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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  December 17, 2018 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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i'm comforted by that. i don't like the polls, but i'm comforted it's on you. i trust you to smell b.s. and put the proper emphasis on things and put it all in the proper context, which is serving your interests. that may mean doing something. it may mean doing nothing. we don't know enough at this point to go any further than that responsibly. but we soon will, and i'll be here to help you separate fact from fugazi, but know what game is being played. thank you for watching. "cnn tonight" with d. lemon starts right now. >> there's a lot of fugazi going around. >> yes. >> and if you don't believe there's fugazi right now, there's no help. >> there's so much fugazi. i'm waiting for bill fugazi to walk in right now. >> there is no hope. there are still people, the president didn't lie. he already told you he lied. he admitted to lying. then he said, if i did lie, it's not a big deal. >> that's what he says to us. >> yes. >> he didn't say that to mueller. you heard that from rudy yesterday. >> no. >> he and cohen were talking about the deal all the way through november. why? cya. because that man will bite you if you bark at him. >> what does cya mean?
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>> cover your hiney. >> i know. i just thought i could get you -- >> try to trip me up, sick man. >> thought i could get you -- i know. this thing won't go away. what the hell? it's like the mueller investigation. it won't go away. it just lingers. >> that's supposed to be the cure, that investigation, by the way, not the virus. >> i know. sorry for coughing. i feel better, but it's just, you know, i don't look so good. >> yeah, you look good, and you looked good yesterday. you had good energy. you're eating a lot, though. that's a sign that your body needs fuel. >> yeah, i know. the hot toddies were pretty good. so thank you to sag pizza. >> love that place. love seeing you and tim. you're good men, and you're good to be here even though you're not feeling well. >> your friends are great, but you're -- you know. at least they're real fishermen. they know how to catch fish. >> they are real fishermen. they thought you'd be taller by the way. >> well, i'm not even going to go there. >> have a good night. >> you too. i'll see you later. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon.
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our breaking news, here's the breaking news. clear evidence tonight that michael flynn lied to the fbi. fugazi. despite the president's claims his former national security adviser was truthful. clear evidence he lied. the evidence comes from a ten-page document. that document released tonight by robert mueller. there are redactions on every single page. but what is not redacted, it tells us that flynn lied again and again and again to fbi agents. just lied. what did i say? lies, lies and more lies. here's what's really interesting about all of this. according to robert mueller, flynn has now told him the truth. so what can we learn from what flynn said then and what he says now? much more ahead on this breaking news. we'll tell you about that. and it comes on the day that james comey, the man president trump fired by his own admission over what he called this russia
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thing, or as he says, rusher, this rusher thing, the day comey slammed the president for his attacks on the fbi. >> the president of the united states is lying about the fbi, attacking the fbi, and attacking the rule of law in this country. how does that make any sense at all? >> the president sounding more like a mob boss than the leader of the free world. tweeted this just yesterday, and i quote, remember michael cohen only became a rat after the fbi did something which was absolutely unthinkable and unheard of until the witch hunt was illegally started. they broke into an attorney's office. why didn't they break into the dnc to get the server or crooked's office? how old is he? that sounds like -- i don't even know an elementary school student who would write that.
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i know you are, but what am i? so, anyways, do you remember when it happened, though, when he said, they broke into my lawyer's office, a good man? now he's saying he's a rat. what changed? same man. same michael cohen. just not saying what the president wants him to say. but, no, the fbi did not break into michael cohen's office. they had a warrant. everything they did was legal, above board, and at the time remember michael cohen told me himself that agents were professional and courteous. and he said he even thanked them for doing their jobs when they left. the president also seems to be suggesting that authorities should have broken into the democrats' headquarters. we all know how that sort of thing worked out for president nixon, don't we? hmm. james comey, though, not having any of it. >> this is the president of the united states calling a witness
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who has cooperated with his own justice department a rat. say that again to yourself at home and remind yourself where we have ended up. this is not about republicans and democrats. this is about what does it mean to be an american? what are the things that we care about? >> i say that every night here. this is not about ideology. this is not about left versus right. this isn't about conservative versus democrat. this is about truth versus lies, reality versus non-reality, twilight zone stuff, alternative facts. this is not about ideology at all. people like to make it into that. this is not it. the rule of law. and as for the president's attacks, this president's attacks on his own justice department, you know who else does that? russia, or as he says, rusher. reports prepared for the senate
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intel committee show that russia waged a disinformation campaign against robert mueller through fake accounts on twitter and other social media all in an attempt to neutralize mueller's investigation. you would think one of the things that this president would care about the most would be the rule of law, wouldn't you? after all, donald trump -- remember this? he claimed over and over and over to be the law and order candidate and then the law and order president. >> we must maintain law and order at the highest level, or we will cease to have a country. i am the law and order candidate. i am the law and order candidate. we need law and order. i will restore law and order to our country. every single day of my administration, we will stand
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for law, order, and justice. we are about law and order. >> except for me. but this president, who says he's all about law and order, seems to have trouble separating what's legal from what isn't. just a few examples of that, okay? so the president has railed about flipping, actually arguing that it should be illegal for people facing prosecution to cooperate with the government. >> it's called flipping, and it almost ought to be illegal. you get ten years in jail, but if you say bad things about somebody, in other words, make up stories if you don't know, make up stories, they just make up lies. >> it's no coincidence that members of trump's inner circle, including michael cohen, have flipped on him and cooperated with prosecutors. now it should be illegal to flip because it's not good for him.
