tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN November 14, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PST
>> i don't talk for them and don't walk away while he's talking. i tell people to hold on and let billy finish what he's saying. >> if you can just give somebody ten seconds, ten seconds. >> for more information go to justlikeyoufilms.org. >> ten seconds is nine and a half more than people give each other these days. it's time for cnn "newsroom" with bobby harlow and john berman. top of the hour. good morning, everybody. i am poppy harlow. >> i am john berman. the news this morning, the attorney general is considering the special counsel to vest tkpwaeu investigate hillary clinton. just minutes from now attorney general jeff sessions sits
before the house judiciary committee. democrats promise tough questions about why sessions keeps denying the trump campaign had contacts with russia, despite the two campaign advisers told sessions they did. >> then the revelation overnight the justice department says sessions asked prosecutors to examine whether or not to name a special counsel surrounding hillary clinton, something that the president has openly campaigned for for a long time on twitter and elsewhere. wait, there's more. this news out just hours after we learned donald trump jr. exchanged messages with wikileaks around the time that wikileaks was posting those hacked e-mails from democrats and clinton campaign officials. we have a lot to cover. let's begin this morning with our justice correspondent. evan, he's going to sit there and take questions and will get grilled by democrats about these
contacts with russians while part of the trump campaign -- what is expected to be some of the key questions he expects today? >> we will see a lot of fireworks. they say jeff sessions has provided misleading testimony when he said he knew of no contacts with people associated in the trump campaign and russia. sessions says he told the truth all along, but now we know from court documents unsealed by special counsel mueller, there were contacts. was sessions telling the truth? take a listen. >> if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the trump campaign communicated with the russian government -- >> i am not aware of any of those activities. >> here's his testimony, last
month, when he was asked again about those contacts. take a listen to this? >> you don't believe that surrogates from the trump campaign had communications with the russians, is that what you are saying? >> i did not and i am not aware of anybody else that did, and i don't believe it happened. >> well, since that hearing we have now seen court documents in the case against george papadopoulos who pleaded guilty, and he attended a meeting with sessions and then-candidate trump were present, and papadopoulos brought up the meeting that at the meeting there was the possibility of using the russian contacts to set up a meeting with the russians. carter page was also named by trump as a national security adviser, he said he briefly mentioned to sessions he was
soon taking a trip to moscow. what we have today is democrats see an opening to accuse the attorney general of lying. >> in the face of this, we learned overnight this dramatic revelation that the department of justice is look into the possibility of appointing a special prosecutor to look into hillary clinton, explain. >> looking at the overshadowing of the presidency by the russians, the answer it seems is to investigate the clintons, and it's the old playbook we have seen before. there was a letter sent by the department of justice in anticipation of today's hearing in which they say the department is look into whether or not it's appropriate to appoint a special counsel to look into the uranium deal from a decade ago, and whether or not there was any ties to donations to the clinton
foundation. it's something the fbi looked at before and it's an allegation that came back up during the campaign courtesy of donald trump. we don't know where this is going to go, and i think we are a long way away from seeing them appoint a special counsel. what sessions going to tell them today, we're taking a look at it and that will help him avoid having to answer deeper questions on this. the most startling headline in the last 24 hours or so was donald trump jr. was in contact with wikileaks during the 2016 campaign. michelle with the details on that. >> now that those exchanges has been published, he, himself, released them. even though there are just a few, they shine a light on a
couple things. you see what wikileaks wanted to do for the trump campaign and what it wanted from the trump campaign, and of course, here again, you have another person deeply involved with that campaign that was willing to communicate with what the u.s. intelligence community and even trump's own cia director sees at the very least as a channel for russian influence. the interactions between donald trump jr. and wikileaks happened in private over direct message via twitter, as first revealed last year. wikileaks reached out to trump's son, asking what he thought of the new anti-trump website, and he responded the next day. and then he e-mails a number of officials letting them know wikileaks made contact.
