Skip to main content

tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 12, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

3:00 pm
custody accused of arming the shooter. authorities say he made a crucial purchase that allowed so many people to be gunned down so quickly. crackdown. as the trump administration promises more raids on undocumented workers, it is taking new action that could dramatically cut the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter and stay in the united states. too mooch drama. anthony scaramucci says he is done supporting president trump. what was the final straw, and does it matter to the president as he hits back at scaramucci tonight. and putin's private army. cnn investigates a secret fighting force doing the strong man's bidding. tonight, the kremlin so rattled that a key putin ally is falsely accusing our courageous correspondent of being a spy. we want to welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. i am wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
3:01 pm
we are following breaking news on the dayton shooting massacre. a friend of the gunman has been arrested on federal weapons charges. authorities say he admitted to buying items used in the attack, that includes the high capacity 100 round magazine that allowed the shooter to kill nine people, wound 27 others, in less than 30 seconds. also tonight, president trump is lashing out after his response to the dayton and el paso shootings cost him support of a once loyal aide. former white house communications director anthony scaramucci tells cnn he no longer supports mr. trump's re-election, and thinks republicans should consider replacing him at the top of the 20 2020 ticket. i talk with david cicilline who is on the judiciary committee, and our correspondents and
3:02 pm
analysts are standing by. first, let's go to justice correspondent jessica snyder. what more are you learning about the raearrest of the dayton gunman's friend and his role in the attack? >> reporter: wolf, prosecutors say this friend facilitated his access to the firearm accessory used in the mass shooting, plus the 100 round double drum magazine and body armor. 24-year-old was closely tracked by investigators. fbi and atf officials interviewed him hours after the shooting and found out that ee anthony collie was the one that purchased the upper receiver of the ar-15 and the magazine and body armor, and stored it at his own apartment. prosecutors are saying by doing this, he helped betts kept it all out of view from his parents. >> he indicated that he purchased these items for betts,
3:03 pm
stored them at the residence in order to assess betts in hiding the items from betts' parents. and he watched and helped him assemble the ar-15, ten weeks before the shooting. and betts picked up the drum magazine and body armor from his apartment six to eight weeks before the shooting. they don't allege he knew about the plot in advance but they're charging him with possessing a firearm while doing drugs, drugs found in his apartment, and lying about drug use when he filled out forms to buy weapons. wolf, prosecutors say he is held in the county jail, he faces 15 years in prison for charges. >> we have new information that the attorney general bill barr is considering legislation that would make charges of mass murder more severe, the punishment would be even more severe. >> that's right.
3:04 pm
and the attorney general talked about it at a conference. the attorney general bill barr spelling out his plan to make mass shootings a capital crime eligible for the death penalty. this is something we did report shortly after both shootings in el paso and dayton. now attorney general barr says proposed legislation will be put forward after labor day, something that's currently under consideration at the justice department, will have to be passed by congress. barr says it comes from a direct order to address mass shootings and terror attacks, including developing tools to assist in detecting potential mass shooters before they strike. of course this would have to be passed by congress, this would likely go to congress for consideration can csometime ear mid september. >> thank you for that. now to president trump and the fallout for handling of the dayton and el paso shootings. let's go to chief white house correspondent jim acosta.
3:05 pm
the president returned to twitter after his once loyal defender, anthony scaramucci, said enough is enough. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. just this afternoon president trump and anthony scaramucci exchanged attacks on twitter. the president said scaramucci wants to be on tv. scaramucci says the president has lost his fastball, but the white house is also firing back. press secretary is accusing scaramucci of acting in a self serving way. and now that the mooch is loose, the question is whether other republicans will follow. it is a mooch mutiny. former white house communications director anthony scaramucci is bolting from trump world, announcing he will not back the president in next year's election. >> i think you have to consider a change at the top of the ticket when someone is acting like this. >> reporter: the reasons, scaramucci points to his handling of mass shootings in el paso and dayton and his divisive rhetoric. >> he is giving people a license to hate, to provide a source of
3:06 pm
anger, to go after each other, and he does it on his twitter account. let's stop and think about this. >> reporter: that rare, scathing criticism from trump loyalist turned defector after the president slammed scaramucci over the weekend tweeting anthony who would do anything to come back in should remember the only reason he is on tv and it is not for being the mooch. white house press secretary says scaramucci is just out for attention, saying in a statement he worked at the white house less than two weeks, and is certainly no expert on this president. this is all self serving on his part, the media plays into it. it is embarrassing to watch. the president's critics say he learned little from the el paso shooting, is still targeting latinos, noting new administration policy aimed at making it tougher for legal immigrants to get food stamps. >> there's no reason for any particular group to feel like this is targeting them.
