tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN October 27, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
that's it for "the lead." i'll turn it over a little early to wolf blitzer. i'm jake tapper. >> breaking news, changing the subject. the white house and allies step up efforts to discredit the russian meddle and possible collusion by trump associates. it claims hillary clinton is the one who did the colluding. is he trying to change the subject? president trump presses the justice department to lift a gag order on fbi informant to testify in republican led proebz of russian iuranium purchases during the obama administration. did the president act improperly. >> yeah, they are lying. amid a firestorm of sexual harassment in the workplace, the
white house is questioned about the 16 women who claim donald trump sexually harassed them. when asked if they were lying sarah sanders says, yeah. deranged loon tick. where residents echo the hard line language of kim juong-un. >> i'm wolf blitzer, you're in the situation room. >> breaking news, president trump is stepping up efforts to discredit the russian meddling investigation. the white house confirms prosecute personally pushed for the justice department to lift a gag order on an fbi informant who can now testify before
congress on russia's efforts to buy u.s. uranium during the obama administration. counselor to the president kellyanne conway claims it's an effort at transparency but the critics say he's trying to muddy the waters, amid claims that special counsel robert mueller is wasting money, president trump tweeted today without any evidence that it is now commonly agreed after many months of costly looking that there was no collusion between russia and trump. he added and i'm quoting him now, there was collusion with hc, meaning hillary clinton. the top democrat in the house intelligence committee says it's beyond disturbing if the president acted to advance a case against a political opponent. congressman adam schiff may open an investigation into the president's aparents meddling and as tensions rise with north korea james mattis visits the
demilitarized zone stressing it is not war but a diplomatic situation to tim jong-un -- we'll go live to north korea for reaction. i'll speak with domesticic congressman ruben guyego. up first our senior correspondent jim acosta. seems like the white house is deploying a smoke screen of distractions. >> it may be a moscow misdirection, the white house now appears to be putting its full weight behind an effort to investigate hillary clinton in a deal involving the russians that happened during the obama administration. the president is accusing hillary clinton of collusion with the russians without any evidence. >> the white house is pointing to what it believes to be evidence of russian collusion but not with president trump.
>> i think we are seeing now that there was any collusion with russia, it was between the dnc and clintons and not our campaign. >> latching on to reports of the rising cost of special counsel bob mueller's investigation, the president insisted on twitter, there was no collusion between russia and trump, the collusion the president insisted was with hillary clinton. this comes days after it was revealed the clinton campaign and democrats helped fund research that led to the so-called russian dossier of opposition research aimed at then candidate trum up. the white house is yet to offer any evidence of collusion with the russians. >> how about evidence of collusion -- the president made a charge that hillary clinton -- >> i think i've addressed that pretty thoroughly. >> you're saying -- >> i'm saying that i'm calling on your colleague. >> okay, well, didn't really address that question. >> the white house accusations follow republican calls for an investigation into the sale of the uranium one mining company to the russians during the obama administration. one top west wing official says
president trump pressed for a gag order to be lifted on an informant so the truth can come out. >> he believes as many others do frankly, that the fbi informant should be free to say what he knows. >> before the 2016 campaign, conservatives were pushing the story as evidence of clinton corruption but proof of the former secretary of state's involvement never came. >> do you have any evidence that she actually intervened in this issue? >> no, we don't have direct evidence but it warrants further investigation because this is part of a broader pattern. >> democrats are questioning why the president personally intervened in the probe suspecting he is simply trying to distract from his own russia questions. >> now the question is, is this being done in good faith? and it's very hard to reach the conclusion that this is done in good faith, that we have now suddenly six or seven years after fact decided we need to do another investigation of hillary clinton to try to prove that hillary clinton interfered in this decision to grant this uranium sale. >> just days ago, again without
offering evidence, the president said the uranium one sale amounted to another watergate. >> i think the u rain yum sale to russia and way it was done so underhanded with tremendous amounts of money being passed, i think that's watergate modern age. >> for the president it's a return to a familiar tactic employee throughout the campaign and accused of wrong doing, point the finger at your opponent. >> it is -- it's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of donald trump is not in charge of the law in our country. >> because you would be in jail. >> secretary clinton -- >> now the press secretary did not exactly echo what kellyanne conway said about the involvement in uranium. she said she was not aware of any specific involvement just that he pushed for transparency and asked for allegations of collusion between the trump campaign and russia, congressional investigators and