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come on, can't you people see this? but the president wasn't done. i want you to listen to what he has to say about violations of campaign finance laws. >> campaign violations are considered not a big deal frankly. >> not a big deal for him. i wonder if it was hillary what he would say or obama. there's probably a tweet about that somewhere. michael cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison for his crimes. among them, campaign finance violations. sounds like a pretty big deal to me. but the president had some more excuses. >> my first question when i heard about it was, did they come out of the campaign because that could be a little dicey. and they didn't come out of the campaign, and that's big. but they weren't -- that's not -- it's not even a campaign violation.
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>> i don't even know what that meant. so much to unpack there. the president says his first question when he heard about hush money was whether it came out of the campaign when he heard about it. when he heard about it. he wants to know if it came out of the campaign because he probably knows, oops, campaign violation, but -- and when he heard about it. he seems to have forgotten this. roll the tape. >> i've actually spoken to allen weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with -- >> so what are we going to -- >> -- with funding, yes. and it's all the stuff. all the stuff because, you know, you never know where that company -- >> somebody maybe gets hit by a truck. >> correct. so i'm all over that. and i spoke to allen about it. when it comes time for the financing, which will be -- >> what financing?
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>> we'll have to pay -- >> don't pay with cash. >> no, no, no. i got -- no, no, no. >> initially, remember on air force one, i don't know anything about it. you have to ask michael cohen. as far as the president's claim that those payments were a campaign violation, the facts say otherwise. remember michael cohen was sentenced to three years in prison. that is a fact, not one that rudy giuliani, who appears to be the president's new fixer, can talk away. but that's definitely not stopping him from trying. >> the southern district says you can get out of jail if you do this. he's got three years now. there's a real motivation to sing like crazy. he's got to do a lot of singing to get out of the three years, and he will say whatever he has to say. he's changed his story four or five times. >> so has the president. >> the president is not under oath, and the president is trying to do the best he can to remember what happened back at a time when he was the busiest man in the world. >> the president's not under oath.
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did he say the best memory or something? he can't remember anything. he can't remember anything. he wasn't under oath. i should point out for anybody who doesn't remember, rudy giuliani was pretty tough on crime as a mob-busting u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york, the very same office that prosecuted michael cohen and as mayor of new york. but now his argument appears to be that the president wasn't under oath, so it doesn't matter what he says, that he lies. also he was very busy. i mean he was busy. so, you know, he doesn't know. he was a busy man. michael cohen was a busy man too, but he's still going to go to prison. come on, let's remember this fact about president trump.
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three members of his inner circle, key advisers, are now convicted felons. so much for the law and order president, folks. a lot to talk about on our breaking news. a newly released fbi memo on michael flynn. we're going to dig into that with renato mariotti, juliette kayyem, and max boot next. d saved hundreds. that's a win. but it's not the only reason i switched. the geico app makes it easy to manage my policy. i can pay my bill, add a new driver, or even file a claim. woo, hey now! that's a win-win. thank you! switch to geico®. it's a win-win. for a limited time,
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here's our breaking news. the special counsel robert mueller releasing a memo that summarizes the fbi's interview with the former national security adviser michael flynn in january of 2017. and in that interview, flynn lied to the fbi about his contacts with russia's ambassador to the u.s. he will be sentenced for that crime tomorrow. but what has he told mueller? let's discuss now. renato mariotti is here, juliette kayyem, and max boot, the author of "the corrosion of conservatism: why i left the right." okay. good evening. so, juliette, let's just talk about this. the 302 is released. i saw people on the internet defending it. why doesn't mueller release a 302? they're hiding something. at every single turn, people say, why don't they do this? they're hiding this. then mueller releases it, and then it shows that they lied again, and then they come up with another excuse. this is all a bunch of b.s. all these people are b.s.'ing.