3:07 pm
this will apply across the board. >> reporter: a top grims official protiktd more i.c.e. raids like the operation in mississippi that left migrant children in tears. >> you can expect to see more of that as part of the message the administration, we're going to enforce the law. >> reporter: on vacation in new jersey, the president isn't taking a break from twitter, retweeting a wild, unproven conspiracy theory that the clintons are behind the suicide of jeffrey epstein. the retweet part of a long pattern of spreading false conspiracy theories. >> the president wants everything to be investigated, perhaps there's public interest in knowing more about that. again, this is all speculative and is not for me to go further than where the doj and fbi are now. >> reporter: one actual occurrence not getting much attention, the fact it is two years since white
3:08 pm
supremacist violence in charlottesville, one of the low points of the trump president see. >> excuse me. excuse me. you had some very bad people in that group. you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. >> reporter: not clear whether scaramucci's defection has much effect on the rest of the republican party. the president spent much of his vacation planning for a rally in new hampshire later this week. the reality is the white house weathered other white house defections in the past, haven't resulted in a mass exodus inside the republican party, wolf. >> important point indeed. jim acosta, thank you very much. joining us, david cicilline, democrat on the judiciary and foreign affairs committees. congressman, thank you for joining us. we now know that the dayton shooter had a friend buy the high capacity magazine and body
3:09 pm
armor used in the attack. do you support a ban on high capacity magazines like these? >> yes, wolf. i'm the sponsor of the assault weapons ban legislation which currently has 196 co-sponsors, includes a ban on magazines. these are weapons of war that don't belong in neighborhoods of communities. they ought to be banned, period. >> is there bipartisan agreement on this? a lot of democrats are with you, what about republicans? >> we don't have republican support. the important thing to remember, wolf, we passed two important pieces of gun safety legislation in february. some of the first legislation we passed. universal background checks and closing the charleston loophole. background checks work. since they're put in place, 3 million gun sales denied to people that are disqualified from possessing a firearm because they have a criminal conviction or other disqualifying information. we know they work. one in five guns is purchased without background check.
3:10 pm
that's where legislation would fix. it is sitting on mitch mcconnell's desk since february. the senate should pass those bills, then the house would send over other proposals to reduce gun violence. mitch mcconnell needs to do his job, bring senate in session. they have been sitting on his desk for months. >> he made it clear they're not coming back during the recess until mid september. there's been talk of your committee, the judiciary committee returning to washington during the summer recess to vote on gun control measures. would that put pressure on the senate majority leader to act? >> absolutely. would give us opportunity to remind the american people we have passed two important gun safety measures that save lives sitting on mitch mcconnell's desk. if the judiciary committee comes back, we can passe' digsal gun safety legislation, send that to the floor to keep pressure on mitch mcconnell. we have a gun violence epidemic in this country, it is time mitch mcconnell is willing to
3:11 pm
stand up to the power of the gun lobby, do what's right for the country. i hope by coming back, passing additional legislation on the committee, it will give us opportunity to keep more pressure on the senate republican leader to act. the american people expect us to do something to reduce gun violence in this country. there are common sense proposals to sends to the senate. we sent two already. hopefully that keeps pressure on him. >> i want your thoughts, congressman, on the trump administration's new immigration rule announced today. this will penalize legal immigrants that use public services like food stamps, medicaid. if it is harder to immigrate legally, could this in sent advise illegal immigration? >> yes, it pierces a hole that he is focused on immigration. people come to the country the right way, follow the law, he is reducing access to this country or their ability to stay here. this is part of an effort to
