tv The Seventies CNN January 21, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
special counsel. and former national security adviser mike flynn has also pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi also about contacts with the russians and is also cooperating. despite all of that, as the end of 2017 neared, calls for the president to fire mueller got louder. >> we are at risk of a coup d'etat in this country if we allow an unaccountable person with no oversight to undermine the duly elected president of the united states. i join my colleague, the gentleman from arizona, in calling for mr. mueller's resignation or his firing. >> those making the requests insist mueller wants to bring down president trump. >> any attempt by this president to remove special counselor mueller from his position or to pardon key witnesses in any
effort to shield them from accountability or shut down the investigation would be a gross abuse of power. >> the white house has repeatedly said that president trump will not fire mueller. mr. trump told "the new york times" in an end of the year interview, that he expects mueller to be fair, yet, in that same interview, he insisted 16 times that there's been no collusion. >> there has been no collusion, no collusion, there's no collusion. and there is no collusion. there was absolutely no collusion. >> it's something he's said often. >> i guess the collusion now is dead because everyone found that after a year of study there's been absolutely no collusion. there's been no collusion between us and the russians. >> we don't know what mueller has found. what we do know is this. according to the intelligence community, prior to election day 2016, russia infiltrated the democratic national committee's computer systems and the e-mail
account of clinton campaign chairman john podesta. another fact, there were overtures made by people with russian contacts to the trump campaign. donald trump jr. and others from the trump team met with a russian lawyer at trump tower in 2016 after don jr. got an e-mail promising him dirt on hillary clinton. we know don jr. was interested in the information because he replied, quote, if it's what he's saying, i love it. we also know, according to mueller, trump campaign foreign policy adviser george papadopoulos also took a 2016 meeting with a kremlin-connected professor who told him that russia had dirt on clinton. >> pap -- papadopoulos has information that someone was being contacted by russians. >> and we know the head of
aanalytics connected to the trump campaign reached out to wikileaks in an attempt to get e-mails from hillary clinton's pub lib servlic server. so the public doesn't know if there was collusion but we know there was a lot of smoke. do you think president trump told general flynn to lie to the fbi about his connections with the russians? >> i don't know that. i do know this, in the aftermath of the flynn firing, you had the president of the united states intervening with the fbi director asking him to lay off flynn, intervening with lots of the heads of our intelligence agencies, asking them to back off, asking members of congress to try to put this investigation behind to kind of back off. you just think in terms of human nature. someone that's taking this many action, you can say, well, he was new to being of elective
office. any legitimate individual intervening this many times in what is, in fact, an open investigation really raises a lot of questions in terms of what did he want to hide and what did flynn know that he didn't want flynn to disclose? >> for now mueller continues to investigate. and intelligence officials worry the u.s. is vulnerable to russian interference in this year's midterm elections and in 2020. up next -- >> rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
...that's surprisingly thin. so it's out of sight... ...and out of mind. always discreet. for bladder leaks. also in liners. coming at you with my brand-new vlog. just making some ice in my freezer here. so check back for that follow-up vid. this is my cashew guy bruno. holler at 'em, brun. kicking it live and direct here at the fountain. should i go habanero or maui onion? should i buy a chinchilla? comment below. did i mention i save people $620 for switching? chinchilla update -- got that chinchilla after all. say what up, rocco. ♪
in the united states president trump's penchant for name calling and casual threats can be unsettling. >> he's a sick puppy. >> these actions take on a whole new dimension when north korea's dictator and nuclear weapons are thrown into the mix. 23 times this past year north korea has tested a missile. on multiple occasions it ignited mr. trump's fuse. >> north korea best not make any more threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> a few days later the president promised military solutions, quote, are now fully in place locked and loaded should north korea act unwisely.
a month later the man who coined the monikers "little marco" and "crooked hillary" gave us a new one, rocket man. >> rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. >> that speech at the united nations triggered some bizarre trash talk. kim jong-un called president trump a, quote, mentally deranged dotard, or old, senile person. mad man, president trump said. frightened dog, said kim. a rogue. a gangster fond of playing with fire. >> north korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. it is a hell that no person deserves. >> kim jong-un then started the new year with this.
