tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN May 30, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
we're following breaking news out of orlando, florida. you are looking at live pictures from the main airport. police responding to reports of an armed man at the rental car area. so far no reports of anyone hurt or shots fired. the police activity has been heavy at times. we're of course bringing you more as we get it. we're just getting this information in now. there is breaking news as well tonight in the white house russia probe. a central figure is about to turn over documents. sean spicer gives his first news conference back home and makes news on many fronts. and we've got new reporting on intelligence intercepts that if the people on them are telling the truth could shed new light on what moscow believed they had on the man that would become president. first cnn's sarah murray at the white house. >> reporter: as the trump administration struggles to find
its footing amid a cloud of controversy, a senior official is stepping aside. communications director mike dubke submitted his resignation may 18th, though it's unclear when he'll serve his last day in the white house. his upcoming departure comes as speculation about a broader staff shakeup reaches a fever pitch. >> thanks for having me back. >> reporter: former trump campaign hands like david bosse are playing coy about whether they may soon be headed to the west wing. >> i'm not going to say that there's a -- something sitting on the table for me to pick. it's an ongoing conversation. >> reporter: as jared kushner the president's son-in-law faced scrutiny in the fbi's russia probe, sources tell cnn he isn't going anywhere and that for now sean spicer's job is also safe. the press secretary reemerged in front of the camera for the daily briefing today. his first since mid may. and insisted the president's priorities are on track. >> the president's legislative agenda is in full swing. >> reporter: but in a chaotic
west wing, crisis management is putting the brakes on the agenda. trump venting on twitter tuesday said, "the u.s. senate should switch to 51 votes immediately and get health care and tax cuts approved fast and easy. dems would do it, no doubt." but both of those issues are slated to move through a process that only requires 51 votes. the biggest problem has been getting republicans on the same page. meanwhile, the president isn't making key decisions that lie within his control. he hasn't named a new fbi director, though he is interviewing two candidates today. he hasn't made a decision about whether to send additional troops to afghanistan. and he hasn't announced whether the u.s. will remain in the paris climate accord. fresh on the heels of a trip to nato and the g7 where trump privately criticized german officials, trump took his scolding public tuesday, tweeting "we have a massive trade deficit with germany, plus they pay far less than they should on nato and military. very bad for u.s. this will change."
>> sarah murray joins us now from the white house. the breaking news tonight about michael flynn. what else do we know? >> reporter: we know that obviously michael flynn, who is the ousted national security director, has been sort of a central figure in this probe into the russia investigation. now we're being told from a source close to michael flynn that he is going to hand over a batch of documents, some of these related to his businesses, some personal documents, to the senate intelligence committee all to help them move along in the russia investigation. the first batch of these documents will be due june 6. this is in response to subpoenas. from the committee. so it seems pretty clear, anderson, from some of the developments happening here today that this investigation is expanding, it is speeding up, and flynn is just one of the figures who is close to president trump who is being tapped in this russia investigation. >> all right. sara murray, thanks very much. more now on the story cnn's jim sciutto broke along with dana
bash and pamela brown on what russians may have believed they had on the president and people close to him. it's a potentially explosive story. it comes with reasons to be cautious about what we're reporting and what we are not reporting. with that in mind, jim sciutto joins us. what have you learned, jim? >> anderson, let's be clear. two former intelligence officials and a congressional source tell cnn that russian government officials discussed having potentially "derogatory information" about then presidential candidate donald trump as well as some of his top aides. this in conversations intercepted by u.s. intelligence during the 2016 election. one source described the information as financial in nature and said the discussions centered around whether the russians had leverage within trump's inner circle. the source says the intercepted communications suggested to u.s. intelligence that russians believed, quote, "they had the ability to influence the administration through this derogatory information." now, the sources do caution that the russian claims to each other could have been exaggerated. they could even have been made up. but they are listening to them and this is part of the bigger picture they're investigating
