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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  August 3, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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no. >> president obama's former deputy national security advisor, who is also a cnn contributor, responded to this acceleration saying all the gains are the culmination of the comprehensive strategy obama put in place and implemented. they have done virtually nothing different. >> thanks very much. that's it for me. erin burnett outfront starts right now. yacht front next, breaking news special counsel robert mueller using a grand jury. subpoenas now issued for people involved in the donald trump jr. meeting with a russian lawyer. and more breaking news this hour, our exclusive reporting. mueller's investigation now seizing on trump's possible financial ties to russia and trump's national security advisor letting suzanne rice keep her security clearance. is he denying trump? a lot of breaking news this hour. i'm erin burnett. breaking news, grand jury, special counsel robert mueller
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using a grand jury to investigate russian meddling in the u.s. election. it's a sign mueller's probe into the trump campaign and russia is ramping up. a grand jury is a major step because you cannot issue indictments without one, even though a grand jury in and of itself does not mean that indictments will necessarily come. here is president trump's reaction to the grand jury breaking news just moments ago. >> mr. president, are you considering firing robert mueller? will you hold a news conference again? >> you see silence, ignoring all questions about the grand jury and robert mueller as he left the white house on his way to a rally in west virginia tonight, which will happen this hour. we are watching for any reaction. we'll bring it to you. cnn also learning at this hour that the grand jury has issued subpoenas to people involved in that trump tower meeting between donald trump jr., jared curb her, paul manafort, a russian lawyer and others. an attorney for president trump saying he's unaware of the grand
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jury and issuing a statement that reads in part, former fbi jim comey said three time it is president is not under investigation and we have no reason to believe that has changed. and there is more breaking news. a cnn exclusive report this hour finding federal investigators have seized specifically on president trump's possible financial ties to russia as one of the most fertile pads to moving the russia investigation forward. sources saying they are focussing on the possibility of financial crimes and we're going to have much more on that significant development in just a few moments. i want to begin by breaking this down. let's get to the breaking news about the grand jury. matt brown has that for us. obviously you have got a grand jury being used by mueller, the grand jury subpoenas issued, signaling this investigation is heating up. >> right. it's a serious investigation. it shows that robert mueller is focussed on this meeting that happened at trump tower last june that we recently learned about and we have learned erin, the special counsel issued these
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grand jury subpoenas related to donald trump jr.'s meeting at trump tower. according to a person i spoke with familiar with the matter and the subpoenas that have been issued seek both documents and testimony from people involved in that meeting. the subpoenas were issued in recent weeks and it shows a special counsel probe that began in may is entering a new phase of this investigation. we should point out investigators were use ago grand jury before the special counsel as cnn was firsz to report. but this does tell us that mueller is doing things by the book, which is making sure a grand jury signs off on my records request and any testimony. it certainly is a step forward in the investigation, erin. >> pamela, thank you very much. you are going to be back with us because she also has a lot of breaking news here on paul manafort, developments on the collusion front and the financial crimes investigation. first, though, i want to talk about this grand jury significant development. michael zeldon, richard painter,
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gloria borger and chris cillizza. micha michael, let me start with you. you know the legal side of it and of course you know robert mueller himself. he is now using a grand jury in the russia investigation. what does this tell you about mueller's probe? >> that it's serious and focussed on the question of whether or not there is probable cause to believe that any one subject to the grand jury's jurisdiction has committed a federal crime. the grand jury exists for really one purpose, to indict people or to not indict people. and mueller is proceeding both with the receipt of documentary evidence and oral testimony to determine that singular question, did anybody commit a federal crime and if so for what will they be indicted. >> let me do a follow up here because obviously if mueller -- if he didn't think that anything hit the bar of an indictment, he
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wouldn't bother going to a grand jury. we knew a grand jury was expected in the sense of if you are going to indict you have to have a grand jury to do so. but does the news he decided he was going to go to a grand jury mean that he himself passed a threshold? he thinks he has something on the president, his campaign or something in this administration? >> not necessarily that he has crossed some rub con that says there is going to be a grand jury indictment. but rather he believes that there is sufficient evidence to warrant the inquiry of a grand jury to determine whether there should be an indictment. in my case, we determined pretty early in the case of our investigation that there wasn't a crime at the end of the day for us. so we never convened a grand jury. we just did sworn depositions under oath and wrote our report. mueller has passed that point and, so, i think it is a little more serious for the people who are subjects and targets of his inquiry. >> and gloria, this is very significant because we know subpoenas have been issued for