and then roger stone tweeted that damaging material from weeky lea wikileaks was coming, and the following day don jr. reached out to ask about it. trump did not get a answer back but four days later the intelligence community announced it believes russia was behind the dn khfplt hacks. shortly after wikileaks began to release hacked e-mails from john podesta. these infamous remarks from then, candidate, trump. >> wikileaks. i love wikileaks! >> then october 12th wikileaks was back in trump jr.'s dms, strongly suggesting your dad tweets this link if he mentions us. and then two days later trump junior tweeted that link that wikileaks asked him to post. that same day mike pence denied
the campaign was coordinating with wikileaks. >> nothing could be further from the truth. >> pence was not aware of the communications with wikileaks and first learned the news from the media on tuesday. and then there was a request, an unusual idea asking trump jr. to leak them his father's tax returns. and trump jr. did not respond to anymore. something the russian government was also planning on doing according to a report from the intelligence community. trump's own cia director said this about wikileaks. >> it's time to call out wikileaks for what it really is, a nonstate hostile intelligent
service. >> a lawyer for trump jr. responded to the revelations saying we can say with confidence we have no concerns about the documents and think questions raised about them have been easily answered in the appropriate forum. trump has been trying to shift attention to democrats, expressing disappointment that the justice department is not looking into issues involving his formal rifle, hillary clinton. prosecutors are now examining allegations related to the clinton foundation and the sale of the company uranium one to a russian agency and considering whether a special counsel should be appointed. a source tells cnn trump jr. already provided these communications to congressional investigators and he was asked about him in his clothesed door session with the judiciary committee. this is the communication with
wikileaks now being leaked, which he calls ironic, and now this is raising serious concerns from former directors of u.s. intelligence agencies. >> thank you for the reporting from washington. in light of all this, the senate judiciary committee wants to know more about that and want it to happen in public. let's go to manu on capitol hill. >> democrats in particular have been pushing to bring down trump jr. to a public hearing after the september private interview in which he was asked, we are told, by multiple sources about these exchanges. he did disclose these exchanges but we are not getting the full picture if his answers were satisfactory, and that was only a staff interview, and there are democrats that want him to
become before a democratic setting so they can question him, and grassly has yet to schedule a public hearing and there are negotiations that stalled with some democrats on the committee, and some democrats are getting frustrated, the connecticut democrat who yesterday called on grassy to issue a subpoena to compel trump jr.'s public appearance, and also for any other documentation that donald trump jr. has not provided to the committee. no word back from grassly as he and dianne feinstein has been squabbling for weeks, including whether to bring donald trump jr. to bring him in, guys. >> what do the house members,
particularly the democrats, want to get from him? >> this is going to be all about russia from the house democrats. they will push him about apparent inconsistencies about his past testimony and russian contacts about what he knew and didn't disclose to senate committees as evan noted earlier, multiple contacts since emerged that we do know about, at least sessions was brought in -- was told about, including george papadopoulos, and carter page, that he did not disclose when he came before the house senate judiciary committee, and also over the firing of comey. jeff sessions would not disclose a number of those conversations in his past testimony saying
they could be protechted by executive privilege. >> thank you so much. awaiting house members who will try to avoid him and will fail. joining us to discuss, ron bro brownstein, and jeffrey toobin. the wikileaks thing yesterday such big news lost in the sphaoesmoke of it, this key legal fact which is now with the revelation, donald trump could be open to legal exposure, how? >> it's illegal under american law, under campaign finance law to receive contributions or solicit contributions from a foreign national or a foreign company. that is not limited to cash contra contributions.
the issue is did donald trump jr. or anybody else solicit wikileaks, which is not an american company, to give in kind contributions to the trump campaign. they essentially gave opposition research to the trump campaign. is that a campaign contribution? it's a legal question that i don't think has a clear answer at this point, but it is certainly something that the mueller team is going to be wanting -- will be investigating, whether there was a violation of the campaign finance laws in the relationship between the trump campaign and wikileaks. >> let's point out to jeffrey's argument here, one of the most concerning exchanges and what happened afterwards. so here is -- this is october 12th. this is wikileaks' direct message to don jr. great to see you talking about our publications.
