tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN October 30, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
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 several weeks. rick gates' attorney was not
there. it's not clear exactly why he was represented today by a public defender and the public defender told the judge that rick gates plans to hire his own private attorney, but that attorney was not here today. so in stead there was a public defender there who entered a plea of not guilty for rick gates. again, both paul manafort and rick gates entered not guilty pleas. the judge has now set forth a schedule for future hearings before the judge that will be hearing this case we expect in a little while we're going to hear at least from paul manafort's attorney who will come out here and speak to the cameras right after this court hearing. the two men did not speak. manafort and gates did not speak during the court hearing. they just entered and came in and said their name when the judge asked them and apart from that they did not say anything, but wolf, at this point, they've
entered not guilty pleas here before the magistrate judge in federal court. >> very significant developments, indeed. evan, we will stay in very close touch with you. that's it for me. thanks for watching. brooke bolduan, picks up our special coverage right now. >> wolf, i'm going to take it from here. thank you, sir. >> i'm brooke bolduan. you are watching cnn special coverage of a landmark day of this russia investigation. moments ago you saw there the spokeswoman at the white house sarah sanders responding to this news today. not only had the first charges been filed as cnn first reported, but the first guilty plea is now in the books and the plea specifically involves trump campaign ties to russia. this comes from george papadopoulos, the campaign's former foreign policy adviser. he admitted he lied to the fbi about his communications with russians and now we are hearing that he is indeed cooperating with authorities, could even more charges be filed against these two men? paul manafort who led the trump
campaign for four months and his business associate rick gates who also worked on the campaign. the two just pleaded not guilty in court. right around the same time that that white house held its press briefing. >> today's announcement has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity. the real collusion scandal as we've said several times before has everything to do with the clinton campaign, fusion gps and russia. there's clear evidence of the clinton campaign colluding with russian intelligence to spread disinformation and smear the president to influence the election. we've been saying from day one there's been no evidence of trump-russia collusion and nothing in the indictment today changes that at all. >> it is specifically about the campaign. >> it has nothing to do with the activities of the campaign. it has to do with his failure to tell the truth. that doesn't have anything to do with the campaign or the campaign's activities. >> but it isn't clear of
evidence between ties between the campaign or figures. >> there is no alleged activity that the trump campaign was engaged in any of these activities. most took place well before the campaign ever even existed. >> we will have much more on the moment of the manafort-gates indictment. this is manafort surrendering and so far the allegations do not involve the trump campaign and the conspiracy of money laundering, but we have to start with papadopoulos and i realize this is a name that many of you are not familiar with so let me back up and set this up here. investigators say he did not tell the truth on multiple occasions including his interaction with someone labeled foreign contact 1 within this criminal complaint, someone he called, quote, nothing. but i want you to take a look at what investigators later found in e-mails written by him, quote, just finished a very productive lunch with a good friend of mine, that's foreign
contact 1, who introduced me to both putin's niece and the russian ambassador to london who also acts as the deputy foreign minister. it goes on. the topic of the lunch was to arrange a meeting between us and the russian leadership to discuss u.s.-russia ties under president trump. so let's start with that piece. i've got cnn national security correspondent jim sciutto. listen, there is a lot. we've all been reading through this affidavit on this side, george papadopoulos and people taking a note, page 8, section 19, footnote 2. it is the footnote that people are latching on to. talk to me about that. >> this is one, we should say, of more than one references to communications back and forth regarding inside the trump campaign regarding communications with russian officials. so here is one here. it relates to an e-mail that was sent by papadopoulos to another high-ranking campaign official,
