tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN August 3, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
identity, and their secrecy requirements. >> okay thank you both so much. i'm sure jake is going to pick up where we left huff with the news from the wall street journal on this grand jury here and bob muler. >> i'm brooke baldwin, thank you for being here with me. the lead with jake tapper starts now. this is cnn breaking news. >> good afternoon, i want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world to the lead, i'm jake tapper. we have breaking news about special council robert mueller's investigation into possible russian meddling in the 2016 election. the wall street journal is now reporting that mueller has impanelled a grand jury right here in washington, d.c. suggesting that the investigation is entering a new heightened phase. grand jury is being powerful, investigatory pujle issuing subpoenas or of course possibly indictments, but now we're going to talk about something else.
we'll talk about the journal story in a second. let's turn to more breaking news being broken by cnn right now. a look inside the actual investigation that mueller and the fbi are conducting. the diligent and detailed efforts of investigators, what they are looking at, why possible targets in the probe. let's bring in cnn's pamela brown with this reporting. what are you learning about the focus of the special council's investigation? >> well bottom line, it's expanding. new details, jake, that give us an inside look into how the focus of the russia probe is crossing over what president trump says is a red line that investigators should not cross, as this investigation enters it's second year. >> does anyone really believe that story? >> reporter: the russia investigation continues to widen. as federal investigators explore the potential financial ties of president trump and associates to russia. sources tell cnn, financial links could offer a more concrete path to any potential
prosecution. but the president, that's going too far. he's warned that devilling into his businesses is a quote, violation. trump has maintained there's no collusion and he has no financial ties to russia. >> and i can tell you, speaking for myself, i own nothing in russia. i have no loans in russia. i don't have any deals in russia. >> reporter: now, one year into this complex probe, the fbi has reviewed financial records related to the trump organization. the president himself, as well as his family members and campaign associates. cnn has told investigators have combed through the list of shell companies and buyers of trump-branded real estate properties. they've scrutinized the roster of tenants reaching back several years. and officials familiar with the investigation tell cnn, special council robert mueller's team has examined the backgrounds of russian business soerkt associates connected to trump.
>> miss universe 2013. >> reporter: going back to the miss universe pageant he hosted in moscow. >> thank you for their amazing hospitality. >> reporter: cnn could not determine whether it's included trump's tax returns. but even investigative leads that have nothing to do with russia, but involve trump associates, are being referred to the special council to encourage subjects of the investigation to cooperate. >> the entire thing has been a witch hunt. >> reporter: president trump keenly aware of the increased financial focus, record lis denouncing the investigation. >> russia is fake news. this is fake news put out by the media. >> reporter: trump's team seeking to limit mueller's investigation. >> the president's point is that he doesn't want the special council to move beyond the scope and outside of it's mission and the president's been very clear as have his accountants and team that he has no financial dealings with russia. and so, i think we've been extremely clear on that.
