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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  November 2, 2017 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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good evening. breaking news on the russia investigation dominates the program tonight and reaches directly into the president's inner circle. touching his closest sur voois, even members of his own family. major developments involving son-in-law jared kushner as well as jeff sessions and russia, sam clovis and russia and fg the president himself, his own actions lately and his own state of mind. there's breaking news as well on what people think of it all. there's new polling from the "washington post" and abc news showing 58% approval for special counsel robert mueller's
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investigation and on the question of whether they believe or suspect president trump committed a crime, more people by a slim margin, 49 to 44% say yes. we'll have more on all of that. right now cnn's manu raju on carter page's closed door congressional testimony today about campaign contact with russia and it puts new scrutiny on the man who is now the highest ranking law enforcement official in the land jeff sessions said about campaign contact with russia. what did carter page say in his testimony today? >> well, for more than six and a half hours, anderson, carter page went behind closed doors with the house intelligence committee and talked about a whole wide range of issues. and one thing that he was asked about was this july 2016 trip that he took to moscow. and the question came well, who in the campaign knew about this. and when that question came forward, he informed the committee under oath that jeff sessions, then the senator from alabama, and a top campaign
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surrogate, in fact, knew about it. he said that he mentioned to him at a private dinner with other people who were involved on the trump national security team, he told him in carter page's words in passing about this trip that he planned to take to moscow. now, carter page said it was not related to the campaign. it was simply for him to go overseas to deliver a speech in russia. now, why this is significant is because jeff sessions on a number of different occasions has been asked about his connections with russia, any contacts he had with russia, as to whether he was aware of anyone who was involved in working with russia during the campaign. a whole sloou of questions during testimony on capitol hill and every single time he said he did not recall r on no, it didn't happen. he was even asked at a june hearing before the senate intelligence committee directly about carter page and whether he was aware of whether or not kaerlt page had actually met with raurp officials.
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he said he did not know. so questions about whether or not sessions shu disclosed this meeting even if it was just in passing. >> what's the justice department saying about it? >> well, tonight they're not commenting, anderson. but mining con away, who is the top republican on the house intelligence committee, russia investigation told me that, you know, he didn't think that it was too problematic for jeff sessions. he said he didn't see anything sinister here. perhaps it's understandable that jeff sessions was not aware of this. now, sources familiar with the meeting said that they did have an interaction at that meeting. they confirmed that. they said that it actually occurred towards the end of the meeting when carter page approached jeff sessions. and page himself told me this was the one and only interaction that they ever had during the campaign season, but he did confirm that he did mention that he was planning to take this trip the next month to moscow. >> this is on top of renewed scrutiny from members of congress over jeff sessions' today by george papadopoulos, correct? >> yeahel of the that's right. because in those court papers that were unsealed earlier this
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week george papadopoulos had actually proposed a meeting in march of 2016, a meeting between president vladimir putin and then candidate donald trump. now, at that meeting where papadopoulos made this suggestion, jeff sessions was in attendance. we are told by a source who was in the room that sessions actually rejected this call for a meeting between putin and trump, saying we should not go there. now, again, anderson, that raised a number of lawmakers who i talked to today said well, why didn't segtsz disclose this during his testimony when he was asked over and over again about russian contacts. and even a republican, two senior republicans, chuck grassley of iowa, john cornyn, who is the number two republican in the overall senate, both said they want to learn more about this and grassley said he was looking into it and cornyn said it was a worthy area to explore. but democrats are going much more aggressively after this