what the senate intelligence committee source tells me is paul manafort and it talks about a request from russia to meet with mr. trump. the e-mail goes on to say that russia has been eager to meet trump for quite some time and has been reaching out to me to discuss and this footnote relates to that e-mail and it was forwarded to manafort to another campaign official which i'm told is gates who responds, let's discuss. we need someone to communicate to d.t., presumably d.t. is not doing these trips and it should be someone lower level to keep under wraps the kinds of communications they're talking about. >> i want to draw your attention to another e-mail that goes in august. so a couple of week, a few weeks later where a campaign supervisor tells george papadopoulos, quote, i would encourage you and another foreign policy adviser at the campaign, quote, to make the trip if it is feasible. the reason i bring this up now is we just heard the first
pushback from the white house on what we learned today regarding the statement of offense by george papadopoulos saying he was low level, volunteer, no one really dealt with him. in fact, there were a number of e-mails that belie that fact. you have seenior campaign officials responding to forwarding his e-mails and instructing him to carry out meetings with russians. you just heard sarah sanders from behind the white house podium saying he was a volunteer and he was on a committee that met once. >> she said, jim -- sorry to jump in, but to underline your point, she said off the top. today's news has nothing to do with the president. >> and she says -- and she sort of spes tied by saying nothing to do with campaign activity. this is campaign activity. >> right. >> this is a foreign policy adviser in touch with other senior, more senior members of the team. he was a guy and volunteer and at one meeting and not true. there go e-mails that go months
after he's taken the position with the campaign where he's in touch with senior campaign officials informing them of offers from russia to meet and has dirt on hillary clinton, offers that other members of the campaign, in fact, senior members of the campaign instructed him to go ahead and take these meetings. it belies the description one that he was a nobody and two, that what we're talking about here and rather what the statement of offense talks about here had nothing to do with campaign activity and this is campaign activity. it's just hard to see how the defense you're hearing from behind the white house podium stands up with the facts. >> let's call it what it is which is precisely what you just did. jim sciutto, thank you so much. let's broaden this out. i have a pulitzer prize-winning analyst and jeffrey toobin. we have a lot to get to. i just want both of your reactions. to jim's point on how clearly sarah sanders was trying to diminish any sort of role that george papadopoulos had within
the campaign, but is this the closest to potential collusion that we have seen so far? >> there's no question that these -- the e-mails in the charging document in the filing that mueller's team went with in the papadopoulos case is the most detailed statement yet we have about how the trump campaign thought about russia, dealt with russia in addition to the meetings that donald trump jr. had. >> talked about. >> the only way to look at these things is holistically as together because they all suggest an extreme interest in meeting with russia which we need to say is unusual for a presidential campaign. and when you combine that with paul manafort who was the
campaign chairman and we know from the indictment how much money he was making from the ukrainian interests that were allied with putin, you start to see a fuller picture of a campaign that was deeply interested in and perhaps involved with russia. and that is a very important part of this investigation. >> what are you thinking, carl? >> first of all, these documents show what a serious, sober, methodical investigation mueller is conducting and it puts an absolute lie to the trump campaign and donald trump's negations of why there ought to be an investigation. this is why there needs to be an investigation and this investigation needs to continue until the packs are known and if trump maintains they exonerate him and his aides that's one thing, but we are in deadly serious territory in which a conspiracy is outlined among these indictments. when you put the dots together it is a about a conspiracy, but
the most important that we have not known about is it shows that the trump campaign knew about people having possession of the e-mails of hillary clinton's e-mails supposedly back in march of 2016, and this is, i believe, quite a revelation. i don't believe they knew anything about it and what you see through all of these documents that have been produced through the court is the salivating by which campaign officials were just hungering for dirt on hillary clinton and that's understandable. the clinton campaign wanted dirt on donald trump also, but they knew that they wanted information through the russians who were seeking at the time a removal of sanctions and a different kind of relationship with a new president. so everything we've been hearing from the first time about collusion becomes at least plausible in a documented way.
