tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 17, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
rewrite the constitution of power. political violence there has claimed close to 100 lives since april. that is it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i now your honturn you over to blitzer. he's in the situation room. happening now, not in the clear. new questions tonight about presidential son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner's security clearance. democrats want it revoked. there are some republicans getting tired of defending him. "made in america." the white house tries to change the subject with a week devoted to boosting american products. but as the president climbs into a "made in america" fire truck and promotes u.s. manufacturers, he ignores the fact that many products that bear the trump name are made abroad. sick leave.
senate republicans wait for a vote on the senate health care. they can't vote without him and even with him, there may not be enough to pass it. a procedure of property in the united states and a punishment for meddling in the u.s. election. but there is another punishment which putin wants to roll back. what's he doing about it? i'm wolf blitzer and you're in the situation room. as president trump defends his son's meeting with a russian lawyer, there are new questions tonight about his son-in-law's security clearance. both donald trump jr. and jared kushner attended that meeting which the president dismisses, saying that's politics. but lawmakers want to hear from both men and some democrats want to revoke kushner's clearance saying he must be held accountable for omissions on his national security questionnaire. the president today kicked off "made in america" week, touting american products but making no
mention of the fact that many of the products sold or used by the trump family businesses are manufactured abroad, including clothing marketed under the donald trump and ivanka trump names. senate republicans, meanwhile, they will put off a vote on their health care bill until senator john mccain is well enough to return to washington after surgery for a blood clot. the bill may not advance without him and even with mccain's vote, there may not be enough republican support to push it through. they're asking that they use the delays to hold hearings on the bill which was crafted in secret. a new poll shows only 36% of americans approve of president trump's performance. the president says it's not bad, but it's the lowest approval rating at the six-month mark of any american president in 70 years. i'll talk with senator chris murphy in the foreign relations committee, and our correspondent and guests, they're standing by with full coverage of today's
top stories. a beleaguered white house came up with a "made in america" promotion week today, but many of the trump products are not made in america. the president already very busy for defending family members. >> the president is defending his daughter, ivanka trump, for some of the clothes not made in the usa. quite a distraction for this "made in america" week. but most of donald trump's time is spent defending donald trump jr. that's why the president is trying to change the subject to talk about anything but that. >> reporter: there was no fire at the white house today but this fire truck is one way they are urgently trying to change the subject for the russian administration trying to overshadow their agenda. the president kicking off what
the administration is calling "made in america" week, showcasing products from every state in the country, from the white house to the state dining room inside. the salesman in chief spent the afternoon promoting american products instead of using his bully pulpit on the republican health care bill floundering in the senate. the president also made clear it's russia that's on the top of his mind, tweeting earlier today most politicians would have gone to a meeting that don jr. attended in order to get info on an opponent. that's politics. but that's not what christopher wray, the president's nominee to lead the fbi, said last week at his confirmation hearing when he told senators the meeting with russians should have raised alarm. >> any threat or effort to interfere with our elections from any nation state or any non-state actor is the kind of thing the fbi would want to know. >> reporter: the president insisting there was nothing wrong with the trump tower meeting in june of 2016 when his
oldest son, donald trump jr., senate adviser jared kushner and campaign adviser paul manafort met with a russian lawyer promising damaging information on hillary clinton. the latest news poll shows 36% approve of donald trump while 58% do not. it's the lowest rating at this point in polls going back 70 years. at the same point of their presidencies, barack obama and george w. bush, each had a 90% approval rating. bill clinton's, 45%. another warning sign on the horizon, trump detractors feel better about their support that others while only 48% disapprove. according to the "washington post" agency news poll. his low approval rating is one of the factors complicating the effort to repeal and replace obamacare.