special counsel haven't reached any conclusions in those investigations. >> i want to play a moment from today's white house press briefing, a question about sexual harassment listen to this. >> sexual harassment has been in the news, 16 women accuse the president of harassing them through the course of the campaign last week. the president called these accusations fake news. is the official white house position that all of these wem are lying. >> yeah, we've been clear on that from the beginning and the president has spoken on it. >> pretty stunning response, yeah, we've been clear on that. shoo she suggests in the response, flatly says in that response that all 16 women that made the allegations against the president are lying. >> that's right, wolf. and you remember during the campaign when the president was accused of all of this, he said he was going to sue his accusers and that never occurred. so the president, if he wanted to prove these women were lying, he could bring lawsuits against
those women and put them through a process where they would be to have deposed and actually put forward evidence. he has not brought those lawsuits. that is something that has not happened since he was sworn into office and keep in mind, wolf, just the other day, when the harvey weinstein story came up, cnn pressed the president on his own behavior in the past and those comments he made on access hollywood just about doomed his campaign, didn't doom his campaign but almost doomed his campaign, he once again described those comments rapt toured by access hollywood as locker room talk. the president and white house here, they are once again making it very clear the president has not done anything wrong with respect to any of those allegations. >> jim acosta reporting, thank you. the president today tweeted about what he called the costly russia investigations and there have been republican suggestions that the special counsel robert mueller is spending too much money. let's bring in ryan nobles, working this part of the story for us. any chance congress can kill the
funding for the special counsel? >> wolf, the short answer is no. there's very little the white house can do with the special counsel's budget. this is how their funding works. it is money that's already been appropriated. dz a special account under the treasury department, not through the department of justice's budget. right now robert mueller and his team will have to submit their spending plan to the department of justice for review but there's very little the department of justice can do to reign in that spending. congress could take an extraordinary step in apply a rider to an upcoming spending bill that would then stop the special counsel funding if they choose to do that. there's been very little political will to make something like this happen. in fact, wolf, back in september, a congressman from florida proposed an amendment to the current spending bill that would stop the special counsel's funding after six months. house republican leaders did not even allow that amendment to come to the floor. >> good point, ryan nobles
reporting for us. the whole notion of what's going on is a subject of that is getting a lot of attention right now. i'm going to dig a bit deeper, ruben, a member of the armed services committee and iraq war veteran and u.s. marine. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> thank you for having me, wolf. >> the white house is trying to flip the script on the russia probe and president tweeted this morning that it is not commonly agreed after many months of costly looking that there was no collusion between russia and trump was con lugs with hc, meaning hillary clinton and this afternoon the white house press secretary sara sanders st s quo her, we're starting to see all of the things the dems accused this president of doing, they were actually guilty of themselves. we've also heard from congressional republicans who say russia probe has gone on far too long. does all of this taken together appear to be a coordinated attack on the credibility of the
special counsel robert mueller's investigation? >> absolutely. it's pretty much a cynical ploy by republicans and trump administration and allies including the mercer family koch brothers and whoever funds the outside groups to discredit a professional like mueller who has been been getting closer and closer to the truth. there's been other story that have come out, "new york times" reporting that the russian lawyer who came to talk about adoptions had coordinated talks with high government officials at the kremlin. there's a lot more coming out and i think this is a coordinated attack because they know mueller is find being information that is possibly going to prove there was high level involvement from the trump campaign with the russian spy agencies. just alone this week we found out about they had reached out to wiwikileaks, right there is proof of foreign involvement in
that specific instance from a trump campaign operative. where else will this go? i think they all smell or feel the breath of the special prosecutor and they realize there's -- they are in trouble and trying to distract right now. >> the president over the past day or so, keeps talking about how costly the investigation is. do you worry the republicans will try to cut the special counsel's budget? first of all, they are so disorganized, they probably should have thought of that before the president ticked off three republican senators in the senate who i think are pretty much aiming to make sure we get to the bottom of the truth that being corker, flake and mccain. but let's also look at other facts here. for example, we now know also that there's been nothing but delays and other delays when it comes to russian sanctions. why is this president still holding back on sanctions that were passed unanimously by congress and u.s. house of representatives and senate?
