tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN October 30, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
>> 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 the united states. are more indictments now in the
works? dinner date. on the same day that former foreign policy adviser george papadopoulos was interviewed by the fbi, president trump called then fbi director james comey and invited him to dinner where he demanded a loyalty pledge. how far along was comey's investigation? and putin's puppet. paul manafort who became trump campaign chairman allegedly took millions of dollars from the former ukrainian president who was a puppet of russia's vladimir putin. why did donald trump pick a campaign boss with russia connections? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." break news. a day of stunning development in the special counsel's investigation into russia's election meddling and possible collusion by trump associates. we over seen the first indictments as two former top
trump campaign officials appeared in court today facing multiple criminal charges, and there's been a bombshell guilty plea from a third person in fbi records inunsold today. that under-the-raid hear plea from a trump campaign for policy adviser has the potential to rock the white house. george papadopoulos admits lying to the fbi about his dealings with foreign nationals tied to the russian government and outlines communications aimed at feeding dirt on hillary clinton and arranging meetings between the trump campaign and russian leadership. perhaps most worrisome to the trump administration right now papadopoulos is cooperating with the fbi, and that could be much more damaging than today's indictments of former trump campaign chairman paul manafort and his deputy business associate rick gates. there are a dozen separate charges, including conspiracy against the united states and money laundering, focussing in on their years as political consultants and lobbyists working with ukraine.
both pleaded not guilty and are now under house arrest. the white house is trying to distance itself from the indictments and guilty pleas saying they have nothing to do with the president or the campaign. i'll speak with a key member of the house intelligence committee, democratic congressman jim heinz, and our correspondents, specialists and guests, they are standing by with full coverage. the special counsel's russia investigation produces its first charges with a pair of indictments and a guilty plea. let's begin with our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. jim, a stunning series of developments today. take us through it all. >> reporter: wolf, from the very beginning and until as recently as this morning president trump and the white house have dismissed both allegations of coordination with russia and any meaningful contacts with russian officials as false, as a hoax. in george papadopoulos' case we learned of more e-mails and communications that belie that claim, and in a court opinion just unsealed there is this
language. this is a matter of national importance. the u.s. is investigating northern interference in the 2016 presidential election, and these key words, and potential collusion in those efforts by american citizens. today we saw progress in that case. it is a clearest evidence of yet with russian efforts to connect with campaign and campaign officials interested in responding. former trump campaign foreign policy adviser george papadopoulos pled guilty on october 5th to lying to the fbi about his contacts with russians tied to the kremlin, including one claiming to have, quote, dirt on hillary clinton. the special counsel's office said that its january 2017 interview of papadopoulos was part of a then still open investigation into, quote, whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts to interfere in the election. papadopoulos works joined the trump campaign in march 2016, was in repeated e-mail contact
with russians to set up a meeting first between russian president vladimir putin and trump and later between trump campaign officials and other russians. according to court documents, one foreign contact told papadopoulos in april 2016 that he, quote, learned that the russians had obtained dirt on then candidate clinton. in may, papadopoulos e-mailed a high-ranking terrorism campaign official who cnn has learned is former trump campaign chairman paul manafort that, quote, russia has been eager to meet mr. trump for quite some time and had been reaching out to me to discuss. manafort then forward that had e-mail to another campaign official who cnn has learned is rick gates stating, 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. today the white house said that pantlous never acted in an official capacity. >> he reached out and nothing happened beyond that which i think shows, one, his level of importance in the campaign and,
two, shows what little role he had in coordinating anything officially for the campaign. >> reporter: e-mails included in the court filing indicated at times he did have campaign back, including one in which a campaign supervisor told papadopoulos, quote, i would encourage you to make the trip if it is feasible. the white house is also seeking to distance itself from the indictment of paul manafort and his longtime associate and campaign deputy rick gates who were charged in relation to their business dealings as lobbyists for the ukraine government. the indictment alleges that they she had tens of millions of dollars for their work and to hide that income laundered the money through, quote, scores of united states and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts. manafort's lawyer addressed the charges outside the federal courthouse. >> there is no evidence that mr. manafort or the trump campaign colluded with the russian government. >> the charges cover activities prior to trump's presidential campaign, a point the president
