tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN March 2, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
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both of them out of the white house. maej maggie haberman spoke to a source that says it's different. the source says this past week is different. it's been quite a week, maggie haberman joins us now. i read your article, it's incredible. what's your latest understanding about the president's feelings about his daughter and son-in-law being in the white house? does he want them in or out of the administration? >> it's always more complicated than that, anderson. and we've had many it rations of this, going back to 2016, where the president was being encouraged to have jared kushner leave because of the russian investigation. the president's closest emotional relationship is to his daughter. the relationship is different than any other relationship that he has, except with his wife. he, i think given his druthers would like her to say, but is aware that she has gotten dinged up in the press and feels responsibly.
he believes, as we hear him say, he's treated unfairly, she's treated unfairly. jared kushner is a different story. jared kushner, while on the one hand, the president has some pangs of sympathy to whatever extent he has those, he feels that jared kushner are earning negative headlines, splashing back to the president. he never likes it when aides or advisers end up with these headlines. he feels like it makes him look bad and there is going to be a limit to how much of this he is going to take. you add into the fact that the security clearance issue is not entirely clear about jared kushner. we know he was downgraded. we don't know what that means functionally in terms of how he's going to be able to do his job. you could see a scenario where ivanka trump would stay in the white house and maybe jared kushner would leave and be part of a campaign office being built down in d.c. or whatever office they have there. this move to promote brad
parscale to campaign manager in 2020 was widely seen as a jared kushner play and widely seen about setting his own parameters with john kelly. but i think the president is growing weary of this. this is a president however, as you know who says different things to different people and he can believe them in that moment and convince himself that is actually the case. >> i want to make sure that we are transmitting it exactly how you reported it. the president has had conversations with john kelly or approached john kelly about what to do with ivanka trump and jared kushner? >> he has had conversations about what to do with them. he has said to a couple of people, jared has to go very specifically. and then he has polled other people about should they stay or
go. and he has been be a little more explicit with kelly and a bunch of people in the white house are aware of it to the extent that several aides are confused as to why both have stayed. >> gloria borger talked to a source, a presidential ally who says, quote, something is very wrong at the white house. i'm wondering, is that consistent with the sense you're getting from people you talk to, the current bout of instability, however you describe it, is unique even by the standards of the trump white house? >> absolutely. i thought gloria's piece was spot on. everyone sounds very alarmed. people who know the president well and people who have come to work for him recently. something has changed. they can't quite put their finger on what it is. but things around the white house feel, in the words of several west wing advisers, a lot like the early weeks of the trump administration when there was total chaos. one side of the white house didn't know what the other side was doing. there was open warfare between
different factions. this feels more free fall and it's been accelerated in large part by the rob porter issue, both because you're absent a staffer, a key one. he helped move a lot of policy and was playing a bunch of crucial rolls and an adviser to john kelly. it exposes that if you don't have systems in place, such as the security clearances, a lot of problems arise and it's taken the air of command and control that john kelly had managed to create around himself as bringing order to the white house, that has just gone. >> i mean the reporting i saw today about the meeting with steele executives, a lot of people in the white house didn't know that the president was going to announce regarding tariffs. >> that's completely accurate. i spoke to one adviser the night before who was talking about how many people needed to come in early essentially to try to
triangulate against the possibility that the markets could open down based on whatever the white house decided to do. this is wearying and toxic for most of the people who work there. most of whom want to do good work and are not there to have fun. >> the president and first lady are at mar-a-lago. we called the cnn weather center, the forecast for palm beach is nice -- >> but windy. >> mid 70s, maybe a little breezy we were told. i don't know if that bodes well, if that's the adjective to use, unless the president sees something on tv before or after his 18 holes. >> the other factor to put in there is there's this rnc fund-raiser this weekend and you're going to get the president doing his greatest hits, how he won and the russia
hoax and he may work himself into a lather for that. >> maggie, thanks for that. fabulous reporting. earlier this week the president met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, told them the gun lobby had less power over him, is that the case? could he be changing his mind and caving to the nra? a new twitter battle between president trump and actor alec baldwin. a perfect way to end the week. more than a thousand workers are starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day. putting money back in the pockets of millions of americans. as one of those workers, i'm proud to bring you gillette quality for less, because nobody can beat the men and women of gillette. gillette - the best a man can get.