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giuliani is b.s.'ing. flynn lied. it's all there. what is it that people can't see? >> well, they can't see how bad this is getting for donald trump. the release of the 302 is really interesting, and i think sort of puts trump in a very difficult position because what we learn in the 302 is not only was the fbi essentially just trying to help flynn tell the truth -- i mean throughout it, they're sort of trying to get him to sort of remember what exactly he was doing with kislyak, the russian ambassador, or what certain phone calls were about. and what comes out by the end of the 302 are two things. first, that not only is flynn lying, but flynn is lying to protect donald trump. and the second is that flynn is not acting independently. at one stage in the 302 just very quickly, he's going -- it's clear that flynn is calling mar-a-lago. this is during the sanctions and what trump would do in -- excuse me -- what russia would do in
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response to the sanctions that obama put on during the transition. and it's clear that, you know, flynn's on the phone with kislyak. he says hold on. he's calling mar-a-lago, where his deputy is, who is clearly getting, you know, guidance from trump. and basically saying trump does not want you to do what's in the 302, which is a tit for tat. so that's the two things that really harm trump, that flynn is lying to protect trump and also that flynn was not acting alone. so tomorrow is a big day. >> it is a big day. so, max, there's a larger redaction after the fbi describes flynn's second trip to russia and the unbelievable media attention that he got, right? and he said -- and he insists he was never paid directly by media entities, including rt. could that redaction be about rt, the dinner with flynn that he is seen with putin? we showed the picture here. >> i don't know. but that would seem like a reasonable deduction.
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you know, the very fact that flynn was attending this dinner where he was sitting at the same table as putin, that should have been a giant warning flag to any normal campaign. there is no way that somebody like this would have been appointed national security adviser, plus somebody like flynn who is actually a foreign lobbyist. he was lobbying for the turkish government even as he was advising the trump campaign, and today two of his business associates were indicted for being unregistered foreign agents. remember, two days after the 2016 election when president obama met with president-elect trump, one of the few pieces of advice that president obama gave him was don't hire michael flynn because president obama understood what a volatile personality he was and how he was exposed in all sorts of ways that the u.s. intelligence community knew about. and of course trump, in his arrogance, refused to listen. >> sally yates said he was vulnerable as well, right? >> this was not a secret, don. >> max, let me ask you this. renato, we'll get to you in a second. again, for all of the apologists
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and all of the defenders, oh, my gosh, well, mueller should release this because that will show he's lying, or they should do this, and that will show he's lying, or i don't know what's the whole thing about wiretaps, and that will show he's lying. every single time they release something, it shows that not mueller is lying, that whoever he's going after is lying, and somehow the president is twisted up in that. what gives here? >> well, i would say one thing is that the president's defenders ought to have figured this out by now. these are not the brightest people. we have seen this movie before. devin nunes be-clowned himself several times in similar fashion demanding these documents be released. and they are released and they make the situation worse, not better for the president. they should just knock it off and realize their ridiculous conspiracy theories are going to be knocked down as soon as more information comes out. >> it is so embarrassing right now for them. renato, there's another large redaction. i want you to follow on this. it says the interviewing agents
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asked flynn if he had any other text, e-mail, or personal meetings with kislyak or other russians. flynn volunteered that after the election, he had a closed-door meeting with kislyak. so, renato, and then there's a redaction after that. it's a cliff-hanger, isn't it? are we learning any more about these interactions from this memo? >> i think what we have learned is that there's no real question that flynn was deliberately trying to lie and deceive the fbi, and the real question is why was he doing that. as juliette mentioned, it certainly seems like he's trying to protect trump. but what is he trying to protect? i think the redactions hide that. the redactions would reveal what he did say, whether that was a cover story or whether that was the reality or some mixture thereof. we can't be 100% sure. we don't have enough information. i think one thing is crystal clear from all of this. as you are pointing out, don, that these conspiracy
