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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  October 30, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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after story about speculation about indictments. that is the worst kind of stuff that goes on by bureaucrats and out-of-control counsels and that's what's mueller is stuck with. >> i've got to give it to "the lead." we're finished. i'm sorry, we're finished. ed martin, we're finished. brooke baldwin. "the lead" starts now. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we begin with seismic breaking news in our politics lead. it's a landmark day. the united states of america versus three trump campaign associates. a dramatic new phase of special counsel robert mueller's investigation into russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion by members of the trump team. today, two senior members of the trump campaign including former campaign chair paul manafort surrendered themselves to federal authorities while we also learned of a third member of the campaign team who pleaded
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guilty. very legal steps and a grave law enforcement investigation despite cries, including from the president himself, that there is nothing to investigate, that that's a witch hunt, that it's fake news, that we should be paying attention to this or that. a chorus of empty and desperate cries it turns out. in terms of collusion let us look into the case of the united states of america versus george papadopoulos. he is one of five campaign foreign policy advisers that then candidate trump named to "the washington post" in 2016, pictured here with president trump in a photo from the president's twitter feed that money where he's meeting with foreign policy advisers. at that meeting mentioned in the affidavit the defendant said that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then candidate trump and president putin. papadopoulos was additionally told by an unnamed professor with connections to the kremlin that the russians had dirt on hillary clinton. thousands of e-mails, he said. papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about that conversation and other conversations with a female russian national and a connection to the russian ministry of foreign affairs.
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today's other big news, of course, is the case of president trump's former campaign chairman manafort and campaign official rick gates. both surrendered this morning hon charges of conspiracy and money laundering with more than $75 million flowing through hidden offshore account, according to the affidavit, much of which came from the party and government of viktor yanukovych who has been referred to by critics as a ukrainian puppet of vladimir putin. in the last hour, a federal judge ordered house arrest for manafort and gates with bond set at $10 million and $5 million respectively. joining me this hour to discuss this is leon panetta and congressman adam schiff, the top democrat on the house intelligence committee also conducting its own russia investigation and starting right next to me with cnn's pamela brown, one of the team breaking the story of the pending indictment and this story is taking on a whole new focus with george papadopoulos and the guilty plea. >> the white house is trying to distance itself saying look, with rick gate, manafort, these charges have nothing to do with us, but with papadopoulos the
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claims, the allegations from the fbi have to do with the campaign, jake, and in these court documents there are all of these e-mails that show these communications between papadopoulos and russians trying to set up a meeting between the campaign and the russians, and also it is clear that -- that he was acting on the campaign's approval, jake. if you look at some of these e-mails, papadopoulos e-mails a top campaign official who turns out to be manafort, according to a source saying russia wants to immediate with donald trump and that that's been approved. he forwards it on to another campaign official who turns out to be rick gates, according to this source, so while the white house may be trying to say he was a low-level player, clearly at the highest levels of the campaign at the time they were aware of this behavior. what it also shows is a -- is a very clear influence campaign on behalf of the russians are, that they were trying to infiltrate the trump campaign starting at the lower levels and trying to build their way up, and it's clear that they wanted the campaign to know that they believed they had dirt on
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hillary clinton through e-mails, as you know, the don jr. meeting they claimed they had dirt, and i think that's very telling that they believed they could get into the campaign this way. >> now the white house obviously trying to dismiss this as not a big deal, but you can't dismiss the fact that the president's campaign chairman paul manafort, who played a very important role in the trump campaign before he was dismissed, he is accused of having been given $75 million in his offshore accounts, him and davis -- gates, rather that, that they laundered and the russians and russian-allied ukrainians knew of this, and this was his campaign chairman. >> yeah, that's and allegedly, according to the fbi, these activities, this behavior was ongoing while rick gates and paul manafort were part of the campaign, so even though the white house is clearly trying to say the charges have nothing to do with us, they were part of the campaign allegedly during this time, so it's clear here that while the mueller investigation enters this new
