tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN May 22, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
videos posted on social media show the chaos, show the confusion as people leave the arena. once again, manchester police in britain, they confirm that a number of confirmed fatal tills and others injured in what may have been an explosion. cnn will continue to follow this breaking story, as well as all the stories breaking involving the russia investigation. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. next, breaking news. a stunning report alleging president trump asked two top intelligence officials to deny evidence of coordination between trump associates and russian officials. i'm going to talk to the reporter breaking this story. trump and raernl denying something he was never accused of. did he incriminate himself. and presidential putdown. did the president refuse to take melania's hand? we'll talk about that. up ne"the washington post"
reporting just moments ago that president trump asked two of the nation's top officials to help him push back against an fbi investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and russia, according to former and current officials. it is a stunning report, come, out just moments ago, saying trump made appeals to daniel coates and admiral mike rogers, the director of the national security agency. urging both of them to deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the election. this is another bombshell report, coming on top of a week of startling developments in the russia meddling story and on top of the report that the president told the russian foreign minister in the oval office that getting rid of jim comey relieved pressure on him from the russia investigation. one of "the post" reporters that broke this story, adam, thank you for being with us. a huge scoop that you have here tonight. what can you tell us? >> well, i think one really
needs to understand the context here, which is that the fbi director comey had just testified on march 20th to the house intelligence committee in which he laid out what the fbi was investigating, which included looking at possible coordination between the russians, russian government and members of trump's campaign. and so, you know, the president was upset that comey had shined the light on that and attracted attention to that, and so he turned to these two intelligence chiefs, who he regularity talks to, and basically asked them to weigh in on this, to try to help him. basically deflect these charges that were being leveled at him and at his campaign. his former campaign. and so, that's what he did. he basically made this appeal and when the nsa chief and when the director of national intelligence thought about it, they decided they could not go there. they concluded this was an inappropriate request on the part of the president. >> and so, and they did, you
know, obviously, we've been hearing so much tab jim comey's memos, but you are reporting that at least one of them wrote this down, wrote this internal -- in an internal memo that was distributed within the organization, right? >> right, so, admiral rogers, within the nsa, a memo was produced basically documenting the conversation that the admiral had with the president. the admiral was concerned about this request because he thought, you know, there's an ongoing investigation, he can't talk about classified information. it would be inappropriate for him to basically effectively contradict the fbi director. and so, he decided not to do it, and some of his aides documented the conversation in a memo, which could be turned over to investigatiors down the road. >> so, in these conversations, and i just want to make it clear, from your reporting, this wasn't a meeting with both of them, this was two separate meetings. >> correct. >> and in them, he was trying to get them to deny any sort of
conclusion because, and i guess what you're saying, timing is everything. coming right after the director of the fbi had indicated that there might be, at least, it was under investigation. >> right. the president was frustrated, he was looking to relieve the pressure. so, he turned to these two people, in separate meetings, or phone calls, and basically asked them to do this. and both of them, in the end, explained -- well, in the case of rogers, explained to the president as nicely as he could why it would not be appropriate for him to do so. >> and one, i think, one thing that you quote in your story, which is very crucial here, is that you quote a senior intelligence official of the request to coates specifically, the problem wasn't so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements. >> right. in the context of an investigation, the quote, i think, continues, and i think the point there is that at that particular official who is speaking had visibility into the intelligence and knew that it would be not accurate to say
that there wasn't such evidence. not to say that that evidence is conclusive in any way, but just to say that there is intelligence that has been collected which points to contacts that have been at the center of this fbi investigation. >> well, adam, thank you very much. obviously, a stunning and hugely significant report. reporting that two of the top intelligence chiefs, the president asked them to go out and say there has been no collusion between his campaign and the russians. coming on the heels of the fact that we know he told the former fbi director to stop any investigations into general michael flynn. that is just part of the breaking news at this hour. we also now know the man leading the russia investigation has been briefed on those secret memos from the fired fbi director, jim comey. memos in which he says the president asked him to end that investigation into national security adviser michael flynn. shimon, what are you learning? >> so, erin, we're told that sometime last week, the former fbi director, bob mueller, who
is now leading the special -- who is now the special counsel, was at the fbi -- was at fbi headquarters here in washington, d.c., and he met with some of the top investigators on the counterintelligence matter in this case. we're also told he was briefed on some of the memos that comey had written. some of them are classified, some are not. we're not sure as to which memos he was briefed on, but he was made aware of these memos and we're told that officials expect him, as part of his probe into this case, that he's going to look at possible obstruction of justice. >> and so, shimon, obviously jim comey was expected to testify, and this was awaited by people around the world. how does your breaking news effect that? will he be on capitol hill? >> well, you know, he wants to testify. and he has certainly told people, comey that is, that he wants to appear on the hill and wants to tell his side of the
story. but because of the special counsel, it's more likely he's going to have to talk about bob mueller about that, if he can come forward and talk about the memos, if he can talk about the investigation. there's sort of different components now to this investigation, which may limit what comey can come forward and say publicly about the investigation. >> all right, shimon, thank you. on capitol hill tonight, as we have more breaking news on the russia investigation. it appears general flynn lied, using that word, lied. >> that's right, erin. a big charge from elijah comings tonight that uses the word outright lying to describe what he believes michael flynn did during his background check as part of his security clearance. in a letter tonight, he writes, quote, the house oversight committee has documents that appear to indicate that general flynn lied to the investigators who interviewed him in 2016 as part of his security clearance renewal.
