether mueller should be looking at crimes. >> no. you asked me about the -- to be clear, you asked me about the president's statement about witch hunts. i told you that the whole basis
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upon which and i could say it again, i don't have to bore you with it again, it's the same statement and that is the basis upon which the special counsel was appointed was based on leaked information by the former director of the fbi based on conversations he had with the president of the united states. >> that's not completely accurate because we noel the doj was looking at it before he did that. >> that's the counterintelligence community is investigating and looking into the russia situation. that's different than the special counsel's job. i want to be clear on that. >> of course they're different jobs. even on the face of it, we've been hearing nothing from the people around the president except we never met with any russians or think about meeting with the russians. time and time again that has proven to be not true. most recently with donald trump jr. who if nothing else showed a willingness to meet with somebody under exactly those circumstances. >> right, okay. >> so clearly there are questions to pursue. will they bear fruit? who knows?
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>> what would the fruit they would bear? >> there's no -- the proof -- i'm not saying there is criminality. i'm saying there is a reason to look, because if these people keep changing their stories and they're were lofts meeting connected to the kremlin, it is worth looking at. the financial relationships that we still don't know about because of the lack of transparency from the president of the united states and the people around him and these meetings, if anybody was compromised by the russians in their efforts to infiltrate the election. it's worth looking at for the sake of the democracy. >> donald trump jr. had a 20 minute with a russian lawyer that produces nothing at least the witnesses have acknowledged that it produced nothing. >> you're banking on that in a way that i don't think -- >> i'm just saying -- >> i don't think that's a guarantee. >> look, donald trump jr. said what happened that nothing happened. natalia, the lawyer said --
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>> donald trump said the meeting was about one thing and another thing. >> he was correct. the meeting -- she said it. the meeting was about -- >> i don't know that that's true. talking about the magnitsky act also gets you in the same basket of inappropriate conversations. if she's talking about getting rid of sanctions that's a sensitive issue especially if she's willing goif you something good in exchange for that information. >> you're reading into a conversation that you have no evidence of -- >> you're doing the same thing. >> i'm looking at the evidence that you put -- you all -- every network, it's not cnn -- it's every networks the conversation that the lawyer from moscow said, none of that was it. i don't know how that happened. >> the idea that the person alleged to be an agent of the kremlin saying no, i'm not and you banking on that is a little absurd. >> i'm not banking on anything. i look at the law.
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was there any illegalality, any legal problem with this issue and there's not a legal issue. donald trump jr. said yesterday -- >> it doesn't have to be illegal to be wrong. >> he said yesterday and you reported it and you reported it correct correctly, he said yesterday last night if he was doing it again it was the heat of the campaign he would have done it differently. you know what? he's allowed to say that because that's how he feels. and then we're now speculating on what facts may or may not exist. >> no, no, i'm not. i'm asking questions about what we still don't know and you're saying we do know because don junior said nothing else happened even though he's changed his story several times and the lawyer who is allegedly working for the kremlin, she says nothing happened. i don't think the rest of us can be satisfied with that standard. >> the lawyer whose allegedly working for the kremlin because who knows. she says she's not, the russian government says he's not.
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>> goldstone whose apparently the biggest liar in the world says so. this publicist decides to spin one of the most fantastical stories i've ever seen and, by the way, 24 hours later still isn't fired for it even though just threw his employer under the bus. >> i know what you're thinking because you're a lawyer. the to give the lawyer a break. >> i have this thing in my chest that goes boom boom boom. it's called a heart. it makes me human and this defies common sense. >> the guy had 24 hours. >> how long would it take you to fire someone who spun a tale about you being a russian agent and trying to infiltrate the election. >> quickly. here's the differential. i don't know your other guests that you had on the previous segment. i'm not trying to disparage his legal capabilities at all. i don't know who he represented. i don't like hitting the lawyers in that regard. it happened in 24 hours. >> i want to clear up one other point.
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there's a lot of unknown around the meeting. there's no question about it. we've been parsing it this morning. there will need to be more understanding of it. legality, morality, ethics, all of it. on this bigger issue of why it should not be called a witch hunt, you had the cia director, mike pompeo, they're loving him inside the agency, the president wanted him in there, he said there is no questions, the russians interfered in the election. questioning that premise seems to do a disservice to the service of this country and i don't know why you play with that conclusion. >> i think it's a disconnect. the president is talking about the entire process of this whole special counsel that's going on, not the counterintelligence determination. you got to look at those. >> he never has said in full throated fashion, those russians are on notice.