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of congress are not sure after the president's latest face-to-face meeting with the nra, the second this week. on wednesday, the president met with a bipartisan group, that's when he seemed to support stronger background checks, raising the minimum wage for buying rifles. all of which the gun lobby opposes. the president insisted that he wouldn't be pushed around by the nra. take a look. >> the reason i had lunch with the nra on sunday, i called them and said you have to come over. i said, fellas, we got to do something. they do have great power, i agree with that. they have great power over you people. they have less power over me. what do i need? >> so that was wednesday just a couple of days after his first meeting of the week with the nra. now the second meeting with the group came the very next day, actually last night. chris cox, the executive director of the nra lobbying arm
was in the room. he shortly tweeted i had a great meeting with donald trump and pence. potus and the vice president support the second amendment, support strong due process and don't want gun control. that's the leading two questions, of course, of where the white house stands on gun control. earlier tonight i spoke with congressman elizabeth estee. the democrat represents the folks of newtown where the sandy hook shooting took place. sarah sanders went out and soft pedaled what was said at the meeting on wednesday. and then said the president had not shifted his point. do you know what to believe at this point? >> i don't think any of us know what to believe. at the end of the day it comes down to my view, one of two things, either we pass serious legislation or people are going to turn out in november and vote
for a congress that's going to do something about this issue. that's what i'm hearing from people and i think that's why the president, in many ways would like to do something. i think he knows that in his gut. >> you think this really will become a voting issue for those who want more gun control? because in the past, though obviously you know people have raised -- you know, raised this as an issue it hasn't been a thing that's driven people to the polls. >> no, it hasn't. and as someone who represents newtown and got elected to congress just a few weeks before that, i think all of us in america, and frankly across the world, thought that congress would act and congress would act immediately in the wake of that horrific slaughter of school children. but i think in some ways we were too much in shock. i don't know why. but this time i'll tell you what's different it's the students from parkland. they have the passion and know
this is wrong. they are part of the newtown generation. they've grown up with active shooter drills and they know this is wrong and they shouldn't be in classrooms walking over the bodies of their classmates, and they are angry, and they're right to be angry. and i do think we're going to see them and their parents and friends and older sisters and brothers showing up in november if nothing serious -- let me say nothing serious happens. >> the meeting that the president had the other day it did sort of remind me of the meeting he had weeks ago on immigration, it was a bipartisan meeting in which he seemed all over the map. he would say to democrats, basically seemed to be backing their positions and then when republicans in the room would sort of steer him back to the republican positions he would go-to-back to the republican positions but he was talking about comprehensive immigration reform. he's talking about comprehensive
measures on gun control. do you think the president understands these issues enough or actually has a position? >> as somebody who was at that meeting, i can tell you a lot of us were surprised by a lot of thing that is he said. certainly everyone was surprised when he pushed back on steve scalise, who himself survived a shooting in this last year, when he was pushing for concealed carry permits and reciprocity across the country and the president twice emphatically said no, that's not going to be in a big bill that goes in front of congress right now. and he's right about that, that would not pass in the senate, so he's right to say no on that. i think that did surprise a lot of us. >> it interesting because i don't think the president is willing to meet with a group of bipartisan lawmakers and talk about gun issues on camera but only meets with the nra behind
closed doors which he's done twice this week. >> i noticed that too. he likes the idea of doing something nobody else has done. that was very clear at the meeting. he said over and over, you know, why didn't anything happen in the past, because i wasn't there. you didn't have someone like me. he likes the idea of doing something nobody else can be k do and has been able to do. so we'll see. if he can really take on the nra, if he's willing to do that, he sounded like he was willing to do that on wednesday but then we're hearing different things, tweets out this morning and tweets from the nra saying he doesn't want to make any changes. >> congresswoman, appreciate your time. >> thanks very much, anderson. >> president trump didn't confine himself to tweeting about domestic and international issues. he also reignited a war with alec baldwin, who imitates the president on "saturday night live." detail osthat ahead.