so, no mincing of words there. and the two new eras here that comings highlights is that he alleged that flynn told background investigatiors that t was u.s. companies that funded that 2015 rip to russitrip to r he was paid $45,000, rather than the russians. and number two, that flynn told background investigators that he had no substantial contacts with foreign governments while he was there. well, of course, we've seen the picture of flynn sitting right next to vladimir putin during a dinner while he was there. >> yes, sunlen. and general flynn now pleading the fifth, not going to turn over the documents to the senate intelligence committee? >> that's right. and that's not sitting well with the senate intelligence committee. we heard from the chairman and the ranking member who came out with a statement, saying that while they respect his decision to use that right, to invoke the fifth amendment, they are certainly disappointed by it, and chairman burr telling cnn, look, it's no good having
someone plead the fifth, we're trying to get information here. and he importantly says that one thing that he knows as far as the next steps is that immunity will be off the table for michael flynn. we all know he has asked for that, and as they go forward, they say they're looking at a range of options, potentially bringing flynn in front of the committee anyway to have to plead the fifth in person and mark warner who is the ranking member of that committee tonight, he left open the door for the potential to find flynn in contempt of congress. erin? >> thank you very much, sunlen. i want to go to a member of the intelligence committee, joe man chin. senator, thank you for your time. i want to begin with the breaking news. we have so much of it this hour. first, though, this, from "the washington post," reporting the president asked two of the top intelligence officials in this country, the director of national intelligence and the director of the nsa to say there was no collusion between his campaign and that of the russians. "the washington post" reports the problem wasn't so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements.
they refused to do so. what is your reaction? >> well, i'm as shocked as anybody else, but it keys coming. and first of all, it's good to be with you. this is coming pretty fast paced right now. we're going to have to take it, the intelligence community takes everything extremely serious. we'll be looking into this. it was just a couple of weeks ago in open hearing that we had both mr. rogers and mr. coates, our former colleague -- >> yes. >> and i'm not sure, as i recall, that question was even asked in the open hearing. so, might be good to get them back. >> i would imagine you do want to have them back. when you take what we're learning tonight, right, that they were asked by the president of the united states, directly and personally in separate conversations, to go out and say something, that they did not want to do, because they didn't know it to be true, when you take that and then you combine it with what we know the president told the russian foreign minister and ambassador in the oval always, i just fired the fbi, he was real nutjob.
do you think, senator, this is obstruction of justice at this point? >> well, i want to see all the evidence. that's why i was so disappointed that mike flynn wasn't turning over his documents, if you will. i know mike flynn. we were on the armed services committee. mike flynn seemed like a good person, was upstanding, never was shy about giving his opinion and talking in different subject matter matters and now for this to happen is not the mike flun i knew when he came before the armed services committee. he could shed a lot of light on this and i would love for him to tell his story. >> so, i want to ask you about that, because we have a letter now from the house oversight committee, from elijah kcumming, saying they have documents that appear to show that mrflynn lie to officials. lied is the word used.
they are saying he lied about where he got money. >> well, that's -- >> what is your reaction? >> doesn't get anymore serious than that. and that's why it's important for us to go through the process we're going through, find out if this country's been compromised in any way, shape or form. we all take the same oath. uphold the constitution. we all take that same oath. i take it extremely serious. every member of the senate i serve with takes it extremely serious. and you want your top officials to take it just as serious. if someone has misled any of these committees, there's going to be serious consequences to pay, but you know, we are still a country where the rule of law makes us completely different than any other place in the world. everyone's innocent until proven guilty. if they make us go through longer processes to find out, the facts will come out eventually. >> senator, i just want to ask you, do you think in light of this reporting tonight about the president now telling three of the top law enforcement officials in this country,
trying to get them to either say there was nothing going on with russia or back off the investigations, do you think our president respects the rule of law? >> well, that's -- you know, what you're saying and what we're accusing right now, i want the facts to come out. i'm on the intelligence committee. this is the first year i've been on it. completely different than any committee i've served on. the rule of law doesn't protect the president, doesn't protect the homeless person. all should be treated the same. if this president does not -- and i would not understand why he doesn't, and you're saying does not understand the rule of law, the rule of law, you know, you must be forthcoming. if not, we're going to get the facts. everybody involved -- i want to make sure that our country is safe and secure, especially from all of our leaders from the top all the way down. that's what we're looking for. if they want to obstruct from the standpoint of not giving us information, we will get it. one way or another, erin, we're going to get the information we need to make decisions. >> how are you going to get it from general flynn, right,
pleading the fifth? he's saying he's not going to testify unless you give him immunity. you are in line with your chairman, you're not going to give him. >> i don't think there's any reason for us to go down that avenue. we still have contempt to be used if need be. that, we'll all have to concur. our committee has to concur we have done everything we can, except immunity. if they believe, overwhelming believe immunity is necessary, that discussion will be have. we don't have that right now. i don't know if anyone agrees with contempt. we can offer another letter and reach out one more time. if that doesn't happen, then we only have another apgle to go on, that's contempt. >> so, senator, i want to ask you, because here's part of the question. it's not just whether flynn broke the law, right? the question is whether anyone else on trump's team knew about any of his activities, right? so, whether they knew he got money from the russians, if they knew any of it. today, the former head of trump's transition team spoke out and said he warned trump to stay away from flynn.