again this week the senate is delaying a vote on health care. senator john mccain recovering from a surgery for a blood clot at home in arizona. >> we hope john mccain gets better very soon because we miss him. he's a crusty voice in washington, plus we need his vote. >> reporter: senate majority leader mitch mcconnell postponed action until mccain's return, needing every republican vote he can get. back at the white house, the "made in america" theme shining new light on how much of the trump brand is made outside the usa. sean spicer brushing aside questions on whether the president and his daughter should stop making their products overseas. >> in some circumstances, there are a certain supply chain that may not be available in this country. i'm not going to comment on specific products. >> reporter: so, wolf, this very unusual display at the bhwhite house had more trappings of a county fair with the fire truck
and tractor at the white house, but it shows how the administration is trying to turn the page on the investigation. we're told the white house will have dinner with republican senators over health care, something he has not talked about in public very much. he'll have at least three of those republican senators here this evening. wolf? as new questions arise about the trump team's meeting with the russian lawyer, other individuals and lawmakers plan to hear from those involved. let's hear from justice correspondent jessica schneider. what's the latest on the meeting and the reaction to it? >> republican leaders on the senate and intelligence judiciary committees say they are eager to hear more from don jr. about that 2016 meeting. they've already requested documents from him and they're waiting for his testimony, but the president is insisting in his pushback that this meeting was all ado about nothing.
president trump defended his son's june 2016 meeting with the russian lawyer that promise the damaging information on hillary clinton, calling it something normal in the world of politics. the president tweeting, most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one donald jr. attended in order to get news on the opponent. they told christopher wray last week that the proper thing to do would have been to call the fbi. the president's lawyer jay sekulow tried to shift the focus to the secret service. >> if this was nefarious, why did the president not have the secret service in? >> reporter: but the secret service said donald trump jr. was not a protectee of the secret service in 2016. thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time. donald and ivanka did have secret service at that time and
anyone entering would have gone through security to check for weapons. donald jr., jared kushner and campaign chair paul manafort represented the campaign. music publicist robert goldstone arranged the meeting and natalia veselnitska veselnitskaya, a prominent father and son team in russia. they featured the future president in his music video. the president says he only became aware of the june 2016 meeting recently. >> the president, and this has been averted, was not aware of the meeting. >> reporter: they paid $50,000 to the law firm now representing donald trump jr. just days before he amended his security clearance form, including that meeting with natalia
veselnitskaya and one day after cnn asked about it. the meeting didn't become public knowledge for nearly two weeks, but it raises questions whether maybe trump's campaign team knew the disclosure would cause problems. >> the individual that's being questioned or subject to questioning, donald trump jr., retains counsel. it involved an incident that involved a campaign in the meeting when he was doing work for the came pain, paign, so th is not an unusual setup at all. >> we're learning that the house committee will hold the testimony of susan rice. that was originally scheduled for tomorrow. they're also working to get former u.n. ambassador before the panel. republicans, of course, making a big push to get both rice and power, to get them under oath about whether they improperly unmasked intelligence.
wolf? >> let's in our senior counter terrorist. very quickly on the unmasking, whether they want to talk to president observe oe's national security adviser, reminding viewers what that's all about. >> you get a russian ambassador who is speaking to a russian official. that russian's foishl is going to be a citizen. the u.s. ambassador is talking to person number 1 without naming that person. someone like susan rice is going to look at that and say, i'm going to ask that names be en masse. we'll have to look at that person behind the persons act.
we're told he had temporary security clearances. what does that mean? >> they question whether you should see the most sensitive information. interceps of foreign ambassadors, for example. they haven't made a final determination -- for me it would be a five-year removal. he should have he shouldn't have a permanent clearance that gives him access to some of the most precious information. >> she thinks security clearances should be revoked because he wasn't completely forthcoming in disclosing all those meetings he had with foreigners in a security clearance questionnaire. >> remember, wolf, this is not about a court of law. this is about determining whether someone is pruittful and new jersey.
the question is f we had gone through the process for a clearance and this had been disclosed later, would we have been given a clearance? the answer is no. >> if you had not immediately disclosed all kprour meetings with foreigners? >> no, you're talking about how they only did not disclose, you're talking about meetings with foreign power. . you would look at this and say 0 for 3 disclosed meetings on people who represent themselves coming here from the russian government? you've got to be kidding me. i don't know how he even has coverage. >> the president can make a decision whether or not he gets security clearance. he's on our own. >> people in my age have an
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there are concerns about his son-in-law's security clearance. joining us now, democratic senator chris murphy of connecticut. he's a member of the foreign intelligence committee. chris, thanks for joining us. z >> thanks for having me. >> they are asking for jared kushner's security clearance to be revoked immediately. do you agree with immediately? >> i do agree. it seems like a double standard.