>> translator: the entire mainland of the u.s. is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the button is on the desk of my office. they should be actively aware that this is not a threat but a reality. >> of course, president trump responded tweeting will someone from his depleted and food-starved regime please inform him that i, too, have a nuclear button, but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his and my button works. >> north korea, there's been criticism of the president's rhetoric, the language that he uses. it is on purpose? >> some of it is purposeful. some of it is the president and his own natural style. i think he's trying things that may not have been tried in the past because he doesn't have the luxury of waiting. >> in president trump's first year in office, kim jong-un has tested more missiles than his father and his grandfather did combined. >> that's kind of tit for tat
with a crazy guy like kim jong-un, getting involved in name calling doesn't exactly inspire confidence amongst our allies. >> president trump even undermined his own secretary of state, rex tillerson, who was in china at the time trying to resolve the matter with diplomacy. quote, i told rex tillerson, our wonderful secretary of state, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with little rocket man, the president tweeted. save your energy, rex, we'll do what has to be done. >> it was unprecedented. and it had to be pretty dispiriting to rex tillerson. >> you cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state said the head of the foreign relations committee to "the washington post." it's something i asked the secretary about when he joined me on "state of the union." >> this is an unconventional president. >> you don't want to say
anything about the senator calling -- suggesting you've been gelded before the world? it's not anything that bothers you? >> i checked. i'm fully intact. >> the name calling may be unnerving, but even some of the president's critics concede it might be effective. >> i don't agree with all his statements and tweets necessarily on this, but i think the way he's handling north korea is actually really good because you finally have a stick being shown, a stick option to back up the potential for a carrot and to get a diplomatic solution to this thing. >> in january, the north and south koreans agreed to resume face-to-face talks on easing military tensions after a successful meeting to discuss the upcoming olympics. and south korea's president gave president trump credit. for pushing north korea to the table. another area where the president might deserve some credit -- fighting isis. >> the caliphate is destroyed, isis is on the run.
you see what's happened in iraq and syria. >> isis had already been severely weakened by the offensive started under president obama. however, when trump entered office he gave the pentagon even more leeway to call the shots. and he armed the largely kurdish group that helped lead to the defeat of isis in raqqah, syria. republicans and even democrats also praised president trump for the missile attack he launched against the assad regime in april. after the syrian dictator used chemical weapons on his own people. killing more than 80, many of them children. >> no child of god should ever suffer such horror. >> while not any sort of long-term strategy, it was an action, which may have contributed to a desired result -- suspected cases of assad using chemical weapons, according to the u.n., have gone way down since.
something the president wishes he had more success on, renegotiating the 2015 iranian deal. the u.s. and five other countries agreed to lift sanctions against iran. in return, the country promised to limit its nuclear program to peaceful production and use only. >> frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the united states. >> an embarrassment that president trump decertified essentially punting and giving congress the power to decide what to do next. >> the iranian regime continues to feel conflict, terror and turmoil throughout the middle east and beyond. importantly, iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal. >> the iran deal wasn't perfect. but the iran deal did buy us 15 to 20 years of a nuclear-free iran. >> it seemed like he wanted to
rip it up and say it was no longer valid, but people inside the administration said, let's pursue this middle path here where you make it clear you don't approve of it but congress ultimately gets to rule? >> right. he has an incredible national security team and he listens to their counsel. >> when you hear people conservative critics of the president who say thank god for the generals, for kelly, mcmaster, mattis. >> i think it's great. the president is smart enough to hire great people. bravo for him. he's a great ceo. >> such as nafta, the trade deal with mexico and canada. >> we're working on many trade deals that have treated our country very unfairly for many years. we've started with naftnafta. we'll see how it turns out. if it doesn't turn out, we'll have to do a new nafta. >> when it comes to the city of
