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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  October 26, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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we begin the hour with breaking news. new information about what role president trump played in getting a gag order lifted that allows an fbi informant to talk to congress about the russian
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uranium deal. gloria borger and evan perez are here withe the latest on their reporting. gloria, what are you learning? >> well, i'm learning from sources that it was president donald trump himself who wanted this gag order lifted and that the president then directed his senior staff to, what one source said to me was, facilitate the justice department's full cooperation with congress to lift the gag order. and these sources then said that the white house counsel, don mcgahn, relayed the message to the justice department. and, as we all know, as you just stated, the gag order was lifted. now, the justice department insists that the decision was made independently. but now we know that the president of the united states wanted it done. >> why is the president so interested in the uranium deal? >> well, he's interested in it -- as he called it, one of the biggest stories since watergate the other day. he's interested in it because it's -- his staff says because he wants to be transparent. but we all know that there's a
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political backdrop to all of this. that there has been a story that's been going around for a long time that -- that the russians paid what amounted to bribes, in the eyes of some, to the clinton foundation to garner some goodwill from hillary clinton to get this uranium deal. clinton, of course, said she had nothing to do with the decision, she knows nothing about this. but this is a story, as you know, that the president keeps talking about. now, his staff, as i was saying before, said they're doing this in the matter of transparency. that the president believes that grassley, who wants to hear from the fbi informant, is right that this person ought to be able to testify publically and tell the full story. >> evan, how unusual is this kind of contact between the white house and the justice department? or is it? >> it is very unusual, anderson, for the president to try to inject himself or the white house to try to inject themselves into a decision that is a criminal law enforcement matter that the justice
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department is doing. look, this is something that there are rules at the justice department that are specifically designed to prohibit any interference from the white house in a criminal law enforcement matter. and what don mcgahn and people at the white house counsel should have done, as the president ordered them to do this, is that they should have said, mr. president, we can't play any role in this, and it appears that that did not happen. now, as gloria mentioned, anderson, the justice department insists that this is where they were going to go all along. that this was something that rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, was going to do with or without any phone call from anyone. but the problem remains that white house should have never injected itself into this decision, and it's improper for the president to play any role in something that is a -- specifically a criminal law enforcement matter. >> gloria, evan, stick around. i want to bring out the panel. dana bash is here, paul begala, ed martin, bryce allen, al stewart, and jeffrey toobin. jeff, from a legal standpoint, is it okay for the president to do something like this?
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>> it's not against the law, as far as i know, but it is against justice department policy. i mean, this is the classic example of why, you know, a president should not get involved in these sorts of details. look, let's be clear, this case is a fox news obsession. it's constantly on fox news. the president watches fox news all the time. he wants to stir the pot on this case. that is exactly not how the system is supposed to work. it's not a crime, it's not illegal, but it is just not appropriate under any circumstances. >> ed, you see it differently? >> well, i think, jeffrey, and you might know this better, but the rule is -- the rule from the justice department is if there's contact with the white house and the justice department, it must go through the white house counsel's office. so that is the step that they took to send this message. so again, you said it, you're right, it's not illegal. it's also playing by the rules that are set. and remember, one thing i wonder why we don't know, the justice department is a branch of the executive.
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it is run by the president. we have an election to put somebody in charge, and if he says, it's my judgment that more transparency in this case -- >> but after richard nixon sicced the irs on individuals -- the irs is also part of the executive branch. but we put systems in place so that presidents couldn't work out their personal obsessions -- >> he obeyed the system, though. >> that's far from clear. >> here's the problem for the nation, the president. the fbi has to be credible and nonpolitical. if the fbi looks like it's political, that's terrible for law enforcement, terrible for the country -- >> comey already ruined that. >> yes, he did. it was a disgrace when he went after hillary clinton. i'm glad we agree. this happens a lot. there's a terrible case for the local police department and communities are upset with them. they don't trust the local police department to investigate. the feds come in, the justice department comes in, and people say, oh, thank god. these are credible, nonpolitical people. if they are seen as donald trump's henchmen, that's terrible for the fbi, terrible for the justice department, terrible for donald trump. >> dana, how unusual is this?