now. >> do we know which trump aides the rulgss russians discussed? >> beyond president trump, none of the sources would say which specific trump aides were discussed. one of the officials said the intelligence report masked the american names, as these reports would do when you have u.s. individuals caught up in collection like this. but it was clear these officials told us that the conversations revolved around the trump campaign team. another source would not give more specifics, rather citing the classified nature of the information involved. >> what's the white house saying about this? >> the white house gave us a comment tonight. they are reacting very strongly. here it is quoting, "this is yet another round of false and unverified claims made by anonymous sources to smear the president." the reality is a review of the president's income from the last ten years showed he had virtually no financial ties at all. there appears to be no limit to which the president's political opponents will go to perpetuate this false narrative. the statement went on, "including illegally leaking
classified material." and it ended "all this does is play into the hands of our adversaries and put the country at risk." we also reached out to the office of the director of national intelligence and the fbi. they did not comment. one final note, i should note that by the time trump took office, questions about some of his aides' financial dealings with russian entities were already under investigation. >> jim sciutto, appreciate that. sara murray touched on michael flynn, agreeing to turn over documents to the senate intelligence committee. lawmakers also want information from two other campaign associates. boris epshteyn and michael cohen. cohen today declined the request. there's a late new development. gloria borger got off the phone with him. she joins us now. what did he say? >> michael cohen said first of all he has not been subpoenaed to testify, as had been reported by another news organization. so he made that very clear. he said, "if i am subpoenaed to testify, i will comply and gladly," he said, "as i have nothing to hide. there is no shred of evidence that implicates me."
so he's very strong here. and he says the reason he didn't want to comply with the committee's request earlier, as he told me, it was poorly phrased, overly broad and not really capable of being answered. you have had flynn, for example, who said the request was too broad. and and boris epshteyn has been saying the same thing. so what they are trying to do is get these requests narrowed down. >> you talked about boris epshteyn. he worked in both the campaign and the white house. he's also been contacted by congressional investigators for information. >> right. it's a voluntary request, as was michael cohen. his attorney said it was broad also and it was a broad preliminary request. and they said not that they wouldn't comply but they said they'd reach out to the committee and would have some follow-up questions and are awaiting to hear the smons. response.
obviously, these things have gone out, anderson. some say michael cohen said it was a fishing expedition. i think that's the way it's being received. but if these requests can be narrowed, then perhaps you can avoid a subpoena. >> just to reiterate, michael cohen, after talking to you tonight, the latest is that he says he would cooperate as long as it's more specific? >> well, and he -- also, the important thing is he says he hasn't been subpoenaed. but if he is subpoenaed, that he would comply because he has nothing to hide. >> gloria, thanks very much. i want to update you on the information we're getting out of orlando. police are saying there's no active shooter, no shots fired. suspect is contained. that's the latest there. coming up next, conflicting stories about why jared kushner was meeting during the transition with a russian banker or met with a russian banker with a shadowy past. we'll try to focus on the facts of course, what we know, what we don't know. and later what's really going on between the president and german chancellor angela merkel. from berlin. it sounds like a key alliance is under pressure. from washington they say it's
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shortly after jared kushner met with russian ambassador sergey kislyak, reportedly about setting up some secret direct line for some reason to moscow he met with another shadowy figure. his name is sergey gorkov, a bachker, putin confidant, graduate of a russian spy school. he said it was about meeting, the bank's meeting and that of jared kushner and other entrepreneurs.
