tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN May 23, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
happening now, breaking news, meeting with mueller. even as he finally regains his security clearance, the president's senior adviser and son-in-law jared kushner meets with the special counsel and is questioned for seven hours. conspiracy and chief. president trump exceeds all bounds in attacking law enforcement institutions insisting he's the victim of a conspiracy to spy on his campaign. new warnings about the president's extreme rhetoric. power of lava. hawaii's big island faces clouds of poison gas and rivers of red hot lava. as the volcano poses a great threat to a power plant. we'll take you there live. and fall -- fall -- falling
for kim. president trump is lavishing praise on the dictator and asking for a deal. are they falling for kim's charm offensive. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news. as president trump unleashes a fresh tor tent of conspiracy theories in which a criminal deep state plants a spy in his campaign. the special counsel investigation moves forward. the lawyer for jared kushner reveals kushner had a second interview with robert mueller team lasting seven hours. even as the source said kushner has now regained security clearance. and abby lowell and our correspondents are all standing by with full coverage but let's begin with pamela brown.
the president has now turned his conspiracy complaints into an all-out assault. >> that is right, wolf. the president ramping up the rhetoric and bending the truth to fit the narrative. this new narrative by incorrectly citing the -- the former intelligence chief james clammer and no -- and no evidence that there w-- a spy i his campaign. >> reporter: president trump attacking law enforcement according justice department of spying on his presidential campaign. >> i hope it is not so. because if it is, and there has never been anything like it in the history of our country. i hope -- if you look at clapper, he sort of admitted they had spies in the campaign yesterday. >> inadvertently. but i hope it is not true but it looks like it is. >> reporter: trump referring to comments from former director of national intelligence james clapper. but what he actually said wasn't that trump's campaign was
spyinged on, but that fbi was in fact watching russia. >> was the fbi spying on trump's came? >> no -- no -- they were not. they were spying on a term i don't particularly like, but on what the russians were doing and trying to gain access and leverage and influence. >> so why doesn't he like -- >> reporter: the president seizing on the mischaracterization nonetheless. tweeting, with center, look at how things have turned around on the criminal deep state. they go after phony collusion with russia, a made up scam and got caught in a major spy scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before. that after ordering the doj to open classified files to congressional review. >> they're going to all be in the room tomorrow and we'll see what happens. what i want is i want total transparency. >> reporter: fbi director christopher wray and dan coats and ed o'callaghan will brief
two lawmakers. devin nunes and trey gowdy. leaving democrats with no seat at table and no way of knowing what information will be shared. >> my hope would be that any such briefing needs to be both bipartisan and my hope and prayer is that the fbi or the department of justice would not in any way be forced to reveal confidential information. that would go against 75 years of practice. >> reporter: former fbi director james comey blasting the president for the order. tweeting, the fbi use of confidential human sources, the actual term is tightly regulated and essential to protecting the country. adding, a -- attacks on the fbi and the work will do lasting damage to our country. trump's response. >> we're not undercutting, we're cleaning everything up. this was a terrible situation. what we're doing is we're cleaning everything up.
it is so important, what i'm doing is a service to this country. and i did a great service to this country by firing james comey. >> reporter: the whole episode has further soured an already complicated relationship between trump and deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. but both greeted each other warmly today at an immigration round table in new york where trump doubles down on calling ms-13 gang members animals. >> i call them animals the other day. and i was met with rebuke. they said they're people. they're not people. these are animals. >> reporter: this as trump's attorneys try to narrow the scope of a potential interview between the president and special counsel robert mueller. multiple sources familiar with the matter tell cnn trump's legal team wants any interview to focus on matters occurring before trump became president, which would effectively eliminate questions related to obstruction of justice.
