tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN July 14, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
prime minister who led the way on how best to ingratiate himself with president trump. even before inauguration, shinzo abe showed up at trump tower with a golf driver that was plated in gold. ever since, his relationship with president trump has been on solid ground. while germany's angel merkel was call the in a cool stance in awkward photo. she is showering him with flattery. she called him for advice before her trip to saudi arabia. despite the fact he is a newcomer to diplomacy. if world leaders can't get the president himself they'll work relations with his family. israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu played up his relationship with trump son-in-law jared kushner. justin trudeau took ivanka trump to broadway show. angela merkel, welcomed ivanka to germany.
dealing with a president who demand loyalty, all this flattery may just pay off. after france's macron went out of his way to woo him, president trump is already patting macron on the back, saying publicly the two men have a good friendship. randi kaye, cnn, new york. >> little later on tonight. 360 special report on donald trump jr. who became the first in two reveal what he his father, trump administration campaign denying more than a year. contact with russians by members of the campaign, and, resear researching hillary clinton. in june of last year, meeting a russian lawyer who they believe was from the russian government. seeking what they were told was kremlin information, damaging to secretary clinton. recall when the story broke saturday, donald trump jr. failed to mention that saying instead, the meeting was abut americans being barred from adopting russian orphans. then he did disclose the political angle. disclosed e-mail he's believed he would be getting dirt straight from the russian
government. that was when he, when he also said there was, there were no more shoes waiting to drop. well, today another one did. cnn has learned there were more people in that meting than previously known or that donald trump jr. admitted including russian-american lobbyist with alleged ties to russian intelligence. he denies those ties. telling "the washington post" that he was never an intelligence agent, agent, but did serve two years in a soviet military unit that handled counterintelligence. regardless until today. we didn't know he was in the room. now we know. and it is one more revelation in the story that, has seen plenty already. the president in new jersey. and nearby, joins us. any reaction at all from the white house to the revelation tuesday? well, look. in terms of the most recent development. we know there seems to be a development, every other day, with anderson. they're referring questions to white house counsel. you know the president has been out there, on twitter, defending his, his son.
yesterday, defending him as well. a short meeting. true. a meeting that anyone would have taken. well there has been plenty come out say this is a meeting he should not have taken. at the least should have reported the meeting to the fbi the president also saying, you know, there were only two other people, in the room. that has now shown, not to be the case. however, internally. of a real problem for the white house. this is something that they're struggling with. one, white house official, basically saying that they know at this point that jared kushner, that donald trump jr.'s story has changed. several times. and it is, they called it a -- this is something that has been not good for the white house going forward. so internally this is something that the white house is still really grappling with. >> you know, trying to get in the last hour, our guest was on. one of president trump's attorneys, saying if the president knew before today that there were several other attendees in the meeting at trump tower. he, he kept saying that the president wasn't at the meeting. didn't, didn't seem to really answer whether or not he knew whether there was -- were, other
people or not. has the the white house said anything about that? >> well, no. but he did say, that, best as he can tell at this point that the president did not know about this meeting. did not know about the meeting until about, just within the past week. just recently. but it is clear that, jared kushner and his legal team, knew about this meeting at least on june 21st. as you know, he, they were in the process of redoing his security clearance form. while they were, redoing the form, we have to fill out the section, have you had any contact with foreign officials. they were filling out the section. where they came across e-mails. and recorded all that. knowing that it wasn't just, paul manafort who was in the meeting. it wasn't just donald trump that was in the meeting. it was also the raugs toern, natalia veselnitskaya, also, this russian-american lobbyist whose also in this meeting as well. apparently, jared kushner's team, anderson, also at that point back in june, june 21st, had an internal discussion.