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naze, it could be just the beginning with a eblt po of more charges against manafort and gates and a third campaign associate charged with lying to the fbi cooperating about his time with the campaign when he was allegedly in touch with russians. it's the first signs special counsel robert mueller is zeroing in on collusion with russia in the 2016 campaign. george papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the trump campaign, seen here meeting with trump as part of his campaign's national security team last year, pleaded guilty for making false statements to the fbi about his contacts with russia. according to records unsealed today, the fbi alleges papadopoulos falsely described his interactions with a certain northern contact who discussed dirt-related e-mails concerning trump's opponent, hillary clinton. one of the court documents describes an e-mail sent by papadopoulos to a high-ranking campaign official who a source says is former campaign chairman paul manafort. the e-mail had the subject line
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request from russia to meet mr. trump. it went on to allegedly say russia was eager to meet with the candidate and had been reaching out. the documents allege the campaign official forward that had e-mail to another official saying, quote, we need someone to communicate that d.t. is not doing these trips. it should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal. in another e-mail a campaign supervisor allegedly tells papadopoulos, quote, i would encourage you and another policy adviser to the campaign to, quote, make the trip, if it is feasible. that trip to russia, never happened, according to officials. despite the court documents indicating papadopoulos was acting with campaign approval, the white house today attempted to minimize his role in the campaign. >> it was extremely limited. it was a volunteer position, and, again, no activity was ever done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign. >> also today, surrendering at the fbi in washington, former
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campaign manager paul manafort and campaign official rick gates. the two were business associates employer to the work on the trump campaign. the 12-count indictment against the two men focus on their years as political consultants and lobbyists working in ukraine. the counts include conspiracy against the united states, conspiracy to launder money and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. both men have previously denied financial wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty today. at manafort's alexandria, virginia home in july, the fbi executed a so-called no-knock search warrant with guns drawn seedsing financial and tax documents. the indictment alleges manafort and gates received tens of millions of dollars for their ukraine work and to hide that income they laundered that money through scores of united states and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts, and the documents include details about their lavish lifestyle, that they used money from offshore accounts to pay for mortgages, luxury cars and clothing, children's tuition and
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home decorating, activities that federal officials say were ongoing while both manafort and gates were working on behalf of the campaign. president trump briefed on the charges from the white house this morning distanced himself from manafort tweeting. sorry, but this is years ago, before paul manafort was part of the trump campaign. but why aren't crooked hilary and the dems the focus? also, there is no collusion. and today the government asked for bail set at $so million for manafort and $5 million for gates with both men put on house arrest after surrendering their passports. jake? >> all right. pamela brown, let's bring in our legal panel, we have laura coates, justice correspondent evan perez and legal han lift jeffrey toobin. thanks one and all for being here. we've just learned that manafort and gates will remain in house arrest. what's your take on the events? do you think they are in real legal trouble? >> oh, they are in desperate legal trouble. the sentences have gotten much higher in white collar crime in
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recent years, and the real question is whether either of them or both of them will want to plead guilty and cooperate. the other thing that's quite clear from an indictment of this complexity, it's 31 pages, is that it will not go to trial if it goes to trial at all probably for at least six months. that's just how the -- the pace at which the criminal justice system works in federal court, so that means mueller investigation will be going on at least through the middle of 2018 and perhaps much longer since these are just the first -- the first charges that he's brought, so this is not the beginning of the end of the mueller investigation. this may only be the end of the beginning. >> and evan, you were part of the team that broke the story of the indictment on friday. congratulations on that big scoop. you were in the courtroom today. tell us what that scene was like. >> well, you know, there were a couple of strange things that happened. one of them was the fact that rick gates did not have an attorney, his own attorney did not show up today, and he had a public defender who was