here's governor chris christie of new jersey. >> i didn't think that he was someone who would bring benefit to the president or to the administration. and i made that very clear to candidate trump and i made it very clear to president-elect trump. >> again, just so everyone's aware, chris christie, for a brief time, was the head of the transition committee. a very close advicer to the president of united states. he said he told him personally. does this sound like the president himself was aware with issue issues with flynn before he hired him? >> well, that was a bad direction for him to go. if someone lays out the facts of why someone is not trustworthy, because we know it hasn't been accurate what he's been saying -- that's -- that's reason enough right there to get rid of that person. i can't give you why the president or why he might have thought in that direction, why he took those actions. why he still basically didn't want to believe the facts that we're giving to him or the people who were giving it to him.
you've got to put your team around you. once you put that team around you, that has to be the team that understands that we trust each other implicitly, that we're not going to mislead or cover for anybody. this, erin, my main concern is, i've said this all along, has this country, the united states of america, the greatest country or earth, have we been compromised at all? were there people involved for their own self-service and not public service? and we're going to get those facts out. those people will pay the price. if we've been damaged, if this country's been damaged, if our intelligence has been breeched, things of that sort that we know extremely serious, i believe the intelligen intelligence commune at this time. we have the best in the world. i believe our allis that work with us to keep us save. i would assume that everyone at the top does. if they don't, they should. if they don't know them, they should learn who they are and have that same trust. that's where i think there's a deficiency. >> well, i appreciate your time, senator manchin. >> thank you. and breaking news right now.
chaos, an explosion at a concert in england. details are just coming in. you can see this, an ariana grande concert in manchester. this was going on, literally explosions. this is video of what happened. you can see screams, people start running for the exits in the middle of this concert. we can confirm to you right now that there are fatalities. there are multiple fatalities at this time. emergency crews are on the scene. as i said, this is very much a breaking story at this second. i want to go to phil black, live in london. and phil, what can you tell us about this right now? >> erin, as you can see from the pictures, truly terrifying and something deadly has taken place, in one of criteria tan's biggest music arenas, the manchester arena. the venue for ariana grande, the huge pop super star. that venue holds around 20,000 people. and something has happened, which has triggered panic and
terror in that crowd and what you see, those huge numbers of people desperately trying to get out of that venue. now, we don't know what has caused this stampede-like situation. the police say they are responding to reports of explosions, and that's what witnesses there are talking about, as well. some sort of loud bang which triggered all of this. as a result, police have said there are fatalities, a number of injured. we don't know the number just yet. and we don't know the cause of what hurt those people. the explosions that have been reported, or simply those panicked scenes afterwards, the crush that followed, as huge numbers of people and clearly, they are young teenagers, desperately trying to escape that venue. >> and phil, just to be clear here, we understand, sounds like explosions. but at this moment, we don't know how many and we don't know what the cause was.