what should we do when this goes public. should we discuss this with the president. there was back and forth going on that as well. but the president's attorney saying, once again, that he was not made aware of this meeting. until just recently. >> jason carroll. appreciate that. thank you. >> reaction from a member of the house committee. congressman. thank you for being with us. ranking member of your committee, congressman, schiff called in the meeting at trump tower to testify. what are most important questions you think need to be answered there? >> well i think generally, andersen the biggest question that many of us have and you know, our heads have now stopped spinning of course, remember for the last couple of months. you know, my republican colleagues, the president himself, the white house has been saying, there is no evidence of collusion. none at all. we need people to say there is no evidence of collusion. no collusion whatsoever. it turns out, there was collusion. and it wasn't by some random person in ohio. it was by the, by the president's son. so, heads have only now stopped
spinning. of course the next question is, you know what came out of that meeting. and, and what was, what were the objectives in particular of the two russians. and again a little unclear who was there. and, maybe there were more people that we still don't know about. but what were the objectives of the people who went into the meeting. and more importantly than that, what happened next. there is no reason to believe. there is not yet any evidence. and this is it. and every single week, andersen. we learn new things. so critically need to understand what the follow-up, what the, subsequent activity was. associated with the meeting. >> you say there was collusion. is it fair to say that at this point. collusion, i think doesn't that imply result from it. an interest inclusion. is it fair to say there was collusion? that they were working together? >> at this point. a fine semantic point. right. the white house started by deing
into there was any contact whatsoever by anybody with the russians. now what do we know? we know that, the president's son, that campaign chairman, paul manafort and the president's son-in-law, three of the most important people in this effort. happily, and aggressively took a meeting that they know, they knew was being set up by russian government sources in order to help them in the election. now, whether, you know, there was a huge follow-up effort. we'll find out whether that is true or not. or whether there were pleasantries exchanged you had the motivation. you had the fact this happened. which was denied all along by the white house. so again, you know was it attempted collusion or collusion? i've don't know. we have to be careful that we don't lose track of the fact. whether this is illegal. legal. that will be determined in the future. this is a profoundly wrong thing. no campaign takes help from a hostile foreign power. >> i always think back to something john mccain said way back in april.
every time we turn around another shoe drops from the centipede. three month as the go. any less true now than it was then? >> of course it is not. and the tragedies of this episode. there was an alternative path. the alternative path was after the inauguration. the president says, gosh, could be a big distraction for me. so, i am going to order all my people to go to the fbi and disclose everything. make it all public. they took the opposite take. they have consistently lied by saying there was no contact. jared kushner on his, you know, form for security clearance, the president has consistently said there was absolutely no contact. and, as a result, the story has dragged out over many months. as a result the white house has lost every shred of credibility. now we are in the terrible position of not really being able to trust what we hear from, from the white house, expecting
that it will hear about new e-mails. and "the washington post," cnn will break something new tomorrow. >> you released a bill that will require the white house to include two on camera press briefings each week. wondering why that is important in your opinion? >> it is important generally, as an elected official. as a politician, i will be the first to say. some times the media gets it wrong. some times you don't feel fairly treated. but a free press that is asking politicians tough questions, is an absolutely essential part of our democracy. and it essential to holding people like me and the president accountable. but i want to step back. and say, more narrowly, andersen. it is precisely those institutions, that the president has villified as enemies of the state. as, sources of fake news. now talking about the media generally. but also of course "the new york times." "washington post," cnn, others. it has the been those entities, that have -- that, week in. week out. given us the truth about what really happened. recently "the new york times,"
president's son. and, i hate to admit it, but who have often times produced this information, at a more rapid rate than of my own investigative committee in the congress has been able to do. >> congressman. appreciate you being with us. thank you very much. >> thank you, andersen. >> cnn special report on the first son, donald trump jr. now in the brightest and hottest spotlight probably in his life. s again? that's cool. feeling good in slim fit? that's cool. looking fabulous in my little black dress? that's cool. getting the body you want without surgery, needles, or downtime? that's coolsculpting. coolsculpting is the only fda-cleared non-invasive treatment that targets and freezes away stubborn fat cells. visit coolsculpting.com today and register for a chance to win a free treatment. binders, done. super-cool notebooks, done. that's mom taking care of business. but who takes care of mom? office depot/office max. this week, get this ream of paper
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talking about developments in the fallout. not one, at least two russians last year. the same time. joining us now, scott jennings, bill press, michael sheer, and being joined from washington. michael, has the the white house, doesn't seem like they have been able to get their arms around this this week. is that the way it seems as white house correspondent? >> yeah, partly it seems they haven't been able to get their hand around it. the story keeps changing. you have the situations in the white houses where the people who actually know information aren't necessarily the people who are, supposed to be communicating that to the rest of us. so there is a disconnect.
