tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 23, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PDT
reports." >> thank you ali. right now on "andrea mitchell reports" terror in manchester. isis claiming responsibility. a suicide bombing that killed 22 people, mostly young people outside of an ariana grande concert. >> the lights came up after the concert and everyone was getting up to leave, and there was a big bang. >> we heard a bang and i just ran for my life. >> i'm heart broken at the moment because i don't know if she is alive or where she is, just phone me, olivia, and come home, please. >> here in israel and the west bank today, president trump offering prayers for the homeless and condemning the
attack. >>. >> so many people are murdered by evil losers in life. i will call them, from now on, losers because that is what they are. they're losers. >> interference, following the reports, the president asked two top intelligence chiefs to tamp down the russia investigation. national intelligence refusing to confirm or deny the report. >> i have always believed that given the nature of my position, and the information of which we share, it's not appropriate for me to comment publicly on any of that. i don't feel it is appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president. >> and the russia connection, a
veteran cia man that is cia chief in the 2016 campaign that says he saw enough to warrant the fbi contacts. >> by the time i left office on january 20th, i had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the russians had been successful in getting u.s. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf. >> and good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in jerusalem. you have been hearing extraordinary temperature, the first time we have heard john brennan testifying in front of the house intelligence committee today. he is now at johns hopkins university. first, you held that job, you know how tough it is, he said that he had seen enough
intelligence before he left office to warrant the fbi to investigate possible connections between what he called u.s. persons connected to the trump campaign, and russian officials. break that down for us. >> i expect what he is talking about here is that he saw contacts between members of the trump campaign or entourage. and perhaps russians that were acting as intermediaries. that would not be surprising at all. we don't know exactly what happened, but a typical way for an intelligence service to operate, especially a skilled, experienced one like russian, is to basically take some time to build relationships, develop
contacts, and just start a relationship with someone to see where it goes. this is before you recruit them and use them as an asset. so my guess is that what he saw was some of that going on and he felt it ought to be pursued further. then of course he left office and lost contact and track of this. >> he did say in answer to a number of questions there was classified information that the committee has, he also said he worned the head of the fsb, his counter part when he was at the cia, to warn them they were trying to interfere in our election. let's talk about that and the significance of that. >> he was seeking, as many previous cia directors and officials have, to develop at least a working relationship with the head of the fsb, the russian domestic security
service. we had similar rips when i was in government, and they're not necessarily relationships of close cooperation, but you want to at least look for areas where you can cooperate, share interests, and you want to maintain an open contact with them for just this purpose, to deliver a a message. when i was in moscow as a visiting scholar, i made the same point with members of the kremlin staff, and as john brennan experienced, they denied any involvement and blew it off. so i suspect that is the kind of reaction you're going to get, but what he did was within the realm of what you would want a cia direct tore do. >> he certainly hung tough when
some of the members tried to drill down. he said i have seen enough. we have twin hearings going on the new director of intelligence is testifying today and we have just confirmed that president trump in march petitioned the new director of intelligence, and nation nal security agency michael rodgers to try to debunk the claims of collusion, and trying to tamp down reports, perhaps slow down the investigation. he would not confirm or deny today, let's play a little bit of that. >> if you get called in front of the negligence committee, will you share your findings?
>> i do believe that the investigation and discussions that i have had with the president are something that should not be decision closed. on the other hand, if i'm called before an investigative committee, i would certainly provide them with what i know and don't know. >> basically saying he will tell an investigative committee what he knows, but not what he said to the preponderate, but what we do know from our own reporting is that the two officials, so concerned, that there was memos written about this incident. they were concerned about whether or not he was trying to interfere with the
investigation, and the president was concerned enough that he was trying to tamp it down. >> that would be a nightmare scenario to have a president ask you to shut down the investigation. you would know instancely that is inappropriate. and the instinct would be to write that down and keep a statement of it. i can understand his reluctance to talk about it in an open session. nose of us that have had the privilege of providing advice to presidents would say that is private advice. that is one thing but but i think it is another when the information is part of an investigation. so i think in the course of an investigative inquiry, i think he will have to put that out in the fbi investigation, or in a closed hearing of the senate.
one thing to withhold opinion, another to withhold information that may have bearing on a counter intelligence or possibly a criminal investigation. >> well, very clearly we have to know the context, we can't jump to conclusions, but there is the historical press sent of richard nixon asked jay patrick gray to interfere with an investigation. >> and the cia deputy director was also asked to run interference, and you know, in every fiber of a senior intelligence officers being is an instinct to say no, that is inappropriate. it is just about as inappropriate of a request as i can imagine, and certainly not one that i would have ever welcomed, andrea.