3:12 pm
demonize immigrants, undermine what we know, this is a country built by immigrants that were stronger because people all over the world come to america to build a better life for themselves and their family. we're all immigrants to america. this really does expose the president's real objective here, and that's to demonize communities of color, to demonize immigrants, to make it difficult for people to come to america. and he's betraying the great history of our country. but we see this as part of ongoing efforts to demonize immigrants because he thinks it plays to his base and is advantageous. >> it follows the raids we saw in recent days in mississippi, acting commissioner of customs and border patrol defended raids on sunday saying illegal immigration is not a victimless crime. how do you respond? >> well, i think what we all want of course is comprehensive immigration reform that gives a path to citizenship. we passed legislation to protect
3:13 pm
dreamers, to protect individuals on temporary protective status. that's also sitting in the senate awaiting action. we need comprehensive immigration bill. we benefit from immigrants coming to the country that make extraordinary contributions in my state and across america, we're a country built by immigrants. we ought to be fixing the broken immigration system to give people a pathway to citizenship, to secure our borders. these raids are heartless and cruel. you notice the president doesn't go after the employers exploiting and taking advantage of workers, going after and breaking up families, people coming here working, trying to do better for their families, fleeing unspeakable violence, and i think not allowing individuals to access the asylum system. this is wrong. this is not who we are as a country. it undermines the foundsing values of america. >> you serve on the judiciary committee. i want your reaction to jeffrey epstein's death. this is someone that was a key
3:14 pm
figure in an investigation with enormous implications. how could he die in federal custody? >> it is very, very disturbing. i was a criminal defense lawyer before i got in politics. the notion that someone who attempted suicide would be taken off suicide watch is incredible. just does not happen. it is hard to explain the circumstances of his death in light of attempted suicide. i hope mr. barr is serious when he says it will be thoroughly investigated. there are serious irregularities. we awought to all be concerned. the victims of his crimes won't see full justice, won't have their day in court. i hope the attorney general will investigate and i think the judiciary committee will play a role if there's any sense it is not reviews thoroughly. >> congressman, thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure. more on breaking news on the dayton shooting. also ahead, learning more about
3:15 pm
the el paso massacre and how the suspect's manifesto was in influenced by the president and right wing media. stand by for a cnn exclusive. an army for hire that's working for vladimir putin. the story making the russians so nervous, they're spreading lies about our cnn correspondent. 18- was in an accident. when i called usaa, it was that voice asking me, "is your daughter ok?" that's where i felt relief. we're the rivera family and we plan to be with usaa for life. see how much you can save with usaa insurance.
3:16 pm
but some give their clients cookie cutter portfolios. fisher investments tailors portfolios to your goals and needs. some only call when they have something to sell. fisher calls regularly so you stay informed. and while some advisors are happy to earn commissions whether you do well or not. fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. today's senior living communities have never been better, with amazing amenities like movie theaters, exercise rooms and swimming pools, public cafes, bars and bistros even pet care services. and there's never been an easier way to get great advice. a place for mom is a free service that pairs you with a local advisor to help you sort through your options and find a perfect place. a place for mom. you know your family
3:17 pm
we know senior living. together we'll make the right choice.
