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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  July 13, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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of your back pain?trol new icyhot lidocaine patch. desensitizes aggravated nerves with the max strength lidocaine available. new icyhot lidocaine patch. 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 meddling, and ties to his campaign. i'm pamela brown. >> and i'm jim sciutto. 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 for days, the president will take questions in paris tomorrow. tonight he has gone public, saying he didn't know about the meeting between his son and a russian lawyer until just a couple of days ago.
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he tells reuters that he doesn't blame donald jr., saying, quote, many people would have taken that meeting. a top republican source describes the white house as paralyzed and various administration figures now in chaos penetrating the inner circle following the revelations about his direct russian contacts. they insist the white house is quote functioning perfectly. the president's son in law was also at donald jr.'s meeting with the russian lawyer, and "the new york times" cites sources as saying kushner downplayed this meeting, omitting details and informing the president that 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 donald jr.'s e-mails as investigators examine the links between the two wealthy families, the trumps and the russians tied to donald jr.'s meeting. >> we're covering all the angles with our team of experts and reporters.
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pamela, certainly a lot of news today. you almost forget that the president's new fbi director had his confirmation hearing today. what is interesting, you had really the president's first defense for this meeting saying in his words in an interview with reuters 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. >> right. he first said look, he should seek legal counsel before taking a meeting like that. and then when asked a follow-up question by a senator, 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 your opponent. >> and lindsey graham from south carolina. gloria, how did you take that,
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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. he was right in the middle of it today. >> 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, after all. 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 as 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 times reporting about jared kushner. it reads mr. kushner omitted played down the significance of the meeting and omitted significant details according to
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two people who were 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 e-mail exchange was discovered in june, i believe june 21st is the reporting. 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 when he discovered it in june, and yet it seems he wasn't totally forth coming with the president about this. >> the meeting also, the e-mail in question actually had a subject line that says "russia-clinton." it's problematic, even if you didn't read the whole thing. 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. but -- >> you don't? 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
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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. this is the form to get his security clearance. that's when he officially tells the fbi he's acknowledging this meeting. so the question then becomes does he have the ability to tell the president? there's also some legal issues here. if the investigation is ongoing, 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, for instance, because you don't want the special counsel to think that perhaps you were trying to align stories or anything like that. so there's all kinds of issues that come up. >> even before you get to the legal issues, this is a story coming from inside the white house. someone saying that kushner deliberately played down a
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meeting, said it's 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 everything else like that. and of course there is also the element that everybody was in that room except for the president pretty much. how do you figure out after the fact what the e-mails mean as you're refiling your forms to make sure you're in compliance with something you weren't in compliance before which is just basic disclosure? 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. >> manu, you hit on the essential question when we gather around this table. is this something that has captured the attention of a significant number of republicans beyond that core group we always hear, frankly.
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the grahams and the mccains and the sasses of the world. 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. people say it's problematic. >> inappropriate. >> 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, jim, that they are doing everything in the leadership in particular trying to run away from this 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. yesterday when i asked mitch mcconnell, the majority leader, he punted as well. they're not going to officially run away from him unless -- there is an indictment. >> the interesting thing, it's not the same inside the white house. certainly reporters like us who
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are calling over there, trying to figure out what is the truth and you can see that from this "new york times" story there is different versions of truth being bandied about. 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 want to actually get to what he told jake tapper 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 lawyers and the president very, very recently. he wasn't aware -- >> today? yesterday? >> no. it started coming out over the weekend. the situation started coming out over the weekend. so within that time frame. >> within the time frame -- >> on that note, gloria, you have some reporting on --
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>> well, look, 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 of some kind and might have been told not to give him details. we have no idea. 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. we hear what don jr. says, what sarah huckabee sanders says. >> sarah huckabee sanders says it's actually a credibility problem for media, according to them. >> we had sebastian gorka speak to anderson tonight as well. let's just state the fact openly. you have two senate and house intelligence committees with republicans and democrats on board investigating this. you the fbi and the special counsel.