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they interfered in our election and they're not doing it on my watch. he brought -- maybe they did. maybe it was somebody else. >> he brought it up. the president said he brought it up multiple times with vladimir putin during the g20 and don't conflate, i don't think it's right to conflate a counterintelligence investigation that mike pompeo is doing. >> that's true. you should keep them treated separately. he is at a minimum unclear about that. he watches the show. i'm sure he's watching you right now and feeling good about things. he should feel free to tweet, russia interfered in the election they're not going to do it again. going after my people for helping them is wrong. that would seem to be what your describing, but jay i can't keep you any longer. >> the counterintelligence investigation going by intelligence with regard to russia or anybody else, that is a completely different process and what the president's talking about which is the way this entire special counsel process
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is about. >> he should be clear because it matters a lot and it undermines the confidence and gets a lot of people in this country thinking the same way which is not a way to protect democracy. >> he asked vladimir putin multiple times about it. at the end of the day, i don't think it's fair to conflate those two but i do appreciate you having me on. >> always. you are always welcome on new day to discuss what matters. always. thank you. >> thanks so much. let's discuss everything that you just discussed with jay and see all the things that he said along wall the latest russian revelations. we want to bring in our panel. we have senior political analyst ron brownstein, julia pace and all allis fill mont. there was a lot of between chris and jay about the intel community as chris pointed out donald trump's own intel chiefs
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including the cia director, this is of course your wheelhouse have concluded, that russia meddled. what did you hear there? >> i heard a couple things. first one thing we'll put aside for a moment. there was a referral to this as a heat of the moment decision. we should get back to that allison. the president's son has had 13 months to think about this and he never actually bothered to review his e-mails to determine if the word russia was in a subject line. hard to believe. this is not a heat of the moment decision to keep this quiet. on the issue of the intel community, i think there is a really significant point here in all the noise and there was a lot of noise in that conversation, one basic question, did the campaign officials including the president's son willingly accept a meeting to discuss receiving information from a hostile foreign power? >> yes, we know this from the e-mail. >> exactly. the rest of this about heat of the moment, about 20 minutes, the real story allison on the
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other side of this investigation is who hacked the dnc e-mails and whether they ever had a conversation with the trump campaign about those e-mails. we don't know the answer to that. we have one tiny clue that's being lost in the noise. the campaign was willing to speak with russians who they knew when they walked through the door were going to potentially provide information derogatory about hillary clinton. that's huge. the rest of this to me, noise. >> does it matter that their argument is that the guy goldstone in the e-mails was lying, which i feel really -- we have to hear from goldstone. he could be lying, but wow, what a doozy he spun with all this detail. if that's true that he's lying, does it all go away or does the intent to take that meeting still matter? >> there are two pieces. that suggests to me that anything past the meeting was not significant in terms of the election. i don't think that's a huge issue here. the issue here is there's an
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e-mail chain where somebody in the campaign -- in this case the president's son knew the person walking through the door or thought the person walking through the door represented official government circles from a hostile power. all this -- the rest of this is who knew what when, did don junior think this was a good idea, 13 months ago, i don't think that's the story. you cannot walk into a meeting with someone you thinks a representative of a hostile foreign power and accept information about a rival political party in the united states. you can't do it. >> julia pays, how is the white house dealing with all of this? we know their public persona and a couple of tweets that the president has sent out and then we read reports of what's going on internally? >> in talking to white house officials yesterday and also trump allies outside the building, there is a shift in the way that they were discussing this matter with the don junior e-mails versus other revelations that have come out
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about russia. when those other stories have come out they've more easily been able to dismiss them as stories that are being peddled by anonymous sources, by people in the intelligence communities. i think seeing the e-mails from don junior in black and white, the very clear language from goldstone about this being part of a russian government effort to aid the president and don junior reanestheticing so favorably whether this pushes the investigations further or creates any legal matters aside, this was a difference for a lot of people who are working in this administration. they may not say it publicly. you may not hear a dramatic shift in tone as we saw from the president's outside counsel just now, but they privately know that this is a much more serious situation than they have been in previously. >> when senator blumenthal said that thing about getting rid of mueller, i rolled my eyes a little bit. democrats going too far down the
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road. jay then made a lot of points about how the mueller investigation is inherently illegitimate and based on fruit of the poisonous tree thing. comey leaked it and it was wrong. that made me think differently. ron brownstein, made in the same suit that i have on today, very embarrassing, when you heard him make those points in the contechblt of what blumenthal said do you think there's a chance that the president of the united states would move on mueller? i know he'd have to go through the doj and at this point rosen sine that he can't remove him directly, he could try to make it happen? is that even a possibility? >> yes, there's always been that possibility. he singled in some of his tweets and the key question is whether the republicans in congress who really are the point of leverage on this sends an single that that would be unacceptable to them and that would cause them
