tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN July 30, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
good evening. keeping them honest tonight, the president says it never happened. never, ever. but now, one of his key defenders is also saying what sounds a lot like, but if it did happen, so what? and if case you're wondering, yes, the subject is russia, and yes, those are goalposts being moved, moved almost it seems on several fronts. we'll start with the one transgression that president trump has always, absolutely positively categorically denied. >> they found no collusion whatsoever with russia. there has been no collusion. they won't find any collusion. it doesn't exist. there is no collusion with me and the russians. nobody has been tougher to russia. there was no collusion. no collusion, which i knew anyway. no coordination, no nothing. >> no nothing, he says. no collusion. his response to the revelation his closest campaign adviser sought kremlin dirt on hillary clinton. his response after the house and
senate intelligence committees released their reports on russian interference. his response to nearly any question the president has ever gotten, no collusion. if not the two foundational words of his entire administration, then at least the linchpin of his defense that is until our reporting that his former lawyer and confidante is now willing to tie the president directly to that meeting with russians during the campaign. now that michael cohen's apparently ready to say that candidate trump knew in advance about what amounts to at best an attempted collusion or intended collusion or unrequited collusion. the line of defense has a new wrinkle, moving from never happened to, so what if it did? >> which i don't even know if that's a crime, colluding about russians. >> okay -- >> you start analyzing the crime, the hacking is the crime. the hacking is the crime. >> well, that certainly is the original problem, yes. >> the president didn't hack. he didn't pay them for hacking. >> all right. it almost sounds like the president's tv lawyer, rudy giuliani, was saying we shouldn't be focusing on the goalpost that the president has set up time and time again, but instead should be looking
another, oh, 20 yards down field. >> which, i don't even know if that's a crime, colluding about russians. >> keeping them honest, it's not. that much is true, and that's all. there is no anti-colluding with russians act anywhere on the united states code. but there is plenty about campaign conspiracy and finance abuses not to mention obstruction of justice. not to mention most would agree, it's just wrong to be scheming with a hostile power. it's a touchy subject, as you might imagine. because of that, it's not the first time they've felt compelled to describe their transgressions downward. just after the election, campaign spokesperson hope hicks said, quote, there was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign. it never happened, she said. three months later, never became to the best of our knowledge. sarah sanders saying that is a nonstory, because to the best of our knowledge, no contacts took place. a month later that gave way to meetings, yes, but no planned meetings. donald trump jr. telling "the new york times," quote, did i
meet with people that are russian? i'm sure. i'm sure i did. but none that were set up. and certainly none that i was representing the campaign in any way, shape, or form. of course, that was untrue. so, down field went the goalpost yet again. now there was a planned meeting, but it was primarily about adoption. then it was okay, but i was just there as a favor to a friend. >> i was basically sitting there listening as a courtesy to my acquaintance who had set up the meeting. and, you know, in his own words, you can hear what he said and you played it earlier about it. i mean, he apologized to me walking out of the meeting, basically, for wasting my time. >> today, we know that donald trump jr., jared kushner and paul manafort went into that meeting know full well it was with people who were portraying themselves at least as kremlin-connected russians promising intelligence on hillary clinton. and with each revelation that followed, everyone from the president on down played word games with the public or just plain lied. and now that michael cohen may be prepared to say the president had prior knowledge of the meeting, the new line is that, yeah, okay, maybe there was collusion with a hostile foreign power, but it's not a crime.