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it's a rare day when president trump can resist tweeting. remember all the way back to last week when he was twitterless for 48 hour gs. it was actually a thing far while. along with tweeting about steel today, he did find time to tweet about the actor alec baldwin. randi kaye has all the back and forth. >> i am not a crook. okay. plus, i bet nixon got one scoop of ice cream for desert but i get two scoops. two scoops. >> reporter: alec baldwin doing his best impression of president trump donald trump on "saturday night live." >> it may seem what's coming out of my mouth is all b-a-n-a-n-a-z. >> reporter: when the hollywood reporter asked him this week how long he can keep playing donald trump, baldwin responded "every time i do it now, it's like agony. agony." that wasn't lost on the man in the oval office. before dawn friday morning,
despite all that is happening in the world, donald trump started a twitter feud with the median. alec baldwin whose dieing me mediocre career was saved by his teeshl impression of me on snl. >> it's been a huge joy for her. >> reporter: meanwhile, trump's original tweet had to be deleted and reposted after he called the actor alex instead of alex and misspelled the word "dying." baldwin never one to back down from a good fight tweeted back. about an hour later, agony though it may be, i would like to hang in there for the impeachment hearings, the resignation speech, the farewell helicopter ride. you know, the good stuff that we've all been waiting for. the actor later went on to tweet "looking forward to the trump presidential library.
a putting green, recipes for chocolate cake, a live twitter feed for visitors to post on. a little black book with a phone numbers of porn stars. you're in and out in five minutes. just like -- this isn't the first time that trump has criticized baldwin's impersonations of him. >> you think i care about optics. look at me, i sit on every toilet. >> reporter: two months after baldwin's snl debut as trump in 2016, trump tweeted calling the show, totally unwatchable and not funny. adding baldwin's impersonation can't get any worse. the tweet ended with trump's trademark sad. despite what the president thinks, baldwin's impersonation is a hit. ♪ when the actor hosted snl, it had the largest audience since 2011. and his impersonation won him an emmy award. >> at long last, mr. president, here is your emmy. >> reporter: on jimmy kimmel's late night show.
baldwin talked about his first dress rehearsal playing the president. >> it was like a scene from the mental hospital. i'm getting the wig on me -- >> reporter: in this latest twitter feud, it seems baldwin had the last laugh. tweeting at trump, and mr. president, please ask your wife to stop calling me for snl tickets. randi kaye, cnn new york. >> only new york. there's more ahead tonight. up next the president's chief of staff raises a lot of questions when he revisits the rob porter scandal and miss represents his handling of the accusations that mr. porter physically or emotionally abused two ex-wives. . otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable
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how do you solve this? you don't. you partner with a firm that advises governments and the fortune 500, and, can deliver insight person to person, on what matters to you. morgan stanley. your hair is so soft! did you use head and shoulders two in one? i did mom. wanna try it? yes. it intensely moisturizes your hair and scalp and keeps you flake free. manolo? look at my soft hair. i should be in the shot now too. try head and shoulders two in one. keeping them honest tonight, john kelly, the white house chief of staff, revisiting the rob porter affair. and being less than truthful about it. again, gas lighting trying to convince us that the facts aren't the facts. we're not seeing what we're seeing. porter, you'll recall, is the white house staff secretary who resigned after spousal abuse allegations came to light from two ex-wives. at the time the white house spun the account of what they knew and when they knew it that was
incomplete, to say the least, and inaccurate. then the parkland tragedy pushed it out of the headlines until general kelly brought it back today revisiting his handling in the scandal, according to cnn reporting that left white house staffers stunned, puzzled or saying that general kelly was not telling the truth. he said he learned of, quote, "a series accusation of porter on february 6th when the daily mail began asking the white house for the reaction to the story they were about to run." he described it as, quote, just the accusation of a messy divorce and maybe emotional abuse. this was early that evening. kelly then says, quote, we put out a statement of for him him and an hour later found out there's a second report, still not in the press, still no pictures, be that says his first wife of 15 years ago said there was physical abuse. the first describes him as being someone of the highest of integrity and exemplary