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to break from the president. look, i think for republicans in congress the entire experience with donald trump from the moment he came down the escalator has included being put in the defending things they never imagined they would have to defend from the "access hollywood" video to hiring the fbi director in the middle of an ongoing investigation to judge cure el, made other things and what the lesson that president trump is taking i think correctly is that while they may grumble in the end, very few of them ever truly tried to impose consequences. they tried to look the other way and tried to rally back to the areas of the agenda where they agree. and if this is, in fact, different for them, if firing mueller particularly now that there is reason for him genuine reason for him to be investigating the president's son, his campaign manager, his son-in-law, if that is truly different for them, they have to make that very clear. >> phil, you keep hearing, we keep hearing from all sorts of
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president trump's supporters in the white house, well, let's look at what president obama did? he did very little when he was told, that the russians were attempting to meddle in the election. look at that guy. he should have done something. how do you see it? >> and that's a very criticism and you've had that from democrats and republicans alike it's actually beside the point of what we're talking about here. president obama was at least able to acknowledge that russia was meddling in the election. we haven't heard that in a really forceful clear way without other caveats from president trump's still despite what we're told by rex tillerson and other aids about his conversations with putin in their private meetings. we're talking bay move basic question when it comes to the russia meddling with this president. again, it has just spurred this broader investigation that now with the president's own son and these e-mails makes it look like at the very at least there were
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people in the trump campaign who were open to talking about russia and talking with russia and trying to get helpful information from moscow. >> we're out of time. do you have anything to add to that in just a few seconds? >> i would just say, if you look at the balance, the former president of the united states spoke with in serious terms to the american people, sanction the russians, expel diplomats and close facilities, also approached the russian president. president trump spoke evidently with the russian president. if you balance the two, i can't figure out how the white house said what they did was light. the white house has done nothing. >> panel, thank you very much. great to get all of your take. donald trump jr. says he considered the meeting opposition research. should he have seen it that way? should he have agreed to it knowing it was from russia? we discussed with campaign insiders next. wait till you hear what they have to say next.
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donald trump jr. speaking out explaining why he took that meeting with a russian lawyer. >> in retrospect, i probably would have done things differently. again this is before the russian mania, this is before they were building it up in the press.
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for me this was opposition research. they had something maybe a concrete evidence to all the stories i had been hearing about that were probably underreported for years not just under the campaign. i wanted to hear it out. really, it went nowhere and it was apparent that that wasn't what the meeting was actually about. >> we have allis stuart for ted cruz great to have both of you and all your vast experience on with us this morning. robbie, it must be a little surreal for you to be back into campaign mode, back remembering those days. 13 months ago. what did you think yesterday when you saw the reveal of all of these e-mails? >> i was surprised by the tone of the e-mails and how don junior seemed to embrace without missing the beat that the
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russian government first of all was supporting his father but second of all want to go get involved in the campaign but sadly, i wasn't surprised to be perfectly honest that the russians were doing this and this kind of contact was taking place. this is what we've suspected for some time and just to reinforce some of what was being said this morning. this was staring at us all the time. the republican party's platform was changed in cleveland to become more friendly to russia. they removed protections for the ukraine. the russian ambassador was hanging out at the republican national convention and we knew last year that one of trump's advisors carter page was flying over to moscow and giving anti-american speeches. there was a lot of evidence bubbling up and the experts certainly told us once the dnc hacked that was the russians. i'm not surprised that this happening, but boy, i was shocked that they were this sort of cavalier about some thing so
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serious. >> i know that you've said in the past day this story has gone from a quote, nothing burger to red meat for the mueller investigation. i like the metaphor. what do you mean? >> we go from no meeting to a meeting about adoptions to now we know for a fact based on these e-mails that the meeting was set up specifically with regard to providing information that would be incriminating to toward hillary clinton and helpful to the trump campaign. robbie is familiar with how this works. i've been on five presidential campaigns. people are always coming forward with opposition research and generally you have lower level staffers receive the information. when you have three top officials from the campaign meeting with someone they don't even know their name or not sure what they're talking about that raises questions and the way they shove this under the rug for so long, i think that raises concerns. >> i just want to talk to you about that. obviously what has been said is
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that all candidates, all campaigns, if they got some sort of juicy e-mails suggesting research on their opponent, of course they would go to that meeting. what does it tell you that the campaign chairman and a top advisor to the candidate went? >> it means that they expected to get some valuable information and the key is, like i said, this happens all the time. campaigns are always searching for opposition research. the main difference is we're talking about receiving it from the russian government. any one with half a brain would immediately call the fbi. you go back a year ago when robbie spoke about this, the questions of russian leaks and whether or not russians were involved in spreading information that would discredit hillary and help the trump campaign, donald trump jr. criticizes robbie and said that he was disgusting liar and questioned his moral compass and that's the concern. he knew exactly what was going on. he knew what robbie said and others and journalists were
