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tv   Wolf  CNN  October 30, 2017 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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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. that information was relayed to
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unnamed officials with the trump campaign who would respond back that they were appreciative of george papadopoulos's efforts. there is a statement coming from an attorney from george papadopoulos. we can talk about this more. said it we will have the opportunity to comment on his involvement at a later date. we look forward to the facts that resulted in the charge. just to underlie what i said, sarah sanders is going to be coming out here at about 1:15. they pushed back the briefing somewhat. i suppose to get their ducks in a row. if past is prologue, what we will see from sarah sanders is repeating over and over again by the end of the day. a montage of these responses over and over again. saying the white house is referring you to the special counsel's office and referring you to the president's team of attorneys. wolf, when you talk to people in
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and around this white house, there is a sense of dread that winder is coming. we have been waiting months and months for some kind of big shoe to drop from the special counsel with respect to this russia investigation. you saw this white house trying mightily. we saw this at the podium when it was brought up by reporters. the press secretary would try to flip the script and say what about hillary clinton? now you have this open ended question. what is the deal with george papadopoulos? who was this professor, this unnamed professor in contact with in terms of the russian government and of course who is george papadopoulos responding back to with this information with the trump campaign? i talked to a former national security official with the trump campaign earlier who said he was unaware that george papadopoulos was doing all of this and going
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to great lengths to go around certain people in the trump campaign. that's not to say this was not appreciated. if they have e-mails, e-mails have been swept up in all of this. if they have e-mails saying wow, this is great. great stuff, george. there is more to be told in terms of what this is laying out for the fbi. >> major developments indeed. over at the white house, we will stand by for the press briefings beginning fairly soon. paul manafort and rick gates appear before a federal judge less than 30 minutes from now. evan perez is over at the federal court here in washington and the district. tell us what will happen at this initial appearance. >> paul manafort and rick gate arrived here in d.c. about an hour ago. they are sitting there waiting for the judge to convene this hearing which is going to end up being an arraignment hearing.
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we will probably hear a plea. that's expected to be a plea of not guilty. we expect that both men will be fighting the charges. the 12 counts that the government has laid out. the special counsel has laid out that lays out over 10 years of financial business arrangements with the former government in ukraine. manafort and gates went to great lengths to hide bank account in other countries, millions of dollars were flowing through the bank accounts as a result of the contracts they had with the former ukrainian government. the former ruling party there in ukraine which was viewed as being pro russia at the time it was in power. both men were arrested officially by the fbi. they turned themselves in at fbi headquarters about a half mile away from here. they came over to the courthouse and we expect they'll enter not guilty pleas in about 30 minutes
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or so. this case really begins then. the government will have to show what evidence they have to be able to support the changes, the 12 counts they brought against rick gates and paul manafort. i am told this allows them to know exactly what ways the government was listening to them or perhaps montoning communications. all of this is going to have to come out as the defense gets to tackle what the government is saying. after the forring, paul manafort's attorney will get in front of the microphones there outside the courthouse and finally address what the changes against his client are. wolf? >> we will get back to you. stand by. we will get a lot of the details in the court appearance. let's get more on the investigations. the indictments and the guilty plea. evan is still with us. we are joined by cnn journalists who have been breaking news
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since day one including reporting on the first indictments. pamela, you are the justice correspondent. you broke the story together friday night first on cnn. dramatic developments unfolding. even you are surprised about this george papadopoulos guilty plea. >> right. when you look through the charge and the statement of offense, this goes to the question of collusion. right to the heart of it. the campaign can downplay the role he had even though trump talked to him and jim acosta said there were several e-mails listed in the campaign between him and campaign officials. the russians clearly thought they could use him to make their way into the campaign. it said there in the documents that the professor who was linked to senior russian officials was not interested in him until he realized that
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papadopoulos was an adviser and a national security adviser and foreign policy adviser to the campaign and there were more communications and the question of dirt was raised. we keep hearing the theme of russians and dirt. in this case this professor linked to the russians said they had dirt on hillary clinton and had her missing e-mails, thousands of e-mails and the don jr. meeting in june. there was a claim that the russians had dirt on hillary clinton. same language. the russians were pedalling this. the russian his an influence campaign trying to get in with the trump campaign. >> when he was arrested on july 27th, this past summer, he has been cooperating and the aft is following and met with the government on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions. the more he cooperates, the less of a sentence he might get.
