tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN March 28, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT
good morning, everyone. i'm john berman. >> i'm poppy harlow. at any moment now, republican house leaders will step up to a podium. what they will say we do not know, but we do know that they just left a meeting filled with anger and frustration, one that seemed more like an airing of grievances. that's according to a member inside of that meeting texting with our phil mattingly. republican representative chris collins calling it a wound-mending session post
health care defeat, and adding to their frustration this morning, the embattled chair of the house intelligence committee under more and more pressure. >> yeah, leading democrats are calling on devin nunes to step aside into the investigation into the trump association's alleged ties with russia. devin nunes moments ago tracked down in the halls of the capitol. he says the investigation will move on. listen. >> how does this investigation move forward now that democrats are calling for your recusal? >> move forward just like it was before. >> reporter: and you're not going to recuse yourself? >> the investigation continues. we've had an investigation into russia for many, many years. >> he said the investigation continues. he didn't directly answer the question of whether he will recuse himself. we don't know whether to read into that. so, democrats are calling for nunes to step aside, and this morning, really for the first time, we're starting to hear from republicans, in the senate mostly, but republicans now questioning the chairman's judgment.
listen. >> i think you put his objectivity in question at the very least. >> there needs to be a lot of explaining to do. i've been around for quite a while, and i've never heard of any such thing. >> again, we are waiting right now. you're looking at a live picture from inside the capitol where house speaker paul ryan is expected to speak along with other leading republicans. we do not know what they will talk about, we do not know whether they will address the swirls of controversy around chairman nunes. we should know soon enough. let's go to cnn's sunlen serfaty. he was on capitol hill. sunlen, we're all waiting for this news conference. >> reporter: that's right, john. and certainly, first and foremost, we expect the speaker to be asked about devin nunes, whether he still stands by him, something that he said last night. but as you noted, the calls are certainly growing up here on capitol hill for devin nunes to recuse himself from this investigation. from nancy pelosi, notably, from his democratic counterpart on the committee, adam schiff. but first, let's get to how
devin nunes in the wake of all this criticism is defending himself, defending going over to white house to meet with his source to get that information, and adam schiff's pushback. >> number one, i wasn't sneaking on, it wasn't at night. it was in the middle of -- you know, the sun was out, and i actually stopped and talked to several people along the way. many foreign dignitaries were there, some i recognized. i said hello, had conversations with them. so nobody was sneaking around. all it was was just a place where i had to go to be able to review this information. >> we've reached the point after the events of this week where it would be very difficult to maintain the credibility of the investigation, if the chairman did not recuse himself from matters involving either the trump campaign or the trump transition time of which he was a member. >> reporter: and it's not just democrats being critical of devin nunes. some republican senators, notably senators graham and senator mccain this morning stopping short of asking for nunes and calling for nunes to
recuse himself, but they're saying, look, he has a lot more explaining to do. senator graham saying if he's not willing to let democrats and republicans on that committee who he met with, what he was told, then he has lost the ability to lead. so, some criticism coming from top republicans. speaker of the house paul ryan last night in a statement issued by his spokeswoman said that he still stands by devin nunes, but certainly, john and poppy, he will be getting a lot of questions shortly about just this. >> going to be the first question, you would think, out of the gate. sunlen, thanks for the reporting on the hill. in just about an hour, the president is sitting down with members of a police union. he's doing a lot of tweeting this morning as well about everything not having to do with the news at hand and devin nunes. sara murray's at the white house with more on what the president has ahead today. i mean, they want to get everyone's eyes off of this. not succeeding at that, though. >> reporter: that's right, poppy. if you are following the president's twitter account, what he is focusing on there is health care reform and the failure of conservatives to rally behind it and get that
bill through congress, but if you're here at the white house, the big focus is still this controversy over russia and what happens next. as you pointed out, the president does have a meeting with the paternal order of police next hour. that will be sort of the first opportunity for journalists to try to press him for a response. he's become pretty adept at ignoring our questions when we do get a chance to see him in these sprays, but it's possible we may get some comments from him. i think it is worth noting, poppy, that the white house does have a lot of answers to these questions when you ask, you know, where did devin nunes get this information, who let him on to the white house grounds. that's something that is pretty easy for the administration to figure out, and it's worth noting that they're not inclined to do so. they've been telling me this morning that they probably are not going to release that information of who allowed devin nunes on to the white house grounds, even though it would be relatively simple for them to check on that. it's very clear that they want to move beyond this russia story, rather than try to cooperate with journalist