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right in what they claimed, however, he tried to discredit them and i think that's the concern. moving forward, this isn't going to be about something that might be illegal. it might be improper. i don't think it's about a crime. it's about credibility and it's not about litigation, it's about the repeated lies we have surrounding the story which continues to raise many more questions. >> i want to ask you about one thing, robbie that keeps coming up. we have had a dozen guests, supporters of donald trump, republicans say this, which is a-ha, the clinton campaign did the same thing. they made with the ukrainians, they got opposition research from the ukrainians, so why is the media focusing on this. why don't you focus on what hillary did? what's your response. >> i literally have no idea what they're talking about. >> you didn't go to ukraine or someone on the campaign, you did not go to the ukraine to get opposition research? >> no. absolutely not. and what i do know happened was
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that reporters got information directly from the ukrainians of secret accounts where paul manafort, trump's campaign manager was receiving millions of dollars for work that he was doing to help a kremlin backed candidate. >> so that you did get? >> i'm saying reporters got that. i read about it in the paper like everybody else. i think they're trying to confuse us. >> just to be clear because they've said it so many times. you don't know of any meeting -- >> no. >> for get going to the ukraine. you don't know of any meeting between the ukrainian government and the hillary campaign? >> not at all. if foreign nationalists were reaching out to us with opposition research, there would have been a deliberate discussion about how to manage that both from a concern, you know, legally and ethically but also concern for staffers. we don't want our staff getting in trouble. and the other thing i would
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point out here that's interesting about this. we had people coming to us all the time, particularly a lot of workers and contractors that got stiffed by donald trump. these people were vetted very carefully before anybody talked to them but also relatively middle or junior staffers on the campaign were the ones who interacted with them. either the trump campaign thought this was information was so important that they needed the most senior people or they thought it was so secret that they didn't want more junior people reaching out and having these conversations. >> or they're newbies, not paul manafort. >> not paul manafort. paul manafort has a lot of questions to answer about ukraine. i think this is, you know, just a lot of dust that's getting kicked up. >> alice i want to play for you what one of the top counsellors, kellyanne conway said about this on new day, listen. >> you have don junior --
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>> i think america matters. >> i never met with anybody to have anything to do with russia, now he's saying he met with someone to get research on hillary clinton who was connected to the kremlin. >> he never said the word opposition research. vomit words like collusion and russian interference. all of which you have no evidence. >> for me this was opposition research. they had something, you know, may be concrete evidence to all the stories i had been hearing -- >> what do you think about their responses to all of this? >> i think it needs to be a lot more concise and from their standpoint if they say there's there, put it all out on the table. let's get it all out there. let's let mule tr do his investigation and put this behind us. it is a tremendous, tremendous distraction and i think we can't continue to say that trump junior's naivety backs in the time makes this okay. let's get it all out there. there are a lot of republicans in this town that want to do
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good work and unfortunately they're engaged in verbal gymnastics trying to distance themselves from this or trying to say let's let the investigation play out and they can't get their lettingive accomplishments done and i think that's important. i think the credibility issue right now is important and it's putting a stop on making the ability for republicans to have legislative accomplishments. get it all out there, put it behind us and move on to what the american people really care about. >> there you go. thanks for being here. the kremlin says there is no proof russia interfered in the u.s. election. they say that these donald junior e-mails should be dismissed and there's nothing to investigate. that's the kremlin. is that a legitimate basis for defense on these matters? what does this mean to our democracy? we will hear from former cia and nsa director michael hayden next. ♪
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when heartburn hits fight back fast with new tums chewy bites. fast relief in every bite. crunchy outside. chewy inside. tum tum tum tum new tums chewy bites. the kremlin is speaking up on behalf of don junior this morning and against the idea of russian interference of course. they say no single fact proves they interfered. there's no need to investigate anything in this e-mail thread from donald junior, the meeting,
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the agent, everything about it is untrue. so let's bring in somebody who can help us make sense about what does matter and what the remaining questions are. the former director of the cia and nsa, general michael hayden. thank you for joining us. >> good morning. >> so, let's get to it. when you see these e-mails, what questions do you have? >> well, i think phil mudd actually captured it exactly. it's interesting, maybe even important what happened before, what happened after, but what's core is what's in the e-mail in black and white. that the trump campaign at the very highest levels, people related to the president at the highest levels agreed to accept a meeting from what they agreed to be a representative of the russian government who is volunteering their support to try to get donald trump elected president of the united states. that's very clear and frankly i think that's a game changing exchange in that e-mail chain.