yesterdays and for a second time the white house said kushner was acting in his capacity as a transition official. there's a third possibility related to the meeting earlier in december on the so-called back channel. randi kaye tonight has more. >> reporter: this is the man jared kushner met with in december 2016, just a month after kushner's father-in-law donald trump was elected president. his name is sergey gorkov. he's a russian banker. the chairman of veb bank. he also has tied to russian president vladimir putin, who appointed him to head the bank. what exactly was discussed between kushner and the banker last year remains a mystery. though keep in mind, as an ally of putin, gorkov reportedly may have been using the meeting to help establish a direct line to the russian president outside the usual diplomatic channels. >> i don't think it's standard procedure prior to the inauguration of a president of the united states by someone who is not in an appointed position. >> reporter: jared kushner has offered to answer the senate
intelligence committee's questions about not only this meeting but another meeting he had with russian ambassador sergey kislyak that same month. it was kislyak who had suggested kushner meet with the russian banker. the fact that kushner didn't mention either of these meetings on his white house security clearance forms may also be a topic of inquiry. though he did rectify that quickly. there's also the concern that the russian bank has been under u.s. sanctions for the last three years. also, when kushner met with gorkov he was still ceo of kushner companies and critzics question whether he was looking for financing for a pricey manhattan real estate project. the white house has said there was no discussion at the meeting about kushner's company or about sanctions. the meeting itself didn't violate u.s. sanctions. but investigators will want to know what was said. >> my dashboard warning light was clearly on and i think that
was the case with all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the russians. >> reporter: seems that jared kushner, who rarely speaks beyond a whisper in the president's ear, may soon be called on to do a whole lot of talking. randi kaye, cnn, new york. more now on what this adds up to so far and how to make sense of the flood of information that always seems to grow. for that we're glad to turn to former nsa and retired cia director general michael hayden. this meeting between jared kushner and gorkov, why would someone like kushner need a direct line to putin if in fact that's what he was looking for or the president was looking for? and why would he be talking to a banker with the kind of background that gorkov has? >> well, the published story, anderson, is that sergey kislyak recommended that he talk to gorkov which might have been kislyak's way of doing what the
trump team wanted, which was to establish this back channel to president putin. now, to answer your question, why would they want to do that while we were in a transition? why would they want to do that while the then president obama was actually coming up on a very serious decision with regard to sanctions against this same vladimir putin and the russian federation? i just can't explain that. that's why this is a controversial thing. back channels is back channels. fine. i've actually been a back channel for president bush. but doing it this way with this actor while you weren't in government, that's why all the questions. >> sean spicer was asked about this today. he said in general terms, back channels are an appropriate part of diplomacy. to be clear, you talked about you had been a back channel. is that how this was being used? >> well, i would not define this as a back channel. a back channel is something that governments do for below the radar conversation so that you can get some things accomplished that might be more difficult to
accomplish should the channel be exposed, be made public. anderson, i flew into islamabad with mike mcconnell, the director of national intelligence, after benazir bhutto was killed to conifer with president musharraf. we went in there secretly. we met secretly. we left secretly. president bush wanted us to share a certain message with president musharraf. i mean, this is what governments do. that's fine. and you've got good people in the administration, secretary kelly, secretary mattis, h.r. mcmaster, defending the principle of back channels. i agree. but i don't think that's exactly what this was. >> does this just seem amateur to you? >> one of the background realities in which this took place was an administration that was refusing assistance from the professionals inside the united states government because they were so suspicious of them. and frankly had a bit of contempt with the administration they were replacing. they refused state department
help to actually set up the calls with foreign leaders, to suggest what these foreign leaders might want to bring up with the president-elect, not controlling the president-elect, trying to help him. the administration in waiting pushed the assistance away. >> cnn is reporting that russians believe "they had the ability to influence the administration through derogatory information, that the information might have been financial in nature." there's certainly the possibility that the russians were exaggerating this, that they were -- whatever the -- however the sources discovered this, that it was just russians making themselves more important than they really were or just lying to each other. if it's true, how critical would it be to the investigation finding out what exactly that information is? >> well, i mean, if it's true, the investigation would really need to know that, because it depends exactly on the investigation, too. you've got the fbi investigation, which is about criminality. but you have also got what's
going on on the hill from the two intelligence communities -- two intelligence committees. that effort's designed to get the story. what's going on? what did the russians do? why did they do it? what expectations did they have? in both cases, you would want to know. but anderson, let me make a comment on that report which actually began, according to an intercepted communication between two russians. as a former director of nsa, that's already bad, having that out there in the public domain. that is actually harmful. therefore, i do agree with the administration that an awful lot of the information out there is hurtful of american intelligence. one more point, anderson, with regard to sigint, signals intelligence, which is what this is alleged to be. those of us in the business know that you live by sigint, die by sigint. it gives you great intelligence. but often or sometimes at least you have got people trying to mislead. sometimes you just intercept a conversation between two people
who really don't know what they're talking about. you need to be careful with intercepted communications before you draw firm absolute conclusion. >> general michael hayden, always good to talk to you. thank you. >> thank you. coming up, the white house says president trump would describe his relationship with angela merkel as "fairly unbelievable." there have been statements and tweets that some of the president's critics find kind of unbelievable. that's next. toms. i thought i was doing okay... then it hit me... ...managing was all i was doing. when i told my doctor,... ...i learned humira is for people who still have symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease... ...even after trying other medications. in clinical studies,... the majority of people on humira... saw significant symptom relief... ...and many achieved remission. humira can lower your ability... ...to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened;...