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normally in a situation like this, often, correct me if i'm wrong, the fbi and government will put a wire on someone to see if they can get more information about other who is may be implicated. do we have any information at all on that? >> no. there is nothing in the affidavits to suggest. i don't think the fbi would place something like that at this point in the aft. it could be that they did that. that would all be dependent on whether or not he could get the meetings set up with people at the white house. we have no indication that he was currently active at the white house or talking to people. everything this this affidavit as ho to do with when he was working for the campaign. he communicated with senior level people on the campaign about his contact with the russians. that's a significant significant piece of information.
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it goes to what the former dni head james clapper has been on the air and they have been saying for months that all these communications that concerned them. this year shows what exactly at least some of what they were concerned with. >> not to blow our horn, but they reported that u.s. intelligence was aware of repeated communications between trump associates. remember the push back at the time including from republican lawmakers about that story. we are seeing evidence of it here laid out there. much of the information contained in this statement contradicts the narrative we have been hearing from the white house. as recent as moments ago. he was low level and there were e-mails to prove the opposite. they were giving him permission
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not to go forward with the communication. the campaign changed hands and steve bannon came on board in august and you had paul manafort there before that. you might be talking about two different campaigns. if you read this statement carefully, by my count and i could be wrong, there were five different people who are mentioned who had communications with papadopoulos. two are high ranking and one is a senior policy adviser and is a campaign supervise adviser and another campaign official. this is carefully braun out to distinguish who these people are and in the footnote we are looking at now in this one
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e-mailed and said they had an e-mail, but it wasn't to papadopoulos. he was not included on this chain, but the e-mail said of the russian meetings. let's discuss. we need to discuss that dt is not doing the trips. it should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal. >> on the heels of that, there were other e-mails listed in the documents where the campaign supervisor encouraged him, george papadopoulos, to go to russia along with someone else and said great work when papadopoulos relayed that this historic meeting that could take place between russian leadership and the trump campaign. basically what it does is shows that even if george papadopoulos was a big player and low level, high level officials knew about this and they were encouraging it. >> here's the thing. we don't understand why it was important to meet with the
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russians and why there were campaign officials. why papadopoulos was pushing the meetings. this is unclear. but the fbi has not laid that out. >> this is part of an investigation involving and i'm quoting here, whether there was coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. again, belying the narrative or the push back you might say from the white house, including the president hours ago saying there is no collusion, etc. that line of inquiry is still open. >> papadopoulos also told investigators according to the documents that he saw the core mission as being part of the advisory committee to improve relations between the u.s. and russia. it makes you wonder. >> one thing that these contacts that he had with the russians and into that meeting that they
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had at trump tower last summer involving russians and senior trump officials including manafort who was there and jared kushner and druchl junior was the motion that this was about dirt on hillary clinton and papadopoulos was meeting to get dirt on hillary clinton. >> they were trying to infiltrate. they were trying to push every button and see where they could get in. they did get a meeting with donald trump jr. and through papadopoulos or others we have known, perhaps carter page, who knows, they were trying to make in inroads here. the question and you raised this time and time again is why? why? on one hand they were really passionate on the russian side. they wanted the act repealed. why they think they could make
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headway with a candidate, maybe they were -- it's not clear. >> the inroads to other candidates. i think that's the question. >> they saw an opening there and it would be -- it looks like the offering of a quid pro quo to discuss dirt on hillary clinton in the trump tower meeting. >> they mentioned dirt on hillary clinton several times that was motivating papadopoulos. >> we are very interested in relaxing the sanction. >> that told us why mueller and the fbi is so interested in the donald trump jr. meeting. they see another example of dirt. clinton dirt. we are going to help you. we may have clinton dirt for you. this gives an indication of why they are so interested in the meeting as well. that came as a surprise. we will see what happens. there is a lot in this aft. >> some was referred to in the
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dossier. this effort to influence was referred to. that may be one of the reason that is the intelligence community was taking it seriously. >> these are the first changes we are learning about. papadopoulos and rick gates and manafort. this could be just the beginning. in this case you start on the lower level and try to flip them and work up to the bigger fish. it's worth noting that there is a plea agreement and he is cooperating. in the case of rick gates, they can see the charges have nothing to do with the campaign. this investigation is ongoing and there could be additional charges added. this is just the first step. >> you start with what you have the goods on. >> the interesting thing is he is cooperating. >> i'm sure that makes other officials pretty nervous. pa. >> the fbi has eyes into what's going on on the campaign team.