>> which i don't even know it's a crime, colluding with russians. >> now, you might think that this alone would be a good day, a good day's work for rudy giuliani. but wait, there was more. he also had this to say about michael cohen's allegation that he knew in advance about the trump tower meeting. >> even this russian meeting, i'm happy to tell he wasn't there. he wasn't at the meeting. >> well, keeping him honest, according to our sources, that's not what michael cohen is allegedly ready to say. cohen is allegedly ready to say that trump had prior knowledge of the meet egg, something his son and others have denied repeatedly and that don jr. had seemingly denied under oath. was mr. giuliani opening up a window ever so slightly to the fact that mr. trump might have known about the meeting but didn't attend it? well, some today have suggested that, but the reality is, we just don't know. we do know we hadn't heard that distinction before today, which is curious to say the least. okay, now stay with me here, because things get even weirder from here. that's because mr. giuliani also brought up another meeting, one we didn't even know about, which
he says the president also did not attend, a meeting that apparently happened two days before the infamous trump tower meeting. >> he did not participate in any meeting about the russia transaction. >> the president? >> the president did not. and the other people at the meeting that he claims he had without the president about it say he was never there. >> all right. so, if you're keeping score, a, the president was never at the premeeting. the premeeting meeting that michael cohen says he was never at, and no one was even asking about, and b, the president was never at the trump up toer meetimeet i -- tower meeting that no one has ever said he was at. you got that? no? notice where the goaltoast goal again? notice how he didn't really answer the real allegation that the president knew in advance about the meeting with the russian, not attended the meeting or a meeting before the meeting, only that he had been made aware in advance by don jr. just to be clear, here is our reporting word for word. according to sources, and i quote, cohen alleges he was present, along with several others, when trump was informed
of the russians' offer by trump jr. now, but cohen's account, he approved going ahead with the meeting with the russians, according to a source. rudy giuliani had a lot to say today. that much is indisputable. whether he actually cleared anything up, well, that is not. as for the president, he went before the cameras today and said nothing because this, because no one the president chose to ask questions asked him about it. cnn's jim acosta joins us with more from the white house. so, has the white house had any response to the claims giuliani was or wasn't making this morning on television? >> ah, no, anderson. as a matter of fact, i just spoke with a white house official who said that the press team over here at the white house is not coordinating with rudy giuliani in terms of what he says on behalf of the president's legal team on these various talk show appearances, including on "new day" here on cnn, nor can they control what rudy giuliani says, according to this white house official. now this official went on the say, anderson, that they cannot say that definitively about what giuliani does in coordination with the white house counsel's office, and of course, anderson, we do know if past is prologue
that the president's outside legal team has, obviously, had many conversations with the president's inside counsel over the last several months. and so, it is expected that, obviously, they're having those kinds of conversations on that end of the white house, but no coordination, this official is saying, with the press team. i think that's a notable, you know, thing that the white house is putting out there, because it's obviously something that they're saying at this point, that they are not signing off on what rudy giuliani says on behalf of the president and his legal team on these various talk show appearances. >> well, the president wasn't asked about giuliani's comments today. but it's not like reporters didn't try to press him on the issue. >> that's right. i was in the oval office earlier today when the president was with the italian prime minister. i asked the president, how is it that you keep saying that there was no collusion, when rudy giuliani is saying over and over again today that collusion is not a crime. anderson, this is the one thing that we've heard from the president over and over again, from the president's defenders over and over again, that there
was no collusion between the president, his campaign and the russians during the 2016 campaign. and so, it is very strange. it is very odd and curious that all of a sudden out of nowhere, rudy giuliani would float this legal claim that, you know, it's not against the law to collude with the russians on, at the end of july in 2018. it's just very strange. and, you know, people who ha have -- who are familiar with the discussions that go on here at the white house have scratched their heads for awhile now about what giuliani says in these interviews and i think it does lend some credence to the theory out there, anderson, that when rudy giuliani goes on the air, he's sort of putting out a fog of confusion about what the president's legal team is up to, what their strategy is, to essentially, you know, make everybody want to move on. and that's largely what, i think, rudy giuliani was doing today. he was putting out so many contradictory comments, saying that collusion is not a crime while the president is insisting
there was no collusion, that at some point, i think the hope is inside the president's legal and and among his defenders that the public just gets bored with the whole thing and wants to move on. >> interesting. jim acosta, thanks very much. joining us now, one person who can speak to whether the russia meeting was the sort of thing candidate trump would want to be told about, barbara res, a former long-time senior executive at the trump organization, author of the book "all alone on the 68th floor: how one woman changed the face of construction." barbara, thank you so much for being with us. >> my pleasure. >> you worked for trump organization on and off for years. the thing i never understood about this meeting is that don jr. would be told by someone allegedly representing the russian government that the russians were supporting his father's campaign and would not tell his father, either about that major fact or the meeting taking place or the meeting had taken place. given what you know about how the trump organization works, does it make sense to you donald trump would not have been informed about this? >> impossible. >> impossible. >> in my opinion, based on my
experience working with trump and everybody that worked for trump. something major, something newsworthy, something press-worthy, would always go before trump. always. >> because he wanted to know. he wanted to be aware -- >> yes. he wanted to be on top of things. >> and, i mean, is it possible that donald trump jr. might have, as a child of mr. trump, would have more latitude than an employee? >> i don't think so, no. the reason trump jr. is in the position he's in, ivanka is in the position, jared, is that trump has historically believed that he is better served by having family members, even if they're not quite as qualified. but i think that perhaps he may even be harder on family members. i know he was harder on ivana when she worked for him. and i have a feeling that he probably might have been harder on donald when he -- donald jr. when he might not have done what he was supposed to. so, from my point of view, donald jr. would definitely have gone to his father.
