tv Inside Politics CNN October 30, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
join us and tell your member of congress that they have a moral responsibility to stop doing what's political and start doing what's right. our country depends on it. welcome to inside politics. i'm wolf blitzer for john king. we want to welcome viewers from the united states and around the world. dramatic developments are unfolding in the investigation led by the special counsel, robert mueller. two people with high level roles in the trump campaign have become the first two to face multiple criminal changes steming for mueller's probe into russia's election meddling in the united states and more
troubling for the u.s. is the third person named in the records also unsealed today. a trump campaign national security adviser, george papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements on those he believed were close to the russian government. his role could be significant when it comes to establishing collusion between the campaign and russia. he is not cooperating with federal investigators. as for the indictment, rick gates also worked for the campaign as manafort's deputy. they are set to make the first court appearance at about 90 minutes from now. president trump is scheduled to have lunch with the attorney general of the united states, jeff sessions this hour. a source close to the president said he is briefed on the charges and he reacted on twitter. more on that in a moment.
let's bring in our national security chief national correspondent and sarah murray. tell us first of all more about the case against george papadopoulos whose role could be very significant in this investigation. >> that's right. on a day that the president's former campaign chairman is charged with federal crimes, it may be difficult to say this other case could be more significant, but there are reasons it would be. papadopoulos was a foreign policy adviser to the president described as such. this is different because it's not a charge. he pled guilt ty to a crime and pled guilt tow lying. this is key. in the statement of the offense, this is not previous business dealings, but related directly
in the copy here to the investigation into whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. despite the fact that trump and supporters said that that line of inquiry is closed making clear it is not. if you have someone who admitted to a crime related to that inquirey and lying, it goes on to say that the communications and contacts relate to russians and foreign contacts offering papadopoulos dirt on clinton. again, this damaging information that russia offered similarly in the june 2016 meeting in trump tower, finally i would highlight that point contained on the final line that papadopoulos has cooperated now with authorities and notes here that he met with the government on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions. a final point, george, on papadopoulos. there are a lot of legal papers here, but some of them catch your eye more than others. this is contained on page eight
of the statement of offense. it refers to papadopoulos e-mailing another high ranking campaign official and there is a footnote to that. in that e-mail, he stated let's discuss. we need someone to communicate that dt should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal, seeming to indicate that papadopoulos and perhaps others in the campaign knew that these trips to discuss this information with russians with foreigners was not 100% kosher. perhaps illegal. therefore we are sending people other than the president to do so. again, a lot contained here, but you have a direct connection between someone who worked for the campaign as a foreign policy adviser who now plead guilt tow a crime and as part of the continuing investigation as to whether there was coordination
between the trump campaign and russia. truly a momentous and surprise revelation today, wolf. >> certainly is. very significant. as you point out in that last line of the u.s. district court statement, the statement of the offense. it does say specifically that on july 27th, 2017, this past summer, the defendant papadopoulos was arrested upon his arrival at dulles international airport and following his arrest he met with the government on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions and as you say, that suggests he is fully cooperating and potentially raising all sorts of problems for others in the trump campaign. >> absolutely. as folks with more knowledge than me and others who have been involved in investigations like this, they note that in situations and guilty pleas like this are most often initial steps in investigation and then
