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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  December 30, 2017 11:00am-11:30am PST

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fredricka whitfield. thanks for joining us. we are following some breaking news this hour. new details on the seed that is were planted by a trump campaign aid that may have launched the russia investigation. the "new york times" reporting it all started not with a s dossier but with a conversation with george papa lop lis. let's discuss this further with david, national security correspondent for the "new york times" and cnn national security contributor. thanks so much for joining us, sir. first and foremost how significant are the revelations, pa papa dop lis knew they had been
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hacked before this became public knowledge? >> this was pretty prterrific reporting by my colleagues. the essence of this is that it takes the time line to may of 2016. now, think about that time period. it is before we knew that the dnc had been hacked. the dchl nc knew it had been hacked and brought people in, but we didn't know that until mid june, a few weeks later. at that time, this young foreign policy aid to the campaign, who never got a post in the administration and was sort of a symbol of what happens when you leave foreign policy issues to non professionals, as the campaign was doing at that time, and sort of desperate search to come up with people who they could call foreign policy advisors. he met in a london bar with an
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australian's and some others who made it pretty clear they were aware, and he had been made aware weeks before, that the russians had a trove of embarrassing e-mails. they may not have known where they came from, and all that, but what it does is it tells you that the dossier that everybody's been talking about really had nothing to do with opening up the russia investigation at the fbi. in fact, it was these tips which came from australian intelligence, which of course works very closely with the united states that got them going. of course, earlier, the nsa had received tips that the russians were inside the dnc from other foreign allies. >> i want to apause for a second to bring in cnn's reporter from washington. kara, you've been following the investigation very closely. what does that reporting by the
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"new york times" signal to you? what do you find most surprising about it? >> well, i think what's interesting is that it adds to -- it's another element to what we're finding out about how this investigation began. we have reported along with others that there were a number of contacts that had raised alarm bells in u.s. intelligence between the trump campaign officials and russians. this is another example of a contact. it also tells us that the role of george pop dop las is more significant, trump advisers referring to him as a coffee boy. >> he pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi and he is providing information. this another element of what role he played in the campaign and in this dance between russians and trump officials. >> and david, to you, what does this revelation tell you about his role? is he just a coffee boy, if
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somehow he has information that the rest of the world doesn't have? >> well, clearly, not a coffee boy. what it tells you is that the russians had a very sophisticated intelligence operation under way here. all good intelligence operations don't just start at the tomorrow. th top. they start ot the bottom. and they work their way up through the system. and clearly, he was approached in london, because he was one of many ways the russians were looking to get into the trump campaign, and into a position of influence here. now, what we do know is that when he did actually meet donald trump and others at one meeting that you've seen photographs of, he was urging a meeting between trump and vladimir putin. then candidate trump. and the president of russia.
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and that idea was shot down. among others, it appears, if you believe his own account, by the now attorney general, who -- jeff sessions, who said he didn't think that would necessarily be a good idea. astoundi astoundingly, mr. sessions had forgotten entirely about this meeting in hl he was reminded by the fbi. that's why it's important that this mueller investigation go back so deeply and look at all these roots. >> now, david, and kara, please stand by because i have another voice i want to bring into the conversation. cnn's sara murray is in west palm beach traveling with the president. we understand the white house is now responding to this latest "new york times" reporting. what are they saying? >> reporter: that's right. obviously in the past, as kara pointed out, the white house has been keen to down play him as a low level volunteer to point out he didn't have a clear role in president trump's campaign but today they seem to be playing it
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a little bit safer. the president's lawyer released a statement saying out of respect to the special council and his process we are not commenting on matters such as this. we are continuing to fully cooperate in order to help complete the inquiry. this gets to the way the president's lawyers have been approaching dealing with the special counsel. they've been quick to say publicly and privately the best way to deal with the matter is to to be in full corporation. >> david, i wanted to turn to you. it certainly cast doubt, some of the revelations in this reporting, this idea that he was a coffee boy even though he apparently helped to set up a meeting between president trump and the egyptian president and pushing meetings between then candidate trump and vladimir putin. what i find interesting is if we apply the idea he is a coffee boy, that whoa have withheld this information from other