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representing him in the court proceedings, so things were delayed a little bit as the judge tried to figure out exactly how he was going to plead, and, you know, that was a little bit strange and we're talking about white collar defendants who usually have the lawyers. everybody knew this day was coming. certainly since friday when we reported this, so it was a very odd thing. both men walked in. they didn't say anything. they were wearing blue suits and, you know, it was a very normal sort of by-the-book type. proceeding. i'll say one last thing with regard to what jeffrey was just talking about. it's trog me that th-- it's into me to me that these 12 counts didn't include any norm of tax charges. the government does not say, and we know the irs is part of this investigation. we know that this has been looked at for years by the fbi and the tax division of the justice department, but they do not allege any specific tax evasion or anything like that, and that's interesting to me
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because we previously report that the the -- that the justice department had locked at this, those same facts and decided there wasn't enough evidence to bring a case, so we'll see whether or not the defense can try to figure out whether to poke some holes in what the government is presenting here. >> very quickly, we don't know why his attorney didn't show up. >> well, we talked to his spokesman. he said that it was a scheduling issue, but, you know, during the hearing. >> scheduling issue. >> the public defender said he's going to hire a private attorney. >> laura, the other big case, of course, has to do with george papadopoulos. here's part of an e-mail that he turned over to the government. quote, we need someone to communicate that donald trump, d.t., is not doing these trips. it should be someone low level so as not to send any signals, about a hypothetical trip to meet with russian officials. a congressional source told cnn's jim sciutto that this exchange was between manafort and rick gates. papadopoulos turned it over but it was between manafort and
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gates. does that seem significant to you? >> absolutely. i mean, you've got the hook being people who are part of the campaign who are engaged in activity knowingly to try to work with a foreign agency of some sort or foreign nation to try to collude. that's the crux what have mueller's investigation is about. it's no longer hypothetical. collusion is not had a nebulous term anylonger. it's pinpointing who the actors are, what was the activity and not only was it co-signed. it was encouraged by these two men who walked into a court today and had the 12 dark count indictment on them and i don't buy for one second about a scheduling issue with the attorney, by the way. what it says to me when you have two co-defendants on the same indictment, that they would like to be thought of as different. they don't have the same different. they both want to argue about different rights and elbow different positions and perhaps one does not want to be the cooperator. one wants to be in a cooperating position so you're going to have jockeying, how about papadopoulos, jockeying between manafort and gates, you can believe it.
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>> go ahead, jeffrey. i just think it's also important in the papadopoulos -- in the charging document, there's a reference to the thousands of e-mails that the russians apparently have. that certainly raises the question of what did the trump campaign know about the hacking that had already been done, and it is also worth remembering that it is a crime to aid an abet the hacking of e-mails. so that reference to thousands of e-mails will certainly want to be teased out. who was on the other end that have e-mail chain. were there other references to e-mails in the chain and what did papadopoulos know at that time and what conversations did he have of any e-mails? very important subject. >> you've been following this story very closely, the white house claiming papadopoulos was low ranking, in a volunteer position. how important is he? >> he's important enough this e-mail when he sends it paul manafort and others take it
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seriously. they do sort of come up a plan saying, look, we'll have to have some low-level people handle this. this is not something for the candidate to do. look, that doesn't tell me that this is -- that there's nothing here, and, you noey, to laura's point, this is collusion. a lot of people wondering what that is. we've been talking about how there's no specific crime of collusion hand what you've seen described in the papadopoulos plea agreement is certainly what collusion would look like. >> laura, lastly, what message do you think the court is trying to send with the $so million bail and $5 million bail for manafort and davis respectively? >> gates respectively? >> taking away their passports. theseman are flight rifnlgts they a -- these men are flight risks. these two men have thought about leaving the country sending a clear message saying i know that's a financial crime, very high amount of money for white collar crime, locking them down on house arrest, not that they
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want to leave their house. it sends the message you won't evade the scrutiny of the american people and the courts and you'll have your funding and any money you gained taken away from you. >> taking away their passports, thinking they might try to flee the country. >> that's shocking. >> congressional investigateses are still going on. what might investigations moan with that? we'll speak with the head of one of the committees. man: proper etiquette is essential for every social occasion. so the the broom said, "sorry i'm late. i over-swept." [ laughter ] yes, even the awkward among us deserve some laughter. and while it's okay to nibble in public, a lady only dines in private. try the name your price tool from progressive. it gives you options based on your budget. uh-oh. discussing finances is a big no-no. what, i'm helping her save money! shh! men are talking. that's it, i'm out.