>> reporter: cnn learned new details about how muler is running his special council team. more than three dozen attorneys, fbi agents, and support staff. experts in investigating fraud and financial crimes, broken into groups focussed separately on collusion and obstruction over justice. focus on paul manafort, trump's former manafort and general michael flynn, his fired national security advisor. cnn has learned that investigators became more suspicious of manafort when they turned up intercepted communications that u.s. intelligence agencies collected amongst suspected russian operatives, discussing their efforts to work with manafort to coordinate information that could hurt hillary clinton's bid for the white house, according to u.s. officials. in flynn's case, the focus is now on his lobbying work for the turkish government, which he failed to initially disclose as required by law. while both men deny any wrong doing, the approach to the manafort and flynn probes may offer a template for how the
focus by investigators on possible financial crimes could help gain leverage and cooperation in the investigation. and the president's attorney said to cnn in a statement that the outside legal council has not received any request for documentation or information about this, and he says any inquiry from the special council that goes beyond the mandate specified in the appointment, we would object to and just for context, jake, investigators don't necessarily have to go to the president's legal council to get the finances, you can issue a subpoena to banks and you can go to the treasury department for records as well. >> pamela brown, stick around. we have a lot to talk about. let's bring in your colleagues on the story. also on the phone we have jeffrey toobin. let's talk about paul manafort, why were investigators interested in him initially and how significant might that be for the investigation? >> one of the things that happened, jake, was that the
investigators got ahold of intercepts, this is communications between russia and suspected russian operatives talking about what they said were interactions with paul manafort. they said that he was interested and encouraging their cooperation providing some information on hillary clinton, dirt on hillary clinton that could help with the campaign. so, what we don't know is whether or not those russian operatives and suspected russian operatives were telling the truth, exaggerating, making it up, and certainly one of the problems for investigators is trying to piece all of that together without the benefit of knowing whether or not these people, again, these are people overseas, whether they were actually telling the truth. obviously manafort's problems go beyond that however. he has some serious financial issues going back to his business dealings with the former ruling party in ukraine, and whether or not they were money laundering and tax issues there. that is also a part of this investigation. >> interesting. jeffrey toobin, let me turn you
in, turning back to the wall street journal group about panelling a grand jury. does that necessarily mean he's planning on bringing charges? >> it's very important, jake, to say, to answer that question, and the answer to that question is no. just because there's a grand jury does not mean that anyone is going to get diindicted. however, no one can be indicted without a grand jury first pg impanelled. it is significant that he has taken this step. it is also significant because grand jury subpoenas are the way that prosecutors can get sworn testimony under oath. sworn testimony from these people in the investigation. you send them subpoenas and they then testify in the grand jury. it's also possible to issue grand jury subpoenas which is the main way prosecutors collect evidence. to phone companies, to banks, to individuals, to produce their financial records. so, it's a very important step,
but, i think it is important that we not overstate how important it is and not suggest that this means that criminal charges are inevitable or even going to happen. >> and let me ask you, the probe in cnn's reporting, you're reporting with pamela. looking at these possible financial ties between president trump and various russians, how significant could that be and how far back are investigators looking? >> well, what we've learned jake, it goes back at least a half a dozen or so years. and, you know, what better place than sort of follow the money here because we keep hearing that there's different properties, different real estate transactions that may involve russians and people within the trump world, certainly some of his family members, so what we're told is that the fbi has now gone as far back as miss universe pageant which was in 2013 in russia, and they've sort of been looking at the relationships that the president may have cultivated there.
some of his interactions with russians there. and i'm trying to sort of kind of piece a puzzle of what exactly was going on there. and we've also learned that they've actually looked at some of his financial records, some of the real estate records at trump tower in new york, and that they have found some very interesting connections to russians. throughout the years, so all of that is now a significant part of this investigation, it's a part of the investigation, the financial investigation into people even including his family members. >> and president trump very clearly drew a red line. the red line was the "new york times" reporter's term by president trump, agreed with it. that if they were looking at his finances, that would be a red line suggesting, possibly, that he would then try to fire bob mueller. how much is that weighing on investigators. >> based on the people we've talked to certainly, they're continuing to do their jobs. the authority given to the special council certainly allows him to go outside of the probe
of just collusion, it's anything that has to do with really with the trump world, with trump organization, with the family members, so this is not stopping this sort of red line issue, it's not stopping any of the investigators, you know, there've been other subpoenas issued in this investigation, and they're just continuing to do their work. obviously there is some concern for them for the investigators going forward, but you know, they're just doing their job here. >> and pamela, does the fact that mueller and his investigators and he's hired a lot of lawyers who have expertise in financial crimes. does the fact that they are so focussed on trump's financials, investigate that they are no longer looking at collusion? >> no, i mean, from what we've been told through our sources. they are still focussed on collusion, the idea that there was some coordination between the russians and trump campaign associates, but there are some obs kms and prosecutors along the lines of collusion because so much of the evidence stems from these intercepts that everyone was talking about. so you have foreign witnesses that the fbi can't just go and interview. then you have to verify it.