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saying session may have to amend his testimony if he does not clarify exactly what happened soon. >> appreciate that. before we go on, i just want to play an important piece of tape in the context of his reporting. it's from the confirmation for attorney general sessions and a question from senator al frank en. >> you don't believe that surrogates from the trump campaign had communications with the russians. is that what you're saying? >> i did not and i'm not aware of anyone else that did. and i don't believe it happened. i don't believe that it happened. >> okay. so -- >> so let's bring in our panel, our legal analyst, michael zelden, cnn political analyst carl bernstein, gloria borjer. michael, let's start with you. if what carter page said is true that he told jeff sessions this whether it was in passing or not, how big a deal is it that jeff sessions in fwronlt of seemed to, a., not recall this
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or much about russia frankly. >> this is pretty problematic for sessions. in the earlier back and forth with franken when he was asking him about the contacts with russia, it was a bad question. it wasn't really a well formed question. and the answer to it couldn't stand up to scrutiny as a false statement for a perjuryous statement. here he's asked a pretty specific question. do you believe there were any surrogates that met with russians and the answer was pretty much i didn't. i don't know of anyone that did. that's a pretty direct question and answer on which i think a false statement claim could arise, but more importantly, he'll get called back to congress and have to figure out what his answer is to how come he can't remember these key things, but he can remember anything else that impugns his integrity. >> carl, i mean, you know, he is 70 years old. i suppose that could be part of the reason. he will say, you know, there was a lot going on and this was just a minor mention from a guy, carter page, who i didn't really know at all. >> it takes place in a larger
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context of serial lying. serial lying by jeff sessions, the attorney general of the united states by the president of the united states, by the children of the president of the united states, by his campaign manager, by his associates in his business enterprises. what the special prosecutor is now doing, he's doing two things. follow the money, follow the lies. and there's an intersection of the two. and so we're coming to a kind of press i miss in this investigation, both in terms of public hearings that we're seeing on the hill, but especially in the legal terms the investigation that the special prosecutor is developing. we only see this much of it. what you're going to see now is deadly serious and we're going to find out where we go in the coming weeks and months. >> michael, i keep coming back to the point carl made is what we see is a tiny fraction of what mueller has access to, what mueller and his team have already seen. >> right. and in fact, in one of the court pleadings he said that.
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he said in the papadopoulos plea, he said this is a small part of a larger matter and what we're presenting to court today is only a portion of what information has been provided for us. enough for the court to take the plea, enough facts that the court can say i find you guilty, but not enough to reveal all of what mueller is doing. and to carl's point, the two indictments -- the indictment and the plea, manafort has followed the money and it's not necessarily money that's actually connected to the collusion investigation, but it's their business operations generally. and then nobody is too small to be indicted for lying to a federal agent. and so both ends, you've got the big and the small and then i guess, being, everybody in the middle. >> the idea that carter page wasn't going to russia in an official campaign capacity, a, does that distinction really matter here and b, does it defy credibility? i mean, clearly the russians had an interest in him because all
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of a sudden he had been named as a foreign -- you know, out of like from heaven for him as a foreign policy adviser for president trump, though he had never met president trump and according to what he has said punly in interviews never actually did meet president trump. >> if you look at these pieces as part of a larger mosaic here, putting the jeff sessions stuff aside, you have george papadopoulos, you have carter page. they're both volunteers but they're advisers on a foreign policy advisory board to donald trump. and they get to sit in on these meetings and they get to go to policy meetings. and if you're trying to kind of infiltrate a campaign, you work from the bottom up. and, you know, whether carter page was aware, whether papadopoulos was aware, that's up to the special counsel and all the rest. but, you know, you can look at this picture and you could see, okay, there he is at the table
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with donald trump. he's suggesting, papadopoulos is suggesting, hey, how about a meeting with putin, which sessions shoots down. trump is kind of noncommittal. and you get to see the larger picture here. i can't speak to whether jeff sessions, you know, he shook carter page's hand after a dinner meeting whether he remembers or didn't remember. that's an issue between the congress right now and jeff sessions to work out. and he might have to amend his testimony. but i do think there's another big story -- the bigger story here is exactly what the russians were doing in trying to infiltrate this campaign that i'm sure the special counsel is looking at and investigating. >> serial lying by all of these people is about russia, is about what's happening in terms of an investigation into the undermining of the american election by a foreign power.