strongly suggests he mentions this link if he mentions us. by the way, we just released podesta e-mails. 15 minutes later, 15 minutes later, you see the time circled there, and the president, then candidate tweets, very little pickup by the dishonest media of incredible information by wikileaks. two days later don jr. does the same. that is, case in point, what jeffrey is talking about. >> right. don jr. in his defense was saying look at the direct messages, i only responded a couple times. if you look at the timeline, it shows that's not necessarily true. you can count these twitter interactions or messages as stpw interactions, too. this is the second instance where don jr. is at least open to engaging with foreign a
adversaries here. what is interesting here, too, is that this is another instance in where the campaign -- there are more shoes to continue to be dropping here, and i think donald jr., jeff sessions and other members of the campaign are really testing the patience of lawmakers on capitol hill. >> what is fascinating -- go ahead, jeffrey. >> i wanted to make a point well, i only responded to a couple messages. you don't have to commit multiple crimes to be guilty of a crime. i just wanted to interject that point. >> let the record show, the record has been resized from your last statement. mike pence on october 14th, that day in the same time period, he was on fox news and he was asked if there was any connection between trump campaign and russia and trump campaign and
wikileaks, and he said nothing could be further from the truth. last night overnight his office released a statement saying when he said that he had no idea what was going on essentially between donald trump jr. and wikileaks. i covered a little bit of politics in my life. you don't put out a statement denying something you think is benign. >> yeah, he's basically saying what i said in the first place, i had no idea whether it was true, and i think people have to treat all of his statements about russia with that same caveat. what he's basically acknowledging is he made a blanket denial without any basis in fact. in addition to what these dms say about donald trump jr., and as we have been talking about his willingness to engage what clearly had been identified as a adversarial foreign essentially intelligence source, it tells us quite a bit about wikileaks in a
sense that their encouragement on election eve, urging the trump campaign to contest the results if they lose parroting the line the russian intelligence committee was pursuing at the same time aligns them more deeply as an arm of that effort, and puts the willingness of donald trump jr. to communicate in a harsher light. >> one of the many other headlines, jeffrey toobin, the news overnight, the attorney general asked senior federal pra prosecutors in his office to look around things in the clinton foundation, one of them being the uranium one deal. this is in response to two letters in july and september from republicans in congress asking him to do so and trump
tweeting i wish they were investigating hillary clinton. is this a coincidence or disturbing? >> we will see how it plays off. it's worth pointing out it's only in authoritarian countries like russia and turkey that the victorious candidates start criminally investigating their defeated opponents. this is something completely outside the experience of the american government. you know, it's not just a violation of traditions, it's a violation of all the norms of american political life that an incumbent politician starts to criminally investigate the predecessor party. if this really goes forward, and, you know, fox news and the chance that donald trump's political rallies lock her up turn into an actual criminal investigation, that would be something that we have never
seen in american life before. >> just one straw in the wind, real quick. yesterday, mark saltier, who was john mccain's chief of staff, and the co-author of his books and the close st adviser to him he said if they pursue the faux investigation of a former political rival, that was grounds for impeachment. he was speaking for himself. and that is one degree of separation from john mccain. we don't know where we are in the story yet, but this is something -- if it moves forward, while there would be some republicans that would cheer it, many would find it deeply disturbing as a departure, as jeffrey was saying, a deep departure from american traditions and the way we view the justice department, so file that thought away as something we could hear more about. >> one of those may have been jeff sessions, and in his testimony he said he would
recuse himself from any investigations involving hillary clinton, and you look at the doj letter, the special prosecutors he is tasking to look into it would report to him, so that's a significant backtrack. >> yeah, just something he could be asked about in a few minutes right here on the air. >> he said i will recuse myself from questions about this. we will see. he does hedge in the letter saying this could report to the deputy attorney general. we want you back ahead of the sessions hearings. we are minutes away from what is hopefully going to be an enlightening hearing today, and one of the lawmakers asking him questions will join us next. republicans growing to ask moore to drop out after another sexual
assau assault accuser. after questioning the commander and chief's competence and stability, bob corker minutes from now holding a hearing on the president's power to order a nuclear attack. it's not just a pay check, you actually like what you do. even love it. and today, you can do things you never could before. ♪ ♪ you're developing ai applications on the cloud. finding insights hidden in decades of medical documents. and securing millions of iot sensors. so get back to it. and do the best work of your life. ♪ ♪
good questions lead to good answers. our advisors can help you find both. talk to one today and see why we're bullish on the future. yours. a huge morning in washington. you are looking at live pictures from the capitol hill where in just minutes sessions testifies. >> joining us now, somebody who has likely been working very hard on many, many questions is a democrat from rhode island. he will ask sessions questions.