how do you verify it because they could have been exaggerating or lying. i think that's led them down the financial road avenue to look to see if anymore crimes were committed, also to see if that could give them leverage in terms of cooperation among the subjects in the investigation. as i pointed out in my story, a lot of the leads coming into doj that have nothing to do with russia collusion are still going to the special council probe. they want to see everything they can, or see if crimes were committed, but to gain leverage in the investigation. >> and jeff retoobin -- >> go ahead. >> i wanted to add one point about the collusion issue, yes, that is the origin of this investigation, but there is no such federal crime as collusion. the question of any sort of collaboration between the trump campaign and russian officials or russian business people, it is not clear if that is criminal. so what is certainly criminal is
financial crimes. like money laundering, like tax crimes. and so that's another reason why it would be very important to establish -- to establish the financial background for this case. also, but is the question of motive. i mean, why would russia -- why would the trump campaign collude with russia if there is evidence of financial ties. that would allow mueller to establish the issue of motive. which is always important in a criminal case. and that also raises the issue of obstruction of justice. there is a lot to look into here. though charges are by no means assured. >> and perspective on the heels of what jeffrey said. part of why they were interested was the concern of blackmail. could the russians have some sort of financial leverage and have blackmail over the presidents or any of his
associates? that's another reason why they want to see what is there and whether they should be any concern. >> evan, another player in all of this is carter page, of course, he was cited in the campaign by then mr., now president trump, as one of his national security advisoradviso. what are you learning about the focus on carter page? >> the interest goes back much further. we now know that he was a subject of the fisa, that goes back a couple of years, not just last summer which is what was previously reported. and that is interesting because, it's part of why the fbi suddenly took notice last summer and started this investigation. they noticed that this is a guy who had been interacting with russians, certainly had travelled to moscow and did a very pro-russia speech last summer, then he starts becoming a lot more involved in the campaign. that really raised their curiosity and their interest because they wanted to know whether he was being used to get into the campaign to spy on the
campaign. >> all right. thanks one and all for being here. really appreciate it. we have lots to discuss on our breaking news with our panel coming up. how will president trump react to his so-called red line being crossed by investigators? and the report in the wall street journal that a grand jury has been impanelled right here in d.c., just blocks away from the white house. stick around. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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we're back with breaking news. new details on special council robert mueller's russia investigation. mueller has impanelled a grand jury right here in washington, d.c. this comes as cnn has learned that the russia probe is focussing on possible financial crimes suspected russian coordination and alleged attempts by president trump and others to obstruct the ongoing investigation. let's dive into all of this with my panel. phil mud, let me start with you,
as a former cia officer and fbi officer, how significant is it that mueller has impanelled a grand jury in washington? >> i think significant, not only because of the fact of the impanelling, but also because who mueller was. i spent four and a half years as his intelligence advisor, two words, speed and seriousness. people are worried about mission creep here, is this going to extent to blue dress, the old ken star investigation with president clinton? speed and seriousness. he's talking about potential subpoenas. that's pretty quick. in terms of seriousness, i don't think he's there to look for violations that are if you will 57 and 55 zone. if there is something serious that's well over the bar, in terms of inappropriate cooperation with russians, in terms of obstruction of justice, i don't think he's bringing these people together on the grand jury because he sees minor issues that he thinks are bumps in the road. this is an indication he's moving quickly, and he sees stuff that he thinks are really worth bringing in a grand jury. which is significant. >> and gloria, cnn's reporting
from pam evan and simone suggesting that there is a tremendous amount of research going into donald trump's finances, ties with russians with, businesses, he talks about how he has no money in russia. whether or not russians have any money in his investments. what does this suggest to you? >> well, it suggests that perhaps they're looking for motive here. that, you know, the question's been asked time and time again, why won't the president criticize russia? collusion as jeffrey toobin points out is not a crime. in trying to the get to the bottom of this, you have to look at the history. i think from my colleague's reporting is the history of the trump organization, and it's financial dealings. now, we have heard donald trump tell the "new york times" on july 20th, he said that that would be a violation of what mueller is supposed to do. and so, i could see here that donald trump is going to be infuriated by this because he will see this as overstepping