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>> tell me about that. why is this after all the threats for all of these months, why is this one in a different category? >> it provides linkage from what, number one, we know the russians did. all right? that's a established high confidence judgment of the entire american intelligence community and don't obfew kate this with three, four or 17. the overall american intelligence community, high confidence judgment, the russians interfered in the american election. we've got a lot of work to do to prevent them from happening again and i fear that the current administration isn't putting enough energy into that but allison to answer your question, the criminal investigation we have underway was is about the question, is there a link between the already established russian effort and people inside the united states whose similar activity would constitute a crime. that's the investigation. we don't know that a crime has been committed.
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all we've got in the e-mail is an expressed willingness on the part of the trump campaign to cooperate with what the russians were doing. >> the general is famed for having a great b.s.o. meter. where is your b.s.o. meter on your defense from the kremlin but also from trump allies and his own -- and the counsel for the family that's referred to this this e-mail chain, that this man mr. goldstone made up these detailed accounts that he has in here about the meeting with the crown prosecutor and what the information was and why it was being owned. that he made it up. this man that was not fired by the man he was represented about, by the way, do you buy that can it be completely b.s.? >> no, i don't. i instinctively base on my life
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experience discount the russian denials. i come back to my core point. it really doesn't matter what you had in the e-mail was an expression that was accepted by the trump campaign and then a willingness to have the meeting. >> the intents there is regardless. >> we'll get all the other details and frankly my instincts are this is part of a sustained well orchestrated, synchronized effort on the part of the russian federation to infiltrate and effect the american electoral process. >> what do you make, general, of president trump resisting his own intel chiefs as recently as last night, cia director pompeo reiterated once again the unequipcal belief and evidence that russia meddled. what does it mean that the president doesn't go along with that? >> it's very disappointing and reflects my comment earlier, allison, that i don't think we've got enough energy on that
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track here, not the criminal track, but the counterintelligence track, what happened, why, how can we prevent this from happening again. the american account, the american account of the meeting in humburg between president trump and president put irch has president trump beginning the meeting with, i've got to get this behind us, did you do this is what he said to vladimir putin. that's the american version. that's conceding serve in the whole exchange. the question was not, did you do this? we know they did this. and it turned the confrontation, so to speak, into a discussion as to whether or not we had enough evidence not holding russia to account to this. the day before the president called into question the judgment, reminded everybody of my gen rags intelligence officers' mistake with regard to iraq weapons of mass destruction and then finally said we can never know for sure. that's teeing up the putin
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denial. >> general, thank you very much. appreciate your perspective as always. >> thank you. it's time now for cnn "newsroom" with papi har roe and john berman. see you tomorrow. >> reporter: this is cnn breaking news. good morning, everyone. >> the white house is paralyzed. that's new reporting by jeff zeleny about what's happening behind closed doors. you'll hear about that? just a moment this as the president of the united states just issued a new defense that his son just admit of having a meeting with a promise of campaign dirt. and this as a man who could be central to all things russia is about to testify before the senate. live pictures, christopher ray is the president's pick to lead the fbi, to fill the void created after the president fired james comey


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