the first question to you, congressman, what is question number one on your mind this morning? >> i have a lot of questions. this will be our first hearing with the attorney general ever and i am mostly interested to see what role he played in the trump campaign and the russian contacts, and antitrust issues and the at&t merger, and lots of questions about policies in the criminal justice area and the immigration area. i think there will be a lot of interests in the committee on a whole range of issues, and obviously the involvement of the attorney general and the statements he made about the involvement which seems to contradict themselves with the russia kau l russia collusion campaign -- >> alleged collusion. and you were kind enough to send a note to the attorney general,
and you stated that you were not aware of any communications between the trump campaign and russian government but you ran the meeting in which papadopoulos explained his intent to do exactly that. what do you expect to hear from the attorney general on this point? >> well, i mean, this is a really important fact. there was a meeting where mr. papadopoulos talked about his ability to connect with the russians and make arrangements for a trip and according to the report, mr. sessions shut that down which means he heard it and was aware of it, and we want to hear more about what else he knew, what exactly did mr. papadopoulos say. what was the president's reaction? were there other conversations, and we have lot of questions surrounding it. we wanted to give the attorney general an opportunity to think
about some of these questions so he can answer fully, and we wanted to give him an opportunity to prepare for this. you will see a lot of questions about that meeting. >> i think some of your fellow democrats and republicans in congress would say not fully answering questions is putting it mildly sometimes for the attorney general. he kept claiming executive privilege but not really but saying i can't answer that. you guys send this letter and in it you say you expect him to respond and if he doesn't we will urge our chairman to resort to compulsory process if you do not. the chairman is a republican. are you convinced you can convince him to do that, and what would that result in, holding him in conkempt of congress and then what? >> they take an oath they are required to testify fully,
accurately and truthfully, and you can't say i don't want to answer. you have to invoke a reason, the fifth amendment, but there's nothing like i don't fell like it. we will ask our chairman to direct the witness to answer the question. he's obligated to do that. if the attorney general then doesn't then the chairman has certain progreerogatives. we hope he will understand you can't just decline to, it doesn't work that way. he's the chief law enforcement officer in this country and for the american people to watch him refuse to follow the rules and the law for any other witness follows could be very bad. >> one thing we learned overnight they are thinking about appointing a special counsel on matters surrounding
hillary clinton. do you have any questions there? >> i think every time the republicans feel the pressure from the real investigations which are under way, the investigation with respect to russian collusion, they pull out hillary clinton. it's their favorite response to it. hillary clinton is not the president of the united states. she was president trump's opponent in a campaign. we have got to focus on what is happening in our country, and the attorney general's responsibilities with respect to a whole number of investigations. >> you really have no questions that you want answers on that front? >> i think this is a make believe investigation about uranium one. i don't think there's anything to be concerned about. once again, this is an effort to distract from the real questions that i know many members of the committee on both sides of the i will have of the attorney general. >> we have to let you get into the hearing room right now.
>> a number of republicans calling for roy moore to drop out after new allegations he sexually assaulted teenage women. that number is growing. one person we haven't heard from yet on the newest revelations, the president. stick around. let's begin. yes or no? do you want the same tools and seamless experience across web and tablet? do you want $4.95 commissions for stocks, $0.50 options contracts? $1.50 futures contracts? what about a dedicated service team of trading specialists? did you say yes? good, then it's time for power e*trade. the platform, price and service that gives you the edge you need. looks like we have a couple seconds left. let's do some card twirling twirling cards e*trade. the original place to invest online.
accused of obstructing justice to theat the fbinuclear war, and of violating the constitution by taking money from foreign governments and threatening to shut down news organizations that report the truth. if that isn't a case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what has our government become? i'm tom steyer, and like you, i'm a citizen who knows it's up to us to do something. it's why i'm funding this effort to raise our voices together and demand that elected officials take a stand on impeachment. a republican congress once impeached a president for far less. yet today people in congress and his own administration know that this president is a clear and present danger who's mentally unstable and armed with nuclear weapons.
