tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN July 12, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
story that a white house reporter had written. it was about the press, and they asked me in my role as the head of the correspondents association to issue a statement about that. and defending the white house. and i said no. that's just not something that we do. that would be seen as criticizing a reporter and a member of the white house press corps and that's not our role. so that, you know, part of the learning experience that we've both had, the correspondents association and this white house in the last several months, has been figuring out each other's roles and i had to make clear that that is not a role that we would play. >> jeff mason, dylan biers, thank you both. thank you. top of the hour. i'm in the "cnn newsroom." any minute now, the white house will be holding another off-camera briefing as reports swirl of a white house paralyzed. and a president furious and frustrated as his son's e-mails dominate the headlines again today. we are told president donald trump believes it's all b.s.,
and has reportedly spent much of the last 24 hours holed up inside the oval office glued to the tv, and on the surface, he continues to stand by donald trump jr., tweeting this, "my son donald trump did a good job last night." referring to fox news interview that happened. "he was open, transparent and innocent. this is the greatest witch hunt in political history. sad." again, don junior went on fox news where he downplayed the meeting between the president's top campaign officials and the russian lawyer last summer. watch. we'll get that eventually. let's go live first to dana bash. she's joining us, cnn's chief political correspondent. we are reading part of a transcript from donald trump's sitdown with pat robertson. >> reporter: that's right. the christian broadcasting network just put out excerpts, kind of a write-up of what the
president told the founder there of the 700 club program, pat robertson, who did the interview, and there are a few highlights, but the one that pertains to what we have been discussing, russia and the question not just of his son but more broadly, of whether or not russia did try to help the trump campaign, the defense that the president offered to pat robertson was, again, denying that he tried -- that putin tried to help him. that it doesn't make any sense, said donald trump, because he believed that hillary clinton would have been better for vladimir putin than donald trump. and i'm just going to read you a quote. he said, "we are the most powerful country in the world, and we are getting more and more powerful because i'm a big military person. as an example, if hillary had won, our military would be decimated.
our energy would be much more expensive. that's what putin doesn't like about me. and that's why i say, why would he want me? because from day one, i wanted a strong military. he doesn't want to see that." again, this is a quote coming from the christian broadcasting network about what the president just told pat robertson in an interview. so there you have an example, the most recent example, today, of president trump denying the notion of vladimir putin and the russians trying to meddle in america's election in order to help him. that, despite the fact that we now have, in black and white, an e-mail chain during the campaign to his son from an intermediary, british intermediary, saying, explicitly, that he was asked to contact donald trump jr. because the russian government supports donald trump's campaign and wants him to win. now, you know, it's kind of,
again, hard to wrap our minds around the fact that the president is still denying that russia wanted to help him, but there you have the latest example, and this goes to what you started this segment with, and that is the fact that this is a president and this is a white house that is still, i mean, one of my colleagues was told paralyzed about this issue, but specifically, the frustration is that this is the lengths to which president trump -- lens through which he sees everything russia. >> he sees himself as a victim. >> he sees himself as a victim, exactly. and he sees it as anything to do with russia as questioning his legitimacy as president. >> what do you know about jared kushner and his security clearance following the donald trump jr. meeting? he was part of and failure to disclose it a couple times on his security clearance form. there have been these calls now, mostly from democrats, that he
should have his security clearance revoked. anything more on that front? >> well, he doesn't have his full security clearance yet. he does, according to our colleague, gloria borger, have interim security clearance but doesn't have the full security clearance for lots of reasons. some of it is that he has delayed properly filling out that disclosure form. there still are calls for him to never get full security clearance, permanent -- beyond interim security clearance. and there's no question that's likely to continue as it becomes more clear that the committees on capitol hill and even the special prosecutor, they are still looking into a lot of meetings that he had. you know, the spotlight has been, over the past 48 hours, on donald trump jr., but what is going on and sort of stirring in the shadows appears to be a very intense scrutiny of his