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they now have eyes. they have a person in the meeting who knows what was going on and knows about e-mails and provided them with e-mails. they have a good window into who was pushing some of this and what the conversations were about. that is significant. the statement i spoke with the source on the senate intelligence committee who used this language. it goes to the heart of the collusion question. the senate intel has seen many as well. >> the president tweeted sorry, but this is years ago before paul manafort was part of the trump campaign. but why aren't crooked hillary and the dems the focus? he added also, there is no collusion! this motion that george papadopoulos involvement does suggest possible collusion. >> the statement of offense said
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at the time of the interview when the fbi did this interview, they were pursuing an investigation to that very question. collusion and cooperation and coordination. >> he was going to be charged with obstruction. he is confronted with his own potential obstruction. after they interviewed him in one of the affidavits, he changed his facebook page and tried to erase his facebook page that had communications with people he said he was not communicating with. >> they had a court order allowing him to go through the e-mails. stand by for a moment. one of the president's attorneys is joining us. thanks very much for joining us. have you spoken to president trump today about the indictments and the guilty plea? >> i spoke to the president, but i'm not going to discuss what they were. what i will tell you is in reviewing the indictment first as it relates to the situation
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for paul manafort and richard gates, when you read the indictment covering this morning and this afternoon involving the campaign or campaign activity. in looking at this, it was activity of getting these allegations going as far back as 2006. almost a decade ago or over. >> i want to point out if you head the indictment involving a paul manafort and rick gates, it does say they were looking into activity that they had during the tam wane when he was the shareman. rick gates worked for him and he was a deputy to the chairman. they are looking at that as well. >> but the allegations in the indictment though are focused on their business activities and not campaign activities and not campaign events.
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there was an overlap and they were doing business that they had at that time. if you look at the charges, charges have have been levelled focused on registrations and tax evasion and money launtering. no question. they did not involve the campaign. >> one could involve the campaign and that's perjury. lying while he was involved in the campaign. are that's what george papadopoulos ended up completing guilty to. it doesn't mean it was a campaign activity. you gave a false statement. it's a false statement charge. based on the indictment, it doesn't mean there was no
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illegality. that was not the underlying activity, but the misstatement to the agent or the officer here. >> let's talk about george who plead guilty. he was arrested over the summer. how worried are you that his involvement working with the national security advisers to the then candidate donald trump and also establishing these contacts with the russian who is had dirt on hillary clinton. that could set the stage for what the special counsel is looking into, possible collusion. >> i'm not concerned about it because if you look at what george papadopoulos's plea is, what the actual plea is, a false statement about timing as to when he talked to somebody about russian activities. they were not activities that were illegal. the conversation that they had,
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there is nothing that said that conversation was illegal or inappropriate or whatever it might have been. you look at what he said to the agent and i don't represent mr. papadopoulos, but statements he made to the agents that they are saying. >> as far as you know, the contacts he had while he was a national security adviser to the candidate donald trump. the contacts he had were authorized by the campaign. >> let me say this. george papadopoulos served on a committee. campaigns have committees with various people on it. he was not a senior adviser to the trump campaign. >> his contacts were authorized by senior advisers according to the affidavit. >> according to the affidavit. in and of itself, that's a conversation that someone would have regarding a foreign government whether it was great
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britain or anybody else. those are not illegal activities. that's not an inappropriate activity. again, where did he get in trouble? was it the call he made to the professor? that was the russian professor? that's not where the crime was. defense lying about the time. i don't rep send him and i don't want to give a statement about that, but from our perspective. >> as far as you know, if a campaign adviser to the candidate is trying to get dirt on hillary clinton from russians, is there anything wrong with that? it's not illegal to get opposition research. >> from foreign adversaries from the united states. >> i don't know if it was from russians, but you spent the
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entire last week in the news with the whole fusion gps matter. the dossier. and the dnc involvement there. is that illegal? there are committees looking at it, but here's what i know. i will talk about what i know. i know that about the george papadopoulos and i came on at your request, but the only thing i know is what's in the actual indictment. i don't know george papadopoulos and have not spoken with his lawyers and i don't know the nature and the scope of his engagement of his lawyers and what they were dealing with. i know what he pled guilty to. i i don't know the information on the other. >> the indictments suggest lots of illegal activity on the part of paul manafort and rick gates and the guilty plea as far as george papadopoulos is concerned. here's the bottom line for you. if he is fully cooperating, with the fbi and the special counsel
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robert mueller, how worried should other trump campaign officials be about they potentially could be implicated maybe for perjury or other illegal activity? >> the way to avoid perjury if you are dealing with a federal agent is to tell the truth. i said before, it's not the underlying activity. it's the misstatement to the federal agent. when you are going in and dealing with this, tell the truth. if you don't know, don't tell it. if you are going to testify, make sure what you are saying is truthful. >> clearly in this particular case, george didn't testify and tell the truth. several say he was trying to protect the trump campaign and there were others who were doing similar activity trying to protect the trump campaign as well. they were not fully honest with federal investigators.