character. they stuck with that through the following day even though they knew about the dailymail.com allegations of physical abuse by both women. here is jenny willoghby described it. >> perhaps the first and only physical abuse i suffered. after an argument we were yelling in each other's facing, which had become the norm in our marriage, and i removed myself from the situation to take a shower. to cool down. disengage from the situation. he came to the shower and opened the door and pulled me out to continue yelling at me. >> he put his hands on you and pulled you out? >> yeah. >> was that a startling moment for you? >> i think up until that moment, i didn't realize that i was in an abusive marriage. i think that sounds almost ridiculous coming out of my mouth given how i can speak about it and remember things now, but i don't know it was until that moment that i
realized i was with a man who was capable of something like that. >> jenny willoughby keeping them honest. our reporting is that general kelly and two others were told in november of last year about domestic issues and the fbi background check was completed last july, but that porter never got a permanent clearance. which makes it hard to imagine this came as a total surprise a couple weeks ago. i talked about that with jenny willoughby, as well as the importance of credible allegations being taken seriously. the white house won't answer what general kelly knew when he knew it. to what extent he knew about the reports, the allegations that both of you had made. there's a new statement out from general kelly he said he was shocked by the new allegations and, quote, there's no place for domestic violence. is it important to you that somebody like general kelly believes your story? >> it's important to me in general that anyone who is
coming forward with a story like that is believed upfront. that it's not on the burden of proof for me or anyone else to justify those claims, and that the conversation around abuse or assault or even misogyny in general doesn't automatically turn to, well, he's really great, could it be she's exaggerating or not telling the truth or it's not as bad as they're making it out to be. because there's very little evidence that any woman would bring that kind of scrutiny upon themselves to share these types of details. i didn't ask for this. i would never have share ed these types of details as publicly if the media hadn't come to me with this moment to do that. >> that's jenny willoughby, rob porter's second wife, shortly after rob porter stepped down. she put out a statement late today responding to general kelly, saying, quote, my sadness
i feel is when kelly defended his first statement of rob saying thsa. she went on to say he changed the statement after realizing it was physical abuse. emotional and psychological abuse is abuse. in the last hour i spoke with dailymail.com editor whose website broke the story in the first place and deconstructed the new kelly time line today. what did you tell sara sanders and raj shaw when you met with them on february 6th about what was going to be in the story. >> i spent 20 minutes with them in sara's office. daily mail.com had been doing a lot of reporting on this. working with both of porter's ex-wives. i gave them a very complete read on what was going to be in that first story. i actually, just before that broadcast brought up my notes from that meeting, i read for myself what i read to them. i told them that dailymail.com
determined that porter had grabbed his wife by the shoulders and yanked her out of the shower naked. we told them the date that happened. i explained how we were going to report at dailymail.com he had punched the window out, a pane of glass on their front door when she threatened to call the police because he was violating the separation agreement by being in the apartment. we told them about the temporary restraining order she filed. that she was walking on egg shells throughout her honeymoon. even she miscarried a pregnancy of six weeks because of the stress of being around porter. the idea that consisted of emotional abuse doesn't trap. there was physical abuse there. and one other correction, anderson. we didn't tell the white house about the first wife, colbie holderness, until the next morning. the idea that john kelly heard an hour after i came into sara's office, that there would be a second story with the black eye
pictures makes no sense to me at all. daily mail.com is doing the reporting. i didn't tell them about the second story until the following morning. >> just to be clear, there's no way they could have misunderstood what you were sharing with them? i mean, you mentioned not only the yanking of jenny willoughby out of the shower, but also the fact that there had been an order of protection that had been filed? >> right. yeah. and sara, you know, to her credit, took notes during the meeting. asked good questions. i think she had a clear idea of what was going on. what's really curious to me is the ef designation of the statements from john kelly. at 7:00 when we were ready to pull the trigger on the story, they sent, you know, me an e-mail and i forwarded it to my editors, and we ran this with john kelly's glowing statement, and sarah huckabee-sanders' glowing statement, and a denial from porter. by the next day, after we had run the second story with the black eye photo, sara still read that same glowing statement from john kelly at the podium in the briefing roof before announcing he resigned. so all of this is very curious.