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people in the campaign. do you think it's plausible that he apparently, knowing that the democrats had been hacked wouldn't have said anything to anybody else during the campaign? >> no i don't think it's plausible, because what he wants -- what he wanted to do, clearly, as young am b -- ambitious person, how connected he is, how much of a role he could play. basically in campaign young people want to prove how indes ensab penceable they are. in this case they had a campaign in sheer chaos, particularly when it came to foreign policy. most of the establishment republican foreign policy people would not sign on with the campaign. you remember many of them signed a letter opposing then candidate
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trump. and struas a result the campaigs reaching around for all kinds of names that we hadn't heard of. and the president was undersome stress to even come up with a list of foreign policy advisers, so it doesn't strike me as strange as all that someone would advise the great connections, and he was pushing for a meeting between candidate trump and president putin precisely to show, i think, that he was on board with the candidate's position at the time of improving relations with russia. >> kara, could you, obviously papodoupolos has pled and is koo cooperating. >> mueller's team would clearly
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have a all the information already and may have confronted it to him when they interviewed him in jan. but it's certainly more threads that the investigation is going to continue to pull at. it will inform, to david's point, i mean, what did people in the campaign know about these meetings. of the is there any evidence that he relayed this to them or what they instructed him to do about it. so those will all be questions that mueller's team has prom probably already asked members of the white house staff and campaign officials and will continue to further investigate, and as we saw with him, he pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi. a number of white house officials have been interviewed. the question will be what did they say in the interviews and have they been truthful all along. >> now, we expect it to be a relatively uneventful poholiday but now you've had stories from tuesday, the reporting last week
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about what the president said in a meeting about immigration, and now this leak about what was known before others knew. what is the white house strategy is moving forward? do you think we're going to keep getting the sames from the attorneys or talk about something else or we will hear more from the president's close a associates? >> well, this is it the difficult thing when you're dealing with this president in particular, because in general, he likes people to be out there to be strongly defending him and obviously when he did that interview with the "new york times" it's notable he said 16 times during the course of that conversation that there was no collusion with the russians, but just because that's what the president wants to see from a pr perspective doesn't mean that's what his lawyers think is the best legal strategy. behinds scenes i think they've been quieter, careful to warn
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the president to cooperate, do the interviews as they need to do. not to openly criticize him. remember, even as republicans have come out and taken aim at the special counsel, we have not seen that lately from president trump or his lawyers, i think they are skill hoping against hope this is the kind of thing that is going to wrap up quickly because it is casting a loud over the first year in h office, certainly not what the president wants to take into his second year although at this point is seems pretty much inevitable. >> sara murray. -- thank you for your time. thousands of people taking to the streets in iran for anti-government protests. it's a sign we have not seen in nearly a decade. why is this happening now? the story next. on c"cnn newsroom."
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a top iranian official said the government will work harder to resolve the country' economic issues. ney who uses these issues to hurt the government must be identified. crowds have taken to the streets to protest the country's rising gas and food prices, state media reporting that at least three students arrested at a university. adding to the chaos and confusion today, progovernment supporters also staged their own rallies, just moments ago, president trump tweeted this out. quote, the entire world understands that the good people of iran want change, and other than the vast military power of the united states, that iran's people are what their leaders fear the most. oppressive regimes cannot endure forever and the day will come when the iranian people face a choice. the world is watching. joining me to discuss the crisis nic robertson.
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nic, what are you seeing unfolding? >> sure. it is on many levels. one of the principal levels is the authority of the stream leader, identis being challengem teheran of images, posters hanging in the street being pulled down during those protests. that is a very clear shot at the sort of ultimate authority in the country. some of these protests began taking economic shots a at the country's president who's seen as a moderate. his failure to deliver, to keep the economy more buoyant, to bring down inflation and unfloimu unemployme unemployment. this has clearly morphed into something that has a more clear political message. some of the video being posted are deeply troubling. not all yet verified. we do have to stress that.