made on twit they are morning saying, quote, sorry, but this is years ago before paul manafort was part of the trump campaign, but why aren't crooked hillary and the dems the focus? that argument then echoed from the white house podium. >> today's announcement has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity. >> reporter: however, manafort and gates are accused of lobbying u.s. lawmakers on behalf of a ukrainian political party opposed to nato and in support of the jailing of a political opponent of a russian-backed ukrainian politician, both contrary to u.s. northern policy interests. now beyond the many communications between the trump campaign and russians, the time line of those communications is telling. let's look at it. in april papadopoulos is told that russia has thousands of clinton e-mails. the very next month, papadopoulos e-mails paul manafort, then the chairman of the trump campaign about, quote, a request from russia to meet with trump. you may remember then that it's the following month in june 9th
when we have the meeting in trump pour between don jr., russian lawyers who we know from another e-mail were offering damaging dirt, damaging information on hillary clinton. look to the next month in july, on the 14th of july, papadopoulos proposes another meeting in august or september between trump campaign members and members of putin's office, the office of the russian president adding it has been approved from our side saying that he had approval from higherups in the campaign. the very next month, campaign supervisory communicates that papadopoulos encourages him, in fact, to go ahead with a promosed meeting. as you look at these and put them in order you're seeing repeated communications here and repeated interests from both sides about communicating about dirt, damaging information on hillary clinton. >> that explains why the special counsel was so interested in all of this. all right, jim sciutto, thanks very much. the white house was seemingly caught off guard by today's developments. let's go to our senior white
house correspondent jim acosta. what's the reaction there? >> the white house was back on its heels today after the indictments came down naming paul manafort and rick gates. the president appeared to be blind-sided by perhaps the biggest bombshell of the day, the plea deal with former campaign adviser george papadopoulos, a story the president has called fake news got very real for the white house today. with the russia investigation heading to courts, the white house trotted out a stack of misleading talking points to downplay the first big moves from special counsel robert mueller. >> he responded the same way the rest us in the white house have, and that's without a lot of reaction. we're not worried about it distracting because it doesn't have anything to do with us. this is something that is an action that took place outside of the campaign or campaign activity. >> reporter: that certainly echoes what the president tweeted about the indictments of former campaign chairman paul manafort and his deputy rick gates. sorry, but this is year ago before paul manafort was part of the trump campaign and why
aren't crooked hillary and the dems the focus? also, no collusion. the white house spin doesn't work for george papadopoulos, the former trump foreign policy adviser seen in this march 2016 campaign photos who pleaded guilty to making false statements to the fbi about his efforts to funnel dirt from russian sources to top trump campaign officials. white house press secretary sarah sanders portrayed papadopoulos as having a limited role with the campaign, but then candidate trump described 357dlous as one of his foreign policy advisers in an interview with "the washington post" in march last year. >> george papadopoulos, he's an oil and energy consultant, excellent guy. a group of some of the people that we're dealing with. we have many other people in different aspects what have we do, but that's a pretty representative group. >> reporter: how can you describe mr. papadopoulos as having a limited role when there's a photograph of mr. papadopoulos signature at a
table with then candidate trump. >> the president take thousand of photographs with millions of people. >> reporter: how is it not conclusion who george papadopoulos is in contact with various people who are promising dirt on hillary clinton, a series of events that closely mirrors what occurred with the president's own son? how is all of that not collusion? >> look, this individual was the member of a volunteer advisory counsel that met one time over the course of a year, and he was part of a list that was read out in the "the washington post." i would hardly call that some sort of regular adviser or us a want to, you know, say that he's like a senior member of the staff. he was not paid by the campaign. >> reporter: sanders also mischaracterized the extent of papadopoulos's actions nailing to mention that federal investigators said he made repeated attempts to make russians from the russians and his efforts were discussed by campaign officials.