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it is not a media conspiracy. you have multiple bodies that consider this an important question, and they're going down this path. >> no, absolutely. and you have more reporting behind the scenes what's going on particularly as it pertains to jared. >> well, yeah. as i said, everyone seems to have a different version of this story. and the question of why this story went out the way it did. for example, the fact that an incorrect statement was issued in the name of donald trump jr. on saturday, which was quickly -- >> it was a misleading statement. >> a misleading statement, which they had to quickly correct. this is malpractice of public relations 101. >> do they just not think it -- because they've known about the e-mails since june 21st. do they just not think it will ever come out in the media -- >> no, this is what happens when lawyers and public relations people get together and try and come up with a statement they believe will do the least harm in a way. what i think they didn't realize at this point is this thing would unspool itself.
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>> 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 thing. they didn't think that it was going to -- >> and the problem is too much of a big deal, too much of a pivotal issue. it's the closest anyone has come so far to a smoking gun. so you don't forget the chapters preceding to that point. and to the republican party, i agree with monica there is not a lot of open shifts happening with the gop, but you hear 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, republicans too insisting is he really going to be independent? would he be able to withstand pressure? is he going to resign? you don't usually hear republicans insisting on that. >> but beyond pr and lawyers, there is an essential men dasty
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menbacity about the white house story line as it has been on other issues. the first statement said it was about adoption of russian 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 saw it in this story. we actually watched it happen. >> i know people within the intelligence community, law enforcement community we talk with say there is a serious concern that there could be some vulnerability for blackmail, that kind of thing. for example, in this case, these e-mails have existed for over a year, and there was 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. russians. is it not a reasonable question to ask? does a kushner or donald trump jr. open himself up? and again, i know with michael
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flynn we were talking about a series of meetings to this point it has been one meeting that has been lied about in effect. is blackmail a fair question? >> it's not a consequence, but it's not just one meeting that has been lied about. it's been several meetings that kushner has been involved at least obfuscate. and even if you want the say okay, those are mistake, there is 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, could be compromised information that the russians knew about, and could presumably influence the president's viewpoint on key policy decisions. and that's one of the things. and also going back to the notion of just credibility and telling the truth, they can say one thing in the public sphere, but when they come and have to testify under oath, that is completely different.
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>> keep in mind this is the third time that jared kushner has had to update his sf-86 form. the third time. this is somebody with a security clearance. he's seeking a permanent security clearance to represent the country. that is an extraordinary thing. >> final thought. >> 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, as john mccain is fond of saying. if there are other shoes to drop, then if you discredit the messengers enough, then when they drop, you don't have to believe them. >> don jr. was the messenger. [ overlapping dialog ] that's why they had to change the story until he released the emails. >> one story >> and not just the media. they're going after mueller's credibility and so on. there's a lot of messengers they're willing to aim fire at. stay there. we have a lot to discuss ahead. just ahead, four contradictory
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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 campaign officials and a russian lawyer.