brother-in-law, jared kushner. so that is still happening as we speak, and remember, it is jared kushner, not donald trump jr., who is in the white house. he is actual white house employee. so, that's why this is something that is being scrutinized, not just about what happened in the campaign but what it means for whether or not he can and should be able to get the clearances and the responsibilities that one needs in order to be a senior adviser to the president. >> dana bash reporting. thank you. i want to talk more about this with mike rogers, cnn national security commentator and former republican chairman of the house intelligence committee and also here with us, asha, former fbi special agent and now the associate dean at yale law school. so mike, we haven't heard from you yet on this since the donald trump jr. e-mail chain came out and went public. what's your reaction? >> well, i would not -- i would not confuse conspiracy with
incompetence. i think this was an amateur who took this information in the heat of a campaign, clearly from a legal standpoint, there was nothing illegal that he did. it certainly was not the best decision and bringing in the other players was certainly not a great idea and i just think it speaks to the lack of understanding and the lack of experience in these matters. and clearly, when somebody says that a former government is interested in passing you information, the first reaction you should have is, i think i'm going to pick up the phone and call the fbi and have a chat. >> inexperience does seem to be the defense that we're hearing from don junior and even other members of the team there. but mike, are you more disturbed about the meeting itself or that we didn't know about the meeting and the changing story that has evolved from the trump team about why they had the meeting. >> well, i mean, certainly they're going to have to get to the bottom of why they had the meeting. to me, it was very clear why they had the meeting. i think that don junior saw an
opportunity to collect information that he thought would be helpful to his father's campaign, clearly, and by the way, both campaigns are going through that process on any given day in the heat of an election, and we -- you know, we need to understand that. that's very important. there's lots of folks who are checking things that they think may help their candidate. in this particular case, the thing that concerned me was the judgment call that when they identified that this information would be coming from a foreign government, that that didn't stop -- that didn't stop them and say, wait a minute, this probably isn't something we should be dealing with or messing with. again, i don't believe anything that i've seen here is illegal. i don't believe that. i do believe it was just a judgment issue and i think it's important to make sure that we understand it's not bigger than, you know -- it's not what the democrats say the end of the world. it's probably not what the republicans say, absolutely nothing. it's probably the truth is somewhere right there in the middle. >> asha, what do you make of president trump himself signing off on the first statement that was incomplete, mentioned
nothing about damaging information about hillary clinton and the russian government's effort to help elect president trump. >> do you mean the sf-86 with jared kushner? >> no, not the disclosure forms, but the statement to the media following the initial story from the "new york times" in which donald trump jr. tweeted, i had this meeting and it was about russian adoption and he later came back and said, actually, i was told there was going to be damaging information about hillary clinton and then came back again and released the e-mails in which we see the back and forth and the person setting up the meeting saying it's information that is very sensitive and it is part of a russian government effort to help president trump, then candidate trump. >> well, what i take from that entire unfolding of events that she -- is that he probably didn't have good legal counsel at that point. in his attempt to be transparent, he basically put out different versions of what happened in the meeting, contradicting himself, essentially putting out evidence
that could be used against him, even if somebody else had it, he should probably just keep that close to the chest for the time being, and really, you just see a lot of this happening both with the president and now with donald trump jr., just acting against interest, because it seems to me that they're not fully aware of the potential legal implications of what is unfolding. i agree with mike that this e-mail alone wouldn't be enough to prosecute someone or convict someone, but it is just one bit that has come to the surface and we don't know what robert mueller has gathered in the course of his investigation. i'll also add here because it hasn't been mentioned that this also heats up the focus on a potential obstruction of justice inquiry, because there is now evidence that there could have been a self-interested motive on