inquiries into this. back to you guys. >> sara murray for us at the white house. thanks so much. a reminder, we are waiting to hear from house speaker paul ryan, due to hold a news conference at any moment. they just had a closed-door meeting on capitol hill with republicans, where they had a lot to say to one another, an airing of grievances,. abby is with a political reporter for the "washington post," patrick henan with "the new york times" and celina zito, reporter for "the washington examiner." i want to start with you, because to us, it feels like things have shifted a bit this morning. yes, democrats have been calling on chairman nunez to step aside, but this morning for the first time, you are having republicans, albeit in the senate, senators like lindsey graham and john mccain and susionan collins to a lesser extent, questioning the judgment of the house committee's chair and saying he's got some explaining to do. >> right. it's probably not a shock that
mccain and graham are criticizing nunes. they've never been sort of a fan of trump, so they're always going to be the sharpest skeptics of the president out of the gate. i mean, nunes is in an interesting position. does he say, look, the reason i went there was because we have leaks, and i went there because it was the most secure place to review these documents? fair enough. but you know, not talking about it just makes the story draw out, you know, and create more questions rather than answers. so, i think that's his biggest challenge. i thought it was interesting that he didn't say if he would recuse himself or not. people give us hints all the time of what's going on. i feel like that was a bit of a hint that maybe he will recuse himself? >> maybe, but it's confounding, as sara murray was reporting, that the white house could give answers, like who from the white house signed him on to the
property? and he could answer simple questions like why didn't you review this in a skiff on capitol hill instead of the white house, which he essentially in his answer to that yesterday said, patrick healy, i couldn't get the information over to capitol hill, essentially saying it's from the executive branch, no? >> right, exactly. and he's playing real defense on this, you know, trying to sort of bob and weave and suggesting, well, i saw foreign dignitaries who i saw hello to. it sounds like a lot of excuse-making. but the bigger picture, poppy, is the one you get at, which is the sense that only the executive branch could have provided this information to him sort of on their terms, which is disconcerting for folks i think who want an independent investigation, who have serious questions. john mccain and lindsey graham aren't just critics of trump. they have, you know, decades of a track record of asking very hard questions about the security and safety of the united states and of the integrity of the foreign policy
here. and so, while some republicans i think are falling in line and trying to figure out ways to defend president trump, you know, protect the committee chairm chairman, devin nunes, the major question's out there -- >> sorry to interrupt. we have manu raju speaking with devin nunes on the hill. >> reporter: working together? >> thanks, guys. we're not going to talk about the investigation. if you have any intelligence questions, i'll brief you at the proper, appropriate time when we have new information, just like i always have been doing. >> a simple affirmative, which you've almost given. at this time, you're not considering recusing -- >> listen, i'd like to ask your question, but i would first like to know the purpose of that, what the purpose would be, because someone asks? that's not how it works to me. >> they're calling for you to recuse yourself, saying that you have a conflict of interest. >> well, what would that be? help me understand.
>> their criticism is that you're too close to the white house, you shouldn't have briefed the president last week, and you can't credibly run the investigation. that's what they're saying. >> okay. >> so, what's your response? >> you guys know the truth to that. you were told -- you guys know exactly what was said. >> we're asking you, if you feel you have a conflict of interest. >> i briefed all of you last week many times, so all you guys know everything that's going on in this investigation, so i would say talk to them and ask them -- >> but are you going to stay as chairman and run this investigation? >> well, why would i not? you guys need to go ask them why these things are being said. >> can this investigation continue with you as chairman? >> why would it not? aren't i briefing you continuously and keeping you up to speed? >> but they're saying it cannot run with you as chairman. >> you've got to go talk to them. that sounds like their problem. i don't have -- my colleagues are perfectly fine. i mean, they know we're doing an investigation and that will continue. >> do you think that the committee -- >> guys, i've got to get going. >> -- that the investigation at
this point will not be affected by all this? will it change in quality or how it runs? >> no, i mean, we're dealing doing a thorough job on this investigation. as you know, this russia issue, we have been on it for many, many years, and so, we'll continue to be on the issue. [ inaudible question ] >> look, we're not going to get into who we're going to interview or not interview at this point -- publicly come forward. so, last week when someone publicly came forward, i announced it to all of you. there's really nothing more. >> did your former attorney, mike ellis, was he your source? >> how many questions are you going to ask? there's like 20 questions every day. >> mike ellis was your former lawyer. a lot of speculation whether he was your source. >> you can continue to speculate, as i've told you before. we're not going to get into sources, methods, anyone. >> but you're ruling out it came from the white house now? >> i can tell you, just go back and look at the stories that have been written, and you know, i think those are pretty accurate. interviews that i did with cnn