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our breaking news, president trump is flying to paris at this
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hour after finally going public on his son's embrace of a russian offer to provide dirt and hillary clinton and subsequent meeting with a russia lawyer. the president said he only learn to have had meeting several days ago. >> after an uncharacteristically long silence, president trump today gave a low-key response to the stunning developments involving his son's e-mails and meeting with a russian lawyer. >> let's go now to cnn correspondent jessica schneider at the white house. jessica, president trump is leaving behind a white house a state of paralysis. >> pam, the president might be en route to paris right now. but this white house really still feeling the aftereffects and the aftershocks of the revelation that donald trump jr. met with that russian lawyer. an official here is really putting it this way, saying yet another week lost when it comes to advancing the president's agenda. another official here saying this white house is in dire need of fresh new talent. and another official also saying it's gotten to the point where some of president trump's family members are now turning against
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each other. so yes, the white house in the case of one official saying this white house is paralyzed. but on the flip side, we do know the chief of staff reince priebus has been talking to the staff here, telling them to keep their heads down, to keep focused and really tune out the noise. we know that some of the staffers here are ready for a fight. they are staying strong. and they say they believe that donald trump jr. is really a scapegoat in this. so some mixed emotions here. but yes, paralyzed is the word here at the white house. pamela? >> jessica schneider live for us from the white house. thanks, jessica. 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. as of friday, consistent trump world story line for nearly a year had been no evidence of collusion or cooperation with the russian government whatsoever. donald trump jr. himself had gone farther, saying all along that he had set up no meetings
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at all with russians, even dismissing accusations of russian interference in the election at all. >> we hear experts. at home once said this is what is happening with the russians. it's disgusting. it's so phony. i don't mind a fair fight. but these lies and the perpetuating of that kind of nonsense to try to gain some political capital is just outrageous. >> that we're going to call story number one. but on saturday, that story changed. confronted by "the new york times" with news of a previously undisclosed meeting with a russian lawyer, donald trump jr. released a statement admitting that that meeting did take place. he described it as short and introductory, saying, quote, we primarily discussed a program about the adoption of russian children. that will call story number two. but by sunday, the story had changed again after "the new york times" reported that trump accepted the meeting after learning that the russian lawyer might have information damaging to hillary clinton, trump jr. issued a second amended
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statement admitting the reason for the meeting, saying it was with, quote, an individual who i was told might have information helpful to the campaign. story number three. on tuesday, confronted by "the new york times" with details of an e-mail between trump and the british publicist rob goldstone who arranged that meeting, the president's son tweeted out a copy of the e-mail itself. and the e-mail delivered an entirely new account, demonstrating in black and white that the meeting 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. he adds this is obviously very high level and sensitive information, but is part of russia and its government's support for mr. trump. to which the president's son responded by telling goldstone, if it's what you say, i love it. especially later in the summer.
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that is story number four. 120 hours, four flikconflicting accounts, one white house. >> let's bring in our panel. first to talk about the changing stories you just laid out, jim, gloria, when you logistic at that, even republicans, trey gowdy for one has criticized don jr. for this and says look, from the get-go, you should just turn over the e-mail exchange, be transparent. >> trey gowdy, 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 at all. 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 don't have to be a politician. you ought to know that dealing with the russians on election-related issues is
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probably not a great idea. >> exactly. you look at the shifting details into great detail there. and that's what what is causing probably the most concern from republicans that you hear about today. i spoke to a number of them today. and what they're particularly frustrated with, never mind the merits of the meeting. that's one different topic. it's just the fact that the white house cannot keep its stories straight. and it provides one distraction after another at a time when the party is trying to do something right now overall health care, and they can't get the message straight because the white house is overwhelmed by this growing crisis. >> and that's why they're not answering questions at press conferences about it. they they stopped doing it. >> it goes to the essential credibility of the white house, does it not? this is four stories in five days. >> it's four stories in five days. that's a credibility question. it's also a judgment question. because every time you have one of these things happen, you think okay, i'll extrapolate