jerusalem, president trump walked into not out of an agreement. >> i have determined that it is time to officially recognize jerusalem as the capital of israel. >> we're profoundly grateful. >> it was a decision hailed by the israeli government but widely condemned elsewhere. >> these decisions are unhelpful to the prospects of a peace in the region. >> the president says he was keeping a campaign promise. >> i think this president pointed up to the bar and did what he said he was going to do. >> a lot of what the president has done -- and i don't mean this necessarily as a criticism, although some people see the actions as a criticism. he's disruptive. he challenges conventional wisdom. you think that that's a positive? >> the american people want to see disruption in washington. they wanted the president to come here and send a message, break some china. >> and he's been doing that. >> he's been doing it, absolutely. >> up next -- the new book causing fury at the
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so help me god. >> affordable care act. >> after one full year in the white house, president trump has gained opponents and lost supporters. >> you're fired! get out of here! >> his approval rating mid-december was at 35%. the lowest december rating for any first-term president. that means midterms, now just around the corner, could be difficult for him and the republican party. >> any president loses seats in the house and senate in the midterms. how concerned are you? >> our eyes are wide open about historical trends and what usually happens to the party in power in the white house, but we're not willing to lean into that without a fight. this is a president, donald
trump, who doesn't repeat history. he defies it. he makes it. >> still, if republicans lose control of the house or the senate or both, it could be devastating, not just for the president's agenda but for the president himself. >> i'm told he's focusing on it more. there's one reason. a democratic-controlled house means investigations and the other "i" word potentially impeachment. >> democrats need to pick up 24 seats for the house. nearly 50 will be open in large part because of the number of republicans hitting the door. one of them charlie dent. >> i just didn't want to have to go through a year trying to explain the chaos and dysfunction. don't get me wrong. i expect a certain amount of dysfunction in government. i hate to say it. now at the white house they've taken the fun out of dysfunction. it's not that fun anymore and it's not that funny any more fighting about crowd size and that's really not why i came to congress. >> also stepping away from the
senate, republican jeff flake. >> we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. they are not normal. >> flake announced his retirement in october following a scathing attack on president trump's conduct in office. the reason, the trump critic, a man who had positioned himself as the moral center of his party, had determined he could not win his primary. >> the president is very popular with the base, and the base votes in republican primaries. i couldn't embrace this president and those positions. i couldn't run a campaign that i'd be proud of. >> in the senate, democrats now need just two pickups to become the majority. that's because of this. >> tonight, ladies and gentlemen, you took the right road. >> the left road, actually. doug jones became the first democrat in a quarter century to win a statewide election in
solidly red alabama. it was an unexpected ending to an election more about the future of the republican party than who would become the next senator from alabama. >> thank you. >> the republican nominee was roy moore who once said that homosexual conduct should be illegal and that muslims should not be allowed to serve in congress. moore was outside the mainstream republican party backed by a man who said he was committed to destroying it. the president's former chief strategist, steve bannon. >> right now it's a season of war against a gop establishment. >> moore was expected to win the race and go on to be a disrupting in the senate. that was until he was accused of sexually assaulting and pursuing teenaged girls when he was in his 30s. >> i stand by my previous statement that roy moore sexually assaulted me. >> these allegations are completely false. >> it's something he denied, and president trump supported him. >> so get out and vote for roy
moore. >> these folks don't understand. >> when moore did not win, president trump blamed steve bannon, and that's not all he blames bannon for. just days into the new year, this explosive book by journalist michael wolfe claims that everyone around trump believes him to be unfit to be president. >> according to your reporting, everyone around the president, senior members, family members, everyone around him questions his intelligence and fitness for office. >> let me put a marker in the sand here. 100% of the people around him. >> this author is saying that there's 100% of the people, and i know that that's nonsense. >> a main source for the book, steve bannon, who claimed that don trump jr.'s 2016 meeting with the russians in trump tower was treasonous and unpatriotic. in another break from presidential decorum and tradition, mr. trump released an official statement saying,
