tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN July 11, 2017 7:00am-8:00am PDT
good morning, everyone. i'll john berman. >> i'm poppy harlow. no denial from the white house on an explosive new york times report that donald trump jr. knew before he met with a russian lawyer during the campaign there was a, quote, russian government effort behind that meeting. that effort from the russian government was to help his father's campaign with dirt on hillary clinton. how did donald jr. know that? because of an e-mail from this man, a publicist. >> earlier this morning, the russian lawyer who was in that meeting spoke to nbc news. >> translator: it's quite possible maybe they were looking for such information. they wanted it so badly.
>> the lawyer for donald trump jr. says this is much ado about nothing. several key officials will speak to them in the coming days. i want to begin with jason carroll at the white house. no denial this e-mail exists. >> reporter: no denial and no sign the stories are going away. senator john mccain, john, weighing in on this this morning calling the report very serious, saying it's just another shoe that's dropping in the controversy. this white house, this administration, very frustrated that once again, there's another russia story dominating the news. the administration, for its part saying there's no there there with this story, no evidence of collusion, they say. the deputy press secretary saying yesterday, basically the only thing that was inappropriate about that meeting last june, june of 2016, was the fact that someone leaked
information about it. let's talk more about that meeting, once again, happened last june at trump tower with trump jr. also in attendance, paul manafort, the president's son-in-law, jared kushner and that lawyer also in attendance. according to the times, trump jr. received an e-mail before that meeting indicating that that meeting was going to reveal some sort of evidence, derogatory evidence about hillary clinton coming from the russian government. trump jr., for his part, hiring an attorney. that attorney releasing a statement saying, in part, in my view, this is much to do about nothing. you heard that before. the meeting lasted 20-30 minutes. his father knew nothing about it. the bottom line is don jr. did nothing wrong. don jr., much like his father, taking to twitter and coming out in his own defense tweeting, the
media and dem dems are invested in the story, if this is all they have after a year, i understand the desperation. we should point out that to date, john and poppy, at least seven former and current trump associates coming under question for not being initially forthcoming about their contacts with russians. we are hearing now the senate intel committee is going to be hearing from some of these folks. could be as early as this week. the one person we have not heard from on this subject, so far, is the president himself. you know, he's weighed in on so many issues before in the past. this time, so far, at least, the president has remained silent. john? poppy? >> jason carroll for us at the white house. keep listening to see if we do hear from the president. this morning, we did hear from the lawyer, the russian lawyer in this meeting with donald trump jr. and key trump campaign officials. listen to how she described it to nbc news. >> what was the purpose of that
meeting? >> translator: i never knew who else would be attending the meeting. all i knew that mr. donald trump jr. was willing to meet with me. i could recognize the young gentleman for probably the first seven to ten minutes, then he stood up and left the room. it was mr. jared kushner. he never came back, by the way. and the other gentleman at the same meeting was always looking at his phone. he was reading something. he never took any active part in the conversation. that was mr. manafort. >> they had the impression, it appears, that they were going to be told some information that you had about the dnc. how did they get that impression? >> translator: it's possible maybe they were looking for such information. they wanted it so badly. >> have you ever worked for the russian government? do you have connections to the
russian government? >> translator: no. >> her answer, no. we should know, this was not just a meeting about adoption. this was a meeting about sanctions and sanctions that infuriate vladimir putin. let's discuss with legal analyst, lynn sweet and our chief correspondent, jim shooto. on the legal front, if, as the new york times is reporting and the white house is not denying donald trump jr. knew this was a russian effort to give him dirt on hillary clinton that would help his father's campaign, is there anything illegal in that? >> poppy, it's going to be the most significant question. there's no doubt the special council's office will look closely at the context of this meeting and the substance of this meeting. there are two criminal statutes that come into play here. first, we are always looking for
evidence, at least the special council will be of any agreement to do anything unlawful between the trump campaign and representatives of the russian government, whether it's hacking of dnc e-mails or activity to in any way influence the presidential election. something else pops up in this meeting. it is illegal for a foreign national to contribute to a presidential campaign, anything of value. it's not just money. it's not just assistance. the question here, the legal question is this information that donald trump jr. wanted to get from this individual valued. is it valuable? it is something that would fall as unlawful if it was contributed bay foreign national. that's something the special council will look closely at. >> we hear from senator joe m manchin. he said this is not acceptable.