and, you know, general kelly is saying today that porter resigned his job to him that tuesday before our first story ran. but the story that we ran carried a statement from him saying in the present tense that i'm proud to work with him. >> right. i noticed that. >> it's just more questions than answers. >> right. implied he was still working there because it was all in the present tense. when chief of staff kelly today said he had been told about so-called emotional abuse. does that make any sense? >> not unless sarah huckabee-sanders was keeping facts from john kelly, this is career suicide. she's smarter than that. this is a man who worked for john kelly. we know from our reporting and you confirmed it, as well, at cnn. that the fbi gave kelly a deep dive into rob porter in november of last year. we also know, from what chris wray said on the hill, that both of the ex-wives had spoken to the fbi about this earlier in 2017. there's no question to me that general kelly got information from the fbi that should have
raised red flags for him by the bucketful. there's no question in my mind he got a complete read that tuesday night of what i had explained to sarah huckabee-sanders about our reporting. >> the other thing i don't get is why general kelly would not only try to re-litigate this today but also give himself a pat on the back at the same time. >> yeah. it really was, i think, an unforced error. there's no reason for him to re-litigate any of this, much less all of it. we can speculate about whether he's worried about his job being on the line. he's trying to explain he's got it under control. we simply don't know. what i can tell you is talking to officials at the white house is that porter was considered a trusted and important deputy to kelly. he was general kelly's second eyes and ears in the oval office. i think it's likely that the general was willing to sweep some things under the rug because he needed porter. >> yeah. >> but we told him everything we had. and if general kelly says he didn't know about the physical abuse, that just doesn't make
sense. i mean, your last point gets to the question. if daily mail.com hadn't done this reporting, would this -- would the actions, you know, have been taken that were taken? unluckily -- we don't know the answer to that. >> it's hard to know. all we know is by the next day they were still supporting him from the podium. and it took general kelly, i think, about 14 hours after we ran the story with colbie holderness's black eye photos for him to issue a second statement and condemn domestic abuse. and the day after that, the president was saying in the oval office that rob porter was the one who was sad. let's get perspective on this now. joining us is former trump white house lawyer drew schultz and kristy quinn and president of women in need. and former colleague of general kelly's. jim, i'm wondering, do you see this as a mess that chief of staff kelly has gotten himself back into sort of unnecessarily today by bringing this up? he basically survived this. he's now kind of voluntarily
waded back into it. >> yeah. i don't get why he raised it again today from a p.r. or political perspective why he would go out of his way to raise this again today. i think you accurately stated that earlier. and i also think it's undisputable there's holes and discrepancies in the story. no question. >> christine, do you belief the chief of staff has credibility when it comes to what he knew about rob porter and when? there seems like there have been so many different stories from this white house and from kelly. >> there's no credibility left here. we've seen everything he's laid out today just be refuted and every time line and day just over and over has proved to be incorrect. i think the question everyone is asking themselves is why did general kelly re-bring this up tonight? and, you know, the only really thing i can think of is that he just doesn't think it's that series. he doesn't think it's a topic that you don't want back in the media. or he wants to prove to the
president that he will lie in incidents when it is necessary. it's baffling why somebody would do this. and he has no credibility. >> let me push back on that. he could have convinced himself that he's right on this and, you know, given his record of service and stuff he feels he's, you know, wants to set the record straight as he sees it. even if the record doesn't seem to be the actually setting it straight. >> a man of his stature and the position he's in, if he has convinced himself of something before you go out on international television and national television, you should go back and check the facts. i can't believe someone of his stature and his experience would re-put out a time line without checking what he had said before. it makes no sense. >> general -- >> he did acknowledge mishandling in the statement today, anderson. and did acknowledge the issue that there -- that this was not their finest hour. no question.
>> i think he was talking about the white house staff in general, though. general, this would be a problem for any chief of staff. but for a general who was brought in to instill order and better standards and make the trains run on time in the west wing, i'm wondering how it reflects on his judgment and leadership. >> anderson, what i would say, first of all, you can't excuse what happened in the situation. you can attempt to explain it. that's what john kelly was attempting to do today. what i'll tell you is i, and guys like kelly, reach the senior levels of leadership in the military, we have a lot of cases that come to us from either our staff, judge advocate or chief of staff saying we got an individual in the command who has done this. you know even if it's someone close to you, which i had experience with, you stop saying anything about that individual until you get the full facts. it's the old, you know, first reports are always wrong. they may be but you better check it out. but again, i've been listening to all the guests tonight, and
they've been talking about be this as if it was an isolated incident in terms of what was going on. remember, you know, john kelly is a marine. he comes in wanting to instill discipline and processes and systems to the white house. and it is a dysfunctional wi organization with a lot of brief floating electrons. this is probably one of about a million things he's handling. it's the most complexing and unbelievably difficult problems he's trying to handle. so, again, that's not an excuse but it's one of those kind of things where as a military guy, you had a staff security officer, the white house has the security office, you say get those security clearances done. fix them or tell me what is wrong. in this case, i think there was a tell in john kelly's statement today to the press when he said i had multiple spread sheets of people without security clearances. that tells me he's probably pulling his hair out because he's got so many problems to deal with. this is just another one while he's trying to help with daca,
tax reform, gays in the military and everything else that the president is tweeting about or driving in terms of what he's doing as the chief of staff. so we can't look at this as a vacuum. it's inexcusable. don't get me wrong. but you can try and explain it by so many things on the plate. i don't understand why he went out today and brought an old story back into the news. that's just not very smart. >> anderson -- >> the president did the right thing here. in putting john kelly in charge. of making determinations on security clearances that have gone on for too long. i think that's worth noting here, the president put him in charge of that, even though security clearances that pertain to his children. the white house is getting on the right track as it pertains to the security clearances and reforming the process going forward. >> yeah.
