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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  July 12, 2017 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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megan's smile is getting a lot because she uses act® mouthwash. act® strengthens enamel, protects teeth from harmful acids, and helps prevent cavities. go beyond brushing with act®. this is cnn breaking news. this is a cnn special report. white house in crisis. breaking tonight. president trump is on his way to paris right now leaving behind a white house rocked by bomb shell revelations on russia's election medaling. >> the president has finally spoken out about his son's embrace of a russian offer to provide negative information on hillary clinton. here's what we know at this hour. >> after keeping a low profile
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for days, he will take questions in paris tomorrow. he has gone public saying he didn't know about a meeting between his son and a russian lawyer. he said quote many people would have taken that meeting. they describe the white house as paralyzed and various administration figures now penetrating the innercircle following the revelations about his direct russian contacts. they insist the white houseperf. the president's son in law was also at donald jr.'s meeting with the rushz lawyer and saying kushner down played this meeting informing the president it would not cause a problem for the administration. and cnn has exclusive video of donald trump interacting years earlier with the it billionaire father and son named in the
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emails. the trumps and those russians tied to donald jr.'s meeting. >> we're covering all the angles with our team of experts and reporters. certainly a lot of news today. you almost forget that the new fbi director had his conformation hearings today. you had really the president's first defense for this meeting saying in his words in an interview with roiters that many would take this meeting and yet hours later his fbi director said listen, if russian government is offering information on your opponent, you should report that to the fbi. >> he said yeah, you should probably alert the fbi. he was very clear in this is a very serious matter when a foreign adversary wants to take a meeting with you and according to the emails offering incriminating information on
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your part. >> and lindsey graham from south carolina. how did you take hearing that defense from donald trump in effect? yesterday the whole thing was he's got to stay out of it, he's only going to tweet support for his son. >> i think he listened to his lawyers for a day and then he decided to go out and defend his son. it is his son afterall and i was talking to somebody who talks to the president quite frequently today and he said look, the president, his frame of mind is that it has always been. this is a media exercise, this is a media creation. this is the media trying to create a conspiracy that doesn't exist and that he also believes he needs to fight back, punch back. this is what he's always done and that he still believes in the end the special counsel, mueller will be out to get him. >> interesting. and you look at the new york
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times reporting about jared kushner. it reads mr. kushner omitted significant details according to two people briefed on the exchange. they said mr. kushner informed the president he had met with the russian foreign national and while he had to report the name, it would not cause a problem for the administration. now, according to gloria's reporting, this was discovered. the email chain was discovered june 21st, i believe. even if at first when he got the email, if he didn't scroll all the way down, one would think he would read the whole email exchange then and it seemed as though he wasn't totally forthcoming about this. >> the email in question actually has a subject line that says russia, clinton. it's problematic. and i think a lot of reasonable people would say i don't read all the emails and don't get to the bottom of every email chain that comes on my iphone.
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but -- >> but when there's an fbi investigation and you discover this email -- >> and according to the people i've talked to, he was aware of this email being discovered by his legal team as early as early june and so june 21st is when they file the updated sf 86 form. to get his security clearance. that's when he officially tells the fbi he's acknowledging this meeting. so does he have the ability to tell the president? there's legal issues here. is it proper for kushner to actually tell the president about this? would it come across -- >> would it be better to have plausible deniability? >> would it be better for his lawyer to talk to the president's lawyer because you don't want the special counsel to think you're trying to align stories. so there's all kinds of issues
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that come up. >> this is a story coming from inside the white house. someone saying that kushner deliberately played down a meeting, said rirtsds not going to cause a problem for the administration when in fact it did. there's internal sniping going on inside the administration over this meeting. >> clearly there is and clearly there's mixed stories. we forget there were all kinds of denials and down playing attempts. and everybody was in the room except for the president. and how do you forget about that part too if you're trying to forget what the emails mean to make sure you're in compliance with something you're not in compliance about? so there's all those stages we can't discount where they have to explain away the latest phase? it's out in the open because don jr. put it out himself. >> the essential question when we gather around this table.