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with gocentral from godaddy. we're back with our breaking news coverage. three trump campaign officials including the campaign chairman caught up in special counsel robert mueller's investigation, one of them pleading guilty to lying to the fbi about his contacts with russia. joining me now is the top democrat on the house intelligence committee. congressman adam schiff, democrat of california. congressman, thanks so much for joining us. appreciate it. >> you bet. >> so first things first. i want to get your reaction to
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today's news. >> well, i think the manafort and gates indictments are significant. this is not a peripheral player here. we're talking about the campaign manager. it's also significant that at the time of the campaign it's been reported that mr. manafort was reaching out to russia through an oligarch close to putin offering information on the campaign in an effort to collect more of the money that he's been indicted for laundering today or that's present in today's indictment, so he's reaching out to the russians at the same time that the russians are reaching out to him and other campaign people at that trump tower meeting so if he decides to cooperate down the road, we could learn a lot about these interactions. >> then it's the matter of george papadopoulos, the fbi says papadopoulos lied about repeated contacts that he had with people that he believed were associated with the kremlin to russian nationals at the very least, one of whom said -- one of the three people said that the russians had dirt on hillary
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clinton, but the indictment doesn't contain any evidence of actual collusion her say. we have an apparent willingness to get information from the russians perhaps, and then he lies about it, but i don't see any evidence here that papadopoulos actually got the dirt. >> well, you know, we have to put these pieces together and look at the big picture. here we learned that in april of last year the trump campaign becomes aware that the russian government is in possession of thousands of stolen hillary clinton e-mails. they learn this before the american people learn this and maybe before even some of her own intelligence agencies were aware of what the russians were doing. it may explain why these top trump campaign officials, including manafort, the president's son and son-in-law, take a meeting with other russian officials who are also promising derogatory information. it may be why they were disappointed at that meeting not to get these e-mails but also it might explain why the e-mails
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were later distributed through wikileaks and it may have been convoid to kushner and don jr. that the russians could expect an eager receptive audience in the trump campaign to their help, and they decided it was cleaner to do that help through their own cutouts and through willing parties like wikileaks, so we have to view this as part of the bigger picture. >> one message papadopoulos suggest at ming between members of president putin's office and his national chairman. is that a reference, do you believe, to campaign chairman paul manafort? >> we don't know. we also obviously want to find out what took place subsequently. there was an effort to perhaps arrange lower level meetings that wouldn't call so much attention as a presidential candidate meeting with putin, so what was the follow-through and were there additional communications that would make that connection between the offers of help by the russians, the receptivity, don jr. saying
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i would love to get that kind of help on the campaign side. what took place between those interactions, between essentially the russians feeling out the campaign for their willingness to work with them and the ultimate dumping of those documents. so a lot more work that needs to be done, but those e-mails and securing his cooperation, and i hope that was part of the plea agreement, could be very important to answering these questions. >> do you expect more indictments to come? >> i think that's certainly very possible. there have been a lot of public reports in terms of the focus on mike flynn and whether he made truthful statements or not, whether he reported his activities on behalf of foreign governments or not. in essence charges that would look just like the charges against papadopoulos, manafort and gates, and so we ought to let bob mueller do his work. we need to stay out of his way. we ought to let him follow facts, just as we're trying to follow the facts in our congressional investigations.
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>> congressman schiff, thanks so much for your time. >> thanks, jake. >> president trump says there's no collusion. what exactly do we know at this point in the investigation? we'll take a deeper look next. people are fighting type 2 diabetes... with fitness... food... and the pill that starts with f. farxiga, along with diet and exercise, helps lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. lowering a1c by up to 1.2 points. do not take if allergic to farxiga. if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction such as rash, swelling, difficulty breathing or swallowing, stop taking and seek medical help right away. do not take farxiga if you have severe kidney problems, are on dialysis, or have bladder cancer. tell your doctor right away if you have blood or red color in your urine or pain while you urinate.