>> that's correct. the police at this moment are using fairly careful language to say they are responding to reports of explosions. witnesses, people have confirmed that there was some sort of a loud bang, possibly more than one. possibly two. but something has happened which has triggered that extraordinary scene of fear and panic and what you see there, and you can imagine what it's like to be in one of those huge music arenas. around 20,000 people, mostly, you can be sure, they would have been teenagers attending an ariana grande concert. just trying to get out of there as quickly as possible. that sort of environment. you can imagine the crush, the desperate panic, people could have very easily hurt or worse as they were trying to escape. >> all right, phil black, thank you very much. as you get more, we're going to go to you. we have someone that was there. eva delgado. inside the arena when the blast occurred. evo, you were there. we now are just desperately trying to figure out what
happened. what did you see? >> well, basically, the concert finished and when they pop on the lights, they switch on the lights, everyone was going to leave and when we were waiting in the cue to leave the arena, still inside the main stage on the arena, we heard a massive explosion. it sounded like a big bang. i only heard it once. so, then, after that, everyone run in the opposite direction of the arena, obviously. after a moment of confusion, the staff members were helping us to evacuate the area. in the main corridor, there was a lot of smoke. and there was still -- there was people on the floor, clearly injured. and we left the area. it was a lot of people screaming. there were a lot of little girls, obviously, because the audience of ariana grande's. and they were running out of the stage. i help a disabled woman that obviously went on the stairs, not knowing that there was stairs at the end of the way, and everyone was trying to help
each other, but obviously a lot of little girls crying and screaming. >> ivo, we're looking at some of the video that i know you took from inside the arena, as you were getting ready to leave. you are saying you heard one bang and saw a lot of smoke and you saw some people on the floor who were injured. do you have any sense of how close you were to whatever this explosion may have been? what was their condition? >> well, it was clearly -- it was, if you look at the stage, it was on the bottom left of the stage and it was next to my exit, so, yeah, we were, at that moment, it was a panic moment that you really don't know what's happening. and after nothing more happened, we thought that it might be a confusion, it might be people overreacting or something and obviously something in an arena makes a massive noise. you don't really know until you walk through the door and you see there's a lot of smoke and there's people on the floor and that's when the immediate reaction is, try to know that
all your group is safe. and we even went to the staff and said if we could help with anything and they just said to evacuate the place. it was the best help we could do at that moment. outside the arena, there was a lot of noises from policeman, a lot of noises from all the hospital, fireman. so, that's basically now, the noise that we have on the streets of manchester a well as helicopters around the area. so, that's when you really realize what can be going on. >> all right, well, ivo, we very much appreciate your time and coming on and talking to us. thank you very much. we're glad you are safe. >> thank you very much. >> as we continue to report this story and try to understand what happened, as we said, very much breaking, we don't know the number of fatalities. we know there are multiple fatalities. we don't know what was the cause of the explosion. and what exactly this was. as we get this information, we're going to bring it to you live. we're going to take one brief break and coming back, we'll have more breaking news about immunity for michael flynn.
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find clear skin that lasts. breaking news. "the washington post" reporting at this hour that president trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials to help him push back against an fbi investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and russia. it's a stunning report. it says he asked daniel coates, the director of national intelligence and admiral mike rogers, the director of the national security agency to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion between the trump campaign and the russians. outfront now, national security correspondent for "the new york times," michael rosenberg. john avalon. and cnn legal analyst paul calen. john, this is a stunning report. >> it is a huge bombshell, because it seems to show a pattern of the president trying to tamp down, using his influence, to tamp down an ongoing investigation, direct request to the dni and head of
national security agency. terrible news for the white house, again breaking late, but it's part of a pattern. and that pattern is deeply problematic and the problem is rooted in the president. >> and we are also learning tonight, paul, that as part of the investigation, that bob mueller is looking into, part of it is focus on obstruction of justice. that's what a source is telling cnn. we know as of tonight two separate appeals, the director of national intelligence, the director of the nsa, denyi inin collusion. they felt it was inappropriate. we of course already know the president asked jim comey to pull back on the investigation of michael flynn and he told the russians that by getting rid of comey, he took the russia pressure away from himself. does that add up to obstruction of justice? >> you can make that strong argume argument. but the reverse spin on this is going to be that trump -- this indicates that trump actually thought there was nothing to the russian investigation and he was asking other members of his
administration to go forward and say that. as opposed to, was he telling them to lie -- >> so, he's just clueless that the fact that an ongoing investigation would deem that to be completely inappropriate? >> i guarantee you that's the way the trump administration is going to view this. that these -- that the president thought they would be helpful, he wasn't telling them to lie. that's what they're going to say. >> i'm going to get that from jack in a minute. let me ask you, first of all, could this be obstruction of justice? >> oh, it definitely could be. >> you're now adding thing on top of thing. blumenthal said on the show, it's a mosaic. you have to fill in the parts. >> frankly, erin, before we found out about this, just what we know, the statement that was made to the russian ambassador, the statement that was made to comey, all of those make a case of obstruction of justice. if this is true, this could simply add to the level of evidence available. >> so, congressman, go ahead, and make your case that i think paul started to do. >> number one, paul is a