the part of the president to want former director james comey to, quote, lift the cloud of russia. it wasn't -- i don't think it can -- it can no longer be brushed aside as just something that he wanted to go away because it was inconvenient. so, i think there's going to be a parallel intensification of the investigation on that front. and there are going to be multiple lines of inquiry that unfold from this, and even if this e-mail doesn't rise to the level of crime, we have to remember, you know al capone was ultimately convicted for tax evasion so what gets uncovered in the course of getting e-mail chains and uncovering calendars and schedules, we don't know what's going to come out of that. >> asha, you brought up james comey and he we brought it to you live here, his potential replacement, trump's pick to lead the fbi, christopher wray, he was on the hearing with the
senate judiciary committee, his confirmation hearing, he was asked about the e-mail chain involving donald trump jr. watch. >> if you believe that in light of the don junior e-mail and other allegations, that this whole thing about trump campaign and russia is a witch hunt? is that a fair description of what we're all dealing with in america? >> well, senator, i can't speak to the basis for those comments. i can tell you that my experience -- >> i'm asking you as the future fbi director, do you consider this endeavor a witch hunt. >> i do not consider director mueller to be on a witch hunt. >> can the president fire director mueller? does he have the authority and law to fire him? >> i don't know the law on that. >> can you get back to us and answer that question? >> i'd be happy to take a look at it. >> should donald trump jr. have taken that meeting? >> well, senator, hearing for the first time your drepgs of it. i gather that special counsel mueller -- >> if i got a call from somebody
saying the russian government wants to help lindsey graham get reelect, they've got dirt on lindsey graham's opponent, should i take that meeting? >> well, senator, i would think you'd want to consult with some good legal advisers before you did that. >> so the answer is, should i call the fbi? >> i think it would be wise to let the fbi -- >> you're going to be the director of the fbi, pal. so here's what i want you to tell every politician. if you get a call from somebody suggesting that a gordon governme -- a foreign governmentmen wants to p you by disparaging your opponent, tell us all to call the fbi. >> to the members of this committee, any threat or effort to interfere with our elections from any nation state or any non-state actor is the kind of thing the fbi would want to know. >> mike rogers, president trump is still, to this day, calling the russia probe a witch hunt. yet the man he's chosen here to lead the fbi says, no way.
cnn's reporting trump believes mueller is out to get him. do you consider that rational thinking at this point? >> well, i mean, look, i know bob mueller. i worked with bob mueller as chairman of the intelligence committee. i don't believe he is on a witch hunt by any stretch of the imagination. i think where the president gets himself in trouble -- >> why is the president continuing to call it a witch hunt? >> he just keeps talking about it in a way that is not helpful and i think that's what asha is pointing out. he's not doing himself any favors. and the more they talk about it, the more they are going to raise questions in an investigation of this nature and my argument is they should just stop talking about it. so i think bob mueller -- as a matter of fact, i believe in this case that the reason that these e-mails were leaked, which is a problem in and of itself, but that the fact that don junior ended up releasing these is this was all probably likely discovered through the course of the investigation and then
somehow that was leaked out when briefings took place or whatnot. this didn't just happen out of the blue and somebody didn't pick up the phone and have these particular e-mails. i just don't believe that. so it tells me -- >> why wouldn't they have been forthcoming with them previously? our reporting is that this is new to the senate and house committees who have been investigating the russia meddling in the election. >> yeah, well, and here's where the problem can start. and asha pointed this out as well. if don junior talked to the fbi and purposely said something different than what he's saying and now is proven in hezbollthe e-mails, he's in trouble. lying to the fbi is a crime. i argue all of them should stop talking about it. let the investigation take its course. it's clearly the investigation is working. these -- obviously, these e-mails were uncovered along the way. this is a long way from saying, we've got you, you're going to go to jail, we're charging you with x. long, long, long way from that.