quote, steve bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. when he was fired he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. white house staffer steve miller was quick to bash bannon on "state of the union." >> it reads like an angry, vindictive person spouting off to a highly discredible author. >> president trump bashed wolfe, too, repeatedly. quote, i never spoke to him for book. full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist, he tweeted. michael wolfe is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really bore and untruthful book. the book, not surprisingly went to the top of the best seller list and his publisher cannot print copies fast enough. >> it would seem fairly common sense in terms of public relations that if there's a book that you don't respect, don't think is accurate, the more you talk about it, the more attention you're going to give it. >> the problem with all of that,
that narrative i think is unfair to the president because he wouldn't be president if he didn't have elements of that in his personality. >> of punching back. >> when you describe a person that doesn't like taking guff to a person that he thinks is unfair. he'll hit three times as hard as he's hit. he's in his 70s, and the idea that this horse is changing midcourse isn't going to happen. >> if president trump won't change, then the question becomes, what is he changing with his behavior? is president trump, has he changed the presidency forever? will it never be the same because of the different disr t disrupting way that he's doing it? >> our country can absorb an awful lot of hits and i don't think he'll change the trajectory of our nation forever. >> trust me, i'm like a smart person. >> this is a nation based on norms and laws and if people
don't follow the norms in a good faith honor way, the system can break down. >> do you think the president has some or tsort of emotional problem, do you think he's mentally unstable? >> i don't have the qualification to give a diagnosis. >> you're a human being. you can give human beings. >> do i see narcissism, attention deficit disorder, impulse control issues, volcanic temper? yeah, i see that. i'm not diagnosing anybody, but just looks like that to me just from afar. >> that must concern you? >> yeah, it does. it does concern me. >> longtime trump friend tom baric has no such concerns. >> my hope is that we'll be applauding for president trump at the end of four or eight years saying he saw what he was doing, it was tough, he had courage, he was very competent and we're glad he was here. >> maybe he'll rise, but there's no way you can say after the
first year this has been a great noble experiment in american life when he's hijacked a national agenda and has just created these crossfire food fights arguments to no end. >> thank you very much. >> for those who want to remain hopeful about the president's second year, consider this. president trump started 2018 in a similar way he began the presidency in 2017, with a bit of chaos casting shadows over the white house. >> i really believe you can do something to bring it together. >> in just the first few days of 2018, president trump threatened north korea with his bigger and more powerful nuclear button, referred to the department of justice which he's in charge of as the deep state, got into a back and forth with an author with whom he and the white house cooperated who claims that the president asks like a child and is mentally unfit and reportedly insulted the entire continent of africa. >> mr. president, did you refer to african nations as a --
>> the comments he made were vile, they were hate fill and they were racial in tone. >> all that and it's not even february yet.e and they were racial in tone. >> all that and it's not even february yeand they were racial in tone. >> all that and it's not even february yet. the following is a cnn special report. only being a politician for a short period of time. how am i doing? hey, i'm pretty. can you believe it, right? >> a shadow hangs over the white house. >> why so many lies? >> this is not normal. >> the most explosive evidence yet in the russia investigation. >> the urgent questions. >> mr. president -- >> was it appropriate for you to meet with russian officials. >> is it true that mr. manafort owes you millions of dollars? >> how is that not collusion?
>> at the heart of the trump russia mystery. >> i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person that i deal with does. >> but there were secret contacts. >> breaking and stunning news, the release of an e-mail chain. >> someone sent mow an e-mail. >> it came from russians. >> some denials that defy the facts. >> i don't even know what you're talking about. it's crazy. >> it's disgusting. it's so phony. >> i diplomat take adn't take a russia if that's what you're asking. >> a shocking dismissal. >> the president of the united states has terminated the director of the fbi. >> he's a showboat, he's a grandstander. >> those are lying, plain and simple. >> president trump is changing stories. >> i own nothing in russia. i don't have any deals with russia. i've done a lot of business with the russians. >> compliments for vladimir putin. >> he is really very much of a leader. he's done an amazing job. so smart. >> where does this story end? >> you may or may not find
evidence of an impeachable offense. >> the russia story is a total fabrication. it's just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of american politics. good evening. i'm pamela brown. for more than a year, i've been part of the cnn team investigating this critically important story. a consensus of u.s. intelligence agencies concluded that russia interfered with a treasured right of american democracy, the free and fair election of a president. the big question now, were the russians working with any associates of donald trump or his company or his campaign?