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that's what the serial lying is about. it's about a cover-up that is attempting to keep us from learning what these people did and what they knew in regard to this election, to their finances, and to what happened generally speaking during the campaign in terms of getting information about hillary clinton, about the democrats from the russians. it all comes together under one umbrella. and the question is whether or not there is a real conspiracy to obstruct justice, among other things in this investigation. whether it is about illegality. but we certainly know it is about a cover-up and we need to know now whether a law has been broken in that cover-up and whether it might extend to the president of the united states and those closest to him. >> also bring you more breaking news in the russia investigation including new attention on jared kushner tonight. and later with all of this the president about to head overseas for crucial talks with asian
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questions he's answering with the firing of director james comey. questions that could be part of an obstruction of justice investigation. now, so what are these documents? >> well, anderson, sources tell us that kushner voluntarily turned over documents that he had in his possession from the campaign and the transition. and these related to any contacts with russia. the documents are similar to ones that kushner gave to congressional investigators and of course, this comes as investigators have begun asking witnesses about kushner's role in the firing of fbi director james comey. we also know that even before special counsel mueller was appointed in may, the fbi had begun looking at kushner's failure to disclose russia contacts when he submitted his security clearance application, what's known as an sf 86 form. these are all documents that the fbi already had in its possession. >> why is the special counsel interested in kushner's role if any in the comey firing. >> we're told that investigators
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have asked witnesses about whether kushner played any role in the firing of comey. and we've heard different accounts from sources the some say kushner was a driver of the president's decision. others simply say that he didn't oppose it and that it was something that the president had already made up his mind about, that he was intent on doing this. now, sources close to the white house say that based on what they know, anderson, kushner is not a target of this investigation. >> so how significant is this? >> well, you know, mueller's team asking questions about kushner is a sign that investigators are now reaching into the inner circle of the president and have extended well beyond the 2016 campaign actions taken at the white house level, at the highest levels of the white house. white house official tells us that mueller's teams asking questions about kushner is not a surprise, and they say that, you know, that kushner could be on a list of, you know, a lot of people who investigators would be asking about. now, a lawyer for kushner it should be noted did not respond
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or did not comment for this story. and the white house also declined to comment, anderson. >> all right. thanks. before going any further on the impact of today's news, it is worth looking back for a moment just as a reminder of all the force at play and all the conflicting stories of what went down in the firing of james comey and the scramble to justify it. in many ways it was the genesis of much of what we've seen since that. >> just six days later president donald trump fired fbi director james comey. that much was clear, but the reason he was fired was anything but. just hours after the firing sean spicer who was then communications director locked himself in his office at the white house. then when the media caught up with him, he was hulgded with his staff among the bushes on the white house grounds. >> just turn away. >> we'll take care of this. >> spicer then went on camera with fox saying the president's firing of comey followed a
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recommendation from his deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein and his boss attorney general jeff sessions. and those recommendations said nothing of comey's russia investigation. >> the president when given these recommendations made a decision to accept their conclusions and to remove director comey. >> the next day white house spokesman sarah sanders stuck to script. >> the president over the last several months lost confidence in director comey. accordingly, the president accepted the recommendation of his deputy attorney general to remove james comey there his position. >> but the very next day a completely different story from the president himself. boldly telling nbc he had made the decision to fire comey on his own and the reason was the russia investigation. >> what i did is i was going to fire comey. my decision. it was not -- >> you had made the decision before they came in the office. >> i was going to fire comey. when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you
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know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story. >> they were left to cleanup the inconsistencies. >> i went off the information i had when i answered your question. >> another voice adding the confusion and convictions, vice president mike pence saying the firing was not related to the russia investigation. >> let me be clear, that was not what this is about. >> then perhaps the strangest twist of the entire saga came a day after comey's firing. in the oval office of all places with a russian. it was there president trump told russian ambassador sergey kislyak he thought comey was a, quote, nutjob and firing him had relieved great pressure. randi kaye, cnn new york. >> so with that as a backdrop we're back with the panel. first of all, michael, how significant is it that the special counsel is asking about kushner's involvement in the firing of comey and then also just big picture we were talking
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during the break and if you could kind of give an overview of how you see the various tracks of this as both russia investigation and also financial. >> sure. i don't think that asking kushner about his role in the firing of comey necessarily does anything to advance the obstruction of justice claim. the obstruction of justice claim is really on the president and what he did to interfere with the investigation. i think, you know, it's on the margins relevant to that. and we'll see whether or not mueller thinks that the firing of comey, the asking of his national security team to get out in front of the media on this story, to ask them also to ask comey to stand down the investigation, whether he asked flynn's investigation to be stood down. all that stuff mueller has to sort out and then you have to deal with the constitutional question of whether if the president does something he's constitutionally allowed to do, can that be obstruction of justice or not.