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>> well, it's very unusual. and you just heard from people who are well versed in justice department protocol. but i think if you kind of take a step back politically, i think even somebody who hasn't studied politics more than five minutes would understand that this has been, as you said, maybe a fox news obsession. it is certainly a conservative obsession. but more than that what you're seeing is republicans finally trying to get their sea legs on these investigations that have been coming at them on russian and other things and saying, wait a second. how can we push back, or more importantly, kind of reach back in time, because that's what this is, to talk about things that they believe were unresolved during the obama administration. and when it has to do with hillary clinton and bill clinton, then that's even more of a kicker. having said all that, i was just talking to a democrat, who's on the judiciary committee, who
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said, you know what, regardless of how this informant was released to talk, they do want to talk. they do want to get to the bottom of it. >> if there is something -- >> if there is. exactly. >> the transparency is good. it's the process that's political. >> and that's the whole thing here. if the goal here is transparency, let's put it all out there. and i think we have to also go back and remember, this is back during the time we were working on the russian reset. there was different times with us on how we were communicating and dealing with russia. this would probably not have raised any red flags except the fact of the donations to the clinton foundation. that's where the red flags come up. hillary clinton says any kind of allegation that there was some kind of ill intention is completely baloney. she talked to c-span about that, saying it's baloney. but if that's the case and she wants to clear the name and say this is all false, then let's get it out there. let's put the information out. let's have this investigation. >> i can speak to that. so i joined the clinton campaign in april of 2015. right after hillary clinton drove out to iowa that month to announce her candidacy, we were greeted by the publication of a
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new book called, "clinton cash," which has since been fact-checked to death and debunked thoroughly. but it was funded by the mercer family as a hit piece on hillary clinton. and this was one of the big chapters, one of the big smoking guns they thought they were going to nail hillary clinton with and a thousand fbi investigations would be launched from this, and it was debunked because the main nexus that they tried to cite to connect hillary clinton to these donations to the clinton foundation -- there was a canadian businessman, by the name of frank giustra, who did make millions of dollars in contributions to the clinton foundation, he did previously have a stake in the company known as uranium one. so the theory was that this gentleman was going to profit handsomely by the sale of uranium one to the russians, and so hillary clinton must have greased the skids for the deal to be approved to help this frank giustra guy get a lot of money. but he had divested his stake in the company three years prior to this. so he stood to gain nothing from the sale to the russians. hillary clinton, it turned out, had never been briefed, never given instructions on taking a position one way or the other on the approval of uranium one. and the state department, for
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that matter, was one of nine agencies on the panel, and it was unanimously approved. so the whole idea that there's some gotcha to be had here is silly. so i'm bored. let the guy talk. let the whistleblower talk. they're not going to find anything. >> the idea that the russians now have all this uranium from the united states, they don't have an export license. >> right. they can't export it. what i've read -- i'm no expert. what i've read is, that company had holdings in kazakhstan, close to russia that russia wanted that they can get. they can't take the uranium out of the country. >> out of the united states. >> out of our country. out of the united states. i think that's been underplayed, perhaps, by some of the people who were playing politics with this. >> perhaps. but i think the big picture, kind of potential gotcha that many republicans think they have is what brian was talking about. that at the end of the day the clintons were trying to do pay for play with the donor -- >> that's what they say. >> that's what i'm saying. >> that's been pretty thoroughly examined already and debunked. >> but i think the point is
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politically they're kind of bringing this back up. you have a -- >> so how is devin nunez now involved in this? >> well, devin nunez is involved because, as i was saying before, republicans are kind of propping themselves back up, with the very intense encouragement of the white house and other trump supporters, saying wait a minute. you guys have been run over on this russia investigation by democrats. you have a lot of frustrated republicans in the white house and in the trump orbit thinking that the democrats have kind of -- are in the driver's seat both in the senate and the house on the intelligence investigations on russia. and why don't you focus on things that we care about politically. that's the bottom line. but i do think it's interesting that they're going to -- that this whistleblower/informant is going to talk to investigators. because you do have a chairman, this judiciary chairman, chuck
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grassley, who's been obsessed with whistleblowers for years and years. so i'm sure that's a big part of this. not so much the substance and politics, but just the notion of allowing somebody who's saying he's a whistleblower to come forward and tell the story. >> jeff, what's next? >> this guy will talk and fox will continue to cover this extensively. i'm not sure if many people are aware of this. brian probably knows this. hillary is a private citizen in chappaqua, new york -- >> unfortunately. >> why are they investigating private citizens in chapaqua, new york? this is just totally -- >> they say it's the obama administration. something that happened -- >> he's a private citizen in washington d.c. >> during his time in government. >> during his time in government, the republicans controlled the congress then and had an obligation and opportunity to investigate, but there was no there there. >> to finish the thought for jeff, what he can't say, but i will, is the republicans control everything now and they're
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failing left and right. they're not enacting any part of their agenda. donald trump, i'm sure we're going to get to it in a later segment, there's a fox news poll out that shows that donald trump's popularity is sinking, even with his own base. so they have no foil, they have no enemy, so they're trying to make hillary clinton a shadow president. a lot more to talk about. including what we're learning from the jfk, assassination files, out now for just a couple hours. also, the uproar over the presidents decision to withhold so many of them at the last minute. we'll explain why he said he made that decision. and later, new developments in two stories. a kind of one-two punch in the ongoing battle over the last election. crohn's disease.