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is this something that has captured the attention of a significant number of republicans beyond that core group we always hear, frankly. based on the numbers, not really. >> no one's running away and saying i can't support this president anymore. largely because of their own internal politics back home. you do hear voices of concern. they -- >> inappropriate. >> and they say look, this is something the special counsel will investigate, the house and senate intelligence committee will investigate and it's very clear, gym, they're doing everything -- in particular trying to run away from the story and every single time this comes up, they point to the investigation. paul ryan punted when he had an opportunity to talk about don jr. the majority leader punted as well. they're not going to officially
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run away from him unless -- >> interesting thing is it's not the same inside the white house. certainly reporters like us who are calling over there, trying to figure out what is the truth and you can see there's a different versions. everyone knows and they're sniping at each other and blaming each other. this is what's happening inside the white house. they all have a story to tell. >> i wouldn't get to what jay told jake tapper. this is what he told jake tanner last night. >> when did president trump find out about this meeting, the full story of this meeting? >> the full story -- >> the emails -- >> you're talking very recently and i'm not going to give you the nature of the conversation. it was a conversation between his lawyer sdwhz president very, very recently. he wasn't aware -- >> today? yesterday? >> no. it started coming out over the weekend. so within that time frame.
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>> within the time frame -- >> you have been reporting on -- >> i think it's not mutually exclusive that jared kushner -- on the new york times reporting that jared kushner might have given him a heads up and might have been told not to give them details and that the president was informed of the details later on. i mean that's what -- we don't know the answer to this. we don't know what the president knew and when he knew it to rephrase the howard baker question. we don't know at this point. >> but how much is this a credibility issue for the white house now? we hear what they say, what don jr. says, what sarah huckabee sanders says. >> she says it's a credibility problem for the media. >> let's state the fact openly.
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senate and house intelligence committees with republicans and democrats on board and the fbi and the special counsel. you have multiple bodies and nay are going down this path. >> no absalutely. and you have more reporting behind the scenes what's going on particularly as it pertains to jared. >> everyone seems to have a different version of the story and the question of why this story went out the way it did. the fact incorrect statement was issued in the name is of donald trump jr. on saturday -- a misleading statement. they had to quickly correct. this is malpractice of public relations 101. >> do they just not think it will ever come out in the media -- >> public relations people get together and try to come up with
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a statement they believe will do the least harm and what they didn't realize is this thing would unspool itself. >> and they thought they could throw sand in the eyes of the media and the story would shift and the media would drop the story and move on to the next ning. and so much of pivotal issues. you don't forget the chapters to that point and to the republican party, i agree there's not a lot of open shifts happening but you are hearing people say of course we're going to bring don jr. in. i would be surprised if he didn't testify and you're hearing a lot of them, r republicans too. and you don't usually hear republicans insisting on that. because --
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>> but beyond pr and lawyers, there is an essential men dasty about the white house story line as it has been on other issues. the first statement said it was about adoption of wrugz children when we know that not to be true. >> the instinct at the white house which is to not tell the full truth, to mislead, we saw it repeatedly. we actually watched it happen. >> i know law enforcement community we talk with say there is a serious concern there could be vulnerability for blackmail and that type of thing. the emails have existed for over a year and there is a repeated denial of don jr. to -- >> sally yates, acting attorney general said her concern about michael flynn not being forthcoming is he would be open to blackmail by the rushzs.
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is it not a reasonable question to ask does a kushner or donald trump jr. open himself up? and i know we were talking about a series of meetings to this point it's one meeting that has been lied about in effect. is blackmail a fair question? >> it's not just one meeting. it's been several meetings kushner's been involved with. that have been -- and the question is -- even if you want to say okay. those were mistakes, it's a judgment call. and the ranking democrat brought up yesterday he believed this meeting was potentially something that could be held over to the president, compromised information and could presumably influence the president's viewpoint on key policy decisions and that's one of the things and also going to back to the notion of
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credibility. when they come and they have to testify under oath, that is completely different. >> this is the third time jared kushner has had to update his form. he's seeking a permanent security clearance to represent the country. that is an extraordinary thing. >> the overall strategy here that i can gleam from the white house is when you can't argue the facts you have to discredit the messenger. because there's probably a presumption there are other shoes to drop, other shoes to drop. then if you discredit the mes g messengers enough, then when they drop, you don't have to believe them. >> don jr. was the messenger. that's why they had to change the story until he released the emails. >> you have have to stick to that one and that's the problem is they've shifted too many
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times. >> and not just the media. there's a lot of messengers they're willing to aim fire at. stay there. just ahead four contradictive stories from the white house in just the past five days. a closer look at how this administration has repeatedly changed its tune on the meeting with donald trump jr. along with other top officials and a russian lawyer. fothere's a seriousy boomers virus out there that's been almost forgotten. it's hepatitis c. one in 30 boomers has hep c, yet most don't even know it. because it can hide in your body for years without symptoms, and it's not tested for in routine blood work. the cdc recommends all baby boomers get tested.