potentially net other defendants. other criminal charges. if he is cooperating, he could then provide information on others who perhaps have not been forth coming with the investigators. might have lied in the interviews with the fbi. might be able to explain or supply e-mails that contradict both the administration and others's story line. narrative of their interaction with russians during the campaign as well. international that this comes out today. no reason the counsel had to release this today because the guilty plea as the documents note took place in october some four weeks ago looks like a signal if not to the administration to the broader public that the lines of inquiry continue. >> very significant development inde indeed. sarah, what are we hearing from the president so far? >> so far the president weighed in on the indictments of paul manafort and rick gates, but not papadopoulos. i will read you his tweets from this morning. the president tweeting sorry,
but this is years ago before paul manafort was part of the trump campaign. why aren't crooked hillary and the dems the focus? you see him trying to turn the attention back on his rival who i would add is not the president of the united states. in a second tweet, he followed up and said also, there is no collusion. he is weighing in here on the paul manafort matter. when it comes to papadopoulos, we have no official word from the white house or the president. we have heard from a number of sources who are trying to downplay papadopoulos's role in the campaign saying this is someone who is more of a hanger on and irrelevant. this is someone in that the president himself named as an adviser and someone in the meeting in washington with president trump in the same room with him. clearly they have met face-to-face. it's a good indication that the questions are not going away. this line of inquire e kwiry is not going away. we will hear from sarah huckabee
sanders and you can bet she will be asked about this. >> do we know who brought papadopoulos into the campaign? was it a top national security adviser? >> papadopoulos actually was a former adviser to ben carson who of course is now serves in the trump administration and found his way into the campaign. he is part of a team led by jeff sessions, now the attorney general who refused himself from the russia investigation and interestingly, president trump does have a meeting set up today with his attorney general jeff sessions as well as vice president, mike pence set up beforehand. it has nothing to do with the russia investigation, but questions about this and the role of papadopoulos during the campaign may come up. >> i can only imagine. >> thanks very much. you are working your sources. the chief legal analyst. paul colin is with us. you are working your sources,
pamela. and the papadopoulos acknowledgement and pleading guilt tow lying to the fbi that raises all sorts of headaches for the trump campaign. >> he is now cooperating as part of a plea deal and the investigation. what jumps out to me is he had officials tied to the government and campaign officials were aware of the communications. a campaign supervisor said great work to that. another e-mail that papadopoulos allegedly sent according to the state. russia was eager to meet with the candidate, talking about donald trump and had been reaching out. the response this was for and the e-mail from papadopoulos according to the statement was forwarded on from one campaign to another official. here's what the e-mail said.
we need someone to communicate that dt, donald trump, is not doing these trips. it should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal. this is talking about meeting with russians. the campaign meeting with russians. this is a real problem for the white house. the white house can distance itself from rick gates and manafort because it's true the charges are not connected to the campaign though it is significant, but this has to do with the campaign and the campaign being aware of the attempts to set up meetings with the russians. one more thing. now that we have this information, it makes clear the concern from intelligence officials. they saw an effort and influenced campaign to try to infiltrate the trump campaign with carter page as we reported and now appears with george papadopoulos who was part of the foreign policy team as well. it said in the complaint that
when one of the foreign contacts realized he was part of the campaign, that is when he started reaching out on the dirt on hillary and setting up meetings with russians. at the least there was an influence campaign on the part of the russians. >> all of a sudden the russians respected him a bit more. >> when they realized he was part of the campaign and he presented himself as an adviser to donald trump according to the documents. >> very significant. how do you see the papadopoulos issue unfolding right now. jeff? >> it's enormously significant at several different levels. as pamela was discussing there, there is a lot of interaction in e-mails between papadopoulos and trump administration officials. they are not identified in the government's filing today, but they are certainly known to director mueller.