as i said before, it's one of a million things he's in charge of. when you're a chief of staff used to military operations, you're used to the organization doing routine things routinely. the white house hasn't shown that yet. it you tell me john kelly, the chief of staff of the white house, is in charge of security clearances, he may be over watching them and demanding they get fixed, but i'm concerned about why it took so long to get status and updates when he seemed to know what the problems were. >> right. and that's the question. and with all due respect to the general, i think you probably perfectly described being chief of staff in the white house. but that's the job that the general signed up for. and that's the job he has to do. clearly he isn't doing it to the standard of having all those balls in the air and taking care of important things. the way the american people need them taken care of, like domestic abuse. >> i appreciate it. coming up next, new reporting on another potential overlap between jared kushner's family finances.
and public policy in this case culminating in a full-blown international incident. later the president takes on the nra on live television. you saw that. then host the nra top lobbyist in private at the white house and appears to be changing his tune about taking on the nra. at least according to the nra. ♪ no, please, please, oh! ♪ (shrieks in terror) (heavy breathing and snorting) no, no. the running of the bulldogs? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money aleia saved by switching to geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. ♪ i'm walkin♪ wow! nshine ♪ i'm walking on sunshine ♪ wow! ♪ applebee's handcrafted burgers. any burger just $7.99. now that's eatin good in the neighborhood.
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there's new reporting. the headline jared kushner's real estate firm sought money directly from qatar government weeks before blockade. they did not get it. a month later, a group of other mideast countries launched a series of moves including an economic blockade of qatar. are they connected. two reporters joining us now. can you go into detail about the kushner real estate firm seeking money directly from the government from the qatar minister of finance last april? >> in some ways, it's fairly simple story. you know, the kushner companies fortune depends on the success of an investment that kushner himself made about 10 years ago. this property at 666 fifth avenue. he paid the highest price in manhattan real estate history. wildly overpaid and overpaid at the top of the bubble. so the bubble bursts. now they're in huge trouble.
in real estate is cross collateralized. when your flagship is suffering, everything is in jeopardy. they have a balloon payment coming due shortly. they have been traveling the world to shake down a billion dollars to refinance the property. we know from previous reporting that has been done elsewhere and by the intercept they went to financiers in qatar and china. this report today this is the first time that we've connected them to hitting up the qatar government directly. that charles kushner a direct meeting with the minister of finance to make a pitch to refinance this property. and charles kushner being jared kushner's father. both meetings took place, i understand, at the kushner company. >> that's right. and jared kushner maintains a personal interest. not just an interest like, oh, i hope it does well.