>> in addition today, john brennan, whom you know very well from years together at the cia, got in a discussion about the benghazi investigation and this was him trying to question brennan's conclusion or whether or not he had any collusion. let's watch. >> did you see evidence of collusion, coordination, conspiracy between donald trump and russian state actors? >> i saw information and intelligence that was worthy of investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not such cooperation or collusion was taking police station. >> that doesn't help us a lot. what was the nature of the information? >> as i said, i think this committee now as access to the type of information that i'm eluding to here. it is classified, and i'm happy
to talk about it in classified session. >> and that would have been between the candidate and russian state actors. >> that's not what i said, and i'm not going to speak about -- >> he is not going to talk about what he means about the evidence, saying evidence is not his business, he was in the intelligence business, but he said he was concerned enough to warrant the fbi to follow up. >> john brennan is being a typical intelligence officer. he is being very careful, parsing his words to indicate that he didn't know everything. in other words, one of the things we learned from successes and failures is say what you know for sure. he is saying that i knew there were contacts, they didn't look appropriate, and more is needed to know if it was collusion,
meaning a two-way relationship as opposed today a tone-way relationship, but in a man near must have raised enough concern. timing is everything in government, and all of this hatched at a moment when john brennan was about to leave the cia. i suspect he is saying i was concerned enough to raise concerns and ask that it be examined further, but i lost my authory and power to do that investigation. and it sounds as though there are classified documents in the committee that would shed more light on it, but i'm confident that john brennan is not going to talk about that in a public session. he could be able to talk about it, and encouraged to talk about it, required to talk about it in a closed session. >> as always, it is invaluable to have your help, thank you
very much for the context today. >> and today, the world is united in horror after the killing of young concert goers, children, in manchester. president trump called them losers, not monsters. he said they would like to be called monsters, so he will call them losers. here is the very latest from the united kingdom. they have confirmed the identity of the bombs suspect to nbc news. isis is claiming responsibility for the bombing in front of the manchester arena that killed at least 22 people injuring 59 others, but the terror group has not produced any evidence to support it's claim. joining me now is kier simmons in manchester, with what the investigation is saying now, i understand there are other warrants out, one person was
arrested, what do we know about the other people, the survivors? >> let's start with the british prime minister heading here to reassure people saying it is a terrorist act against defenseless youngpeople. the investigation is moving forward at a pace, police raids, at three proper -- at two properties here in the manchester area. a controlled explosion coming out, a 23-year-old arrested. meanwhile officials here saying they believe this was a suicide bomber and that it was a planned and intentional act, and as you say, it was clearly aimed at targeting young people, young girls, many of them, teenagers, at an ariana grande concert. one of them just eight years old. another 18. families are shattered by this, andrea, and many parents are
still looking for their children. one parent saying she still has not been able to find her daughter. others using a hash tag, missing, trying to get information about where their children are. >> and tier, teresa may just signed a guest book there. i know there is an election next month. she has been very strong in her comments today. this is a moment for great britain, the worst terror attack in a dozen years coming so soon after the westminster dent. i was really struck last night, overnight, with all of our reporting and watching of our coverage how quickly our reporters were able to confirm many key details. the fact that it was a decisuic bombing, all of this coming from
sources, the counter terror officials were communicating like nothing happened, no interruption, the close connection with all of the controversy. the fact is they needed to see whether or not we had any information of a larger attack going back over intercepts. we needed to know if they had any information about a substantial attack on the home land. this is the kind of close cooperation that exists between the uk and the u.s. >> that is right, an it is interesting to note, still, in these times when we're talking about intelligence sharing so much, you can see that sharing happening and at the same time, the difference between the way the information is treated in the u.s. and here, quite often the information emerges in the u.s. and it has been discovered here, if you like, but not shared publicly here. by the way isis claiming
responsibility for this attack, not clear on what basis it claims yet for it, but perhaps the timing in relation to the british electio h something to do with it. >> and we know, a garden party at buckingham palace, they had a moment of silence, the nation in mourning. at home, michael mccall chairing the house homeland security meeting, congressman, what do we know from our british partners of any possible evidence that it is isis, whether or not it is isis inspired, lone wolf or a larger conspiracy. they have arrest warrants out and a 23-year-old man has been arrested. >> we do know as you said, size claimed credit for the attack. in their words, they said they killed or wounded over 100