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>> that's an open question. >> you think it's very possible michael flynn has already flipped. >> yes. so in answer to the question that you asked, the big picture, when you look at the manafort indictment and you're michael flynn, you have to think, you know, this is what i did too probably. >> except for -- >> with turkey. and i have a son who is in part of my group too and i see too that under the sentencing guidelines, papadopoulos cooperates. he takes his sentence down from a possible three to five years to zero to six months. if manafort were to fully cooperate, which i don't think he's capable of doing at this point, he would take his is 1 or 12 year sentence down to about for or five years. so there's powerful incentive to cooperate. i think that that's probably what's at play here. i'd be surprised if flynn isn't cooperating. >> which would be huge because i mean, flynn had a pretty close relationship with candidate trump throughout the campaign. >> yeah. exactly. just as manafort did for a
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little bit of time. so if you're mueller and you're looking at who is my possible witness if there's a collusion case to be made, gates is the far more credible and important player because he stayed on after manafort left. he went all the way through the transition with trump. so he's got a lot more information and is a more credible witness. so the strands that you asked about earlier, i think there's a whole financial group of investigations that mueller is conducting. manafort was the first of them. flynn will be the second of them. kushner and his properties and maybe the eb 5 visa program for his properties in new jersey. maybe his reach out to the chinese and the russians for financing of his property in new york city. >> 666 fifth avenue. >> i think those are all independent financial investigations. they may have to carl's point they may have some road back to rome which is collusion, but i think they stand as financial crimes investigations. and then you've got the sort of
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papadopoulos, carter page, roger stone, all of those people and their interactions with the russians and whether or not that was designed to get hillary clinton's e-mails in an october surprise sort of way. late in the campaign in order to damage her at a time where she couldn't respond to it in time. >> and then would the third string of this be the obstruction of justice. >> exactly. the third string would be the obstruction of justice. >> carl, do you agree with that sort of -- >> yeah. and also, look, some of the lawyers involved who know some things say that flynn is cooperating. they don't call it flip. but they say he has been cooperating with the investigators. but what we see with kushner, kushner is a focus of mueller's investigation in all much these areas that we're talking about. remember that kushner was running around the world during the transition and during parts of the campaign looking for
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money, foreign money, russian money, money where he could find it to try and get himself out of a bad financial position. mueller is looking at all of this. he's trying to put all -- i'm not saying that this information comes from people in the mueller investigation, but reporters know a good bit at this point from piecing, from various sources together what the broad outlines of what mueller is looking at. and it is all three of these areas, and he's very far along in terms of what we saw this week and yet we only know this much. >> right. and the thing to add to that is don junior gives a speak back in 08 where he is asked about the financing of their properties, and he said essentially we don't get money from u.s. banks. we get them from rich russians. and so they have a financial relationship with the russians that go back a long way,
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notwithstanding what the president's statements about that are and i think that that also informs mueller's investigation. >> russians too. they're not just people in russia. i think it's important to point that out. >> gloria, do we know how involved jared kushner actually was in the -- >> well, it is a question that i've been doing an awful lot of reporting on and i have sources on both sides of this. i have some very good sources who say that he was a driver of the comey firing. don't forget that he was in bedminster the weekend that the president made up his mind, as was adviser steve miller, who wrote a memo. and that he believed that it would be a politically good thing to do and that the democrats would jump on board, which of course they didn't. then i have other sources who say that, in fact, he was not a driver of this at all. you heard donald trump say this was my decision and that in fact he did not oppose it.