the special council's bounds. >> and in fact, bill, because president trump did draw this red line, the "new york times's" words that he agreed to the term red line, in looking into his finances, this does raise the possibility, once again, that president trump might try to fire bob mueller. there's actually an attempt bipartisan bill from senator tillis of north carolina, republican, and senator chris kouns of delaware, democrat, to allow if mueller gets fired, allow him to appeal to a judge to not be fired. >> couple of things, jake, the statement he made suggests they might contest providing certain documents is outside of mueller's legitimate authority. i suppose they could do that, it would go to court. so they could delay things in that way. tax returns is one things that comes to mind. i'm not sure if mueller could get them from the irs. and they could contest it at the irs, someone asked for your return. i suggest they're looking at
delaying the operation. i think mueller's on a fast track. i think john kelly is an important aspect in this. john kelly, talked about this, i'm just guessing. i do not believe john kelly would stay as chief of staff as president trump fired bob mueller or tried to fire robert mueller. in a way getting rid of reince priebus might have gone along with something like that. having john kelly in there. suddenly i think the ability -- didn't we learn yesterday that kelly had called sessions to reassured -- no sessions, attorney general to reassure him he wasn't going to be fired. getting rid of sessions and a recess was one way to get mueller fired. so i would -- >> kelly as chief of staff gives a certain -- makes it harder for trump, it takes away trump's flexibility, in my view in dealing with mueller. >> i was thinking of the scoop one day before, which was -- >> can't keep track. >> john kelly when comey had been fired, called comey,
offered his sympathies and said at some point, something about think, contemplation of resignation, though he wouldn't. phil, you agree with the idea that kelly and the chief of staff role is significant, especially as the investigation he saw. >> talk about a test. look at the first couple of steps he's taken. he's removed the communication's director and he's also called ef debitly the attorney general saying don't worry, your job's safe. what's the message? very simple. we have an agenda, what the white house says all the time. we have to keep our eye on the ball and we can't divert attention to conversations like the president saying trump tower was wiretapped. the next couple of days, we got a beth that the president's going to have a hissy fit about this. >> his lawyers, on the record, have said, we want to cooperate with mueller. his attorneys are on the record, time and time again, saying this. and so i wonder what their reaction would be. if suddenly the president of the united states said i want to fire bob mul per. >> stand by, because believe it or not, there's more big breaking news.
reuters is now reporting that grand jury subpoenas have been issued in connection with that june 2016 meeting between donald trump jr., trump campaign chairman paul manafort, jared kushner, the russian lawyers and others. we do not know what or who was subpoenaed. this was according to reuters. according to e-mails released by donald trump jr., he agreed to meet with someone that he believed to be a russian government attorney last summer after receiving an e-mail offering him very high level and sensitive information that would incriminate democratic presidential nominee hillary clinton. and bill, i guess it's good news that intent to collude is not a crime because that seems to be what donald trump jr. would have been guilty of. >> other crimes could have been committed in covering up the meeting or in terms of what was given up over the meeting. i always thought they'd subpoena the e-mails, text messages, contemporaneous subpoena the people to say what happened, and
not just the people in the meeting. subpoena donald trump's secretary to say did donald jr. show up to talk to his father? and then they'll put donald jr. under oath. >> we will find and i, you know, just look at it, it looks like a suspicious meeting. and president trump helmed write that misleading statement about what the content of that meeting was between donald trump jr., kushner, manafort, and the russian lawyer when it was just about adoption when we know that the intent was dirt on hillary clinton from the russian government. >> and you can guarantee we're seeing about 1% of the story. if you think there's another shoe to drop. it's going to be about a size 18. and that shoe is wikileaks. we're talking about one meeting because it's in the public record. having seen investigations like in the past, there is a volume of information provided by wikileaks, stolen from the dnc and others, that's out there in the public domain.