as a matter of fact, you don't know if the woman made it up when she got there. you don't know any of that. that would all have to be part of the conversation. did you just say those things to get a meeting and again, the meeting in and of itself was not illegal. it was probably inappropriate, but it wasn't illegal by any stretch of the imagination. now you have to unwind all of that. that's why the investigation's important and why talking about it for every detail from the president's perspective is just a terrible idea. >> now the president is speaking out. he has been behind closed doors since he returned from his trip abroad but he sat down with christian broadcast network today. lest listen. >> you went to the g20 and you met for the first time, face-to-face, with vladimir putin, and george bush once said he stared into his soul and came away satisfied. what do you think? can we trust him? >> well, look, we had a good meeting. i think we had an excellent meeting. one thing we did is we have a cease-fire in a major part of syria where there was tremendous bedlam and tremendous killing.
and by the way, this is now four days, the cease-fire has held for four days. those cease-fires haven't held at all. that's because president putin and president trump made the deal, and it's held. now, i don't know what's going to happen. maybe as we're speaking, they start shooting again. but this has held, unlike all of the other cease-fires that didn't mean anything. so, that was a great thing that came out of that meeting. i think a lot of things came out of that meeting, but i do believe it's important to have a dialogue, and if you don't have a dialogue, it's a lot of problems for our country and for their country. i think we need dialogue. we need dialogue with everybody. >> sure. >> i had a great -- it was a great g20, you had 20 countries. i got along, i think, really fantastically with the head of every country. >> a sha, i want to get your reaction to what the president just said. >> one of the things that's really concerned me since these e-mails were released yesterday is that basically we can assume that the russian government has
had these e-mails or known the contents of them for the last year, and even if the president, if we give him the benefit of the doubt, that he had no idea that this meeting took place or that these exchanges happened, jared kushner did, and so did donald trump jr., even though he's not an official member of the administration, and jared, anyway, is a senior adviser to the president. so, again, you have this foreign influence, a sword of damacles hanging over people that could be revealed and used against them and i think it calls into question any kind of dialogue, as approximathe president menti deals or interests that we have with russia and whether they were truly only in the interests of the united states or potentially motivated by fear of disclosure -- of these -- this information being disclosed. i think it's problematic. >> asha and congressman rogers,
we'll leaf it there. thank you both. up next, i'll speak with one member of the congressional committee. plus any moment, we'll hear straight from the white house. in the latest press briefing. stand by. lity of a flare may weigh on your mind. thinking about what to avoid, where to go, and how to work around your uc. that's how i thought it had to be. but then i talked to my doctor about humira, and learned humira can help get and keep uc under control... when certain medications haven't worked well enough. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common and if you've had tb,
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>> thank you. >> our reports say the fbi did not know about this meeting. did your committee know about this meeting or these e-mails before donald trump jr. published them? >> i'm not sure what the committee might have known. it was news to me when the e-mail story broke yesterday. >> do you worry there may be more meetings or contacts that you haven't learned about or the special counsel doesn't know about yet? >> i think what i've learned in this investigation is that there's going to be surprises every day and every week. i think that's what the american public has seen. i'm often asked, are we connecting the dots. my answer is, we're connecting some dots, but mostly we're learning about more dots. it's part of a more complicated, larger pattern that we have to piece together so we can find out exactly what took place. >> last night, trump junior in his interview with fox news said if he could go back to june when this meeting happened, he would have done things differently. he played the political novice. will ignorance be a -- an acceptable defense? >> you know, i suspect at the
best, it's naivete. at worst, it's something along the lines of an element of a conspiracy. i mean, there are more questions being asked than answered here about this latest revelation. i mean, what else was said at the meeting? how many meetings were there? i mean, they denied existence of any of these things until recently. now they're acknowledging it. what else aren't they telling us? and why were there other campaign officials there, like manafort and kushner? i mean, they're clearly not having campaign people there to talk about adoptions out of russia. >> we know donald trump jr. went into this meeting thinking he was going to get dirt on hillary clinton, believing that there was a russian effort to help his father win the election, according to the e-mail chain that has been disclosed by donald trump jr. himself. you're a former criminal defense attorney. putting your legal hat on here, do you see anything illegal? >> well, first of all, in the simplest terms, there's campaign violations.