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documents and testimony related specifically to that meeting in trump tower, which of course the topic was supposed to be incriminating information about hillary clinton provided by the russian government. we don't know whether there will be additional subpoenas, but we do know that this meeting and those involved in it, paul manafort, jared kushner, donald trump jr. are front and sent sgler right. they are front and center. but i would caution you, erin, we don't know who's been subpoenaed and who hasn't. we don't know that any of those people have been subpoenaed. i mean, what we do know is that clearly this isn't going to be welcomed by the president. >> right. >> i actually spoke with ty cobb today, the president's lawyer inside the white house, not the white house counsel, and he makes the point that, you know, we're cooperating fully. we're going to continue to cooperate fully. and maybe this is a sign -- this is their point of view, putting a good spin on it, i would say, maybe this is a sign that mueller is moving quickly to get
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this over with. you know, the other side is maybe this is a side that this is getting really serious. >> which is the big question. of course we saw the president there refusing to take questions. he's going to be speaking at this rally. let's see if he lashes back. that's going to be a crucial thing to watch this hour as he takes the stage. richard, i want to understand and our viewers to understand this point that gloria and michael are making, right? is this a big development in the sense of mueller thinking he has something now, or is it a matter of process, right? because we all know there was already a grand jury that was convened in virginia before mueller took over and that grand jury issued subpoenas to michael flynn, right? so there was a grand jury working on this overall that it issued subpoenas. now we know there is a different grand jury in washington, d.c. doing this. so when you take that context, explain. why the need for another grand jury? >> well, i think this is an
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expected development to convene a grand jury to investigate a broad range of matters arising out of this investigation and that could include obstruction of justice and various crimes that have been committed since the beginning of the year, not just the underlying allegation of illegal collusion between the russians and persons working for the trump campaign. this is a very serious matter, always has been, and i don't think it is at all unexpected that the special prosecutor would want to convey to the grand jury and focus on the trump organization finances and whether there are ties to russia and also on that meeting in the trump tower and any other meetings that constituted definitely collusion with the russians. the question is whether there was illegal collusion with the russia's, whether the campaign finance were violated or the hacking of the computers.
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that's something where they become an accessory after the fact or whether they lied about contacts with the russians. we have a number of people that lied in disclosure forms. and that's a felony in and of itself. >> or admitted, right? chris, what do you make of the development tonight? obviously using the grand jury. grand jury has already issued subpoenas. >> well, it suggests -- i echo who everyone said, which suggests that it is picking up and moving at a relatively quick pace. now, donald trump could be exonerated. i'm most interested here, erin, to see how donald trump reacts. every indication is from the past he will be fuming about this. >> yes. >> he is fixated on this investigation. we know that. he has said many times publically he thinks it is a hoax or witch hunt.
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this is also broadening. and i think he has been very leery of that. can anyone, john kelly or anybody else, keep him -- i don't want to say quiet because i think that's impossible, but keep him somewhat on message. will he let mislawyers speak for it? will he go back at mueller? will he make a threat regarding mueller and his future because this is what he said he didn't think should happen. politically we know what his instinct is, to attack. legally, he's in much more dicey territory, which impulse does he listen to? >> we're going to talk about these financial developments and manafort in a moment. michael, let me ask you about the president's lawyer, though, since chris just brought him up. ty cobb wrote former fbi jim comey said the president is not under investigation and we have no reason to believe that is changed. they also said that they did not
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know about this grand jury until they saw it in the press, which is another issue and a problematic one in terms of how this information leaked out. but let me just ask you this, michael. it is possible that the president could be under investigation at this time and they wouldn't know, or do you think that that's just not possible? >> so comey tells the president that he's not under investigation for now a really long time ago. >> right. >> and these things have lifelines that are very different from when comey said that. so we don't know whether the president is under investigation or not under investigation. >> just to interject for a quick second. when comey said that, that was well before anybody knew about the meeting in trump tower. so continue, but i'm making the point it was a long time ago. >> and it was before he got fired and there by opened up the possibility of an obstruction of justice inquiry.