>> nothing happened from him reaching how the. >> paul manafort was brought in to lead delegate process and was dismissed not too long after that. >> reporter: manafort served as campaign chairman for three months denying contacts with russia. >> are there any ties between mr. trump, you and the campaign and putin and his repeople. >> >> there are not. it's absurd. >> the white house is making the case that it's the clinton campaign guilty of collusion. >> the big difference is you have a meeting that took place versus millions of dollars being sent to create fake information to actually influence the election. you compare those two, those will apples and orange. what the clinton campaign did, what the dnc did, was actually exchange money. >> reporter: now the white house was also asked whether the president is considering the possibility of issuing pardons in the russia investigation. press secretary sarah sanders said it's too early to consider that, but as to the prospect of firing special counsel robert mueller sanders wasn't offering any iron-clad commitments saying
the president, quote, has no intention or plan to make any changes. wolf, that does not sound like a guarantee. >> jim acosta at the white house, thanks very much. let bring in our chief legal analyst jeffrey toobin. jeff, we've seen two major moves today, a pair of indictments and a guilty plea. which is the most damning? >> the papadopoulos case, because for one thing it's a guilty plea. the case is over, but if you look halt what he admitted to and the e-mails described, there are explicit references to thousands of e-mails, hillary clinton e-mails, that will apparently in the possession of the russians. this is the first time that we know that there is any direct or indirect connection between the trump campaign and the eat mails which turned out to be so important in this case that. alone is extremely provocative information that -- that certainly investigators are following up on. >> yes, they, and what else stands out to you in those court
documents? we've all read them thoroughly relating to this former national security advisers george papadopoulos? >> you know, there was something that our legal eagles on our team discovered late in the afternoon. not in the original document but in the -- in the document that explained why the mueller team wanted the documents sealed. they said that the timing here is very important. the alleged false statement was in january, before mueller was even appointed. he was arrested, papadopoulos was, in july, but he didn't plead guilty until october, so what was going on between july and october, well, there's a very tantalizing hint in these court papers. the court papers suggest that, and i think we can put it up on the air, defendant has indicated he's willing to cooperate and then on the next page, public disclosure of the defendant's initial appearance, however, would significantly undermine his ability to serve as a
proactive cooperator. what this says to me is that papadopoulos between july and october was wearing a wire. he was recording conversations secretly with people who are subjects and targets of this investigation. that's the only reasonable explanation of what's in those court papers. if he was wearing a wire, this summer and fall, think about that, just weeks ago, that is a whole new chapter of possibilities in this investigation and potentially a very, very big deal. >> yeah. the wonder who he was talking to if in fact he was wearing a wire. stand birks jeff. we'll get back to you the shortly. joining us is democratic congressman jim himes, a member of the democratic intelligence committee. thanks for joining us. >> good evening, sglofl is this evidence of collusion? >> it depends a lot on how you or i or the public defines
collusion. what we do know wolf, this is the second, with all due respect to to be a too, this is the second example of somebody involved in the campaign aggressively seeking out contact with russia while the -- while the campaign was under way, the other, of course, don jr. and celebrating in getting an ata boy for trying to get dirt on the hillary clinton campaign, so as investigators, and this will be at the fbi and it will be at the congressional level, we have a responsibility to find out what chapter two there is. in other words, was incriminating information passed back to either don jr. or george papadopoulos? but, you know, this idea that there was no contact, that there was no cooperation, that we had nothing to do with russia is long gone despite the fact that the president continues to tweet it. despite the fact that sarah sanders continues to be paid by the american people to lie to them. we now have clear evidence in the form of this guilty plea that people inside the campaign
were seeking russian assistance, and that is a big deal. >> papadopoulos was told that the russians had what they called dirt on hillary clinton in the form of thousand of e-mails, and this was back in april 2016, long before the american american public learned of the hacked e-mails so what does that suggest to you? >> well, again, sometimes we get so caught up in the -- in the details here, but also in the chaff that sanders and the white house is trying to throw out thereto about uranium one and hillary clinton, let's step back here and realize that this member of the trump campaign, while communicating with other members of the trump campaign, thought it was a good idea to go to an antagonistic adversarial foreign power and get their help in a presidential election. that's the bottom line here. now, whether laws were broken, that remains to be seen, and based on what i saw today, boy, is bob mueller going to work hard to determine that, but