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was sexually assaulted by moore when she was 16 years old and moore was 30 at the time. she says moore offered her a ride home and instead parked in a dark, deserted area and groped her. >> attempted to force my head on to his crotch. i continued to struggle. he said, you're just a child. he said, i'm the district attorney and if you tell anybody about this nobody will ever believe you. >> cnn's jason carol joins us live from alabama where roy moore is still in the race. >> reporter: still in the race. john, a few moments ago as the driver drove by, he shouted go roy moore. he's telling anybody that would listen all of the allegations he
says, are not true, and it's all part of a political conspiracy. last night he stood by his wife and denied the allegations saying this latest accuser are just like all the others, he says, none of them are telling the truth. >> i can tell you without hesitation, this is absolutely false. i never did what she said i did. i don't even know the woman. i don't know anything about her. >> just lately alabama's largest newspaper, "the birmingham news" came out with an editorial calling moore grossly unfit, saying he should with draw. the moore camp says they feel the accuser are being paid to come forward, and i asked corkman alleges when she was 14-year-old roy moore assaulted
her, and when i asked the family about that they said no money has been paid, offered or promised and none is expected. >> remember, the four accusers reluctantly shared their stories with the post. thank you. the president says he wants to deliver a primetime address when he gets back from his trip in asia. what is he planning to announce? a live report ahead.
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live pictures of us, but also the house judiciary committee will be meeting shortly. the attorney general of the united states, jeff sessions, will be facing tough questions about inconsistent answers he has given on russian contacts on trump campaign officials. he says he knew nothing of any context, yet two campaign advisers said in testimony that they told him about russian contacts. >> will his answers be different this time? >> you will see. the president now heading back from his 12-day trip from asia, and he said he will make a estimate when he gets back. he said the trip changed the way the other countries treat united states. we are hearing what this president would like it to be is a primetime address. do we know what about?
>> it's not clear what the president wants to talk about. they have sent signals, the administration has, that the president might want to talk a bit about north korea. he's also suggested on this trip that he's made some headway on the issue of trade. it's not clear exactly what, but that's important, especially because one of the most notable things about this trip was given the fact that the united states already pulled out of the trans-pacific partnership, the big trade deal, allowed the asian nations the president was dealing with have kind of gone around the united states and moved on, if you will. some of the things clear that haven't happened include the president standing up for human rights and that, of course, was important with do you tear tay. the president did take the opportunity to criticize past
presidents. listen. >> the philippines, we just could not have been treated nicer. as you know, we were having a lot of problems with the philippines, the relationship with the past administration was horrible, to use a nice word. i would say horrible is putting it mildly. you know what happened, many of you were there and you never got to land. the plane came close but it didn't land. now we have a very, very strong relationship with the philippines. >> the president will have a lot of domestic issues on the plate had he gets back here, and you guys have been promoting all morning the fact that the president's attorney general is heading back to capitol hill with more questions on the russia probe among other things. >> a fact check. the president still went to the summit, and the plane did land. he just didn't meet after he called him an s.o.b.
