tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN August 1, 2017 7:00am-8:00am PDT
russian attorney. stunning reports show political and legal concerns for this administration. >> so far this morning, no words from the president about this, either out loud, on paper or on social media. so, we know that the president's staff and family, with the new chief of staff, general john kelly. does the president's twitter account report to him as well? we are at the white house with the story of presidential dictation. very significant. >> reporter: yes, it is, john. "the washington post" reporting donald trump personally dictated this statement first given to "the new york times" about donald trump jr. meeting at trump tower with that russian lawyer. now, the word is they drafted the statement as they were flying back on air force one from the g-20 summit in germany. it was the president's idea to say the meeting was primarily about russian adoption, not
campaign issues. this is according to the story in "the washington post" from last night. we know that later on that came to not be true, this meeting was more about that donald trump jr. was under the impression that he was meeting with a russian government attorney who had incriminating information about hillary clinton. the subject line of the e-mails was literally russia, clinton, private and confidential. we later found out that was not true. the trump lawyer, jay sekulow is saying this revelation as the president personally dictated this statement is not relevant. let's put his statement on the screen saying, apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate and not pertinent. this is the lawyer that went on television two times after this came out to strongly deny the president had any role in drafting this donald jr. statement.
>> all right. i think we have one question we want to get to you about general john kelly and his role inside the white house. what are you learning about whether or not the situation is getting buttoned up? >> we are seeing john kelly impose order on the very divided west wing. it's evident how much power the president is giving john kelly. all staff, including jared kushner and ivanka trump will report to john kelly and not the president as they have been when reince priebus was in the white house. we are clearly seeing how much power donald trump is giving to welly in the west wing. >> thanks very, very much. appreciate it. joining us now, the cnn legal and national security analyst and ryan lizza, legal
analyst. it is not against the law to lie to the press or the american people, which is shocking and unfortunate in many ways. however, however, if the president was as involved as "the washington post" reports in dictating this message, this answer that was quite misleading about the nature of the meeting, what could it expose him to and those around him? >> so, john, we need to get away from looking at each isolated event and seeing whether or not that it's legal, whether or not it's legal. when a prosecutor is building a case, they are going to look at everything in the totality. so, what this shows is a level of direct involvement and actually directing the way that this is being put out in an attempt to conceal. so, if we go back all the way to comey's firing, his desire for this russia investigation to go away, we need, you know, we start to wonder, what are the
motives for that? now there's certain, a personal investment in covering this up. this is just adding to evidence that mueller can connect, collect and connect. it will expose everyone who is around him on that day when he was, when that message was being created for them to explain and give their accounting of events. it's going to put people in a position of having to decide whether they are going to be loyal to the president or whether they are going to tell the truth and people are going to get tripped up in that process. so, i think it's not just exposing the president to potential liability, it's exposing everyone around him to it. this has been going on for a long time and get more complicated as the story continues. >> craig, as someone who was a chief of staff, albeit to a vice president, you get the role and the inner workers of the white house.
how bizarre is it, the extent to which according to "the washington post" reporting, the president was involved in drafting this statement on behalf of his son? pull aside the g-20, dictating it on air force one, despite the repeated pleas of those around him to be more transparent. >> so, i think, poppy, from the beginning, this white house has done a poor job managing the story. this is just one episode which is more interesting because of the specifics becoming known. but, honestly, shaping a statement, trying to shape this story is probably not that unusual. the notion that it was somehow dictated is a little different. a big question, in my mind, is what did the president know when he was dictating a statement? was he trying to put a spin on something? did he know what the facts were? did he intend to mislead?