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that jared kushner did not oppose it. that he went along with it and that perhaps he did that because he wanted to please the boss, who was also his father-in-law. so it is a question, i think, that the special koucounsel is going to try and get to the bottom of because jared's name comes up in a whole bunch of places. he was on air force one when they had to come up with that statement about what occurred at the trump tower meeting that they had to revise a few times. he had had all of these repeated meetings with russians to establish a back channel to russia during the campaign. he had the sf-86 form which had to be filed repeatedly. so i think they have a lot of questions they want to ask jared. sources in the white house say they are convinced he is not a target of this investigation, but he is a witness. i think it all remains to be seen. >> i want to play a clip, though. we just got it in.
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it's president trump speaking to a washington, d.c. radio station. he was asked about investigating leaks and investigating hillary clinton. listen to what he said. >> the saddest thing is that because i'm the president of the united states i am not supposed to be involved with the justice department. i'm not supposed to be involved with the fbi. i'm not supposed to be doing the kind of things that i would love to be doing, and i'm very frustrated by that. >> it's interesting, carl, to hear the president of the united states bemoaning the fact that he can't be involved in these, you know, investigations. >> because they're investigations of him, his family and the people around him. you know, it's a ridiculous statement on its face. i want to say one thing about this idea of a target of the investigation. usually you don't become a target of an investigation and get a so-called target letter from the federal government until you are about to be indicted. right now it is no secret that jared kushner is the focus of many inquiries by both the
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intelligence community and by the fbi. we know that and presumably mueller is the coordinator of all that incoming information about jared kushner. all of these areas come together often on his portfolio as it were, which is so broad that it accident tends to politics, family money, all over the board. and that's why he is -- >> the other area, i think, that kushner is being inquired of is the cambridge analytica data separation. >> which he had talked about, the data operation. >> that's right. and how does that marry up with the social media russia troll campaign, because they seem to have some similarities with respect to their ability to target key voters in states that you wouldn't have thought that they would go to. they had information. i don't know whether it's
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coincidental, whether facebook is the unwitting conduit between the two, but that's another area that they have to look at. >> we've got to take a break. thank you. coming up attorney general jeff sessions under new scrutiny over a meeting with former trump campaign adviser george papadopoulos and his testimony under oath about russia. the question is does jeff sessions have some explaining to do to the senate judiciary committee. we'll hear what a member of that committee has to say when we talk to him next. and winking emojis. speaking of tech wonders, with the geico app you can get roadside assistance, digital id cards... or even file a claim. do that.. yeah, yeah that should work. it's not happening... just try again. uh, i think i found your problem. thanks. hmm... the award-winning geico app. download it today. that's why feeling safe is priceless. with adt, you can feel safe with an adt starter kit
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as we reported attorney general jeff sessions is under new scrutiny over his testimony about russia contacts because of a meeting with former trump campaign adviser george papadopoulos and a new revelation from carter page. just before air time i spoke with richard blumenthal who is a member of the senate judiciary committee. >> if carter page is telling the truth and he did inform attorney general jeff sessions about his trip to russia, that certainly seems to raise at least a lot of new confesses. >> it not only raises questions, anderson, but is really is another powerful compelling reason that attorney general jeff sessions needs to come back before the judiciary committee and explain and justify his statement that he was unaware of any contact between the trump campaign and russian officials which is belied not only by this reporter from carter page but also by the statement from george papadopoulos that there were numerous meetings and
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communications between him and a campaign supervisor and a high ranking campaign official about his contacts with the russian foreign ministry. >> it is pretty surprising the extent to which jeff sessions seems to have pled ignorance on anything to do with russia. i mean, i would have thought that somebody at his level would have people in the room, would have assistants who might take notes about what happened in any given meeting, particularly, you know, while they're on the campaign. >> and particularly incredible because of the intimacy of the trump team. >> right. >> it was a small team. these advisers were seated around that table with the then presidential candidate and attorney general sessions in a very small group. so the absence of any notes certainly raises questions, along with his lack of recollection. >> carter page has always said that his trip to russia was unconnected with his role in the campaign. first of all, there's questions about what his role, if any,