the office of the secretary of state that actually covers sanctions has just been disbanded. there's some critical questions we should be asking, why is this president after attacking almost anybody that comes close to him, has no problems trying to defend russia and hardly ever hear him say anything negative about russia. it calls into question what his motivation is and these current actions occurring among house republicans and trump administration. >> he said in the interview with fox business news this week he wants to have good relations with russia and says there's nothing wrong with having good relations with russia. as you know, your colleague, the top democrat in the house intelligence committee adam schiff, he tweeted this today and i'll put it on the screen. if the president personally intervened to advance case against political opponent, it's beyond disturbing. i intend to pursue in new probe. do you think there's something
congress should look into as far as the president is intervening getting involved in the department of justice to lift the gag order on the fbi inform aen ant? >> not just the gag order the president is interview who is going to be the u.s. attorney for the area where trump tower is in new york city, some of that is unheard of clearly trying to influence comby in terms of the investigation. breaking all types of norms when it comes to politicizing the decht of justice and should be investigated. also, i'd like to point out, no matter what is going on, mueller's investigation got started because there was a movement by the president to obstruct justice. there was nothing yet operating when when it came to russia. it was the president's actions trying to get comey to drop the investigation that created this situation. at the end of the day we should not get distracted by other things, at the end of the day it's the president's actions with the doj that will create a
situation that clearly points to obstruction of justice. >> i want to be precise you didn't mean the president is now trying to influence comey -- i assume you meant robert mueller, is that what you're suggesting? >> i apologize, i'm trying to point out the fact that the obstruction of justice, special prosecutor is looking to obstruction of justice which began because the president's action during the firing of fbi director comey and now extended into whatever further the investigation has gone into. >> glad you clarified that. we have a lot more to discussion. we'll resume all of the breaking news right after this. this is not a cloud. this is a tomato tracked from farm to table on a blockchain, helping keep shoppers safe.
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we're back with ruben gallego. i want to quickly get to the ambush of those american soldiers in niger which left four service members dead. a nigerien soldier says he encountered the convey the day before and the team appeared to only have one heavy machine gun, no body armor, were driving an unarmored vehicles wearing t shirts and baseball caps. you are served in iraq and afghanistan, would you have felt comfortable going into a potentially dangerous territory with that level of preparation? >> absolutely not.
and i sat in a classified briefing on the armed services committee where we were able to ask questions and very pointed questions were asked including i asked questions about what occurred. and it's disappointing to hear the answers, one of the administration and department of defense does not have answers three weeks later about what actually occurred. they are still doing an investigation. and no, i would never rule out like that. especially when they were tasked to be a quick reaction force. we never rolled out in any element in less than full platoon size. when we did, we had full access and resources to air power, close air support, other type of supporting fire. the fact that these -- if this is true, talking to this -- listening from this witness, that is horribly irresponsible and it shows that there needs to be more guidance at the department of defense. and the idea that we're allowing commanders on the field low
level commanders to allow any u.s. troops to be operating in any hostile area in that matter is just dereliction of duty. >> u.s. military officials also tell us it's not uncommon for green bett green berets to go without harmer and never encountered hostile forces. was this a case of an intelligence failure. >> but also a command failure. the idea that you send these men out first of all, they were first tasked as qrf then tasked to go do contact with a village is -- it shows you you have really improper planning. if you're going to serve as qrf, they are supposed to serve to another mission, they should have had all of the proper
arment they needed to conduct a proper attack should there have been in that case. even if the green berets are operating in that manner to deescalate and make contact with local tribesmen, i did provide security for civil affairs groups and i understand that concept, we still should have had air power online, full communications everything we need in case something should happen. >> thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> coming up, we'll have more on breaking news, president trump trying to distract from the russia probe saying the only collusion came from hillary clinton. can he make the investigations go away by changing the subject? new clues are revealed what top u.s. officials knew about the assassination of president kennedy. why is president trump still keeping some documents under wraps? stay with us. you're in the situation room. >> does not propose to conduct -- last them.