but in addition, you know this is the white house that has clamped down on the dissemination of information anyway, not having regular briefings in the same way we should. interruption of the foreign trip. so that was sort of an oddity anyway. but, when you don't have that regular sort of pipeline, you, you don't have a place that, bill and i can sit in the briefing room and just sort of press them on all the questions anyway they have to respond. so, you have just had this vacuum. as you have been walking about on the show. just kind of constant, drip, drip of new revelations. >> also, bill for those working in the white house. it's got to be, i talked to other people, from past white houses who said, you know, you don't know who you can talk to about this. you are not supposed to talk to anybody about it you. don't know who is under investigation, who is not where the next shoe is going to drop.
there was this meeting. they talked about adoption. no they didn't. nobody else was there. yes there was. and then we didn't know ahead of time what the meeting was about. this isn't fake news. this is from his e-mails, we know that they were told ahead of time, this is an effort on the part of the russian government to help this his father. one of the big points. the president did not know about the meeting. i find that hard to believe. the person saying that. the president or his son. neither have told the truth about this. and this probably would not have been the lead story, it is because suddenly, wait, there
were eight people in this room. there was this other russian. russian-american guy who was working with the attorney. >> the technical political jargon for this is not good. what happened this week is not good. okay. but it can get better. there is a clear answer for them now. that is to stop commenting publicly about this. because, public comments this week have not panned out. the real answer here is, donald trump jr. has offered to testify publicly with the senate intelligence committee. he is going to tell his story. in full. under oath. in public. at that time. until that time, and we have asked for a day soon as it is convenient for them. we are not going to say anything about this. i think that its the clear right answer for them. on thisser to. moving forward. >> yeah. >> one answer, that you could just say to reporters is there is an ongoing investigation here. we are going to, you know, let the investigation play out. and we are doing the business of the american people. >> that's what we used to hear all the time from jay carnie and others in the white house. good answer. not a great answer. an answer. >> one thing to note there.
what this whole, episode reminded us. is the power of, e-mail as a record that, that, that is out there. right? and, and, mueller is going to be, his team is going to be looking for e-mails. this its one of the cases where, what, what happened was driven by the, by the presence of this record. this e-mail record. those are out there. >> of it is interesting. worked as an fbi special a jenlt. you know the president has the said, this russian attorney, did not work for the government. though donald trump jr. was told this. the president's attorney said, the person didn't work for the russian government. is, is it standard operating procedure. every intelligence person i talked to works in russia has said, it's an mo of russian intelligence, many intelligence agencies including the united states, to have a cutout or a, or, called it a soft approach. and whether or not this russian-american guy is involved in that or not. is it standard operating procedure in your experience? >> sure. yes.
absolutely. especially in the initial stages of something like this. the hallmark of any covert operation, particularly one to sway the outcome of a u.s. election is something called plausible deniability a government wants to, eliminate any trace of their fingerprints, in that operation, in the event that, it is discovered. and, the possibility of discovery is going to be much hyp higher in the initial phases before they're sure that the people are on board and willing to help them. and it is useful to think of this. say the context of dating oechlt kay. this, you can say, was a highly suggestive and seductive first date the russians offer. and which donald trump jr. and jared kushner and paul manafort happily accepted. maybe they only got to first base on this first date. the real question here, as an investigator, as counterin tell agent working this case, did they try again and did they go all the way.