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really was in the campaign, though donald trump had named him as an adviser. but carter page said he never actually met donald trump, even though he had told russians that he had. does it make a difference if his trip really was unconnected to the campaign, although i mean, i should -- the caveat is i find it hard to believe he would have been invited to speak if he didn't have this official role with the campaign. >> and that's exactly right. the pattern here is the same as it was with george papadopoulos. the russians became aware of their status as foreign policy advisers and therefore, reached out to them and engaged them. a very familiar tactic of the russian foreign ministry and intelligence services. and sought to provide george papadopoulos with dirt on hillary clinton and e-mails, much as they often do, later with jared kushner and donald trump jr. and paul manafort.
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so there's a pattern here. and the special counsel is working his way up the ladder of criminal liability, and we can see more surprises. we can expect them, and they are likely to include potential charges and also convictions. >> against sessions or just in general? >> in general, not speaking about sessions in particular. but there is a moment coming when jeff sessions will, i hope, be forced to explain these apparent contribution apparent contradictions. his saying he was unaware of contacts between the trump campaign and russian officials, which is contradicted by carter page and george papadopoulos. >> i also want to ask you about this reporting that special counsel is looking to what role jared kushner may have played in the firing of jim comey. is that something that would be of interest to your committee? >> very much of interest to our
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committee because we're very interested in the obstruction of justice, which is within our responsibility. we have oversight purview when it comes to the department of justice and the fbi, the firing of gjim comey is very much of interest to us and jared kushner's possible involvement in it. i have said for some time that jared kushner should be subpoenaed. donald trump jr. should be subpoenaed. so should paul manafort. now he will probably claim his fifth amendment privilege. but anybody involved in that june 9th meeting should be subpoenaed and anybody involved in the potential of obstruction of justice in firing jim comey. >> would you like to see donald trump jr. testifying in a public hearing? >> in a public hearing under oath. >> all of them should. >> senator, appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you. >> coming up, the president's nominee for chief scientist at the department of agriculture with draws from consideration at that job. sources say it's because of the russia investigation. also ahead, house republicans
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now to what the president says will be one of the great christmas presidents. house republicans revealed their new tax bill today. they say its whole purpose is a middle class tax cut.
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does away with some deductions. our phil mattingly joins us now. what does it look like for middle class americans. >> the answer to whether or not this will be good or bad could very well make or break the future of this plan of the take a listen to what speaker paul ryan told me in an interview earlier today. >> can you guarantee that all middle class taxpayers will see a tax cut. >> that's the entire purpose of this. it gives an average family of four about a 12 hundreds tax cut. i think that's going to be helping people who are living paycheck to paycheck. i think this is a game stranger for our economy. >> the reality is it's a little bit more complicated. there's no question about it there are reductions. there are things like the on boost in the child tax credit that will help families, the nearly of the double of the standard deduction. those are positive things of the but there's also the reality that in this plan there's about $300 billion in reductions and
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about a trillion dollars of reductions on the corporate side. the reason why they're doing that is the republican belief and their stated position that the help on the corporate side will help boost income, wages. that will be crucial. their ability to sell that idea that not just tax cuts on the individual side z as you lose significant deductions across the board on things like student loan debt, scaling that back a bit, that the boost from the economy on the corporate side will help things out. if that doesn't sell, they could have problems. if it does, they could be in a good place. >> most democrats didn't see it. how are they reacting. >> they are enthusiastic that they finally have a plan. this is an opportunity they haven't done at all this year and that's accomplish a major legislative goal. the removal of popular duktsz, issues like the mortgage interest rate deduction, issues like state and local tax deduction, they are capping the
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property tax deduction, removing the income tax deduction all together chlgt those are hairy issues, particularly northeastern republicans have already stated unequivocally they will be against the bill if they don't see changes the big question right now is what will win out, the political imperative here to move forward to do something, anything legislatively or the fact that these details, these in the weeds provisions could make or break peoples' political and policy potentially policy futures. >> they also want to move very quickly on this. >> yeah. look, they're not -- hyper speed was what one person described it to me. they're staring at reality here. there's a reason this hasn't been done in 31 years. there's a reason major over hauls to the u.s. tax code are so complicated. and that's because you have interest groups, people that care about these deductions you have to get rid of in order to pay for these very large rate cuts. so because of that fact they will be moving this bill through the committee next week, house inner floor after that. they want this done in the house and senate by thanks giving.