you want to tell me there is no connection in all of months of the campaign between trump campaign people and the wikileaks people, if some third rate lawyer can get in the room to talk about smoke and mirrors that she's got, i think what we're going to find is in these conversations, the subpoenas, for example, and the conversations behind closed doors, people are going to be revealing more and more that goes well beyond that. >> and, you know, you have the president then in a rally in early june shortly after this meeting talking about how we have some new information that's going to be released on hillary clinton, yes, it could be a coincidence. and yes, maybe it isn't, and this is what -- this is what the special council's going to have to unschool. i mean, we don't know whether any documents were left in that meeting. the only account of that meeting we have is from don jr. and jared kushner, we don't have the -- any other accounts of this. >> and we have a deep determination by the president though to deny that he knew about the meeting or had been briefed about the meeting or anything to do about the meeting. it was a perfectly innocuous
meeting, donald trump jr. says we didn't waste 20 minutes and talking about russian adoptions, that's not against the law. so why the deep, why the such a great determination to keep arm's length? >> thank you so much. all of you. you can read the entire cnn report or not mueller investigation following the money and more on cnn.com. president trump called the reports that he had a very testy call with the australian prime minister fox news, but the transcripts indicate that the only fake thing is the president denying. what else the president said in calls with world leaders, next. what are all these different topped & loaded meals? it's an american favorite on top of an american favorite, alice. it's like labor day weekend on top of the fourth of july. hotdogs. get your favorites on top of your favorites. only at applebee's.
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sanctions and as if that weren't enough, he blamed the dismal state not on putin, not on the russians interfering in u.s. democratic elections by the intelligence chief, but on the u.s. tweeting quote and it's all dangerous low. you can thank congress. the same people that can't even get us health care. from arizona, where he's undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. tweeting, quote, our relationship saying putin, democracy and threatening allies comes closer. pentagon, state department, intelligence agencies and just so we're all clear chief's coates, rogers, and pompeo, and interfering in the u.s. presidential election. with disinformation, hacks, and
leaks. putin and is now armed conflict in eastern ukraine. but all that said in trump's view, bad relations with putin. this is not even getting to adversaries who have been murdered or the russian-made missiles. to our knowledge, while president trump from don lemon to the cast of hamilton. he has never had any word about vladimir putin. the president's response was this -- >> a lot of killers. we have a americans.
the u.s. laying no blame of the former kgb official. he tweeted last night, quote, and i should say clear attempt humiliating way. on facebook, maybe i'd have said this. the president is not happy about the new sanctions and he could not not sign the bill. primarily is another way to knock trump down a peg. new steps are to come, and they will ultimately aim. you know, give the kremlin credit able to exert any control the way they would like. the russians seem to have figured something out. meanwhile, revelations into the
president's early interactions with u.s. allies, transcripts, published by the washington post show the president tried to pressure the mexican president overpaying for so the-called wall. apparently called new hampshire a drug infested that was one week into his presidency. a few months ago when news outlets including the washington post and cnn reported some of the details. the president called our reports fake news. live in huntington in west virginia where the president will hold a rally. >> reporter: we expect the president to take this stage behind me in the next two and a half hours or so. and when it comes to these leaked details of the transcripts, yet another blow for a president who is obsessed with stopping the leaks to the media coming out of his
administration. >> reporter: television one of donald trump's signature campaign promises. >> we will build a wall, and you know who's going to pay for the wall, mexico. they're going to pay for it. >> reporter: but in his first call with president nieto, days after taking office, the president signalled the vow was quickly becoming a political problem for him. after mexico's leader repeatedly declared his weren't would do not such thing. >> translator: mexico will not pay for any wall. >> reporter: newly revealed transcripts of the exchange obtained by the washington post show trump attempting to pressure nieto to stop saying mexico would never pay. you cannot say that to the press. the president said. adding, if you're going to say that mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then i do not to want meet with you guys anymore because i cannot live with that. the transcript of the call also suggests that president realized funding for the wall would have to come from other sources.