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our breaking news, president trump is plying to paris after iz son's embrace to provide dirt on hillary clinton. the president says he only learned about the meeting days ago. >> president trump gave a low key response to the stung developments involving his son's emails and meeting with a russian lawyer. >> at the white house. so president trump is leaving behind a white house said to be in a state of paralysis. >> you know the president might be inroute to paris right now but this white house really still feeling the after efeks and after shocks that donald trump jr. met with that russian lawyer. an official here is saying yet another week lost when it comes to advancing the president's agen agenda. another official saying this white house is in dire need of
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fresh talent and another saying it's gotten to the point where some of the family members are now turning against the each other. so yes the white house in the case of one official that this white house is paralyzed. but on the flip side we know chief of staff reince priebus has been telling them to keep focussed and really tune out the noise. we know some of the staffers here are ready for a fight. they're staying strong and they believe that donald trump jr. is really a scapegoat in this. so mixed emotions. but yes, paralyzed is the word here at the white house. pamela. >> live from the white house. it is too easy to get lost in the headlines of the day but tonight we want to highlight the changing stories coming from the white house in just the past five days. five days, four contradictory stories. there has been no evidence of collusion or cooperation what's
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ever. donald trump jr. had gone further saying he had set up no meetings at all, even dismissing accusations at all. >> we hear experts. his house cat at home once said this is what's happening with the russians. i don't mind a fair fight but the perpetuating of that kind of nonsense to gain political capital is just out dstz rarage. >> confronted by the new york times with news of a previously undisclosed meeting, donald trump jr. released a statement admitting that meeting did take place. he described it as short and introductory. saying we primarily discussed a program about the adoption of russian children. but by sunday, after the new york times reported trump
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accepted the meetding after learning the lawyer might have information damaging to hillary clinton. don jr. saying it was with quote an individual who i was told might have information helpful to the campaign. story number three. confronted by the new york times of an email. the president's son tweeted out a copy of the email itself and it delirved an entirely new account, demonstrating in black and white that it was set up with the understanding that the russians were offering quote official documents and information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia and would be very useful to your father, end quote. heads this is obviously very high level and sensitive information but part of russia and its government's support for mr. trump. to which the president's son
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responded if it's what you say, i love it, especially later in the summer. that is story number four. 120 hours, four conflicting accounts, one white house. >> let's bring in our panel to talk about these changing stories you just laid out. dwlor gloria, when you look at that, they have said look, from the get go you should turn over the email exchange, be transparent. >> tray gouty, lindsey graham, you can go down the list. they're not taking the next step but they are saying this is something you ought not to do and what you ought to do is call the fbi or just not have this meeting lat and they are clearly not buying the notion that he was naive or had never been involved in politics before. i think what they're saying is if you're an american citizen, you ought to know dealing with
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the russian on election related issues is probably not a great idea. >> exactly. shifting explanations in great detail and that's probably causing the most concern from republicans. i spoke to a number of them today and what they're particularly frustrated with. not to mention the merits of the meeting, but the fact that the white house cannot keep its stories straight and provides one distraction after another at a time when the party is trying to do something right now, health care and their white house is overwhelmed by this growi growing crisis. >> and that's why they're not answering questions. >> so this is -- five stories in -- four stories in five days. >> it's also a judgment question
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because every time you have one of these things happen you think let's extrapolate that and see what happens and the more you have to ask what are they actually really meaning at any juncture and at what point do you have the full truth? and he would have done it. who's in control. who's the captain of the ship when it comes to the messaging. how involved was the president? >> we're told the president approved of that message but he signed off on it, the statement issued by donald trump jr. and the interesting thing -- the it saturday statement. and the interesting thing is behind the scenes, people could see this train wreck happening. they knew this email existed. they knew that statement was misleading. they knew the idea of adoptions really meant russian sanctions and that's really what this was about. and nobody really stood up to try to stop it and so what's
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happened now in the last couple days, you see this hunger game situation where everybody's in it for themselves trying to figure out whose rrb to blame. they're blaming each other. it's a very ugly situation because exactly what you're describing where people don't trust how they arrived at this. >> and who controls the message? the president of the united states. >> and he's headed overseas to paris. he'll be taking reporter's questions. >> president trump speaking out and coming to his son's defense.