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what looks for a full-court press to divert attention from robert mueller's russia investigation, just a little while ago the press secretary sarah sanders told reporters it's the democrats guilty of collusion with russia, not the trump campaign. sanders remarks came after the president via twitter also accused hillary clinton of colluding with russia and
complained about the cost special counsel robert mueller's investigation. let's bring in our political specialist to discuss. when you look at all of this going on david challion, clearly an effort to discredit the russia investigation of the trump campaign. >> it's almost like the white house feels the mueller investigation intensifying and gotten into gear into a age oil political art form, look over here, don't look over here. we saw when the clinton white house was facing investigations, we saw how the clinton operatives put together an operation to try to take on ken starr and distract from what was being looked into with regard to bill clinton. and we are now seeing a totally coordinated effort to try and distract from anything related to the mueller investigation, any which way possible, muddy the waters no matter how irrelevant it is to the facts of the russian i can't investigation, that is what is happening here. >> it is pretty coordinated when
you look at what's going on, david axelrod right now. multiple republicans on capitol hill are suggesting the russia probe is going on way too long. there's a super pac aligned that put out an e-mail, should mueller resign? it seems like a pretty coordinated effort. what do you think? >> no, it does, wolf. look, just to borrow a phrase from the president, his legal l level of hysteria about this investigation has been about a ten out of ten. now it's about a 12 because what's clear is that some associates of the president seem in extreme jeopardy in being indicted in the paul manafort being one who was for a time his campaign chairman and perhaps general flynn, they seem to be in the cross hairs of this investigation. and where that leads is a big question mark for the white house. so i think that with these things coming down the track,
there is an effort to divert and deflect some of these -- what is going to be bad news and add momentum to the notion that perhaps there was some level of coordination and certainly links between figures in the campaign and russians. >> because the president says the real collusion in his words, the real collusion took place between hillary clinton, the dnc and the russians. >> that's right. this is a merging narrative we're seeing come out of this white house. this is a white house that likds to be on the offense. we have a president tweeting there was no collusion that many have agreed to that and there was actually collusion with hillary clinton which is not what bob mueller, the special counsel has said and we've got sara sanders saying this investigation is wrapping up and coming to a close, which is not what we have also heard from them and she was asked if she had spoken to the department of justice about this, and she said no. this is a white house, a tactic
we're also seen in president use throughout the campaign. he likes to accuse people of what he's being accused of. >> seen it before. david axelrod, the president tweeted it's commonly agreed after months of looking that there was no collusion between russia and trump, was collusion with hc, hillary clinton. there's a report in the "new york times," a significant report suggesting that that russian lawyer who attended that meeting last summer over at trump tower in new york, with donald trump jr. and paul nan ma fort and jared kushner, cleared the memo that was provided with the kremlin in advance. it's a significant statement if there was some sort of collusion that i'm sure the special counsel among others are looking into. >> yeah, this is an unfortunate bit of timing for the no collusion argument because now we have evidence here that the lawyer who came to see donald trump jr., manafort, jared
kushner, came armed with material that was prescreened by the kremlin and so this denial that she was for the russian government goes out the window. that meeting has taken on quite a bit of importance. that is the meeting that when it was exposed for which the president is alleged to have written the talking points for his son that were released to the public that really minimized the meeting and said it was about adoption. clearly the memo that came from the kremlin was not about adoption. >> everybody stand by. there's more we need to discuss. i heard the white house press secretary earlier in the day accuse those 16 women who accused the president of sexual harassment, they says they are all liars and what the president has said. we'll assess that and more when we come back.