and i just spoke to a white house official who said this classified review is still on for tomorrow, as of now the plan would include chief of staff john kelly to go over to doj and meet with the two gop lawmakers along with the other officials before the review, make a quick introand then excuse himself before the meeting. he will not be participating. no white house official will be part of this. when i asked whether any democrats whether be invited as they have been calling for, this official said there are no plans to change as of now. so we'll have to wait and see what happens before now and then. >> what is their excuse? why won't they allow top democrats to participate as well as the democratic leadership has been asking for? normally there is the so-called gang of eight. four democrats and republicans that are privy so the most sensitive classified information. what is the white house rational for only allowing the two republicans in? >> reporter: that is right. and you heard the president call for transparency today. yet democrats will not be a part of the meeting as of now.
a couple of white house officials i spoke with said they haven't put in a formal request with devin nunes or trey gowdy to make its way to the white house and at that point it could be entertained but the more likely scenario is a follow-up briefing with members of congress to look at this classified information as well. we'll have to wait and see. >> thank you very much. pamela brown. more on our breaking news. the presidential son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner obtained his long delayed security clearance even though he was grild -- he was grilled by the special counsel. and evan perez is with us. how did he finally get the security clearance. >> that is right. as of today jared kushner has been restored with his security clearance. he's got the top secret security clearance. and now it allows him to see the nation's utmost closely guarded secrets and he could be able to have access to the presidential daily brief which is something that he was known to previously have acsa -- access to.
and this is a process that has been months in the making. as you just mentioned, the white house said that jared kushner clearance was really being delayed by the normal backlog they have at the fbi, people who are -- career people doing the investigation of the background in order to get the final approval for the clearance. but you remember, he had a temporary clearance that was -- that was restricted and removed back in february amid the overhaul the white house was doing following the rob porter scandal. rob porter was the president's former staff director who stayed on and was able to have a top secret clearance even though he had -- there were allegations of spouse abuse. so jared kushner access to secrets was restricted as a result of that move back in february. but as of now, he now has access to everything that he had access to and he's now able to do all of the meetings that the president wants him to do. >> and specifically, evan, does he have secret -- top secret and
sci which is an even higher top secret level and do we know what level of security clearance he has. >> he has top secret sci to see the program and anything that the president gives him the authorization that need tods -- needs to do his job and involved in middle east peace andinishives it of his own and now he could see all of those because he has the highest security clearance you could have as part of his job. >> and he was questioned for seven hours by robert mueller team. what does that suggest to snu. >> that is right. he was questioned for seven hours in mid april. this is his second interview before the special counsel. the previous interview was back in november which happened right before mike flynn pleaded guilty to federal charges. that interview, was focused only on mike flynn issues and this is more expansive.
had it to do with his role as a member of the campaign and he also had contacts with the russian ambassador sergey kislyak and his role in the transition and questions related to what -- what if any role he had having to do with the firing of james comey, the former fbi director. we know that kushner was among the staff and people there with the president in new jersey, that weekend when the decision was made, when the president made the decision to fire james comey. all of those questions over seven hours and jared kushner people close to him believe that this means he is done with all of the inquiries, wolf. >> so what does this say about the state of the overall mueller investigation. >> look, i think what we're seeing is they are trying to wrap up some aspects of the investigation. but we don't know where robert mueller is. we don't know -- there is a lot we don't know about what he's found, how much longer he has to go. it does indicate to us, wolf, that at least some part of the investigation, at least trying
to tie up some of the ends, but until mueller decides or announces what he has found, we really can't make any conclusions. there is a lot of investigation here that is done and a lot of questions that we have and the public has that have yet to be answered as a result of this investigation. it is now going for a year, this month. >> i want you to stand by. we're also standing by to hear from abby lowell. jared kushner's attorney. he's going to be joining us exclusively in a little while. but josh campbell, let me bring you in. used to be a supervisor special and now cnn law enforcement analyst. what do you make of, a., the decision to restore jared kushner top secret security clearance coming after the seven hours of questioning with robert mueller's team. >> he had some challenges with that security clearance. if you remember back during the start of the administration, there was a question with respect to how he filled out his sf 86, the document used to