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you must be concerned about that. >> i would tell anyone who would speak to a federal investigator to tell the truth. or to exercise your privilege if you feel like you can't testify against your best interest. tell the truth. the fbi has a guilty plea and he did not tell the truth when he was being investigated and that's a violation of 18 usc 1. that's what happened there. you concerned that he is fully cooperating now over the course of these past few months. he may have implicated others. >> i'm not concerned. not only is there no rush, we are doing our job.
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having good relationships with the special counsel's office as far as information good. we are not concerned about this at all. no one else is either. >> is there a chance at all that the president will try to fire robert mueller? >> no. i saw a couple of people talking about that this morning. the answer to that is no. the president is not interfering with the special counsel mueller's position. he is not firing the special counsel. he said that before. the fact that -- i don't think that anybody is surprised that an indictment came down or there is a plea. we expected the indictment and talking about this a couple of months back. we expected it for months. we thought there was going to be something. what the something is is activities going back as much as a decade ago. this was obviously some are telling me and what i'm going to
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say, and this was going on even before mueller was appointed and may have been merged with. it may have been that they put it all together. no, i'm not concerned about where this goes. i think one thing this does establish is special counsel is moving and i think that's good for the country and the president. are is there a chance the president will start partoning like a paul manafort or rick gates. >> i had no conversation with the president on partoning anybody at all. >> would that be smart if he were to do so? >> no. the pardon power in the constitution with the president of the united states. i have not had an indication at all that that's where this would go. >> are you concerned if he he were to pardon and would be
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implicated would be charge and could be seen as obstruction of justice by the special counsel. >> here's the fact of the matter. there is no conversations with the president about the indictments that came down this morning. i haven't had a conversation about partons or partoning individuals. i don't want to speculate on the parton that doesn't exist. it's not something that is on the table. >> i asked because of sheriff arpaio. >> the president has the authority to pardon. he did parton the sheriff and had the authority constitutionally to do that. had nothing to do with this matter at all as you know. presidents have the authority to pardon. presidents pardon. there is no indication here. i'm not having conversations and no conversations i'm aware of with anyone including the president regarding pardons this. just happened this morning. no conversations on that. >> do you know if the special
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counsel asked for the president's finances and tax returns and other information along those lines? >> i have no basis to believe that is the case. >> do you believe that the president is not being investigated? >> there is not -- what we said is we have been clear. there is not a formal investigation of the president of the united states. we have been cooperating if there is questions that come from the office. we have been in full cooperation mode. white house special counsel on this, ty cobb has been very, very clear on the transparent nature of the document production going on here. that continues to be handled in a professional march. >> there was one thing that jumped out at me at the affidavit involving the builty plea that there was a court order and they went through his e-mail and facebook and he tried to delete his facebook page that had incriminating information.
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similac action sift with other individuals. what's your reaction? >> i'm not going to speculate or give free legal advice to others what they should or should not do. i'm not going to render legal advice. you are asking me, but i'm not giving legal advice. i would say do nothing. >> you are the president's lawyer. he has been asked to identify or answer questions from the special counsel? >> he has not. >> if asked, will he cooperate? >> the president said he would. >> and you think that would be a good idea to do so? are as his attorney. >> i would -- look. in the normal course of concluding this, if in fact the president was asked a series of questions by the special couple, we have no indication of that.
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he said this months and months ago. he would cooperate. i'm not concerned about that. >> i know the president said i'm asking you as his attorney. would you advise him to do so? >> i'm not going to share with you advice i would give or not give my client on a matter that i haven't discussed with the client. i'll leave it at that. >> all right. it was kind of to you join us on this very important day. i dare say historic day in this investigation. this is the president's attorney. thanks so much for joining us. >> let's get reaction to what we have just heard. our senior legal analyst. what did you think? >> i think that the lines of defense on the two cases are quite clear from what jay said. the first is papadopoulos is a nobody and was not an important person in the campaign. anything he may have done with the russians is irrelevant.