brilliant man, but i will say, another brilliant man, alan dershowitz, has said, this is not -- at the time, it was not a criminal investigation and there was no grand jury, there's no witness tampering, there's no destruction of evidence, so, it could not have been obstruction. also, when the fbi -- >> congressman -- >> when the fbi sin vest gaiting, it is not a judicial investigation, it is a tool that could be used by the justice department, but it doesn't rise to the obstruction. >> he may have made that argument somewhere, i know on this show, his argument was simply that regarding jim comey, because the president was within his legal rights to fire the fbi director. he couldn't be obstructing justice by telling the fbi director not to do something. that was sort of his argument. >> well, actually, erin, i've seen him on a number of shows say, address this from a lot of different angles. but you know, every time we turn around, there's a new quote bombshelby the left, and i don't -- >> no, congressman, this is not a bombshell from the left. this is rooted in real reporting
on internal documents by the media. i'm sorry the free press is an inconvenience to you, sir. but the reality is, this is not political. this is real reporting -- >> it's certainly not political. >> you're making a lot of ass e assumptions about the timing of this statement, as well, whether comey already said there was an ongoing investigation. >> let's talk about comey. here's a guy that said there was obstruction, february 14th, but he sat on it, didn't tell anybody, and then, on the 5th of may, had the opportunity to answer a question, very closely related to it, in front of the u.s. congress, and he did not. the question was something like, has there been any movement to try to stifle this investigation? that would have been the great opportunity, but instead, the minute he gets fired, suddenly he has memos. we haven't seen those memos as related to benghazi, no memos -- >> got to bring it back to benghazi, okay. >> what about lynch and clinton meeting on the tarmac. >> how about talking about
something relevant to this investigation? >> what? >> how about something relevant to this investigation? you got nothing, so, you reach into the past. look. your guy's got real problems right now in the legal process and you got to deal with that. you just can't deflect and spending all day long -- >> there's no deflection. >> yes, there is. >> here's what i don't understand. you can't come up with another word -- >> scandal. >> how about finding a crime? there has not been any crime whatsoever -- >> okay, let's just be clear. let's just be clear. let's just be clear. we know from senators of both parties briefed by the deputy attorney general last week that they say this is not just a counter counter -- it is criminal. that was a briefing to house. >> centimeter, but no allegation that there was collusion. criminal that if general flynn did, in fact, lie, then, yes, but no crime aside from that. >> okay. let me get matthew in here. >> i want to jump in here for a
second. let's put the criminal thing aside for a second. there is also an issue here where we now have three senior leaders of the intelligence community, the fbi, the director of national intelligence and the nsa saying the president called us up and told us to go out and do a political task, basically, to carry his water. these are apolitical jobs and this raises real questions about, and we've seen this in a lot of areas. the white house understands that there's a placy poe where pol s policies -- politics are supposed to end. there's a difference between serving at the pleasure of the president and working for the president. those are very different things. you work for the united states. and i'm not sure that's clear anymore. and i think this is further evidence that it might not be. >> let me say this. one of the great irritations of comey and some of these high visible hearings, and i hear this directly from members, that he says something behind closed doors that he does not say
publicly, and most members have indicated to me, there still has been no evidence. and matthew, you have the best connections of any journalist in america right now, don't you think after eight months of investigations, somebody would have leaked to you evidence of collusion? i mean, it's just common sense would have said, the people were all over this, the enemies of trump. if there was something out there, why haven't we heard in eight months? it's actually, what, ten months? >> matthew? >> yeah, what are we talking about collusion? we've produced a tremendous amount of reporting, our colleagues at "the post" a number of organizations about contacts going unexplained. jared kushner meeting with russian bankers tied to russian intelligence. half the trump administration meeting with russians -- >> if you guys were the jury, you would hang somebody for a speeding ticket. >> i'm not saying he's guilty of anything. these are things that were initially denied and then suddenly revealed in the media. yeah, we did it, what's the big
deal? there is something there that, you know, people usually -- there's a reason to ask questions, why were these hidden? why were they not just told? there's nothing wrong with meeting the russian ambassador. it's suspicious to meet with him and lie about it or try to cover it up and when you are exposed -- >> you mean like senator mccaskill who says she never meat with the russian ambassador until a tweet was found that she bragged about meeting with him? >> we're not talking about senator mccaskill here. >> going back to watergate, it is not necessary the crime, but the coverup. >> yeah, congressman, you started out by giving me a compliment, so, i appreciate that -- >> and i do not take it back. >> what you're looking at here is a growing pile of circumstantial evidence that seems to clearly be pointing in the direction of an obstruction of justice. now, it hasn't all been tied together, and i think mueller,
as he completes his investigation, he may or may not be able to tie it together. but any sensible person looking at this has to say, you know, it looks subs pressu s suspicious. >> what would you say about mccabe's testimony, right after the firing, has there been any -- and it was a great cross examination in the senate that said, has there been any effort to intimidate you, to reduce the investigation, to change the investigation, and he said, no, no, no. >> well, of course, he didn't know, though, that his boss, comey, was about to be fired. and that the president -- >> actually, the langsford testimony was after it. >> the russian foreign minister that the pressure was off in the russia probe. >> let me ask you -- >> the langsford testimony was after comey was fired. >> yeah, there was one after, but matthew, let me ask you about that. because what could the reason for that be, that mccabe would