i don't think we can come to a lot of conclusions just based on this particular meeting. my, gut would tell me that there would have been more approaches after this. and the pattern that you see, after this, of things that have come to light for example, jared kushner's meeting with the ambassador which he also didn't mention on his sf-# 6 to set up back channels to avoid u.s. intelligence. all these start to take on a new context. and we have to look at the big picture. not just this meeting. >> scott, to your earlier point about how the white house should be answering this? in france, the president gave a very long answer about it going into the details of this. how much does this hurt the agenda the white house helps to move forward. many on capitol hill think it is. >> this russian issue in general. not this week. threatening to engulf the presidency. that is agenda stifling. a way forward here for the president. he could ask congress for the russia sanctions bill immediately which would send a
strong bipartisan message. he could order all staff to fully cooperate, testify, publicly, and to bring any information to the special counsel. he could order a full separation of the white house staff, from any response to this issue, that isn't his response. i'm concerned about white house staff doing response work for people that don't work in the government. he could acknowledge meddling and intel agencies to the white house for the briefing. and use that information to preisnpr present a task force. we didn't have meddling in the future. that is a set of actions, bold, decisi decisive, exactly the kind of thing he's ran on as traits. that i think would give people a great amount of confidence. >> see if he is listening to you. thank you, everyone. coming up next. more on the russian-american lobbyist and his, what some are saying alleged ties to russian intelligence which he denies. it's an american favorite on top of an american favorite, alice. it's like rodeos on top of rollercoasters. get your favorites on top of your favorites. only at applebee's.
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as we have been reporting, the newest figure in the trump tower russian meeting, russian-american lobbyist, jim sciuto has more on him. >> june 2016 meeting at trump tower with donald trump jr., jared kushner, and paul manafort, included more beyond natalia veselnitskaya, a source familiar with the circumstances tells cnn. russian-american lobbyist, told several media outlets he was also in the meeting. he told reporters for "the new york times" and "washington post" he is a veteran of the soviet army. in a march letter to the justice department, senate judiciary chairman, chuck grassley described him as some one with ties to russian intelligence, some one alleged to have conducted political disinformation campaigns as part of a pro-russia lobbying effort.
>> plainly this russian attorney, this other third party, if they were present, they were -- there to both deliver a message, as well to receive a message. and, plainly moscow understood only too well this is conduct the trump campaign would appreciate. >> he denied any intelligence links to "the washington post." saying, at no time have i ever worked for the russian government. or any of its agencies. i was not an intelligence officer, never. he also told the post, he was born in russia and became a u.s. citizen. in 2009. his lobbying effort which he did on behalf of the russian lawyer, natalia veselnitskaya was aimed at repealing the act which sanctions russians accused huf man rights abuses. a complaint filed against him with the justice department, claims that effort was on behalf of the kremlin. he has also been accused according to court papers filed in new york in 2015, of hacking on behalf of one company, into
the computer systems of a rival scum pan to steal confidential information in a business dispute. the company, imr withdrew the accusation, soon after without providing a reason. in an earlier related case, he denied a similar accusation, saying, in an affidavit, i am not a computer specialist, and i am not capable of hacking. jim, what was this guy known in d.c. political circles? >> he was well known. known to be tied to, powerful people in russia, both in, in government, and in business. and he was lobbying against -- very consequential piece of u.s., u.s. law, the act which punishes some very powerful people in russia. in terms of travel restrictions, but also economic sanctions, people who have been accused by the way, of human rights abuses. and, that's something that he -- and the lawyer, who was at the center of this meeting share they were lobbying, to change this u.s. policy. and, that's, that's a consequential fact.