he will want to interview them about what their interactions were with papadopoulos about contacts with russia. certainly these e-mails and this document will be read by the house and senate investigators. they will want to talk to the government official, the campaign officials who were talking about reaching out to russia. this is the heart of the inquiry. what was the relationship between the trump campaign and the russian government or entities affiliated with russia? that's what the e-mails are about. they showed detailed interest on the part of the relationship between trump and the russians and there is a lot more to explore there. >> there is. paul, the white house argue that is the charges against manafort and gates have nothing to do with the campaign. the special counsel took over
robert mueller in may and the others started earlier right after the election when there were allegations of russian interference in the u.s. presidential election including the questioning of papadopoulos back in january shortly after the election. it suggests this is moving full speed ahead. the fbi was well into it before mueller got involved. >> for does suggest that and comey also in his position was probably well aware that these things were going on. the papadopoulos thing is especially important. as of march of 2016, papadopoulos had been named as one of five foreign policy advisers to candidate trump. that's when the russians really took an interest in him and papadopoulos claimed he had a connection to a russian national who was putin's niece who could supply information to the trump campaign along with another russian connection who is a highly connected russian professor with connections to
the russian government. those russian connections then lead directly to a group of five elite foreign policy advisers to candidate trump. that's the importance i think of the papadopoulos indictment. it shines a picture on the connection between the campaign and the russians. >> and jeffrey, he is fully cooperating. he and his attorneys decided he will plead guilt tow the charges of lying to the fbi, presumably the more he cooperates, the less of a sentence he might get. that's the whole notion of a plea bargain. >> absolutely. given what i know about how federal sentencing works, if he cooperates and if the mueller office is satisfied with his cooperation, i think it's very likely he will not receive jail time. by the same token, looking at the other indictment where rick gates is clearly the secondary
figure, if he decides to plead guilty and cooperate, it would be very likely that he would not receive a prison sentence which is something his attorneys will certainly be telling him and he will have to weigh in whether he will decide to plead guilty and cooperate. >> don't you think jeffrey they have offered him that plea agreement before today? >> they may have, but a 12-count federal indictment has the effect of focusing the mind. i think it is not necessarily a done deal that he is -- that he will not plead guilty. if i can raise one more point that is important about the indictment of manafort and gates, yes, it's true that it deals with transactions mostly with the ukraine before the trump for president campaign. but the indictment very clearly says that the criminal
conspiracy that is at the heart of that indictment continued through the time that paul manafort was the campaign chairman. you can't say this has nothing to do with the campaign. according to the indictment which is not proof, it's just an accusation, he was conspireing to violate u.s. law while he was the chairman of the trump campaign. >> that's very important. let's not forget he was the chairman of the trump campaign for several months including during the convention. guys, thanks very much. up next, the political fallout over the charges in the russia investigation especially one former trump adviser looking for so-called dirt on hillary clinton. you do all this research
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united states. today we learned that the former foreign policy adviser to the trump campaign, george papadopoulos pled guilty to lying to the fbi about interactions he had with people tied to the clkremlin and is cooperating with the investigation. paul manafort and rick gates will be in court facing a 12-count indictment that include experience and money laundering. joining us now to dissect the breaking news on capitol hill, here with me in the "new york times," julie davis and chief correspondent dana bash. on this afd with contacts with people and the russians who were promising dirt on hillary clinton, this was a significant development because he was arrested a while back and is fully cooperating with the special counsel. >> this is very significant. look, paul manafort who was the
president's campaign chair and rick gates, maybe people who are not political junkies may not know the name, but he was a significant player for a period of time. they are the names. the white house said from what we know what they are being indicted for. that's separate from trump campaign work. this papadopoulos indictment and the affidavit that goes along with it is not. it is a direct alleged contact between somebody who the president had called, a foreign policy adviser, and the russians. specifically if you go through it, somebody who was trying to get more connections between putin's people and people inside the campaign. papadopoulos had connections and contact with an unnamed senior
campaign official. campaign officials had discussions among themselves about this offer. they had discussions about what to do about dt, donald trump, and maybe sending a low level official because they were concerned about the optics. when you look at the core question of collusion this is a bombshell. >> for could result in the arrest of others. >> this is a person who was on radar screens and people in the white house expected that paul manafort was going to be indicted. you read through the indictment and they were reading through it eagerly this morning and there is no link between what rick gates and paul manafort were indicted for and the accusations of the campaign having colluded with russia, but if you look at the plea agreement that george papadopoulos reached, he is want cooing with investigators and he was arrested and that was about