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so she's insisting that all 16 of these women are actually lying. >> yeah, they've been insisting that and now president trump and all of his aides to speak on his behalf have been insisting since last year when the women started pouring out after the access hollywood tape came out and telling their stories. obviously, the united states is going through a pretty huge cultural moment as it relates to sexual harassment. wolf, i do wonder, president of the united states somebody in that role might have some thoughts on a sort of cultural phenomenon maz happening across the country but as that question referenced, he's a pretty flawed messenger on this. based these acquisitions and so wonder if he'll express his thoughts about this moment in time in america, about what these women are saying or if he wants to avoid it entirely which i gather he does. >> a year ago the access hollywood video came out and 16
women made these accusations ever sexual harassment, intimidation by the then candidate. he then said right after the election, said he was going to sue all of these women. that have been no lawsuits filed. >> no, there haven't. when he was not president threatened to sue and never followed through. it's not surprising that sarah sanders defended the president and doubled down on what they stand by, that he did not do this. but we can listen to a tape of the president saying he grabs women the way he wants to and kisses them without waiting. they can defend them all they want and we can listen to videos where the president himself talks about what he's done. >> it's interesting, david axelrod, all of this was widely discussed during the campaign. he was the republican nominee at the time, that access hollywood video came out and still elected president of the united states. >> yeah, he sure was.
one thing we've learned about david trump, there's no "r" on his gearbox. he doesn't go in reverse, only straight ahead. doesn't acknowledge fault and doesn't acknowledge failure. and he told us that he could stand on fifth avenue and shoot someone and his base would still stick with him. i think he feels pretty confident about that. so the fact that 16 women have attested to this, the fact that there's tape of him bragging about it and notwithstanding, i think he feels very comfortable that people will -- that his people will stick with him. as to david challion's point, i'm not sure he's sitting at the white house saying i wish i had an opportunity to comment on this great cultural moment. i don't think that's what's on his mind right now. he thinks he's -- he has his base and he's going to go straight ahead. >> you look at the polls, david
challion very closely, the base is still with him. >> it is. the recent polls, he's still between 82 and 85% support among republicans and that's -- it's not the most hekty but pretty health y number. we've seen him in the 37 to 47% range for months now. that seems to be a pretty solid floor below which he hasn't fallen in the presidency. >> they are confident at that base over at the white house. >> they seem pretty confident about it. that's something they often appeal to when the president goes back to the campaign promises he made. that's who he's looking towards. going back to david's point, the white house is the white house. the president is the president and has a very large platform. they could have used it to accepted a message of sense tis ivety of women coming forward and used that and still defended their boss but sent a message to
women that they should speak up when something like this happens and they didn't do that. >> coming up, there's tan talizing new clues about what top u.s. officials knew before and after the assassination of president john f. kennedy. why is president trump keeping some of the most anticipated details still secret? plus, defense secretary james mattis visits the demilitarized zone. will the visit or upcoming trip by president trump bring a new provocation by kim jong-un? at fidelity, our online planning tools are clear and straightforward so you can plan for retirement while saving for the things you want to do today. -whoo!