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from that and see what else might happen. yeah, the more they shift, 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. now they're taking a line of well, everybody does it. it's really not a big deal. >> who is sort of in control? who is the captain of the ship here when it comes to the messaging? was involved with the president? >> we're told the president actually approved of that message that he signed off on it, the message that the statement that was issued by donald trump jr. and the interesting thing is -- >> the saturday statement. >> the saturday statement. the interesting thing is behind the scenes, people could see this sort of train wreck happening. they knew that this e-mail existed. they knew that that statement was misleading. they knew that the idea of adoptions really meant russian sanctions. the magnitsky act. that's really what this is about. and nobody really stood up to try to stop it. and so what's happened now in the last couple of day, you see this sort of hunger games
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situation where everybody is in it for themselves, trying to figure out who is to blame. they're blaming each other. it's a very ugly situation that you have there. exactly what they're describing where people don't trust how they arrived at this. >> and who controls the message? the president of the united states. >> right. that's who controls the message. >> and he is headed overseas, going to paris. he'll be taking reporters' questions. much more to come on this breaking news. president trump speaking out. >> reaction from the house intelligence committee which is investigating meddling in the presidential election. my daughter is going to physician's assistant school. we're passing on family traditions. ♪
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our breaking news. president trump and the first lady boarded air force one this evening heading to france and leaving behind what a top republican close to the west wing calls a paralyzed white house. the president is described as furious and frustrated by the release of e-mails about last year's meeting involving a russian lawyer and members of his family and presidential campaign. >> up on capitol hill, committees investigating russia's interference in the 2016 election are asking for information and testimony from the participants in that meeting. joining us now is democratic
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congressman eric swalwell of california. he is a member of the judiciary and intelligence committees. he is also a former prosecutor. thank you so much, congressman, for joining us tonight. 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 jared kushner also present. and at the time paul manafort, it was his campaign manager, and the fact that this meeting took place in trump tower one floor below the president's office. do you believe it? >> hard to believe. it's worth us pursuing and getting a final answer on that. but you think about father/son relationship. we've all seen distant father-son relationship. by both of their own admission, they're very close. it's hard to imagine that he wasn't aware of what is going on. but it's worth vetting and figuring out. >> the president also told reuters today that he doesn't fault his son for having this meeting. in fact, he was quoted as saying many people would have held that meeting. do you buy that? a meeting with someone purchase portly bringing information from
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the russian government, damaging to your political opponent? >> i don't buy it. i don't think there is any discussion for it. his own nominee for fbi director, today christopher wray said that that would be inappropriate. if you're contacting him that way, you should go to the fbi. that's not what they did. but you know, jim, what we're really seeing sheer everything is coming into focus now. a lot of the other evidence that has been out there where they have offered innocent explanations, the trump campaign, now with this meeting putting everything else in the context, it looks like they were willing to work with the russians. >> it's interesting because the focus of this meeting has been almost entirely on donald trump jr., the president's son when at the same time, jared kushner, the president's son-in-law who is a very senior position in the white house which donald trump's son does not have was also present at this meeting. is that a line of investigation for the house intelligence committee? >> it is. and for this simple reason. that we want to first probe all relevant witnesses, review all
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relevant documents. to me it's important because when you're a leader, when you're running a campaign and you want to know what's important to you, look at how a person spends their time. these are principles of the campaign. and to suggest that they were just taking walk-ins, people who were working in with information and bringing three principles to sit down with them at the campaign headquarters, that doesn't make much sense. >> these are busy people, as they often would say. there is 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 flynn had lied about his contacts with the russians. and because of that, he was vulnerable to blackmail. do you the same concern for donald trump jr. or jared kushner for maybe lying is too strong a word. but they certainly did not disclose these meetings. are they in your view subject to blackmail? >> well, this this was truly the
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russian government seeking, as the e-mail said, to meet with the trump campaign, now the russian government once you take that meeting knows that it happened. and this is in the russian playbook, which is to gather compromising information on individuals and then to use it when it can effect their agenda. that's the kompromat where they put you in the position either you work for us, help us or we expose you. it's still too early to tell if that's what they were doing. they now have the evidence and that would be embarrassing to trump campaign. >> did it strike you the spl explicitness of the language? it didn't say hey, i might have something useful to you. it said this is incriminating evidence about hillary clinton from the russian government, which by the way wants to help your father win. that was remarkable. and donald trump jr.'s response was i love it. from the way russia operates.