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i don't think that you can really put much value in the notion that long ago he wasn't under investigation for collusion. as to whether or not ty cobb and the white house knew the grand jury had been convened, grand juries are supposed to be secret bodies that operate except when they want to seek public information and reach out to it. it may well be the president himself in the white house hasn't been reached out to yet for documentation and it may be that kushner lawyers newman fort lawyers new. don jr. lawyers knew, but the president's lawyer saying we didn't know and that may be misleading and technically correct or just come politely correct and not misleading, but it doesn't have much import. >> all of you staying with me because we have the next big segment here on breaking news. and this is that special counsel rob mueller is crossing trump's red line. he was very clear about it. now tonight the president's finances and a possible russia
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connection. a big step in the investigation into the specifics. we've got the details next. plus letting suzanne rice keep her security clearance. james clapper weighs in. and the president's conversation with a foreign leader leaked in its entirety. his explanation for winning over new hampshire voters, because it is a quote, drug infested den. thank you. that's... not your car. your car's ready! wrong car... this is not your car? i would love to take it, but no. oh, i'm so sorry about that. you guys wanna check it out? it's someone else's car... this is beautiful. what is this? it's the all-new chevy equinox. this feels like a luxury suv. i love this little 360, how do they even do that? i made a bad decision on my last car purchase. well, your car's here. bummer... bummer. wah-wah. i'm ready for an upgrade. (laughter) ethat's the height ofs mount everest. because each day she chooses to take the stairs. at work, at home...
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we're following the breaking news. robert mueller use ago grand
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jury in the russia investigation. this has cnn learns mueller team has seized on president trump's financial ties to russia as one of the most fertile avenues for moving the investigation forward. this crosses what president trump himself said would be a red line. >> mueller was looking at your finances and your family's finances, is that a red line? >> i would say yeah. i would say yes. >> pamela brown broke this story, along with evan perez. they're outfront. and let me start with you. what have you learned about mueller seizing on trump and financial ties to russia. >> well, hey, erin, so the fbi and mueller have reviewed financial records related to the trump organization. the president himself as well as family members and his campaign associates were told investigators have comed through the list of shell companies and buyers of trump real estate
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properties, including tenants of trump nower and they found some eye brow raising interesting connections to russians. we are told they examined the backgrounds of russian business associates connected to trump dating back to as far as the 2013 miss universe contest in moscow. >> pam, you're also learning more about the focus on people like former campaign chairman paul manafort. and you have some pretty significant developments on that front. >> right. speaking of eye brow raising, our team learned investigators became more suspicious last year when they turned up intercepted communications that u.s. intelligence officials turned up against operatives discussing their efforts to work with paul manafort who served as campaign chairman and they're talking
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about an effort to damage hillary clinton. the suspected operatives relayed what they claim were conversations they were having with manafort encouraging help from the russians. we should point out the russians have been exaggerating or even lying. a manafort spokesperson denied his client is colluding with the russians. but the focus now is whether manafort was involved in money laundering or tax violations in his business dealings. manafort has not been accused of any wrongdoing. >> all right. of course at that time that's where it is. they're looking into it. investigators are looking at a lot of financial records, to the point where the president said it is a red like to look at this. some of these records go back years before trump was actually even running for president of the united states. so the question is, could someone connected to trump be charged with something unrelated to the campaign from that long ago? >> yeah, absolutely they can. and people close to him, like