we followed hundreds of different threads. the financers have reported new information almost every day. tonight we'll bring that reporting all together in one place to tell a more complete story. we don't know how this investigative journey will end, but we do know where it starts. ♪ in november of 2013, donald trump brought the miss universe pageant to moscow. >> russia and putin. you know, i was in moscow, and they treated me so great. putin even sent me a present. a beautiful present. >> hi, everybody. welcome to moscow! >> it's an amazing location. and moscow and all of russia is
going wild over it. we're very happy the miss universe pageant is just setting records. >> trump seemed to have the time of his life. >> wow. that is really -- you're looking very russian. >> now i belong. >> the big man on campus, donald trump. >> this is the unlikely place where an unusual cast of characters first emerged. ♪ look into my eyes >> men who would end up in the middle of an investigation that has plagued a presidency. donald trump was paid between 12 and $20 million to bring miss universe to russia. >> russia wanted it, moscow wanted it. everybody wanted the miss universe. we had 18 countries that wanted it. they fought really hard to get it. >> the money came from this man,
arov aga lairov. sometimes called the trump of russia. >> then they were whisked away to the magnificent agalarov estate. >> miss universe was a family affair. son emin sang at the pageant. and his mom got a job, too. >> fashion and beauty expert, irina agalarova. >> trump seemed thrilled with his new russian friends. >> the richest men in russia. >> before the pageant, trump invited the aga gp larovs to las vegas. it was guess who is coming to dinner trump style. music publicist rob goldstone, a fan of silly facebook posts. he's the man who wrote the
infamous e-mails to donald trump jr. e-mails that promised dirt on hillary clinton. emin, the singer, would later help goldstone set up the trump meetings. and there was one more mystery guest that would later show up at trump tower, ike kavaladze. he wined and kind all of them. >> we invited president putin. i know he'd like to go. >> before the miss universe deal, donald trump almost never spoke of vladimir putin. it was 2013 when he seemed to develop an intense admiration for the russian strongman. >> he's put himself really as, you know, a lot of people would say, he's put himself at the forefront of the world as a leader. putin has done an amazing job of showing certain leadership that our people have not been able to
match. >> he would echo those sentiments many times in the years to come. >> russia, i mean, putin has an 80% popularity in this country. he's so outsmarting the united states, and all of a sudden the people in russia like him. run by a very smart cookie, much smarter, much more cunning than our president. >> this was also when trump first began giving conflicting accounts about knowing putin. >> do you have a relationship with vladimir putin, a conversational relationship? >> i do have a relationship. >> what exactly is your relationship with vladimir putin? >> i have no relationship with putin. >> he would change his story repeatedly. >> i know him very well because we were both on "60 minutes." we were stablemates and we did very well that night. i have nothing to do with putin. i've never spoken to him. i don't know anything about him other than he'll respect me. >> congratulations to you. good night, everybody, from moscow. >> vladimir putin did not show up at the pageant, but trump
made other contacts. >> i got the meet all of the leaders, i mean, everybody was there. it was a massive event. i was at the top level people, oligarchs and generals. >> it's hard to say if ol ig arcs or generals were at the party. >> i mean, everybody was there. it was a massive event. it was tremendous. >> but trump did have at least one business meeting. >> we're thinking about doing a trump tower moscow, so we're talking to a group of people about doing that. >> trump sent this good-bye tweet to his new russian friends. fantastic job, he says, trump tower moscow is next. four years would pass but the players of miss universe would return to take center stage in the trump russia drama. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> the most explosive evidence yet in the russia investigation.