people inside this campaign sought the help of the russians. they then lied about it, and we have the guilty plea today, you know. don jr. didn't come clean. michael flynn lost his job because he lied about it. the attorney general jeff sessions on his forms, whether he lied about it or simply wasn't thinking straight when he filled out the forms, that's a pattern here, and then, of course, part three of the pattern is please don't look over here. look at hillary clinton. look at uranium one where anybody who looks at five facts related to any of those things will see that's nothing other than a distraction away from some very serious developments here. >> these are clearly dramatic developments indeed. after papadopoulos sent an e-mail entitled request from russia to meet mr. trump, paul manafort, the campaign chairman, forwarded that e-mail to rick gates, his deputy and he wrote this, and i'll put it up on the screen. let's discuss. we need someone to communicate that d.t., donald trump, is not doing these trips. it should be someone low level
in the campaign so as not to send any signal. so congressman, how do you read that comment from manafort? >> well, more importantly will be than how i read that comment and that comment does suggest at least to me that they are carefully stewarding the signals this they send to russia, hard to read that any other way, but far more important than what i think about that is the fact that paul manafort, as we learned this morning, is now charged with some very serious crimes, and he will have every innocent tho incentive to explain that to bob mueller and the fbi. that's one of the things that the fbi will ask him just as they are asking george papadopoulos about some of the -- some of the people that he might have been communicating with within the campaign. >> as you know, back in june of 2016 right during the middle of the campaign russians actually reached tout donald trump jr. to set that up meeting offer damaging information on hillary clinton as, quote, part of
russia and its government support for mr. trump, and in july of 2016 then candidate trump encouraged russia to find hillary clinton's deleted e-mails. how do those incidents fit into what we now know about papadopoulos' russia links? >> well, i think the key there is that -- the question is how are people from donald trump and to his son, to george papadopoulos, how are they thinking about whatever those contacts with the russians were? now, again, there's still a story to be told there, but we now know, again, from the president's son and from the guilty plea, the add mission of george papadopoulos, that those conversations were going on. so what do we know about them? did the campaign say, my god, we are dealing with an adversarial foreign power. we're dealing with an enemy around our presidential election. therefore, we immediate to shut this down immediately? on the contrary, if i remember, the don jr. e-mails, he said
something like along the lines i love it, and especially if the timing is such that it would affect the election. we know from -- from the papers unsealed today that george papadopoulos not only pursued this aggressively but did it in consultation with other people in the campaign and then, of course, as you point out, wolf, the president publicly urged russia to hack or to release whatever they had from hacking hillary's owe mails so the question is this something that was, you know, as any prudent person would do rejected by donald trump on down? no, it was celebrated. it was as donald trump jr. said i love it. that's the attitude they took to the efforts of the russians to dult rate is them. >> the white house argues that the charges against paul manafort and rick gates have nothing to do with the 2016 presidential campaign. it's true that the charges relate to their business activities over many years, but that work did also involve some pro-putin lobbying and involved their activities during the 2016
campaign as well. does that white house defense to you, congressman, make sense? >> well, it sort of feels like grass pitching at straws. it may prove to be technically true. what paul manafort and his partner have been charged with don't obviously point back to collusion with the campaign, but despite sarah sanders' best effort of painting paul manafort as sort of an extraneous an tangential person this guy was the campaign person. we know he has long-established links with pro-russia people and you can imagine that he now has a real incentive to be very honest for the first time, to be very, very honest about what those links, communications, efforts to reach out might have been. technically speaking the white house is right. these crimes that manafort is charged with don't point to collusion, but they point to
this individual, his caliber and ethics, and this individual at the end of the day was chairman for the donald trump campaign. >> gates and manafort remain under house arrest, manafort $10 million bail and gates $5 million bail. we've got much more to work on. congressman, i want you to stand birks and we'll resume all of our breaking news coverage right after this. we are the tv doctors of america, and we may not know much about medicine, but we know a lot about drama. from scandalous romance, to ridiculous plot twists. (gasping) son? dad! we also know you can avoid drama by getting an annual check-up. so we're partnering with cigna to remind you to go see a real doctor. go, know, and take control of your health. it could save your life. doctor poses! dad! cigna. together, all the way.