collect information that then serves as the basis to start an investigation into someone's life and there were questions surrounding his foreign contacts. it was reported that he didn't list those and the document said here that you list close and continuing contacts over the last seven years of your life. so there was that issue and then as evan alluded to, the issue in february where the white house went through the overhaul following the port scandal and downgraded a number of officials from that interim security clearance down to the secret and folks are waying to see what that means for jared kushner. there are two ways to look at this today, there is one camp that might look at this and say he could brief a sigh of relief with respect to bob mueller because he's been affording access to the top secrets, that might mean for him that he's in the clear with respect to any possible jeopardy that he might be facing. i'm always someone who urges cautious optimism and there is the robert mueller may not tip
his hand and provide that information to the white house. it shows the challenge in dealing with a family member as a staff member. this isn't just a member of the administration. it is difficult for the white house to receive word from the fbi or from bob mueller that, hey, we have an issue to talk about and something very sensitive regarding jared kushner, if that is the case, when the person happens to be related to the president. >> but you believe the white house security office of security personnel would grant him top secret security clearance if the fbi recommended against it? >> well that is the issue. so the fib doesn't make the determination as far as clearance. there is a special team in washington, d.c. that leads that effort through appointees and staff members to receive the clearance and that is separate from bob mueller and so the subject we don't know the answer to, are those two teams talking. is bob mueller talking to those who conduct the background investigation with jared kushner to provide that recommendation to the white house. we simply don't know. >> michael zelton is with us.
a former special assistant to robert mueller. what does it tell you, michael, that the special counsel team did a second interview with jared kushner last month and it went on for some seven hours. >> that they are moving with pace, they are trying to work their way through the facts and the evidence that is before them and make the determinations about various aspects of their mandate. jared kushner fits into many of mueller's mandate prerogatives. the june 9th meeting at trump tower with the russians and talking to kislyak, flynn speaking to the russians during the transition. so he's a key player central to many of the as pecks of mueller inquiry. i think to what josh just raised, he could well be now considered by mueller a witness because it is hard for me -- josh is right, the two sides may not be talking to each other but it may be harder for me to cone
collude that if mueller believed this fellow was likely to be a target or indicted in his investigation, that message would somehow have been communicated with those giving a security clearance. so it may be good news for kushner at this point. but we could be clear that mueller is moving forward with his investigation, step by step, wolf and he will ultimately take us to his conclusion with respect to the issues and the individuals that those issues touch upon. >> michael, stand by. because the veteran criminal defense attorney abby lowell is joining us. he represents president trump's senior adviser and son-in-law jared kushner. thank you very much for joining us. >> thanks for letting me explain. >> so your client jared kushner, he sat down with the special counsel for a second time last month. the interview lasted, about seven hours? what was the focus? >> so the focus of jared's cooperation has been dictated by what the special counsel wants.
back in the fall they were interested in understanding some of the issues about general flynn and he answered all of their questions then. and in april we basically followed their lead and the topics were the appropriate topics. you know that -- they're being thorough and looking at t-- the campaign and collusion whatever that means to people and see if theres with undue influence put on by outside countries, particularly russia and looking at the post-inauguration issues, the firing of james comey and of course jareds had has had roles in the campaign, he was the point of contact for foreign officials, for that and also in the transition. and he was around the circumstances that were ultimately led to the firing of comey. so you could assume that they know their top ing -- topics and would have exhausted all of
them. >> he was precise about the campaign and what happened during the presidency, right? >> not as extensively, wolf, the topics post inauguration are very limited. and they should be -- >> obstruction of -- potential obstruction of justice, right. >> sorry, go ahead. >> obstruction of justice and the firing of comey, i assume that was one of the subjects. >> you should assume the follow, that the special counsel is looking at two things, looking to see whether there was collusion with russia in the in the campaign and if anybody was involved and if that violated any law and a broad topic that they call or the media calls obstruction of justice. they would have asked questions of all of their witnesses including jared kushner about those topics but he has a unique role. he was there in the campaign, he was there in the transition and he worked in the white house when events occurred after the inauguration that is of interest to the counsel. they asked him question and he answered every single one. it was thorough. and i think what is interesting is that you all -- i don't mean