>> it was in july just six months ago. >> breaking and stunning news, the release of an e-mail chain from last june. >> that the world first learned about the trump tower meeting. >> e-mails revealed that donald trump jr. went into a meeting with a russian lawyer. >> say hello to don jr. >> the president's son had a secret meeting with russians. >> clearly told she was working for the kremlin and that she had damaging information on hillary clinton. >> there he is. >> and it wasn't just don jr. paul manafort and jared kushner were there, too. >> the subject line of the e-mail chain, russia, clinton, private and confidential. >> i thought it might have been fake. >> it looks kind of like a farcical episode. >> russia hyphen clinton private and confidential? >> who follow them down that rat hole? >> not very smart people. >> what? >> seriously, what? >> some of the e-mails read like a script for a bond movie. but they were written by rob
goldstone and donald trump jr. information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia and would be very useful to your father. >> this can't be dismissed as people out to get donald j. trump jr. or fake news. this is evidence of willingness to commit collusion. >> the offer of political dirt came courtesy of aras agalarov with help from his son. >> this is obviously very high level and sensitive information, but is part of russia and its government's support for mr. trump. >> when donald trump jr. is told the russian government is trying to elect your father president, he doesn't say, what do you mean? how can that be? he says, i want to hear this.
>> the actual response? >> if it's what you say, i love it. >> the trump confusing. the first response, trump jr. told "the new york times" it was, quote, a short introductory meeting primarily about russian adoption. cnn reported that president trump helped write the statement while he was flying home from the g-20 summit. >> he weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do. >> but the statement was misleading. so there were questions about how large a role the president might have played in crafting it. >> it is something that i think the special counsel is very interested in, and he wants to know who was involved in the writing of it. >> if a misleading statement was put out, the core question is
the classic question of intent. were trump administration officials starting with the president himself lying to the public about the nature of his campaign dealings with russia? >> the mueller team has questioned some who were on air force one when the statement was being written including white house communications director hope hicks. when the story of the meeting first broke, trump defenders downplayed it. >> i don't know much about it other than it seems to be a big nothing burger. >> one of those people where it says nothing burger. >> this is a massive nothing burger. >> hillary clinton. >> finally don jr. acknowledged the ful story, that he had met with a russian lawyer offering dirt on hillary clinton. >> the story kept changing about what the meeting was about. >> we got more information when donald trump jr. appeared on fox news. >> someone sent me an e-mail. i can't help what someone sends
me. you know? i read it. i responded accordingly. if there was something interesting there. >> the difference in this case was that it came from russians. >> russia, america's adversary. sean hannity did not press trump jr. about russian interference, but one year earlier jake tapper did. he asked trump jr. about what were then still just suspicions. >> robbie muck, the campaign manager for secretary of state hillary clinton, i asked him about the dnc leak, and he suggested that experts are saying that russians were behind both the hacking of the dnc e-mails and their release. >> keep in mind as you watch this, it was six weeks after the trump tower meeting, after trump jr. had been told russia wanted to help his father win. >> well, it just goes to show you their exact moral compass.
they'll say anything to be able to win this. this is time and time again, lie of lie. it's disgusting. it's so phony. >> journalists began questioning everything they heard. >> you're 100% confident that no one in the campaign, not don jr., not jared kushner, not paul manafort, no one in the campaign told the president anything about these e-mails, anything about this meeting before it happened and he will testify under oath? >> no one's asked him to testify under oath on this, so i don't know how that's coming into the picture. the president was not at the meeting, was not aware of the meeting, did not participate in the meeting. the fact was the president wasn't involved. >> there's a political side which is you're out there and you're saying constantly there was no effort to collude with the russians in any way, shape or form and suddenly you have your son, your campaign manager and your senior adviser all in a
meeting with russians who have promised to bring you dirt. >> on the very same day, his son set up that meeting, donald trump told a crowd that he would soon have something to share on the clintons. >> i am going to give a major speech on probably monday of next week, and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. i think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. >> trump never did give that speech, but finally, with all of washington buzzing about the trump tower meeting, donald trump weighed in from france. >> i think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting. it's called opposition research or even research into your opponent. >> even among republicans the response was really?