>> so herein lies the next question. if reportedly now papadopoulos is cooperating with the feds and so if he's cooperating, and if he's talking, does that then mean that he is to use the phrase flipped, and should other people in mueller's sights and also the white house be nervous? >> there's no doubt about that. the document says he is now meeting with the investigators and talking to them. we need to, you know, pause and say just because you're meeting with investigators and telling them what you know doesn't mean you are saying incriminating facts about -- >> x, y and z. >> we don't know what he is saying about other people and certainly he's explaining the context of the e-mails discussed in this document. if i can make a slightly separate point they think is not very controversial. this indictment today is a
complicated indictment, the one of manafort and gates. there is no way in the krim -- federal criminal justice department this case could even go to trial within six months. there are going to be motions. there will be discovery and legal arguments. this investigation is going well into 2018, if not longer as a result of what happened today. and i think that's just something, you know -- >> perspective. this is going to last a while. >> people maying disappointed about that, they may be happy about that, but the mueller investigation is at around for at least another year. >> jim sciutto is trying to chime in on the conversation on paul manafort. >> on manafort and gates, because papadopoulos and what we learned there is so explosive and relates directly to the russia investigation, let's not forget what crimes they're charged with. just a couple of things. manafort was lobbying members of the u.s. congress against u.s. foreign policy positions. he was lobbying for a party in ukraine that is anti-nato.
nato, of course, u.s. is in that alliance and a key member of that alliance. he was lobbying member of u.s. conference in support of a jailing of a political opponent of the russian-backed president of ukraine. so these are not small things in the big issue when you talk about an american here who was not just cooperating with, but working for a foreign leader, a russian-backed foreign leader very much against u.s. interests. so, yes, while those crimes or alleged crimes took place before the campaign, they're not just accounting tricks or tax evasion. they are things of import. they are potential crimes of import. >> two point, if i may. first, it's very important to remember that manafort while he was the campaign chairman and supposedly aware of these contacts was talking to the candidate himself almost every day. one of the things investigators are going to want to know from manafort if they can get it from
him and from others is well, was some of this about these e-mails conveyed to the president of the united states or the president-elect or the candidate? the other thing that we really need to be calm and fair to the president of the united states here. that this investigation and this is a landmark and it's a road map that shows us where the investigation is heading. >> and it's not definitive yet and it's time for everybody to say let's look at these facts. yes, these facts are really serious business. there are many republican congressmen who are former prosecutors who are lawyers themselves and they know how to read this stuff. >> sure. >> and they are going to have a little chill go down their back from reading this. the other thing that is so serious is it shows how wrapped up the campaign was in getting information from the russians.
does that mean collusion in terms of interference in the election? not necessarily yet, but that's one of the things mueller is going to try and find out. is this real collusion? collusion is not incidentally a crime in itself, i believe. there is no title 18 crime of collusion, but we're looking at outlines of a conspiracy to undermine the democratic election that took place in the united states and that's where these dots seem to be going if someone is trying to connect them. >> last question, just where does all of this and there are other people, the x, y and z, right? who may or not be in trouble based on what papadopoulos says. where does it go next? >> let me say the three words that you're never allowed to say on cable news which are i don't know. did i know that papadopoulos was going to get -- plead guilty today? i mean, you know, mueller is doing a very serious
investigation. he is, despite the best effort of people like me, not disclosing how he's getting where he's going. >> yeah. >> so he obviously has access to a great deal of information that we as journalists don't, and he's moving forward. this is certainly evidence today of a very serious investigation that is farther along than most of us thought he would be. >> one other thing to keep in mind, that mueller has some 21,000 e-mails from associates of donald trump in the white house, in his campaign, in his business organization. all of those documents are potential perjury traps, the same way that papadopoulos has been accused of perjuring himself essentially because there is a record now through those e-mails and gives mueller an opening to ask these people as witnesses about anything whatsoever, if your hope hits, for instance, the president's