last night on your show, on "wolf blitzer." i don't think there's any more questions that you can ask. >> intelligence source, as an intelligence source -- [ inaudible question ] >> what's that? >> can you just comment on why the intel committee meetings were canceled this week? >> look, there's no -- everything is moving forward as is. i'm not going to get into internal communications between us and the democrats, but i would go ask them that question and have them tell you. >> but did you cancel the meetings? >> guys, i'm going to tell you, i've been very fair to brief all of you when there's something to report, but there's nothing to report right now. >> did the trump administration seek to have sally yates not testify before your committee? >> look, you guys are just speculating. whenever there's time, we'll do a press conference. >> did they ask you to cancel the hearing today? >> come on. >> why is that not -- why did you cancel the hearing? >> nothing has been canceled. >> the public hearing -- last week on monday, you said you
expected to -- [ inaudible ] obama administration that this was to be today, the 28th. >> why don't you ask the democrats these questions? >> did you announce on friday that yo you were canceling this tuesday hearing? >> yeah, so, as of friday -- it seems like you guys don't listen. as i said last friday, we have more questions for mr. comey. until mr. comey comes in, it's little tough for us to do depositions and interviews. that's what i said last friday. that hasn't changed. >> so, why did you cancel the public hearing? >> i just told you. are you just going to keep asking the same question? i told you last week, until comey comes forward, it's hard for us to move forward with interviews and depositions. >> do you regret going to the white house to get -- [ inaudible question ] >> as soon as we can get the questions answered from the fbi director, that would be the logical first step. >> when you talked to the president last week when you briefed him, did the russia investigation come up at all? >> you've already -- i've
briefed everyone multiple times on that conversation, including taking all of your questions. i don't know why you keep asking the same questions over and over again. >> yes or no, did the russia investigation come up? >> go back and look at the tape, and you will see that that question was answered in front of all the press last week. [ inaudible question ] >> i already -- >> all right, our manu raju following house intelligence chair devin nunes in the halls of the capitol, the bowels of the building, chasing him down with question after question. i think the headline is that the chair makes clear he is not recusing himself. >> said why should i? >> why don't you ask the democrats why i should step aside. so he is not recusing himself from this investigation right now. >> well, the other headline at the end, you heard manu say to him repeatedly when you went to brief the president at the white house last week, did the russian investigation come up at all? instead of saying yes or no, he said go back and look at the transcript of what you asked me
last week. he could have clearly just answered that. >> devin nunes facing, you know, sustained questions, but not going anywhere, at least not now. let's bring back our panel, abby philip, patrick healy, celina zito. abby philip in washington, sort of remarkable to see the pressure that the chairman is under right now and the frustration that he is starting to display with these questions, questions which, again, we have to note, he has not directly answered. >> that's right, and i think that that change is really remarkable in the degree that it shows how under siege he is right now, both in the public eye from his colleagues on the committee. that is not how this committee is supposed to operate. they are supposed to operate in a bipartisan fashion, and it is very clear that that has broken down and that he's on the defensive. so we don't know what he is going to do about recusal, but this kind of situation is clearly not helping anyone involved. it continues to create a new
narrative that is problematic for the white house, that's problematic for his committee. it does nothing to further the investigation in an impartial fashion, and you can tell that by looking at what the senate is doing, which is not happening in the public eye. it's happening very quietly. you don't have the chairman out there being besieged by questions every single day, so there's clearly something happening on the house side that is a little bit dysfunctional right now. >> all right. abby, celina -- go ahead. >> just to abby's point, he's become now a character in this. and the american people very much want to have confidence in this investigation, that it's full and fair, and you know, from what you just saw now, i mean, that looked more like a circus. but one other point. devin nunes just said that house leaders, suggesting paul ryan, were perfectly fine with where things stood. i mean, we're going to see that i think in just a few minutes, but that was quite an assertion on his part. >> well, that's a good tease from you, patrick.
guys, stick around, because we are waiting to hear from house speaker paul ryan. house leadership holds a press conference any minute now. fascinating to see how they answer questions about the intelligence community and devin nunes. we are waiting to see the results of that. plus, jared kushner, three other people associated with the trump campaign, they will soon be talking to the senate intelligence committee. much more on that as well. stay with us. (avo) did you know two areas of your brain can make it hard to lose weight? contrave is an fda-approved weight-loss medicine that may help adults who are overweight or struggle with obesity lose weight and keep it off. contrave is believed to work on two areas of the brain: your hunger center... (woman) i'm so hungry. (avo) to reduce hunger. and your reward system... (woman) ice cream. french fries. (avo) to help control cravings. across three long-term studies, contrave patients lost approximately 2-4x more weight than with diet and exercise alone. contrave is not for everyone. one ingredient in contrave may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teens, and young adults within the first few months.