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theories -- and, by the way, that have been promoted by people like alan dershowitz, i've been arguing back and forth with alan dershowitz on twitter all day, who is trying to convince people that there's something unlawful about this. and i want to make sure viewers know there is nothing unusual or unlawful about what the fbi did. there is nothing even slightly inappropriate about it according to united states federal courts. and i think this 302, this report, fbi report demonstrates that, and i think the judge will find that as well. >> you know what's wrong about it? what's wrong is that it's a trump surrogate, and that's why everybody's mad. that's the only reason that they're upset is because it's trump. they're not upset that it's a republican. i don't think they'd be upset if it was a republican if it wasn't trump. they would definitely they wouldn't be upset definitely if it was a democrat. but they're upset because it's someone who is associated with trump, and they've been proven wrong, and they have egg on their faces right now. >> what i want to know is why
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isn't michael flynn a rat? why is donald trump going after michael cohen, but he's not going after michael flynn? what is it about michael flynn that makes him a good trump soldier despite the fact that he's cooperating with mueller? is there something he's kept from mueller? is there something he's hiding? i mean to me, that is a real $64,000 question here. why does michael flynn still have a bunch of defenders from the trump camp? >> i think the obvious explanation, renato, is that donald trump is much more worried about what michael cohen is going to say than he is about what michael flynn is going to say because michael cohen knows about his personal business affairs and has a much longer history with him and was more involved in things like the moscow project than michael flynn was. so i think that's why donald trump is going so crazy about cohen as opposed to somebody else. >> yeah. thank you all. i appreciate it. we're out of time. see you next time. so follow the money. the man who wrote the book on robert mueller will detail all
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the investigations into trump and russia and why a lot of them are crossing president trump's red line by looking into his businesses. ♪ spread a little love today ♪ spread a little love my-y way ♪ ♪ spread a little something to remember ♪ philadelphia cream cheese. made with fresh milk and real cream makes your recipes their holiday favourites. the holidays are made with philly. what would you like the power to do? ♪ listening to people answer that question, is how we find out what matters most to them. for a business, it's the power to grow. for an entrepreneur, it's the power to innovate. and for a family, it's the power to own a home.
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yippiekiyay. ♪ mom. ♪ so ahead of tomorrow's sentencing for michael flynn for lying to the fbi, it's important to note that there are multiple investigations under way regarding president trump, russian interference in the 2016 elections, and other issues. so my next guest says there are a total of 17 investigations, and he writes about them for "wired." wow, that's a lot. garrett graff joins me now. he's the author of "the threat matrix: inside robert mueller's fbi and the war on global
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terror." garrett, okay, so explain this to us. by your count, you say there are 17 investigations into the trump/russia world. i want to put some of them up on the screen now from mueller to the fbi -- let me say, from mueller, from the sdny, on and on, they're all at various stages, but it's fascinating to see all these being scrutinized. so talk to me about that. >> this is -- we've seen really over the last three weeks a lot of new information come out about these probes, about these investigations. and when you go back and look at everything that we have learned over the last really three weeks since thanksgiving, what you see is something that's a little bit different than the way that we've been talking about this. we shorthand this as the mueller probe, or we shorthand this as
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the russia probe. but when you look at the totality of this, sort of the constellation of investigations that are under way right now, that are focused on donald trump and his organizations, his campaign, his businesses, his inauguration, his super pac, his white house, the transition, what you see is actually something that's a little less focused on russia and a little less focused on mueller. and there are 17 different investigations by my count, 17 that we know of, of course, by seven different sets of prosecutors. >> garrett, hold on. >> so it's not just bob mueller. >> can we roll them again. go on, garrett. continue. can reroll them again? >> so it's not just mueller. it's the southern district of new york, the top federal prosecutor in manhattan, the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia. the u.s. attorney for the eastern district of virginia, which is the northern virginia prosecutor that actually brought some fresh charges today against michael flynn's business partners in a scheme dealing with the turkish government.