a month ago. who knows who he talked to or had interactions with who is connected with the white house or the trump campaign since then. what this tells you is that contrary to what the white house said after that meeting that donald trump jr. had at trump tower was disclosed, this was not a one off thing that the russians were approaching the trump campaign with offers of dirt on hillary clinton and trying to be taken up on that offer. george papadopoulos may have more information than what we see in this plea about what exactly the instances were and what the reaction was. >> it was significant what jumped out. a lot of other things in the affidavit. they obtained a judicially authorized search warrant to go through his e-mail and facebook and phones. they were monitoring him big time. >> absolutely. he had obviously come to their attention in the investigation of this larger issue of the
extent to which russia was trying to find an end to the trump campaign and they have a lot of access to it. he may have e-mailed or called other people under scrutiny by the special counsel who have not been named. >> we have the little bread crumbs about what the defense is looking at in this indictment or this agreement. it talkses about the e-mail to another campaign official. we need someone to communicate that dt is not doing the trips. it should be someone low level so as not to send any signal. like to the russians that we are not going to play or a signal to the world that sort of betrays the fact that they are playing ball with the russians. there is a big question. as i said, there is a bread
crumb to try to answer that. >> authorized search warrants for them. i assume they have search warrants for others involved in the campaign as well. you are up on capitol hill and this is going to be a bombshell up there. >> no question about it. the question is how does it impact the investigations that are happening already in the senate and the house intelligence committees in particular. up until this point, you heard republicans increasingly voice concerns about the lack of any definitive evidence of collusion and some on the key committee saying it's time to pull the plug. we are reaching the end of the investigation and we don't have definitive evidence yet, but this new information from the george papadopoulos plea agreement shows a really sustained effort by russian officials to use a trump official to try to pass along dirt on the clinton campaign saying they had the thousands of
e-mails and they are willing to share with the trump campaign. this will almost certainly lead the investigators down this path as well. he had been on the radar screen. it's unclear the extent they got him to cooperate with their own investigation. particularly as he has come under scrutiny from bob mueller. in that regard, it will have an impact on the investigations. politically too, republicans will be under pressure to see if they can get behind legislation that has been proposed to protect bob mueller from getting fired. the vice chairman of the senate intelligence committee, they say nobody should be pardoned by the president and saying they should urge the president to make that declarative statement. we will see if he does just that. presumably they can get more
steam after some of these revelations. >> very quickly, they are on the radar and the committees that are doing the own investigations into the presidential elections. is there an indication that george papadopoulos was interviewed by the committees? >> we don't know that yet. they were going to try to answer today. a number of e-mails had been turned over to these committees through the trump campaign. they have seen a lot of these e-mails to the extend to which he cooperated. that's an open question, something we will try to answer later today. >> it will be interesting to see if he encouraged the committees not to interview him because he was apparently started cooperating with him. with robert mueller. stand by. we will get back to you. i know you are doing reporting up there. dana and julie stand by as well. paul manafort and rick gates are set to appear in the next hour and they are in the federal
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we are continuing to following the breaking news this hour. dramatic developments in robert mueller's russia investigation. two trump campaign officials due in court next hour are charged with experience against the united states, money laundering, and giving false statements. just a few of the charges against trump's former campaign chairman paul manafort and rick gates. the two surrendered to the fbi and will appear in court next hour. i want to bring in bryanna keilar. what do folks need to know about
manafort and gates? >> what they need to know about rick gates is there is no rick gates in all of this. his connection to manafort is something that goes back years. they worked together and gates worked for manafort in his lo y lobbying firm for sometime and he was a deputy when manafort was the chairman on president trump's, then mr. trump's campaign. after the election, of course gates stuck around once manafort left, but not for too long. after the election he created a pro trump pack. america first with a number of campaign aides. even as manafort has been distanced, gate has been going in and out of the white house, being a part of meetings and has been working for tom barrack. you are pardon me with him. he was the head of the inaugural
committee for president trump's inauguration and all of this connected back to of course paul manafort who ran the campaign not for long. from may to august for president trump. at a key time where he got enough delegates to be the nominee and he went through the convention. his background that created a lot of interest for the feds has been his role as a lobbyist. a number of leaders and dictators dated back to the 70s including pro russian leaders. the former president of ukraine, this was the reason that paul manafort was the subject of fbi surveillance. not just recently, but in 2014 as well. it seemed he laundered and has been accused of laundering millions and millions of dollars and questions about those who worked for him helped him do this. that of course was a question that surrounded paul manafort. there was a times report in august of 2016 which was one of