i think he would have said in advance, look what i got, we're going to get something on hillary. i think he would have been, you know, sort of bragging about it, look what i did, that kind of thing. >> which makes sense why candidate trump made that speech in which he promoted an upcoming discussion about some big news on the russians and hillary clinton. >> absolutely. >> there has been some discussion, though, that maybe donald trump jr. wouldn't have wanted to alert his father in advance in case nothing came of the meeting, and therefore he would look bad in his father's eyes? >> no, i don't think that's the case at all. i think that he would have told donald about the meeting. and if it didn't amount to anything, it would have been fine. it was something they attempted and it didn't work out. >> the -- i want to ask you about allen weisselberg, who is the chief financial officer. a lot of people have said, well, look, he knows far more than michael cohen would have possibly known about the trump organization, given the length of time he was there, allen was there when donald trump's father was running the company. is he that important?
>> you know, when i worked there, and that's a long time ago, allen had just come over from brooklyn, and i think his prime function was to run the every day side of the accounting division, in other words, paying bills. i don't know that he was doing the tax returns. i'd be surprised if he was. i'd think they have lawyers and certainly outside accountants for that. as far as the financial dealings are concerned, yes, i do believe that he got more and more involved as time went on, and donald trusted him. he was almost a family member, like i said before. but i don't think that he would have been the most important person in that, you know, sphere of who does what. i think probably cohen knew more than allen. >> just in terms the way the trump organization was set up, does it surprise you some of the chaos and sort of -- i mean, that the president seems the eye of this storm and a lot of people are misinformed around him or he tells them one thing
but that's not really the case of what actually happened. is that the way the organization itself was run? >> to my experience, absolutely. it was always run in chaos. and there was a lot of splitting people up, and a lot of dividing and conquering. trump liked to have controversy. he liked to be surrounded by controversy. he wanted his people, you know, competing with each other. >> he liked that environment? >> absolutely. >> did he think it was productive or just -- do you know why he liked it? just part of his nature? >> i think he thought, at the time, and he says this, i have the best people. and he was always trying to make one better than the other. and you could see him when he brought in scaramucci and all that stuff, competing, competing, competing. you know, that was something he liked to do, yes. >> fascinating. barbara res, thank you so much. >> always my pleasure. >> nice to talk to you. more help on cutting through the confusing fog that the president's attorney left us with today. joining us now, jeffrey toobin, dana bash and carrie cordero.
so, jeff, solution is -- giuliani is saying collusion isn't a crime. it stands in contrast to what the president has been saying for months is that there is no collusion. >> well, it's sort of a contrast. the implication of what the president has been saying is that i didn't commit a crime. but he has never quite defined what collusion is. i mean, as you pointed out earlier at the beginning of the show, it is true that collusion itself is not defined in the united states code as a crime. but if you look at the mueller investigation, if you look at what mueller is authorized by the department of justice to look into, one of the things specifically is collusion. if you look at the indictment of the social media case where there are 12 individuals and one company charged with illegally assisting the trump campaign from russia, the clear implication there is if the trump campaign worked with these russian entities, that would be
a crime, as well. but there is no crime specifically called collusion. so, if you want to take -- >> but there is conspiracy. >> there is conspiracy. and clearly, assisting the russian government to intervene illegally in the trump campaign would be a crime. so, you know, i think rudy giuliani is playing word games there to a certain extent, but if you want to be technical, he's right that there is no crime called collusion. >> dana, you spoke to giuliani earlier today after the interview on "new day." he tried to clarify some of his comments, right? >> yes. okay. i'm going try to explain this so people don't get even more confused. but at the end of the day -- >> good luck. >> exactly. it is as clear as mud, and i don't think that's an accident. what giuliani talked about, one of the things he talked about with alisyn camerota this morning was the idea that there was this alleged second meeting or, excuse me, a meeting that happened a couple of days before
the notorious trump tower meeting with don jr. and the russian attorney and so on and so fort wheh where they talked t what they would discuss, like a premeeting, basically. so giuliani brought it up as if the meeting happened, with alisyn camerota. it was not clear. i talked to him afterwards, and he said no, the reason i brought it up is because reporters came to me, meaning giuliani and to jay sekulow, another member of the trump legal team, saying that this is being floated to them, meaning to the reporters, that there was an additional meeting where they were going through the russia situation, that cohen was apart of it. and what giuliani said that he and sekulow found out in doing their own inn vevestigating unty is oh, that meeting never happened. so he said, if you're still with me, that the reason he brought it up to alisyn, he has talked about a meeting and said the meeting didn't happen.