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more breaking news tonight. formerly top secret documents about president john f. kennedy's assassination are now public, but not all of them are, and that has the potential to reignite some conspiracy theories that have been simmering for generations. so instead of one story tonight about possible answers to questions 54 years in the making, there's a second story. it's president trump's decision to hold some of those papers back. we're going to get to that in a moment. but first, cnn's tom foreman with an early look at what we do know from the documents that have been released. what have you found so far? >> we're digging through this, anderson, with a whole team and we're finding a lot of really interesting stuff. for example, there was a conversation intercepted between two cuban intelligence officers discussing oswald and the assassination. one of them refers to oswald saying, basically, he must have been a good shot. and the other cuban intelligence officer says, yes, he was. i know him or i knew him. so that's something that i'm sure many conspiracy theorists will be worked up about.
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there's a 1975 report in these files that was about the cia attempting to assassinate fidel castro in cuba by slipping him some poison pills into his drinks. and in this report there is reference to how robert kennedy said, you have to be really careful about this because it's going to be done with the help of the mafia, and kennedy was saying if you do that -- robert kennedy, the attorney general, was saying, if do you that, then it's really hard to prosecute them later. and then gerald ford, in the same report, saying, no, under no circumstances should the u.s. government be involved in assassinating people. that shouldn't be happening at all. and there also were evidence of the agents following around an attorney very early on, named mark lane, who was an early conspiracy theorist, right in the wake of the killing out there saying he believed oswald couldn't have done it alone. he would have been acquitted. there had to be other people involved. and all sorts of things like that. and one more thing that was
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interesting, notes from the cia director under lyndon johnson, who took over as president, after the assassination of president kennedy. and the cia director said that lbj often said that he thought lbj was assassinated as payback for the assassination of the president of vietnam. making lbj a type of conspiracy theorist as well. tons of tidbits like this, anderson, and we'll be digging through them, i think, pretty much all night. >> are these documents likely to produce any evidence of the conspiracy theories that have been floating around for years? >> well, i guess it's how you read them. think about what i just said here. if you're a conspiracy theorist, sure, you're seeing plenty of stuff there that says, another clue that fits into it. if you are somebody looking for hard, fast facts that proves there was a conspiracy, then no. so it's not really likely that after millions of documents have been out and scrutinized now for many years that these last ones will suddenly tip the scales, but we'll find out.
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especially when we get the final documents that they're still holding back. >> all right. tom foreman. tom, thanks. now, the president's decision to not release all the jfk files. jim acosta joins us now from the white house. so explain the change of course in the 11th hour tonight. >> reporter: right. anderson, apparently some of these intelligence agencies, national security agencies that had some oversight of these files were raising objections with the white house as late as today. so the president, receiving those objections, decided late in the day, from what we understand talking to our sources, to punt this off for another six months. there were 2,800 some odd documents that were released through the national archives this evening, but many more were being kept hidden as of tonight. and that was a decision made by the white house, despite the fact that the president was saying in the last several days that he was going to try to get all these files out there. now, we do know, from talking to people at the white house this evening, that the president was not happy about this. apparently he was pretty irritated that all of this came up at the last second, in terms
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of these objections and so forth. but that is the decision that this white house has made to go ahead and allow this process to take place over the next six months where these agencies like the cia, fbi and so on will go through the records and sort out just what can be released. so 50 years -- more than 50 years after the assassination of john f. kennedy, the public is still being kept in the dark and the president put out a statement this evening saying he's lifted the veil on all this. the veil has not been lifted at all on what happened in the kennedy assassination. the veil is still in place courtesy of the federal government. >> the original reasoning behind releasing some of the documents -- i mean, this wasn't something president trump came up with on his own. this was something that had been determined for years, correct? >> reporter: that's right. going back to 1992. this was going to be required essentially by law that these documents -- there was a deadline in place.