you all at cnn -- the media gets ahead of itself so often. they talk about stories about him being under investigation for his finances, for his role in his companies, let me tell you, those were not the topics. >> so what were the top im -- topics and what were the specific questions and were you there during the seven hours. >> of course a lawyer would be in the room with an interview. i think all people that get interviewed should and do have lawyers so that would be yes. as to the questions, no. i'll tell you the topics. they were the appropriate topics that bob mueller and his team are looking at. they are what happened in the campaign that might suggest that there were some outside influence primary this -- what i call the allegations of russia collusion, issues of contacts with people, particularly foreigners during the transition and the topics of post-inauguration, what is lumped into the category of obstruction. i can't really tell you question by question. it won't be appropriate. we're trying to do is clear the
air and we knew people knew about this and somebody leaked it and i want to respect the office of the ha-- special counl and let them do their work but i'm knoll knot doing to tell you so and so. >> is jared kushner fully cooperating with the special counsel. >> i don't know that anybody is cooperating more. he's spoken to them when asked and provided them with tons of documents that reflect what he's provided congress and what else they've asked for. he sat down in the fall when they wanted to ask questions about general flynn. and he was very happy to spend almost an entire work day when they asked again. so i would say it is the definition of cooperation. >> do you expect that jared kushner will be asked for more interest views with the special counsel or was this the last one? >> i am assuming, given the thoroughness by which the counsel office works and the degree of work, this should for all intents and purposes be done. they have a strategy question and go talk to another witness
who said something they want to have mr. kushner corroborate or opine about, it could happen. and to say there will never be any inquiry but after spending nine hours with them from november and then april, i couldn't imagine there is another question they could ask that would be relevant and he's answered every one. >> and is jared kushner been told if he is a witness or a subject or target of the investigation. >> those are words that you guys in the media report and they make no sense to people who a are -- prabts issing -- >> these are legal terms. >> they exist for the purpose of telling people when they're supposed to be given rights before they go into a grand jury or get a subpoena. i have done this for a bunch -- and i'll tell you that today's witnesses are tomorrow's indicted person so i don't ask that question. what i do ask is whether somebody is the focus of the investigation or whether somebody should be expecting more questions, those are questions that i ask. but these are just the titles
that are handy for the media to use. and so i didn't ask. but i would tell you that in my experience, the kinds of kwefs that he asked -- the questions and statement and information he has reflects they understand he's a witness to the events. but i don't -- >> well that was the question. if he's a witness or a subject or a target. >> i don't -- i simply don't use those terms and never has. >> let me pin you down. has he been told he's not going be charged? >> that is like -- why would anybody ask that question? let's put it this way. the answer to your question, i think, is the special counsel nor any other prosecutors indicated that they have any intention to believe that mr. kushner has done anything that would remotely merit being charged. so it is a checklist question for you for sure. is he a target, a subject, a witness? the better answer is there is nothing he's done and nothing that i've seen that would indicate that anybody would have
an interest in him other than being a witness to events and nobody is indicated they have any intention of saying to him, you've done something wrong that would merit any charges. that is just remotely not the case. >> let's talk about jared kushner security clearance which is now we're told been restored. who made the decision to restore his security clearance? how did that happen? >> the intelligence kmoo-- commy and the fbi. it happened in the normal course and way it happens for thousands of people. it goes to initially the bureau who does a background investigation and takes time and it then gets through various agencies and to the whougs a-- house and special office for security measures and they are all career people. there was no nobody that had anything to do with it in the political process or pressured it. it was just done the normal regular way. and in fact, the delay that people reported about was caused by the things we said which was a backlog in a new administration and remember mr. kushner has extensive holdings