in that case, it's a shot of veracity at the white house. >> even if he didn't, should he shape any message if he didn't see the e-mails or know? >> classic answer, if you don't know it you don't shape it. >> laying the political ground work, how big of a deal is it coming now as it does in this moment of turmoil inside the west wing? >> it seems pretty significant. what "the washington post" reports is that the president personally overruled other administration officials who wanted to put out a full, a more full account of this meeting and that's why this question of what did he know. it seems like, maybe i could re-read the "post" piece, but seems like the debate was, hey, we want to put out a more accurate account of this and he was overruling his aides saying, no, we are going to say it was
about adoption. so, you know, not to put too fine a point on it, you have the president of the united states covering up an explosive e-mail that, of course, we know was evidence that the trump campaign was at the very least open to the idea of colluding with russia, which is the one thing the president and advisers said was not the case. so, pretty big deal. as you pointed out, it's not illegal, but what the legal analysts put out is when you have a special council out investigating potential obstruction of justice and you are in the middle of what arguably is this cover up of this meeting, that seems pretty dicey for the president and opens up all the people who were on that plane and involved in this, getting a call from bob mueller to what was happening. >> a legal standpoint, how much
does it matter how much he knew about the intent of this meeting, the fact that as we learned from the e-mail chain, don jr. released himself, it was a concerted russian government for example. is that a line that matters for the president, what he knew? >> certainly, if he knowingly concealed something then that is going to have a greater weight in terms of going to his intent to cover up potential, you know, connections with russian government officials. but, i think, it was already mentioned, even if he didn't know, i think that there's -- there's a question that's raised why he would get directly involved to shape this message. it's possible he simply is thinking politically and does not grasp the kind of criminal liability that he may be putting
himself and his staff out to. maybe he's not worried about it. in many ways, as the president, he enjoys many privileges and immunities that make it very difficult for any kind of criminal charge to be brought against him. that is not true for the people around him. he's making it more difficult for lawyers, families lawyers and for his staff. i think, no matter how you slice it, this is not good. >> craig, we just got a statement from the president of the united states on twitter, he writes this morning the fake media and trump enemies want me to stop using social media. it's the only way for me to get the truth out. >> we don't argument. >> i think this is inocuous. >> i think it shows kelly is not holding the twitter handle. >> what does it show about the
extent of john kelly's power inside the west wing? >> we are going see more discipline with general kelly there. i don't think you are going to stop the tweeting. i think, at least there was time taken today to consider what message to put out. i suspect that is what will happen in the future, especially on this russia case. you simply cannot have the president tweeting about it and expect him not to bury every news story the administration is trying to put out. >> that's one point burrman. lizza, can i get you on my team? come on, we go back. >> an anecdote i put out, kelly was in aspen talking to officials a week and a half ago and told these officials he believed he convinced president trump that he didn't need to build a full, physical wall on the border, you could start calling it a barrier, you could do it with surveillance and technology. he said, he was telling his national security officials many
were skeptical of trump and kelly for working with trump. he thinks he has a relationship with trump where he can change his mind about things. some people were impressed with that. then he added, but you never know with trump, he could tweet something and change his mind and that's it. so, he's going into this -- i took from that anecdote, he's going into this job, one, with a sense he thinks he can manage trump and has good enough relations with him. two, he understands the volcanic nature of trump and can change it at anytime. but, he clearly doesn't have the twitter password, you know, considering the president is still tweeting. that tweet is not -- does not rank in the top 50 or 100 of trump's most controversial tweets. >> yes! so, i win. >> sorry, we are out of time. we have to go now. craig fuller -- >> poppy always wins.
>> a great lesson. ryan lizza, thank you. fire's off. the republican senator telling his own party it needs to stop rationalizing the president's behavior. plus, an e-mail prankster dukes top white house officials. what did he find out and how did he do it? a new russia sanctions. are new russian sanctions coming soon? vice president pence standing his ground as the kremlin retaliates. >> but the president and our congress are unified in our message to russia, a better relationship, the lifting of sanctions will require russia to reverse the action that is caused sanctions to be imposed in the first place. at panera, a salad is so much more than one thing. more than one flavor, or texture, or color.