so, to me -- are you still with me, anderson? >> yeah, i went to a special place in my head for awhile, but i'm back. >> it's not back to those goalposts, though. to me, he said that there's a meeting that never happened, but there's no question that this is his way of, he says, trying to get out ahead of stories, but it's also very much to throw a whole bunch of smoke at the screen and make it hard to see through it. >> yeah, carrie, giuliani seemed very careful to say that the president wasn't at that meeting at trump tower, he didn't say the president didn't know about the meeting in advance, which is the whole point, there was never any belief that the president himself was actually at that meeting, again, it's a shift in what the line is from the trump campaign. from the trump camp. >> right. so, well, rudy giuliani keeps trying to, as you outlined, he keeps trying to change the story and change people's attention towards what may or may not have occurred. what we know is that there is an
investigation focused on conspiracy to defraud the united states. that's really the special counsel's theory of the case. and everything else falls under that, whether it's the unauthorized access to the computer system, what we call the hacking, or whether it's potential violations of campaign finance. any of those fall into the ru rubric of conspiracy. and these meetings regarding whether or not individuals, senior officials trump and his inner circle on the campaign knew in advance about any of those activities that the russian government, russian intelligence officers were doing goes to whether or not they were part of that conspiracy. and so, when rudy giuliani says there was no collusion, the question really is, did they have advanced knowledge? and were they in some way working together? that would be another way to describe what the law calls conspiracy. >> jeff, the whole notion from the president this weekend that mueller has conflicts of interest, giuliani wouldn't explain what those alleged
conflicts are when pressed today. i mean, from all the -- what we know so far, it doesn't seem like there is much there there. there was that report about the president had claimed the conflict over a golf membership in a golf club. it wasn't clear if that's what giuliani was referencing. it seems probably that is what it is. >> well, it was funny. i was actually in the studio when alisyn was doing that interview, and i almost started laughing, because giuliani said, i don't know what the conflict is, but i would have recused myself if i was mueller. and i was like -- what? it was sort of peculiar. but look, i think what's important to remember about what rudy giuliani says and about -- you know, all -- what the president says, especially on twitter, is that it's designed to go into the conservative ecosphere. it's designed to get into fox news, breitbart, various websites that are supportive so that people can start saying the
same thing. no such thing -- there was no collusion, and even if there was collusion, it's not a crime. you will certainly start to hear you will certainly start to hear that more often in the conservative media world. i'm sorry, go ahead, dana. >> no, no, it is. you're exactly right, it is designed to do that. i was talking to some people in the trump orbit today, particularly the political orbit tod today, who were noting that he is pretty comfortable with where the base is right now. and he should be. according to almost all the polls, he has sky-high approval rating among republicans. and in this particular case, it might be less strategic and more knee-jerk personal. he's upset about michael cohen. he's upset about the fact that the special counsel is talking to somebody who, anderson, as you were just discussing with the former trump org executive, who is very much in the inner circle. >> right. >> and he's lashing out. in addition to the fact that they are desperately trying to,
and at least in the last few months, successfully so, chip away at the credibility and the integrity of this investigation. >> dana, thank you. jeff toobin, carrie cordero, as well. ahead, a debate on the president and russia, specifically their summit. the question two weeks later, why don't we know more about what actually went on behind closed doors? why don't we know actually anything that went on behind closed doors between the president and putin? next, breaking news about what might be a slap in the face about president trump's meeting with kim jong-un. a place with all day arts and crafts it even has a day spa a place that's so much like home, because well... it is home home instead senior care
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buy an iphone 8, get an iphone 8, on us. only at t-mobile. when the president took a fresh victory lap this afternoon for his summit with kim jong-un, he might have spoken too soon. the breaking news, new reporting in "the washington post." here's the lede. quote, u.s. spy agencies are seeing signs that north korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country's first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the united states, according to officials familiar with the intelligence. joining us now by phone, one of the reporters on the by line. so, the new missiles north korea is building, what do you know about them somewhat can you say about them? >> well, one thing that's become clear to us, anderson, over the last few months, is that our insight into what is going on in north korea is getting much better. north korea was always a black box for intelligence. now we have a really good picture of what's going on inside some of these facilities
and decision making by some of the leaders. what we see here is weapons that are being constructed at a factory that made some of the most powerful weapons in north korea's arsenal. so, at minimum, we can say that north korea has not put on the brakes as far as its weapons program is concerned. >> what kind of evidence has u.s. intelligence gathered to show that this is happening? it is known? >> yes. we do know that some of this is -- photographs are being taken by the nda, the national spacial intelligence agency, which looks not just at what we can see on the ground, but also has the ability to penetrate inside buildings and see what's going on inside. and what we see is construction is continuing. they have hundreds of facilities around the country that make weapons and surprised they haven't stopped work at many of these facilities. in fact, most of them are continuing to work. >> have the north koreans made any kind of real moves at all to start a disarmament process? >> there has only been a couple, and they're not that impressive, to be honest. the one that everyone is talking about, dismantlement of an engine test stand.