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all right, back now with our panel. also joining us is michael allen, the former majority staff director of the house intelligence committee. very relevant this morning, given the fire that the current chairman, devin nunes, is under right now, who just told us moments ago that he will not step aside from leading that committee. he says, "why should i?" michael allen, first, set the scene for us. have you ever seen this level of rancor surrounding the house intelligence committee? >> well, this is pretty extraordinary. i mean, it's definitely sort of an oasis of bipartisanship in an otherwise polarized congress. most of the hearings are behind closed doors, and most of the information that is exchanged is of a delicate, sensitive nature. so, this is an extraordinary series of events, and i'm sure
the committee, and i know the chairman must want to get things back on track. >> so, michael, just talk about the damage that this does, though, big picture, to have this committee in such disarray, such disarray that the fbi director told our manu raju he's not going to come testify and give those answers they need until the committee can get along and get its sort of house in order. this is the committee that guards the secrets, a lot of classified information that keeps this country safe. >> look, look, it's not very shocking to hear that there's politics going on in the congress. i mean, there always is in every investigation i've ever been involved with. there have been communications between the party of the president and the party of his allies on the hill, so i wouldn't totally put too much stock in that. the fbi wants to do its work. they don't want congress to interfere. at the same time, congress feels like it has a duty to oversee
the intelligence community and so, i think they've got some explaining to do. i noted that chairman nunes did apologize last week for going public. so, i think there's still time to get this back on track. we need the house and the senate looking into these extraordinary allegations. and so, i think we have a little bit more time to go. >> paul ryan about to walk up to the lectern on the screen, taking questions based on the meeting he just had with the republican caucus. they talked about a number of things, but you can imagine there will be a question, do you continue to stand by the house intelligence chair. we have been told that paul ryan will say yes. is there any reason to anticipate that paul ryan's faith may be shaken going forward? >> well, i mean, he certainly can't like the optics of what's going on, right? this is sort of sacred ground, the intel community. and as mike said, yes, politics happens all the time, but nonetheless, at this moment, given what we're -- you know,
all these stories that are sort of peeling out, the political optics of this hasn't been very good for sort of, you know, being able to trust whatever comes out of the committee. and i think that paul -- you know, nunes in that interview, it appears that he said that paul ryan -- essentially said that the republicans have his back. but i don't know how long that goes on, if this continues to be so damaging for the president, for the committee, and for the work that they need to do to uncover what's going on. >> abby phillip, even if nunes stays as the chair of the committee, even if they resume these committees, which they likely will, and hear from all of these individuals they've called in, at what point do they lose complete credibility in their findings among the american people after all of this, what truly has become a circus? >> well, it just really depends
on who you ask. i mean, i think all of this happening right now is probably not penetrating particularly far right now. it's very complicated. it's a little bit confusing, and i wouldn't blame anybody from being confused because it seems like every day the story is changing from devin nunes, from the white house, et cetera. so, if they are able to come up with a conclusion, if there is integrity in the process, i think that is likely to be respected, but if there continues to be this confusion and what seems like interference from the people who are being investigated, that is going to undermine this entire process. and beyond that, i mean, the white house is not really enamored with this investigation to begin with, but they also have a lot of other stuff going on here in washington. they want to move forward with their agenda -- tax cuts, infrastructure -- and this
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nunes, under siege. >> critics are demanding he step down from leading his committee's investigation of alleged russia ties to trump associates, and now some republican senators are questioning his judgment. let's go straight to our manu raju. he's been applying his own brand of pressure to nunes this morning, keeping up with him at every step. what did you make of his answers and nonanswers to you this morning on his position leading this committee? >> reporter: well, it sounds like he's going to stay as chairman of the committee and continue to run this russia investigation, despite these democratic calls for him to recuse himself, angrily rejecting those calls, believing that they're really out of bounds. he continually said, ask democrats those questions, don't ask me. i'm moving forward with this russia investigation, and republicans on the committee support him staying in that position. a number of republicans going into this conference meeting where republicans just met signal that they do support him, including pete king of new york, who said to me, absolutely not
should nunes step down. this would be just giving in to democrats. so, nunes really rejecting any notion that his standing is undermining this investigation, believing that it's going to go forward, but he did not answer some key questions, including whether or not the white house itself asked him to cancel a public hearing scheduled for today with three intelligence officials, including sally yates, the former deputy of the justice department, because they did not want her to testify about what she knew about michael flynn, those contacts with the russian ambassador. when we asked nunes that directly, he would not say, and he continually discussed how the committee plans to move forward, not getting into the back and forth. i also tried to get him on the issue of whether or not the russia investigation itself came up in those private -- in that private briefing he had with president trump last week as he got that new surveillance information, and he would not go there either. he said, i've already addressed