assistant, what did you see, miss hicks on this date or that date that is referred to by mr. papadopoulos? those are the kinds of lines of inquiry we're going to see and also, there are so many potential witnesses here who indeed could be frightened by what is happening to these three individuals. >> sure. sure. just now director of white house communications. listen, i appreciate your candor and the i don't know. we don't know, do we? we don't know. >> and we need to be calm and fair to the president, as well. >> absolutely. >> no, you be calm. i'm not going to be calm. >> thank you both so much. just a programming note for tonight, a cnn special report the russia investigation with jake tapper. it is tonight at 11:00 eastern only here on cnn. we have much more to come on this breaking news today. we'll dig into the white house response including the president tweeting this morning in all capital letters, no collusion. does that still hold true after today's guilty plea? and the president has already shown he is not afraid
to use his pardoning powers doing it once with controversial former sheriff joe arpaio. might trump do it again with those indicted in the russia probe? we'll discuss what he could do legally. i'm brooke bolduan. you're watching cnn's special live coverage. press brew. that's it. so rich. i love it. that's why you should be a keurig man! full-bodied. are you sure you're describing the coffee and not me? think of all the things ithat think these days. businesses are thinking. factories are thinking. even your toaster is thinking. honey, clive owen's in our kitchen. i'm leaving. oh never mind, he's leaving. but what if a business could turn all that thinking... thinking... endless thinking into doing? to make better decisions. make a difference. make the future. not next week while you think about it a little more. but right now. is there a company that can help you do all that? ♪ i can think of one. ♪ psoriatic arthritis tries to get in my way? ♪ watch me. ♪
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that just tastes better. with more vitamins. and 25% less saturated fat. only eggland's best. better taste. better nutrition. better eggs. welcome back to the breaking news. i'm brooke bolduan. the white house under pressure today as the russia investigation announces its first two indictments as we learn of a guilty plea from a trump campaign insider. now there's also this news from gallup. as of today president trump's approval rating has hit an all-time low. you see the number there. 33%. this comes as the white house moments ago tried to brush aside
the importance of today's developments. so let me bring in cnn chief political correspondent dana bash and cnn politics reporter and editor-at-large chris silliza. 32%. that's a new record. >> it is. and not a record that any president or any politician wants to be the proud holder of, and there's no question that just the fact that it means a third of the electorate is supportive of him and the flip side of that, two-thirds is not is a danger zone for this president. look, he has not been somebody who has been driven by his approval rating thus far and he has not made moves to kind of expand his base. in fact, for the most part, what we've seen from this white house and this president is attempts over and over to try to hold on to that core base.
unclear if that's going to change moving forward with moves on trying to get tax reform done which is the big -- the big legislative accomplishment, really the only one that republicans on capitol hill said that they care about at this point, but certainly not a good sign for this white house to see those numbers. >> that's how sarah sanders led the briefing with talk about tax reform and knowa analogy acknowledging beer and taxes and we're all talking about the big news from today. what did you make of how she tried to downplay the massive news this afternoon? >> i mean, somewhat predictable, brooke. they've been downplaying paul manafort's role for months long before we knew an indictment was coming down saying he was someone who did a specific thing for mr. trump regarding the delegate process and once that was over he left. not totally accurate, candidly.
he was brought on to lead the delegate operation heading into the republican national convention and there was a sense that ted cruz might challenge that and he expanded his portfolio considerably as it relates to trump world. the idea of george papadopoulos being a volunteer which was the other major line of argument, and lots of people on the campaign are volunteers. you know, the fact that he did have an audience with the president and the fact that he was sending e-mails to top brass. this isn't someone who walked into a trump campaign office and said, hey, i'd like to volunteer. this was someone that was touted as a foreign policy adviser to trump in an interview between donald trump and the washington post. they put him, george papadopoulos, that is, as someone to point to to show that trump had a bona fides and he had serious people and it's a little bit misleading.