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that will be tested by looking at the e-mails and who really was on the other end of the e-mails and what if any action was taken. the defense line about papadopoulos is clear. and on the manafort and gates matter, the line of defense is none of this has anything to do with the trump campaign. at one level, that is true because it is related to his financing of his business. that business was for the most part as outlined in the indictment getting millions of dollars from ukrainian interests that are closely tied to the vladimir putin regime. plus the experience alleged in the manafort indictment is said to include the time when he was the campaign chairman for donald
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trump. these are intelligence defenses on the part that he was putting out there and they were subject to scrutiny as well. >> and quickly, you did say the ptd is not going to fire the special counsel robert muler and not thinking about partons at this point in connection. that's important. >> it is important, but check back regularly on the questions. on the issue of partons and firing firings. >> everyone stand by and we are waiting for the press briefing and the official white house reaction to the dramatic developments. sarah sanders getting ready to answer questions. let's see if she shows up with any other white house officials and maybe legal advisers because there will be a ton of questions on all of this. also we are expecting to see
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paul manafort and rick gates make their first court appearance momentarily. special coverage continues after this. there she is. sarah sanders beginning the briefing. >> i would like to start by addressing a topic i know all of you are preparing to ask me about. that's tax reform. a couple of you got it. the initial house tax reform bill will be introduced on wednesday by the ways and means committee. this is the product of months of work and is going through an open process in the house. the committee plans to mark up the bill next week starting on monday. the house is likely to consider
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the bill week of november 13th. to stay on pace, we want to see it passed by thanksgiving. this is aggressive timeline, but one that will help us get tax cuts this year so families and businesses can plan for 2018. we look forward to the details of the tax bill being released on wednesday. i want to explain what we are working to do using ann ek doed we can understand. this story has been floating around the internet for a while. the numbers are not exact and i'm not encouraging any drinking. that's mostly for my parents. i think you will enjoy it. suppose that every day 10 people for our purposes go out for beer. the bill for all 10 comes to $100. if the 10 reporters paid their tab every night the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this. the poorest would pay nothing. the fifth would pay $1. the 6th would pay $3. the seventh would pay $7.
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the ninth would pay $18, the richest would pay $59. that's what they decided to do. the 10 reporters drank in the bar every day and seemed happy with the arrangements until one day the bar owner threw them a carve ball. since you are good customers, i will reduce the cost by $20. drinks would now cost just $80. they wanted to pay the bill the way we pay our taxes. the first four still drink for free. what about the other six? how could they divide the $20 windfall so everyone gets their fair share. these were reports and they are concerned with fairness. they realize that $20 divided by six is $3.33. if they subtracted that from everybody's share, the fifth and the 6th reporter which would each end up being paid to drink beer. the bar owner suggested raising
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by a higher percentage. he explained they continue following the principal of the tax system they have been using. he proceeded to work out the amounts that each should pay. the fifth reporter like the first four now paid nothing. he got a 100% savings. the 6th now paid $2 instead of $3. the seventh paid $5 instead of $7. the 8th paid $9 twinstead of $1. the tenth now paid $49 instead of 52. the first four continued to drink for free. once outside the bar, they began to cam pair their savings. i only got $1 declared the 6th and she pointed to the tenth reporter. she got ten. that's right. i only saved $1 too.
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it's unfair that he received 10 times more benefit than me. that's true shouted the seventh. why should he get $10 back when i got two. the wealthy get all the breaks. wait a minute. we didn't get anything at all. this new tax system exploits the poor. the nine rrnts made him feel bad. the next night, the tenth man didn't show up for drinks and the had their beers without him. when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. they no longer had enough money to even cover half of the bill. that, ladies and gentlemen, is how our tax system works. people who pay the highest taxes will benefit from a tax ri du reduction. taxing them and attack them and they might drink overseas where the atmosphere is friendlier. this is a silly story, but illustrates important points. our tax cuts and reforms will create a fairer system that works better for everyone and
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make our country the friendliest in the world trying to build a better for ourselves and our children. i will be happy to get that story to everybody so you can get the numbers later. again, i know that may be an oversimplificati oversimplification, but it paints a good system of the tax system. with that i will take your questions. >> sarah, first i would like to get the white house reaction to the indictment of paul manafort with george papadopoulos. what he said, why aren't crooked hillary and the dems the focus. is he saying that special counsel mueller should be investigating hillary clinton and the democrats and is he going to rule out once and for all firing robert mueller. >> i will address the second question first. the president said last week and i said several times before, there is no intention or plan to
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make any changes in regards to the special counsel. look, today's announcement has nothing to do with the president and nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity. the real collusion scandal has everything to do with the clinton campaign and fusion gps and russia. there is clear evidence of them colluding to spread disinformation and smear the president. we have been saying from day one there is no evidence of trump-russia collusion and nothing today changes that. >> but the george papadopoulos agreement in the campaign is specifically about the campaign. >> for has nothing to do with the activities of the campaign, but his failure to tell the truth. that doesn't have anything to do with the campaign. >> it is the clearest evidence yet between the campaign and russian officials. >> there are no activities in which the trump campaign they were engaged. most took place well before the campaign ever existed.