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introducing america's largest, most reliable 4g lte combined with the most wifi hotspots. it's a new kind of network. xfinity mobile. president trump is back in the united states but continues to criticize allies. whose feathers he ruffled during his first foreign trip. at a rally in munich germany over the weekend chancellor angela merkel did not mention president trump directly but did say that germany can't count on the united states and has to take its fate into its own hands. this morning the president took to early morning twitter to write, "we have a mass trade deficit with germany plaus they pay far less than they should on nato and military. very bad for u.s. this will change." today sean spicer was asked about the state of the u.s.-german relationship. here's what he said. >> i think the relationship that the president has had with merkel he would describe as fairly unbelievable.
they get along very well. he has a lot of respect for her. they continue to grow the bond that they had during their talks in the g7. >> fairly unbelievable. also at that briefing today spicer said the president's trip was incredible, historic and unprecedented and quoted a number of people who praised him. >> prime minister netanyahu said, "for the first time in my life i see real hope for change." and a correspondent in one of the leading israel publications wrote, "in the short space of three days trump carried out a semi-revolution." >> was the trip a three-day semi-revolution, an ally-alienating show of bad manners or a little bit of both? michelle kosinski has more. >> reporter: overseas for the first time as president, donald trump seemed to want to stand not just out but apart. shoving to the front. the fierce handshakes. the stunning reprimand of nato allies at what was supposed to be a big moment of surmt.
support. >> 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying. >> reporter: in italy, he was the only g7 leader not to endorse the paris climate agreement. while they all walked in a group to take a photo, trump chose instead to ride alone in a golf cart. as trump continues to criticize germany's trade practices, its foreign minister didn't hold back, saying flat out that trump's policies put europe at risk, calling it short-sighted, a new american isolationism. >> this is a crisis of sorts in the trans-atlantic relationship. these are our best friends in the world. there's a major difference of opinion on trade. there's a major difference of opinion on how to handle russia. we've never had an american president who was so weak, frankly, and dismissive of the big institutions that have binded us to europe over the last 70 years, nato or the eu. >> reporter: it was the new
french president emmanuel macron who called on putin to his face for spreading fake news, trying to influence his election. in asia, with the u.s. scrapping the huge trading block that would have been the trans-pacific partnership as well as slashing the state department budget and foreign aid, china has been work on big deals and is trying to expand its soft power and influence around the world. russia is also looking for inroads. if the u.s. does step away from its push against climate change, that again leaves room for others to lead. >> i think this could do more to diminish american credibility and influence and leadership in the world than any other issue, because outside the united states, this is a number one first order issue. >> reporter: as it stands, there is concern among allies over what the u.s. will stand for. will it be as strong a voice for human rights and democracy itself? europe now stating openly the dynamic of leadership and partnership is changing. michelle kosinski, cnn, the state department. joining me are fareed
zakariah host of "fareed zakaria gps," and richardhaus, president of the council on foreign relations and author of "a world in disarray: american disarray and the crisis of the world order." fareed, what has president trump achieved by saying the things he said about angela merkel just in the last couple of days? >> a lot of the behavior toward nato strikes me as not strategic. trump has nursed these grievances element since the 1980s. if you look at trump's writings, the few things he talked about when he talked about politics, there were two things. one, he thought that the -- he wanted to be protectionist. the japanese were ripping us off. later the chinese. but the second was our nato allies had been ripping us off, not paying their fair share. so this feels as though it's a long-held greechb that lon long-held grievance that he just can't stop himself from constantly expressing. even though it serves no real purpose. it doesn't help the united states. it doesn't help our strategy.