that issue, and it was a simple yes or no question -- did you talk about russia at all? and why that's significant is some members on the committee believe that he may have compromised this investigation by talking about russia at the same time that the committee's investigating russia and those alleged contacts that happened with the trump campaign. but the upshot being that devin nunes says he's not going anywhere, and it will take republicans, and particularly speaker ryan, who we're going to hear from momentarily to call for him to step down, and we're not getting any indication that will happen as of yet, guys. >> manu, that's a good point, behind you speaker ryan will speak any second, so we forgive you if you have to duck down any minute or not answer, but the fact remains, there are questions chairman nunes won't answer and in fact, there are new questions raised every day that he seems not to answer. we now know that he canceled what was supposed to be a public hearing for today that was going to have former dni clapper, i
think former director john brennan, and sally yates, who was the acting attorney general for a long period of time. that meeting was answered. and the question he would not ask you flat out and was asked point blank is did the white house pressure you to cancel that, correct? he would not answer that question? >> reporter: he would not answer that. he said that -- he really dodged that question, then talked about how they wanted to have a private briefing today from fbi director james comey as well as mike rogers, head of the national security agency. of course, that private briefing also canceled today as the house intelligence committee has scrapped any other full committee briefings this week because the two sides just could not get together. and he also would not really discuss, of course, the source of that information, that surveillance information which he briefed president trump on. there's been speculation that a former nunes attorney who now works at the white house may have been involved. i asked him about that, too. he said i'm not going to discuss any of my sources. right now you can look at what i've said in the past.
a lot of questions about how he's handled this and whether they can move forward in a credible way or perhaps the senate intelligence committee moving forward. perhaps that's where the focus will move if this does indeed break down. >> manu raju, great reporting. i can't emphasize that enough, getting the answers in realtime -- >> and getting to 10,000 steps, getting to the milestone by chasing nunes through the halls. >> great work, thank you. our panelists, we have alice stewart, republican strategist, former communications director for ted cruz, and dan pfiefer is here, former senior adviser to president obama. nice to have you both as we await paul ryan. alice, let me just ask you, what do you make of the confidence nunes is not exactly instilling in people by not answering these questions, very direct questions that he could have answered to manu? and he says, no, no, no, you already asked that, why are you asking so many questions? go back and look at your transcripts. that is not being transparent. >> no. and i will say this, he has done
the manu tango for many miles throughout the halls of congress. >> the manu tango, i like that. >> when you know manu's waiting, that's what it is. he has answered a lot of questions, but now it's where the rubber meets the road. and when you have democrats such as nancy pelosi and schiff and castro saying that he's compromising the investigation, time to step aside. but in addition to that, we also have republicans lindsey graham and john mccain say that this is too much of a distraction, this is disrupting the house, and they're saying it's time for him to recuse himself. that is a time when you need to sit back and reflect, is this too much of a distraction, too much to overcome in order for us to do what is the ultimate goal, which is to have a fair and impartial investigation about russian interference and possible influence in our elections. >> dan pfiefer, we have you with us. you worked in the white house, obviously, for a long time. you are no impartial jury on this, but could a chair of an
intelligence committee -- how would it work when you were at the white house for that person to come on to the white house grounds, whether it be the white house or in this case the old executive office building? would it be unusual for that to happen without someone in the west wing knowing? >> it would be impossible. someone in the white house would have to know, because someone in the white house would have had to, what we would call wave in a visitor, someone who does not have a hard pass to the white house. there is a record of that. this was the obama administration, those records would be released monthly. to date, the trump administration's refused to say whether they were going to follow that path of transparency, but there's an answer to this question sitting in a computer database in the white house, and the white house could provide that answer to you guys or the rest of the world with the push of a button. >> alice, the president's talking about everything except this this morning, truly tweeting about almost everything but this this morning, this as he has an approval rating 36%, a record low for him, according to gallup, and one of the lowest on the books for a president two