that's where you take a rocket before you test it on an actual missile, and you check its capacities and make sure it's working okay. they're taking apart one of those. but they have already proven they have an engine that works. they don't really need this facility anymore. they can rebuild it quickly if they want to. so, it's more of a symbolic move than anybody else. but the secretary of state pompeo just acknowledged this past week that fissile material, the stuff that makes nuclear weapons explode, that work continues. they're still making more of it. and now we have indication that the missiles are still being made, too. >> i mean, in fact, your reporting says that north korean officials have been discussing how to deceive washington about their nuclear capabilities. that sounds very alarming. >> it is alarming. and the people that are listening to these conversations are catching these conversations in real-time and are very worried about it. because what we see, in real-time, evidence that north korean officials don't really take this very seriously. they want to offer some token gestures to dismantling their nuclear arsenal, perhaps giving up some weapons, allowing
inspectors to see some facilities, but they have no intention of giving up everything. and that comes as no surprise when you think of nuclear weapons being essential, at least in the eyes of the regime to the survival of kim jong-un and his family. >> it certainly flies in the face what the president tweeted out when he came back about there is no more nuclear threat from north korea. you reported that north korea's stockpile of enriched uranium could be substantially higher than we think. is that right? >> and this is really important, as well, anderson. because we've always known about one facility. we've been able to go inside of it. american scientists visited this place called yongbyon a few years ago. but we had suspicions at the times there were other sites, and we know of at least one other one. it's a big one. it's been working for at least ten years. and that means that the stockpile of enriched uranium is probably much bigger than we knew even a few months ago. >> wow. it's incredible reporting. joby warrick, incredible reporting. i really appreciate it. also, i want to urge everybody. joby wrote a book about isis
called "black flags" about the rise of isis, the history of al qaeda. it's really an extraordinary, extraordinary book. i recommend everyone get it. far back to north korea, the new developments that joby's reporting on do not necessarily come as a surprise to people who know the country and its behavior over the years. it might, however, come as surprise to the president, who has gone out of his way to praise mr. kim. >> he's got a great personality. he is very talented. great personality and very smart. good combination. he's a, you know, funny guy. he's a very talented man. loves his people. he loves his country. he was really very gracious. he's a very smart guy. we've had a really great term together, a great relationship. he's a great negotiator. i think that he really wants to do a great job for north korea. he wants to do what's right. he trusts me, i believe, i really do. we got along right from the beginning. i think he liked me and i like him.
we had a terrific day. >> so, is the president reassessing his views? no sign of it so far. still menty to talk about. joining us, max boot and retired lieutenant general mark hertling. has this come as a surprise to anybody who followed north korea and the united states and efforts at peace between the two countries? >> i think it's entirely expected to everyone, anderson, other than to donald trump himself. i mean, i think he's about the only person in the world, and probably the only person in his own administration, who actually thinks that as a result of the singapore summit, the north kor koreans were truly planning to give up their nuclear weapons, which they did not commit to. all they said is we will work towards the complete denuclearization of the korean peninsula, which means something very difficult for kim jong-un than it means for donald trump. but donald trump has been trying to convince the world that this was a stupendous deal, the problem is solved, there is no more nuclear threat. and the intelligence consistently contradicts those rosy assessments.
>> general, i mean, the reality is north koreans have agreed to nothing, as far as we know, so, the fact they're continuing to build these missiles, it's not even necessarily like they're breaking some agreement with the u.s., because there's nothing really specifically written down. >> they're not, anderson. and max and i are on the same page. we're talking about the kim dynasty that has been in place for three generations. grandfather, father and now kim jong-un. you're not going to change their strategic approach in a morning session at a summit in singapore. all of us who have been skeptical about this from the very beginning and anyone who has served on the korean peninsula knows that this just isn't the way it works in the real world when you're dealing with kim jong-un. he is not a good guy. he is not a charismatic leader. he is a vicious dictator who kills his own people. and he depends on these nuclear weapons, as he has been building them for the last several years, to give him power and to give him strength and to have other people fear him.