jared kushner was holding information from his father-in-law, from every spokesman in the white house about being present in that meeting. or they knew about it and they were all lying. michael flynn got fired because he had withheld information about meeting with the russians. that put him in a position to potentially be compromised by the russians or other foreign agencies knew about that meeting and he was summarily dismissed. so if the flynn standard still holds, then frankly i think there is a question of why jared kushner is still in the white house, but there certainly is a more immediate question about whether it's appropriate for him to have security clearance if he had been lying to his superiors in a routine and regular way. >> president trump's lawyer jay sekulow argues that no laws were broken in that meeting. if that's the case, would mitigate your concerns over that meeting with that russian lawyer? >> we have a higher standard than the breaking of laws when it comes to people who are
holding the public trust inside the white house. if jared kushner was lying consistently to those that he works with in the white house and allowing for the white how else to lie to the american public repeatedly about the nature of the trump campaign's contacts with the russian government, then that is a problem in and of itself. i mean, the bar has been set so low and the white house now says that if people weren't committing criminal acts, then they should be allowed to stay inside the white house. well, there is still a question as to whether there were criminal acts that were committed, but there was a massive lie that the white house made and repeated over and over and over again that we now know to be a lie. that in and of itself is a big problem. >> was it appropriate for the president's lawyer to blame the secret service for not vetting those people who went to that meeting? >> well, listen. this is an act of desperation. the fact of the matter is the secret service is not in charge of making sure a campaign
exercise is good political policy judgment. the secret service is in charge of protecting the safety of people under their charge. there are reports that they may not have even been in charge or having oversight over donald trump jr. at this point, but even if they did, it's irrelevant. this is an administration that is grasping for explanations for why this meeting happened. instead they need to start helping investigators get to the bottom of the potential collaboration between the trump campaign and the russian government. >> we reported there were at least eight people in that meeting, maybe more, who knows. but would you like to see the log if there was a secret service log, for example, of that meeting? >> i think you have to assume that we are still being fed lies about the nature of this meeting. if this meeting was so important, so potentially politically explosive that donald trump jr. and jared kushner lied about it so consistently for such a long period of time, then it stands to reason that they still aren't
telling us the whole truth. maybe they did get important information in that meeting. maybe it was the beginning of a very long period of coordination between the trump campaign and the russian government. i think you have to assume, given the number of lies that have been told about this meeting so far, that we probably haven't gotten the whole truth yet which is one of the reasons that donald trump jr. and many others in that meeting have to come before congress and explain themselves. >> would you like -- would you seek the logs, for example, of the secret service of all the meetings that occurred during the campaign of trump tower in new york city? >> i would assume that the fbi, that robert mueller, is going to get his hands on everything available to him, and i would certainly support the senate intelligence committee's effort to get all of the evidence that is available as to who were in those meetings. >> in that first e-mail that all of us read now multiple times, a man by the name of rob goldstone bh who is a publicist for one of
donald trump's associates in russia, a pop star, if you will, wrote this, and i'll put it on the screen. i can also send this info to your father via rhona, the president's long-time assistant, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first. do you believe there are additional e-mails that would shed light on what president trump personally knew about all this? >> as i said, wolf, i'm assuming that we have not heard the whole story. what you have seen consistently for the last six months is a pattern of lying in this white house, a pattern of using every tool available to them of trying to object physicifiscate the tr. there are questions of who met with the russians. now we know flynn met with the russians, kushner met with the russians, donald jr. met with the russians, manafort met with the russians. they have fired the fbi director in order to keep him from