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they want it on the president's desk by christmas. can they actually pull that off? this is a very, very aggressive schedule, but at least according to the speaker, the answer is yes. >> phil, thanks. up next as all the russian news breaks this week, the approximated is agonizing over the developments, agonizing in the white house. but the president insists to the new york city times that he's not angry. we'll speak to the man who authored the art of the deal about how the president deals with this kind of pressure. - [narrator] you hope nobody knows it's you.
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jim acosta has some new breaking news in the russia investigation. jim, what are you learning? >> reporter: that's right, anderson. this goes back to that conversation we've been reporting on over the last couple of days about the former foreign policy advisor, george papadopoulos, raising this idea, this prospect of a meeting between then candidate trump and russian president putin. this was at that national security advisory board meeting in march of 2016. we had heard only from sources about this conversation up until now.
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but we can report now, anderson, that one of the attendees in the room, a former national security official, j.d. gordon, if you're looking at this picture right now on screen, obviously, there's george papadopoulos in the middle, there's donald trump on the end and jeff sessions is on the near end of the table. right in between jeff sessions and george papadopoulos is j.d. gordon, he's a former national security official for the trump campaign. he was, obviously, at that meeting that day. he now says to us, on the record, j.d. gordon, that then candidate trump heard him out, referring to george papadopoulos. that then candidate trump heard out papadopoulos's pitch about then candidate trump meeting with russian president vladimir putin. of course, we've been reporting that senator sessions, and now attorney general sessions, at that time knocked down the idea. and, of course, all of this is a very big interest to the special counsel's office, because they want to know what the president's reaction was in the room that day.
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and according to j.d. gordon, at the very least he heard him out. >> jim, appreciate that breaking news. as more people in president trump's inner circle are under scrutiny in the russia investigation, we're also learning more about how president trump himself is reacting. sources told cnn yesterday the president was fuming, agonizing over the news of special counsel mueller's indictments. isolated at times on the third floor of the white house earlier in the week. then the president spoke to the "new york times'" maggie haberman on the phone and said that he isn't personally under investigation, and that he was not angry at anybody. joining me now is tony schwartz, the co-author of "the art of the deal," contributor to "the dangerous case of donald trump," a new book. i want to play, first of all, tony, something that the president said on a radio interview, just, you know, i think, a local radio station in washington. let's listen. >> the saddest thing is that because i'm the president of the united states, i'm not supposed to be involved with the justice department, i'm not supposed to be involved with the fbi. i'm not supposed to be doing the kinds of things that i would love to be doing. and i'm very frustrated by that.