you're not allowed to take contributions from foreign sources, and you're not allowed to solicit information from those you know to be foreign. so, at the very least, there's campaign violations. though i think we're seeing in a larger here is a pattern of a conspiracy and a criminal violation. you know, i don't think anything's been proven yet in the american public needs to be cautioned. we're more at the beginning stages of the investigation than the later stages. but clearly the pattern here with other elements which mr. stone says he knew julian assange and he says he knew when the next attacks were going to take place. we have reports of setting up back channels with the kremlin out of the russian embassy by mr. kushner. clearly, again, these are the elements of a conspiracy at the very early stages. >> do you believe trump junior when he says his father knew nothing about this meeting? >> well, i hear how close he is to his family and his father.
those are his exact words. it defies credibility that something of this magnitude, that he was, as he said, just -- he's going to love to hear, especially late in the summer, isn't something he wouldn't share with a candidate who happens to be his father. >> now, jared kushner, you mentioned, is somebody who was at the meeting, who is still an active part of our executive branch. do you feel his security clearance should be suspended until the investigations are concluded? >> i believe there's enough questions about mr. kushner's role in this entire process for his clearance to be held back, and just to see where we go from here. remember, we're talking about elements of things that can be used against him. we can't have anybody who gets the information of this high a level facing the possibility of it being -- of some bad information being used against him. that's exactly why we have concerns about his security clearance. >> i want you to listen to the
leader of the republican party, also the leader of the house, house speaker paul ryan, commenting on these
e-mails. >> look, i'm not going to go into hypotheticals, only because i think it's important that we get to the bottom of all of this. as you all know, i supported bob mueller being appointed special counsel and i think we need to let him and his team and our investigators here do their jobs and follow these leads wherever they may go and follow the facts. >> congressman, do you think republicans are being too soft? >> i think the speaker should have taken another step. i think he should have said to the president of the united states, hey, if you think this is a witch hunt, tell your people to come forward and testify under oath. quit holding back. and by the way, quit calling it a witch hunt. make sure that we have the resources to go forward and have the president of the united states quit threatening to fire mr. mueller and his work. at the very least, it's an attempt at a chilling effect the
investigation involving the white house. >> now, president trump just said, we played it here, his interview with the cbn, christian broadcast network, he said vladimir putin would be happier if hillary clinton was president. what's your reaction? >> yeah, it's pretty clear in the public testimony from the intelligence committee that just the opposite is true. and it's pretty clear that the intelligence community unanimously has said it was the russians that hacked into the democratic process, and the first public hearing, mr. comey said it was the russians, and they did it to benefit president trump, candidate trump, and to hurt candidate hillary clinton. so, again, the president of the united states is defying the advice and the words of the intelligence community, however strong they might be. >> congressman quigley, thank you very much for your time. up next, some republican leaders are fed up with the constant swirl of scandal around the white house.