getting at the truth. i assume we know just a small percentage of the whole story and it will ultimately take the good work of you and other investigators to get to it. it's not going to be the trump white house that is all of a sudden going to cop to the full story. >> let me get your opinion on the health care legislation stalled in the senate right now. donald trump spoke and list anyhow he thinks it affects the changes in medicaid. >> when it comes to medicaid, not only does the senate's health care bill expand state flexibility, it ensures that every state in america has the resources you need to take care of your most vulnerable. president trump and i believe the senate health care bill strengthens and secures medicaid for the neediest in our society. and this bill puts this vital american program on a path to long-term sustainability. under the senate health care bill, federal medicaid spending will be 300 to $500 billion
higher over the next decade relative to current amounts, ensuring that our states have the ability to provide for the most vulnerable and give them the care that they're counting on. >> all right, senator, what's your response to what we just heard? >> the vice president might as well have given a speech of how the moon is made of green cheese. that is a fabrication from beginning to end. there is not a single independent source that will back up what the vice president said in that speech. the congressional budget office, which his friends in the congress, including paul ryan, refer to as the neutral referee of legislation confirms that 15 million people, the most vulnerable amongst us will be kicked off of medicaid and states will get billions dollars less than they were scheduled to get. it is just not true what he said. and the willingness to just create this alternative narrative by this administration
about the health care bill is really troubling. and it's not just about trying to pull one over on the american people, it's also about the example it sets for the world. folks just don't believe this administration, not just because of the trouble they're having with our allies, but because they watch these utter fabrications being represented to the american people from the higher levels of government. this is a big issue for the credibility of this administration and the credibility of this country, not just inside the health care debate but more globally as well. >> congressional budget office does estimate that federal spending on medicaid, what was supposed to go up would be reduced by about $772 billion by 2026. let me put up on the screen your response, what you tweeted. i'm going to say it. there is real evil in the epidemic rate of lying that is going on right now that this is not normal. so i take it what you're referring to, you're saying that the vice president of the united states is lying.
>> so he knows what he said isn't true. he knows that this bill doesn't expand and protect medicaid, and he has no source to draw on. and so that's why this is so frightening to us. defend what you're doing. if you think that it's important to kick 15 million people off of medicaid, if you think it's important to cut the allocation to the state of connecticut by $3 billion over 10 years, then explain to us why you're doing that, but don't think we're fool fools, don't think you can go out and say you are strengthening and supporting medicaid when every independent analysis of what you're doing says the opposite. one of the reasons why this bill has such an abysmal approval rating is because people know what it does and it doesn't do what the vice president said. >> we would like the vice president to come here to the situation room and defend this. he has an open invitation and has had for quite a while.
thanks for being with us. >> thanks, wolf. top members of the trump campaign team, democrats want jared kushner's security clearance revoke td because he didn't report sitting in on that meeting until recently. with an ingredient originally found in jellyfish, prevagen is now the number one selling brain health supplement in drug stores nationwide. prevagen. the name to remember. tech: when you schedule with safelite autoglass, you get a text when we're on our way. you can see exactly when we'll arrive. i'm micah with safelite. customer: thanks for coming, it's right over here. tech: giving you a few more minutes for what matters most. take care. kids singing: safelite® repair, safelite® replace.
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when only certain people can get it. let's fix that. let's give this guy gig- really? and these kids. and these guys. him. ah. oh hello- that lady. these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh. sure. still yes! you can get it too. welcome to the party. introducing gig-speed internet from xfinity. finally, gig for your neighborhood too. tonight top adviser jared kushner, congressional democrats are demanding his security clearance be revoked because of the latest revelations of the trump team during the presidential campaign. let's get some insight from our specialist chris swiza.