crusaders and warned about future attacks against those who in their words worship the cross. i think the timing of this is very interesting, right before their elections, at the same time the president of the united states met with the saudi kingdom and arab nation leaders with netanyahu and israel. and i don't -- i wonder if there is some connection between these visits and how he condemned the radical islamist terror. what i also worry about, andrea, is the access that the foreign fighters have to europe and the uk. we have squeezed the caliphate, and i think you're going to see them scatter outside to other countries, europe being a prime
target. >> this attack was done with a relatively sophisticated device. . we don't know -- i don't think we know yet what the explosive was, but it may have been fairly common chemicals that are easily purchased in europe. recent attacks were with guns and trucks going into pedestrian areas. >> it is a very different style, not as simplistic as a knife or a vehicle. we heard them say use whatever you can. but this is a little more sophisticated. i would not be surprised if we uncovered a cell present in the u.k., a sophisticated bombing device, using shrapnel which is
very, very lethal, that is why i think you saw the death count and the injured list so high, but this stuff is available on the internet. isis has a publication they spread over the internet that teaches you how to make explosive devices and it is not only the foreign fighters and the militants training coming back, but the radicalization from within that they can achieve by following directives over the inrnet. >> thank you so much congressman mccall from homeland security. we have breaking news now from manchester where ian hopkins, the chief constable is holding a news conference. you can also see air force one landing in rome. >> we understand that feelings are very raw right now and that people are bound to be looking for answers.
however more than ever, it is vital that our diverse communities that make manchester such a strong place stand together and support each other as we will be doing in the vigil at 6:00 p.m. this evening. we will therefore not tolerate hate towards any parts of our community and should communities be suffering from hate intents or crime, then i urge them to please report it to us. . this afternoon, as you saw we were visited by teresa may and the home secretary amber rudd. they were given briefings about our investigations over today and the next few days. i can confirm that the man suspected of carrying out the atrocity is salman abedi.
i do not wish to speak about him any more at this stage. ou priority william our community partners, if he is was working as part of a wider network, thank you, ladies and gentlemen. hop kkins briefing t. this community is in shock while they try to find out if this is in fact a broader investigation. in new york, former fbi man sean henry joining us. a counter terrorist expert, what are the first things they're doing there as they try to determine what kind of bomb, who this boxer was, if there was a
alarmer terror se-- larger terr cell involved. >> right now they just want to fife who was involved. they just said it's not clear if he was acting alone, or if there was an additional plan. they will look at exemployee fives that were used, and that will identify what group may have made it and where they are and individuals part of this. that is the safety of the citizens there in the rounding area of people that are of primary concern at this point, andrea. >> what do we know about the bomb itself. government sourc are telling
us that just one bomb was deployed, and it contained metal pieces. how difficult would it be for one person to design, to build such a device? >> there are certainly many opportunities for someone to go online and try to build these types of devices. it was clearly effective with the number of deaths and injuries that we saw. you may remember back in the boston bombing when there was a device that was left, a pressure cooker on the ground, and the injuries, when the shrapnel went off, it created this pattern that spread out, but it was really at knee level for most of those injuries, and people had extremities damaged that had to be amputated. in this case, it was a more
dramatic attack, or carnage wrecked because of where that bomb was placed. the shrapnel spreading out, hitting people in the torso, and some of the more critical areas causing that destruction. . when they look at this device. look at the totality of the implementation of that device, they will get additional sbejts leading them to potential coconspirators, an degrdrea. >> what about manchester itself. what do we know about that community. very self contained migrant communities where there was
radic radicalization. >> it may have been chosen because of the particular venue. we know that the jihadists have targeted soft targets like stadiums, transportation centers, sitting on top of this large sub way system, but knowing who was playing in that target. ariana grande's followers is enagers, preteens, families, they may have targeted them because of the impact it would have. we also see in europe these fighters, foreign fighters, that have gone out, trained in iraq and syria. they learn how to handle weapons, they make bombs, and they come back to europe. that is one of the reasons that we have seen so much of these types of attacks just in the
year or two, brussels and in france, and now here in london. . it creates a challenge for law enforcement. they do not have all of the resources to monitor all of the people that they believe may be planning these types of attacks and it is a significant impact on their resources and a step ahead of the terrorist groups, andrea. >> we saw overnight automatically the nypd putting people on the street. they have 1,000 people in their counter terror group that ray kelly first did before police commissioner even and also yankee stadium. there will be increased security at large gatheringgatherings. thank you so much. president trump you see is