it makes the west look divided. it invites people like putin to try to further divide it. i don't think he is thinking it through. i think this is emotional reflex more than foreign policy. >> ambassador haass, you actually tweeted about this this morning saying the president's anti-german rhetoric is short sighted politically and wrong economically. >> short-sighted politically, anderson, because it drives a wedge between the united states and europe where it encourages germany and the europeans to go off on their own. and that may not be all that much of a problem so long as you have people like angela merkel running germany. but the day will come when we have somebody -- we'll have somebody very different. and either now or then it also provides all sorts of opportunities for russian mischief making. i just don't understand what's behind it. economically, the president seems all but obsessed over trade imbalances. and somehow assumes a trade deficit is a sign of american weakness or that others are taking advantage of us.
it's the sort of argument that just isn't in any way justified by even rudimentary economics. >> fareed, it's interesting. the white house, sean spicer, said the president's relationship with angela merkel he described as fairly unbelievable. i'm not sure he meant it in the sense a lot of people are taking it. it is kind of unbelievable. had he been trying to further russia's cause, there's not much more he could have done on this trip. >> oh, absolutely. look, in general you almost say to yourself, what is the script that vladimir putin would want to write? it would be the president of the united states would go to nato, refuse to affirm article 5, the one for all, all for one declaration of security, have bad relations -- push the montenegran prime minister out of his way, have bad relations with the germans who are now at the center of europe. you couldn't have scripted something to look worse for nato, worse for the west. what's most interesting about it
is you are beginning to see other countries, particularly germany and france, start to say we are going to affirm the liberal international order, we are going to strengthen the west. it's almost as though the position of leader of the western world has fallen vacant and president macron of france is stepping in to fill that role. >> can't you make the argument that that's what then candidate donald trump ran on, that america first, he doesn't want to be the world's policeman, he doesn't see the same role for the united states globally that past presidents have. >> the problem with transferring leadership to places like france and germany is even if they doubled what they spent on defense, they don't have the capacity or domestic politics to play a leadership role around the world. again, i just don't see the strategic purpose. also, what we spend on defense is not something that somehow is only a negative, is only a cost.
it totally redounds to our benefit in terms of the security and stability that we tend to develop around the world. so i think fareed a few minutes ago called it a grievance. in some ways it's even more fundamental than that. it's a mindset. it's a worldview in which trade and in which foreign policy effort is only seen as a negative rather than being seen as a positive. >> so fareed, where does this go? in terms of relations with france, with germany. >> with donald trump, let's be honest, you never know what the next week will bring. a total reversal of this week. but if this persists it's a very serious shift. because what it really represents is that the united states that has built, sustained and nurtured this liberal international order, the western world as we think of, it he's sort of decided to back off, has decided to absent itself. so what you are going to see is countries like germany and chancellor merkel was very clear, we're going to step up.