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some say move on, now. we have tried this. other republicans want to go back to the drawing board. >> well, we can't move on from health care because obamacare is a mess. >> you have the political consideration you promised folks you would do this for seven years. you cannot go back. they need to stay and need to work and pass something. that's not only the official white house position, it's the national attitude toward it. >> let's discuss, republican congressman leonard lance is here with us. nice to have you here, not remotely somewhere. regardless of what you guys, what congress does, what the president may do shortly is threatening 5 million to 6 million americans, which is if you pull the subsidies from obamacare, they go to making health insurance affordable for 5 to 6 million americans. he threatened to do that and pull the funding away from you guys and congress as well. what would you do if the
president does that? >> we should fund that. i did not like through the obama administration, it was not done through the appropriations. >> that was through the courts. i'm a member of the first branch, article one. we should appropriate the fund. >> you will try to get the money? >> of course. >> in general, in health care, there's a discussion about whether or not republicans should move on, go on to tax policy, go on to something else or dig in again and try to fix health care right now. where are you? >> i think we can do both. i want to move to tax reform. in september, we should move to tax reform. i'm a member of the problem solvers caucus. we put out a plan regarding the individual market, it's not a complete plan. i hope we examine that and it's completely bipartisan in the house of representatives. >> itd includes the subsidies there? >> yeah. >> i'm sure you read the front
page of "the washington post" this morning and the story the president dictated himself on air force one, this misleading statement about the meeting his son don jr. had with the russian attorney. your response to that? troublesome to you? if so, what level? >> i was the first to call for jeff sessions to recuse himself regarding the russian matter. this is being investigated by the senate house intelligence committee and robert mueller himself. >> jeff flake called out those answers in his op-ed. today, he said as republicans not calling out the president on things you do not agree with cannot continue. he's done it. how do you feel, personally, about the president dictating what we know from the reporting the white house is misleading to the american people? >> i try to lead by example and
try to be truthful with the press. >> you wouldn't do it? >> i don't think i would do it, no. >> poppy brought up a piece in the washington journal and he wrote a book that set up questions about the trump presidency. let me read you something he writes. too often we observe the unfolding drama saying someone should do something without seeming to realize that someone is us. so, that unnerving silence in the base of the executive branch is an avocation. do you think you and your fellow republicans need to do more to stand-up to this white house? >> we should stand-up where we think it's appropriate and i'm comfortable doing that. i've indicated where i disagree with the president and where i
agree with him. we have a separate branch of the government. for example, we passed overwhelmingly the sanctions bill against russia and iran and north korea. i hope and expect the president will be signing that even though he indicated he would examine it. i think congress really stood up and indicated this is the policy that should exist here in the united states. >> you say, quickly to wrap up, stand-up where appropriate and not appropriate. where it is inappropriate for members of congress to stand-up? >> i agree with the president on certain policies, for example on tax reform, i think we should move forward and other areas as well. i favored the appointment of neal gorsuch to the supreme court. where appropriate i will support him, where inappropriate, i will not. >> short of 200 days in office for the president, has it gone like you thought it would? >> i think it's been a very challenging time. i do think general kelly will be
excellent as chief of staff, so long as everyone in the white house can report to him. i think there can only be one chief of staff. >> think or hope? >> i think general kelly will be successful. >> thank you. >> great to have you here with us, really appreciate it. days after the latest missile test, north korea's highly unusual submarine activity. what does it mean for the president's vow to quote, handle, north korea. stay with us. you don't let anything keep you sidelined. that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you.