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his sons and some other folks who work for him and his campaign and maybe people we don't know about, people we're not aware, whose names have not been out there who may have worked for the organization or may have been involved in other business dealings with the trump organization. keep in mind these financial ties could be connected or sort of extended from what let's say years ago could be connected to what's happening now in sort of like the soil may have been fertilized back then. russian money, debts, loans could be part of the same larger web. >> which is obviously a crucial question. pam, what more are you learning about mueller's team. it is now a substantial team and what does the new developments in terms of the team tell you about the status of the investigation. >> well, i can tell you, erin, his team has told that mueller quietly gathered a team of three dozen attorneys and other staff in a nondescript office in
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washington and they describe it as a small u.s. attorney's office that has been convened with fbi agents and separate groups looking into various aspects of this expanding investigation and these include groups of investigators and lawyers focussed separately on russian collusion and obstruction of justice as well as the investigation is focussed on paul manafort and former national security advisor michael flynn. and, so, this is sort of how it's set up within this office. and some of the investigators have been pulled from field offices across the country to join mueller's team in washington. others have left high paying jobs at law firms. and many of these investigators have backgrounds in investiga investigating fraud and financial teams. there are 16 attorneys assigned to the probe. >> thank you both so much. breaking so much of this news tonight, of course along with our colleague evan perez. my panel is back with me. michael, look, you hear this reporting, right? you got three dozen lawyers.
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they're now looking at financial ties that go back years, specifically financial ties between russia and president trump. and that this is the most, as they say, fertile avenue that they have to pursue. what does this say to you? >> well, so it does imply that there is a financial crimes money laundering styled investigation ongoing. we had a hint of this a little while ago when we saw that the congressional committees had subpoenaed the financial crimes enforcement network, the treasury bureau that keeps records of all suspicious activity reports filed by banks. we knew this was an area that was going to be of interest to congress and therefore an interest to mueller. we know, too, that there is what is called a geographic targeting order, which is that which is targeted at financial transactions for high net worth real estate purchases in new york and manafort's behavior, purchasing real estate in new
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york through limited liability corporations which hide the beneficial owner of the money and the source of money is also a profound issue for manafort that we knew was forthcoming through the subpoena. so we knew for a long time that this was going to happen and it is part of mueller's mandate. the mandate says matters that arise out of the investigation. and this surely arises out of it, especially if it provides a protive for describing the way the trump ecosystem is behaving the way it has. >> you heard the president in the introduction say this is a red line. so then what? clearly rob mueller has crossed donald trump's red line. so what is donald trump going to do? >> in that interview with "the new york times" on july 20th, he said, no, i think that's a violation. >> right. >> you know, this is about russia. this is about the hacking or the alleged hacking. and i think we don't know what donald trump's reaction is going to be. we do know that on capitol hill,
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for example, there is a bipartisan group of members of congress who want to figure out a way to make sure that mueller remains as special counsel one way or another. and i would argue that the president's attorneys who have said publically we want to cooperate with the special counsel, we intend to do everything we can to cooperate with the special counsel want to do that. and i think, you know, that the question is what is the president going to think and what -- after -- after today's news. and, you know, he has already been told by everybody that firing this special counsel or even talking about it would be a terrible idea. so, you know,s a chris cillizza was saying earlier, this is a real challenge for everybody around him, including his new chief of staff, to make sure that he doesn't overreact to today's news. >> right. and of course we are awaiting. as i said, he's going to be speaking at this rally.