have said there was no impeding the investigation at all? is it possible he didn't know anything about the comey memos, which would raise its own set of questions, but why would he have answered the question in that way so definitively? >> i don't know, and i would have to speculate about what he was thinking. i know we have his answer, we have the memos from jim comey. now, we have two other officials. >> well, we don't have the memos from jim comey. we heard about them. >> we heard about them. >> so, let's just keep -- >> fair enough. we heard about them. we now have two other officials saying, look, the president came in and said, you know, reports of this, saying that we want you to go out there and publicly tamp this down. we know at other times, he tried to get representative nunes to do the same thing, and richard burr, the chairman of the senate intelligence committee. we know there's this elaborate theater in march, where devin nunes went to the white house and got intel that he ran back
to the white house to show to trump like he got a leak from somebody else. there's just a lot of thee yat ricks going on and a lot of things that they're worth asking questions about and worth further explanation. that's what we're doing in the media, what the senate and house intelligence committees are doing. >> i think this goes to the heart of something important here. the white house has come out with a statement in response to "the washington post" report. again, "the washington post" report is that the president asked two of the top national security officials in this community to deny collusion between his campaign and russia, something they refused to do, because they deemed it inappropriate. here is the response from the white house. quote. the white house does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims. the president will continue to focus on his agenda. that he was elected to per sue by the american people. matthew, let me go back to you on this. this is the line of reasoning that they have taken all the way through. which is that this is illegal leaks and that those people should be prosecuted. those people should be punished. your response, as someone who
speaks to these anonymous sources? >> what about that leak is illegal? i mean, there's not -- that doesn't seem to be anything classified there nor should it be. the rules of classification don't permit the government to classify something because they're embarrassing. there's no sensitive information in that. there's government communications. so, the illegal leaks, i'm not clear why. if you want to blame leakers, fine. but i know the people we talk to, and these are not obama administration holdovers looking to do in trump. a lot of these people are people who serve in the government for republicans and democrats. they are political appointees, as well. and what they're seeing are things that they think are wrong. and they also think that the internal mechanisms to fix these problems are not working, so they're coming to the press. they're going public with it. they do it anonymously because they can go to prison for it. in this case, maybe not go to prison, they'll lose their jobs. for the white house, which has the power of the exec giutive branch behind it.
we've seen people who speak publicly and speak at the white house and defy the white house are treated, i think, you know, it's a pretty big dodge right there. >> and one person's leaker is another's whistleblower. i think it's important to say it very much depends. >> journalism isn't the problem here. is problem is incompetence and unethical behavior. >> all right, we're going to -- >> talking about the felons, the leakers then? i agree. >> one moment on this conversation, because i want to keep updating on our other breaking news story, which, of course, is in the uk. police confirming multiple fatalities. we understand there was a blast at an ariana grande concert at one of the biggest arenas in the uk, up to 20,000 people. this is video from inside that arena. you can see people running for the exits. you hear the screams. many teenagers there, teenagers with their parents. witnesses telling cnn there were multiple on the ground injured. we spoke with a witness who said they saw several on the ground. and police telling people to stay away from that arena.
phil black is covering the breaking news in london. phil, every moment here, police trying to figure out what happened. we're trying to understand the motive here, if that's the right word to use. and, of course, to understand what happened here with frayalties. what are you able to tell us? >> we still, erin, do not know pre precisely triggered the stampede-like scene as we've seen in the video. something has triggered that crush, that desperate need and terror to escape that venue en masse. and so, as a result, well, you can hear it, you can see it. we're talking about around 20,000 people who were trapped in this, almost certainly vastly young people, teenagers, ariana grande fans. something's happened that triggered that sort of fear and panic. reports from the scene, witnesses are talking about some sort of loud blast, possibly a series of blasts. but so far, the police are not confirming that. they're talking about reports of an explosion.
their priority now is getting help to the people who need it. it is very likely, from those scenes that we are seeing, that, well, we know people have been killed because the police have confirmed fatalities. you can imagine, from that crush-like scenario in that huge venue, everyone fearful in trying to exit there at once, it is very likely that people have been hurt. and we don't know how the fatalities have taken place. whether it is as a result of these reported explosions, or the crush, the stampede that followed. we're expecting more updates from the police shortly, but they've already given us the worst. this was a terrifying, deadly event. there have been fatalities. we're just waiting to hear how bad this was. erin? >> and let me just ask you, phil, at this time, what -- they're trying to just figure out the forensics here of what the explosion might have been, but we don't even know at this point what that was, right? i mean, obviously the first people think of, you think of paris, something like this, people think of terror.