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but the president -- president trump, as you know, has engaged in conspiracy theories on his own. there's a part of his base, people like roger stone, for example, a friend of the president who talks to him from time to time, was delighted that the president was going to take this action. remember, it was during the campaign the president speculated at the time -- then candidate-trump speculated that ted cruz's father was somehow involved in the kennedy assassination. earlier this evening here at the white house, administration officials held a conference call with reporters. i asked, on the conference call, in the files that are being released so far, is there any evidence of a conspiracy behind the assassination of john f. kennedy -- is there any evidence that ted cruz's father was involved in the assassination of john f. kennedy? and the answer we got was they couldn't answer our question. they were not going to comment on the content of the files being released. so the mystery -- and some of this continues, but when it comes to ted cruz's father, that was an unfounded claim that came
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from then candidate donald trump. and the white house, i suppose, is thinking that over the next six months that some of these questions will be answered by these various national security agencies that have some kind of say in all of this. but this is becoming, anderson, a promise made by the president -- if all of those files are not released by the end of april 2018, the president will have a promise he didn't keep with the american people. >> jim acosta, appreciate it. thanks very much. joining us with his take is cnn presidential historian, tim naftali. tim, i know you're interested to see these documents. what stands out to you, and what more do you think there is? how much do you think the veil will be lifted? >> well, i'm waiting to see if national security agency materials are open. the review board, in its final report, said they looked at national code breaking materials, decided they were not relevant to the lee harvey oswald issue, but they were
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interesting, nonetheless, deciding decid deciding to withhold their release. but they are part of the assassination collection. one interesting document that i've noticed, and i haven't looked at all of them, is a document from two days after the assassination. if you want to see examples of federal bungling, this is a document that the house assassination committee found apparently from j. edgar hoover where hoover was explaining why he does not want an independent investigation of ruby's killing of oswald and of oswald's killing of the president. he says, we were intercepting oswald's conversations in mexico city and we intercepted a male going to the soviet embassy in washington, both of those had information relating to oswald's state of mind and that information didn't go to the secretary service. by the way, it's j. edgar hoover, so he also thinks that jack ruby is gay. i don't know why.
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but it's a very interesting document. it just shows you the level of federal bungling and the extent to which the fbi, within two days of kennedy's assassination was already thinking of a coverup, not because it had killed kennedy but because it hadn't done what it should have done to protect the president. >> j. edgar hoover thought ruby was gay? >> yeah. it's in the document. he says, and ruby is a known homosexual. >> hoover's one to talk, though. i didn't know the guy personally, but from what i read -- >> no. no. it's a throwaway line for him. if he doesn't like someone, that person is a known homosexual. but the point is, when you're looking for coverups, there are sometimes big coverups and small coverups. small coverups are those to protect people's reputation, big coverups are of murder. what i'm seeing is evidence of small coverup, government inefficiency, fbi bungling.
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that's what i'm seeing on the oswald case at the moment. there's a lot of data, though. a lot to go through. >> but also in the last hour you were talking about the possibility of more information about cia covert operations in central africa, congo, in dominican republic. >> that's a big deal. i'm telling you, i've seen references to the use of biological and chemical weapons as part of the mongoose program to undermine the cuban regime. i haven't seen every document, but i don't remember those being in the documents i've seen, but that's a big deal. also sabotaging airplane parts purchased from canada by cuba, which presumably would lead to air crashes. i don't remember reading that before. so there's a level of detail -- really dark detail about covert action which we're getting now, which we didn't have before. but that's a different issue from whether or not lee harvey oswald killed the president. >> tim neftali, appreciate it. thanks. coming up next, new developments in the continuing question, are players in the trump campaign being less than honest about the role the data
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new developments tonight in the story cnn and the "daily beast" first reported yesterday. one of the closest connections yet between the trump campaign and wikileaks. the head of cambridge analytica, a research company contracted by the trump campaign, reached out to wikileaks founder, julian assange, to get access to thousands of hillary clinton's e-mails. cnn's pamela brown joins us now with more. can you take us through the time line of what we know how this came about. >> reporter: i will, because the time line is important in understanding the relationship between the trump campaign and cambridge analytica. it seemed to begin june 2016. that was two days before the campaign made its first payment to the firm. trump was on the stump, as you may recall, anderson, asking the russians to hack hillary clinton's missing e-mails. and now we're learning in that same time frame another infamous moment occurred.