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the white house just can't seem to escape the circus-like atmosphere, the seemingly constant chaos surrounding the president described as frustrated and angry, a father desperate to defend and protect his son who's now under the political microscope. infighting and distress among white house staffers. some lawmakers saying they are reaching the breaking point. >> reporter: how much did all this russia controversy is overwhelming things here for you guys? >> sucking the oxygen out of the room. everybody knows that. >> reporter: and when it sucks the oxygen out of the room, does that mean that this agenda is essentially undercutting the republican agenda. >> sure. i think it's very difficult when you have this overwhelming
barrage of new information that unfolds every few days. i think it's obvious. >> with me now, mary catherine, cnn political commentator, conservative blogger and senior writer at the federalist. angela rye, senior political commentator and harlan hill, a top republican close to the west wing said this, "the white house is paralyzed right now." . >> the white house is not paralyzed. the spotligpresident just told t he's sitting in the oval office with a pen ready to sign health care reforl, tax reform, ready to do everything that he promised his constituents that he would do. >> but did you hear what senator mccain just said? they can't get those agenda items accomplished because of the russia cloud and the president's continued focus on the russia investigation. >> that is an excuse from an establishment republican that
has never liked president donald trump. that's what this is about. john mccain hasn't had a positive thing to say about this president in god knows how long. maybe ever. and so to say that they're even on the same team is a falsehood. >> mary catherine, your response. >> people who are right of center and trump voters, we would never have accepted the excuse from president obama that it was all congress's fault that he couldn't get something done. that would have been a dereliction of his duty. there is a rift in this party. he's actually not. he's not deeply -- >> the president can't write legislation. with all due respect, he can't write the legislation. he's sitting there waiting for it. >> it's such a copout to say that the president of the united states, who, by the way, touts himself as the greatest manager who is able to bring people together, who is able to make deals, that he doesn't have some responsibility in this as well and it would be easier if there was not all of this commotion. he has a point sometimes that some of it is more hype than the evidence is. he has a point that there are
people out there who want to delegitimize him. there is a rift in fathe republican party but that does not mean that he can not work in the ways that can be done. >> and he is. >> so, i think several things. one is i would just point to what two ethics lawyers and i spoke about this earlier, that both worked for george w. bush and barack obama have pointed to, and this issue is major. i would not say it's hype at all. this is actually a real issue. it's smoking gun as "the washington post" has called this particular issue with donald trump's son. it's no wonder that he's jumping to his defense, but as folks in the -- >> come on. >> yes, i'm coming on. as folks in the south tend to say, you know, a hit dog will holler. >> a republican, trey gowdy, in the front of the benghazi investigation and questioning of hillary clinton, so take that as you will. but he is frustrated.
listen to what he said about people not being on the same page. >> here we are beginning another week, this one in july, with a new revelation about russia and then the third, which is more of a medical issue, is the amnesia of people that are in the trump orbit. someone close to the president needs to get everyone connected with that campaign in a room and say, from the time you saw dr. zhivago until the moment you drank vodka with a guy named boris, you list every single one of those and we're going to turn them over to the special counsel because this drip, drip, drip is undermining the credibility of this administration. >> angela, to you first. do you give republicans credit for stepping up? >> i don't, because i think it's too little too late. they had the opportunity to do this during the campaign when folks first started flagging issues with trump's inability to be transparent. starting with the tax returns. this is not something that's new. he's demonstrated a propensity to either hide the ball or not
tell the truth or push, you know, push things off as not true, fake news, like all this is always somebody else's fault. he's constantly pointing the finger and never is owning up to and being responsible for his own actions. >> what do you think about trey gow gowdy said? >> don junior was on hannity last night and he said he would have done things differently. but at the end of the day, taking a meeting with someone isn't criminal. having a conversation with somebody that happens to be russian isn't treason. and so the allegations that are being bandied about, loosely, without any sbubstantiation as angela's just done here is reckless. >> i'm not being reckless and i'm going to take this moment to defend myself. what i'm saying to you is this is not just collusion. >> point to the crime, angela. >> i need you to chill out. the -- i need you to chill out. the conspiracy issue is what would be criminal. so if he conspired, as it appears to be the case in these
e-mails, if he conspired to get information from russian intelligence, which is how it was purported to be in the e-mails, with this particular potential government lawyer, that is collusion that rises to the level of conspiracy. it would be -- and it would run afoul of federal ethics laws, which is what these two ethics lawyers have said. that is the issue. i'm not up here putting together some case. these facts have to be presented to the special prosecutor. >> so we're not going to -- we're not here to litigate. >> i don't make up my own facts. that's what y'all do over there. >> i want to throw this into the mix. in terms of what we're discussing right now and the dynamics inside the white house that are trickling out into the ability for the president and the republicans to move forward on the agenda, i quote, trump is not surrounded himself with good strong smart political operatives. this is one source close to the white house, telling our sara murray, these guys have gone from never playing the game to walking into the major leagues and they make mistakes all the time. is that what's going on here? do you think, mary catherine?