months in. you ran strategy communications for ted cruz. what's the strategy here for the white house to try to get somewhat in front of all this as four people close to the president now, including his son-in-law, jared kushner, will have to answer questions from these intel committees? >> well, understandably, this is something that you want to distance yourself from, because it's muddy waters. and that being said, there are plenty of positive things he can be talking about. he's doing, meeting with business leaders yesterday. what's going to be next with regard to the budget? what is he going to do with regard to climate efforts as well as other issues that he is going to be focusing on? that's what he needs to do, anything and everything he can do to distance himself from this current russian ties is the best thing to do. and certainly, looking at what are the lessons learned from the failure of the american health care act and what will they do moving forward. i am encouraged by what we're hearing now, is that originally there was talk that they were just going to forget all about reforming health care and focus on other things. i am encouraged by the talks
that we're hearing from the administration. they're willing to work together. hopefully, they'll work with democrats as well as moderate and conservative republicans -- >> we've had representative richard hudson, republican of north carolina, coming forward today to tell cnn they may bring up this bill as early as later this week, the health care bill, for another vote, if they get the votes. >> i think that's a little optimistic, but it would be nice, if so. but i think what we learned the first time is you can't rush something like this through. it took the obama administration almost a year and a half. and here in this case, we tried to work with something that dealt with one-sixth of the economy in 18 days. that's just not feasible. i think having a conversation on the front end with all sides involved will help alleviate the problems that we had this time with regard to getting something passed. >> dan pfiefer, as a communications expert, not as a democrat or a republican here, do you think it would be smart for this white house to keep a toe in the water with health care? and again, we're hearing from this meeting right now that paul ryan, house speaker, said you
know, health care's not over. people are coming from that meeting saying maybe something else could come up soon. is that something that would be smart for the white house to try to get involved in again? >> i think from a communications perspective, a message perspective, what they need to do is get on to what is more friendly territory for trump. they should get to the economy, get to, you know, keeping jobs here in america, the sort of things he ran on. health care is a political loser for republicans, right? it is just not possible to -- it splits the party. your argument is -- >> it's pretty ironic that you're saying health care is a political loser for republicans, when it's what they rode to a majority in 2010, you know, 2014, and the white house this time around. >> well, i would say two things. one, giving health care to millions of americans is politically very challenging, as i have the scars to prove. taking it away from people, actually taking it away from people and the policy of actually doing it where the rubber hits the road of governing is a very different thing than yelling about it on
the house floor and on fox news. it's a different world. i would describe them as the dog that caught the car when it comes to health care. move on. move on to something else that is friendlier territory that gets beyond just the 36% of americans who still like donald trump. get to something that has a broader appeal. the repeal of the aca does not have that broad appeal. it's more popular than it's ever been. >> thank you very much, dan pfiefer, alice stewart. we appreciate it. we're going to get a quick break in again. we're waiting for paul ryan to take the podium there and answer some of these tough questions about devin nunes and the future of that investigation. before that, though, new intrigue surrounding the trump administration and russia. the president's son-in-law, jared kushner, facing increased scrutiny for a meeting he had with a very big-named russian banker who has close ties to vladimir putin. we're going to take you to moscow for more on that, next. nobody does unlimited like t-mobile. while the other guys gouge for unlimited data... t-mobile one save you hundreds a year.
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all right, you're looking at live pictures from the u.s. capitol, where we are waiting on house speaker paul ryan. he will speak to the press, this after a closed-door meeting among house republicans. they talked about a number of issues. it was pretty tense, from what we are told. we are expecting speaker ryan to face questions on his opinion of house intelligence chair devin nunes. does he continue to have faith in the embattled intel chair? meanwhile, president trump's son-in-law and trusted adviser, jared kushner, will face questions from senators for his previously unannounced meeting with a russian banker. today the kremlin claimed it was not aware of this meeting. >> that's right. he met with sergey gorke yov
with a bank that is under sanction from the united states. all this means that kushner will answer questions from senators that are investigating ties between -- alleged ties between the trump campaign and russian operatives. the white house, for its part, trying to downplay it. >> jared did a job during the transition in the campaign where he was a conduit in to leaders, and that's until we had a state department, a function place for people to go. remember we had a delay in some of these things, and that was his role. >> cnn senior international correspondent fred pleitgen is joining us from moscow now with more. let's just begin with what we know about this bank, veb bank, and this banker that kushner met with. >> reporter: well, both the bank and sergey gorkov, the chairman of the bank, are very, very close to the highest power circles in russia, especially vladimir putin. he reportedly met with kushner