the french president macron has talked about how he's really confronting russia on for example the cyberattacks in a way that the united states president refuses to do. >> fareed zakaria, ambassador haass, thank you. >> thank you. just ahead, we have confirmed president trump's personal attorney michael cohen saying he will testify before congress if he is subpoenaed. his path to the russia probe and his loyalty to donald trump, in a moment. ♪ if you have moderate to severe ulcerative colitis or crohn's, and your symptoms have left you with the same view,
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as we said, congressional investigators have asked president trump's personal attorney michael cohen to turn over documents related to potential contacts with russia. they've also asked him to testify before congress. as gloria borger reported, he said he will testify if he is subpoenaed, even though he says there's no evidence against him. you may remember mr. cohen is a fierce defender of president trump. during the campaign he was a frequent television surrogate known for his aggressive style, which was evident again today. tom foreman tonight has more. >> reporter: a total fishing expedition, that's how the president's attorney michael cohen described a congressional request for him to testify in the russian probe. rejecting it outright. it was just as quickly renewed with force. >> in all likelihood, there will be subpoenas issued which he
will then be compelled to respond to. >> reporter: no confirmation from the committee on that. but even in the hot seat, cohen's response has typically come on his own fierce terms. listen to him insisting, for example, trump never disparaged mexican immigrants. >> it was wrong. you haven't admitted that yet. >> and i will not. >> reporter: for years he has served as one of donald trump's personal attorneys. he's publicly fought accusations against trump university and claims of sexual impropriety against trump. he's also been a relentless defender hi eer of his client's political positions. >> when mr. trump talks about it being a rigged system, there's really two parts. the first is the media and the second is the voter fraud. >> reporter: in 1999, trump was in favor of abortion rights. >> i'm very pro choice. >> reporter: when he later flip-flopped ahead of the 2012 race, cohen told "the national journal," people change their
positions all the time, the way they change their wives. when asked about polls months before the 2016 vote, which widely showed hillary clinton ahead, cohen's combative side came out fast. >> but you guys are down. and it may -- >> says who? >> polls. >> says who? >> most of them. all of them. >> says who? >> polls. i just told you. i answered your question. >> okay. which polls? >> all of them. >> okay. and your question is? >> reporter: cohen says the congressional investigations into any possible links between the trump team and the russians are utter ly without evidence. while he is not rushing to explain anything to congress, he is calling the congressional probes a rush to judgment. anderson? >> lots to discuss with the panel. maggie haberman joins us again, jeffrey lord, general psaki, matthew rosenberg and phil mudd. michael cohen has said he wouldn't comply. he said now he will comply if there is a subpoena.
but he says basically that there is no there there. >> that's my sense of it. i got a message from him earlier saying he has not been subpoenaed but if he is he will gladly comply, "as i have nothing to hide." michael schoen a very familiar face to most of us who cover the trump campaign. he's been an aggressive defender of the president for a very long time going back to -- my dealings with him go back a long time but including 2011 when trump was first thinking of running for president in recent history. he has been pretty aggressive against this probe. he's been pretty aggressive that there is no there there. i don't know expect him to go sort of quietly into that good night. and we will see. it's an interesting contrast in terms of how he is handling this. because it is very different than, say, what michael flynn is doing, which is that he was subpoenaed and resisted it for quite some time and i think now has said he will comply with some documents. it is funny as we were watching that viral moment with brianna keilar the says who moment which a lot of people know i'm laughing all over again watching it because it was a funny moment
but he wasn't wrong at the end of the day. >> exactly. >> i just think it's -- i don't know where this ends um going. >> polls did indicate that but the polls were wrong. >> the polls were wrong. >> there's a difference between michael flynn and michael cohen. michael flynn was involved seriously in the campaign, was the national security adviser, designator, actual -- michael cohen has been nothing throughout other than a television spokesman on occasion. but the president's lawyer in his business. >> that's not true. he did some stuff on the campaign. >> but what i'm saying is the extent of his involvement here, he's not going to go out there and say i didn't do anything if in fact he did something. that's i guess -- if he had something to report. >> matthew, how do you see this? >> i mean, i think we're in that he situation where there's this whole constellation of people. and cohen may be right, this may be a bit of a fishing expedition.