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as you see, president trump arriving in rome on the third leg of his trip. joining me here is kelly o'donnell joining us here in jerusalem. she has been covering the entire trip as we cover president trump's first foreign trip, there has been ups and downs. the speeches very well received here and frankly in bethlehem because his warmth with abbas, he did not embrace his positions at all on a solution -- >> they seem to be much more about relationship than content. the speeches were well drafted and the president stuck to the script very carefully there. i think he understood the importance oaf delivering that
message in a more formal way and the most troublesome moments is when he was more spontaneous, and the stakes are high her as the president is about to deplain air force one in rome because this is the third stop honoring the great faiths of the world. he will acknowledge catholicism and christianity, but they have a history as you know well, andrea. >> it was during the campaign that we were both covering when the pope criticized the president's wall, his migration policy, the counter immigration policy, his rhetoric against muslims, and the president said very strongly that it was a disgrace for anyone to criticize someone's faith. >> which is striking, on the list of things that he took on, a person or topic that was no
man's land before that to question the pope in a political drama really stood out. in this visit, i think we can expect a much different rip and this is about something we see every american president do, pay respect to the pope, and in some ways these are both pop list leaders. trump in his own aggressive way, and pope francis, a pop list for the catholic church. a man who focuses on all of the poverty as a tribute to god, a simplicity as a tribute to god, quite a stark contrast to donald trump in that sense. >> and this president's position still on migration, on the sective orders on imfrags, really deeply in conflict with the church, with this pope. yet at the same time one would expect that this meeting, over
long it goes, will try to participapaper over those, right? >> their greatest commonaties is on pro-life, and abortion. he has moved to a more conservative position, she against abortion rights, that is an area they can find common ground. this is about honoring the three great faiths, but many people who are not as familiar with the foreign policy of the church, the vatican is their own state. and the president will choose kalista gingrich to be the ambassador to the vatican pending her approval by the
senate. >> claudia, what is the expectation for the president's visit? >> all eyes on what they will talk about when they have -- what they will talk about having the private meeting. of course we will have to see what the vatican will allow out on what they discussion. after the private meeting, closed door meeting, they just say what sbujds they touched on. there is great anticipation based on the fact that these are two leaders that have opposing views on subjects like climate change, refugees, these are two leaders that are opposing style. we talk about a pope francis that refused to live in a very
spacious apartment that wants to live in a guest room. and the president that was living in a gold plated tower that bares his name. so two very different characters and leaders who didn't start on the right foot for the past year, let's say in the presidential election. pope francis said to a plane well, those who build walls instead of bri cannot call emselves christians. then they tried to say he was not talking about trump, but he was asked about trump specifically. so two different leaders who have two common things in that they're both unpredictable. >> as we have just been speaking, we see president and melania trump coming down the steps and being greeted.
they will be greeted at the vatican which is it's own city state that we mentioned. it is very important for the president spending the evening in rome. it was up with of the most beautiful embassy residences in the world, and it is a plaits that a lot of secretaries of state and presidents have visited with delight, john kerry in particular used to love going there and his brother-in-law was the ambassador to rome, to italy, so that was one of his frequent stops. . it was a family occasion. now president trump, his first visit to italy. rst he goes on to ussels,
kelly o'donnell, will you will be covering nato. they are awaiting the president's visit with a little trepidation because they are notoriously borning and very details and according to a lot of reports, the various foreign leaders have been told to prim their speeches and try not to be so much in the nuts and bolts -- >> it is not his thing. >> of the stops, of the five stops, probably the nato meeting is where there will be the least war reception. the countries that hosted him, now italy and the vatican, there is great significance to the american president making his first overseas trip to their places. it is a coming together of the
alliance and one that the president has been very critical of. he walked it back. asking for the member states to pay more than they have. more on the role of nato, the tensions, and in the heart of europe, that is not a place where he has a lot of like minded supporters. >> but of course this may also bring them together in the counter terror piece of the mission that in the campaign they did not do and they have been doing for years in investigation and elsewhere. it will be an important subject. good luck to you, thank you at at vatican, and peter alexander at the white house now to take us to the domestic concerns.