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s. welcome back. let take a closer look at the guilty plea by this man. his name is george papadopoulos. he was a foreign policy adviser tore candidate trump. you see him sitting there in this picture that mr. trump himself tweeted in march 2016 as one of his foreign policy team. papadopoulos has admitted to lying about contacts he had with russians during the campaign. cnn's manu raju has been diving into this. despite a campaign official saying he was a zero, this is someone that president trump, then candidate trump, mentioned by name as one of his top foreign policy advisers back in 2016. called him an excellent guy and after that march 2016 comment, prosecutors really reveal the extent to which mr. papadopoulos
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went to try to set up meetings between trump campaign officials and officials in the kremlin. even pushing on multiple occasions for meetings with president putin of russia with then candidate trump. now, today, sarah huckabee sanders says he was just a volunteer and there was really nothing to it, but also the question today, jake, is why did papadopoulos lie about this to authorities? soon after joining the trump campaign in march 2016 george papadopoulos had a meeting with the london-based professor. papadopoulos, a trump campaign foreign policy adviser, was promised dirt on hillary clinton in the form of thousands of e-mails obtained by the russians around the time that clinton's campaign chairman john podesta was hacked. according to court documents unsealed today, papadopoulos admitted lying to federal authorities when he said that the contacts occurred before joining the trump campaign. he also falsely told authorities that the professor was, quote, just a guy talking up
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connections or something when in fact papadopoulos knew that the professor had substantial connections to the kremlin and had repeatedly sought to arrange a meeting between the trump campaign and russian government officials. >> papadopoulos is direct evidence that someone with the campaign was being contacted by russians with information that they had lots of so-called dirt that included she mails hon hillary clinton. >> papadopoulos also downplayed contacts he had with a female russian national when in fact she also had ties to the russian government that papadopoulos pitch to the trump campaign is part of an effort to have trump meet with vladimir putin in russia. papadopoulos even described the woman to campaign officials as putin's niece. a campaign supervisor praised papadopoulos for great work. as papadopoulos persisted to set up a meet. the discussion reached the highest levels of the trump campaign with then chairman paul
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manafort and rick gates saying we need someone to communicate that t.d. is not doing these trips. it should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal. but later papadopoulos said a meeting with officials with putin had been approved from our side. papadopoulos was arrested on july 27 and later pled guilty for knowingly and willfully making materially false statements. today, white house officials are downplaying papadopoulos's work with the campaign. >> it was extremely limited. it was a volunteer position. he reached out and nothing happened beyond in a. >> but trump himself told "the washington post" in march 2016, that papadopoulos seen in this photo with trump, was on his northern policy team. >> george papadopoulos, oil and energy consultant, excellent guy. >> reporter: according to his linkedin account he graduated from depaul university before
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receiving a masters degree in a university in london. after graduating he worked as a research associate at the washington think tank the hudson institute n.2016 he worked as an adviser to the campaign of dr. ben carson before switching to the trump team. jake, source,s tell us that i had that the house and senate intelligence committees had tried to set up a meeting with george papadopoulos, but they were unsuccessful and unable to interview them as part of their own russia investigations and other capitol hill news, jake. i talk to the senate judiciary committee chairman chuck grassley saying the president should not interfere with bob mueller's work in any way saying he should let the special counsel do his job. >> thanks very much. he served has chief of staff in a white house that faced its own set of scandals so what advise might he have for president trump and his team? we'll talk to leon panetta next. a medicare supplement insurance plan whenever you want. no enrollment window. no waiting to apply. that means now may be a
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we've said several times before, has everything to do with the clinton campaign, fusion gps and russia. >> that was white house press secretary sarah sanders reacting to the news the two former trump campaign officials, including the campaign chairman who have been charged and a third pleaded guilty in special counsel robert mueller's investigation. joining me now is former cia director and defense secretary leon panetta for president clinton. thanks for joining us. i want to get your reaction to dramatic developments. what do you think? >> i think we've kind of crossed a threshold now that we are dealing with a -- a very serious investigation. bob mueller is a tough and dedicated prosecutor, and he now has delivered the first indictments as a result of that investigation. i just think it goes to show that this is -- this is very
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serious, that it's being handled in a responsible and professional way, and that i think rather than labeling this as false news or as a fraud of some kind, i think both the president and the american people ought to understand that we are now seeing a serious investigation into just exactly what role played in the last election. >> the white house, of course, is trying to downplay the roles of all throw of the campaign officials indicted, including the former campaign chairman. they are also saying the real story is hillary clinton. as a political matter, what do you make of this strategy by them? >> well, you know, i'm not quite sure i understand it because -- and i guess i say this more as a lawyer than as somebody who has been involved in the white house. i think -- i think it's really important when -- when it's clear that the special prosecutor is serious and has
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delivered indictments that the president not get in the middle of it, not make comments about whether it's real or not real or whether other people ought to be investigated. very frankly the president ought to be focusing on the business of the country and his lawyers ought to be dealing with the special prosecutor. that's the what i it should work. i'm not sure that's the what i it's going to work with this administration. >> now, the investigations just really beginning, and it also appears to possibly be affecting some democrats. we just heard this afternoon, powerful democratic lobbyist tony podesta stepped down from his firm which was involved in manafort in working for ukraine. do you expect more indictments to come, and might they affect democrats and republicans alike? >> well, i -- i think one thing is for certain, that we are at the beginning of this investigation, not at the end of it, and as a result of that what
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these indictments may indicate is that as a result of it there will be other trails of evidence that will be followed by bob mueller, and i think there's probably a very good bet that additional indictments will be forthcoming and could involve members of both parties. >> it's being floated by allies of the president that maybe he should use his power of the pardon on manafort and gates. what do you -- what do you think about that as a potential path for the president? >> i think that's -- that's really dangerous speculation and recommendations if that's what people are saying to the president because the reality is that this -- this special prosecutor is a professional. he's handled this investigation in a professional way.