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on charges which include conspiracy against the united states. we're talking with congressman jim himes of the house intelligence committee. stand bit. i want to bring in cnn's senior washington correspondent brianna keilar. tell us about the guilty plea. >> reporter: this is very significant because george papadopoulos struck this plea deal in contact with a russian source and even though the white house is trying to say that these indictments have nothing to do with campaign activities this plea deal most certainly does. tonight a member of president trump's campaign foreign policy team has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the fbi during its investigation into russian meddling in the 2016 election. according to court documents unsealed today george papadopoulos pleaded guilty on october 5th to lying and omitting material facts after he was interviewed by the fbi starting in january about his contacts and connections with foreign sources, including russian nationals.
those documents stayed papadopoulos falsely described his interactions with a certain foreign contact who discussed dirt related to e-mails concerning then presidential candidate hillary clinton when in truth hand in fact papadopoulos had repeated communications with that foreign contact while papadopoulos was serving as a foreign policy adviser to the campaign. papadopoulos e-mailed a high-ranking campaign official who cnn has learned as paul manafort and later a campaign superstridesor indicating that the russians wanted to meet trumpet one of those officials then forwarded the papadopoulos e-mail to a separate campaign official who cnn has learned is rick gates, writing 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. then in july 2016 papadopoulos said that a meeting between senior campaign officials with putin aides, quote, has been pay proved from our side. during the campaign,
papadopoulos exchanged numerous messages on facebook with foreign contacts, one of whom he believed to be a russian national with connections to the russian ministry of foreign affairs. in february papadopoulos shut down his facebook account a day after speaking with fbi agents in a follow-up interview, an action the fbi believe demonstrated intent to obstruct and impede the fbi's ongoing investigation. papadopoulos' attorney declined to officially decline stating we will have the opportunity to comment on george's involvement when called upon by the court at a later date. we look forward to presenting all the facts that led to the events that resulted in this charge. papadopoulos joined the trump campaign in march of 2016 after briefly serving as an adviser on ben carson's campaign. according to his linkedin page papadopoulos graduated from depaul university in 2009 before earning his masters in securities studies in london. a former trump campaign official described papadopoulos as having
a significant amount of interactions with the trump campaign while he was part of it, and papadopoulos was touted by then candidate trump as an excellent guy in a meeting with "the washington post" editorial board. >> we heard you might be announcing your foreign policy advisory team soon. >> george papadopoulos, an energy and oil consultant, and excellent guy. >> reporter: today the white house tried to characterize the relationship with papadopoulos much differently. >> this individual was a member of a volunteer advisory council that met one time over the course of a year and part of a list that was read out in "the washington post." i would hardly call that some sort of regular adviser. >> reporter: except what is clear is that george papadopoulos did have contacts with high level officials, golf, including the campaign chairman pal manafort, and what's so interesting about what we've learned is the timing of what he was saying. when he was initially
interviewed in january by the feds, he tried to say that the foreign source, the russian source that he had been speaking to, he reached out to before he was a part of the campaign, but it game clear that it was only after he was associated with the campaign that that foreign source was interested, have very interested. >> why he's now deciding to plead guilty to all of this. he's got some issues. thanks very much for that. we're back with the democratic congressman jim himes of the intelligence committee. congressman, papadopoulos was interviewed by the fbi actually on the same day that the president invited fbi director then at the time james comey to dinner in an attempt to get a loyalty pledge from comey. this is back in january. what do you make of that? >> well, obviously, he can't say for sure, but that's a coincidence. the if papadopoulos had indicated that he had been interviewed by the fbi, maybe that catalyzed the president wanting to see if he couldn't twist jim comey's arm to make
this thing go away, but, you know, obviously that is something that probably nobody but bob mueller knows right now. the other interesting issue, i can't help but notice in the last week or so we've seen all of the usual crazy conspiracy theories, many of which we thought we disposed of long ago, chief amongst them uranium one and did hillary clinton single-handedly approve a deal to sell u.s. uranium, just the nonsense that we hear, not only be now subject to a congressional investigation but actually used in the media by everyone from "the wall street journal" to the usual right rink pundits and something of a coincidence to me that we're seeing a particularly dense cloud of mud thrown into the water just now right before these indictments came down and the george papadopoulos case was unsealed. >> the guilty plea. does your committee, the house intelligence committee, congressman, want to interview