because the it sets up -- what some lawmakers have pointed out. could have been, obviously, a lot more work need to be done here, could have been a quid pro quo. in other words, give you help here. this where's we need help here. >> he also told the ap he "never thought this would be such a big deal." did he offer details about the meeting? >> he said he didn't thing it would be such a big deal. he also told the ap that he, the meeting ended up being inconsequential. it ended quicker than he thought. that donald trump jr. left early. was eager to get, goilt of the meeting. interesting on that point which very well could betrue. we don't know. we weren't in that meeting. in that point, on message in effect, with, trump world, donald trump jr. saying many times that he was disappointed, with the results of the meeting. although, although the trump world explanation, a little thinner, you might say they were brought in there on the temptation that they would get damaging information about hillary clinton. one point i would note, andersen. keep in mind. he was born in russia.
then the soviet union. emgreat he emgreated. as the a u.s. citizen he can be subpoenaed under law to testify before the investigating committees. >> interesting. jim, thank you. well, up next, cnn special report, the first son, the life of donald trump jr. too treacherous for a selfie. [ camera shutter clicks ] sure, i've taken discounts to new heights with safe driver and paperless billing. but the prize at the top is worth every last breath. here we go. [ grunts ] got 'em. ahh. wait a minute. whole wheat waffles? [ crying ] why!
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donald trump jr., family man, business man, and his father's defender in chief. tonight, a close up look at the president's oldest child, the one who has landed in the middle of a major controversy over a meeting in trump tower with a russian lawyer during the campaign. i'm randy kaye this is a cnn special report "the first son, the life of donald trump jr. ". ♪ ♪ >> donald j. trump jr., born to donald and ivana trump on the last day of 1977. heir to a legacy still being built. destined to loom large over manhattan. >> i think one has to have some compassion for someone who its thrust into this role of almost a prince of new york city. >> reporter: donald trump jr. grew as the empire grew around
him. a toddler when his father made his name as a big manhattan developer. revitalizing an old abandoned hotel. in grade school when ground was broken for trump tower. >> i remember playing with trucks on the floor of his office. going trick-or-treating in his office. >> to see dad, don jr. and eventually his siblings would need to visit him in the office. >> i think throughout our lives. he has always been there. usually on his terms. wasn't a typical, let's go play catch in the backyard, father son relationship. >> an atypical relationship, that worked. until, the early 1990s. when donald and ivana trump divorced. the world read all about it. >> i was 12. it was a difficult time. certainly difficult reading about it in the papers every day on the way to school. >> don jr. read about it because trump sr. was talking about it. >> he said things that no man should ever say about his wife. in private, let alone in public.
and i think it really affected don jr. and he went through a long period of time when, there was real chasm between father and son. >> they didn't talk for a year. >> i think don jr., identified very much with -- with what his mother was going through with the pain. that, that she felt. and i think he was quite angry. >> anger that died down as he grew up and headed to boarding school in pennsylvania. >> he was sent off to a boys' school in central pennsylvania. at the time when this happened. and he talks about that being -- kind of a -- a saving grace in this life. that he says this was -- an all-boy kind of place where he could, could play with the other kids. and, not necessarily be a trump. his mother's father, helped too. >> spent a lot of time with our maternal grandparents. they were from communist czechoslovakia. >> he was visit several week every summer. >> his grandfather on his