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there really is very little criticism that i think can be made of the way he's handled this, and if the president suddenly injects into that effort either pardons or efforts to go after mueller, then i think it really does raise the issue of whether or not the president is interfering with the process of justice here, so i think the president's got to be very careful. in the past he's made statements with regards to comey and others that i think have just caused additional trouble for him in terms of a possible investigation. i think at this point in time he would be better off not tweeting or not commenting on what the special prosecutor is doing. >> some of the president's supporters in the conservative media have suggested that president trump should fire bob mueller. this includes -- we've read this on the pages of "the wall street journal" editorial page. what do you think might the
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effect of that be were the president to fire bob mueller? >> well, again, you know, we saw what happened when richard nixon engaged in the saturday night massacre in the hope that somehow that might stem the investigation into watergate. that didn't happen. it -- it actually created even greater momentum in that investigation. so i think if the president were to make any effort to go after bob mueller, any effort like that would be viewed as indicating that the president really does have something to hide and probably would result in an even more vigorous investigation of just exactly what was involved here. >> former cia director hand white house chief of staff, leemtia, always a pleasure to have you on the show, sir. thank you. >> good to be with you. how did we get here? we'll connect the dots that led to two huge indictments and a guilty plea in the mueller probe. stay with us. (avo) when you have type 2 diabetes, you manage your a1c,
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welcome back. you know, all this stuff is kind of confusing, so i want to take a minute to briefly review what we have learned about russia, the dnc and clinton e-mails and the trump team. this is with reporting from me, jim sciutto's and others on the -- on the national security team here hat cnn. it comes in four stages. there's the hack, the dangle, the affirmative action and then the release. starting with the hack, july 2015 and march 2016 russian hack hers breached the tnc to steal emiles an hour. march 19, 2016, clinton campaign chairman e-mail is hacked
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through a phishing attempt. here comes the dang. april 2016 trump campaign foreign policy adviser george papadopoulos is told that russia has dirt on hillary clinton, thousands of her e-mails, according to his plea agreement. in may 2016, a request to the campaign from russia to meet with mr. trump is made. that's also in the plea agreement. june 3, 2016, donald trump jr. tells him that the crown prosecutor of russia is going to provide the trump campaign with official documents and information that would incriminate hillary and dealings with russia that would be very useful to your father, unquote and he's receptive to that idea. on june 7 candidate trump says this. >> i am going to give a major speech on probably monday of next week, and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. >> reporter: all the things, he says, including things having to do with russia. okay. that's the dang. here comes the phishing, the
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attempt to get that information. on june 9 donald trump jr., jared kushner, paul manafort actually have that meeting with russians but they later say nothing is presented to them in terms of incriminating information about hillary clinton, and it turns out candidate trump never gives that speech on hillary clinton that he said he would. now, from mid-june through mid-august, according to the plea agreement, papadopoulos is trying to set up a meeting between trump officials and russian officials. july 7th, according to "the washington post," paul manafort offers private briefings in an e-mail to the russian ole gar. july 22nd, wikileaks publishes the first in a series of e-mails hacked from the democratic national committee, but we should note they don't contain anything particularly damaging to hillary clinton. they are damaging to the democratic national committee. july 27th, that's when we have the infamous trump news conference and an apparent reference to the clinton e-mails he says this.