no one can accept it as being acceptable. has something shifted on this story as more and more has come out? >> yes. here is what's shifted. the story says it's a family member who had an e-mail that had a russian connection in it. that is different. of course, we need to know the go between that set up the meeting on whose behalf was he acting? we have heard from the russian lawyer, we know more. she knew what she wanted to do, to talk about her issue. so, this is different because this is another, what do we call it? drip, drip, drip. it's connecting the dots. no matter where you go, there's another person involved, another disclosure that had to be amended. another meeting someone is just remembering. then we have somebody that said i may have dirt on hillary
clinton that has some connection with a russian source digging it up. so, there's a lot more to know, which is why these investigations on the hill with bob mueller are necessary. to put together the story. this is an important element. i agree with you, it's a turning point because this takes this into trump tower, into top people into the campaign. >> jim shuto, do you remember this interview with mike pence in january? watch. >> just to button up one question, did any adviser in the campaign have contact with the russians that tried to meddle in the election? >> of course not. i think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these -- these bizarre rumors that swirled around the candidacy. >> bizarre rumors. jim, that's the same interview that ended up with michael flynn
fired. does this, you know, throw away the white house ability to throw shade on every russia story? >> they will never give up the ability to throw shade. the key here, we have had evidence of meetings for months, meetings between people close to trump and russians. we have not known what the substance of those meetings were, what was discussed. what was the impotence of the meeting? this is the first time you have a meeting not just with a carter page or roger stone, someone in the orbit of trump world, but the president's son, himself, in trump tower and a meeting where, explicitly and there is electronic proof of this in e-mail, it was to get damaging information about hillary clinton and it was known in that e-mail, this is part of a russian government effort. this adds enormous substance to,
what to this point, we have had, people will say a lot of smoke is fire. a lot of meetings with questions about what happened and why they happened. now you know one meeting with a very -- you know, someone extremely close to the president, you know why that meeting happened. that is certainly under the umbrella of collusion, whether it is a legal, meets the legal definition or the political definition is certainly under that umbrella. this is important under this investigation. >> we are talking whether or not this shifted the view of the russian investigation on capitol hill. we have heard very recently from two senators, we are chasing them down. if i heard directly, what i heard is the senators are saying kind of. this shifted a level of rhetoric on capitol hill. what have you learned? >> reporter: that's right, some serious concerns, not just from democrats, but republicans. we caught up with the former vice president nominee, tim kaine who said this may have
shifted the view not just to obstruction, possible collusion, but also possible treason. those were his words coming from the former vice president candidate. here is what he said. do you think this is treason? >> the investigation, nothing is proven yet. we are beyond obstruction of justice. this is moving into perjury, false statements and even potentially treason. >> reporter: in addition to that, some republicans not going as far as tim kaine, but some also raising significant concerns, including senator john mccain who raise zd concerns saying this is just another development in this ongoing controversy. here are his remarks. >> many illusions and stories of meetings, communications and
stuff, yeah. there will be many more shoe that is will drop. >> reporter: how serious do you think this shoe is? >> it's another shoe that's dropped that needs to be pursued and looked at. >> reporter: what we are learning, john and poppy, this will be part of the senate intelligence committee's investigation, not just mark warren who wants to talk to don jr. and everybody involved in that meeting, but republicans wanting to call forward don jr., including senator john cornyn, the number two republican who told me yesterday, he, too, wants to hear from don jr. don jr. says he's willing to cooperate. the question is when that will happen. initially, this committee moving on the senate side, moving into a new phase of its investigation, interviewing trump witnesses this week. trump campaign officials. the bigger names come later in the month, possibly into the
fall. also watching the health intelligence, witnesses including michael caputo, trump adviser on friday for that committee. it shows the new direction the investigations are heading. don jr. adding more steam into the investigation. >> saying he will answer questions, you can bet they will ask them whether it's in public or private. thank you very much. back to our panel. legally, you heard what senator tim kaine said. this, you know, could be close to treason. the argument in the white house is nothing came of the meeting. much to do about nothing is the terminology used by the lawyer hired by don jr. does it matter what came of it or intent matter, legally? >> that's a great question. it's all about intent. in a criminal investigation, the first thing a prosecutor will try to determine is did this person make a mistake or intend
to break the law. we have not just a willingness by the trump cam tan to meet with the russians, but almost a hunger for it. they sent their top guys to meet with someone they didn't know who she was. what was interesting to them? the fact they may have information provided to them by the russian government. whatever their story is going to be, we have heard several inconsistent stories about why the meeting took place, they better get the stories straight before they start talking to investigators or congress. just as senator kaine said, they are going to continue to make false statements if they lie to investigators. you can lie to "the new york times" or cnn, but you cannot lie to a federal investigator. >> we don't prefer any of those. >> thank you all so much for being with us. donald trump jr. told of government efforts to help his