papadopoulos? >> well, you know, it's an interesting question, wolf. the answer to that is yes, and while i would suspect that paul manafort and his partner who are, you know, under indictment would not come before us, obviously no defense attorney on the planet would want them to do that, because george papadopoulos has already pled guilty and clearly has been cooperating, i would think that with some assurances that he weren't in further legal jeopardy he might consider testifying before congress, particularly if congress and the doj agreed that that would be a constructive help and are putting together our investigation and our study of what actually happened. >> congressman, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> jim himes of connecticut. coming up, the political impact of today's revelation that a trump campaign adviser has pleaded guilty to special
robert mueller's russia probe and is now providing information about his contacts with senior trump campaign officials and russians offering dirt, dirt on hillary clinton. let's bring in our political specialist and david chelian. we now know the first effort to get russian dirt on hillary clinton was made available back in april of 2016. the trump campaign chairman paul manafort was aware of papadopoulos' russian connection, efforts to set up an in-person meeting between trump and kremlin officials. how significant is this? >> right. it's hugely significant, and here's why. because what sarah sanders is saying from the white house podium doesn't hold water. that's why this is significant because here in black and white, while the white house press secretary says this has nothing to do with the campaign, absolutely nothing to do with it, here it is. this person was working for the campaign and is setting up meetings for the campaign to interact with people who have relations with russian officials or people that are connected to
the russian government in order to have a relationship to get russia's depier to get some hillary clinton dirt. they had thousands of e-mails, they say, into the political bloodstream to hem donald trump, so what we've learned from months ago and all my colleagues have report, that this is an effort to help hillary clinton and harm donald trump, this is that effort that we're seeing in black an white. for sarah sanders to say this is nothing to do with the campaign, nothing to do with the facts. >> your a national security attorney general, how do these papadopoulos communications line up with the public's understanding of russian hacks and their influence and their efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election? >> this is all occurring in the spring of 2016, a period in time in which we know that the dnc e-mails and john podesta's e-mails had been hacked, but that wasn't yet publicly known at this point. there is nom ambiguity about sort of what e-mails are they that you canning about. talking about podesta or dnc, are they talking about the 33,000 e-mails that hillary
clinton -- related to hillary clinton's time at the state department that had been well known at this point, but it's clear, especially from the papadopoulos plea agreement that this -- these -- sort of the trend of communications continues well into june. june is one of the infamous trump tower meeting occurs and at that point it was publicly reported and well-known there were russian attempts to interfere in the election and potential russian hacking attempts. >> after papadopoulos sent an e-mail entitled request for putin to meet trump, we need someone to communicate d.t. is not doing these trips. it should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal. how do you read that comment, that e-mail from manafort? >> well, one thing that comes to mind is the concept of plausible deniability. remember, donald trump at this time was already the front-runner to clinch the
nomination. there had already been eyebrows raised by republicans and democrats as toss why he was only leaping praise towards vladimir putin. he hadn't said anything negative about him. a few months prior to that, he even said what asked by bill o'reilly. he's a killer, he kills journalists, what, we're see innocent and the concept of the president, donald trump, the nominee at the time, candidate trump, for him to have met with vladimir putin which i think raised too many eyebrows. thus, you could see the concept of some low level person who works on the campaign, that the president can even say i don't know who he was setting up a meeting and passing along information to where both vladimir putin and donald trump could say i had no idea this was taking place. hi no idea what was going on because a meeting between the two of them would have been too suspicious. >> pamela brown, the white house argues, and you heard it today, that the charges against paul manafort and rick gates have absolutely nothing to do with
president trump or the 2016 presidential campaign. you' your reporting suggests otherwise. >> it is true that the charges don't relate to the campaign but according to the court documents time frame in which the crimes are being committed, where both were alledgedly taking millions of dollars from ukraine and putting the money into offshore accounts, wiring the money and not reporting it and giving false and misleading statements, that ran all the way up through 2017, so during the time that paul manafort was the campaign chairman, during the time rick gates was his deputy on the campaign, they were allegedly engaging in this type of behavior which is notable because then candidate trump sort of ran on this idea that he surrounds himself with the best people and now we have an example of two of the people on his campaign, while it may not have been the whole time, now being indicted, wolf. >> yeah, very serious indeed. what do we know, everyone, about the so-called professor with good ties, good connections with russians and this other russian