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the head of the firm reached out to wikileaks founder julian assange asking if he needed help with clinton-related e-mails. a request that julian assange said on twitter that he rejected. the firm was, in part, founded by wealthy republican donors, the mercer family, who began supporting trump in june 2016, around the same they started working together, the firm and the campaign. that's also when jared kushner took the reigns of all data operations for the campaigns. he told "forbes" magazine, the campaign used both cambridge analytica and rnc data. additionally, the campaign paid the firm nearly $6 million. and here's what the head of digital at cambridge analytica said at a conference in germany about the relationship with the trump campaign. >> we started working with the trump campaign in about june of 2016, when it became obvious that a sophisticated data apparatus would be needed by ensuring that every campaign stop was driven by data and
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reflecting what was currently being seen in the field, he was able to use his travel time most effectively. >> reporter: despite what we just heard in the time line, the campaign released a statement yesterday distancing itself from cambridge analytica, saying it rely solely on the rnc's data information. >> do we know what investigators are interest in when it comes to this connection? >> reporter: we know, particularly on the hill, investigators will use the information to see if there was any coordination, whether anyone from the trump campaign knew to -- or to figure out the mindset, the intent, or whether there was some sort of conspiracy theory, as one former fbi official told me. this goes beyond the typical proactive campaign tactics in terms of the data firm reaching out to wikileaks. so this information will be part of a puzzle with other pieces, such as roger stone, an advisor to trump during the campaign, telling the hill he had an intermediary who connected him with julian assange, and then, according to "the wall street journal," there was an effort by an opposition researcher working with people on the campaign,
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searching on the dark web for russians who may have had clinton's 33,000 missing e-mails. to be clear, the idea that the data firm reached out to wikileaks alone, does not meet a crime at face value and we should note there have been no accusations of wrongdoing. anderson. >> joining our panel tonight is also josh green. josh, we talked yesterday, you actually wrote an article where you were basically embedded, i think with 12 days to go in the campaign, in the data operation of the trump campaign. and you saw that -- cambridge analytica people there. >> yeah. and i talked to some campaign officials with direct knowledge of cambridge analytica today and what they did in the campaign, and confirmed the reporting the sasha isenberg and i did in "business week" back in october. there were 13 people there as part of the cambridge team, they all reported to brad parscale, the campaign's digital director. they did three things, they basically did polling, they ran hundreds of thousands of surveys, they helped id potential donors and helped id persuadable voters, people who they thought were open to voting
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for trump. but the big takeaway from what i learned today was the role was actually much bigger than the $5.9 million they were paid by the trump campaign because they also managed a digital ad budget of more than $20 million, which was managed by molly schweickert, who we just saw in the previous clip. so their role was bigger than the public records indicated and certainly much bigger than the trump officials came out and said yesterday, as they tried to distance themselves from the charges. >> right. the statement from the trump campaign yesterday made it sound as if -- i mean, they made no mention of cambridge analytica. >> yes, i've been doing some reporting on this as well today, trying to figure out why and how they could claim that. and the answer is -- and it's a little bit complicated, but if you think about it, it does make sense. and that is what the trump campaign wanted to do was hire
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the talent from cambridge analytica. there was one guy in particular that you probably worked with, he was the head of the data operation during the scott walker presidential campaign, which didn't last very long, and they really liked him, they wanted to hire him. he was under contract with cambridge analytica. so they did a deal where they could get this particular individual and several others to work within the operation. sort of what they're differing on is the data. and that really is key. cambridge analytica had a database that i know the cruz campaign, your campaign, alice, worked and used, where they would go through the psychological profiles of voters. what the trump campaign says is they didn't use that. they didn't use any of the data. they used the rnc data, which they built up for four years, about the voter files and then they used the personnel to kind of utilize that where they would make -- >> they used --
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>> -- they used graphics to go -- >> they used the rnc's database. there's no doubt about that. that was a bigger one. what cambridge did was, essentially, they supplied the brain power. >> exactly. >> they took that data and they ran it through algorithms and modeling script, and came up with everything form talking points to where trump should travel. >> paul, to you, why does this matter? >> this is my question, why? i understand you have to hire all these power heads now in campaigns, fine. and that's what they do, they crunch numbers. >> aren't you one of those people? >> i used to be. but now the question is what were they doing reaching out to julian assange and wikileaks. >> that's different. >> that's a different question. >> that's the question they're going to answer under oath in a grand jury. >> true. but the trump campaign claims that the ceo who did that was the ceo of cambridge analytica but not directly working with the trump campaign at the time. that's what they claim. >> wikileaks has been described by our own donald trump selection to run the cia, mike pompeo, as a nonstate hostile
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foreign intelligence agency. >> right. >> why is dump's hand picked team reaching out to them? >> alice? >> mia also refers to them as the same as pompeo does. here's the thing, cambridge analytica did a lot of the data work for the cruz campaign. once we got out, they went trump campaign. as josh said, they did a lot of ad -- they did surveys, they did a lot of ad placement, analyzing the data where to campaign, where to put your money, how to reach out to fundraise. here's the thing that's important to note, why did they reach out to julian assange? that's the big question. you have to remember, the mercers were not just the head of cambridge analytica, steve bannon was as well. he was the chief strategist with the trump campaign at the time. keep in mind, they asked julian assange for these e-mails. he said no, they never got the information -- >> i want to get your perspective on this. do you believe this matters? >> not at all. i think that wikileaks, when president trump ran when he talked like he talked on the
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campaign trail what he was saying to people was, wikileaks -- i think he was joking about go find her e-mails. what he was underscoring was that the e-mails were missing -- >> he also said he loved wikileaks. >> 137 times. >> you campaign, and what is it, you campaign in poetry and govern in pros. here we are on pros. pompeo is somebody who says wikileaks is a problem, but there's just no there there. >> we're going to take a quick break. up next lingering questions for the clinton team. two top democrats, including her campaign chairman, deny having any knowledge about an arrangement to pay for opposition research, research that led to that now infamous dossier about president trump. breaking news on that in a moment. are you done yet?