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john? >> can you explain what george papadopoulos's with the campaign was? >> it was extremely limited. it was a volunteer position. no activity was ever done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign in that regard. >> what are about the outreach he was making to campaign officials to try to put together -- >> you mean the outreach that was denied? >> that's what i meant. >> we are not going to take any action on that. >> can you explain what happened with the outreach? >> he reached out and nothing happened beyond that. that shows one, his level of importance in the campaign and two, shows what little role he had within coordinating anything officially for the campaign. >> sarah, thanks a lot. i wanted to ask about mr. mueller's investigation. the president at times called it a hoax and he calledit a witch hunt. you used similar language before as it relates to his investigation. last week you indicated, sarah,
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that you believe that mr. mueller is wrapping up his investigation. i heard similar things coming from other senior administration officials. do you still believe mr. muler is in the process of wrapping up? >> we expect it to conclude soon, yes. >> paul manafort was high ranking in the president's campaign at one time. i would like to know what the president's relationship is with him now. do they still talk and when was the last time they had contact? >> as far as we can tell, we know they have not spoken in several months. the last known conversation was back all the way to february. as far as anything beyond that with paul, i'm not sure. i know that there was initial contact after the president was sworn in with him with meetings here at the white house, but nothing directly with the president. debra? >> thank you, sarah. on march 31, according to the
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affidavit by mr. papadopoulos, he attended a foreign tell us meeting and the president was there. he talked about how russia wanted to talk to the president. what did the president think when he said he wanted to arrange a meeting between trump and putin and how did other people in the campaign react to that? >> i'm not sure that the president recalls specific details of the meeting. again, it was a brief meeting that took place quite sometime ago. the one time that group ever met and beyond that i don't have anything to add. john? >> thank you, sarah. as you mentioned, mr. manafort and mr. gates were named in this as not having anything to do with the campaign, but with alleged money laundering regarding other business. now, under those circumstances, will the president rule out or consider pardoning either of them.
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>> we should let the process play through before we look at those steps. >> and papadopoulos at this time was referring to jeff sessions at the time who was overseeing from foreign policy advisers. what does it mean for jeff sessions? >> again, somebody on a volunteer committee. i'm not sure how that impacts the attorney general directly. >> can you say given what we learned over the past few hours when the president was first aware that russia was behind the hacking and was in possession of e-mails about the clinton campaign and they were trying to get to the trump campaign. when was he first aware of that. >> i'm not sure of the specific date. >> sarah, does the president regret having hired paul manafort to be his campaign manager and is he and the rest of the white house concerned this will distract from tax
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reform and the other domestic policy? >> we are not worried about it because it doesn't have anything to do with us. this is action that took place outside of the campaign or campaign activity. >> as far as whether he regrets having hired him? >> i didn't ask him that question specifically. >> how can you describe mr. papadopoulos as having a limited role when there is a photograph of him sitting at a table with then candidate trump. >> we have thousands of photographs with millions of people. >> he was sighted in a meeting with "the washington post" as the top adviser. that goes against what you are saying. how is it not collusion when george papadopoulos was in contact with various people who are promising dirt on hillary clinton and a series of events that closely mirrors what occurred with the president's own son. >> this individual was on a -- >> in pursuit of information that was damaging about the
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clintons. how is all of that not collusion in. >> this individual was the member of a volunteer counsel that met one time over the course of a year. he was part of a list that was read out in the "washington post." i hardly call that some sort of regular adviser or as you want to push that he is like a senior member of the staff. he was not paid by the campaign. he was a volunteer on a counsel that met once. >> with the activity, he was pursuing information from the russians. >> again, he was a volunteer. that's something you need to ask him. i'm not here to speak on behalf of the thousands of people who volunteered. >> the president called on congress to investigate hillary clinton. is he confident they will do that? >> you have to ask congress that, but there are enough reports and information out there that seems to suggest it might not be a bad idea.