>> i do think there's some of that involved and voters voted for something radically different on purpose but when you get radically different, you get people who don't know, actually, maybe how to usher some things through congress and that is part of what we're seeing going on here. but when it comes to, the distinction about whether this is an illegal matter, and what donald trump jr. did was legal is important. and whether that's part of the -- of mueller's investigation, but the standard should not be that everything that's not illegal is okay. and that is not an argument that i would accept from the other side either. like there's a spectrum here. and i do think we've turned a corner on the actual evidence of this willingness to work with someone who was an ally of the russian government, but the problem, again, with the hype, as i was talking about, angela earlier, because everything has been so hyped and because everything has been called treason or has been called impeachable or the biggest bombshell, the audience you're talking to, the american voters actually are not sure whether to believe something is new
evidence that is really credible. because everything's been sold that way. >> the president is calling the whole russia investigation, this latest story with trump junior, b.s. he believes mueller is out to get him. >> look, what i have an issue with is the inconsistent application of outrage, not only in the media but on the left. because the dnc and staffers on the hillary clinton campaign went to the ukrainian embassy in washington, d.c before the election and got evidence that was damaging to the trump campaign at the time. so i take issue -- and this has been widely report bid "the new york times," "the washington post," all kinds of mainstream media outlets. why are we outraged when there's this tenuous allegation that trump's son met with some russian lawyer that doesn't have any direct ties to the russian government. but when the hillary clinton campaign actually goes to the ukrainian embassy and sits down with their officials and gets intelligence. >> the reporting is not that it
was the hillary clinton campaign. it was the dnc. >> i said that. >> just a minute. just a minute, though, because you're talking about the ukrainian government versus the russian government. that in itself is a distinction. the intelligence community also has talked about the russian, specifically, having an effort, a coordinated, sophisticated effort to hack the american election system. that's another point. let me follow up with the fact that clinton is not president right now. donald trump is the president of the u.s. >> so it's okay for the ukrainians. >> i'm not saying it's okay. >> you're making excuses for it. >> i think she was just trying to make sure you knew fact pattern. >> i laid it down. the dnc and the hillary clinton staffer. that's what i said. >> that is not. >> i did. roll the tape. >> that's not what she said. >> that's not the fact. it was not hillary clinton going to the embassy. >> i didn't say that. i said a staffer. >> okay. go ahead. >> i think the issue is that we cannot act as we often do as if meeting with a foreign government for this kind of research is unprecedented when
it is not. we should deal with the facts at hand and this has happened in a different way with this other campaign. >> christopher wray, who was at the hearing today, for his nomination to be the fbi director was asked if he will look into that. he said he will be happy to. do you have anything more to say on that front, angela. >> i think it's all been said and i look forward to there being a clear, concise investigation, both from the house and the senate and also to the special prosecutor doing what he needs to do because i think the smoking gun is there at this point. >> all right. thank you all for being here with us. thank you all. just in, president trump weighing in on what happens if republicans don't pass a health care bill. plus, the white house briefing, in full, just moments away. you do all this research on a perfect car, then smash it into a tree.
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. here's the cnn newsroom and the white house press briefing just ended. here's sarah huckabee sanders. >> i'll take your questions. phil? >> sarah, thanks. has president trump had any [ audio difficulties ] >> obviously some technical difficulties. we'll take a quick break. we'll get it right and come back. but who takes care of mom? office depot/office max. this week, get this ream of paper for just one cent after rewards. ♪ taking care of business.