obviously we have in no way, shape or form at this moment any way to know if that's the case. >> that's absolutely correct. i think it's very likely from the witness accounts that there was a blast of some kind, possibly two, as in a loud bang, a loud noise. something that triggered the fear. but we don't know the point of origin of that noise. and, of course, these sorts of venues, these sorts of events, the security is incredibly tight. they are usually incredibly well organized, police and private security are used to manage crowds like this, coming and going, of course, bag searches take place. it's not a soft target in that sense, if we're talking about the potential for some sort of terror-like event to have taken place here. so, it's important to remember, we don't know what caused this. but we know the result. the result is around 20,000 people desperately scrambling to escape this venue en masse. it is a terrifying, fearful stampede-like scenario and almost certainly they were all young people and children. >> all right, phil black, thank
you very much. as police there are trying to get answers, i want to go to kiara dobber, inside that arena. saw the explosion. kiara, what did you see? >> yeah, they had just started letting everyone out. the music had just gone off. there was a massive, massive explosion, there was a bang. there was smoke coming up from it. there was smoke coming up through the stairs and everyone was just screaming, saying that it could be a bomb. there were people shouting to their kids, there were people shouting, trying to find people and as we went out onto the c concourse to get out of the arenas, there were bodies scattered about everywhere and people were on the floor. all the traffic was at a
standstill and we just ran into the road. it was -- it was just chaos. >> kiera, i'm so sorry. i know that you haven't even had a moment to process this and you're coming on to share this. i appreciate that so much. when you walked through those tunnels, you are saying you saw a lot of people lying down? >> yeah, there were at least 20, 30 people on the floor. that you could see, straight off, were just dead. you could just see that they were just passed away. there were some people with injured. there were a few, like -- there was a guy holding, like, what looked like his wife and she wasn't in a good state. >> and from where you are, kiera, those people, could you tell sort of -- did it look like it had happened sort of in the
stampede or was this near where the explosion may have happened? were you even able to tell as you went by? >> there was blood everywhere. it wasn't in the stampede, because there wasn't that many people out at that minute. it was just as we opened the door to get out of the arena, they were letting people out. >> and there was blood? >> yeah, there was blood. and people's shoes and handbags and bits of food and phones and -- it was just mad. it was just crazy. >> and kiera, the people you were with, are they all safe? >> yeah, we're all safe. it's just a bit shook up. i don't think i'll ever get rid of the images. >> kiera, thank you so very much. i'm sorry. i know this is so hard. i am so glad for you that you
are okay, but i know that that, at this moment, is a mixed blessing, as you think about what you have seen. thank you so much for telling us about it. >> you're welcome. i'm just hoping that everyone's fine, who they were with and everyone -- i just feel so sorry for the fatalities and the families of those affected. >> all right, kiera, thank you again so very much. i want to bring in now retired army major general spider marks. i'm going to bring the rest of the panel in a moment on the other breaking news. but spider, if i could get your reaction to what we're learning here is happening in manchester. you just heard kiera there, who very briefly came on and spoke about what she saw. saying something that adds quite a bit to this very much dropping story. she says she saw 20 or 30 bodies on the floor of people that she believes were dead. she says that there was blood everywhere, all of their
belongi belongings, didn't appear to her, that this had happened in a stampede. but it's unclear at this time what this explosion might have been. when you listen to what she has to say, what is your takeaway over what is happening now in the uk? >> well, clearly, erin, the immediate feed that we're all getting from cnn and other media outlets is clearly a scene of incredible destruction. i think all of the evidence will come out, the forensics will be extremely well done. but you have to assume the very worst with this. you have to assume that there's some degree of inspiration for this type of an event. let's assume, let's discount, though, that will happen through forensics, that this was an accident, this was gas that was released, this was a spontaneous combustion of some sort. let's assume that this was planned, that there were events leading up to this, and, again, law enforcement will uncover all of this and will figure out
where this goes. there has to be a very objective, as there is in circumstances like this, there will be a very objective view of what took place. in the totality of what has happened in great britain over the course of the last month and a half, going back to the incident that occurred right outside parliament, this is a concern that obviously this government wants to get its arms around, which then will lead to where we are with the vote that's coming up for teresa may and her party, what does brexit look like. so, you take the totality of all of this, this is a horrible incident, we'll get to the bottom of it. then you look at the different discourses that will be coming forward in terms of where we e are, in terms of security, in great britain specifically and in europe and then all of this radical terrorism that we see. >> all right, well, obviously, it is the middle of the night in the uk. that does not stop the news here from breaking. we're going to continue to bring witnesses to you. we're going to bring you more of the breaking news, but you just
heard kiera who was there tell us as she was leaving the concert, she saw 20 or 30 bodies on the floor and she said to her they were all clearly dead. there was blood everywhere. calvin wellsford joins me now, he was in the front row of the concert. calvin, thank you for coming on. and doing this. i know it is incredibly difficult. but you are the ones who are inabling us to talk about what happened here. what did you see? >> so, i was front row at the concert. and i heard a big >> i heard an explosion, i didn't know what.
>> i was taken in by one of her security people. i am -- i heard a sound which was like a bomb and everyone was wondering what it was. and it took me and gave me to other security people who took me out of the thing and then i ran. >> we just spoke to someone who was there and said she had seen 20 to 30 bodies on the floor. did you see anything like that? >> i cannot remember. in my head, i was like i need to get as far away as i can. and i can't remember anything after getting out of that arena.