yeah, this is not a surprise at all to anyone who knows this regime. >> max, "the post" quoted a non-proliferation expert, and i want to make sure he g-- i get this right. he says the u.s. has this backwards. north korea is not negotiating to give up their weapons. they're negotiating for recognition of their nuclear weapons, which is a completely different thing. >> exactly. i think that's actually happened as a result of this process. donald trump has legitimated the north korean regime. he has treated kim jong-un as an equal on the world stage. he has praised him to the skies as the clips you just played showed that. he has essentially led to relaxation of sanctions on north korea, because china is simply not enforcing sanctions in the same way they were before. and in fact, other countries just don't have any incentive to enforce the sanctions because trump says the problem is solved. so, why would they want to, you know, inflict pain on themselves if the problem has been solved. so, i think kim jong-un is actually getting what he wants, which is keeping the nuclear program, seeing sanctions relaxed, and seeing his profile enhanced on the world stage. he is getting pretty much everything he wants. the u.s. is getting almost
nothing out of this. >> and general, not only what max talked about, you're also getting a stop to joint military maneuvers with south korea that the u.s. has had for quite some time. and the fact that the north koreans have been discussing, according to "the post," how to deceive washington about the number of warheads and missiles they have, why should anyone expect them to do any differently? >> they shouldn't. and that's key issue, anderson. you know, when you're talking about the military exercises, i think mr. trump got a lot of advice from his military leaders and the defense department is, let's do snapback exercises. if something wrong happens, let's immediately put them back into place and prove if you're going to say, take them off the table, then at least be prepared to put them back. we did not do that. he has not taken the advice of anyone who is expert on many of these issues in north korea, as he hasn't with many other parts of the world. so, it's to be expected what we're seeing right now. and it's more than unfortunate, it's extremely dangerous and
just catastrophic that this is going on. >> general hertling, thanks very much. max boot, we're going to talk to max in a little bit. more unsight from max about president trump's ongoing lack of details on his meeting with vladimir putin. two weeks out, we still don't know what they talked about. rudy giuliani's other mode of attack, how he is going after special counsel robert mueller now. new chicken creations from starkist. buffalo style chicken in a pouch-- bold choice, charlie! just tear, eat... mmmmm. and go! try all of my chicken creations! chicken! bundle and save big, but now it's time to find my dream abode. -right away, i could tell his priorities were a little unorthodox. -keep going. stop. a little bit down. stop. back up again. is this adequate sunlight for a komodo dragon? -yeah. -sure, i want that discount on car insurance just for owning a home, but i'm not compromising. -you're taking a shower? -water pressure's crucial, scott! it's like they say -- location, location, koi pond.
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a white house official telling cnn that the president's press team is not, repeat, not coordinating with the president's tv lawyer rudy giuliani, who frankly would be hard to keep up. as you saw at the top of the program, he said a number of confusing things about the allegation that the president knew in advance about the campaign meeting with russians. he was, however, a bit better focused where other aspects of the russia probe are concerned, including his assertion that it's gone on too long. >> i don't respect credentials. i respect performance. i see a guy who is conducting an investigation, particularly the russia collusion part that is by now obvious. you only can investigate an innocent man so long. see, if the guy didn't commit the bank robbery and you think he did and you keep investigating him, you're going to do it forever. you're going to keep coming up with cohens. >> i understand. we have due process. i understand all of that, but the investigation isn't done yet. and you know how long these things take. >> yes, it is. if they're looking at his tweets, the investigation is done. we're going to do obstruction by tweet on a president of the united states as an article of impeachment? go read the law review articles about that. it's laughable. it's scary.
>> so, is the investigation over as rudy giuliani says? joining us cnn legal analyst anne milgram and garrett graff, author of "the threat matrix: inside robert mueller's fbi and the war on global terror." ann, this motion that the mueller investigation is over, it's something that, frankly, the trump team has been saying for quite some time. in relative terms, though, it actually hasn't been going on that long compared to the benghazi investigation. >> right. >> compared to iran/contra. >> yeah, i mean, this investigation has actually moved very quickly. andyou look at all the indictments that have been brought, tomorrow the man fa fort trial starts, it's moving very quickly. so, they're moving pieces, one piece at a time, as cases become ready, they charge them. but there's no question it's moved very quickly. and, you know, rudy giuliani knows this, but the investigation is over is when the investigation is over and mueller decides there are no more leads to run down.