he was not aware of russian contacts between russia and the trump campaign. >> will the exchanges be different than in the past hearings. it starts in moments, so stay with us for that. we are moments away from another significant hearing, bob corker, who has multiple times requested the president's fitness for office is now questioning his fitness to have control over the nuclear weapons. >> hey wants assurances any
president could not order a nuclear strike. >> the president >> the president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. he also recently has not demonstrated that he understand the character of this nation. >> that's the background. today it will be very interesting. barbara starr at the pentagon watching this for us. barbara, other than maybe some theater from senator corker is he looking to actually change anything? >> we don't know, because guess what, this is the first time in more than 40 years the senate foreign relations committee has looked at the issue of the authority of any president to launch nuclear weapons. and remember, it was senator corker, who is definebly anti-trump who said the president is setting the country on a course towards world war iii. so now for the first time since
1976 they're having a hearing publicly on the authority of any president to be able to order the launch of nuclear weapons because in this country, it is the president, any president, who has that sole authority. so the republican chairman not so happy with all of this, perhaps, and you're seeing a lot of democrats really rally around this question. one of the key democratic members, senator ed markey of massachusetts, has actually introduced legislation that would stop any president from being able to order a first strike of nuclear weapons without consulting with congress. the issue on the table really is, should one person in this country have the authority to basically start a nuclear war. no question about it, this has really come to the forefront since donald trump took office. jim acosta has been reporting that a number of members of congress and some allies are questioning trump's ability to have that sole authority to
launch nuclear weapons. >> all right. barbara starr at the pentagon. thank you. if something changes it who change for all presidents not just president trump. we are minutes away from the major hearing, two major hearings on capitol hill this morning. this one with attorney general jeff sessions facing what will likely be a grilling over what he knew about the trump campaign's contacts with russia. stay with us. that's ahead. the sign? when i needed to create a better visitor experience. improve our workflow. attract new customers. that's when fastsigns recommended fleet graphics. yeah! now business is rolling in. get started at fastsigns.com.
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big morning, everyone. i'm john berman. >> i'm poppy harlow. you are looking at live pictures of the hearing room where in moments, attorney general jeff sessions faces the house judiciary committee and a slew of questions about what he knew about the trump campaign and its contacts with russia. a lot has happened since sessions told a senate committee just less than a month ago that he didn't believe that there were any contacts that occurred, well that's changed. >> contradictory statements from two trump campaign advisors independent of the huge news overnight. >> right. >> that donald trump, jr. exchanged private messages with wikileaks. this hearing under way in just minutes while we're waiting for it to begin manu raju, evan perez join us. manu, give us a sense of what we're about to see here. >> this is going to be a very combative hearing where democrats are signaling they plan to push jeff sessions very aggressively about his
disclosures or lack of disclosures about russian contacts that occurred during the trump campaign and what he knew and didn't know and what he said and what he didn't say and previous testimony before several senate committees. expect some pretty pointed questions there, particularly in the aftermath of revelations that the former trump foreign policy advisors george papadopolous, carter page, mentioned at least in passing, some efforts to connect the trump campaign with russian officials. something that jeff sessions himself did not disclose or recall at the time. we will hear from him himself why he did not disclose that before the committee. republicans plan to ask more questions about this clinton -- this obama-era uranium deal with the russia nuclear agency, something that has put the clinton foundation back in the spotlight, particularly after the justice department has signaled that it's open to signing a special counsel to investigate this matter further. i just asked bob goodlad the top republican on the house
judiciary committee about that and he said it was a step in the right direction. expect republicans to push further and try to shift the focus back to the obama administration and clinton administration in addition to other questions about immigration and other major pressing issues facing the justice department that jeff sessions will have to answer. as jeff sessions entered here he declined to answer any questions, hovering over him all the controversy happening back home in his home state and whether he's open to running as a write-in candidate for his seat in light of problems with roy moore. i asked jeff sessions on his way in if he was open to runningp he heard the question, smiled, walked inside not answering questions, something his advisors say he's not particularly interested in but republicans here on capitol hill are pushing him to consider that. we'll see if that question also comes up and what will likely be a contentious hearing in a couple minutes, guys. >> on any other day, that would
be at the front of his mind, but today that's at the back given the questions he's about to face as the hearing gets under way. to evan perez, now we know his last testimony was october 18th. now it's november 12th? >> something like that. >> maybe the 14th. >> thank you. >> but a lot has changed. i mean you have these two foreign policy advisors to the trump team, papadopolous and carter page coming forward saying yes, we had contact with russia and we told attorney general jeff sessions about them and that runs director counter to what he -- directly counter to what he testified under oath a month ago. >> the big question democrats will be raising whether or not jeff sessions lied in that october hearing. let's take a listen to what he was asked and how he answered it. take a listen to this. >> 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