father before taking that meeting with a russian lawyer. does this cross a line for republican lawmakers? we will ask one, next. plus, a very important day on the hill. senate republicans get a first look at the revised gop health care bill. will it get them closer to yes votes? the fbi investigating an explosion at a u.s. air force recruiting office. ♪ binders, done. super-cool notebooks, done. that's mom taking care of business. but who takes care of mom? office depot/office max. this week, get this ream of paper for just one cent after rewards. ♪ taking care of business.
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and asked whether or not the meeting with donald trump jr. was acceptable given he was informed by e-mail that it was part of a russian government effort to help his father's campaign. this is what he told us. >> this is not acceptable. no one can defend it as acceptable behavior, especially with russia. >> was the meeting acceptable? >> if you don't mind, i would like to offer thoughts and prayers for the folks, families of people that lost their lives in mississippi, that military crash is another heart wrenching element of things lately. what we know now is you have a private citizen from a private sector, not schooled up in politics, talking to a russian. i think, i would hope they assume she would be on the inside. i would assume, speaking with anyone from that part of the world, and i always have, they were on the inside. we have to see where the
investigation goes. it pales in compareson with hillary clinton repeatedly meeting with ukraine people to dig up dirt on donald trump. >> are you letting donald jr., a key part of the campaign off the hook by saying he was a novice at that? isn't that akin to saying a ceo of a public company should tell his board, give me another chance because i didn't know better? i haven't done this before. >> i'm not saying he should get a free ride, he should be investigated by the intel committee. >> they are doing what the white house is. they are doing it this morning, they refused to answer allison's questions and kept deflecting to hillary clinton. i'm not saying there aren't questions, but she's not president. >> she was an experienced political operative and this guy is not. >> congressman -- >> he chos to get into politics. >> he was an experienced
american. he had been in politics his life. he was sent an e-mail and was told this is part of a russian government effort to help his campaign. given that the white house hasn't denied that, donald trump jr. has not denied that. was it appropriate to sit down at that meeting that was part of a russian government effort to help his father's campaign? >> again, we haven't seen results yet. >> why do results matter? if you try to rob a house and don't come out with anything, do you still try to rob the house? >> that's a little different? >> how? >> i would rather, in a perfect world, there be no negatives in campaigns, no infiltration. we didn't hear this stuff when hillary clinton did something that is worse. maybe you ought to investigate them both at the same time. >> it is against federal campaign laws to get anything of any value from a foreign entity. right? >> yep. >> isn't intent the key here? john's analogy is spot on, if
you intend to rob a house and leave empty handed, is there no crime from try sng. >> in his own words, donald trump jr. took the meeting because he thought he would get dirt from a russian. now we know he got an e-mail before that saying, yep, this is an effort from the russian government to help your father. isn't intent the key? >> i'm not a practicing lawyer. i don't know, whether in this area intent is the key or you have to have a specific action. seems to me you would have to have something happen. in your breaking and entering case, that or attempted robbery is a delineated separate offense from committing the robbery. >> i'm not asking if it's illegal or not or american? is it right? >> there are a lot of things that go on in campaigns that aren't right. it is bad. >> congressman, put it this way, if i came to you and said i have
information as part of a russian government effort to help your campaign for congress, would you take that meeting? >> well, i don't really need help for my campaign for congress. i have to pay attention -- >> that's not my question. that's not my question. would you take the meeting? would you, congressman, take the meeting? >> with a foreign operative? probably not. >> probably not. >> i don't know why it would help to try to dig up information. i'm much more of a positive campaigner. you can look back at my campaign. i campaign on why i want to run for congress to get back to conservative principles in government. something that is negative distracts from the positive message. that's where i look at things. >> in march, you wrote an opinion piece that stood out this morning. putin's boldness is encouraged by policy blunders committed early in president obama's
administration. did donald trump jr., taking this meeting with the russian lawyer, knowing what he knew from that e-mail that this was tied to a russian government effort to help president trump, did that embolden putin? >> i can see that argument. i'll be interested in what the intel committee comes up with. i think that is the case. we have committed many mistakes with russia, taking bold actions to get the relationship back on track. >> congressman rooney of florida, thank you for your time, sir. >> thank you. as you heard the congressman bring up, this tragic military plane crash. we don't know in morning what caused it in mississippi. everyone on board was killed. all 16 people that were service members p members perished. the cause is being investigated. >> hours ago, the president expressed his condolences.