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. behind what a top republican close to the west wing call as paralyzed white house. the president is described as furious and frustrated by the it release of emails involving a russian lawyer and members of his family and presidential campaign. >> investigating russia's
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interference are asking for information and testimony from the participants in that meeting. joining us now is democratic congressman of california. he's a member of the judiciary and intelligence committees and a former prosecutor. so the president today interviewed just today said that he was unaware of donald trump jr.'s meeting with this russian lawyer, though his son in law, also president and at the time paul manafort and the fact this meeting took place one floor below the president's office. do you believe that? >> hard to believe. it's worth us pursuing and getting a final answer on that. but you think about father/son relationship. we've seen those who are close and by both of their own admission, they're very close so hard to imagine he wasn't awarb of what was going on. >> the president also told roiters today he wasn't fault his son for having the meeting. he was quoted as saying many
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people would have held that meeting. do you buy that? a meeting with someone purportedly bringing information from the russian government damaging to your political opone instant. >> i don't buy it. his own nominee, christopher ray, said that would be inappropriate. and you should go to the fbi. that's not what they did. what we're really seeing here is everything's coming into focus now. a lot of the other evidence that's been out there where they have offered innocent explanations, the trump campaign, now with this meetingputing everything else into context, it looks like they were willing to work with the russians. >> the folk 08s thcus of this ms been almost entirely on donald trump jr., the president's son, however, jared kushner was also present at that meeting. is that a line of investigation for the house intelligence committee?
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>> it is and for this simple reason we want to probe all relevant documents. for me it's important because when you're running a campaign and want to know what's important to you, look at hour a person spends their time. these are principals of the campaign sdwoo sugge campaign. and to suggest they were just taking walk ins and bringing three principals to sit down with them, that doesn't make much sense. >> these are busy people as they often would say. there's an interesting point here because sally yates who was fired as we remember as the acting fbi director just after following through on the flynn investigation. at the time she said one reason she was concerned was because flynn had lied about his contacts with the russians and because of that was vulnerable to blackmail. to -- do you have the same concern for jared kushner or
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donald trump jr.? >> if this was truly the russian government seeking, as the email said, now they want to you to take that meeting, knows what happened and this is to gather compromising information on individuals and use it when it can effect their agenda. and that's the compromise where they put you in extortion position. either you work for us, help us or we'll expose you. so it's still too early to tell if that's what they were doing but if this was the russian government, more than the evidence now. that would be embarrassing and damaging to the trump campaign. >> did it strike you the specificness of the email. it said this is incriminating evidence about hillary clinton from the russian government, which, by the way wants to help your father win. and of course donald trump jr.'s
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response was i love it. that was from the way russia operates. was that intentionally explicit, do you think? >> again too early but it was direct and what really bothered me was how nonchalant donald trump jr. was about that. he wasn't shocked there was information about russia which raises the question had he known from prior conversations that there was an effort out there by russia to seek information? and then the willi ingness to proceed. let's do a phone call immediately. that really bothered me. we know that in the russian play book generally they do like to gather compromising information on people that they're meeting with. >> so this is the first meeting where we have seen evidence in black and white, where we know the function of the meeting. we know there are other meetings
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that took place both in the states and europe between trump advisors and russians known to u.s. intelligence or russian officials. what is the stats into the impetus for those other meet shz? >> so far over the past few months, there's been so much public evidence. so carter page, who just a few weeks after this meeting goes over to moscow and they said well, he was just going over there to give a speech. now that you understand what this meeting was about, the carter page trip to moscow seems a lot less innocent than they explained. the way i look at this is you get a vision test and they show you lens one and lens two and they say is it clearer or blurrier? this evidence just made our investigation, i think, a lot clearer. >> just to be clear, sally yates, acting attorney general. the president was given yet another opportunity to answer