and just because he says it's over does not make it true. >> garrett, giuliani is saying he doesn't respect credentials, talking about robert mueller, he respects performance. you wrote a piece about mueller's time in the military. you talked to a lot of people who served with him. what did they tell you about his performance? >> this is someone who is not getting distracted by rudy giuliani's comments on cable news sort of day in and day out. anne just sort of said the most stunning part of this, which is rudy giuliani is one of the most talented and well-known and recognized u.s. attorneys in modern u.s. history. and the fact that he is sort of on tv on a daily basis pretending that he doesn't have the foggiest idea how a federal investigation goes down is just laughable, and it's frankly pathetic to watch him say the things that he says as empty as they are. >> well, you know, he talked about storm troopers going into i think referencing going to michael cohen's office. the idea that rudy giuliani, you know, who was once mr. law and order, is now calling fbi agents
who are lawfully executing search warrants storm troopers is pretty shocking and disturbing. >> yeah. i mean, rudy giuliani would not be where he is today, as celebrated a figure as he at least once was, without the hard work of hundreds of fbi agents backing him up in cases big and small across the southern district of new york. and the idea that the mayor of new york city on 9/11 is attacking the man who led the fbi's investigation into 9/11 is sort of unfathomable now, if you fast forward 17 years since that event. >> and garrett brings this up in his piece, is that we don't know what rick gates or michael flynn or george papadopoulos have told robert mueller. in fact, we don't know -- we've only seen the tip of the iceberg of the stuff that robert mueller has. so, for giuliani to be latching onto tweets, that's, you know, i
understand why he would be doing that, but it's not reflective of what actually is happening below the surface in the mueller investigation. >> there is no question about it. what giuliani is latching onto, also, are when the counsel's office, when mueller's office is saying, we want to ask about these things, he's latching onto them as that's all the evidence that they have. which, of course, we know it's not the case. tomorrow, gates is starting cooperating as the manafort trial starts. so we'll only then start to hear what the full scope of the evidence. when it comes to flip, we still don't know fully who he has cooperated against, how many people he is cooperating against, what his information. so it is like an iceberg where you only see the tip. and it's not until the cases are brought and tried that the public will get to see all the information. >> and garrett, you also make the point that we don't know if mueller is done with manafort, whether he'll bring additional charges, whether there will be any plea deal. how much do you think we'll learn from manafort's trial which as anne said starts tomorrow in virginia? >> we're going learn a lot. and the other thing is paul manafort is going to learn a
lot. i mean, he's almost 70 years old. he is already in jail for witness tampering during the course of the trial preparation, staring at potentially as many as 300 years in federal prison. it's not going take a lot for him to be staring down a life sentence if this trial begins to go poorly. so, i think the big thing to watch is how paul manafort thinks his own trial is going and does he think at some point over the next couple of days that taking a plea deal with bob mueller is the better part of valor. >> such an interesting idea that he changes his tune as he sees how his trial is going. >> right. i mean, you know, i think this is interesting in a lot of ways. i don't expect that manafort will plead guilty. if he is going to, i think we'd see it tomorrow, candidly, before the start of trial. and the reason i don't think we'll necessarily see it is, this is a paper case, right? this is a case where the government has followed the money trail. so even when you look at the indictment, they're going to provide evidence on all these pieces, and now they also have
gates as a cooperator. so, i think the truth is that the case is going to be extraordinarily strong against him. he may have a view that it's not as strong as it goes in, but it's not just a he said/she said thing. it's going to be follow the documents and the bank records. and i suspect by the end of the government's opening, they're going to have detailed a pretty lengthy and extensive road map of how manafort committed a number of crimes. >> anne, garrett, thank you. the president bragged again today how important his meeting with putin was. two weeks out, still don't know really anything about what happened behind closed doors. will we ever get any answers? we'll talk about that ahead.
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well, it may be one of the world's greatest mysteries. what happened at the two-hour plus sit-down between vladimir putin and president trump in helsinki? the president brought the subject back into the news cycle today. >> i had a great meeting, in my opinion, of course, the fake news didn't cover it that way, but i had a great meeting with president putin of russia. >> says it was a great meeting. we didn't cover it that way because we had no idea what actually took place in that meeting. max boot is here, cnn global affairs analyst, and professor stephen cohen at nyu and princeton. max, let's start with you. i mean, the president saying he had a great meeting with vladimir putin. the fact is, it's been two weeks now, we still don't know what went on behind closed doors between these two. >> well, it's exactly right,
anderson. and trump is aggrieved that he's not getting the credit he thinks he deserves, but we have no idea what the heck happened. if you listen to mike pompeo's testimony last week, even secretary pompeo doesn't have a clear idea of what happened. this is not normal. this is not normally what happens when two leaders meet. you're seeing trump continuing to praise putin and we don't know what they discussed. that's a scary scenario. >> stephen, i mean, do you think it's problematic that we don't know what was said in that two-plus hour meeting between these two world leaders? and, you know, as max said, seems like mike pompeo and others don't have a firm grasp on what was said. >> i don't think it's unusual. we do have a pretty good sense of what was discussed. both from what trump's people have said, but two or three speeches putin has given. let me just rattle them off, because i was looking at them today. they discussed trying to avoid a new nuclear arm's race by keeping alive two treaties that
exist. they talked about peace in syria, including securing israeli borders from iranian forces. that would be very important to americans, i this i. they talked about a joint alliance between terrorists who are in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. they talked about doing more business, which doesn't make much sense because of the sanctions. and they talked in some way about the united states becoming more involved in the minsk agreement, which is the only agreement we have to resolve the ukrainian crisis. >> how do you know that's what they actually talked about? >> those are good things. >> you have to take putin's word for it. >> this is what the russian side has said. >> you are going on the side -- >> well, there's been -- >> you you''re believing vladim putin on this. but the point is, is this has been confirmed by a number of trump's people. trump himself made some statements, we discussed this.