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was that intentionally explicit, do you think? >> too early, but it was direct. and what really bothered me is how nonchalant donald trump jr. was about that. he wasn't like shocked that there was information about russia, which makes us -- raises the question, had he known from prior conversations with individuals that there was an effort out there by russia to seek information. and to then he just the willingness to proceed. let's do a phone call immediately. that really bothered me. and so again, we have to learn more and more about it. but we know that in the russian playbook generally, they do like to gather compromising information on people that they're meeting. >> so this is the first meeting where we have seen evidence in black and white in the e-mail, meeting between trump world and russia, where we know the function of the meeting now. at least in the public sphere. we know that there are other meetings, right, that took place both in the states and in europe between trump advisers and russians or russian officials or
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russians known to u.s. intelligence. what is the status of the investigation into the function impetus for those other meetings? >> so far over the past few months, there has been so much public evidence where the trump team has offered these innocent explanations. carter page a few weeks after this meeting with donald jr., he goes over to moscow with the permission of the campaign. they said well, he is 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 you logistic at this and you go to the eye doctor and they show you lens one and lens two. it is clearer or blurrier. this evidence just made our investigation i think a lot clearer. >> just to be clear, i said earlier sally yates, former fbi director of course acting attorney general. the president was given yet another opportunity today to answer the most basic question of this investigation. is it clear to you, mr. president, that russia meddled
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in the election and interfered? and yet again on the same day that his own fbi director, like all of the senior advisers said of course they did. and that is serious and it's grave, a grave threat. but again, the president said something happened, and i'm quoting, and we have to find out what it is. is that remark to believe you? >> yeah. we know what it is. our intelligence agencies worked very hard to understand what it is. and we know that russia attacked us. it was ordered by putin. donald trump was the preferred candidate, and it was a multifaceted campaign. the fact that he can't even accept that or acknowledge that keeps us moving forward. i've called for an independent commission to take this out of congress, make it a lot less partisan. but it's very hard to see that through and have republican members give support to it. i think a lot of that is because the president won't even acknowledge it. >> congressman swalwell, thanks very much for join us tonight. >> my pleasure. next exclusive video with trump with some of the russian
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businessmen who now figure very prominently in donald trump jr.'s e-mails. we'll see more of these fascinating videos in just a moment. ♪ approaching medicare eligibility? you may think you can put off checking out your medicare options until you're sixty-five, but now is a good time to get the ball rolling. keep in mind, medicare only covers about eighty percent of part b medical costs. the rest is up to you.
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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. >> cnn has learned exclusive video from 2013 meeting with the father and son who last year promised to allegedly help pass along damaging information about hillary clinton from the russian government to donald trump jr. through an intermediary. apparently here is a fresh look at their relationship patiently as it was just beginning. it shows donald trump in 2013 at several events of the miss usa pageant, hanging out with the men now at the center of the controversy. the men russian pop singer emin agalarov and his father aras, a real estate developer in russia were helping trump hold his miss
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universe pageant in moscow later that year. >> the richest men in russia. >> reporter: in the video, trump is seen having dinner with the agalarovs along with their pub scientist, rob goldstone. on tuesday donald jr. released e-mails from goldstone pitching a meeting between the president's son and a russian lawyer, promising she would deliver damaging information about hillary clinton provided by the russian government. according to the e-mails released by trump jr., emin agalarov, seen here between trump and goldstone told goldstone to set up the meeting. quote, emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting. this is obviously very high level and information, but it's part of russia and its government support for trump. the exclusive video provides a closer look at the friendship between the two families and could help explain donald trump jr.'s willingness to take the meeting by goldstone.
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at dinner trump could be heard bothing to the men about his work on the miss universe pageant. >> the women now are beautiful, i tell you. >> the next day trump spoke grandly about the promise of taking miss universe to russia. >> i think it's a great thing for both countries. and honestly that. >> wanted it in russia very badly. >> predicting it could bring russia and the u.s. closer. >> it's a powerful country. it's a country that we have a relationship with. but i would say not a great relationship. this could certainly help that relationship. >> reporter: investigators plan to examine the trump tower meeting and the e-mails. on fox news tuesday, donald trump jr., who does not appear this the 2013 video, said he had limited knowledge of the russian family. >> i met them once or twice. and, you know, maintained a casual relationship there, talked about some potential
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deals and that's the extent it. it really didn't go anywhere, but new videos and others show the president's own connections and others. in 2013 he appeared in one of emin's music videos. >> i'm really tired of you. you're fired. >> reporter: and wished hip nebraska a individual yes posted on emin's instagram. >> emin, i can't believe you're turning 35. on thursday, their lawyers said the e-mails don't add up. >> it just fantasy world. the reality is if there was something important that mr. agalarov wanted to communicate to the trump campaign, i suppose he could have called mr. trump directly instead of having his son's pop mediaist act as intermediary. >> spoke out to the aid owe and says he doesn't personally know don jr. and doesn't know goldstone either. saying it was, quote, a tall tale that goldstone asked from junior to contact him about dirt
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from hillary clinton, clearly trying to distance himself from this. joining us with former cia chief of russia operations. you watch that video there. and part of the trump world defense had been we didn't know where this meeting was coming from. didn't really have any idea when we walked in the room. it was about this. it was about that. but you see great familiarity there now with this very powerful oligarch and his son who were essential in setting up that meeting. >> and i think the context here is all along they've been telling us that there were no contacts. in this particular case, we've had the story change, i don't know, 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 took place after that meeting or maybe follow-ups that we haven't learned about yet. so there is a lot of reporting that still needs to be done to try to get to the bottom of what was being offered. twhuz a dangle? were there other dangles being made by the russians?