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the most basic question of this investigation. is it clear to you, mr. president that russia interfered? and on the same day his own fbi director like all the senior advisors said this is grave threat. but the president said something happened and we have to find out what it is. is that remarkable to you? >> yeah, we we -- know what it is. it was ordered by putin. donald trump was the preferred candidate and it was a multifaceted campaign and the fact he can't acknowledge that, keeps us from moving forward. i've called for an independent commission to make this a lot less partisan but it's very hard to see that through and have a republican members give support to it and i think lot of that is because the president won't acknowledge that. >> right. thanks very much for joining us
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. welcome back tonight. investigators are looking at ties between two very wealthy families, the trumps and russians linked to donald trump jr.'s meeting with a russian lawyer. >> they have learned of donald trump meeting with a father and son who last year allegedly helped to pasalong damaging information from the russian government to donald trump jr. through an intermediary. it's a fresh look inside their relationship just as it was beginning. the behind the scenes video shows then businessman in las vegas in 2013. at several events during the weekend of the miss u.s.a. pageanthunging out with the men now at the center of the
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controversy. the pop singer and his father, a real estate developer in russia were helping trump hold his miss universe pageant in moscow later that year. in the video, trump is seen having video with them, along with their publicist, rob goldstone, seen here leaning over to talk with mr. trump. and don jr. released emails from goldstone, pitching a meeting between a president's son and a russian lawyer, promising to deliver damaging information on hillary clinton provided by the russian government. and seen here told goldstone toset up the meeting, kwoelt this is obviously very high level and sensitive information but it's part of russia and it's government's support of mr. trump. the exclusive footage provides a
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closer look at the friendship of the two families and could help explain the willingness to take the meeting explained by goldstone. he can be heard boasting about his work on the miss universe pageant. the next day in front of reporters, trump spoke grandly about the promise of taking miss universe to russia. trump predicting his pageant could even bring russia and the u.s. closer. investigators plan to examine the trump tower meeting and the emails. on fox news tuesday, donald trump jr., who does not appear in the twept 13 video said he had limited knowledge of the russian family.
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>> i met once or twice and maintained a casual relationship, and talked about deals and they didn't go anywhere. >> reporter: but new vid so i and others show the president's own connections. and 2013 trump appeared in one of the music videos. >> you're just another pretty face. i'm really tired of you. you're fired. >> reporter: and wished him happy birthday in a video posted on amin's instagram. on new day their lawyers said the emails don't add up. >> the reality is if there was something important he wanted to communicate to the trump campaign, i suspect he could have called mr. trump directly, as ofopposed to his pop son bei the intermediary. >> and they spoke out and said he doesn't personally know don
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jr., saying it was quote a tall tale that goldstone asked trump jr. asked him to communicate about dirt on hillary clinton. >> and along with the former cia chief of russia operations. and part of the world defense had been we don't know where this meeting is coming from. but you see great familiarity with this very powerful russian oligarch and his son who were essential in setting up the meeting. >> and all along they've been telling us there were no contacts. in this particular case we've had the story change three times over the weekend. this story may change again before we finally figure out what actually happened in that meeting. were there any other meetings that maybe were follow ups we haven't learned about yet. so there's a lot of reporting
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that needs to be done. was this a dangal? were there other dangales being made by the russians? >> and do you see these emails or the meeting as a possible trial balloon to gauge interests from the trump campaign? jim and i were talking about how it struck us how explicit the email was laying out this is a russian government effort to support the trump campaign. what is your sense on this? >> i think as you step back and take a look at the wide range of what russia was up to in the lead up to this, we know, we've already established firmly that they had a propaganda campaign going on, an influence operation going on. we know they were hacking into dnc and other data bases and part of this overall covert measures plan that the russian intelligence services put together was also probing to find out whether or not there was anybody in the trump team,
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the trump campaign, the close noor candidate the better to see whether anybody there would be willing to have that initial convrshation. would you be interested in just talking about it? i think that was part of the plan to get the human element in there. >> really quickly from your expertise would it be something the russians would do to have a long game where this would be in the works years before? >> well, what the russians are extremely good at, especially if you're in moscow as trump was and others were, it's really not that different from the cold war days from the soviet union where you have the successor to the kgb has the entire place wired for sound. collection will happen on you. they will get information on you. so they'll play a long game because you never know when the information you'll collect will come in handy. >> and we'll never know how