there is a lot going on in washington. >> you see the president just landed in roam. now his moto kad is taking place. back to the domestic agenda for this president, the first major budget proposal being rolled out. it calls for sweeping cuts to social safety nets, the president's budget director spoke about it a short time ago. take a listen. >> we looked at this budget through the eyes of the people that are paying the bills, the passion needs to be on both sides of the equation. you have to have compassion for the folks paying it. we will not measure it by the pamt of money we spend, but the number of people we help. >> he was a member of the senate
budget committee. i appreciate your time, you just heard from the budget director there. he said this is a compassionate budget. they would call it a taxpayer first budget because it considers the views of those taxpayers who are paying the bills in effect right now. what do you make of this being a taxpayer first compassionate budget. >> only if you're in the top 1% income earners. if you're one of the wealthiest american families you do great. in fact you will get a tax break. millionaires get an average tx k break of $50,000. everyone else gets whacked. nickmull mulvaney didn't talk a that or the fact that he is
going to make it harder for students to avord college. these are things he didn't talk about. you mentioned medicaid. there are staggering cuts to medica medicaid, and it is important to recognize that two-thirds of those funds will help seniors in rsing homing and people with disabilities. there are many working people that also rely on that. these are deep cuts to working people and the middle class, great for millionaires. >> and in the eyes of some, it may adversely affect people like low income and rural americans. i want to ask about the push back, saying that this budget is effectively dead on arrival right now as are many others. he said this one is likely to
face a similar fate. what happens now when this reaches congress, is this a starting place for republicans and can democrats do anything to help sway their opinion on this. >> i was pleased to see in his statements, and i hope we put this whole trump budget aside, and it does some of the things that donald trump said he wanted to do like a budget that supports working people in the middle class. boosts economic opportunity, and not just another tax give away to the very richest in the country. i don't think that is the priority for the country right now. as you indicated, and others have seen. this is a betrayal of so much of what donald trump talked about on the campaign trail. >> let's listen to john mccain who spoke about it a moment ago. >> senator, can i ask you about the president's budget? is it dead on arrival?
>> yes. and the commitment to rebuilding the military cannot be fulfilled with this level of spending. it is $30 billion too short. >> that of the john mccain with kacie hunt. i want to ask you about that, assuming robust growth of 3%, that the administration is banking on, they say it could eliminate the federal deficit within a decade. is that reasonable and is the cost too great to even shoot for that goal? >> it is totally fraudulent accounting. it is a fake budget. just to give you a point of reference, the republican budget that went through the congress a few months ago assumed 2% growth over a period of time. the trump folks assume 3%. there is no economic projection
out there by anybody who talks about that kind of growth, especially when you want to clamp down as the trump administration has on immigration. which helps provide new workers into the workforce. this is a scam when it comes to their deficit claims. i want to be clear, the harm it would do to middle class families and working americans is real, but the claims that it will balance the deficit is totally totally a scamp. that's the only way to put it. >> we appreciate your time, thank you for being with us. we're moving on to the news on this day. the former cia director john brennan wrapping up his testimony on capitol hill. we'll be back live when we come back on "andrea mitchell reports." for mom" per roll
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ministers or ambassadors. it needs to make sure it is not exposed. he didn't do that if, again, the press charges are accurate. now, the russians are watching very carefully what's going on in washington right now, and they will try to exploit it for their own purposes. >> and joining me now, ned price, a senior director in president obama's national security cncil and security analyst and former cia analyst and ronan bergman is the senior national correspondent for the biggest israeli daily newspaper and a contributing writer for "the new york times" magazine his book is "rise and kill first the secret history of airline es targeted assassinations." thank you very much for joining us. there's been a lot of talk about this blunder to put it bluntly of the president in what he disclosed and then seeming to confirm it was israel, the first u.s. official to do that during a photo tune with prime minister netanyahu. you've been writing before that,