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properties in moscow, the u.s. seems to be moving out of this. this is video from moscow showing moving trucks taking items out of that diplomatic country residence. this is after the vice president says major changes are needed if russia and u.s. relations don't improve. >> russia has to change its behavior and by these sanctions, by my presence here, by the president's powerful affirmation of the objectives and the values of our alliance in the west, our hope is that we will move toward better relations and a better future and a more peaceful world as a result. >> the vice president was speaking in georgia. that is once on the vice president's tour, which also
includes the baltic states. this is an effort to reassure nato allies. the concerns could escalate more. "the new york times" saying a military exercise by russia could involve 100,000 russian troops. joining us to discuss, paul, a former state official under president george w. bush. thank you for being with us. vladimir putin kicking autothe u.s. diplomatic personnel in russia, these huge military exercises, which were on the schedule, but 100, 000 troops certainly seems pro provocative. what message do you think vladimir putin is trying to send? >> two messages, one to his country, he is large and in charge and one to whether or not they want to stay in the russian orbit. that's a way to clamp down on that government and an attempt
to sent to the world and the united states russia is going to continue to do what it always does, exert authority, all of which is a desperation move by a weak country and a weak president who knows if he loses the energy markets in europe and has a u.s. president stand-up to him, everything begins to crumble. >> it's testing the ability of nato to respond and the resources of nato by spreading out its troops so much along poland and the baltic nations as well. the u.s. response that is appropriate, you believe, is what? >> i think it's appropriate for the u.s. to respond and the nato countries to respond, not just in words, but deeds. to match everything he does. it's not quite relevant because our weapons and our abilities are greater than his. to match those things, follow the kissinger rule, do unto others that they do unto you
plus 10%. that's all putin understands. if the west stands up to him, he risks a bloody nose. >> along those lines, you suggest a similar posture. you said, recently, the u.s. never frightened china or north korea enough in the past. what do you mean by that? >> under president clinton and president obama, we never did all the things we could do to make them know how serious we are. one thing is sanctions that harm the leadership of those countries and interest. secondly, sending the message we are the most powerful military in the world, not just the numbers, but the kinds of technology we have and we will use it if necessary. our interests come first. every country puts its own interest first. as long as we demonstrate that, then aggressors realize it's not worth it and they back down.
we need to practice that. >> in response to venezuela and the opposition leaders taken into custody overnight, the u.s. slapped sanctions on them. they could have halted all venezuelan oil exports, which would cripple them. that's 10% of exports. that is huge for them. was it appropriate -- was it a measured response or should the u.s. have done more in the sanctions on oil? >> i think it will be escalating. the truth is 20 years ago, we should have been dealing with this. this was very predictable, i saw that when i worked on the hill and he came into power. what trump is doing is escalating and he will do. start with steps. this is the first step, a serious step. it's never been taken against the president of venezuela. the next step could be the oil.
it does hurt the people, but you don't solve problems with dictators like this without going after thing that is hurt the people, too. sometimes it's necessary. >> let me ask you about how the world sees the u.s. right now. it's been a chaotic week. where do you think that crosses over in to foreign policy, or does it? >> i think it does. i think people look at the white house as the symbol of power of the united states, congress would beg to differ. we are three equal branches of government. i think it sends a message that the white house won't be ready for something if it looks chaotic. mr. scaramucci's comments were unfortunate. general kelly coming in is a great stabilizer with the administration and our government. around the world, people respect american military leaders because they are seen as more
than george s. pat ton. they know diplomacy. it will be reassuring to allies and worrying to enemies. >> paul, thank you. appreciate it. >> a huge amount of faith in john kelly. >> huge. >> extraordinarily high. >> i don't think he will end up on the front of the new york post, anytime soon. >> we will see. >> we will see. republican senator jeff flake, not afraid to call out president trump and now calling out his own party. the entire party, for not calling out the president more. >> the russia investigation, that should have set off more alarm bells, i think, than it did. i think going forward, we ought to be careful.