barbara starr joins us. what are you learning ant the incident? >> reporter: very little information coming to light because of the investigation. we know the u.s. military now fanning out across the country to reach out to the next of kin for all of those who perished. after all the family members are notified, then the names of those who died in this crash will be made public by the u.s. military. not until then. so, it could be another day or so before we learn exactly who was on board. this was a kc-130 aircrafter, a workhorse of the military fleet. it's used mainly for refueling other aircraft but can carry cargo, troops. we don't know exactly what its mission was as it was flying across the united states. what the military has told us is at 4:00 when the plane disappeared from commercial
radar, the faa contacted the marine corps to tell them they lost track of one of their planes. no word on whether the pilot or crew was able to radio or signal at all that they were in distress. john? poppy? >> our hearts go out to those families. the people who set up the meeting with donald trump jr., a russian pop star, his publicist. so, why would they be involved in what was called an e-mail, a russian government effort to influence last year's campaign? at panera, a salad is so much more than one thing.
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communicated to the president's son before he accepted the meeting with the russian lawyer. >> new additions to the growing cast of characters. publicist rob goldstone and his client, a russian pop star who ask asked goldstone to make it happen. a cnn moscow bureau chief and former chief of russia operations for the cia. look, we do not know if this lawyer was working directly for the russian government. she says no. what do we know about how russian intelligence and the russian government uses mi middlemen for these types of meetings? >> we know it happens all the time. the russians have this unity of government, those of us who worked for envi. vladimir putin says we need to figure out how to try to get into the trump campaign or
influence this election. he can do anything from, you know, command one of his intelligence services to get to work on this, reach out to any ol garks, senior businessmen or say if you have contact with trump, trump entities or businesses, he has all of that, all of russia has this at their disposal. i think you are right. there's no smoking gun, if you will, that this lawyer was actually working directly for vladimir putin or one of the intelligence services. from a counter intelligence, i would say it's likely and what they wanted to do was to see whether or not there was anybody in the trump team who would be willing to take that first initial step and say, yes, we'll talk to you about whether or not you have information that might help our campaign. of course we know the russians wanted to influence the election, which they did. this all sort of makes sense, at least, to me, from an intelligence point.