that each and every one required somebody to look at to determine the nature of the finances and so of course it took a long time. but it was done in the normal process, only by career people that do it every day and have done it for years that way. >> and is it secret, top secret, sci, what level of security clearance? >> and so you will know from all of the work you've done that what somebody's clearance is itself a piece of classified information. and i'm very hopeful to hang on to mine so i can't answer that question. >> well let me ask you this. will he have access to the presidential daily brief? >> i will tell you this. that he has been restored in a permanent clearance to get all of the material that he needs and all of the material that he got in the past in order to do the job the president has asked him to do and so that may answer the question the way you asked it. >> well if he's going to be an adviser on the middle east, then china and other sensitive issues like mexico, a assume he will
have access to that presidential daily brief. but you don't want to answer that question. but we'll leave it on that -- on that front. abby lowell, thanks so much for joining us. >> and thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain. >> we'll continue this conversation down the road. appreciate it very much. let's bring back our legal and law enforcement analysts to get some reaction to what we just heard. michael zeldin used to work for robert mueller. what stood out to you from what we just heard from abbe lowell, a very experienced lawyer here in town? >> there are a couple of things. first and foremost, it struck me as we talked about before the segment with lowell that mueller is moving in a very methodic way through all of the topics that are part of his mandate and he ticked them all off, and that is good to know that mueller is checking his boxes that way. it was interesting to me that ab he indicated that there was no questions about personal finances or all of the media stories about 666 fifth avenue
and the like, the areas that we think of as the red line that president due for personal financial issues was not, according to abbe, part of the conversation. and thend -- and then finally with respect to hid willingness to say what level he was a target subject -- or a witness. i think it is clear that abbe is confident his client is a witness at this point and not likely to be charged by robert mueller. that is how i think we walk away from this interview, feeling they comprehensively answered their questions and they didn't address personal finances, and he's most likely at this point a witness. >> and joey jacks is with us. what stood out to you? >> as a point of disagreement i know he's a well respected and and experienced defense attorney but i've been practicing for 20 years and i beg to differ with media making up terms, witness
and target and subject and these are terms i discuss regularly with the united states attorney or a district attorney at the state level. we do, in fact, in the normal parlance refer, is my client a witness to events, the subject you are looking at or is he or she the specific inquiry of your investigation. so that is significant number one. number two, as it relates to anyone breathing easily, would you not say that. let us remind ourselves of what mueller has done. he has not only investigated and looked at the issue of collusion or the issue of obstruction, but we know it is a crime to lie to the fbi. and so i'm sure that mr. kushner stated his peace and asked questions and forthcoming in the event that he was not, however, it would be of concern. if you look at papadapoulos, and look at flynn, if you look at the people who have pled guilty, they have pled guilty to lying. so to the extent he was truthful
and honest, then there will be nothing to worry about. and if that is not the case, then there is a an issue. and finally. >> don't draw the connection between the security clearance and what if anything he said to the special counsel. this is been a special counsel that hasn't had leaks and kept their information very close to their vest and this is a special counsel if i think had concerns or occasions, i'm not sure that they would be calling and raising objections about any security. i think they will be quiet and sh and rap vp wrap up the investigation and i do not draw any causal connection between the issue of a security clearance and what, if anything, he said or did not say to the special counsel. >> they're point. josh campbell is still with us. you heard lowell's explanation for why the security clearance was restored and why it took so long to get the security clearance. does that all make sense to snu. >> well i'm with jobe on not
drawing the distinction. in one end we have the special counsel investigation looking into what jared may or -- may not know and then we have the white house security office trying to determine suitability for classified information and i don't know if though two sides will talk with each other. one thing that stood out with respect to the interview, we get paid in the business to pars the word of lawyers an one thing that was interesting and appears mr. kushner was cooperative, he and he answered every question. when i was an fbi agent, i sat across from people that answered every one of my questions and that doesn't mean they answered them accurately or fully. i'm not suggesting that is the case. we have to pars this lawyer speak. and the second thing being this should give some sense of comfort to the white house legal team as they are trying to determine whether they continue in the showdown with mueller as far as sitting down and writing questions or in person because as mr. kushner's own lawyer just said, the people doing the