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we have breaking news right now in the campaign story that president trump and his supporters consider evidence that the clinton team collaborated with russia. it involves the research firm fusion gps, the one behind the russian dossier. cnn has learned that john podesta, hillary clinton's campaign chairman, and dnc chairwoman, debbie waserman-schultz, both told congressional investigators they did not know about payments to
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the company. back with the panel. we're joined also by ana navarro. >> ed, to you, does that pass the smell test that the head of the dnc, the head of the clinton campaign would not have known? >> now, look, in every campaign, i mentioned this before, anderson, phyllis for whom i worked used to say, one of the most important things was to be a candidate and lose. she lost elections for congress, as did i. when you run a campaign, you know that the opposition research is something that the top guys in the campaign, and gals, that are running it know about. especially if you're spending millions of dollars. you know you're spending for something and you're getting updates. and the word in this now, the reporters will know better, is steele, the spy, was briefing reporters on it. you're not briefing reporters or pushing the story if you're not telling who's paying for it. so somebody knew. if po debt podesta didn't know, or wasserman -- >> brian, obviously you were a
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spokesman for the campaign. >> i bet you that there are enumerable firms and venders we had that john podesta had no idea we we were paying. >> somebody knew -- >> mail firms, data analytic firms, yes. but i'm saying, you were asking if it passed the smell test that john podesta didn't know. absolutely it does. >> why didn't we know sooner? why was it covered up for so long? >> i don't know. there was no shame in it. i would have happily admitted to the fact we were behind it. i'm glad we did it. my only regret and reservation is that more of it wasn't published. and you know, i'd like to trust my own skills as an operative that if i had got my hands on this dossier, i could have gotten it published. >> can i tell you something. as somebody that is not terribly invested in either of these two candidates, the similarities between these two stories is striking, right? on the one hand the clinton campaign paid fusion gps millions of dollars and no one knew anything, and on the other hand, the trump campaign paid analytica millions of dollars to apparently do nothing. i mean, you two are like those little three monkey statues, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. >> paul? >> the difference, ana, is that in our case, whoever authorized it, was authorizing the traditional, ordinary campaign tactics. >> with the russians. >> in the case of cambridge
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analytica, you have potentially an instance of someone seeking to engage -- >> ed, the argument is, if there are allegations that donald trump has -- if donald trump has business dealings in russia, as he said he did, the campaign is going to look for opposition research there and they hired this guy steele who has contacts in russia. >> fair enough. that's true. but in this case, the whole reason it's come up is because it's been covered up. there's been no one admitting, like he -- like brian says, be proud of it, well, we didn't. the second thing is the allegation is that the dossier, some of it has been proven false, some of it is in doubt, and it sounds like, the russians were feeding information to the -- >> or disinformation. >> disinformation. >> okay. that's so fantastical. that's just nuts. the difference is this. apparently this firm was trying to investigate the russians. so, of course, you're going to talk to russians. on the other side, you have russians trying to manipulate our campaign to try to elect donald trump.