mother's side, i think was probably the key male role model for donald jr. growing up. >> outside prague, he taught him how to fish and hunt. >> you can pull the trigger twice, get two shots out of it. >> reporter: during the presidential campaign, donald trump jr. and eric shoefd off their hunting skills to cnn's jake tapper. >> we got into it very young age. a grandfather, blue-collar guy, an electrician from czechoslovakia. >> love of outdoors came from his ma teternal grandfather. from paternal grandfather. he learned about work. >> as a kid spend a weekend with them. what do you want to do? it was, i don't know i well do anything you want. what do you want to do. i guess we'll go collect rent? >> collect rent from tenants who leased fred trump's apartments in brooklyn, queens. >> he dent understand how to relate to a child in a way. he was just a worker. that's what he did. >> reporter: beginning in his
early teens it's what don jr. did too. he was the son of a billionaire. he didn't need to work. but his father made him. >> he always wanted to make sure we understood the value of a dollar. first job as dock attendant. >> reporter: at one of his father's properties in atlantic city, new jersey. >> out on docks. it was nice. had to work. but you were hooking up boats. sort of running around. hey lot of fun. making minimum wage and tips. >> reporter: the work soon got tougher. off awe going into some landscaping. utilizing heavy equipment, 15 years old. saying, wait a minute. i am older. working much harder. there is no longer a tip component. i remember going to him about halfway through the summer. going, work sowing muing so muc the how come i don't have the tip. i'm making less. why didn't you ask? >> ask for what you need. an early lesson, donald trump sr. taught his eldest. another. >> don't trust anyone. >> it was something don jr. says his father began telling him
early on. >> dent evon't even trust me. he was look do you trust me? >> yes, of course, you are my dad. he looked at me disappointed as though i hadn't learned this lesson. as a 7-year-old kid. >> other lessons. >> when my children were growing up. even when they dent know what drinking was, i would say, no alcohol, no cigarettes. no drugs. >> every day of our life. every morning. don't drink. don't do drugs. >> every morning. >> every morning. >> before school without fail. >> a lecture trump senior gave regularly. in part because his brother fred drank too much and died young. >> he got hooked on alcohol. hooked. ultimately it just was devastating. >> a lesson don jr. didn't take with him when he followed his dad's footsteps into the wharton business school at university of pennsylvania. >> he was a bit of a wild child. i mean there are stories of donald trump, the elder showing up, to see his son during his college years.
and them having some real conflicts that, that were heard by everyone in the hallway of the dormitory. >> over what? >> oh, i think it was over whether this young man was pulling himself together. >> did that cause a problem in their relationship? >> oh, i think, don jr.'s drinking and carousing definitely offended his father. >> after college, despite a degree in business, don jr. didn't head for dad's empire. but away from it. aspen, colorado. where he fished, and hunted, skied, tended bar, and drank. >> i'm not sure it was clear that he was going to -- ever fall in line. >> reporter: he returned home in 2001, following an arrest for public drunkenness in mardi gras in new orleans where he spent 11 hours in jail. back home he joined the family business. something he said was a choice.
something he always wanted to do. trump biographer, michael deantonio isn't so sure. >> did donald trump jr. schooz his path or raised to take over the family business? >> i don't think any of the trump children really chose their own path in life. if any one of them had said, i'm out of this, they would have found themselves really isolated and perhaps almost banished from the family structure. this business and the family are one in the same. >> reporter: back on the path, don jr. began to m ploy the lesson he's learned on the floor of his father's office. work hard. work often. >> used to love getting the call at 5:00 in the morning on saturday. why aren't you in the office? i am in the office. he said, no you are not. because i am. >> by 2005, he was showing off trump's newest building. and his soon to be wife. >> my fiancee, the very lucky,
vanessa hayden. >> vanessa hayden, former wilemena model became vanessa trump in 2005. soon after they became parents. five children in seven years. >> what are you doing? what are you doing? yeah, buddy. first time without a vest. good job. i got you. >> i love you. >> i love you. >> as the the kids grew, so did don jr.'s involvement in his father's empire. joining the apprentice. >> don, tell them what you are looking for? >> you will be judged on three criteria. >> promoting it. >> plenty of company that would kill for the kind of free press that we get. it is really a great tool. >> moving into a corner office as an executive vice president. when he could, he would go to upstate new york where he would fish. >> he would withhold his last name from people. and, they know he is a good fly fisherman. but they don't know that his