is it realistic he could get his clearance revoked? he is the senior adviser and his son-in-law. i don't know anyone who is closer to him than that. >> calling for him to lose his security clearance is not going to worry donald trump all that much. this is the inner sanctum of the inner sanctum when you talk about jared kushner. he is literally family. what we do know about donald trump, however, is he does not like it when the people around him get negative press for him. he didn't like it when steve bannon did it, he didn't like it when reince priebus did it. he's defended donald trump jr. he's defended jared kushner. so i'm not really sure. this is something that will absolutely resonate with the democratic base. they will be able to raise money off this sort of thing, their base will be activated because they firmly believe that 70% of
democrats came out saying donald trump should be impeached. there is a no-lose situation if you're a democratic leader like nancy pelosi. i think this is very much unlikely it moves donald trump's hand in any way. >> he just has interim clearance right now. he hasn't gotten full clearance for many reasons, one of which he didn't properly fill out his form which was left blank on questions initially on questions about which foreign officials he had met with which sort of led to the snowball of where we are now, the delay in saying that he had this meeting and so forth. so there is that. but the other thing to keep in mind, and correct me if i'm wrong here on this, bill, for someone like jared kushner who is a senior adviser to the president of the united states, to have no security clearance effectively means he's bye-bye. he's not going to be able to have the job he has now. so when democrats are saying his security clearance should be revoked, that is a way for them
to say he should be kicked out of the white house and not be able to do the job he's doing now because he can't even without minimal security clearance. >> there's no way he can negotiate peace in the middle east without security clearance. >> we have jim comey talking about his memos with the president are classified. i don't buy that, but every time you have a conversation in the oval office, think about those conversations. commitment to nato, the israeli peace process, the nuclear deal we have. every one of those conversations is classified, and furthermore, every time you're in the room and one of those conversations come up, someone has to look around and say, jared, you have to leave the room. that's not tenable. that can't happen. >> but the president can override all of this. he has the authority, correct me if i'm wrong, despite what the fbi or cia or any agency might say, if he wants his son-in-law to have security clearances, he gets security clearances. >> i suppose so. i can't imagine this political
environment letting it happen. you have two decisions. number one, does somebody get a clearance? when i was with the agency, if this came up on your security clearance process, no way you're getting a security clearance. number two is whether someone can maintain a clearance once they have it. i think someone would be revoked. >> you said level playing field. it's not a level playing field which is why the president was advised by more than one person who, my understanding going in, there is a reason why nepotism laws and rules and protocols exist, for this reason. >> for one comment, and that's a political comment. if you old dlehold clearance an the white house recommending revoke it, the president could say, i would like to. >> can he do it? this is like firing bob mueller. yes, but politically speaking, that would have very long-lasting and almost
certainly negative consequences for donald trump . if the fbi recommends that jared kushner should lose his security clearance, the president returning it would you be the sort of thing that would cost republicans a lot of political power in congress. that would be a huge deal that -- well, i was going to say that he wouldn't do, but i don't make -- i've stopped making those full claims now, but it's something that would be very, very politically bad. >> i suspect, i don't know this to be a fact, but i guess we'll do some checking. there's never been a case where the fbi and cia and other agencies have revoked someone's security clearances and the president decides to supercede that. have you ever heard of that? >> i can imagine somebody coming and saying, hey, there are some questions. this person smoked marijuana three years ago. in my world you would say, okay, that's a waiver. this undeclared conversations
not only with russian officials but russian officials offering this kind of information? >> this is the president's son-in-law. it's not like some guy at mid-level. >> the president tweeted this this morning. most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one don jr. attended in order to get info on an opponent. that's politics. >> it's not politics. i mean, it's unfortunate that we have to keep saying this, but we do because unless the record is corrected to be what is the reality and not what the president wants to make the reality, it is going to become so, because he is obviously fixated on putting this narrative out there that it's just business as usual opening that it kind of gets into the zeitgeist and people say, oh, this is just business for those who follow him in the base. it is not business as usual. there is no political operative or political professional or
even a lower level person who has worked on campaigns who does not tell you that they get training from the legal team that if you get a request for a meeting that is even remotely like what was requested in the e-mail that we have now all seen to donald trump jr., you say, huh-uh. we're not going to do this. you should report it to the fbi, and again, this is not me talking, this is the president's own nominee to be the director of the fbi said in public under oath last week. >> just to add to dana's point, another point. sean spicer this afternoon said there is no reason for anyone to think that adoptions wasn't the topic of this meeting. donald trump tweeted at 10:07 that the meeting was to get information about hillary clinton and that any campaign, any adviser would do that. so both of those things can't be true. i mean, this is the gang that can't agree.