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and the moment if he does address this, we of course are going to share it with you. we'll see if his team would keep him on message and on track. chris, we also know that federal investigators are looking specifically at some of these russian business associates connected to trump seeing if there is some loan that is being repaid, was then being repaid in the form of some kind of assistance, right, during the election. just remember it was the russian real estate mogul who helped trump bring this miss universe to moscow. they're central to this investigation. but the question is, chris, mueller's team, how are they going to get anything from them? these guys are russian. their information is russian. it is a black hole. >> that's a very good point. i would say, not being a lawyer, i would never want to hear what pam brown said if i was in any
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way, shape or form connected to this. 36 staff on bob mueller's team? i mean, that's -- 16 lawyers? i don't want 16 lawyers involved in my life ever. so it speaks to the fact that this is a high powered team that is looking at a lot of different things. it is also why, by the way, politicians of all stripes hate special counsels and special prosecutors because their mandate is far too broad in a politician's mind. there is real danger there, i think, especially icgiven what know of how the trump inner circle handled themselves. the one we have the most transparency on is that july meeting in 2016. >> that's right. and don trump jr.'s statement that donald trump was involved in, having to retell it, how many were there, what did it involve. that should not give anyone involved in this a whole lot of confidence in terms of their ability to just honesty tell
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what the situation is and be company rated. >> let me ask you, though. there could be other subpoenas issued that we're not aware of at this time. but we know there have been subpoenas issued related to that meeting. so if that's all they have, is that enough? because everyone involved said that meeting actually didn't pan out to be anything like it was advertised to be. >> well, it depends. we're going to have to find out the facts and what happened at that meeting and other meetings as well. there is significant exposure here for collusion or coordination in violation of campaign finance laws. there is exposure if the trump campaign people knew about the hacked e-mail and we're talking about the russians about what to do with it. and most important they're making their situation a lot worse by lying about the contacts with the russians and engaging in obstruction of justice and a cover up and it could end up being this investigation, like a lot of
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other ones, ends up prosecuting people mostly for lying and obstruction of justice and not so much for underlying conduct with respect to the russians. we don't know at this point. but certainly the president and everyone in the white house ought to just say absolutely nothing about the russia investigation. and that's what we had in the bush white house. we would not comment in any ongoing investigations. and i'm shocked that they comment about it, tweet about it and then talk about firing the independent prosecutor. >> thank you all very much. i appreciate it. and our breaking news coverage continues. next is donald trump's national security advisor denying the president tonight? former director of national intelligence who was in the center of the intelligence assessment about russian hacking, james clapper, is my be guest. alsoabout people and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, . s.
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i'm gonna just go back to doing what i was doing. find your awesome with the xfinity x1 voice remote. breaking news tonight, grand jury, a major development in robert mueller's russia investigation. now using a grand jury as part of his probe into whether there was collusion between russia and members of the trump campaign. the grand jury issues subpoenas for documents and testimony from people involved in the meeting at trump tower between donald trump jr. and others. the man who led the intelligence community assessment on russian interference in the election, the former director of national intelligence under president obama, james clapper. and i appreciate your time, general. and we're very eager to have your input here. so let me start with the grand jury. we know it's a required step if there are to be indictments, but
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it doesn't obviously necessarily indicate there will be. but you can't have an indictment without a grand jury. you say that means there is a there there? >> well, it looks that way. and i don't find surprising this development given this long period which the special counsel has been at work and i also read into it when bob mueller hired more staff that there is there there, but i can't -- i can't say anything more than that. but it is not a surprising development. >> so you see a there there. you just pointed out robert mueller increasing the size of his staff. we're now looking at three dozen people. is there anything, general, to the criticism that mueller is dead set on finding something, right? because he has all these people and all this time. he'd look like a complete failure if he didn't. so he's going to find something because he needs to find something. is there anything to that
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criticism? >> i don't think so. knowing bob mueller as i do, and he was -- you know, he became fbi director about the same time i became director of what's now nga. i have known him and worked with him. in the end he determines there is no there there, he'll make that call. i have no doubt about that. and conversely if there is a there there, overused this phrase a little bit, he'll also make that call. i have no doubt about his integrity, particularly in a matter as sensitive as this. >> we're also reporting that mueller's team is investigating president trump's possible financial ties to russia and going back before the election. they view it as one of the most promising paths in the investigation. my question for you, and obviously you were involved -- leader of the intelligence assessment about russian hacking, do you think this investigation is going to come down to the money, following the money? >> well, i do think that. in fact, my understanding is