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a new defiant call from a republican senator. jeff flake of arizona tells members of his party, it's time to stand-up to the president. here is a small taste. >> what were some of the key moments along the way in the trump presidency where you and your fellow conservative republicans should have stood up and said no? >> i have to say many conservatives did come out with the firing -- >> what were the missed opportunities? >> the comey firing. the timing of it. you can fire the fbi director. could have said, hey, last year did some things he shouldn't have done, the way he handled the campaign wasn't good. the reason given, that, hey, the russia investigation, that should have set off more alarm
bells than it did. i think going forward, we ought to be careful. there's concern that the ag may be fired. that would be a real concern. i'm glad that some conservatives are standing up saying that certainly wouldn't be tolerated by capitol hill. >> joining us to discuss former democratic congressman. alice, he's making rounds because of this book and stunning, eye-opening piece in political. his own party has responsibility for checking this president and he admits, he, himself, has not done that. do you agree with him? >> he made excellent points in this piece. i'm the first to praise the president and administration when they do thing that is are reflective of our party and
conservative principles. i think one of the main points flake made in the piece is we are talking conservatives and those who represent conservatives in the party when the principles are so malleable. at what point is the purpose of the victory? it's critical to be a check and balance and stand-up to our principles. without that, you know, it affects the future of the party. >> you may be shocked to know, overnight on social media, there were critics from the left of jeff flake, the senator of arizona, despite calling on members of his party, people on the left said, sure, senator flake, you are critical now, but what have you done, is that fair? >> i fall in that category as well. i have respect for senator flake. he talks a good game. the people that have shown the courage, murkowski's, collin's, john mccain. they stood up.
>> that's on health care, a policy issue that the president wasn't that involved in. >> it wasn't just a policy issue. if you look at john mccain's stance, the vote, the fabric of the senate was falling apart. john mccain didn't vote against that bill because he had some affection for barack obama and obamacare. he said we need to take a step back and think about the values that are part of this body called the senate. what donald trump is doing is destroying the fabric of most of the fundmental tenants of xhok si. if he wanted to do something, join lindsey graham in limiting him to fire special council. take action. they are words. >> they were words, but he called on the president to fall out of the race after the "access hollywood" tapes. some of the criticism is the stance mccain and other
republicans have taken on trade and protectionism and against the commerce secretary who has protectionist views. they say flake didn't take the stances. is that fair criticism of flake? >> i think he makes a good point on the trade issue, but, at the same time, you know, actions speak louder than words. if you are going to make such statements about free trade and the short, he abused the presidents policy of not looking long ball. they need to look at long term strategy with regard to trade. if that's the case, put together legislation for the argument. he makes good points, but without following through, it doesn't mean anything. look, it's important to remember many conservatives like myself take issue with the principles this president put forward. but the majority of the american people, with regard to republicans voted for him. they stood by him and supported
him. that's the key point. he connected with republicans unlike any other republicans in this race. we have to support their decision. >> republicans voted for him. he won the primaries, the majority of americans did not. >> minor detail. >> let me ask you about general kelly. we are 1:40 into the show. every human being says he or she thinks general kelly will make a positive impact on this white house. do you want to be the first one to disagree with that? >> i mean, no, but compared to what? he's walking into animal house. all he has to do is be a little better than before. starting from the inauguration to yesterday, the white house is complete and utter chaos. if he adds a little control, his job has been a success. the bar is so low, d level of expectation -- >> where is the bar? what is your bar to call him a success? >> i think his job is -- the
reason being, he thooz control a personality that has never been controlled his entire life, that is donald trump. he thohas to keep the kushner'sd ivanka's and everyone whispering in the president's ear. hiri hiring mooch is great. >> you are rooting for general kelly? >> i'm rooting for the united states of america. >> poppy and i have had not an argument, but disagreement -- >> in the commercial break. >> he has written things, only the fake news immediate and trump enemies want me to stop using social media. the only way to get the truth out. he's going to keep using twitter. twitter is a great way to find