>> one of the problems for the white house has been the evolving explanations for this meeting a year ago june. there have been several different explanations. almost every day there are some new arguments. >> there is no revolving explanation. if you look at black and white, the e-mail says i'm interested in information derogatory that comes from a hostile foreign power. by the way, if the president says this is okay, let's make sure we understand what that means. that means we encourage the hostile foreign powers to collect information on american politicians. i don't know what to say. that's like clear the swamp, pump in the pond scum. what are we going to get out of it? >> everybody, stand by. we're getting more information about senator john mccain. monu is up on capitol hill. what are you learning? >> i just spoke with senator graham who is john mccain's closest friend in the senate. gra graham actually spoke to mccain
yesterday and said he noticed a measurable difference after surgery, essential a brick bat was taken to john mccain's head, those are lindsey graham's words, but he said it was a successful surgery and he believes it may have helped john mccain in the issue of memory and attention. here's what he said. >> i think it's a routine check but john had not been feeling good. he had been traveling a lot, wrote it off to being tired, that he was being forgetful just traveling around the world. i'm glad they found what i think was the cause. >> you think this was the cause of whatever? >> yes, i think so. i talked to him sunday just like the old john mccain and much more engaged in conversation. >> now, an interesting note to hear lindsey graham say he was getting forgetful. we all remember that exchange that senator mccain had with james comey during the senate intelligence committee hearing, a confusing exchange between
mccain and comey, and comey wasn't quite clear about what senator mccain was asking. afterwards senator mccain said he was up late watching baseball and that's one reason why he wasn't on his game then. but we're learning our colleague, dr. sanjay gupta, that the area of the brain that was affected doesn't have as much to do with memory loss but has more to do with the issue of attention, and senator graham, of course, nis not a physician, but clearly, wolf, noticing a significant difference from his friend after having that discussion with him yesterday, saying mccain wants to get back to washington. he does not know when he's going to get back, he said probably one to two weeks. and also uncertain about what has come back from the pathologists who are looking at what they removed as part of this surgery. they hope it's a blood clot and nothing more serious than that, though he doesn't know the answer to that question just yet. but significant here, wolf, in that he does sense there is a difference in john mccain and how he's acting. the words of lindsey graham, the
old john mccain after surgery, wolf. >> we wish john mccain a speedy recovery. another interesting note in your conversation with with senator graham. you had the opportunity to ask about kushner's security clearance. tell us what he said. >> he didn't want to go as far as the democrats have gone in calling for jared kushner's security clearance to be revo d revoked, he said he wanted to look into it further, but he took the opportunity to criticize the president's tweets suggesting that the meeting that donald jr. had with russian officials was normal. he said he does not want the president to encourage this kind of behavior given what we now know, that donald trump jr. went to this meeting after being told that the russian government wanted to help his father in that campaign. lindsey graham saying that is not the message you want to send to campaign officials of any stripe that this is an okay meeting to take. so continuing, wolf, this
bipartisan pushback from the president's own defense of his son's very controversial meeting they took last year, wolf. >> good work on capitol hill. senator graham was pretty blunt in discussing his best friend, senator john mccain, noticing that he had been, before the surgery, somewhat forgetful. >> yeah, maybe more blunt than they might have been expecting in john mccain's office. we'll see what happens with that because certainly the initial word that we got from mccain's office was a blood clot in his eye and it was a lot less specific and focused on the notion of it having to do with his memory and so forth. i was surprised to hear him say that, but the good news is that we're all human beings, whether you're a u.s. senator or anybody else, and he got something checked and it sounds like he got it taken care of, and that's really all that matters. >> we know he has a history of various issues, including
melanoma. dr. sanjay gupta who really reviewed his medical record back in 2008 when he was running for president of the united states, he knows senator mccain is healthy. he's 80 years old right now, and we wish him only the best, but there have been issues. >> and remember, john mccain released a significant amount of his medical information, more than he needed to when he ran in 2008, which gave us a better picture of himself. dana is right, the timeline -- never having craniectomy, something removed from behind your eye. dr. sanjay gupta reporting this is sort of a bigger surgery. i was stunned to hear this, but to hear senator graham talk in those terms, that the old john mccain is back, impacting sort of his attentiveness. i would guess that as good a
friends they are, john mccain probably would rather senator graham kept walking past monu rather than stop and talk. >> can i just say john mccain is -- there are lots and lots of senators who travel a lot. nobody travels the globe more than john mccain. i mean, to say he is tireless is the understatement of the day despite the fact that he is certainly not one of the youngest senators. and so i think the pace he keeps is something that i think a lot of his colleagues and even us would not be able to keep. >> he's always welcome to join us here in the situation room. if he's watching us right now, we would be happy to say hello and wish him a speedy, speedy recovery in the process. stand by. coming up, new demands from vladimir putin's russia. will the trump administration unconditionally give back the two compounds seized in retaliation for russia's meddling in the presidential election?