photo opportunity and what he said here, the anger of israeli intelligence officials in a shouting match with u.s. intelligence officials. tell us what happened? >> so, back in january, after the president trump was elected before the inauguration, andrea, there was a meeting between senior american intelligence officials and israeli counterparts and the americans some something that never happened before warned the israelis do not give classified material to the national security council and to the white house once trump is inaugurated. the israelis never heard that before. they said, the americans told the israelis, until we are sure that there are no inappropriate connections between russian intelligence or someone around trump or trump himself, or anyone not under blackmail of rt do not jeopardize your sours, not just because they might end with the russians but because the russians are giving
that intel or some of that intel to iran and the americans have even mentioned one top secret cia/nsa joint operation in iran, and information that was included in the snowden documents, presumably given to the russians by snowden and ended up in iran and the iranians as the cia intercepted, changed something in the iran to stop that -- stop classified operation. so, once that happened last week, once it was reported that president trump has given classified israeli information to the russians, the israelis saw the worst of their nightmare becoming true. the sacred channel between the sacred confidence between the two intelligence communities that share the most intimate secret is in jeopardy. and i cannot -- i think there are not words enough to express the anger and the astonishment and concern of the israelis, the israeli intelligence, and at least for now, andrea, there's
not -- there's no clear understanding what was given by the president to the russian foreign minister lavrov. there are huge quantities of information that was given from israel to the united states in recent months dealing with the russian hbollahresident assad and iraniannvolvement in syria and military action and information about isis. israeli intelligence is still investigating what sort of information was, indeed, given. >> and ned, if you're sitting back at the cia or at the white house in the sit room as you used to, what would you have thought of this? if the president of the united states was being so free about classifi classified information with the russians? >> classified information including highly sensitive information, i unfortunately had a front row seat to some of the damage both in the bush administration and later in the obama administration, but what i think makes this case
qualitatively different is the fact that this was not an example of loose lips on the part of a junior official, somewhere in the bowls of the bureaucracy, this was a disclosure to top russian officials on the part of the president of the united states. if you believe the "post" account, the president did this not out of strategy or some sort of calculation, he did this out of his own sense of bravado, his desire to show the russians i get the best briefings, i have the best intelligence, and if i am a foreign intelligence service, as row nan was alluding to, i would be looking upon this and thinking to myself this man is not going to change. this is an individual who, by this account, may well be temperamentally unfit to handle sensitive intelligence information and the real danger beyond the frayed relations with our close ally in israel, is the decision that other intelligence services could make to actually slow or perhaps even halt the
provision of that intelligence information cognizant of this very concern. >> ned price and ronan bergman we have to leave it there. to be continued. much more ahead. we will be right back.ir -what? -we gotta go. -where? -san francisco. -when? -friday. we gotta go. [ tires screech ] any airline. any hotel. any time. go where you want, when you want with no blackout dates. [ muffled music coming from club. "blue monday" by new order. cheers. ] [ music and cheers get louder ] the travel rewards credit card from bank of america. it's travel, better connected. the travel rewards credit card from bank of america. depend silhouette active fit briefs, feature a thin design for complete comfort. they say "move it or lose it" - and at my age, i'm moving more than ever. because getting older is inevitable. but feeling older? that's something i control. get a free sample at depend.com.
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friend at the white house katie tur is up next here on msnbc. >> hi, andrea. good afternoon. i'm katie in for craig melvin. russia threat, the former director of the cia tells congress he was the first to warn of russian interference in the election and says russia will continue trying to influence u.s. politics. terror investigation, isis claims responsibility for an attack at an ariana grande concert in the uk. the latest fromanchester and tell you how securit stepped up here in the u.s. evil losers, that's what president trump on day four of his first overseas trips calls the attacker. in washington controversy swirls, did the president ask top intelligence officials to deny evidence of collusion with moscow. we start with president trump and the russia investigation. a short time ago the president landed in rome, ahead of meetings with the pope and italian president. back in d.c., though, top