>> even when you're in a campaign and you get offer from a foreign government to help your campaign, the answer is no. >> from the moment you watch dr. zhivago to the point that you had a shot of liquor with a man in a furry hat, you need to reveal every contact you had with someone from russia. >> donald jr. said he did all of that. >> this is everything. this is everything. >> but it was not everything. there were more russians there who were never mentioned. >> today we learned more people were in that meeting than just the lawyer and the three members of the trump team. >> so you're learning more about who was the eighth person in the meeting between donald trump jr.? >> he was a representative of the agalarov meeting. >> cnn reveals there was somebody else in the meeting. we're waiting to find out if there were any russians who were in new york that day who were
not in that meeting. >> the people were trump jr., paul manafort, rob goldstone and three russian men. an agalarov executive ike caval assy and an attorney, natalia vessel net s vessel snet sky ya. at first she denied any connection to the russian government. >> have you ever worked for the russian government? do you have connections to the russian government? >> but she does have connections to the chief prosecutor in russia who she shared her talking points with months before the trump tower meeting. she also denied bringing up any dirt on hillary clinton. >> translator: i want to make sure that everybody understands that there was never a talk about damaging information about
mrs. clinton. >> now she says she may have had dirt about alleged illegal donations to the clinton campaign. >> natalia says she provided certain documents to the russian prosecutor general. >> agalarov family attorney spoke with veselnitskaya. >> she makes reference to the possibility that money was also provided to the hillary clinton campaign. >> i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person that i deal with does. >> donald trump said that in february. no people has now grown to 12 people. trump associates who had contacts with russians. two of the most prominent have been charged with crimes. michael flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi. paul manafort pleaded not guilty to, among other charges, money laundering. you'll hear more about them later in this story.
but one lesser known player is also in the hot seat, donald trump first mentioned him at a meeting with "washington post" editors in 2016. >> george papadopoulos, he's an oil and energy consultant, excellent guy. >> excellent guy george papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi in the russia investigation. >> mr. president you called george papadopoulos an excellent guy. what's your reaction? >> thank you very much. >> the trump team has been working overtime to portray him as a nobody. >> this individual was a member of a voluntary advisory council. >> he's the coffee boy. if he was going to wear a wire all we know is if he prefers a caramel macchiato over regular coffee. >> but the coffee boy found his way to the big boy table with donald trump and other campaign people. >> he doesn't know how to even
make coffee. >> the fiancee of george papadopoulos says he was much more than a coffee boy. >> he attended many events and entertained >> he was actively giving his input and insight in terms of strategies. >> and it turns out papadopoulos may be the very reason there is a trump russia investigation. "the new york times" reports that back in may of 2016, papadopoulos told an australian diplomat that the kremlin had thousands of e-mails that could be damaging to hillary clinton. two months later, the e-mails began to leak. australia told u.s. officials what's the young campaign aide had said, and that apparently played a role in the decision to open up an fbi investigation. papadopoulos is now cooperating with the mueller team. when we come back -- >> the president thinks it's a witch-hunt.
there any way you can respond to that? >> before there was a mueller investigation. >> he's become more famous than me. >> there was a comey investigation. >> i remember standing in the newsroom, and somebody gasped and went -- and i thought oh, god, what happened? >> the james comey bombshell that no one saw coming. >> it's a dark moment in american history today. (burke) at farmers, we've seen almost everything so we know how to cover almost anything. even a swing set standoff. and we covered it, july first, twenty-fifteen. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ theratears® uniquefer from the electrolyte formula, corrects the salt imbalance that causes dry eye.
just over 100 days in office, president trump scored a much needed win after a house vote on health care. >> only being a politician for a short period of time, how am i doing? am i doing okay? i'm president. hey, i'm president! can you believe it, right? >> but days later, he made a decision that potentially put his presidency in legal and political jeopardy. >> we have major breaking news. >> moments ago, breaking news that no one saw coming today. >> i remember standing in the newsroom, and somebody gasped. >> a bombshell at the white house. james comey is out.