involved in helping donald trump jr. craft his response ? >> i'm not sure of those communications. i know they've spoken some in the last few days, but i don't have any details. i just don't know the answer to that, phil. >> is that not true? >> i'm telling you i'm not sure. i don't know the answer. i'll have to check and let you know. matthew? >> you opened today talking about the strong character and integrity of christopher wray. he said during the hearing today that he does not consider mueller's probe to be a witch hunt, neither does the justice department, so why does the president continue to call it a witch hunt, speesespecially now there's hard evidence released by his own son showing that russia sought to interfere in the election? >> i think the president made his position clear on that, and it certainly has not changed. >> do you know why he calls it a witch hunt? >> because the president knows
very specifically any action or inaction that he's taken, so i think that's pretty clear. >> does that include members of his campaign? >> look, i think we've been extremely clear, and i know don jr. was and discussed it at length last night, as did the president's personal counsel over the last couple of days and have walked through that very detailed. i think if there's been any evidence of collusion in 2016 that's come out at all or been discussed that's actually happened, it would be between the dnc and the ukranian government. i don't often quote the "new york times," but even one of their reporters tweeted earlier today that while this example provides evidence of collusion, quote, cooperation was between dnc officials and officials of the ukranian government, not just some associate. ukranian actions to coordinate with the dnc was actually successful, unlike anything shown by don jr.'s e-mails. information passed from the dnc to the ukranian government
directly targeted members of the trump campaign in an attempt to undermine it. and that was just ukraine. the other big news was the foreign intelligence dossier's that the president's political opponents funded and disst disseminated widely and the only collusion i've seen, and that's certainly been proven, would be between those people. >> does the president work through chains that senate republicans have made in the health care bill on taxes and if so, why? >> i haven't talked about the specific breakdown of those three things. i think the president from day one has been very clear on his priorities when it comes to the lej lej legislation. >> the tax increases that republicans have criticized since their enactment, does the bill pledge to refute the affordable care act when there
are foundational tax increases of that very law? >> i'm not sure on that specific piece, but i do know, again, that the president is fully committed to repealing and replacing obamacare. >> let me just ask you one question. are those within the administration who have had to subsequently admit or concede contacts with russians, jared kushner, the attorney general and now don jr. can you explain why there is this plague of amnesia that affects all these people associated with the campaign and one country and one country only? >> look, i think if you want to talk about having relationships with russia, i would look no further than the clintons. bill clinton was paid half a million dollars to give a speech to a russian bank. hillary clinton allowed o
one-fifth of the uranium reserve to be sold to russia. the clintons' brother lobbied against a sanctions bank and failed to report it. i think if there is discussions with the russians, it would be with the clintons. >> i'm just trying to get your explanation as to why so many people can't remember contacts with one nation and the inquiries lead them to then remember and subsequently disclose them. what accounts for this plague of amnesia? >> every day we try to give you the most accurate account that we have and allow it to be as transparent as possible with all committees and anybody invest nd this matter. >> is anybody trying not to be transparent? >> not at all. our goal is to be as transparent
as humanly possible and put every bit of information we have at the forefront and willing to cooperate with anybody that is looking into the matter. >> when it's not at the foreprunfor forefront whr forefront, when it has to be conceded and clarification forms of jared kushner have to be amended, how is that being at the forefront of transparency. >> again, every question that is asked, we try to give you the best information that we have and try to give you as full and accurate information at all times. >> and you've done that in this case? >> absolutely. sdp >> just so we're on the same page and you've had time to look into these various meetings, are there any other additional meetings members of the campaign have had, advisers to the campaign have had during the campaign with any russian nationals, members of the campaign or advisers to the
campaign? anything else that's come to light that we should know about. >> not that i'm aware of. >> you've been doing a lot of briefings lately. will you continue doing the briefings or can we expect sean to be doing any briefings in the future? >> you know, i think we're all just trying to do the very best job we can every day, and sometimes it may be me, sometimes it may be sean. dave? >> in the meeting with the advisory board, someone tweeted out a picture of the meeting the other day, and the picture showed faith leaders laying their hands on the president as they were praying, and i think there was an inference or implication from that photo coverage that they were praying for him because of a political crisis. can you explain a little bit more about how the meeting came about and what it meant to the president to have them there? >> the idea that somebody would only pray when they're in crisis, i think, makes you miss the entire point of what prayer is about. you should do that every day, and i think