it's not like they had a great argument to make spinwise here. when you have a former campaign manager indicted lying to the fbi, and it's not like there's a spin you can put on that and make perfect sense and make everybody happy. >> isn't this sort of the trump world talking point when trouble bubbles up and say we didn't really know him that well or he wasn't that significant in our orbit at the time? >> that's right. >> it is. it is. you know what? that's irrelevant. it is irrelevant whether this guy walked into trump tower to get a coffee at starbucks or whether or not he had a name on the masthead. what is relevant that according to the indictment and the affidavit that goes with it is that he had communication not just with a russian official who was talking about dirt, but much more importantly, he had communications with senior trump officials about this at the time, and now our jim sciutto is
reporting that they happen to be paul manafort who was the campaign chair and rick gates who was basically manafort's deputy who did everything with and for him. so that is why it is significant. it is also significant because, clearly, this guy, papadopoulos is cooperating with the feds. >> that's right. >> and this indictment today could have potentially been buried by these big names, manafort and gates and the white house could have much more easily had a defense to say, look, these guys are being indicted for things that didn't have anything to do with the campaign, much less russia vis-a-vis our campaign and that's all muddied, clearly intentionally by the special counsel's office by this additional indictment. >> brooke -- >> hang on, chris, just one second because we've gotten a statement in. this is from manafort's deputy gates who was a part of this in federal court today and let me read part of it. rick gates pled not guilty
today. he welcomes the opportunity to con frobts these charges in court. he is not going to comment further until he's had a chance to review the lengthy indictment with his legal team. in the meanwhile he would appreciate you respect his and his family's privacy in this hasty proceeding with political and press considerations rather than his right to have counsel at his side during his most challenging day for him and his loved ones and this fight is just the beginning. go ahead, chris. >> i wanted to add to dana's point. i think we have a tendency because we know the name manafort. we've seen him on the podium and we know the name gates. you just showed a picture of him on the podium at the convention with donald trump. very few people and i'll put myself in this category, know papadopoulos. >> totally agree. >> and not just in the allegations and not with what
the fbi read out, but in the plea agreement he signed saying what is above here is true, it gets to the heart of what we've been talking about for months and months and months. the trump campaign is trying to say he's a volunteer. nothing came of his attempts to set up meetings with donald trump and russian officials. okay. but what is alleged in here that he has agreed happened is essentially he lied to the fbi in january 2016 about the timing of his meeting and contacts with a foreign agent, a foreign official, a russian foreign official. the reason that the foreign official reached out to him as we now know per the plea agreement is because he had the job as a foreign policy adviser to donald trump. so i think that that's very important. the manafort stuff is a little bit more easily dismissed because yes, it does have to do from 2004 to 2015. i don't think you should dismiss it. but this papadopoulos stuff
matters and is much more problematic for donald trump and his administration than what we know of the manafort indictment. >> dana, close this out. >> they got him and flipped him, papadopoulos and that's what happened and it is continuing to happen and that new rick gates statement that you just read, brooke, is also interesting because they're saying he's going to take a breath and figure things out and that cryptic note about him not having the proper counsel there at the time. rick gates again, certainly not a household name, but from our reporting real time and our knowledge real time of the trump campaign, he was there and around at critical times from the convention through when he went to the republican national committee and then back in and out of the white house and certainly he was not supposed to be there officially and he was there several times and he worked on the pac. so the question is whether he has anything to offer the feds. specially given the fact that
he's got this giant indictment in front of him and that can't be underestimated, that question. >> right. cooperating with the feds and talking with the feds, what might that mean for other people in this orbit? to be continued. chris sillizza and dana bash, thank you so much. we'll continue with the breaking news and i can hear the buzz in the washington newsroom. more today is former trump adviser george papadopoulos cooperating with authorities after the guilty plea? what does that mean? should the white house counsel be worried? we'll talk about more about that. also what do today's indictments signal about the pace of this bob mueller investigation? is this coming to a close or is this oh, so much more to reveal? you're watching cnn's special live coverage. my experience with usaa has been excellent. they always refer to me as master sergeant. they really appreciate the military family,