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back in the summer of '16 that this all started with questions about financial dealings of trump associates. that's how this all began. it appears to have come, again, with what's been out in the media. sort of come full circle now. but i don't see how you exclude or insulate financial dealings here from the investigation. >> so, you know, looking into finances as you know is something the president has said would be a red line and i want to play what he said right now. >> mueller was looking at your finances and your family's finances unrelated to russia, is that a read line. >> would that be a breach of what his actual target is? >> i would say yes. >> i think that the president, the point he's trying to make is that the clear purpose of the
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russia investigation is to review russia's meddling in the election and that that should be the focus of the investigation, nothing beyond that. >> mueller tonight clearly general crossing that line. do you think president trump may now try to fire mueller as special counsel? >> well, first, i'm not sure how someone who is under potential investigation draws red lines and says that certain aspects are out-of-bounds. i don't know how that works. and i do -- i'm sorry. >> no. i said fair. >> i'm sorry. i didn't hear you. >> i said that's a fair point. i'm sorry. go ahead. >> that's all i was going to say about it. now, whether this leads to firing of or an attempt to fire bob mueller, i think that would be a very dangerous thing to do. i think this would create a real
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constitutional crisis. this would be watergate in slow motion, which i also lived through. and i do -- i do note the bipartisan effort in the congress to protect the special counsel and his operation from exactly that because i think that would actually create an even worse situation. >> so a source tells cnn tonight something i think that could be very important. certainly indicates that people on trump's very inner circle are not doing what trump would want. the national security advisor sent his predecessor suzanne rice a letter and said she maintains full security clearance. and of course this comes in the context the thing the president has said, all kinds of -- you know, he said derogatory things about her and whether he unmasked trump associates unfairly, inappropriately and with political motivations. he said she could have committed
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a time. that's what the president of the united states said. how big of a deal is it that trump's own national security advisor would basically take him on on in saying her security clearance is good. >> good on general mcmaster. there's no criminal activity connected with unmasking, and i should explain that the nexus, the start of unmasking is a valid foreign intelligence target. and when a valid foreign intelligence target is observed engaging with a u.s. person, it is perfectly appropriate, in fact, i would argue irresponsible not to understand the significance and the cont t context. and the only way you can do that is to know who it is. i did unmasking during my six and a half years as dni. suzanne did as well. and it was not done for political purposes whatsoever. i didn't do it on that basis, nor did she. and it's done very judiciously,
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i'd also add. certainly, i tried to be that way when i requested unmaskings during my time as dni. so what he did in my view is entirely appropriate. >> i want to ask you about some leeked transcripts related to president trump's phone calls with the leaders of mexico and australia. we have found out through a leaked transcript that president trump pleaded with mexico's president to stop saying mexico would never pay for his wall. we've also seen that the president had a heated exchange with the leader of australia about refugees coming to the united states. he told him that his call with putin was more pleasant. now, tommy veeter, the former spokesman for president obama today tweeted i would have lost my mind if transcripts leaked. he wouldn't have sounded so dumb, but still it is absurd. now putting aside the
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unnecessary personal slam in that tweet, does he have a point, that it is wrong for anyone to be leaking these transcripts? >> yes, it is. i think it's a terrible thing that these got leaked. my experience with him and i got to read such transcripts of such conversations during my time as dni, and they were treated as very, very sensitive documents. there were all kinds of special watermarks placed on these transcripts, and this is not a good thing. it is really bad. and it just shouldn't happen. >> all right. well, i appreciate your time, director clapper. thank you so much for being with us and we look forward to seeing you again soon. >> next, trump throws congress under the bus over russia. a top democrat on the foreign relations committee is outfront. and another self-inflicted wound. donald trump says he won new hampshire votes because a drug
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breaking news, president trump moments ago speaking about the investigation into russian meddling responding for the first time to anything russia after news of the grand jury probe. here he is. >> the reason why democrats only talk about the totally made up
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russia story is because they have no message, no agenda. >> it comes as cnn learns tonight that special counsel rob mueller is using a grand jury that issued subpoenas related to the donald trump jr. meeting with russians at trump tower. those subpoenas seek documents and testimony. at the same time, sources tell cnn tonight that investigators are looking specifically at financial ties between president trump and russia. that is a red line the president said mueller can't cross. outfront now the democratic senator from maryland, and the ranking member of the senate committee on foreign relations. senator, you know, the president, when he left for this rally, he had just gotten news that bob mueller was using a grand jury to look at him. he had just gotten news of subpoenas. and he said nothing on his way to that -- the rally and now obviously you just heard his comments. what's the reaction? >> erin, first of all, what mr.