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russia used fake news to get fake stories particularly to vulnerable districts during the election. what's interrsing is that hasn't stopped. they noted what has been a dormant account, called cyber berkut. and it's been tweeting out a lot of the story line of the clintons and ukrain. but it's worth noting this cyber activity by russia has not stopped at all. >> actually it's interesting. if you look at some of the site said created, they maintain the property but for some reason some of them shut down in early january. a lot of them shut down for reasons we don't understand. if you look at the sites, that vithe last headline from january 6th. it just went dormnt as if the russians had to, just like our
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government they have priorities and their priorities maybe shifted to europe. so they put their resourceinize to elections that were going to be taking place in i upper. but they kept the property, the real estate so they can turn it back on when it become as priority to again exert >> that's what we're hearing now, cyber activity coming, and upcoming elections. in a moment our correspondents are going to look ahead. >> what's next in the russian meddling investigation and for the trump white house. . not at night. only tempur-breeze® mattresses use an integrated system of technologies to keep you cool while you sleep. so you wake up feeling powerful. save up to $500 on select tempur-breeze® mattress sets. find the breeze that's right for you at tempurpedic.com
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megan's smile is getting a lot because she uses act® mouthwash. act® strengthens enamel, protects teeth from harmful acids, and helps prevent cavities. go beyond brushing with act®. our breaking news, president trump heading to france leaving behind the problems of the russia meddling investigation for a time. >> our correspondents and analysts are back to give us their final thoughts and look ahead to where the story goes from here. that is of course the big question. evan, we've had these moments of crisis before for the white house. is this any different, in your view? >> well, i mean, i think it is different because it has forced them off of their talking points that they have had now for several months. i think one of the most interesting things now is whether the president starts listening to the professional people around him, his lawyers and people who have really tried to make sure that he's not just
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flying by the seat of his pants. that's going to be key as he faces down this investigation. >> legally, too. >> what's your focus going forward? >> the question is at this point the surrogates continue to listen to trump's advice on what to do. and if not, do they each go their own direction? at that point who starts talking to the committees, who starts talking to mueller and do they get into conflict with each other. we could see this open up in new ways because this is now happened. >> gloria? >> i want to know what is fap happened to general flynn, by the way, and whether he starts cooperating with the special counsel. and we're not going to learn anything about the special counsel until his job is done. but when people have conflicts, as they will in this story, they tend to divide and take sides. and, so, there may be other conversations we learn about, other connections with the russians that we learn about. and, of course, i want to know what the president knew. >> one big question is going to be whether or not paul manafort appears in a public session
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before the senate judiciary committee next week. the chairman of that committee chuck grassley telling us earlier today he does want to appear in a public session. interesting thing, he wants to make sure he's not conflicting with bob mueller's investigation. if he does not appear it's because bob mueller doesn't want him to. >> he was in that meeting with the russian lawyer as well. >> thank you so much for joining us. >> the news continues on cnn right after this short break. ! [ barks ] walter! stop suffering with hot ac. cool it yourself with a/c pro. in just 3 easy steps, enjoy the comfort of 2 times the cooling boosters from the #1 selling coldest air. nothing cools like a/c pro.
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good evening. a lot happening tonight including exclusive new video only on cnn of donald trump long before he decided to run for president with the fa and son music promoter who brokered the infamous meeting with donald trump and the attorney. trump is headed to paris. his mood one of frustration and fury, at time defiance. he spent the last few days hunkered down in the office, watching a lot of television news coverage. that is when he's not on twitter denying that he's doing just that. quote, the white house is functioning perfectly, focused on health care, tax cut reform and many other things. i have very little time for watching tv. he certainly watched donald trump, jr. on fox and was up this morning early tweeting about it. quote, my son donald did a good job last night. he was open, transparent and innocent. this is the greatest witch hunt in political history. sad.

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