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all right. so some more breaking news here on the news with regard to paul manafort and mr. gates here. as we know, they've gone through federal court and bail has been set for manafort at $10 million. gates at $5 million and the court has placed both of these two gentlemen under house arrest. i have with me jennifer tob, jeffrey toobin and kevin cordero and paul bernstein here with me. jeff toobin, to you first. what jumps out at you is the fact that they're under house arrest, yeah? >> absolutely, and the enormously high bail. they don't have to put up that much money, but they're agreeing to forfeit that much if they disappear. in a white-collar case like this this is an unusually severe bail conditions. usually, the only condition
would be you'd have to surrender your passport, but you would be released on your own recognizance. obviously, the -- the mueller investigation and the mueller team made the case to the judge that both of these gentlemen are flight risks and they are flight risks to leave the country where they can't be retrieved. so the judge agreed at least enough to impose really onerous bail conditions just short of locking them up. house arrest, you know, it sounds -- >> what does that entail exactly? >> it means you stay in your apartment other than sanctioned trips to a doctor, to a lawyer's office -- >> for the foreseeable future. >> until the trial is resolved, and the trial in this case, as we were discussing earlier is months away. so that is a -- and it may be and this is something to look into, their presence at their
homes may be secured by an ankle bracelet which registers if they leave -- >> that's what you were thinking. >> yes? >> which is a more unpleasant and onerous condition of bail. so obviously, the judge was convinced that these two represented flight risks and took really rather severe steps to make sure they hang around the jurisdiction. >> presumably the pros cure the outlined in some way to the judge why he considers them flight risk, but there's another element of this that goes to everything we've seen today about this deadly serious investigation and the signals that mueller is making, and that is ankle bracelets are going on for these people and for those of you out here who have also conspired, you should take a look at this. these are very tough, some would say nasty, prosecutorial tactics. we see what's going on. i think those of us who have
covered the courts over the years as a former prosecutor here. >> yeah. >> this is how you build a conspiracy case and try to get others to flip, to talk about what they've seen and what we have seen today absolutely undermines the notion that donald trump has been saying that, no, there's nothing here that even suggests collusion. i've avoided the word collusion and talked about knowledge, perhaps of what the russians wanted. these indictments about a conspiracy to collude, to undermine an american election. that's what really comes through when you put the dots together and it says there are other conspirators to be heard from in this, is that not right, jeffrey? >> that's -- i mean, you're going a little farther than i would based on the evidence that i've seen. but just one point about the
toughness of the prosecution. >> sure. >> the prosecutor's been appearing before the grand jury most often is andrew weissmann. andrew weissmann were colleagues in the eastern district of new york in brooklyn and he later went on to run the enron prosecution task force. he is a notoriously tough prosecutor and these bail conditions are certainly indicative of an andrew weissmann prosecution. >> carrie, let me let you jump in. once served as counsel for the national counsel. >> the bail represents the serious charges alleged in this indictment. what the indictment shows is that the big picture that paul manafort's entire career was based in a culture of corruption, the fact that he brought millions or tens of millions of dollars, hid them in foreign bank accounts, hid that
information from the u.s. treasury, from federal investigators looking into whether or not he was a lawful register, foreign agent and this is someone who built his entire career in corruption, working for an oligarch in the ukraine who was ousted based in part of allegations of corruption. so it's not surprising, really, that the prosecutors would treat him as seriously and the bail is representative of the seriousness of the charges that are against him and mr. gates. >> we don't know. this could be the beginning or not of other dominos to fall, but jennifer, what -- what signal does this send? you're an expert on white-collar crime here. we know mueller's team has brought in these experts on white-collar crime that speaks volumes. what signal does this send? >> thanks, brooke. i really do think that the sleeper story here today is the
guilty plea entered by george papadopoulos, although, of course, the charges against paul manafort and rick gates are quite serious, this plea, this admission that he lied to the fbi regarding contacts that the trump campaign had with russian officials is really very serious because it goes to the heart of what the special prosecutor was investigating, and i was particularly particularly interested in the charging document which makes clear that there are more facts that are known both by papadopoulos and the special prosecutor concerning these matters and this was just one charge that they decided to bring against him. so i think this is very critical and i think there are probably many other folks who took part in the campaign or perhaps even in the white house who may have