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compound is just part of it. a convoy of buses rolls out of a russian diplomatic compound in maryland. inside, russian diplomats kicked out of the u.s., accused of being spies. the property confiscated by the u.s. government. the order given in december by the obama administration. after u.s. intelligence concluded russia had meddled in the u.s. election. tonight vladimir putin's government vows to retaliate and rejects any conditions the u.s. has for returning two diplomatic compounds in america to the russians. the kremlin is threatening to expel american diplomats from russia. >> translator: if the u.s. partners don't understand it any other way, then at some point we will have to act exactly this way. >> reporter: that's not the only move against putin that washington is being pressured to roll back. at that trump tower meeting last year which donald trump, jr. is now being scrutinized for, russian lawyer natalia veselnitskaya says she and a russian-american lobbyist talked about u.s. sanctions against russia. though the kremlin denies
connections with veselnitskaya, analysts say what putin really wants, what the russians at that trump junior meeting was angling toward was to get the american law magnitsky act killed. how angry is putin still at the magnitsky act? >> every indication is he's still very angry that he would still like it rolled back. >> reporter: putin was so angry at the magnitsky act he banned adoptions of russian orphans by americans. the 2012 american law was named after a whistle blower named sergey magnitsky who died in russian custody after he kun covered a massive fraud scheme benefiting putin's cronies. putin and his circle have denied involvement in magnitsky's death. they say some of putin's cronies are being hurt from the act because it cuts them off from money they were able to squirrel away in the u.s. >> they take that money and put it am earn banks and swiss banks and send their kids to boarding schools and girlfriends to milan
on shopping trips. >> reporter: another reesz putin hates the magnitsky act according to sara men doll son, the law means putin can't guarantee protection for the oligarchs who do his bidding. >> this is essentially the business model, good fellas business model being called into question where he's asking or somebody close to him is asking something to be done. people are benefiting from it. if that entire business model is called into question, it's going to get harder for him to rule this way. >> reporter: sara says in the end she does not think vladimir putin is going to be successful in getting the magnitsky act killed. what happens then? well, she says putin might be angry enough to ramp up military tension with nato or to escalate the escalation war to create trouble for u.s. and its allies, wolf. >> regarding the diplomatic compounds seized from russians in maryland just outside of washington, d.c. and new york, is there any chance the trump administration would actually
give those properties back to the russians? >> reporter: there could be a chance, would have. white house press secretary sean spicer this afternoon was asked about that. spicer did not say unequivocally that the u.s. would not give those compounds back. he referred that to the state department, we are told state department and russian officials just got out of a meeting. they are talking about this. nothing decided yet, but they are meeting about it. >> brian todd reporting for us, thank you. coming up, as president trump defends his meeting with the russian lawyer, there are now new concerns about the president's son-in-law. will jared kushner be able to keep his security clearance? day 13. if only this were as easy as saving $600
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happening now, clearance and security, tonight mounting calls for the president's son-in-law and senior advisor to have his access to classified information revoked. with jared kushner under scrutiny in the russia investigation, is his pivotal white house job in any jeopardy? defending don junior, in a new tweet president trump keeps trying to downplay his son's meeting with the russian lawyer aimed at getting kremlin dirt on hillary clinton. the president's campaign also is helping to defend trump junior by spending tens of thousands of dollars. health care, as senator john mccain recovers from unexpected surgery, a senate vote on the gop health care bill is now on hold. we are tracking senator mccain's condition and uncertain prognosis he is for obamacare appeal. world's first active laser wep now ready to attack hostile targets at the speed of light. stand by for cnn