interview asked the appropriate t topics. so that should give them a sense that this isn't the witch hunt they are trying to plaque -- to make it be. >> do you think they were trying to link the security clearance with kushner status in the mueller investigation. he said he simply is a witness. >> i think for sure that is what he's trying to say. and he may well be right. his point being if this client of mine was likely to be indicted or was a target of the investigation, then surely mueller's team, notwithstanding the fact that it doesn't leak, would have notified the white house offices that offer clearance advice and ult -- ultimately the clearance this was a problem. so maybe he's optimistic but probably realistically linking the two together and feeling his client is home free except for the issues that joey and josh
raise about if he was untruthful that he facings a thousand and one lying to a federal investigator. but until that is proved, it is safe to conclude that walking out of the interview and receiving the security clearance, he feels his client answered those questions truthfully and he's a witness and that he could go on with his life. >> we're getting more reaction to the interview with lowell, jared kushner's attorney. and also just learning that the president's attorney rudy giuliani has just met with the president. we'll have much more on that and we'll take a quick break and be right back. it can detect a threat using ai, and respond 60 times faster. it lets you know where your data lives, down to the very server. it keeps your insights from prying eyes, so they're used by no one else but you. it is... the cloud.
breaking news. i spoke with the attorney to jared kushner. he has been questioned a second time by investigators for the special counsel robert mueller. lowell also confirmed that kushner finally has been granted his full security clearance. let's bring in our political and legal specialists and gloria borger, you've been doing reporting on this. what stood out to you from the questions and answers from abbe lowell. >> i thought abbe was candid about the areas that jared kushner was questioned about in april for seven hours. and we've always known because jared was present at so many events, it is likely he would have been questioned about the campaign itself and ties to russia and his russian contacts during the transition and of course this question of obstruction and the firing of
james comey because jared kushner was in new jersey that weekend that the president decided to fire comey. kushner people say that he's supported the decision but he did not drive the decision. other people say he drove the decision. so it is clear to me that these are issues that the special counsel is looking at in great depth. >> david axelrod, what stood out to you? >> well, on what gloria was talking about, it is interesting to me that the areas that abbe lowell outlined are very much down mainstream of this probe. there were no surprised or other topics and we've heard from the white house and people -- and insinuation this probe has gone far afield and it is a phishing expedition and it sounds like a
disciplined pursuit. i was also interested on the -- on the issue of his security clearance. not just by what abbe lowell said but what sources said, this was all done by the book, that it was done through the -- nothing unusual. it is very unusual this late in an administration for someone to get their security clearance. so that wasn't -- but the sources that leaked this said -- stressed the president wasn't involved in this. so i think it was very important that -- for them to say this was all done by book, it was all straight up, there was no angle here. and it wasn't ordered by the president. >> and you used to work on the national security council and you know about security clearance and you're serving in the government, what did you think? >> i have to say, wolf, the president made a mockery of the security clearance process. abbe lowell went on the
television and said -- he played hide and seek with the facts. it was delaid because he missed misreported or failed to disclose hundreds of foreign contacts, the first time he filled out his forms, he failed to disclose the trump tower meeting the second time he filled out the forms and there are various other examples. so this is not just a normal operating procedure for the investigators. this was something very different. and the president does have the legal authority to declassify information when he wants, to whom ever he wants. that is his -- legally speaking he has a right to do that. but the president has chosen to do that with members of his inner circle and family when it suits his interest. so call this what it is, this is special treatment by the president and jared kushner security clearance was left open over the course of several months, over a year, when anybody else would have had their investigation closed. >> let me get david axelrod in this because we're learning new
information about the mueller probe. the president is pushing the theory that his campaign was infiltrated by a spy, by an fbi spy. how concerning is that to you? >> well, what concerns me is this sort of campaign that is being run to try and discredit the mueller probe and to discredit the justice department, the fbi and everyone involved in it. i think that what the president has decided is that he wants to make sure that whatever conclusions mueller draws, that he could paint them as political. and we heard him early in the administration, before he even took office suggest that barack obama had bugged his campaign. this is in that same category. nobody who has read the facts of this would say that president's campaign was being spied on, but this is the meme picked up by right wing media and by the president's supporters and congress and it is all part of an effort to try and discredit the probe in advance.