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>> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. i think you had probably be rewarded mightily by our press. >> remember, we're in the affirmative action part of this. around this time, there's a republican operative named peter smith who claims to be in contact with top trump officials, including general michael flynn, and he is out there talking to other operatives trying to get hillary clinton's e-mails through the dark web, trying to recruit help to assist in that endeavor. sometime in the summer we also know that chief executive of cambridge analytica, a data firm that the trump campaign has hired, they contacted wikileaks founder julian assange, and they asked him for access to e-mails from hillary clinton's private server. assange turned them down. august 21st, trump did havetant roger stone tweets, trust me, it will soon, the podesta's time in
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the barrel. hashd crook #crookedhillary and hours after the "access hollywood" tape drops wikileaks releases the e-mails damaging to hillary clinton and up until election day they are cited as evidence of hillary clinton's krumpingts those are t -- clinton's corruption. those are the facts as we know right now. let's start with neera tanden. all the evidence that we just present. what do you make of it? >> i think we have evidence. we know that president trump's campaign was basically trying to work with the russians to hurt his opponent. that's what we know from the evidence today and from prior evidence, and the fact you have had a trump administration that's not saying, hey, we want to get to the bottom of this. instead they are trying to do everything to create a cloud around other attacks on other people or distance themselves from this says to me that real
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el at the end of the day they are part of this. he doesn't -- if you were innocent, donald trump would be acting completely differently because we're talking about a foreign government interfering in the democratic process to help one person and hurt another. >> white house press secretary sarah sanders responded this afternoon to the indictment of trump campaign chairman manafort and deputy campaign chair gates and news that papadopoulos, george papadopoulos had pleaded guilty lying to the fbi, he said -- she said the actions, quote, had nothing to do with the president, nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity. scott, your response? >> yeah. well, i think she's right about manafort and gates. what we see in that indictment really doesn't have anything to do with trump or the campaign. it has to do with things that pre-dated what manafort and trump's interception, so if there's a silver lining to that, that's it. on the other hand, the papadopoulos matter is serious and whether you believe this is a big deal with papadopoulos hinges on whether you think he was actually an important person in the campaign. we've heard sarah sanders and
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others today with the campaign say he was a low-level player, he was unpaid. he was kind of a third-tier hanger on and maybe, you know, didn't have the authority to be having some of these conversations, and so i think there's more to learn about papadopoulos' role, but i don't think we should mistake him for someone who was in a high-level position in this campaign. >> we don't know if he was in a high-level position or not but as someone who worked on several campaigns, he sent e-mails to manafort and manafort would respond and sen them around. that's not necessarily someone that's low level han not to be taken seriously. >> i was always particularly sympathetic to the idea there are low-level campaign volunteers who do try to pump themselves up, but i think now what we have is a bit of a direct correlation between him and senior folks inside the campaign. by the way, this is not just an indictment. this is a guilty please, so i think that helps it to carry even more weight. the white house moresponse is borne of two things, first this is an audience of one that the
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white house press secretary is speaking to, the line of response that the president himself wants, and the i think the second is they don't have much of a better story, and i think that's one of the problems that they are going to continue -- a challenge that they will continue to have is that the gates/manafort indictment may not be the last word on this, and so in an increasing my today call approach by the -- by the special counsel, constantly being met with just the refrain that there was no connection, i think that's going to get potentially more and more difficult. >> i mean, he's in pictures with the president. he's in pictures with then candidate trump. candidate trump talks about him as an adviser of him and e-mails folks. those nokes didn't say who are you? why are you talking to us? they talked to him like he's a colleague. if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a duck. he was a campaign staffer, and just a lot of people are not paid on campaigns, but most people don't have their e-mails returned by the campaign manager and possibly other people in the campaign. >> scott, we know this for a fact. we know that a foreign policy