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and that's indicative of part of what is so interesting about the totality of these investigations, is that a lot of them are focused on finances, and a lot of them are focused actually on other countries, not just russia. there appears to be a turkish angle, a uae angle, a saudi angle, an israeli angle, perhaps even some more countries that we don't know about. and this is a pretty wide-ranging investigation into donald trump and the way that different foreign countries tried to buy influence in his campaign, in his transition, and in his white house. >> the underlying theme, though, garrett, seems to be follow the money. >> absolutely. and this is where, you know, if you remember last year, donald trump came out and said, well, you know, i think it's a red line if robert mueller starts looking into my business, into my businesses. but what we're really seeing -- and michael cohen's plea
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agreements make this very, very clear -- is the extent to which donald trump himself has commingled and intermingled business and politics in such a way that it's impossible for prosecutors to examine one without forensically examining the other. >> i also want to ask you about rudy giuliani suggesting that trump discussed the trump tower moscow through november of 2016, garrett. was that intentional, or was that a giuliani slip-up? >> it's really hard to know what giuliani means to say or might be trying to say when he's out there. i mean it's hard to imagine that this was actually one of the most feared prosecutors in the country as you mentioned a few minutes ago. you know, it seems like a lot of times rudy giuliani is on tv talking as if he's never even taken a law class. but it seems like what he was
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trying to say or what we might be able to infer that he was saying is that the president's written answers to robert mueller are so general and so fact-free that they might cover almost any set of eventualities. >> which investigation do you think the president should be the most concerned about? >> this is where i think a lot of people get tripped up. sort of this, well, which is the big one question. and the answer is, well, there are 17 of them. the worry should be all of them, that, you know, we're seeing of course the president being named in the court documents dealing with michael cohen, dealing with individual 1 and this campaign finance conspiracy. but there's plenty of reason to believe that these investigations overlap to a certain extent and that there's sort of jeopardy to people in trump's circle across many of them. and i think sort of one of the
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things that should be particularly worrying to the president, as you saw him go on that ten-tweet rant yesterday against cooperators and rats, well, the problem for donald trump is that there are known cooperators in almost every single one of these 17 investigations. and prosecutors have this saying, you know, if you're not at the table, you're on the table. and the problem for donald trump is that it increasingly looks like he and his family are the only ones not at the table cooperating with investigators and with prosecutors in a number of these investigations. >> garrett graff, thank you very much. i appreciate it. new reports coming out of the senate intel committee detailing how russia tried to suppress votes by african-americans. everything you need to know about the threat to our democracy next. i was cured and left those doubts behind.
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this is really important, what i'm about to tell you right now because there's new information about how widespread and aggressive russia's attack on the 2016 election really was. their goal was to get donald trump elected, and they targeted americans through social media. two new reports commissioned by the senate intelligence committee looked at data provided by facebook, by twitter and google, and they found that they were also trying to suppress african-american votes, the african-american vote. analysts found that russians set up 30 facebook pages targeting black americans and 17 youtube channels, 10 of which posted 571 videos related to police violence against african-americans. facebook ads were targeted at users who had shown interest in particular topics including black history, the black panther party, and malcolm x. on youtube, most of the russian
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material was related to police brutality and was posted on channels with names like stop police brutality and don't shoot. in the days leading up to the election, the russian accounts used voter suppression tactics, encouraging black voters to stay home or vote for jill stein. there's no way to know what kind of impact this all had on the 2016 election. what we do know is trump owes his victory in the electoral college to 77,744 votes in three states, okay. in just three states. in pennsylvania, michigan, and wisconsin. we also know the black vote dropped in 2016 in all three of those states. we asked cnn's harry enten to crunch some numbers for us, and while we can't correlate to the exact vote totals, we can make some estimates using statewide and national voting data and trends from the census. so he estimates that the drop in turnout percentage from 2012 to
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2016 meant about 50,000 fewer black votes in michigan, about 50,000 less in pennsylvania, and about 35,000 less in wisconsin. these drops could have something to do with the fact that the first black president was no longer on the ballot. but the question is how effective were the russian attempts to suppress the black vote, and did that make a difference in this election? so let's discuss all of the information i just gave you and more. mark jacobson of georgetown university is here. also josh green, the author of "devil's bargain: steve bannon, donald trump, and the storming of the presidency." gentlemen, good evening to you. this is fascinating information. let's talk about it. mark, i'm going to start with you. after reading these reports, you gave the russians an a-plus. why is that? >> well, again, if you start going back and look what they did during the cold war in terms of racially divisive propaganda, it had some impact exploiting the civil rights campaigns and
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exploiting the pre-existing divisions. but this time they have taken such good advantage of the social media networks and frankly we're going to have to blame the networks -- the social media networks' lack of understanding what was going on in it too. but they took advantage of it, and i think they had a very effective campaign. while i don't know if we'll ever understand exactly what impact it had on voter activity in the polling booths, we do know that it reasonably caused a number of people not to turn out. it caused people to question the democratic candidate and/or sit out the election. >> josh, the efforts by the russians laid out in these reports, i mean it sounds very similar to the trump team's efforts to suppress the black vote. you reported on this extensively during the election, so explain what the trump team was doing. >> well, along with a colleague, i got invited down to trump campaign's data headquarters in san antonio, texas, about a month before the 2016 election.