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>> the leaders of the committee. >> i don't know if he had a member of congress tell them specifically. >> about tax reform, where does the president stand on the yes, sir of phasing in the corporate tax cuts so it reaches 20% around 2022? >> the president has been clear his priority is to make sure that's where we start with the tax plan. i think again he laid out what the principals are. as of right now that hasn't changed. >> just to get the terminology straight, george papadopoulos had no official capacity. what doey mean by that? >> he was a volunteer on the campaign and a volunteer member of an advisory counsel that met one time. >> his activities were of his invention. no one asked him to do any of these things? >> i'm telling you that he was a volunteer member of an advisory counsel that literally met one time. >> there are two episodes that
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people associated with a campaign and at least one incident and he is a member of a foreign policy or military advisory committee sought dirt on hillary clinton from people representing themselves as either linked to or associated with the russian government. is that a coincidence? >> the only interaction i'm aware of that deals with this individual was him reaching out and being denied. that's all i can tell you. he asked to do things. he was pushed back or not responded to in any way. any actions that he took would have been on his. you would have to ask him about those. i can't answer that. >> that same kind of meeting at terror. >> i'm sorry? >> what explains the campaign's later involvement with those associated with the russian government or said they were to get dirt on had ilry clinton later. >> they had one meeting. i don't believe so. >> that are indicated a pattern. >> of getting information about
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your opponent. the big difference here is you have a meeting that took place versus millions of dollars being sent to create fake information to influence the election. you compare those two, those are apples and oranges. what the clinton campaign did was exchange money and took a meeting. those are far different. one is pretty common practice in any campaign and the other is paying money for false information. that's a big deal and a big difference. >> i have two questions for you. if i can follow-up on your comment about the dossier. this is an issue that many senior level administration officials pointed to in the questions about the special counsel. has the white house asked the differently of justice to look into this issue. >> not that i'm aware of. >> you spoke with the president today? >> yes. >> you can give us the reaction to the news that swept the nation's capital and how did the president respond to the news about two people who did work
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for his campaign. was he disa pointed that paul manafort was being charged? >> he responded the same that the rest of us did. it doesn't have anything to do with us. >> we are talking about two of the most senior members of the campaign through and including the rnc who are now under federal indictment. >> for something they did outside of the campaign. >> they did not allegedly conduct during their work to the campaign. doesn't it speak to the president's judgement that he would choose to have these two individuals in very high positions in the years leading up to his role. >> you make it sound like they were regular offenders in massive amounts of trouble and they were seasoned operatives that worked on a number of campaigns and paul manafort was brought in to lead the delegate
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process and was dismissed not too long after that. >> the president has no regrets. >> i didn't ask him that question specifically. april? >> what would lead you to believe that the mueller investigation will end soon and are there other indictments and my third question, the president talked about trying to find out what is the focus and how you plan to implement welfare reform. >> we haven't made any specific announcements when it comes to welfare reform. those are ongoing conversations and we're looking at ways to improve the system, but nothing specific to roll out at this time. sorry. what was the first part of your question? >> what leads you to believe that this will conclude the mueller investigation? have you been given a head's up? what? >> those are the indications that we have at this time. i can't get any further than that. >> indications from where? >> as i just said i can't go further. >> also, you don't believe there will be more indictments at all? >> that's a question you have to
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ask robert mueller. >> you said it would be concluded soon. >> i still attend that i believe it will be concluded soon and beyond that, i don't have anything to add on a specific timeframe. >> sarah, in march the president called george papadopoulos an excellent guy. does he still believe he is an excellent guy? >> it was nothing more than that on being complimentary on behalf of the campaign. [ inaudible question ] >> a campaign supervisor told him i would encourage you to make the trip to russia does that not constitute the campaign encouraging him? >> i'm not aware of that conversation so i can't speak to that. >> at the end of the day is there any concern at all from this administration trying to
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drill down, and that two people who worked for the president are now under indictment and one is pleading guilty and he promised to hire only the best people. is this an example of the best people to hire? >> this goes back to these were activities that took place outside of the scope of the campaign. i can't comment on anything they did. >> are these the best people to hire? >> the president hired paul manafort to handle the delegate process which he did and he was dismissed not too long after that. >> sarah, last week the administration opposed the federal judge's decision that allowed an undocumented immigrant to have an abortion. now that the case is over it's been decided she's had the abortion and what is the white house reaction to that decision and does it set a precedent going forward? >> i can't comment on the specifics of that at this point. >> didn't speak to him directly about the case. >> i'd like to ask you about a different topic. just breaking, the court banned the president from changing
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military policy on service from transgender people. what's the reaction and the plan moving forward in reference to this. >> this was something just announced and the department of justice is reviewing it and i would refer to them for any specific questions. >> congressman dowdy suggested there should be an investigation into the leaks of the grand jury investigation. do you think there should be an investigation? are you all asking for an investigation. >> we will ask for the investigation to take place. >> i think any time there is leaking of sensitive information it should be looked into, but beyond that, we don't have any comment. crystal? >> thanks. does the president hold jared kushner in any way responsible for hiring paul manafort? >> not that i'm aware of. >> in terms of hiring the best people and the top, top people does not this at the very least raise questions about president trump's vetting process and judgment when it comes to bringing on these people. >> i don't think so.