3:18 pm
3:19 pm
i can worry about it, or doe. something about it. garlique helps maintain healthy cholesterol naturally, and it's odor-free, and pharmacist recommended. garlique we are back with breaking news. a friend of the dayton gunman is
3:20 pm
arrested on federal weapons charges, he admitted to buying the 100 rounds used in the slaughter and body armor for the shooter. dana bash, does this development add major momentum now in the battle over gun control? >> it could, wolf, but you just never know with this topic, with this atmosphere in washington. yes, we have seen and heard more forward leaning president, a more forward leaning white house, even under severe intense pressure maybe i would say a toe in the water of more gun control from the senate republican leadership. but the reality is that with this kind of thing, momentum tends to build fast and you tend to need to seize on it when moments like this happen. and the senate majority leader
3:21 pm
made clear he is not going to bring back congress before labor day so two weeks, three weeks doesn't seem like a lot of time, but when the political forces have been against any kind of gun control for so long, it is hard to see this particular development. now, it could be this on top of everything that we saw last week possibly but i have been in and around these debates too long to bet on one thing or series of things changing the minds of people in washington. >> very important point indeed. i have been around a long time and agree with dana. we're seeing more scrutiny of the investigation of the el paso shooting, you saw the review in "new york times" over the weekend, found hundreds of examples where rhetoric in that so-called manifesto was reflected in the right wing
3:22 pm
media in earlier stances. is this more widespread than people thought? >> i think it is. i think what we have to understand about what's going on is when the president speaks and his words are echoed in right wing media, there are people listening that will act on it. there are also people listening all over this country. i was talking to a latino trump supporter on my show, i was interested in what he was hearing from the president at this particular moment, what were his thoughts about what was happening since his community had been targeted. he said i only hear what i want to hear. two things are going on. some people only hear what they want to hear, some are listening to words and acting on them. >> the president's role, supposed role in stoking these anti-immigrant feelings has
3:23 pm
turned off one of his earlier supporters, anthony scaramucci. the rhetoric from the president hasn't changed much. >> that's the most salient point discussing anthony scaramucci turning on the president. from the moment donald trump announced his presidential campaign, he was using racial animous as the bedrock of his appeal. for somebody like a former senior white house official to only say now he feels turned off by the president's rhetoric, you have to wonder is this another moment when you have republicans as the administration nears the end of a first term and perhaps beginning of a second, at what point is it strategic to cut ties. >> joey jackson is with us. two years ago, heather haier was killed by a neo-nazi that mowed her down. the president said at the time
3:24 pm
very fine people on both sides. we heard this rhetoric for years now. why now is scaramucci acting? >> i think he acted because it is time and i give him credit for doing that. i know he is not an elected official. no matter. fact is he is an influential member of the republican party. waiting for other people to step up and other people to act and other people to show courage. there's time to exhibit courage and time to exhibit leadership. if ever there was a time, it is now. how dare the president at that time equate moral equivalency between the two groups. i remember we used to have a president, could be republican or democrat, they stood for america, they stood for the people, for the values we all stand for. i remember john mccain. remember that debate with obama when someone went after obama that he is an arab. mccain said no, he is a fine man, a decent man, good family man. we have fundamental disagreements on policy. that's where it should be. this issue of demonizing people
3:25 pm
of color and immigrants and mexicans coming from drug countries and infestation, it is despicable, deplorable. and i would hope other members of the republican party would rise up and say something about it if there was a time, it is now. >> everybody stick around. we're going to be discussing. we're taking a quick break. be right back. ♪
3:26 pm
3:27 pm
3:28 pm
3:29 pm
the trump administration introduced a new rule that dramatically limits legal immigration into the united states. let's talk about this. it will make it harder for low income legal immigrants in the united states to stay in the united states. and it seems to be an effort by the president to go forward with w what he calls a merit based system. >> what's interesting is first of all it will have a chilling effect. this is something that was in the works a long time. the president's adviser steven miller put effort into getting this going. from many immigration lawyers and experts i have spoken to, they say the same thing. this really, really will have dramatic impact on legal immigration. people who might be going and having a hard time, that need food stamps, now they may not want to get them. won't want to feed their families. they're afraid it will
3:30 pm
jeopardize their legal entry into the country. that's the first part. the second part, i don't think we can talk about it without looking at what we have seen from the administration from day one. you started with a muslim ban. you've seen restrictive immigration policies across the board. tps, every step of the way there's a limiting of immigration. this is one more part. the president says he wants a merit based immigration system. there is that already. h 1 b visa for high performing people that come to the country, that's been limited too. we have seen limits every step of the way. i think this is just part of that. >> what do you think, dana? >> absolutely. i mean, it is no secret that some of the president's advisers have been dealing with with legal immigration, but legal immigration specifically, in those areas from those countries
3:31 pm
that do come to the united states and require some assistance to get started perhaps, there's the merit based question, there's also back when i guess it was a couple years ago at this point, the president was talking to democrats about comprehensive immigration legislation, one of the things that the president and his team in particular wanted to do was end so-called chain migration. somebody who is in america more easily bringing members of their family along. this new rule done with the stroke of a pen, not with congress, would also curb the chain migration that congress couldn't get through because the deal fell apart. it is not just important to look at the specific granular level of this new rule but also the big level which is that this is another example of this