>> it hasn't been confirmed. >> he doesn't talk like a normal diplomat. >> what president trump actually said to vladimir putin is only known to vladimir putin and to president trump. even if putin comes forward and says, i said this, or even if president trump comes forward and says, i said this, we don't know for sure. the only thing we know for sure is what happened in that press conference. did what happen at that press conference concern you at all, stephen? >> well, let me give you an example. i being older than both of you, maybe you don't remember. in early 1986, president ronald reagan met alone with then soviet leader gorbachev for, i think, about two and a half hours. everybody was upset about it because reagan was getting older in years and people were worried. when the guys came out, reagan and gorbachev, they said, we've decided to abolish nuclear weapons. and aides on both sides said, you can't do that just like that. so they backed off.
but what happened one year later? reagan and gorbachev abolished a whole category of nuclear weapons, the intermediate range. so good things got done, and nobody else knew except the two translators what was said in there. so there's precedent. >> president trump today talked about meeting with the iranian president, rouhani, with no pre-conditions. does that surprise you? would that be wise? >> it's not surprising to me at all, anderson. in fact, i predicted it a week ago, when trump came out with that semideranged tweet in all capital letters threatening consequences the likes of which you've never seen before to iran, based on his pattern. you can pretty easily predict that after threatening these horrible consequences, trump will then try to set up a meeting, glad hand and before long, he'll probably be praising rouhani for being smart, witty, warm and reaching a deal that has no substance to it whatsoever. that's his pattern. the striking thing to me is that although he's willing to threaten north korea and iran,
he never threatens russia, and that's why a lot of intelligence officials think there is something highly suspect in the relationship between putin and trump. >> i have no idea what mr. boot is talking about. he wants trump to threaten russia? why would we threaten russia? you've got two nuclear -- >> because they're attacking us, professor cohen. russia is attacking us right now according to trump's own director of national intelligence. >> i've been studying russia for 45 years. i've lived in russia, and i've lived here. >> and you've been consistently an apologist for russia. >> excuse me? what did you say to me? >> i said you've been a consistent apologist for russia in those last 45 year. >> all right, i don't do defamation of people. i do serious analysis of serious national security problems. when people like you call people like me, and not only me, but people more eminent than me, apologists for russia because we don't agree with your analysis,
you are criminalizing diplomacy and detente, and you are the threat to american national security in this story. why do you have to defame somebody you don't agree with? they used to do that in the old soviet union. we don't do that here. well, we used to, but we need to stop it. >> finally, stephen, you're saying russia was not attacking the united states? >> i know what you're talking about. during the 2016 election, russia attacked the united states. yes, i don't think they attacked the united states. >> okay, and yet you just denied being an apologist for russia. you're apologizing for russia as we speak. >> well, you haven't let me finish. you don't know what i'm going to say. >> please go ahead. >> the meddling began, mr. cooper, right after the russian revolution when woodrow wilson sent american troops to fight in the russian civil war. >> oh, please. >> the meddling began on the soviet and -- let me finish. on the meddling side, when the communist formed the communist
international. ever since then, moscow has meddled in our politics. we have meddled in theirs. this is low-level stuff that went on. it is not an attack. it is 9/11. it is not pearl harbor. it is not russian paratroopers. this kind of hyperbole and attack on america suggests we need to attack russia. so you've got mr. boot saying that trump should threaten russia. with what? does he want to attack? >> try sanctions. >> i think mr. boot would have been happy if trump had waterboarded putin at the summit and made him confess. trump carried out an act of diplomacy fully consistent with the history of american presidencies. let us see what comes of it. then judge. >> stephen cohen, max boot, appreciate it. thank you very much. >> thank you. copping up, the ghostposts move again. now the president's lawyer rudy giuliani is saying he doesn't know if colluding with russians is a crime. what we're hearing from the white house tonight, next. chicken?! chicken. chicken! that's right, candace--
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and the confusion he spread today over a very simple question. what did the president know, if anything, ahead of the campaign meeting with russians? did he have knowledge of it in advance? according to our sources as you saw it here first, michael cohen is prepared to say that he did, in fact, know