the reason that paul manafort stepped down from the campaign and that report alleged there was a handwritten ledger that kept off the book records of payments from his party. it included a $12.7 million payment to manafort and he asserted that didn't happen. it created a huge cloud. that was the reason that manafort stepped down from the campaign. >> stand by. julie davis and dana bash is here. do we know who vetted him to make him the campaign chairman, the highest level. reporting directly to the candidate donald trump. >> brought in and vetted are two different things. i don't remember that there was a lot of vetting going on. >> given this history, you would think they would be more cautious. >> there is that and the fact
that they had not worked in republican politic this is this capacity. the answer to your question is by all accounts tom barrack who is a long time very good friend of president trump who had done work with manafort and made the suggestion to bring manafort in. he was brought in and rick gates came with him. they worked closely together. to manage the convention. the republican convention which at that point they were kind of headed to a potential train wreck. there was a lot of questions about whether there would be a delegate fight. that's what he was brought in for. the existing campaign manager was fired and manafort filled the hole. didn't last long. my understanding is that the president liked manafort because he had respect for him and he felt he was a peer. with rick gates, less so even though he stayed on longer because he had a lot of fans in
the campaign. >> rick gates unlike manafort was visiting the white house on several occasions even though the white house doesn't release the visitor logs, i'm sure the fbi knows about all of the visits. >> absolutely. one of the things you hear and we heard from the president and we heard in the past when these allegations about paul manafort has come in, he didn't have that big of a and it was temporary. he was brought in to play a crucial that solidified donald trump getting the nomination and coming out of that convention in a successful way. rick gates was working hand and glove with him. paul manafort retreated into the background after the allegations surfaced. rick gates was going in and out and having contact with not just campaign officials, but trump white house officials and a lot of the contacts being scrutinized by the fbi. as the public and journalists can't see them, they are looking at all of that right now.
>> he sent a powerful signal with the papadopoulos arrest. >> no question. we are talking about as we should be, manafort and gates because those are -- to have a campaign chair of no matter how short he was there, to be indicted is a really big deal. this person who most people had not heard of, his indictment and the ramifications for it, potential ramifications and the connections to russia, this is the biggie. >> stand by. there is a lot more we are watching. we will be back and meanwhile, two ex-trump campaign officials are indicted in the special counsel's probe and due in court shortly. we are watching and also the white house press briefing coming up at the top of the hour. we will have live coverage. ke up with back pain. but he has work to do. so he took aleve. if he'd taken tylenol, he'd be stopping for more pills right now. only aleve has the strength to stop tough pain
as press secretary sarah sanders is expected to come out shortly to take questions from reporters, a lot of them no doubt will focus on the russia probe. the latest developments from inside the intelligence committee saying that the papadopoulos case goes right to the heart of the collusion matter. stand by for the live briefing as well. we are waiting for paul manafort and rick gates to make their first court appearance here in washington. we found out they are facing 12 criminal felony charges stemming from special counsel robert mueller's investigation into russia's investigation meddling. joining us from outside the federal courthouse here in
washington where the two trump officials are society to appear in the next hour. what are we expecting will happen when manafort and gates go before a federal judge, debra robinson? >> reporter: we know they are inside the federal courthouse right now. they have been there for at least an hour. they are undergoing pretrial services which is essentially a court entity that introduce both of the defendants. some of that interview will be used by the judge to determine whether or not to detain both of these men or release them after this appearance. this is an initial appearance and separate and distinct from an arraignment. some courthouses combine the two. we are not sure if that's the case here. if they are combined, there will be a later arraignment where paul manafort and rick gates will enter a plea which we expect to be not guilty at the time that does happen. at this appearance that happens 1:30 this afternoon before a
federal magistrate judge, the charges will be laid out. 12 counts that incorporate money laundering, false statements and failing to register as a foreign agent. the judge will make clear to them what penalty or sentence that they face. in addition, we know that this judge will have to determine whether or not to detain both paul manafort and rick gate or and not the other or whether or not to release them. as i mentioned prior, they are going through a preservice interview right now. it will be determined what factors the judge can consider here. however in most cases where this is a nonviolent offense without prior criminal history, this is more of a white collar criminal case, it is likely both of these men after the initial appearance will likely be released and another court date would happen. just a few minutes away from both of those men appearing in court before that federal judge.