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adviser to president trump, george papadopoulos, was approached by somebody, a professor with ties to the kremlin saying the russians have dirt on hillary clinton. they have e-mails, and it doesn't look like he went to the fbi to report it, and we know that donald trump jr. was e-mailed by somebody that said that the russians have win krim nating information. can we meet with you, and he basically said that would be great. let's do it, and they met and they didn't get information so at the very least it does seem we have hat least a willingness to get help from the russians just as a factual matter. >> yeah. look, some horrific judgment was digs played by these people here. i do think that's interesting that papadopoulos wasn't charged with any crime other than lying to the fbi and identify been wondering whether what he's said to have done in the guilty plea today was -- was actually criminal or was it just the lying? they let him off the hook on the other stuff, on the conversations he wag having. i mean, one message out of all of this today is if you get called by the fbi, don't lie,
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and i've been worried and i know we've talked about this a lot. you know, a lot of people think they can outsmart this process. you cannot. all you can do is tell the truth and the truth in most cases in these investigations will set you free, so i'm sorry for mr. papadopoulos that he did not get that advice early on, but i hope everybody else in in orbit is not lying here, that they are telling the truth because honestly, that is going to be the right answer every single case when you're interacting with the fbi. >> the plea agreement, the papadopoulos plea agreement, doesn't have any evidence that they met with the russians and got e-mails, so it is possible that that was the only crime, the lying to the fbi, or it's possible that there's more there, and he was a cooperating witness. >> that's exactly -- you just said it, that there's very much -- there's been a lot of speculation on whether or not this is the end or a comprehensive end to the investigation, but this is very much -- could very well be the beginning, and that we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg on some of the information that's
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about to come out. >> nobody knew about this at all. none of of this leaked, the papadopoulos information, so the question is how much more is there? you know, there could be a lot more. at the end of the day we don't know what mueller has. >> right. >> and it seems like this is very much the beginning of the investigation, not the end. >> we should point out that tony podesta, who worked with paul manafort, and he's a big-time democratic labbist in to democratic lobbyist in town, apparently in response to his lobbying group not being named, but it was an unnamed organization in the manafort indictment, and it looks as though, if this is the beginning, it might snare some democrats as well. >> it might -- the investigation should go where the investigation load. if it snares democrats or republicans at the end. day, what happened here an affront to our democracy, and what i'm saddened by is that people who, you know, are elected to protect our country are not -- are dividing this on
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partisan lines hand instead of republicans coming and saying that what happened here was outrageous and it shouldn't have happened. we know at the very least the trump cape was trying to get help from the russians. that should be a red line for patriots of this country. >> do you agree with that, scott, the fact that the russians were dangling this information in various ways? should the trump team, don jr., george papadopoulos, anyone else who knew, have gone to the fbi immediately? >> well, i mean, yes, in hindsight i think they should is there immediately gone to the fbi. i'm not sure any of them have the experience or judgment to know at the moment what was actually happening. in retrospect that's clearly what was happening. i thought from the beginning that the russians were clearly trying to meddle in the election, but they were doing it in a way that may have been obscuring, you know, what one person was talking to some person in trump world and the other person was doing something else so i'm not sure they had enough experience to put it all together at the time. one thing i think the president should do, frankly, is set up a presidential task force, a commission, whatever you want to call it, to prevent russian meddling in the future. i think it would show that he
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understands how serious it is, that a foreign power was trying to interfere in the election, and it would also show that he takes very seriously the concept that it could happen in the future. i mean, we're investigating what happened in the past, but the russians are clearly not going to stop. they do this all over the world, so i think as a country we do need to use this opportunity to focus on how to stop it from happening in the future. >> one of the things that people seem to be saying also is that the manafort charges are unrelated to the other stuff, but congressman schiff, the top democrat on intel, he said in that -- in that e-mail when he offered to give that russian oligarch a private briefing, that was an attempt by manafort to get some more of these millions of dollars that he was paid that he didn't declare in the offshore so there might have been a connection when this comes to all this money and this relationship. >> and that's the mueller approach which is to be very methodical while connecting the dots. connecting the dots with the past situation with the information that he has now.
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>> appreciate it, everyone. be sure to join me tonight for had a cnn special report the russia investigation starting at 11:00 p.m. eastern only on cnn. that's it for "the lead." turning it now over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." see you later. happening now. a trump national security adviser pleading guilty. are other trump associates now at risk? inner circle indicted. the guilty plea bombshell follows the indictments of two top trump campaign figures including former chairman paul manafort. they pleaded not guilty in federal court to a dozen charges, including conspiracy against