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i've answered that quite a few times today. >> you said back in july that the president believed that the investigation for the special counsel was in the confines of the russian election meddling. did bob mueller overstep the bundry of the investigation. >> second question, sarah would just be on the topic regarding the plea agreement with george papadopoulos. you indicated the president did not remember the march 31st meeting. >> i didn't say he didn't remember the meeting. i said he didn't remember the comments. >> i don't believe that he went into detail about the meeting itself and he remembers it taking place, but we didn't go into anything beyond that or specifics. >> and specifically did not remember the russia comment. did he have interaction? >> not that i'm aware of. >> gallup came out with an approval to the president. what's your reaction? is the president aware of this? any plans of changing anything? >> look, we're focused
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aggressively on pushing forward on a very bold agenda, specific to tax reform and tax cuts. i think that the economy continuing to grow and strengthen is something that will certainly change those numbers and at the same time these are the same polls that said this president wouldn't be president and i don't have a lot of confidence in that. >> can you please clarify your answer that the stock market is moving downward on the news that possibly the corporate rate could be phased in over several years. i wasn't sure if you were trying to make the point that the president would be for a phase-in or against a phase-in. >> i said the president laid out his principles and it doesn't include the phase in and we're exited to that moving forward and i don't have any reason to believe we have changes on that. >> so the red line of the 20% -- i'm not drawing a red line and we haven't adjusted or changed the principle since this started. >> thanks so much, guys.
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have a good day. >> so there she is, the white house press secretary sarah sanders insisting that george papadopoulos was irrelevant and want a significant player at all during the campaign. he pleaded guilty today to perjury in connection to these charges and also playing down any impact that the paul manafort-rick gates indictment. our gloria borger is here. let's get your rea action to what you heard. >> it's not surprising that george papadopoulos is a non-event and a non-person that was a volunteer and had no influence in the campaign and in tro treaties as we've heard previously in news reports that he was rejected and that therefore there was nothing. when you look at the court documents you see that on july 14 the fbi alleges that
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papadopoulos writes that a proposed meeting has been approved from our side and another e-mail suggests in august that perhaps they should go ahead with the meeting. what we don't have in these documents is the e-mail responses except one from an official who says we need someone to communicate the d.t. is not doing these trips. it should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal and that's a little ambiguous, any signal of what? so we -- you know, there are lots of questions raised here that we don't have the answer to. >> you're a form are prosecutor. it said papadopoulos was working with an unnamed professor who had substantial connections to russian government officials and was ready to provide, quote, dirt on then-candidate hillary clinton. >> and he had thousands of
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e-mails which is essentially the same offer that was made to donald trump jr. in the now famous june 9th meeting. so you can't really separate these things and it appears as if either the campaign is in communication with the russians about this information that might be disadvantageous to secretary clinton or the russians are just pushing this on the campaign and the campaign is trying to resist. that's sort of the heart of what has to be resolved by mueller. >> what did you think of the white house defense today in the face of these really significant developments? >> i got the impression i was watching the wizard of oz when he says pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. that's all we're looking at because the directive mueller has is to probe whether or not campaign and any foreign entity. you have a campaign member here. the directive was not a certain level official and a certain level campaign person and to try to parse it out in this way and it belies all logic.
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you have a lot of allegations right now that are supported by this affidavit and someone has pled guilty to. it's not a hypothetical that this person was involved and it really does land a lot of cred believity to the allegations that there was a campaign person who was knowledgeable about what the campaign wanted and then carried it out through the foreign entity being russia. so i think that the defense is one that you would expect as gloria pointed out and it's not one that will hold legal water now that you have a guilty plea. >> evan perez is over at the federal courthouse in washington. you have breaking news, evan. update our viewers. >> that's right, wolf. i just walked out of the courthouse where paul manafort and rick gates were appearing before a magistrate judge. they just entered a plea of not guilty to all 12 counts in this indictment. there was a little bit of a surprise at the top of the hearing because manafort was represented by his attorney who we've known for severalee