politically, this might be the most important. trump later described the conversation in positive terms. >> we have a really, i think a very good relationship. the president and i. >> reporter: the post also obtained a transcript of the president's call with australian prime minister malcolm which proved to be even more contentious. during the january exchange, the pair sparred over a deal struck during the obama administration to transfer some 1250 refugees to the united states. i hate taking these people, the president said. i guarantee you they are bad. also a forearm businessman told trump, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. you can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it. he told him their conversation was the most unpleasant call all day. but shortly after the conversation took place, the president called reports it was
contentious fake news in a february tweet. and even joked about it when the prime minister visited the u.s. in may. >> they certainly had a rough phone call, we really didn't have a rough phone call, did we? >> the transcript also revealed the president told him his conversation with russian president vladimir putin was a pleasant call. now, more than six months into his presidency and after a length si meeting with putin just weeks ago, trump is singing a very different tune on russia, and pointing the finger at the republican-controlled congress after it overwhelmingly passed what he called a flawed sanctions bill. that is angered putin. tweeting this morning, our relationship with russia is at an all-time and very dangerous low. you can thank congress. the same people that can't even give us health care. now we could hear the president talk about how upset he is about not passing a health care repeal
bill. there is breaking news just in the last hour or so. west virginia governor jim justice who is a democrat is planning to announce that he is switching to the republican party. now president trump himself teased a big announcement at the rally here tonight, and that is what we expect that announcement to be according to two sources familiar, jim justice was able to win this state as a democrat, even though president trump carried the state by more than 40 points in november. justice has often spoken about his friendship with trump and the trump family. if he does announce a move to the republican party, that would increase the advantage republican governors have over democrats in the country to 34 to 15. jake. >> all right. athena jones in west virginia, thank you so much. we'll ask a republican member of the senate intelligence committee about the special council crossing the president's so-called red line on the russia investigation. that's next, stay with us.
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journal is reporting that special council robert mueller has impanelled a grand jury here in washington d.c. on his russia investigation. cnn has new reporting on the scope of the special council investigation into president trump and his associates. he was one of the co-sponsors of that r.a.i.s.e. immigration act. thank you for joining me. >> thank you, jake. cnn special council bob mueller has reviewed financial records of the organization, family members, campaign associates, looking at shell companies, buyers of trump-branded real estate properties. also scrutinizing tenants at trump tower reaching back to more than half a dozen years. is that within the scope of bob mueller's investigation? the president suggested the possibility he might fire him if he looked into his finances.
>> jake, i can't comment on the special council's investigation or what's in or inside the scope because i don't have all the facts that mr. mueller has. i can say that as a member of the senate intelligence committee, our investigation is continuing. we'll follow those facts wherever they may lead. and hopefully produce and interim report at a minimum some time in the coming months ahead. >> the investigators claiming that paul manafort who was trump campaign chairman for three months was encouraging russians to coordinate information that could damage hillary clinton. i know that you cannot comment on what you may or may not know about this from your perch on the intel committee. if the special investigators are able to prove that would that evidence of collusion. >> i am not going to comment on that. we've seen one instance in which
the "new york times" reported stories earlier this year that director comey testified were entirely wrong. and if they do exist, i do not to want comment. let's talk about something that you can comment on. overwhelmingly approved by congress, he obviously did so with reservations. now today he tweeted our relationship with russia is at an all-time low. you can thank congress the same people that can't give us health care. clearly blaming the u.s. congress instead of putin, you are something of a russia hawk, how do you take that? >> well the president's right about health care. he's right that our relationship with russia is at a dangerous low the fault for that relationship lies primarily at vladimir putin's zoor step. he's invaded our partners, he's meddled in the democratic processes and the democratic