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but we've seen videos that show people apparently being carried away from protests physically incapacitated. one shot that appears to be filmed in a sort of a makeshift medical center, shows a young man lying on a hospital gurney with a gunshot wound through the abdomen. very disturbing pictures not yet verified but wh if we think back to the protests in 2009 it was social media postings that over time proofed an accurate reflection of what was happening on the street. one showed a young woman shot by a sniper and killed on the street. that was 2009. right. n nic, president trump has weighed in on this on twitter, saying the world is watching. iran has not yet responded to the previous tweets. what did they say? >> that was quite a lengthy
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response from the foreign ministry, essentially saying president trump has no credibility to make this kind of statement, and we can expect them to push back again. these were their exact words. the people of iran give no value or credibility to such opportunistic expressions by the government or even the person of mr. trump, meamerican officials through their conduct have not earned a place from which they can express mass sentiment as sympathies for the aware and engaged people of iran. it says right there the iranian government position is that there's no credibility coming from the united states white house. the president trump hasn't earned a position of respect and they see through this as essentially trying to overthrow the government. i think we can expect more of this. if those protests continue and grow, we can expect the iranian government and establishment to blame outsiders, particularly
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the united states. >> nick robertson thank you. stay with cnn. we'll be right back after a quick break.
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. the bullet that hit a colorado detective responding to a call did so much damage that doctors gave him less than a 1% chance of survival. more than a year later, that detective is back on duty, pushing past his brush with death and challenging the odds yet again. cnn's polo sandoval. >> reporter: the detective can no longer rush out the door with
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the rest of the s.w.a.t. team but he's back with the deputies he swore he'd never leave. officers were called to a denver suburb following reports of a suicidal man armed in an rv and dangerously close to a middle school and hospital. the suspect was shot and killed. investigators say he used an ak-47 to spray bullets at the hospital and deputies. >> it entered the side and took out 30% of my left lung, damaged my diaphragm, damaged my stomach and took out my entire spleen. >> i think i went into shock. >> christine -- >> i wz dead when i went in the doors, and the doctor literally held my heart in his hands and massaged it back to life.
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>> all i kept whispering to him don't leave me. >> nine days after of the shooting, he woke up. four months after that, was heading home. he lost the use of his legs and has been told at best he has a 3% chance of walking again. he's looking to beat the odds on his own. with help from his wife and a pair of leg braces, he is taking baby steps on his long and at times painful road to recovery. at home, a different reality sets in. >> i'm watching my 10-year-old have to shovel the snow. coming from where i took care of everything, that's a huge blow. >> there is hope he will wear a pair of robotic legs. >> when we tried them out for
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the first time, it was very emotional. because it felt good to be 5'10" again. >> each arduous step brings him closer to walking again. he is certainly an inspiration. thank you so much for joining us today. i'm boris sanchez. vital signs with dr. sanjay gupta is up next. check out this week's turning points. it's about an ohio man homeless at 19 but a third arrest put him on the road to recovery to help himself and others. ♪ >> everything bad that happened in my life and everything that is now currently good in my life is a direct result of my real mother committing suicide when i was 3 and a half years old. i took my first drink of alcohol at the age of 13. for the next 13 years, i was a
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full-blown alcoholic. cocaine, heroin, crack. i got my awakening at the age of 26. i received my third drunk driving charge, and that's when i decided to turn my life around. the day i quit, i went cold turkey. what made me pursue the iron man was simply the enormity of this it. but i didn't know how to swim, not a bike rider and wasn't running. about six years into my sobriety i have done the iron man. i've done 20 around the world. my inspiration for forming racing for recovery was simply helping other addicts to show them what can be done when you're not using drugs. i never in a million years thought that i would be alive, let alone doing what i'm doing today. that's the best message i can deliver to someone currently battling addictions. >> announcer: turning point,
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