it doesn't speak a great sense of confidence about what mr. mueller is going to say. because if you were confident about it, you would say, let him do his investigation because it is going to clear me and that is going to be -- and mueller's credibility will be an asset to me. that is not the tact they're taking here. >> you spoke with sally yates, the fired acting attorney general and she weighed in on the president's attacks on the justice department. let's watch this clip. >> this is really taken the assault on the rule of law to a new level. from the beginning of this presidency, trump has not observed nor the time honored norm in place. at least since watergate, that there should be a real division between the department of justice and the white house. it certainly -- doj is part of the executive branch and we recognize that. but for the public to have confident that the law is not being used in a political way,
presidents in both parties have recognized that those decisions really need to be left to the people at the department of justice. >> so what else can our viewers look forward to, hearing more from sally yates on the ax files. >> well first of all, she's a 27-year veteran of the justice department and knows the major players and knows mueller and rosenstein and offers some real insight into them and how they operate. she also gives new details about her interaction with the administration during that brief period when she served as acting attorney general. both about the flynn matter and also about the matter that got her fired, her refusal -- to defend the travel ban and insight news her own life and career that i think will surprise people. so it was a great conversation. >> we're looking forward to it. and to our viewers, be sure to watch david's interview with the former acting attorney general sally yates on the ax files this
saturday, 7:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn. up next, democrats are demanding access to a republican-only briefing by justice department officials on highly classified information, even as president trump escalates his conspiracy claims about a spy in his campaign. >> when they look at the documents, i think people will r going to see a lot of bad things happen. it's just a burst pipe, i could fix it. (laugh) no.
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we have more breaking news ahead as we get more details about jared kushner being questioned for seven hours by robert mueller investigation. we're also watching as president trump peddles his conspiracy theory about a spy allegedly planted in his campaign. key republicans are to get a briefing from justice and intelligence officials tomorrow. now one very influential republican said democrats should also be allowed in. let's go to our correspondent manu raju. lawmakers are scrambling to figure out who gets to go to this highly classified briefing. >> and tension is rising on capitol hill about this briefing. just earlier today, one democrat who sits on the house intelligence committee actually approached the house intelligence chairman devin nunes and told him, he wants democrats to also attend the meeting and devin nunes replied, according to racastro, i'm not going to play that game. not answering whether or not democrats should bea -- be
allowed to come to the briefing. the person to come to the briefing with senior administration officials is trey gowdy, the congressman from south carolina. i asked him on multiple occasions whether democrats will attend and he said it is up to devin nunes and something that devin nunes is not saying whether or not democrats should be allowed to come. now at the same time, several republicans are demanding that they should also take part in this meeting, including chuck grassley, the judiciary chairman and lindsey graham and senator john cornyn, and cornyn saying it would be a good idea if democrats were also invited to that briefing. now at the same time there is a split among senate republicans about whether or not to allow democrats in the briefing, which construction grassley not sure that is a good idea but james langford tell me they should also attend. >> do you think the president should be intervening in this --
>> i think that anything that comes from -- every president and everybody he appoints to these cabinet positions, so i'm talking about republican or democrat, every one of them comes before a committee and said we'll cooperate with congressional oversight. so if his people that he appoints said that he was going to -- they were going to cooperate with congressional over sight, then i think he has a responsibility to make sure they do cooperate. >> do you think democrats should also be part of that -- to avoid the appearance of bipartisan -- >> on the senate side, we work hard to make sure republicans and democrats work together because at the end of the day we have to resolve these issues in a bipartisan manner because not every american can look at all of these issues. >> reporter: and now tonight at this hour, there are still orn going discussions about exactly what that meeting would look