3:32 pm
president making changes without congress, the kind of changes that when barack obama used executive authority, republicans that support this president threw up their arms, said he was acting like a monarch. >> joey, will we see legal challenges to the announcement? >> without question, wolf, and we should. it is nasty, inhumane, unamerican. we heard from new york state attorney general saying she would file challenges to protect immigrants. in addition, the immigration law center will do so. to dana's last point, an excellent one, the fact is that we have congress. congress enacts policy. they're the people that make laws and pass laws and the president enforces the laws. i think it is an exceeding of that authority. and i think you're not treating people in a fashion which affords the constitution. people are entitled to equal
3:33 pm
protection under the law. i can't wrap my head around the vitriol with immigration. going and doing raids, pulling people out of places, separating children from parents, not only with regard to the last child separation, you've seen it on tv, where raids are, kids are beside themselves, parents are gone. something needs to be done. it will be subjected to legal challenge. i hope that will succeed and there will be another challenge in 2020, and that will change immigration policy. >> there was a huge immigration raid in mississippi in recent days, and it caused a lot of heartache when you saw one little girl crying she misses her daddy. >> i think you raise the muslim ban. remember how that was co choreographed by steven miller and steve bannon. it was cohoreographed to effect
3:34 pm
maximum chaos. we remember airports were entirely off guard. it was mayhem. this is sort of the same thing. when evaluating this administration's immigration policy and what seems to be an entire lack of compassion surrounding it, choosing the first day of school for children to initiate raids, it gets to a point you have to accept reality it is not coincidental. >> a lot going on. stick around. more news we are following, including cnn's exclusive report of secret militia that does what vladimir putin wants. how we know this story is getting under the skins of top russians.
3:35 pm
hi, i'm joan lunden. when my mother began forgetting things, we didn't know where to turn for more information. that's why i recommend a free service called a place for mom. we have local senior living advisors who can answer your questions about dementia or memory care and, if necessary, help you find the right place for your mom or dad. we all want what's best for our parents, so call today.
3:36 pm
when crabe stronger...strong, with new nicorette coated ice mint. layered with flavor... it's the first and only coated nicotine lozenge. for an amazing taste... ...that outlasts your craving. new nicorette ice mint.
3:37 pm
3:38 pm
3:39 pm
now to the investigation of jeffrey epstein's apparent jail cell suicide. cnn learned the convicted sex offender wasn't checked for hours before his death. national correspondent brynn gingras joins us from new york. the attorney general of the united states says he's appalled by what happened. >> reporter: yeah, appalled and angered, wolf. epstein was supposed to be checked every 30 minutes according to a source, was left alone for hours, that goes
3:40 pm
against protocol. this correctional center has a great reputation, is considered one of the best run facilities in the bureau of prisons system. however, something went wrong here. we're told from a source that the doj was told about the fact epstein was taken off suicide watch. however, again barr says he's angry and ordered a full investigation. >> i was appalled and indeed the whole department was and frankly angry to learn of the mcc's failure to adequately secure this prisoner. >> reporter: attorney general william barr not mincing words on the apparent suicide of multimillionaire and registered sex offender, jeffrey epstein, inside new york city federal lockup. >> we're learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. >> reporter: the justice department inspector general and the fbi launched investigations
3:41 pm
this weekend. a source tells cnn it is believed epstein hanged himself while in a special housing unit, a month after federal prosecutors accused him of paying and recruiting girls as young as 14 to have sex with him. he was placed on suicide watch after he was found with marks on his neck, a source tells cnn epstein wasn't on suicide watch this weekend. regardless, protocol requires prisoners have cell mates shortly after coming off suicide watch according to the source, but epstein was alone. the prison calls for guards to check on inmates every 30 minutes. the source adds two guards charged with watching epstein were working overtime shifts. bureau of prisons wouldn't comment. >> we will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability. >> reporter: as for the federal investigation into epstein's alleged crimes, the southern district of new york closed the case but continues to look into
3:42 pm
employees and associates that may have helped him recruit nung girls. those denied justice, barr had this to say. >> let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone that was complicit with epstein. any co-conspirators shouldn't rest easy. victims deserve justice and they will get it. >> reporter: as for the victims, it is unclear if any of them will see any of epstein's millions. but civil lawsuits continue to be filed. >> brynn gingras with the latest. cnn's exclusive new reporting on the secret fighting force doing whatever vladimir putin wants around the world. stand by for stunning details. russian officials so unnerved, even before this report airs that a key putin ally is trying to try to smear clarissa ward. she's standing by live, she will
3:43 pm
join us next. but some give their clients cookie cutter portfolios. fisher investments tailors portfolios to your goals and needs. some only call when they have something to sell. fisher calls regularly so you stay informed. and while some advisors are happy to earn commissions whether you do well or not. fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. would shakespeare have chosen just "some pens?" methinks tul pens would serve m'lady well. thanks. and a unicorn notebook! get everything on your list. this week's doorbuster- 1-inch binders for $1; $1 in store or online from the advisors at office depot officemax.