they are here at the courthouse after both turning themselves in earlier today. a lot to watch for, wolf, in the next half hour or so. >> if they are both convicted of the changes, they could face many, many years in prison. jessica, we will get back to you shortly. we will go to the white house and we are standing by for the press secretary, sarah sander who is will be taking questions from reporters on this. presumably other issues as well. we will have live coverage coming up.
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i think about my own kids. they're the reason that i want to protect our community and our environment, and if me driving a that truck means that somebody gets to go home safer, then i'll drive it every day of the week. together, we're building a better california. >> looking at live pictures from inside the white house briefing room. we are expecting sarah sanders to come out any moment and there will be lots and lots of questions. likely facing questions about the indictments of two former officials. they were hoping to talk about
the president's upcoming trip to asia. he leaves washington at the end of this week. let's bring back our correspond ept, dana bash. i assume they were going to say they were not important to the campaign to begin with. let's move on. >> i'm sure she is going to say that and talk about other things to distance themselves from these people who were indicted. that's her job. this morning when we knew about the first two names, paul manafort and rick gates and the content of what they have been indicted for, the white house had a legitimate claim to say this has nothing to do with the white house and russia and these are things that happened in their business and mostly before he came on to the campaign. this indictment throws that whole argument into the garbage
can. he is shown in pictures as part of the national security team or the campaign national security team and most importantly, in this aft, he has a lot of e-mail exchanges with and about other officials and he was arrested at the end of july and who knows who he has been gathering from the feds since. stand by. we are expecting the white house briefing to begin fairly soon. we will have live coverage. we will take another break and be right back.
add to that a separate guilty plea and a former trump campaign policy adviser who lied to the fbi about his own relationships to foreign nationals led by the government. they said george papadopoulos lied about discussing dirt on hillary clinton's e-mails. we are a wading two important events and set to begin momentarily. we will hear the first response to the guilty plea. the two men named, paul manafort and his former campaign deputy business associate rick gates, they will appear in federal court for the first time. take a look at the charges. among them, experience against the united states and money laundering. we will get into more detail on the charges in a few moments, but the charges stem from the work with political parties in
ukraine supporting russia. president trump tweeted this response. sorry, but this is years ago before paul manafort was part of the trump campaign. why aren't crooked hillary and the dems the focus? >> lots of question marks in that presidential tweet. what can you tell us first of all about george papadopoulos's connection to the trump campaign this this guilty plea? >> wolf, i think george papadopoulos is obviously the person of the day here in washington. this is somebody who was on nobody's radar screen heading into this morning. you get the sense from talking to sources in and around the white house that they were completely blindsided by this news. they did expect the paul manafort and rick gates indictments to come down, but i don't think anybody was expecting to see this treasure
trove of information that was unearthed by the fbi and talking to george papadopoulos and investigating his contacts with the so-called professor who was apparently in contact with the russians. i talked to a number of sources and yes, while they do describe george papadopoulos as not a significant player, one source said he was in contact a significant amount with certain officials inside the campaign. this was not an adviser or a foreign policy adviser and not somebody who would show up at the office at trump tower on a daily basis, but that he was in contact with officials via e-mail. why is that important? that's important because if you look at what the fbi laid out in terms of the case against george papadopoulos, there is a lot of discussion about e-mails. meetings with the professor promising dirt on hillary clinton courtesy of the russians.