>> the initial explanation or defense from donald's son, this was a meeting just about adoptions, this was nothing more, not important, nothing to see here. however, it's not just about adoptions. even though that's what they talked about, it's political and loaded and important to vladimir putin. >> right. because, remember, the whole reason for a lot of this, at least with this lawyer was that she was working on -- working for clients who were under sanctions and working to try to get rid of an act that was a united states law that put people from russia on a blacklist because they were human rights violators. it would appear, this is murky, but trying to put it together. as she was working on that act,
which sparked vladimir putin's anger and in return, the russians put an end to adoptions by americans. that's where that comes together. she was uncovering information. it appears, from the report thag is out there, that she was looking into or had some type of information that might lead you to think there were people who were not paying taxes who might have contributed to the dnc. so, i can see where the trump administration, i should say the trump campaign would be interested in anything that would be compromising on hillary clinton, the dnc, et cetera. i think one of the big questions is, who really rioriginated thi meeting? it could be from either side. it was quite obvious that the trump campaign was very interested. in fact, she says in that interview with nbc, they wanted
that information so much. she's pulling herself out of it. she said i wanted to talk about adoptions and, of course, that means that highly charged political issue of getting rid of the sanctions. >> we have 20 seconds left. what would the russians have learned from this meeting? what would the take away be? >> most critically, i think the russians would have taken away the important fact, the critical fact that somebody in the trump campaign, not just anybody, but somebody very close to the candidate and one of his direct family members that was willing to talk, willing to have that conversation and intelligence operations, the russians are always looking for just that first half step. you don't have to be completely in the first meeting to say, yes, absolutely, i want to cooperate so we can win. that's not what they are looking for. they are looking for a sign, a flag, an indicator that, okay,
we can have that conversation, then they are off to the races. that, i think, was the most important part of this particular meeting. >> remember, the dnc had been being hacked for a year, leading up to this meeting. thank you very much steve and jill. right now, here in new york city, police officers and many others paying their final respects to one of their own. look at this scene outside the church. a sea of blue as officers remember one of their own during officer familia's procession. >> a 12-year veteran of the force was ambushed sitting in her police vehicle last week. police shot and killed the suspect. our hearts go out to her and her family in new york city. we'll be right back. what's going on here? um...i'm babysitting. that'll be $50 bucks. you said $30. yeah, well it was $30 before my fees, like the pizza-ordering fee and the dog-sitting fee...
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all right. it's all happening on capitol hill in a couple hours. republican senators get their first peek at changes made to the health care bill. >> mj lee is following all of this on the hill. so, the question is, can they thread the needle? what are you hearing? >> reporter: i can't tell you, but the mood in the senate is bleak, to say the least. a lot of folks we have been talking to with senators and aides, privately and publicly expressing skepticism to bring on board enough members to get to the 50 yes votes. the bad news isn't just that there are at least ten senate republicans who publicly said they are opposed to this bill. we know this bill, in its current form would not pass the senate. i think the question now that
senate republicans moved on to is how will we see a bill that is enough to bring on board enough people to get it through the senate when there are such different priorities that different members have, the moderates and conservatives. if you look at the changes being discussed, you look at the cruz amendment, this is an amendment that ted cruz, mike lee, a couple conservatives indicated that with this amendment in place, they could get to a yes, then you risk losing some of the moderate votes with questions on whether this amendment would be bad for folks in their districts and home states with pre-existing conditions. then look at the opioids. this is porimportant to some. this extra funding is included in the bill, they expect it to be included in the bill. this is not the only issue they
care ant. they need to see other changes in the bill. the math is very difficult for mcconnell. a republican aide i was talking to said he can imagine mcconnell getting to 40 or 42 yes', but it is very difficult to see how he can get to 50 yes'. >> 40 doesn't cut it. thank you, mj, on the hill. we appreciate it. amid this health care push, the white house cannot seem to escape the headlines around russia. let's talk to our panel about it. commentator angela rie and former executive director of the black caucus and doug high for the republican national committee. i just read your line. >> you did a nice job. you are also political experts. angela, you know, the white house, in allies of donald trump jr. are saying, look, this was opposition research. donald trump jr. says am i the
first guy to have a meeting about opposition research? is this how it works? >> not that i know of, john. normally, in american elections, we don't make it a pattern to get research from foreign entities. i think that we have -- we all are aware we could run the risk of something like this happening, a far more evasive push into the elections. we know they hack into upwards of 30 something states, 39 states, i believe it is. that is all, frankly not just an availability to the campaign, baa push from the president to find the other 30,000 e-mails. it wasn't just interest, it wasn't just taking a meeting. i think they were far more involved. that is why all the investigations on the hill and special prosecutor mater.