but i think both the committees and i imagine the federal investigators too are at that point where they need to start clearing things off and seeing like okay, are these people we need to continue looking at or are these people we don't and to know that we need to subpoena them, we need to interview them, and i imagine we'll be seeing a lot more of this in the days and weeks to come. >> jen, to the argument it is a fishing expedition, michael cohen is saying look, the requests are so broad it was almost impossible to comply with. >> well, it's not surprised coming from somebody who's an experienced lawyer to say that and one who has a reputation as being a bulldog in defense of trump. i think a lot of the questions surrounding all of these ties have been about the financial connections or that's always been in the background. he is someone who also presented the ukraine-russia plan that was taken from the ukrainian thugs to trump. he's somebody who's had a lot of investments in ukraine and has had tied to russia through business. we won't know the answer until he participates, the committee looks at the information and they review it and make a
decision. but they've said they're going to be expansive. they're going to get to the bottom of the truth. and clearly, this is part of that. >> phil, does it seem like a fishing expedition to you? >> it does. i wouldn't comply if i were him. i've attacked president trump from day one. i would do exactly the same thing as his lawyer said. let's look at two issues. number one, from day one if you look at the congressional committees, they have been partisan. with some exceptions. so you're walking into an environment where if you provide information you're going to be attacked by democrats for siding with the president who from the democrats' perspective has sold out america. meanwhile, we have a parallel investigation from the fbi that could have criminal implications. why would you comply with this if you are walking into a shark tank? where you're going to be attacked. i would do the same thing he has done. >> jen, to that point, why should he comply? >> well, it's not partisan when it's burr and warner. it's the democrats and republicans requesting information from a committee. i think he's going to make the decision about whether he's going to comply or not. but if he has nothing to hide
and they subpoena him, which they've shown they may do and they did with flynn, then it raises a question as to whether he is just looking sketchy in general. so he'll have to make that decision if the committee decides they're going to use that lever. >> jeff, just because there's -- the committee is run by a democrat and republican, doesn't mean it's not partisan. >> right. you've got insiders there. the question i have, anderson, when the dog chases the car and catches the car, then what? as they go through these witnesses and they get somebody like michael flynn who says i didn't do anything and they find out he didn't do anything, then what are they going to? i mean, they're going to keep working their way successively through people that they will not have in watergate style sitting there with a smoking gun and said yeah -- >> i'm thinking about michael cohen -- >> yeah, i'm talking about michael cohen. >> right. >> when they get him there and they find nothing, then what? >> maggie, does it hurt the credibility of the committee if it is a fishing expedition? >> i think it's too soon to say.
i think to matthew's point you're going to see a lot of this. look, they have said they're going to be pretty broad in scope. this would not be the first committee we've ever seen that is going to do a wide net. a wide net you can flip the meaning and say it is a fishing expedition. i think it's not a surprise that michael cohen is being asked to come in but i do think, again, i have to go back to this. my ears perked up when jeffrey said flynn, when he meant cohen because with flynn there is a lot more to review and his behavior has obviously been a lot different and he is i think the one person who investigators just based on this early stage believe could provide them with some information. >> we will have more to talk about with the panel, including the departure of one key aide at the white house and growing pressure for a larger shakeup. is that what's needed? will that fix the problems? we'll talk to the panel about that ahead. you might not ever just stand there, looking at it. you may never even sit in the back seat. yeah, but maybe you should.
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as we've said the white house is facing a flood of breaking news on the russia probe on several fronts. this came as word broke that the white house communications director michael dubke has resigned. back with the panel. you spoke with a lot of sources in the white house and elsewhere. is there a sense that the president needs to have a shakeup inside the white house? do they think it's working well? >> it's hard to tell on any given day. i think you know you saw the press conference today with sean spicer.