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this is in the words of our own intelligence community. by the way, general james clapper, who ran the intelligence community for many years, he said, it doesn't matter who paid for it. it doesn't pass the so-what test. but, yes, of course now we know that the law firm that represented the clinton campaign and the party did this. but i think we should focus on the findings, not the funding. there are really important allegations in there that our president has been compromised by russians. there's also creepy stuff in there that i don't want to know about. >> it's put john podesta and the democrats in a very tough position. if you think about the fact that podesta went before investigators to talk about all of this, sitting next to mark elias, who happened to be his own attorney, who happened to be the go between who helped pay for this dossier. and he's sitting there knowing that, but podesta is asked about it, and, you know, he has -- it does pass the smell test. i think it's totally fair that someone that high up in the campaign doesn't know about this little opo
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operation. but the fact that they're both sitting there is uncomfortable and awkward. >> i mean, they could have just said way, way, way -- months ago, yeah, we paid for it. it's opposition research. it was legal. there's nothing wrong with it. it was just handled in a very clumsy way. >> there are empty managers. every campaign has dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of venders and your campaign manager is not going to know about every one of them. same with the dnc and the rnc. that being said, this was not just a receipt for a bunch of pizzas, this is not an opo research on trump getting dui's when he was 16 years old. this is opo concerning russians and possible connections with donald trump. of course they're going to know about it. of course they're going to talk about it. and for them to say they didn't know about it then and still didn't know about it months later, it defies reality. we have to get a break in. coming up next, new polling on erosion of president trump's core constituency. details on that when we come back. crohn's disease.
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whentertaining us,es getting us back on track,hing? and finding us dates. phones really have changed. so why hasn't the way we pay for them? introducing xfinity mobile. you only pay for data and can easily switch between pay per gig and unlimited. no one else lets you do that. see how much you can save. choose by the gig or unlimited. xfinity mobile. a new kind of network designed to save you money. call, visit or go to it's been quite the night for breaking news. we have more right now. the president's approval rating is on the decline in new polling out from fox news. according to the poll, the president now has a 38% approval rating down from 42% last month in the same fox news poll. his approval declined even more steeply within his key voting block from the election, white men without a college degree. president trump dropped a striking 12 points from 68% in
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september to 56% this month. i want to bring back the panel. paul, you spent a lot of time looking at poll numbers. is that significant? >> it's very, very early, obviously. but, yeah. here's the worry i think team trump should have is why. it could just be that uneven handling of the storms, he did great in my hometown of houston, which is going to win the world series, but not very well in puerto rico. it could be hurting the feelings of a gold star widow. i have a different theory. trump goes down every time congress tries to repeal obamacare. you know the saying you don't know what you have until it's gone. it's really popular among trump voters. a lot of trump voters are on medica medica medicaid. i think going after that, i don't think the tax bill is going to help him. they think it is. trump is going to go hard at social issues. i think the nfl fight helped him, screaming about confederate statues helped him. he's going to look at the
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divisive social issues that gets the white working class back. >> ed? >> we're talking about september and october. if that nfl issue was going to work it would work now. the opioid crisis address maybe it changes it. i don't know. two things i observed, one is i was here a year ago, in this studio and across new york. i think i sat with some of you all. and the host said trump's going to lose, he's going to get killed. the polls are going to get killed. he's going to get killed. the polls were all wrong. they're really all wrong. and i think there's still some of that in this polling. but i agree with this, paul. let the headline go forward. if they pass a tax plan that is a typical tax plan for d.c., trump will lose even more votes. because my wife who's not particularly into this said is he really going to allow the 401(k)s to be gutted? this is a swamp trap, the tax deal, for the lobbyists and the lawyers. >> we should point out 83% of republicans still -- he's got a high approval among 83% of republicans. >> and i think that's key. and the fact that he has more
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confidence from voters that he can get things done as opposed to congress, that gives him a little bit more fuel for the fire. this poll is troubling. anytime you're under 40 subpoena a good thing. but i also look at polls by the trends. a real clear politics average trend when he was first nominated both his disapproval and approval around 44%. as time has gone by disapproval has gone up and the approval has gone down. that's not the trajectory that you want to go in. so i think a big factor in that is the inability to get legislative accomplishments done. if he's able to pass a tax reform package that helps the middle class, i think that will help. i think if he's able to -- the economy stays strong, if he's able to do something with health care i think that will help those numbers, but right now he needs ton only shore up his base but expand it. >> but that's the big if. i think you're exactly right on the taxes. go up to capitol hill, i was there a few days this week just talking to republicans and there is just this feeling of doomsday. if they don't get tax reform done, they are done. they are done. they have proven that they