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>> that's, i guess, not all that surprising. >> no. i mean, scary, though, because what he's essentially saying is, i'd like to be in charge of everything. >> and he'd like to be involved and be able to attack the fbi. >> he'd like not make a distinction between any of those agencies. he'd be the emperor and have full control over all of them. that's what he wants. >> the last time you were on the program, you talked about how the president and how donald trump in his past basically focuses in the short term to get through -- it goes into a survival mode. can you sort of explain that? >> well, i think it's surely what he's in right now. of course, it's ludicrous to think that he is -- as he told maggie haberman, that he's not angry at anyone. he's angry at everyone right now, i guarantee you. if you're sitting in that white house, you're feeling it. i think what happens is, there's nothing donald trump finds more intolerable than to feel weak, potentially humiliated, or out of control.
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and along comes this guy mueller, indicts these three people. sets trump's teeth on edge that it's coming toward him. this is like a tsunami, really, that is -- or even to use a more relevant description, a hurricane, a stage 4, stage 5 hurricane that's moving toward him at a slow pace -- or at a medium pace, but it's coming toward him. what happens to him in that circumstance is that rather than feeling the intolerable weakness or vulnerability, he moves into aggressiveness and goes after people. that's what you're seeing now. >> where does that come from? is that the roy kohn school he was taught from -- >> well, i think he was taught it a long time before roy kohn. you know, his father taught him that from a very early age. and taught him, strike back and strike back hard. that's what fred, his father, did. and for sure, that was roy kohn's style.
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and we're going to see that more and more now as more and more revelations -- i mean, more and more -- i don't know if there will be indictments, i suspect there will -- but more and more news from mueller, because there is a level at which, despite his desire not to feel it, trump is very, very, very anxious that mueller's going to get him. i've said before, and i'll say it again, i believe he will. interestingly, i don't necessarily know that mueller will get trump for russia. i think he's going to get a ton of people around him. i don't know that he'll get trump. but what he's got is 40 years of trump's actions in the marketplace. that's a lot for him to be looking into. >> in terms of past legal action that as a civilian donald trump was involved in, i'm wondering if his strategy in those past legal actions can sort of be an indicator of how he deals with an ongoing investigation. because there was some question that his legal team was -- there's some debate within his
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supporters of how he should deal with the mueller investigation, whether full cooperation or scorched earth. >> well, talk about something that's killing him. the last thing he wants to do is accept this investigation is continuing. he hates that and he would, of course, love to fire mueller now, tomorrow. i believe he will. and i believe he will do it on an impulse in spite of whatever voices may be telling him that's a dangerous thing to do. i think we will see another saturday night massacre. >> he does continually say, though, that he's not personally under investigation. >> i think it's trying to thread a needle. it is possible to me that trump is not culpable around anything related to russia. what he's worried about, if that's true, is that there's an awful lot of other stuff he is culpable for. >> the reporting that jared kushner is now certainly of interest to mueller, jared
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kushner has given over documents, coming that close to be in donald trump's family, that's got to be extremely difficult. >> what's fascinating is -- and i said this six months ago, there was going to come a time when trump, in his relentless lack of loyalty, was going to turn against his own family members. well, he's done it. we heard yesterday, gabrielle sherman reported that he went in and re-reported today that he went after jared kushner, he's blaming him for getting rid of comey. i can see him, as he isolates himself and as he's looking for enemies, i can see him going after literally the blood members of his family. i'm waiting for donald junior, i'm waiting for eric. i think ivanka would be the last to go. >> tony schwartz, appreciate you being with us. thank you. up next, the breaking news in the russia investigation touches members of the president's inner circle, including his family, as we mentioned. we'll get into the major news
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about jared kushner, attorney general jeff sessions when we continue. ♪ if you have moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's, and your symptoms have left you with the same view, it may be time for a different perspective. if other treatments haven't worked well enough, ask your doctor about entyvio, the only biologic developed and approved just for uc and crohn's. entyvio works by focusing right in the gi-tract to help control damaging inflammation and is clinically proven to begin helping many patients achieve both symptom relief as well as remission. infusion and serious allergic reactions can happen during or after treatment. entyvio may increase risk of infection, which can be serious. while not reported with entyvio, pml, a rare, serious brain infection caused by a virus may be possible.
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