engaged in illegal and false statement, as well and they're probably very, very nervous about this plea. >> let me also just clarify language. i just got handed a separate piece of paper here. the government has asked for manafort and gates to be placed on house arrest. we don't know that they've actually been placed under house arrest. so there is a key difference. asked for them to be placed, but on papadopoulos, carrie, back to you. when you look at the criminal complaint there, it goes back to i want to say it was january 27th and that was seven days after trump was sworn in. this was way before anyone's even talking about special counsel bob mueller here. >> first of all, it's important to remember that the special counsel's investigation did not start the moment that the special counsel was appointed. the special counsel's investigation picked up on what was already an ongoing investigation by the fbi into
russian influence, into the election, and whether or not there was influence. so there was a continued investigation. the charges against him, again, indicate that he lied to investigators and they showed that there really was intent on the part of the russians and knowledge on the part of members of the campaign that there was russian intent to be involved with the campaign. so what his plea document demonstrates is that not only was he trying to set up meetings with russian government officials and trump campaign officials and that trump campaign officials knew about him and knew about it and they didn't cut him off. they didn't fire him or if he was in a volunteer capacity and we're not interested in him participating anymore and they continued to engage in e-mails with him and they continued to engage in a dialogue with him and the one footnote in the documents indicates and even encouraged the conversations to
continue. >> brooke, if i can just add one point. >> go for it. >> let's start to put all of the evidence together. >> sure. >> think about the june 9th meeting at trump tower with -- with donald trump jr. and jared kushner where he receives an e-mail that says the russian government has got dirt and wants to share it with you. he doesn't say what do you mean? why would i be interested in that? i never heard anything like that. he says great. love it. it's because, it seems, they were getting other overtures of the russian government that we're seeing in these e-mails today. it is all part of a continuing relationship between the trump campaign and people affiliated with russia. that's what we are learning today. >> the papadopoulos indictment is specific on this and it keeps saying each time that
papadopoulos has a contact with the russians and including someone who is identified whether accurately or not as a niece of putin, pardon me, each time this happens he reports back to those higher up in the campaign. it's all laid out there and our own reporting from jim sciutto there indicates that among those higher in the campaign who were notified was paul manafort who was the campaign manager. so then that goes to the -- >> chairman. >> that goes to the fact that if that is the case and i'm sure mueller is looking into all of this, who did manafort talk about these overtures, more than overtures, these back and forth communications with the russians? whether or not incidentally, it is illegal to do that with the russians is another threshold question that we don't know the answer to yet unless there is a real intent to collude with a foreign power, but whatever the
case, we are seeing a conspiracy outlined of a prospective conspiracy to collude with this foreign power to undermine our election. >> hold that thought for just a second because i need you all to stand by. welcome to breaking news monday. there's more breaking news here within the whole mueller probe. it is also now apparently impacting a top democratic lobbyist who says he is now stepping down from his lobbying firm. who this is, what his involvement here in this mess has been? stay with me. you do all this research on a perfect car, then smash it into a tree. your insurance company raises your rates. maybe you should've done more research on them. yo switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call
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all right. here is the breaking news. within this whole mueller probe it is now impacting a top democratic lobbyist. cnn's dan merica is joining me with more. we're talking about tony podesta. what have we learned? what's his involvement? >> we are told that tony podesta is stepping down from the powerful lobbying firm he helped
found. tony podesta's brother john podesta was the campaign chairman of hillary clinton's 2016 campaign, obviously, entirely wrapped up in the e-mail investigation and his e-mail was hacked as we well know. we are told tony podesta told his staff that he was stepping down at a meet at an all-staff meeting and he is clients to let them know. podesta had a powerful lobbying group in washington, d.c. and they're trying to salvage their clients and they're trying to change their name and change their leadership in the hopes of staying and it comes on a day when much of the news has been dominated by the mueller probe and tony podesta's work with viktor yanukovych has been at the center of his lobbying work and his probe. i want to read you a statement that we got from the podesta group, they stood by their position that all of their work was in accordance with lobbying
regulations. as the podesta group's work by the european center for a modern ukraine, a non-profit think tank was in support of ukraine's admission for the eu and a position supported by the experts at the time. the cfmnu was not directed by a government or political party. they stand by that statement and that tony podesta is working with and cooperating with the mueller probe, but obviously, all of the news and the fact that mueller is even into looking this work seems too much for the podesta group to maintain their founder tony podesta. brooke? >> dan, thank you. dan merica at the white house for us. >> former contributor of the government ethics. welcome. as a democrat, what's your reaction to that? >> i'm hearing about this at the same time as you are.