last name is trump. i can relate to that. i think most of us could. with wanting some -- refuge from -- from all of the attention that trump's receive. >> ahead -- how that last name would catapult him into on to the campaign trail and into controversy. >> it take is a unique character to want to be able to dupe this. to go up against -- i think it is fair to say, the most corrupt candidate in the history of the presidency. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ ♪ need a hair smoother. get super fruit moroccan argan oil with fructis sleek & shine. hair is super sleek, for up to 3 days. no parabens. garnier fructis sleek & shine. super fruit. super hair. garnier. jack knocked over a candlestick, onto the shag carpeting... ...and his pants ignited into flames, causing him to stop, drop and roll. luckily jack recently had geico help him
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♪ ♪ i'm 38 years old. may not be a mill any yal. i'm not that old. yeah. but i am the father of five young kids. i want to make sure that the america we leave them is better than the one i got. and that's not happening right now. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: donald trump jr. stumping for his dad and echoing his father's promise to make america great again. >> as i have traveled across the country for the last few weekds now, been a politician for 12, maybe 13 days. it is incredible to see the outpouring, the warmth, and we
are just excited. i mean i really love what my father is doing here. he really loves this country. >> during the campaign, don jr. was one of his father's greatest champions. >> he wants to go through the brutal process to give back. he is truly, it is incredibly selfless and amazing to see. >> also one of his greatest defenders. on russia. >> i can't thing of bigger lies. but that exactly goes to show you what the dnc and what the clinton camp will do. they will lie and do anything to win. >> and more. at times, playing attack dog. >> it takes a unique character to want to be able to dupe this. to want to take this on to. go up against, i think fair to say, the most corrupt candidate in the history of the presidency. [ applause ] >> along with his sister ivanka and brother eric, don jr. had a tremendous influence on his father during the campaign. from helping convince him to fire his first kachl pain manager, cory lewandowski.
>> were we involved in talking about this with him, sure. >> to persuading his dad to choose mike pence as a runningmate. >> how much influence would you say donald trump jr. had over his father during the campaign? >> i think donald jr. communicated with his father, what a lot of middle america, what those people were feeling. and his in tstincts were right. >> did he help or hurt his father on the campaign trail? >> on the election campaign. he helped his father far more than he hurt him. i think there was a constituency that would not have been receptive to donald trump but for his son's efforts to make that connection. he came across as -- a real sportsman, who understood what, what guy whose hunt and fish, are interested in. and, reassured them that, that his father was -- a-ok. >> big outdoorsman. hunter. unfortunately wearing a suit and not camo.
i would much rather be in a tree stand now in iowa. >> looking at all of them up there. saying i should put up a tree stand. be hunt right now. but, i'm hunting something else. until november. >> like his dad, don jr. courted controversy. he compared syrian refugees to skittles. he wrote on twitter, if i had a bowl of skittles, and i told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? that is our syrian refugee problem. backlash online was fierce. president obama's former speech writer, john favro weighing in with this picture of a bloodied syrian child in aleppo writing, hey, donald j. trump jr., this is one of the millions of children you compared to a poison skittle today. >> i don't want tight be a distraction. to me, simple metaphor. i guess i am a straight forward guy. >> straight forward. >> perhaps. but it got him into trouble again, when he said this.