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cannot govern, that they cannot deliver on their key promises. having said that, the trump coalition is not the traditional republican coalition when you're looking at tax policy. so if they pass a tax reform plan and the trump voters don't feel better in their pocketbook, then they're going to say what's this about? and i think that really is -- there's such a blessing for trump in that he has a different kind of coalition, it's more populist. but that's a potential big problem for him. >> the republican base is so incredibly loyal. this is a snapshot of a moment in time. we look at it, he has had a tough, tough month of terrible headlines and terrible perception. i'd tell you it's amazing he's not lower than this. we've been talking about his secretary of state calling him a moron. we've been talking about his terrible handling of the puerto rico hurricane. we've been talking about his
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terrible handling and insults toward a gold star family. that's what this last month has been like and he's only dropped, what, single digits with white male voters? well, even white male voters have ears and eyes too. >> they're loyal in terms of their support. i agree with ana they've been pretty stubborn and sticky in terms of sticking with him but they may not be motivated and enthusiastic about turning out in the mid-terms for down ballot republicans. that's why this number may be troublesome. for our part on the democratic side though we need to make sure they are enthusiastic. as much as you hate what trump's doing you get mixed signals about people turning out to vote. >> this is going to surprise you but i think it's been one of the best weeks in a long time for the president. isis is getting defeated. the chinese government is getting indicted for doing opioid stuff. we've got the opioid crisis address. the president's leading on a whole bunch of stuff. look, where i am -- >> and he's only offended the gold star family -- >> most of the people looked up and said i'll stick with kelly and trump when the congresswoman
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from florida politicizes this. for the trump voters they're going to be more betrayed by a tax deal that pays off the lobbyists than they are with congress failing to pass it. >> monkey around with the 401(k)s. they tried to monkey around with medicaid. they monkey around with the 401(k) that's -- >> coming up something to make you smile at the end of the day. the "riduculist" is back. we'll be right back. ♪ if you have moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's, and your symptoms have left you with the same view, it may be time for a different perspective. if other treatments haven't worked well enough,
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time now for the "riduculist." and tonight, yet another corner of the competitive sports world has been rocked by a doping scandal. a pretty remote corner.
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alaska to be exact. that's right, a doping scandal has hit the iditarod. the 1,000-mile dog shred race. after some of the competitors tested positive for a banned substance. and not the mushers either. we're talking about the dogs. you would think if any athletes would be pure as the driven snow it would be these. but believe it or not, one of these competitors you're looking at right now could be the lance paw-strong of the sled race community. this scandal goes all the way to the top. four dogs on the team run by dallas sachlt eavy tested positive for high levels of tramadol which is a painkiller. he's won the iditarod four times. he posted this on youtube. >> i have done absolutely nothing wrong. i have spent the last ten years becoming the best musher i possibly can. i have done nothing wrong. i have never knowingly broken any race rule. i have never given any banned substance to my dogs. >> the video is about 18 minutes long. let's just say that he makes a very convincing case. his theory can be summed up by something the poets ad rock, mike d and the late great mca
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once said. listen all y'all, this is sabotage. >> i believe this was given to my dogs maliciously. that's one of the options. i think that's the most likely option. there are numerous ways that could have been done. >> he points out there are people who are anti-iditarod and it would be easy for them or another musher to drug his dog's food supply. which could explain what's happened to this dog who's never been in a race. actually, that's my dog. but could easily win any sleeping competition. she basically sleeps all day long. the mushing community, which is a thing, is standing by dallas seavy. that community includes his father mitch, who is also a musher and won the race this year just ahead of his son. >> first of all, i absolutely support dallas. he says he's never given a banned substance to his dogs. i absolutely believe him. and furthermore, it would make absolutely no sense to give a banned substance to your own dogs hours before a known drug test. that would be ridiculous. >> that would be indeed be
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ridiculous. he also points out that the drug in question doesn't make any sense. >> it might be time to just take a step back and everybody kind of take a rational look at what's going on here. tramadol isn't really a performance enhancer. most likely was given after the race was over anyway, so i wonder if we're all just spinning ourselves into a knot here and, you know, maybe there's no there there. >> maybe so. we may never know what really happened because the runners, they're not likely to testify. but usually father knows best. so this could very well be mush ado about nothing on the "riduculist." yeah, i said mush ado about nothing. thanks for watching "360." time to hand things over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts now. breaking news, thousands of secret files on the kennedy assassination released. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. it's the one conspiracy theory most americans can get behind. the one that says lee harvey oswald did not act alone. tonight we're getting