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and as part of that tour, they showed us actual facebook ads, facebook dark posts that they were targeting toward african-american voters in florida in hopes of discouraging them from turning out and voting on election day. this is the same thing essentially that the russians are alleged to have done in these reports, to disincentivize, discourage, and ultimately suppress the black vote. so whether or not there was any kind of collusion, i don't think there's any evidence of that yet. but certainly they had the same goal, that keeping black voters at home, keeping them from showing up at the polls and voting for hillary clinton would ultimately help donald trump win the presidency. >> do you think it was a coincidence -- and you say there's no evidence of any kind of collusion, but do you think it's a coincidence that both the trump campaign and the russians were targeting the same people at the same time on social media, josh? >> well, i don't necessarily think there needed to have been collusion for russians to understand that suppressing the black vote would be a net
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benefit to donald trump's election. but as far as whether it was a coincidence or not, i really couldn't say. i mean one of the things we've seen over the past weeks and months in the mueller investigation is there was an awful lot of contact between russians, between people in the trump campaign. so even though the russians wouldn't have needed the trump campaign necessarily to say, hey, go figure out a way to keep this group of black voters at home, you know, trump campaign, maybe the russians did reach out to them. you know, we've seen in other instances that trump officials weren't exactly batting away their offers of help. so i don't think we know yet. and, you know, hopefully in the next few weeks or months, robert mueller and his investigators can shed some light on this. but as far as today, we just don't know. all we know for certain based on these two reports is that the campaign and the russians had the same goal here. >> okay. mark, i just want to read a part of this new report that talks about the russian troll farm. >> sure.
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>> the internet research group. it said the most prolific i.r.a. efforts on facebook and instagram specifically targeted black american communities and appeared to have been focused on developing black audiences and recruiting black americans as assets. what does it say to you that this wasn't just about propaganda but also about recruiting assets? >> so let me -- before i say that, let me address something josh said. i actually think it's pretty clear that there was synchronization between the russians and the trump campaign. what i mean by that is the russians could see very clearly what was working, and it was in their interest, we understand, to get trump elected, and it was in their interest to sow division no matter who won. now, the other thing i think that's important in terms of what you've just said is that the russians, by trying to recruit assets, what we can extrapolate from there is to say that the russians were interested in a long-term game. if you recall, on this network and others several months ago,
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there was discussion of the americans who didn't quite believe that the russians had set up those facebook pages. there was that great cnn interview with the woman down in florida who thought that, no, no, that's the fake news. this was a real american page. well, the russians were a step ahead. what they were saying is, there may be a point where americans don't believe us anymore, so let's set up pages, not just going after black americans but also going after the evangelicals concerned about their sexuality. let's get kompromat on these individuals, and i think they were doing that to try and use these people in their propaganda campaigns later on. this has not ended. this is going to go on for quite some time. >> i'll give you the last word. >> there's certainly synchronization. it's a good word, and it's a safer one at this stage than collusion. but, you know, what stands out to me is that it was clear both in the trump campaign and in the i.r.a. that black voters were potentially going to be decisive.
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if you look at the state that the trump campaign targeted most, the facebook ads i saw aimed at black voters were aimed specifically at black voters in south florida. the trump campaign believed that that was the pivotal state, that every path to 270 electoral votes for donald trump ran through florida. in the end, black turnout was down in florida. trump won the election. so, you know, whether or not that was a result of these ads or russian propaganda, i don't think we'll know. but certainly both sides got the outcome that they were looking for. >> josh, mark, thank you. i appreciate your time. according to these reports, bernie sanders supporters were specifically targeted by the internet research agency and encouraged to stay home instead of voting for hillary clinton in the general election. bernie sanders' former press secretary, symone sanders, reacts next.