that did not go well. especially on the russia stuff, on the russia front, there's just this avalanche of revelations. and it's more of a fire hose than a drip, drip. you can't come home from europe to this kind of news and think things are going well. maggie knows these guys incredibly well. i think we are all finding they are having difficulty managing this and difficulty kind of absorbing these developments that seem to happen every other day now. >> maggie, like some people we've had on the show just in the last hour said this is the personality of the president. this is how he ran his company. it's obviously a very different thing when you are the most powerful person on the planet. do you think a shakeup -- what do you hear? >> i mean, i think there are a couple of things. i think there are people who are there who really try incredibly hard and are in a very tough spot and are there because they do believe in the president and they want to work for him. i think that someone like hope
hicks who was with him in the campaign has essentially killed herself throughout the campaign and did a very good job for him in a very -- and i think there are people -- i think other people are there for a similar reason who do care about the country. i think there are some people there in the white house would thought being in the white house would be a contrary enhancer. they are discovering on any give day if you go out and say -- i think we can all agree that sean spicer's briefing today was less than optimal if his goal was to seem calm. >> by the way they have said he is not going to have another one tomorrow. >> if you are a person in the position of having to speak for this president, you go out there knowing within hours he is going to tweet something that's going to completely undercut you. that's like dancing on the head of a pin. sure, you can do shakeups. but number one, there aren't a whole lot of people running toward that building right now as a career opportunity because
they see what has happened to the people who have done it and what has happened to their credibility. that's a really, really difficult thing, number one. and number two, you can change all the chairs you want, but as you said, this is the president's personality and approach. >> jeff, i talked to so many former white house chiefs of staff when this administration first started, republicans and democrats. all of them said the same thing, you have to have people clearly in their lanes. you can't have all these different power centers. ears to the president at different times. white house chief of staff -- that would clearly seem to help matters, i would assume, if that's something this president would tolerate. >> i think that's true but one ingredient that always has to be adapted to. that's the president. he builds the staff out from his own personality and his own way of doing things. >> for better or worse. >> better or worse, right and they are all different. what president trump is discovering is he needs to get the staff to his liking so it responds the way he wants it to respond, which is basic impulse
they all have. i remember that pat buchanan was brought in for this very job after he had long since been in the nixon white house and -- >> he ran the white house, didn't he? >> he was the communications director. he did a fabulous job but his predecessor was having problems. they brought pat in. he knew exactly what to do. he knew reagan well. they got along. the fix worked. i think really what you are seeing here is president trump is trying to get this in his own fashion to work the way he wants it, and he probably won't stop tinkering with it until that's done. >> jen, you worked in the obama white house. do staff changes matter? >> they can matter. and they can be moments of reset and moments of opportunity. our first communications director on the obama administration was only there for three months. and a change was made. so that's not uncommon. but that alone doesn't solve every problem. you need to bring somebody in to
a job like that or chief of staff or any of those jobs that have a close relationship with the president -- somebody who the president trusts and will rely on but somebody who the president will give license and will give confidence to be able to do their job. it needs to go both ways. so bringing someone new in will only make it work if he changes the way -- some of the ways that he is doing business, as maggie and some of the others on the panel touched on. >> i think jen touched on something really important, which is trust. the thing that i have heard over and over from people inside and outside the white house who speak with the president is he generally is not a very trusting person. he wasn't before he became president. the leaks that have come out -- i don't love the term leak because sometimes it is people getting things with shoe leather and so forth. oftentimes it is. but the information that has been outside of his control, he always had people sign nondisclosure agreements. he always had some sense of control over the organization he ran. he doesn't have that here. he has all the republican
national committee former staffers, many of whom are talented, but he has continued to complain about. i think this has not instilled in him a sense of comfort frankly, and i don't know how he gets that. >> phil, if the staff can't go to their boss and tell him he is off track, is that an important attribute in the white house staff? >> let's throw a penalty flag here. that is. there is a couple of really basic issues here. number one, how many avenues of messaging do you have? you have the family. the alt-right folks, steve bannon, the bureaucrats, secretary of the state, secretary of defense. too many people with too many differences of opinion who have avenues to the president. number two, let's have a reality check. the spokesman for the president of the united states has a right to spin for the president. you cannot walk away from europe where the european premier, that is angela merkel for two days running says the western alliance is at risk. we have got to look at other options and have the spokesman say everything is great. you have got too many messages
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rental car area. negotiators are now talking to him. time to turn things over to don lemon and "cnn tonight." home alone. an angry and isolated president hunkers down as the russia investigation centers around him. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. this is just about the last thing donald trump wants to hear. russian government officials intercepted talking about potentially derogatory information described as financial during the trump campaign. that's according to sources who say that the russians believe they could influence the administration. the fbi looking at jared kushner's meeting with a russian banker. one with close ties to vladimir putin himself. and for those keeping score at home, michael flynn will turn over some documents to senate investigators by next week. cohen, one of trump's personal attorneys, says if he's subpoenaed to testify, he'll comply. and former w