recall owe i took a look at doj's regulations for the special prosecutor and it clearly says and it's repeated in his written authorization that mueller received himself that he can investigate any matters that arise in the course of this investigation. it doesn't say matters arising against republicans or democrats. it just says any matters so if he's come across something involving podesta, that's fair game. if it's come up in the course of this investigation. >> walter, let me ask you about today's indictments involving campaign officials and president trump. he's shown he's not afraid of using his pardoning power and so had a lot of journalists asking if he might use it within this mueller investigation. let me play you some sound and this is cnn's senior legal analyst and former u.s. attorney bahara.
>> donald trump will avoid pardoning somebody who was an ally and in this case is joe arpaio and there's been speculation whether donald trump would get out of any allies of his and that's something that i would watch very, very closely here. >> walter, here's my question. if you're the feds and trying to get someone to flip. this case is totally different because it involves the president who has a pardoning power and is it more difficult to get paul manafort to flip because he's thinking maybe a pardon is in his future? >> that was the concern i expressed around the time that our payover received that pardon. >> because i was concerned about it was less about arpaio, stand by me there might be a pardon coming. >> you were not the only one to pontificate precisely that. >> right. >> you also tweeted out that we need to get every member of congress on the robert on bob mueller. do you think, and the white
house has essentially said today that's not the case. i don't want to fire bob mueller, but do you think today's developments make it a greater likelihood that mueller might be fired? >> the white house said today that there's no plan, but it sounded to me like it was carefully worded as there's no plan right now. it is certainly something that concerns me deeply because our entire nation, our republic depends on having an independent judicial system which includes the executive branch's role as prosecutor. if we have the white house interfering with investigations whether by issuing pardons before the work is done or firing the investigator, it is, as far as i'm concerned, the biggest threat to our republic that i can imagine right now. >> what about the fact that when you look at the scope of this mueller investigation and using manafort, for example. this goes way before the
campaign back into, say, '06 territory. what does that tell you about mueller's interests and perhaps pattern of investigation when it comes to the president here because remember, the president has said if you go way back into my finances years and years ago, that's a red line. don't cross it. >> well, it tells you a lot about the nature of a criminal investigation which is slow and methodical and careful and he's going to keep chasing down every thread defying criminal behavior that he can that arises out of this investigation and it's important to remember that the charges that are filed now can be amended or changed or updated. you can file a superseding indictment and so that raises concerns about the president's comment that you better not look into other matters. you better not broaden the investigation beyond the narrow
scope that should be and that is threatening language and the reason i chuckled side it's also kind of a tell, if a prosecutor is knocking on your door and says don't look over there, that's, of course, where they're going to look. it's very concerning and part of the reason why members of congress need to stand up right now from both parties and send a strong message that any interference of this investigation is not going to be tolerated because they're going to have a much harder choice to make if they sit ideally by until something happens and then in this polarized political environment, they have to decide then in the heat of the moment whether to take a stand. they should prevent the situation that would necessitate them taking a stand by speaking out now and every last one of them should do it if they care about our republic. >> we'll see if congress is listening and i have a congresswoman coming on and i'll ask her precisely about that. thank you so much. we'll have much more on the special breaking news coverage.