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the reports commissioned by the senate intelligence committee show russian trolls were targeting bernie sanders voters. they were trying to get them to stay home rather than vote for hillary clinton in the general election. let's discuss now. simone sanders. she's a former press secretary for bernie sanders' 2016 presidential campaign. thank you, symone. so here we go. >> here we go, don. >> still talking about the 2016 campaign. but this is very interesting. according to these new reports, while the russians were slamming hillary clinton they were promoting bernie sanders and jill stein. you worked for sanders. how do you feel knowing that your campaign might indirectly -- might have indirectly gotten help from russia? >> you know, look, don, as an american regardless of being a democrat or a progressive, as an american i'm very concerned that the russians were able to infiltrate our elections and exacerbated already existing tensions to try to swing the
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election or depress or suppress the vote. but i think what's really important is one, that we have to do something about our election security. but two, i want to also caution folks to say that whatever operation that the russians were running is what in fact tipped the scales for donald trump because the fact of the matter is there are many other fa the russian meddling is absolutely one of them. but i am not here -- going to sit here and say that because the russians ran a robust targeting operation that targeted african-american voters, for example, or sanders voters, for example, that that is the reason black voters stayed home or that a number of sanders voters didn't cast their ballot for hillary clinton. i don't think that would be accurate, nor true. >> did you have any idea, do you think the campaign had any idea about -- of these efforts? >> no. we did not have any idea about the russians. we didn't collude with the russians, don. perhaps somebody did, but it definitely wasn't on the left side of the aisle.
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>> i want you to look at this photo of jill stein with putin at an rt dinner. this is in december of 2015. michael flynn is also at the table. do you see this photo in a different light tonight? >> no. because i have always believed and known that there was something nefarious afoot here. i didn't vote for jill stein. i cast my ballot for hillary clinton in the general election. i did vote for bernie sanders in the primary. and i think that we live in a binary two-party system and that a vote for anybody other than donald trump or hillary clinton in the general election was a vote that in my opinion didn't necessarily count. it was not a true participation in democracy. i think third parties are something that could be viable one day. folks haven't done the work to make a third party viable. but the russians didn't just meddle in 2016, don. we know they have been -- they were around in 2017, that they tried their hand in 2018 and they will in fact be back in 2019 and 2020.
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so the question is what is the federal government and states across the country, what are we doing to shore up our elections, our cybersecurity, and what kind of safeguards are folks like facebook and twitter putting in place to make sure there are platforms cannot be weaponized in the same vein again? >> it's interesting, you said you had no idea. and i don't think many people across the country or most people knew that they would be manipulated unwittingly, unknowingly manipulated by russia, by people who were influencing our election. listen, this is part of the "washington post" and "new york times" analysis. okay? 4.4 million people who voted for obama in 2012 did not vote at all in 2016. that's -- a third of those people are black. okay? do you think the russians, the interference had an impact on the black voter or is it the absence of obama on the ticket?
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>> i think -- to be clear-o bama will never be on the ticket again. so for so many people who were saying obama wasn't on the ticket, he'll never be back on the ticket. he won't be running for president again unless there's a constitutional amendment that i don't know about. so one, did the russian meddling affect folks who did or did not go to the polls? absolutely. the russians were complicit in releasing e-mails from the democratic national committee and the clinton campaign via wikileaks and that did influence the way that a number of people decided to engage in a general election. that is not the only reason i would say one third of african-americans in america did not go to the polls in november 2016. it's no secret the clinton campaign didn't knock a door in michigan or wisconsin. and michigan, wisconsin, and pennsylvania were some of the gaps in those states were some of the deciding votes on whether donald trump or hillary clinton was the 45th president of the united states, and we all know how it went down. so i think the lesson we take
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from this going into 2020 is one, we have to make sure that we are shoring up -- that we are shoring up our cybersecurity. we have to be wary of information. we have to triple-check where information comes from. we need to find the source. but also we need to nominate really good candidates. we need to have a very robust nominating process on the democratic side of the aisle so that the person that comes out understands and wants to knock doors in michigan and wisconsin. i voted for hillary clinton. i think the clinton campaign did some really good work. i think there were some gaps and those gaps are evident. >> symone, thank you. either you're having an earthquake there in d.c. or it's really windy because the camera's doing a lot of jumping around. >> thank you. we'll be right back. ♪ can you feel it
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this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. the special counsel robert


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