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mueller is going is extremely important. he needs his independence and support. and i am confidence both democrats and republicans will make sure that investigation goes and wherever it leads. we've got to ensure the independence of mr. mueller. he cannot be intimidated or saying that mr. mueller's job could be in jeopardy. >> senator, what do you make of the development that mueller is using the grand jury. >> it is a serious issue to use a grand jury in order to get as much information as you can, the subpoenas powers, et cetera. if there are circumstances that require the grand jury to take action, it will take action. it shows he has all the tools he needs in order to hold people accountable who may have violated our laws. >> so the other big development tonight, you know, we're reporting here at cnn that mueller's team are focussed on financial ties between president trump, his associates and
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russia. they are looking at ties that can go back years before the actual election to see whether there was any sort of link between what happened then and what's happening now. this is specifically something the president told mueller not to do. he said it was a red line and i want to play part of his comments again for you. >> mueller was looking at your finances and your family's finances. is that a red line? >> i would say yeah. i would say yes. >> over the years i have looked at maybe doing a deal in russia, but i never did one, you know. other than i held the miss universe there. >> senator, at this point, do you think there is something there or are we reaching a point where there isn't that much there and it is becoming a bit of a witch hunt? >> well, obviously, we don't know because the president, as a candidate, never released his tax returns. he has still refused to do what every other president has done, and that is to divest of any
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conflicts. so we just don't know, but the president doesn't set red lines. the investigators are required to go where the facts lead. so we'll see. you know, obviously, president trump has not shared with the american people potential conflicts either during the campaign or as president. >> i want to play for you something the president said a moment ago. by the way, he's now being specific and russians and the campaign. this is what he just said a moment ago in west virginia. >> there were no russians in our campaign. there never were. we didn't win because of russia. we won because of you. that i can tell you. >> do you believe him, senator? do you think he would be saying those things if he knew that they were lies? >> well, we do know -- we do know that there are many
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contacts between russian officials and representatives of the trump campaign. we know about the meeting that took place last summer in which members of the trump family was present at. so we do know there were contacts made during the course of the campaign with representatives of the trump campaign. we don't know the details of all those contacts. we don't know whether this was russia's efforts in order to try to get more information to intercede in our elections, whether there was any collusion or not. that's what mr. mueller's investigating. but, no, i'm not going to just take the president at his word that there is no contacts they made with russia. >> all right. thank you. next, the president taking serious heat tonight because he said he won new hampshire because it is a, quote, drug infested den.
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because new hampshire is a drug infested den. asked about this on air force one tonight on the way to west virginia, lindsey walters did not deny the authenticity of the story, she said that the president was, quote, talking about the opioid epidemic up there which has affected a lot of lives in new hampshire. i can tell you that is an important focus of his. former deputy communications director for the trump campaign and maria cardona. brian, let me start with you. will the president apologize? the governor of new hampshire has asked that he do so. will he apologize? >> we should slow down with this information, get your comment that the administration didn't refute it. but the question was asked directly of lindsey walters, are you going to comment on it, and she said she's not going to comment on leaked information. i get the language play. but the transcripts have not been authenticated and verified.