out what the president thinks, we applaud his frequent use of it. do you think general kelly could have an impact on that aspect of the president's behavior? >> based on the last 24 hours, it seems that something has changed. he has slowed down his use of twitter. i think, clearly, he was masterful in his use of twitter throughout the campaign and getting directly to the people, getting his message to them and bypassing the media. it's an important tool for him to do so. however, they need to be on message, furthering his agenda, furthering what they are trying to accomplish and tallying their accomplishments. the attacks on the med ya and derogatory statements with the ag are not helpful. what general kelly did with regard of having that meeting, laying down the line, look, i'm the gate keeper of the president. all roads lead to her. that's critical. any reset is only as effective
as it applies to everyone, not the comm staff or general kelly, but the president. >> we'll see how many people report to general kelly as the days progress. great discussion. thanks for being with us. as for senator jeff flake, the provocative essay, the senator will be on "the lead" with jake tapper at 4:00 p.m. this is a big story having to do with the west wing. a self-described e-mail prankster pulls one over on the white house. this has serious political and security implications. this is an important story. stick around. um...i'm babysitting. that'll be $50 bucks. you said $30. yeah, well it was $30 before my fees, like the pizza-ordering fee and the dog-sitting fee... and the rummage through your closet fee. who is she, verizon? are those my heels? yeah! yeah, we're the same size...in shoes. with t-mobile taxes and fees are already included,
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pranked. high level white house officials punked by an e-mail prankster in the united kingdom. >> this is how easy it was to get the personal e-mail address of the person in charge of cyber security. he poses as jared kushner and writes to the homeland security adviser. tom, we are arranging a soiree
towards the end of august. i promise that of food of at least comparable. thanks with a promise like that, i can't refuse. also, here's the kicker, if you ever need it, my personal e-mail is redacted. joining us to talk about this, dan. it didn't seem awfully hard to get sensitive information there. >> it is a personal way of phishing. how they get into e-mail and different systems. they send e-mails to the people they want to hack. in this case, it was a prankster and it's funny. there's certainly a lot of humor in the story. it also, as cyber security expects say, it says important things to how cyber security protocols are followed at the white house and how easy it is to dupe someone.
the most salacious and most personal e-mails came between fake reince priebus and the real anthony scaramucci. fake reince priebus wrote, at no stage have you acted in any way that is remotely classy. general kelly will do a fine job, i'll admit, a better job than me. the way the transition has come out hans been diabolical and hurtful. i don't expect a reply. the fake reince priebus writes back, i can't believe you are the one questioning my ethics. the so-called mooch who can't manage the white house without getting upset. i have nothing to apologize for.
obviously, this is a story we have been following the last few days. reince priebus ousted by scaramucci then ousted by kelly. he had been watching the news and preyed on the rivalry between scaramucci and priebus to get scaramucci to play along. >> to all of this, i guess scaramucci doesn't -- the real scaramucci doesn't work for the white house anymore but -- >> neither does real or fake reince priebus. they have all been let go. >> is the white house issuing a statement? >> sarah huckabee said we take all cyber related issues seriously and are looking into the incidents further. the real question is, how did this happen? i think the most worrisome won is tom bosser, the cyber security expert respondsed with
his personal e-mail. it shows how easy it is for pranksters to get details. imagine if it was a hacker. >> do we know it's not? do we know it's not? >> we were told this person is a prankster who has done it to other high profile banking officials. he's on twitter and tweeted the exchanges. he said it was all for levity, not for anything. >> meanwhile, trying to line up fake reince priebus. dan, thanks so much. clear your schedule for 11 years from now. the city of angels set to be a city of olympians. insurance coy won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. switch and you could save $782
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bleacher report. you are going to be 35 by the time they come. >> i love you. a deal is struck. los angeles will host the 2028 olympic games. they will be back in the states. the los angeles planning committee estimates it will cost $5.3 billion, but they feel they can keep costs low using already existing venues like dorms. they said they are going to give the city $1.8 billion as part of the agreement. this move means it 2024 olympic games will be held in paris. how will you feel to be public enemy number one to the city of chicago because fans said you cost the team a trip to the world series? 14 years later, they give you a $70,000 world series ring. steve barton interfered with a
ball that could have sent them to the 2003 world series. he was booed, hated and shamed, public enemy number one hated since al capone. he received the ring, so happy, diamond encrusted. he said he does not feel worthy. he is grateful for this. guys? >> thank you very, very much. >> thank you all for joining us. see you back here tomorrow. i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm john berman. kate bolduan at the hour starts now. hello, i'm kate bolduan. overridden. the bombshell. this one from aboard air force one. a stunning revelation about donald trump jr.'s infamous meeting in 2016 with a russian lawyer. today's reveal, what h