like. and whether or not they would see documents at this meeting or whether or not they're going to be a briefing to have another meeting in the future. some conservative allies of the president, wolf, including mark meadows, telling me earlier that he doesn't expect that these documents will be turned over about this confidential fbi source to these two republican s . >> and meadows saying contempt of congress should be on the table. but at the same time, wolf, democrats demanding a gang of eight briefing with the leaders of congress to sit down, have a briefing, get information about this confidential fbi source and anything that occurred. but no word yet that's going to happen. >> they're privy to the most sensitive information. manu raju, thank you very much for that. earlier this afternoon the president predicted and we'll
know next week whether the meeting with north korean leader kim jong-un will take place as scheduled next month. testifying before congress today the secretary of state mike pompeo told lawmakers kim jong-un did not use notes or talking points during their meetin meetings in south korea. the trump team continues to lavish some praise on the north korean leader. >> they do, wolf. mr. trump and his team have completely changed their tone on kim jong-un, praising a man they derided not long ago and even offering him security. tonight the diplomatic dance has reached an almost unthinkable point where an american president is offering to protect a brutal dictator. >> i will guarantee his safety. yes, we will guarantee his safety, and we've talked about that from the beginning. he will be safe. he will be happy. his country will be rich.
>> that's not something american presidents do, so this is totally extraordinary, something we've never seen before, and i hope we never see again. >> lately president trump has been describing kim jong-un in almost statesman-like terms. >> he really has been very open, and i think very honorable. >> not all that long ago mr. trump was referring to kim as slightly less than honorable. >> little rocket man, he is a sick puppy. >> and in a tweet the president implied strongly that kim was short and fat. how drastically has the dynamic changed? secretary of state mike pompeo after returning recently from a meeting with kim talked about how impressed he was with kim's command of the issues. >> he is very knowledgeable in the sense he knows the files. he's very capable in engaging a complex set of questions. when i ask him something a little off he answers it. no cards.
>> when he opened the door for diplomacy with south korea. his sister has played a critical role in the offensive, successfully cultivating south korean president moon jae-in at the olympics. and kim's appearance in april at a summit in the dmz experts say was a master stroke. >> kim is playing everybody right now. kim has agency here. he has strategy. he wants to retain nuclear weapons while breaking the sanctions regime and inviting real investment and economic prosperity into this country. >> veteran diplomats praised kim. >> the reality of north korea has not changed. this regime is keen on developing its nuclear weapons, its ballistic missiles.
while it is doing that, 30% of north korea's children are malnourished. 120,000 men, women and children are held as political prisoners. >> what happens if kim's charm offensive doesn't work and diplomacy falls apart? analysts say look for the mistrust between north korea and the u.s. to deepen. and the possibility of military c c confrontation to go way up. >> there's a report from the pentagon just made public which throws more cold-water on it, right? >> that's right, wolf. the pentagon has just made public an assessment of kim's regime. the report was made before the president agreed to meet can im. that it's main goal is for quote, perpetual kim family rule
and it will try to maintain that by keeping its nuclear weapons program. coming up, the breaking news. as president trump steps up his attack on democratic institutions pedsling his institution claim about an alleged spy in his campaign his son-in-law is grilled about the special counsel team and asked about campaign contacts with foreigners. we have new details from my interview with kushner's attorney. david. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. that's it? everybody two seconds! "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job.
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happening now, breaking news. wide ranging interview. jared kushner's lawyer tells me about his client's second interview with the special counsel revealing important lines of questioning. what does it tell us about the state of the russia probe and kushner's faith? intel community attack. president trump takes his assault on law enforcement institutions to a new level fueling unproven claims about a spy inside his campaign. tonight fired fbi director james comey says mr. trump is pedaling lies that will do lasting damage tuesday the country. new indications tonight that they're looking to george papadopoulos for information. and live at the volcano where it shows no sign of ending. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'