woman, supposedly a niece of putin, that -- that papadopoulos had communications with? >> right. >> and described at length in these -- >> apparently he thinks it's the niece of putin, but it turns out that he learns later that she is not. look, i think what's important about those-those contacts that it really goes to what we've been talking certainly here for the last few months which is the russian playbook. it really highlights exactly what the russians have been up, to and one of the things that we know is that they reach out to papadopoulos just right after president trump names him as up of his -- his national security advisers in a meeting with "the washington post." the they were targeting him. they were using him. they thought they had somebody that they could use to try to get in and access to the campaign. that was what this was, and if you look at what -- what these documents describe, i mean, it's sort of -- you know, a lot of us have been talking about collusion and whether it's a crime and whether or not we'd
find proof of it. if you look at these pages, this is what collusion looks like. >> that russian effort succeeded, right? >> exactly. it succeed and insinuated itself into the campaign through papadopoulos and perhaps other people. look, the meeting didn't happen, but it does tell you exactly what they were trying to do. >> and we've been reporting that they tried to do it allegedly with carter page and other low-level policy advisers, and you can understand in retrospect why intelligence officials were sounding the alarm, seeing the curious contacts between the lower level, and we don't know how high up it goes, people in the campaign and the russians because they saw, at least on the russian side the very least, an effort to infiltrate the campaign. >> it goes high enough to donald trump jr. because the infamous about the trump tower they saw trump jr. as a contact. >> now it comes at at time when russia had access to hillary clinton's e-mails, not necessarily to do with t.music to the ears, the front-runner
lauding praise talking about bettering the relations between the two countries and then you can see, huh, maybe the russians are saying this is the person we should be dealing with to get something in exchange. >> everybody stand by. the there's a lot more coming into "the situation room." let's take a quick break. we'll be right back. 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. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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chairman pleading not guilty, and one of his associates was also dieted pleading not guilty. what are you finding? >> we're getting more information about how manafort repeatedly allegedly worked against america's interest and worked for an interest in ukraine. this indictment alleges that manafort even went so far as to support the imprisonment of a rival of the ukrainian president. a politician who wanted ukraine to join nato. while the indictment revealed today against the president's former campaign manager may not point to a direct relationship with russia, it reveals a relationship between paul manafort and some of putin's most valuable al lies. including the former ukrainian president, who was viewed by many as putin's puppet. and for years manafort was paid
millions to sell his interests on the world stage. >> he was working for a government that was trying to keep ukraine out of nato, moving against u.s. interest within ukraine and more broadly on international issues. so to the extent we were at odds with russia and europe, he was on the other sides. >> the president of ukraine was accused of corruption and was pushed out. for years he pushed a pro-putin agenda in his country and worked to keep the country from joining nato or becoming more democratic. tonight it suggests that paul manafort and his partner rick gates were part of that effort, acting, quote, as unregistered governments of the government of ukraine and the party of regions
which was a group favored by the kremlin korgd to a previous ambassador. >> when there were exercises in crimea they were organizing demonstrations against them. so from the standpoint of american interest this was questionable you mieg say. >> one example in the indictment, firms lobbied multiple members of congress and their staff about the impropriety of him imprisoning his political rival. >> clearly if this was a manafort initiative, then what he was doing seems to be something very nasty. she was the principal rival to yan koe vich and probably in a free and fair election she would have won, so she was seen as a great danger so he put her in
jail. and that was political repression pure and simple. >> one of the reasons he would want to high his dealings. >> the white house says the indictment of paul manafort and rick gates has nothing to do with the president and his campaign. they've pleaded not guilty to all the charges in the indictment, including money laund laundering. he also denies having communicating with russian intelligence officers in the election. wolf. >> brian, thanks very much. coming up more breaking news, the white house knocked on its heels by a guilty plea by a former white house official, charges which include conspiracy against the united states.
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happening now, breaking news. evidence of collusion? a former trumpcare advisor admits he lied to the fbi about his contacts in a surprise deal to cooperate with investigators. the plea by george papadopoulos reveals critical new information about moscow's election meddling and its outreach to the trump camp. >> paul manafort surrenders to authorities, along with her former deputy, facing charges including conspiracy against the united states. proactive cooperator, we're digging deeper into how and when the feds flipped george papadopoulos and what he may be telling investigators about russia and the trump campaign. the white house sin cysting