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if we're going to have this hypothetical discussion whether trump sid thaid this or not, th no authentication this has taken place. >> this white house said there is no issue refuting something, they call it fake news. the president has known to do that. they're quick to do that. >> is that really -- >> the national security issue -- >> don't you have the burden -- is that the standard they didn't say yes or no? isn't the burden on the media to actually verify these things before they actually sell it to the american public as fact? >> i won't make it an argument about that, but the "washington post" is a world-class -- >> some of the best reporters out there. >> that's right. >> but if you get it wrong -- >> the white house is not refuting it. so you can argue whether it was said or not. >> look, i'm comfortable having -- yes -- >> they have not denied. should he apologize for saying
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such a thing? >> hypothetically speaking, if it took place, he should. we have no reason to believe these transcripts are actually accurate. they haven't been verified. >> that's an absurd thing to say. maria, the way you'll hear this is brian saying if he said it, he should apologize. >> i'm glad that brian believes that if he said it, he should apologize. of course he said it. the majority of the people in this country understand that he said it. this is exactly how the president talks. but more than that, erin, this is so incredibly offensive which is why you have new hampshire leaders, both republicans, and democrats, lashing out at the president, telling him that it is so incredibly offensive that he would talk about that -- about a state in the country to a foreign leader about an epidemic that is making millions of families suffer, where families have actually lost loved ones to it, and he's talking about it in a very
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political manner, because of something that just affects his image. by the way, he didn't win new hampshire. people in new hampshire were smart about picking the person that they knew would actually represent them, with dignity and would actually help them deal with their issues, and it was not president trump. >> let me get at, brian, part of the reason why this is offensive to people. it's not just a horrible thing to say, but it goes completely against what the president said. during the campaign, town halls, all kinds of focus, special opioid commission, and even now making all these comments, that's so important to him, that it matters, and that's a genuine feeling. we had a father on the show whose son died from the addiction. >> in fairness to your son, some very, very strong people have not been able to get off it. so we have to work with people to get off it. and the biggest thing we can do, in honor of your son, actually,
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and the people that did have problems, big problems, we have to be able to stop it. i know what you went through. here is a great father, i can see it. your son is proud of you. your son is proud of you. >> it's an emotional thing to say. i think that's why people would hear that he would refer to it as a drug-infested den is deeply problematic. it shows what he really thinks and what he says are not the same thing. >> i would say this, i myself have lost a cared family member to the poison of heroin. and part of the reason that i was drawn to the trump campaign and got involved is i actually believed he was speaking truth on the matter. politicians have ignored this issue. it's a very personal issue for me. that's why i'm going to give the president the benefit of the doubt on these comments. i'm not here to tell you that he didn't say them. but if he did say this, it is absolutely wrong. i agree with the governor of new hampshire. but i want to see real facts. and i think that's -- >> brian, let me just ask you
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the question, though. >> please. >> because you say this is personal to you. >> oh, it is. >> and it matters. that's why you were drawn to the campaign. >> one of the reasons. >> if he said he let you down, does it make you feel differently about his character, one thing to you the public, and another on the phone with a world leader? >> my interactions with then candidate trump and president trump have been nothing but compassionate with him on this issue. i find it hard to believe that we're being so flippant to attribute something that hasn't been verified. i think it's extremely unfair but these are the rules we play by. if he did say something like this, i'm deeply hurt by it. but i don't think that he did. i'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt. >> i'm just going to say i think in this case you're putting your head under the blankets on this one. >> i just like to report on the news, the facts. >> maria, i'll give you the final word. >> i think it goes way past his ridiculous and horrific hypocrisy on it, which you just laid out.
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but it goes to his actual core values and what he has proposed. he hasn't proposed anything. obamacare, he wants to repeal, it would hurt everybody who's surgeon from this. >> i appreciate both of you taking your time. thanks to all of you for joining us. anderson is next. good evening. breaking news tonight on a number of fronts. major step by robert mueller in his investigation. cnn has learned how mueller and his team are following the money trail, perhaps crossing what president trump agreed was a red line he didn't think mueller should cross. and transcripts of trump's phone conversations with mexico's president are leaked. we begin with breaking news on robert mueller's investigation, the major new step today. we learned grand jury subpoenas have been issued. subpoenas related to donald trump jr.'s meeting with the russian lawyer at the trump tower during the campaign. what have you