>> without the media this wouldn't even be a contest. but the media has built her up. let her slide on every lie, on every, dnc, game, trying to get bernie sanders out of the thing. i mean if republicans were doing that they would be warming up the gas chamber right now. >> the anti-defamation league which works to end anti-semitism urged don jr. to make holocaust jokes and retract his statement. >> i didn't say anything about the holocaust. i was talking about media bias. i was talking if you are conservative. essentially capital punishment. under the glare of the campaign spotlight, he continued to stumble. playing off hillary clinton's basket of deplorables comment, don jr. posted on instagram, this movie poster from the expendables. retitled, the deplorables. but look closer, over his father's shoulder, is pepe the
frog. a popular symbol among white supremacists. a spokeswoman for then candidate trump tried to clean up the mess. don jr. like mr. trump, disavows any groups or symbols associated with a message of hate. >> donald trump jr. learned to be provocative at the foot of the master. no person more provocative than his dad. and i think it can become almost thrilling to be the guy that, who says, outrageous things. and -- for, for donald jr. i think this was thrilling. but also perilous. >> seems the more the younger trump opened his mouth. the more he opened himself up to criticism. an avid hunter and rifle association member, don jr. found hill self defending a big game hunt when the photos made the rounds on seshl media. don jr. and brother eric proudly
posing with trophy kills from a 2012 zimbabwe hunt, a leopard, a water buffalo, massive crocodile from a noose in a tree. and this, don jr. holding the tail of an el faint one hand, a large knife in the other. animal activists sounded the alarm. but the younger trump pushed back. sake, villagers were grateful for the meat. >> i have always been a hunter. something i have done a long time t it's tough to talk about something like this. i get it. the reality of the situation is, there are a lot of things. >> once you get exposed to it, you realize not like this savage thing that people try to make it. >> don jr.'s love of hunting so strong, he once even joked, that he might run the department of interior one day. >> the head of it or informing them. rest assured for all hunters and shooters out there, they would know i would have his ear. >> at the republican national convention, just months before
his father was win the white house. >> good evening. >> i'm donald trump jr. >> don jr. made his most public push to convince voters, his father was the only choice. >> a president who will unleash the greatness in our nation. and in all of us. who will give the hard working men and women, who built this great country, a voice once again. that president can only be -- my mentor, my best friend, my father. donald trump. and when we elect him, we will have done all that. we will have made america great again. greater than ever before. >> the speech played well. but it was quickly overshadowed by questions of conflict of interest. after his father's historic victory.
trump's team defending don jr.'s role on the transition executive committee. vetting candidates for cabinet positions. transition members argued none of it blurred the lines between trump's business and the government. >> the position team has been transparent. and the fact that, that -- donald trump jr. is on the, transition team. that he is the whun one helping discovery. >> coming up the first son trades the campaign trail for the corner office. stepping into his father's shoes. >> he has agreed to step away from everything that has the to do with the trump organization. he is -- turning over management of his, wildly successful business to his two sons. ♪ ♪ award winning interface. award winning design. award winning engine.
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in a very professional manner. >> since his father took office, donald jr. took the helm of the trump organization. globetrotting to continue to grow the company's real estate and licensing empire. dubai for a golf course opening. >> see the incredible vision that has been able to be put forward in this country is truly awe inspiring. >> vancouver for a new trump hotel. all while operating in the bubble of secret service protection as the first son. and all while the absence of donald sr. the businessman looms large. >> what is it like doing all this without your dad? >> he was such a great sounding board. not having that to go to is definitely something you miss. >> something else donald jr. apparently misses about his father? >> say hello to don jr. >> the raucous campaign that he
rode to a stunning victory. >> usa! u usa! >> thought i would be going back to my job. once you got a little taste of that action it is hard to leave. you know, listen, deals are still exciting. when you are sort of guy out there every day, 24/7, fighting in this thing it is like a great fight. the intensity. >> despite sitting atop the trump business empire, donald jr.'s penchant for politics has many trump watchers wondering, if that is where his true faith lies. >> wlut hat do you think the fu holds for donald trump jr. >> until the middle of 2017, i would have said that donald trump jr. is destined for a life in politics. i would have imagined him to hold a high office, maybe, united states senator. maybe governor. but i think what he is seeing --
in his father's first six months and, and, in the campaign, may have sobered him up. this is not an easy role for anyone. and, he is witnessed his father struggle. to, to, get some traction and in washington. so, my idea now is that -- 10, 20, 30 years from now. he will be donald trump businessman. he will have an office in trump tower. and he will have preserved the family legacy. >> the family legacy is still being written. now more than ever in business and politics, it seems the first son, donald trump jr. may be getting a much bigger chapter. i'm randi kaye, thank you for watching. tonight on the "axe files." a special conversation with civil rights icon, john lewis. >> to believe in something stand up for it speak up and s