3:44 pm
3:45 pm
...and it's now on sale fors and just $59.ories. it can lead you on an unexpected journey... ...to discover your heritage. get your dna kit (now) for just $59 at ancestry.com.
3:46 pm
the business of road trips... ...adventure... ...and reconnecting. modernized comfort inn's and suites have been refreshed because our business is you. get the lowest price guaranteed on all choice hotels when you book direct at choicehotels.com.
3:47 pm
tonight, exclusive cnn reporting exposing a secret private army that does the bidding of russia's vladimir putin. cnn learned the reach of the shadowy fighting force is expanding, led by a putin ally, linked to u.s. election
3:48 pm
interference. we are joined by chief international correspondent, clarissa ward. you have been doing brave recording on this. tell us what you learned? >> wolf, everybody knows that hybrid warfare is one of the most valuable tools russian president vladimir putin has in his arsenal, whether it is misinformation campaigns, election meddling as the u.s. saw in the 2016 election or increasingly the use of mercenaries. russian mercenaries are popping up in countries across the globe, often unstable countries, used to boost russian influence, and also to outmaneuver geopolitical rivals. officially the kremlin says they have nothing to do with mercenary groups. we sat down in a television first with a former fighter with notorious group and he told us a very different story. this is oleg. for years, he says he worked as a hired gun in syria for a
3:49 pm
shadowy russian mercenary group called vogner, that's become a valuable tool for the kremlin. >> that's putin's instrument for issues by force. an action has to be taken immediately, urgently, in the most concealed way possible. i cannot say it is an army in the proper sense of that word, it is just a fighting unit that will do anything that putin says. >> this is the first time a former vogner employee agreed to speak on camera. he asked us to disguise his identity. private military contractors are illegal in russia. cnn discovered the group has hundreds of fighters operating on three different couldnntinen. this is the man behind the expansion, dubbed putin's chef because of lucrative catering contracts with the kremlin, he
3:50 pm
is also sanctioned by the u.s. for funding the internet research agency accused of meddling in the 2016 election. >> i'm a mercenary. 90% of participants of the company were like me, motivated by money. >> what sort of training was it. where did it take place? >> you know, i didn't have any training as such, not then anyway. i spent six days in the training camp, i went to cnn travelled to the remote village to try to get to his training camp and found that the group has a surprisingly close relationship with the russian military. the only way to get in is to get through that check point which is manned by the russian military, because this actually plaungs to a russian special forces unit.
3:51 pm
not far from there, there is a monument to fallen fighters. visitors are not welcomed, so we approached with a hidden camera. it looks less like a memorial than a fortress. a guard soon comes up to us. is the church only for vogner, i asked. for the people who were in syria, i press him? i don't know, i'm telling you, he says. i'm just guarding here. he begins to get suspicious of our questions, and we decide to leave. they didn't let us inside, which is not surprising, because in that compound is the only tangible, visible proof. no surprise, perhaps that the monument is funded by an owned company.