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i don't think we know the answers the that yet. >> do you hee see these e-mails or the meeting as a possible trial balloon from the russians to gauge interest from the trump campaign? jim and i were talking about how it struck us how explicit the e-mail was just 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 sort of the wide range of what russia was up to about this time last year and 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 that they were hacking into dnc and other databases. and i think part of this overall covert action plan or active 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 and the trump campaign, the higher the better, the closer to the candidate, the better, to see whether or not anybody there
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would simply be willing to have that initial conversation. hey, we might have some stuff that is interesting to you. would you be interested in just talking than? i think that was part of the plan to get the human element in there. >> just very quickly, as you see that video from your expertise, would bit something the russians would do to have a long game where this would be this the works years before? >> i think the russians are extremely good at, especially if you're in their backyard, if you're in moscow as trump was and as others were, it's really not that different from the cold war days of the soviet union where you have the fsb has that entire place wired for sound. so if you're visiting there, you're going to be -- collection will happen on you. they will get information on you. so, yeah, they'll play a long game because you never know when the information that you collect will come in handy. >> we talked a lot, and this is the focus of the investigation is how russia used fake news bots to get fake stories, particularly to vulnerable districts during the election.
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what is interesting, that hasn't stopped. a journalist for the ap noted today that what had been a dormant account for the last couple of months called cyberbear kut which is allegedly linked to the kremlin, it's come alive today. it's been tweeting out this story line about clintons and ukraine, which has become a republican talking point. i think it's worth noting that this kind of cyberactivity by russia has not stopped at all. >> right. actually, it's interesting. if you logistic at some of the sites that were created and sort of property, they maintain the property. but if for some reason some of them shut down in early january, around january 6th. a lot of them shut down for reasons we don't understand. but if you look at the sites, they have last headline there from january 6th. it just went dormant as if the russians had to, just like our government, they have priorities. and their priorities maybe shifted to europe. so they put their resources into elections that were going to be
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taking place in europe. so they turned it off, but they kept the property, the real estate so they can turn it back on when they want it, when it becomes a priority for them to again exert influence in the united states. >> as we're hearing now, frequent warnings about russian cyberactivity continuing now and concerns about upcoming elections. in a moment, our correspondents are going to look ahead. >> what is next in the russia meddling investigation and for the trump white house.
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megan's smile is getting a lot of attention 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
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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 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
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what the president knew. >> one big question is going to be whether or not paul manafort appears in a public session 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. so if manafort does not appear next week, it's because bob mueller doesn't want him too. >> 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.
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president trump has arrived in paris. a busy two days ahead, including facing reporters on camera. what will he say about his son's emails and his meeting with a russian lawyer? good morning, welcome to "early start." i'm christine romans. >> i'm dave briggs. it is thursday, july 13th. it's 4:00 a.m. in the east. this should be a fascinating meeting between macron and -- >> bon jour, mr. trump. >> we eagerly await the optics of this one. hours from now in paris, president trump holds a news conference alongside the french president, emmanuel ma


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