>> president trump had abruptly fired the man in charge of investigating his campaign's ties to russia. although the president is allowed to fire the fbi director, there were suspicions about trump's motivations. >> this is not normal. this is not how presidents behave. it's a dark moment in american history today. >> one senator says it has plunged the country and i quote here, a full-fledged constitutional crisis. >> it fueled calls for a special prosecutor and raised questions about how comey was handled. >> comey wasn't even in the city. he was all the way across the country. >> he found out by looking up and seeing it on the television. >> okay. i've just got to stop it. he was talking to fbi agents in los angeles, and he looks up, and he sees that he is fired from television. . that is what we are told. >> that just gives you a sense of how impulsive this firing was. and it really did backfire.
>> the underlying facts are not in dispute. the president fired james comey. the issue is why. >> did something specific happen? was there a moment? >> the white house coms department didn't know about this. >> the media team was scrambling to answer reporters' questions. >> they couldn't come up with some talking points, a statement and explanation, like the basic facts. >> and sean spicer was left standing by the bushes. >> no cameras up. >> hold on. turn the lights -- >> no cameras in a moment. you'll do some one and one. >> relax and enjoy the night. have a glad glass of wine. >> they definitely didn't tell the press office because they thought the press office would leak it. that was at that moment when he was hugely mistrustful of his own staff. >> at first a memo written by deputy attorney general rod rosenstein was given as justification for the firing. rosenstein was overseeing the russia investigation after attorney general jeff sessions had recused himself. that recusal had infuriated
president trump, who reportedly saw it as disloyal. >> he had expected a certain measure of personal loyalty in session which is not how the u.s. presidency is supposed to work. >> "the new york times" reported when trump heard sessions might recuse himself, he order white house counsel don mcgahn to stop it that effort was unsuccessful and trump is still angry at jeff sessions. >> it's all a bump of dominos that seemed to kind of fall. rod rosenstein appointed the special counsel. and he believes there would not be a special counsel if jeff sessions had actually remained engaged in the russia investigation. >> "the times" reports that special counsel robert mueller is looking at the whole matter as a possible obstruction of justice case. meanwhile, on the night of the comey firing, the chaos continue. >> what was it? >> you'll have to ask the deputy attorney general. >> but he just started two weeks
ago. had the white house told him to do that? >> the memo was critical of comey's handling of hillary clinton's e-mails before the election. >> why now are you concerned about the hillary clinton e-mail investigation when as a candidate, donald trump was praising it from the campaign trail? >> i think you're looking at the wrong set of facts here. in other words, you're going back to the campaign. this man is a president of the united states. he acted decisively today. he took the recommendation of his deputy attorney general who -- >> that makes no sense. >> finally, trump gave what appeared to be his real reason. >> i said, you know, this russia thing with president trump and russia is a made-up story. it's an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that they should have won. >> the day after comey was fired trump shared his feelings about it with russian officials visiting the oval office. according to "the new york times," the president said, "i just fired the head of the fbi.
he was crazy, a real nut job." >> it was a staggering moment, disparaging the director of the fbi who he had fired to an adversarial power. >> perhaps of greater importance is when if president said this. i face great pressure because of russia. that's taken off. >> the words "relieving pressure" i think are going to raise questions for investigators. >> thank you very much. >> the president has consistently said that he did not obstruct justice when he fired james comey. >> mr. comey -- >> the two men come from completely different worlds. >> james comey is a professional lawman. he has a respect for the traditions of the justice department. >> should it be about the facts and the law. that's why i became fbi director. >> donald trump, on the other hand sack, businessman. >> he expects absolute loyalty from everybody working for him. that's the