he owns a significant portion still of kushner companies. and kushner the two kushners speak on an almost daily basis. it's been reported they speak on a daily basis. so these meetings happened one day after the other. the question what did he know about them? >> talk about what happened afterward in terms of u.s. policy and kushner was involved. after the deal fell apart, kushner basically supporting a change in policy what ended up being a blockade by other countries like saudi arabia. >> right. a blockade that is ongoing to this day because when secretary of state rex tillerson tried to mediate it, if you remember, and you reported on it at the time, about an hour and a half later, president trump went out and offered a statement that completely undercut tillerson. accused qatar of financing terror. the country that hosts the
biggest military united states base in the region. tillerson believe it was drafted by the ambassador and handed to kushner and delivered it to trump. and that undercutting of the diplomacy is why we have a blockade to this day. >> the question, of course, is there a connection between, you know, kushner's dad going to qatar. the deal not happening. qatar not giving any money to the loan. and then this change in policy that kushner was involved with in qatar. >> that's something that mueller is reportedly looking into. you have federal law implicated in the simple fact that you are barred from as a government employee advising on a policy that could benefit you financially. you know, that's right there. can a prosecutor prove that given these facts? in his situation, it would be diplomatically tricky. you have to have the qatarys
probably testify. they don't want to do that with his father-in-law as president while they're still trying to mediate their way out of this crisis. which very nearly became a hot war. this is not just a diplomatic tiff. there were reports that the eu a was contemplating sending a mercenary force into qatar. an actual invasion. >> yeah. again, an important u.s. facility there in qatar. appreciate the reportings from the intercept. more on the president's shrinking inner circle. joining us is john dean, jeffrey toobin. there's been so much reporting on kushner and his family's company day after day this week. the read of, you know. do you think the walls are closing in on him somehow? >> absolutely. the lack of a security clearance for top secret information alone
should send him to the exit. here is the person who is in charge allegedly of middle east negotiations. one of the places where our intelligence agencies do the most work. if you ask the intelligence agencies why they even exist, they said to give policy makers information to use in formulating policy. he's formulating policy that comes from the billions of dollars we sent on information. ryan's story in the intercept shows he's never going to get a security clearance. his divided loyalties are clear. so there is no good reason why he should still be working in the white house except he's the president's son-in-law and they can't be fired. >> you're in the middle of everything during watergate. you knew so much. kushner knows a lot, as well. while, you know, you testified against nixon. it's hard to imagine any scenario under which the president's son-in-law turns against his father-in-law.
>> very difficult to contemplate. he has to put himself in an uncomfortable vice, if you will. there are criminal laws he's playing with and flirting with here, too. one of the things i must say that nixon did his white house did and as counsel i spent a lot of time doing was dealing with conflict of interest. we were very clean. that wasn't a part of watergate and nixon was strict on that. it's surprising that almost all modern presidents have done so to see trump just not even pay attention to the issues. he's violating them himself. he's setting the example for his son-in-law. >> and, jeff, according to the "washington post," you know, one white house official said that some of kushner's colleagues in the administration are more reluctant to have conversations with him or even in his company because there's not they're not sure if he's a witness or the target of the mueller investigation.
others that worked in white houses where there have been investigations the sense of mistrust that grows. you don't know who to trust. you don't know who is cooperating. you don't know who is saying what to investigation the. >> it's got to be. you know, i was a federal prosecutor. i have many friends who were defense lawyers. you know, the pressure of being under federal investigation is horrible. the experience of knowing that the entire fbi, at least that's how you see it, is looking into your finances. is looking into whether you are telling the truth in certain circumstances. it's just exhausting and painful. and the fact that jared kushner is dealing with this at the time he's been humiliated by not having a full security clearance anymore, i mean, it's got to be just terrible for him. and i don't know why he and his wife don't just say the hell with this. we're going back to new york. just for their own sake. much less, you know, for the public interest.
>> and maggie for the times is reporting that the president had conversations with john kelly about the possibility of moving getting ivanka trump and kushner out of the white house. that is another fascinating development. the other night on the program bern seen said kushner is in the cross hairs of the special counsel investigation. i'm not sure we can say that that mueller is focus in part on kushner like a laser based on everything we know so far. do you think he's in trouble here? or is in the cross hairs? >> i would be surprised if he is not. i think karl has drawn that conclusion based on the reporting. certainly seems obvious with what we're reading in the press that special counsel has to be looking at what this man is doing. so, indeed, they're going after him and have to report one way or another and they don't want to leave something they discovered later they they failed to check a box and look at all the facts and ask. all the right questions.
ic karl is probably right. >> with all due respect to my idol, i'm not sure we can say that about kushner at this point. you know, his lawyer has said that no documents have been subpoenaed about 6066 fifth avenue. i think, you know, we need to be very cautious. robert mueller is doing his own thing. up in unof us knew that 123 defend the case was coming about the russian social media attempt. i think we need to be careful about inferring it. so i think we should, you know, presume that someone is, you know, under investigation or may be indicted when we don't know that. >> yeah. thank you so much. president trump's announcement of spending tariffs on steel and aluminium triggering fireworks.