in december of 2016 and actually only became chairman of the veb bank in 2016, in february of 2016, and he was appointed directly by vladimir putin. so, he has behasn't been in thi office very long, but this is very important to russia, directly owned by the russian government. the chairman is directly appointed by vladimir putin. and sergey gorkov himself really has a long record inside the russian banking sector and also being very, very close to the russian state. he graduated in 1994 from the intelligence academy of the fsb and then went on into the banking sector, even making it to the highest positions at spare bank, which is russia's largest government-owned bank. and the bank itself, veb bank, is very important for the kremlin as well. it does a lot of the infrastructure projects, finances them for the kremlin, especially the infrastructure projects around the sochi olympics in 2014. but apparently, it was also responsible for bailing out some oligarchs, especially after the
sanctions kicked in. and the bank itself, poppy, has been under u.s. sanction since 2014, so quite a long time, ever since russia annexed crimea, and it does have some holdings, apparently, as well in the east of ukraine, poppy. >> interesting. a bank under sanctions, a banker with close ties to the kremlin meeting with jared kushner. the kremlin now claims they didn't know the meeting happened. is that believable? we will wait and see. frederik pleitgen in moscow, thank you for being with us. we appreciate it. we are waiting on house speaker paul ryan, due to address the press after a closed-door meeting with house republicans. we'll bring that to you the minute it happens. and we're getting new information from inside iraq, where more than 100 civilians were killed in an air strike. there's an investigation under way. your insurance company won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. and if you have more than one liberty mutual policy, you qualify for a multi-policy discount,
saving you money on your car and home coverage. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. all right, let's listen in to house speaker paul ryan. >> good morning. we just had a very, very good meeting with our members. as i said on friday, we all had to reflect on what we could have done better, and this discussion was an honest and very constructive step forward. we are united around a common set of principles. we are united around our agenda.
and we all want to advance the cause of freedom and limited government. we all want to make it easier for families to pay the bills and take care of their loved ones. we all want a system in health care where everybody can have access to affordable coverage. we have more choice and competition. we don't want a government-run health care system. we all agree on these things. so we are not going to retrench into our corners or put up dividing lines. today we broke down many of those dividing lines within our conference. there is too much at stake to get bogged down in all that. we are going to move forward on the things the american people sent us here to do. today the house is going to act on another congressional measure to reverse bad regulations. so far, congress has sent ten of these measures to the president's desk. in the 20 years before this congress did one of these. we are also committed to securing our border, rebuilding our military and fixing our infrastructure, and we want this to be the last tax season americans have to put up with this broken tax code. since i became speaker, i have
talked about the need to go from being a opposition party to being a proposition party and a governing party. it may take a little bit more time, but we are certainly listening, and we are going to get there. the way i would describe the meeting we just had with our members is we are going to work together and listen together until we get this right! it is just too important. obamacare is a collapsing law. obamacare is doing too much damage to families. and so, we're going to get this right. and in the meantime, we're going to do all of our other work that we came here to do. >> well, i want to convey exactly what the speaker just said -- we had a very good conference, the conference that from a microcosm, people on all sides. and the discussion was exactly what the american people are talking about. we promised that we would repeal and replace obamacare, and that's exactly what we're going to do. friday, the timeline wasn't there, the votes were not there yet. that doesn't mean that we're not going to get there, and that's
what this conference was about and what we're actually working towards. in the meantime, we will go back on to the floor, as the speaker talked about, for our regulatory reform. as you watched, prior to this congress, only one has ever been signed into law. well, we will take the fcc privacy regulation up. that will be the 15th one that has passed the house. the president signed four others into law yesterday, again, surpassing the total. this is the part of the plan of putting america back to work, bringing common sense regulation back and continuing on our path to repeal andreplace obamacare, and coming out of that conference, i have more confidence that we will get it done. >> after this morning, the resolve of our conference to repeal obamacare and replace it has never been stronger. i think it was really positive, the openness that members have to working to get to yes that weren't there, and i do think it was important again to point out
that the vast majority of our conference was already there in support of the bill that we want to put on president trump's desk. to my democrat colleagues who were celebrating friday's action, i think their celebration is premature, because i think we're closer today to repealing obamacare than we've ever been before, and surely even closer than we were friday. so we're going to keep working. this issue isn't going away. obamacare continues to fail the american people. you're going to continue to see double-digit increases in premiums because obamacare doesn't work. and so, the fact that our conference is more resolved than ever to repeal this law is very encouraging, and we're not going to stop until we get it done. >> coming out of the conference, i remain very optimistic about our agenda. and from the beginning, we've known that it is a very aggressive agenda that we have, and we remain committed to a better health care future to every person in this country. we also want to get to tax reform, keeping america safe, rolling back the regulations.