3:52 pm
it was five years ago in crimea that dubbed little green men helped even as the kremlin famed ignorance. it was a success and moscow's use of mercenary forces has since grown. analysts say none of this could happen without putin's approval. >> do you think that part of the mission is to help russia restore its role. %-p >> so it's trying to be a rival to america? >> translator: russia is trying to suppress the u.s. in every way possible using legal and illegal means. it's trying to smash it, get the better of it somehow. what will come of it as a result? nothing good, i think. >> but for vladimir putin it is still a worth while gamble, an
3:53 pm
expendable fighting force with no accountability. cnn has tried to reach out through his lawyers. we received no response. we also wanted to contact the group, but given that they don't officially exist, they don't actually have an address or an e-mail or a phone number. we also tried to reach out to the russian minister of defense and perhaps no surprise there, we also did not receive a response. >> remind our viewers. why is it concerned for the united states? >> there is a real concern for the united states, because this is a man who is very close to the kremlin, who has been sta z sanctioned for his role in meddling in the election and believed to be known behind the troll factor pumping out misinformation to american voters and to voters in many countries across the world. now it is believed he is behind
3:54 pm
these mercenary groups and this group. and he is behind another propaganda outlet that put out a 15-minute video essentially disparaging our work and our team's work that we did for a second part in this series. the question becomes, is he simply a front man for the kremlin? some analysts believe that's the case. one thing that all analysts agree on is he cannot pea doing what he is doing certainly without the blessing of the kremlin. >> why would he build a mercenary army for putin to use? >> well, there is a number of reasons. the number one reason, though, is plausible deniability. in syria 100 fighters were killed after they launched a full, hearty attack on a u.s.
3:55 pm
supported base in syria. and the kremlin essentially said it has nothing to do with us. they're cheap and they're expendable. they're an expeditionary force. they don't have to be very good at what they do as long as they're able to secure oil fields or secure diamond mines. they could be used for all sorts of military ventures. that's what we're seeing now and what we'll be talking about in part two tomorrow, looking at their expansion into africa, central african republic. this is not stopping anytime soon. >> that's excellent reporting. already struck a major nerve, judging by the elaborate russian smear campaign levelled against you personally. >> we were a little surprised. all of us in this industry at this stage i think are familiar with the russian propaganda machine. this video was 15 minutes in length, a lot of it showing
3:56 pm
hidden camera footage that had clearly been taken of our team as we were working in the central african republic, footage of us in our hotel lobby, in the airport, footage of a man in my hotel room claiming i was sitting on a chair offering him hundreds of dollars to essentially as a bribe to say bad things on camera about the russians. it's very clear that they went to great lengths to produce this piece of material. and one can only assume that that's because our reporting has hit something of a nerve. but this is important. three russian journalists were killed in the central african republic just a year ago working on a story about the activity of russian mercenaries. that's why we went, and that's what we will be bringing you the next part of our series tomorrow night. >> great reporting. thank you so much for that report. we'll have much more news right after this.
3:57 pm
i can't believe it. that sophie opened up a wormhole through time? (speaking japanese) where am i? (woman speaking french) are you crazy/nuts? cyclist: pip! pip! (woman speaking french) i'm here, look at me. it's completely your fault. (man speaking french) ok? it's me. it's my fault? no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with geico. (pterodactyl screech) believe it. geico could save you 15% or more on car insurance. billions of problems. sore gums? bleeding gums? painful flossing? there's a therabreath for you. therabreath healthy gums oral rinse fights gingivitis and plaque and prevents gum disease for 24 hours. so you can... breathe easy, there's therabreath at walmart.
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
it's been exactly two years since the racist march that ended in a neonazi driving his car into counter protesters killing one and injurying dozens of others. two state troopers died in a helicopter crash. in charlottesville, mourners have been visiting. tonight a service is being held. as americans are grieving once again for victims of racist violence, this time in el paso, we were struck by a pledge made by children who visited the memorial. they vowed not olet race or gender determine their actions, promising i will see people for who they are and not for who i want them to be. may those words take hold, and may the memory of those lost in
4:00 pm
the senseless violence be a blessing. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. you can always tweet me and instagram me @wolf blitzer. outfront next, the trump administration touting a new policy that targets legal immigrants suggesting they rely heavily on social services. but the facts show that to be false. trump lashing out reportedly worried about being labelled a racist. could that label drag him down? an explosion involving what officials believe is a powerful new weapon leaves five dead in a secret city. what is putin doing? let's go outfront. ♪ good evening. i'm erin burnett. outfront, trump shutting the door on hundreds of thousands of

63 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on