>> all right, calvin, thank you very much, again, thank you for coming on. i know you're in shock as so many others are. we continue our coverage here of the story, dan singer also spent time in iraq advising mitt romney as well. when you see something like this happening in the uk, there is a lot we don't know, these are eyewitness accounts th. we just don't know at this point, but what we're hearing is horrific. >> a human controversy, what we're seeing images of. it's hard to analyze these things, we hope it was not a terrorism attack. we hope something exploded and god forbid. but it tells you a lot about the climate we're in today. that this happens in europe.
10 to 15 years ago, our minds wouldn't have automatically gone to a terrorist attack. these terrorist attacks have been going on around the region and this constant focus in political environments, over the last several years, on the two plus million refugees that have come into europe via germany and now many of them have infiltrated europe. and established or inserted themselves into communities that create infrastructure for terror. whether that is it or not, that is where people's minds go. teresa may has got an election coming up this week, he was the home secretary under the prime minister. she was regarded in the uk as having strong homeland security credentials. these various political leaders and the responsibility laid on them is a factor. >> these are the first images i'm going to show you right now
coming in, these are still photos of some of the injured as you can see. and let me ask you from what we're hearing from our witness, when she says 20 or 30 people, again, she says they were all clearly dead from what she could see, we have vul absolutely no of the number of fatalities, although she says there was fatalities. when you hear about the number of fatalities, do you think this could have happened from the stampede? >> initially, what you're getting out of the two eyewitnesses that you were able to bring on. it leads to an immediate thought that this was a single incident that occurred. there was an explosion of some sort. we don't know what that is. but that explosion caused some immediate panic and immediate deaths, a bunch of chaos in the immediate area, and then you're now overwhelmed by hue manity
trying to get out. it's too early to tell whether it was an act of terrorism, but it was some explosion that occurred, we'll figure out what that looked like, but i don't think this occurred in multiple locations, i don't think it was synchronized with multiple attacks. >> it's all eyewitness at this point, we don't yet know, but multiple explosions but our eyewitnesses have each spoken, a lot of people who were there tonight, kids, teenagers, an particularly teenagers girls who were here for this concert. >> that makes it especially horrific, the fact that we find out that so many teenagers and families that were caught up in this that makes it so horrific. manchester is a music mecca in england, it is a city with a
great music culture. as we get more information, the first thing is the prayers we must all give out to the families and the teenagers and the children who may have been affected and caught up in this horrific event tonight. >> whatever the cause may have been, now the first assumption is that something like this happened. and that's part of the reason people would have reacted the way they did. somebody that was on the show said, there's a lot of big bangs a at something like this, i may not have thought anything of it. but because of terrorism, this is what you think of. >> when the driver drove into times square, what does everybody go to? a terror attack, because we're seeing these drivers running into crowds of people, so you don't need a sophisticated bomb making capability anymore. it could be something simple like driving into times square.
who knows if this was actually a terror attack and what sparked this. but this is sort of where we in the west go immediately when there's an incident like this. and these are extremely turbulent times. >> you hope for the best and prepare for the worst. >> how quickly are we going to know what happened here? it's not even one hour since we first heard of this, just about one hour, it doesn't matter what time it is in the uk, they're working every second that they can. how quickly do you think we'll know what this was, will it was terror or just some poor accident that caused stampedes. >> in six hours, i think we'll know more, the priorities of work right now will be to care for the wounded, keep those alive, isolate the dead. isolated the area so you can make this forensic, make this as antiseptic as you can.
you have people who have rehearsed this multiple times, infortunately. doing their tasks that you will have a sense of what's going on in a couple of hours. >> and you have to decide what other public venues are potential targets and are vulnerable. if this is a sophisticated coordinated attack where you can hit multiple locations, you can hit bus stations and train stations. any place where a lot of people gather. >> it was evening there, it was afternoon here, it did take a little while, probably just about the time we have had now, maybe a little bit less, if i recall. but it was very quickly that they knew that something horrible had happened. obviously the details took quite some time over the next few days to come out.
but they knew it was terror. >> and in that case, we had interconnected incidents as dan is expressing. one of the telltale signs are if there are multiple detonations across the area. >> and that is very important at this hour, there could be more we don't know, but from what we're hearing from people who were there, is that there was one very large explosion, but the operative word at least from what these area witnesses are saying is just one. >> and what john just indicated is that we have in this particular case, an adaptive threat. in france you had multiple explosions and multiple shots rang out. but here you have someone -- we must assume that this is an act
of terrorism and we'll take it from there because of the amount of resources available that go after something like this. we can back off if we find out it's an accident. but i doubt that. >> we have another eyewitness here telling our show that he was there and heard five or six bangs. so as i said, very much piecing this together, it is very uncertain at this hour, what it could have been, but this one's saying five or six bangs, let's hand it off now with continuing coverage with "a.c. 360." and a good evening to you, we are in two places at once, washington, d.c. and great britain. there are reports of injuries and fatalities at an ariana grande concert. questiwe begin with manches taking care to not get ahead of th