people need answers to the questions. >> doug, you are a big on the rnc. >> i don't appreciate the crack about my hair. >> no wig there. >> every campaign i have worked on, the same thing happened. somebody calls the campaign and says i have the dirt on the campaign that is going to win the campaign. it's always a crank. whatever happened in that meeting, the russians who set up the meeting and were in the meeting wanted something. that's intent. that's a problem for the trump white house. a lot of trump people are defending all things trump does without knowing facts. all democrats, not angela in this case is not saying it's collusion. we have these investigations for a reason. we have to get to the bottom of it. the intentions, at least on the side of russia were not pure. >> i want to play sound by now the vice president of the united states, mike pence, who was asked about russian connections
back in january, the weeks before he became vice president. listen to this. >> just to button up one question, did any adviser or anybody in the campaign have contact with the russians in meddling in the election? >> of course not. to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that swirled around the candidacy. >> so, doug, how is that comment aged? >> well, it's not aged well. i think mike pence was not in the position to know who took what meeting. one of the troubling things we have seen is more and more disclosures come out on a daily, weekly basis. oh, wait, i did meet with the russians. we met four times with them. everything we see around the trump white house is smoke and smoke involving russia. they need to mover past it. what happened, what was said and
why it was said. until we know that, we are going continue to have these conversations. >> angela, you were measured and doug pointed that out. she's not saying collusion. other democrats, democratic lawmakers say this is treason. we are heard tim kaine, the running mate to hillary clinton going there saying this could be. is there a cautionary tale, a warning sign that you have for democrats on this one to sit back, let the facts play out before jumping to anything. >> i don't think the time is for sitting back. i think it's the opposite. it's time to lean into these investigations and ensure that the trump administration is cooperating. we are talking conversations that happened during the campaign or talking about things that happened on the transition team which mike pence, in the latter days oversaw. there were clearly interactions, conversations and meetings happening with russian officials. that is the problem. so, when this administration came in, they talked about transparency. we know from the beginning,
whether it's tax returns or whatever else, it's not been very transparent. that is the problem. you can't drain a swamp when you are knee deep in it. that eegs what we are seeing now. >> doug, you have 15 seconds left. health care on the hill. what happens if mitch mcconnell can't put the votes together? >> i don't think this is on mitch mcconnell. the dynamic between today and past struggles, we have a republican senate. they need to be fully engaged. they are the only thing that is new in the past failures that i barely lived through. >> angela rye, doug high, thank you for being with us. i appreciate it. an explosion in an air force recruiting office in oklahoma. investigators are not ruling out domestic terrorism. we have new information on the investigation.
they have not ruled out domestic terrorism. >> they don't know for sure yet because they don't have a motive or suspect. they can't pinpoint that just yet. of course, they are not ruling that out. it's a strong possibility it could be. the fbi is the lead agency on this. at this point, it's not clear what happened here. what we know, though, is investigators have collected a bunch of evidence at the scene. a number of bomb fragments at the air force recruiting center where authorities say someone did detonate a bomb last night. the bomb blew up the front door, it pierced holes and caused a lot of destruction. initially, like poppy said, it looks to be a pipe bomb. authorities are trying to piece together the fragments. they are at the stage of interviewing witnesses, they are collecting video surveillance from the area as well. another thing investigators are looking into is if this incident
is related to a vandalism that happened a few days ago at the national guard recruiting center, located nearby, also in vicksby. at this point, connecting the two is preliminary. those are some of the things investigators are looking at now. >> no one injured, right? >> no one injured. it happened at 10:30 at night. no one was at the center. again, the two incidents, doesn't sound ironic. >> thank you so much. glad no one was hurt. federal officials on the investigation. in the meantime, details emerging about what donald trump jr. knew before meeting with the russian lawyer. what he knew about russian government efforts to help his father's campaign and what he did and did not do about it. new developments coming up. the roles you play in life are parlet's dance grandma! you. and you're not going to let anything keep you sidelined. come on!
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hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. another day, another new twist in the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election. "the new york times" report that donald trump jr. was e-mailed ahead of time about the material a russian lawyer wanted to pass along to him and was told the source was the russian government. don jr. admits he was promised information helpful to the campaign about hillary clinton. in response to this, his attorney says it's much ado about nothing. no one denied the existence of the e-mail. the russian lawyer who met with don jr. at the height of the campaign is now speaking out. listen. >> they had the impression, it appears, that they were going to be told information that you had about the dnc. how did they get that impression? >> translator: it's quite possible may