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tonight we're learning intriguing new details about the era in which john f. kennedy was assassinated. even though trump authorized the release of us now. you also have some new details about president john f. kennedy and his killer. >> and it is, far from cooling off over the debate, this latest release of papers seems to have only heated up the argument. >> reporter: it is a critical question in the testimony of a cia official, was lee harvey oswald an agent? but the answer is cut off, leaving more conspiracy theories with no conclusion.
the new jfk files are full of them. for example, laualong with note about cia plots to kill cuba's fidel castro with a poison pill, there is a conversation between spies, one saying oswald must have been a good shot, the other, oh, he was quite good, i knew him. another file describes a phone call weeks before the assassination between a kgb operative and oswald who is speaking broken russia and asking anything new concerning the telegram to washington? the soviets themselves thought oswald had help, the source saying they believed there was a well-organized conspiracy on the part of the ultraright within the united states, an apparent stab at the man who took over for kennedy, lyndon johnson, another file showing that president johnson used to go around saying the reason that
president kennedy was senate e assassinated because he assassinated a president. the fbi director hoover noted just after oswald's death, we received a memo from a man in a calm voice saying he was a member of a committee tied to oswald. it all seems tied to the story of the investigation needed to be told well and quickly so we can convince the public that oswald is the real assassin. >> and yet the uproar over the latest documents and the secrets being kept, shows that the public more than 50 years later
needs yet to be convinced. >> all right, thank you, tom foreman. and watching developments on the korean peninsula, the defense secretary james mattis gazed at the border between north and south korea, stressing the united states goal right now is not war but a diplomatic solution to what he calls the kim jong-un regime's reckless behavior. president trump is to visit south korea next month. what do you hear from the north koreans? >> reporter: well, he listened to what the dmz said when they say they're threatened in the region, they feel the united states is threatening which is why they feel they need to develop their arsenal and are watching president trump, will he go to the dmz or say something to make an already bad situation even worse? the north koreans say they are ready to respond.
as asia prepares for president trump's landmark visit, north korea has been uncharacteristically quiet. no missile launches in a month and a half. no nuclear tests, at least not yet. only north korea's promise to send a clear message after trump's menacing speech at the u.n. last month when he threatened to totally destroy north korea. at the time, north korean leader kim jong-un vowed to tame the u.s. president with fire. the chief engineer of a baby food factory is trying to maintain production levels despite the u.n. sanctions over north korea's program. but he says the nukes are here to stay. president trump knows nothing about the korean nation, and he says now he is asking us to give up our nuclear weapons? ask anybody on the street, they say he is a lunatic,
posters are all over north korea, and the rhetoric has revved up. pushing two nuclear powers further down a dangerous path. both sides not ruling out talks altogether but their positions could not be farther apart. on a visit friday to the demilitarized zone, with pyongyang closer than ever to achieving what it considers a nuclear balance of power with the u.s. giving up nukes is a non-starter. but you know there are a lot of people around the world who think that by accumulating nuclear weapons your country is putting itself at risk of total destruction. they have the wrong information, she says, tell them to come to my country and see for themselves. >> do you have hope that some day your leader, kim jong-un,
could meet the u.s. president, donald trump? >> no, not at all, she says, that meeting cannot happen. it will not happen, because our marshal promised to deal with that deranged lunatic with fire. ominous words, slowly simmering, many wonder if the situation is about to boil over. >> this week here in pyongyang the senior diplomat says the world needs to take literally north korea's threat to conduct an above-ground nuclear test. the big question on everybody's mind, wolf, will it happen when president trump is in the region, and what will happen from the united states with the response? >> very good reporting, will, thank you, in an extremely tense situation. coming up, more breaking news coming up with the uproar
happening now, breaking news, trump's transparency. cnn has learned that president trump is telling the state department he wants any remaining hillary clinton e-mails in his possession released as soon as possible. he is calling on the justice department to lift the gag order on a key fbi nepotiinformant.
muddying the waters, the president is accusing hillary clinton of colluding with russia and voicing concerns over the cost of the special investigation. and congress has now launched two probes into alleged wrongdoing by the obama administration. are republicans now trying to turn the tables? haley's promise, in an exclusive interview, president trump's united nations embassy speaks of another issue, nikki haley talks about rex tillerson, would she take his job if president trump wants him out? and thousands of newly declassified documents, and an even more intriguing decision to with hold even more, are intelligence agencies trying to keep