we're working on that again this week, putting people back at the center of this government. we are committed, fully committed to rethinking this government from top to bottom, because if there's one thing that last week taught us, it is that we are united around shared goals. now, how we go about implementing our vision is sometimes where we differ, but i am confident. i'm confident in our ability to come together, unify around shared goals, and improve everybody's lives in this country. more freedom, more opportunity for everyone in this country. >> does anyone have any questions? [ laughter ] kac kacie. >> reporter: two questions, if i may. >> two? >> reporter: should devin nunes recuse himself from the russia investigation? and two, do you know the source of his information? >> no and no. no. >> can you talk about exactly what you mean --
[ inaudible question ] obviously have to make decisions by june -- >> probably before then. >> do you naanticipate some action -- >> i won't tell you the timeline because we want to get it right. we have an aggressive agenda and we've been moving quickly on this aggressive agenda, but we want to make sure that we get it right. we had a very constructive meeting with our members. some of those who were in the no camp expressed a willingness to work at getting to yes and to making this work. we want to get it right. we're going to keep talking to each other until we get it right. i'm not going to put a timeline on it because this is too important to not get right and to put an artificial timeline on it. you're right, the insurers, yeah, they've got to -- that's why i am so worried about this issue. this law is collapsing. you're going to see big -- if obamacare just stays as is, that's not acceptable for the american people. that's not what we said we would do. so we're going to go figure out
how we get this done. and i think what's confusing to everybody is we have to use these senate rules. we call them reconciliation. what that is, that means you can't pass the bill you really want to pass in the house because it gets filibustered in the senate. you have to pass a bill in the house that can get through and prevent a filibuster, and it is that frustration that our members are grappling with right now. yeah, what's your name? the lady behind you. who are you were? >> "the talking point journal." a lot of outside groups are calling on republicans to use the upcoming -- to defund planned parenthood. >> we think reconciliation's the tool because that gets it involved. reconciliation's the way to go. go ahead, one more. >> any sign that the freedom caucus members are willing to compromise? >> yeah, that's what i was saying. we have our members -- i don't want us to become a factionalized majority. i want us to become a unified majority, and that means we're going to sit down and talk things out until we get there, and that's exactly what we're doing. and we saw good overtures from
those members from different parts of our conference to get there because we all share these goals and we're just going to have to figure out how to get it done. thank you. >> mr. speaker? mr. speaker? >> all right, hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. you're listening right there to house republican leaders speaking to reporters after what was a very emotional sounding, is what it sounds like, conference between members of the house republican conference, the first kind of huddle that republicans have had since their failure to pass a republican health care bill on friday. a lot going on here right now. i want to bring in phil mattingly, who's been trying to get some clues as to what's going on, what's going on inside that closed-door meeting. paul ryan, he had an interesting message coming out, saying that they all are united around their shared goals, around their agenda. even steve scalise, saying, though, phil, that they're closer to passing a repeal and
replace of obamacare today than they were friday. what went on in that meeting? >> reporter: that might be the case, according to what the whip, steve scalise, had to say, but that still doesn't mean they have the number of votes or it would be on the house floor. going into this meeting, an interesting thing happened from the start -- they kicked all of the staff out of this closed-door meeting. it happens, but it's rare, doesn't happen a lot, and that underscored what i heard going into this meeting, that this was a meeting where members needed to get a lot of frustration, a lot of anger, and mostly just kind of disappointment out about failing to move forward on something that they've campaigned on cycle after cycle after cycle. i was texting with one member who was in the room as this was all happening, and he said, look, ostensibly, this meeting is about the path forward. what it is in reality, it's an airing of grievances. and we heard a lot about that. but the point of the meeting was to try and bring everybody back together. there is no question about it. friday was an enormous defeat for the conference, there was a major divide inside the conference that was laid bare for everybody. and coming out of that meeting, two things you heard -- they
need to unify, or else nothing on their agenda will be accomplished, and when it comes to health care -- the speaker kind of laying it out clearly -- there's no timeline right now, but what was made clear inside the meet 'i'm told, as member after member after member said, even though the president himself said it's time to turn the page and move on to tax reform, health care is too important politically and policywise for these members to move on. so, while there's no timeline on health care, work will continue behind the scenes, kate. >> so, there is a -- is this to appease and kind of satisfy house republicans who are furious that they would give up on something they promised for so long? do you get the sense that there's going to be a real, concerted effort to try to get to 218, 216, 215, whatever it is on a given day? >> reporter: i think it's more the former than the latter at this point, but i think the motivation behind the rank and file, the motivation behind the members is to continue to work. >> yeah. >> reporter: now, i think you have to look at how they're trying to do this now. they were using