processes. he's the one that provided missiles that rebels used to shoot a civilian aircraft out of the sky. i would say that president obama also deserves part of the blame for emboldening vladimir putin for letting him get away with those things. at bottom the tension in the u.s. russia relationship lies at doorstep of vladimir putin. >> you're blaming president obama, but here you have president trump who has literally criticized everyone in the world from don lemon to the cast of hamilton, but is not willing to say a negative word about vladimir putin and is in fact saying that you and your colleagues are to blame for the bad relationship with russia, not putin. >> i would they vladimir putin is to blame for the bad relationship that we have right now with russia. it'd be better, the relationship improved, but right now, no run for improvement given vladimir putin's stated goals and his actions around the world. >> you're the co-sponsor of immigration legislation. president trump backed yesterday. you want to allow fewer low-skilled immigrants, legal
immigrants into the country, you say to protect the jobs of u.s. workers, the bill would cut the rate of legal immigration in half. and here's what the chamber of commerce has to say about your bill, quote, dramatically increasing levels won't raise the standard of living for americans, in fact, it will likely accomplish the opposite making it harder for businesses, communities, and our overall economy to grow, prosper, and create jobs for american workers. what's your response? >> jake, we've had 40 years of mass migration in this country, the number of foreign-born persons in this country has not quadrupled in the 1970s. i don't think it's a coincidence in that time people with the high school degree or less have seen their wages fall. that's because when you have more unscaled and low skilled workers coming into this country, of course it's going to put pressure on working class wages, and it's going to take jobs away from some working americans. i think there's broad consensus that we need to reorient our legal immigration system to award green cards to the most talented and capable imgraduates who cannot just support
themselves, but help create new businesses and new jobs for all americans. whether they're an ses or sos came over on the may flower or took the oath of citizenship last week. >> several of your republican colleagues are criticizing the bill, saying that america needs low-skilled workers for a lot of jobs. take a listen. >> certain areas like meat-packing and tourism and agriculture that you just can't find american-born labor to do those jobs. and these legal vee sas keep the company from going out of business or moving overseas. >> that's just one lindsey graham of south carolina, one of many critics in your own caucus, the republican kau us is in the senate. can you get this bill passed without the support of senators like lindsey graham or jeff patrick in? >> jake, that's emotional and opinionated, but uninformed. first of all it doesn't affect vee sas. we're only talking about green cards here. the steppingstone in the most precious thing that most people around the world would like to have, american citizenship. second, it's just not true, as a
factual matter that americans won't do those jobs. in fact, the very jobs just mentioned, meat-packing and tourism, those are majority held by american citizens. so, it's just not true that americans won't do hard, tough jobs. now, maybe they're wages should be higher. and i would say that after 40 years of declining wages for working class americans, their wages should be higher. and it's not just a lot of republicans who recognize that, many democrats recognize that as well. so i'm going to work hard with senator perdue and president trump with colleagues in both democratic and republican parties to try to address working class wages and the impact immigration has had on the working class. >> senator, you're one of the few veterans in the u.s. senate, as you know president trump has yet to outline a strategy for afghanistan, today, senator mccain said he agreed with the u.s. military assessment that our strategy and afghanistan is failing, and he said president trump is partially responsible, quote, the reason for this failure is a lack of successful policy and strategic guidance
which has continued in the first several months of this administration. do you agree that u.s. strategy in afghanistan is failing? >> we're certainly not making the progress that we should be. and i worry very much that what happened in mosul in 2014 with isis could happen in kandahar in 2018 if we don't have some level of forces in afghanistan to ensure the taliban and al qaeda are now isis come back to power. and in the american people should care about that. not primarily because of what happens in investigation, but because we've seen in 2001 that what happens there can come to our shores very quickly. that's the one place from which we were attacked and objected al qaeda from. i don't think many americans to want see those gangs given back. >> senator tom cotton, thanks so much if for your time, sir, appreciate it as always. >> thank you, jake. much more about the russia investigation. plus president trump's white house council reacts. stay with us. . super-cool notebooks. done. that's mom taking care of business. but who takes care of mom? office depot/office max.
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and we're back with the breaking news in our politics lead. president trump's lawyer is responding to a new wall street journal report that special council robert mueller has impanelled a grand jury in the russia investigation right near washington, d.c. in a statement ty cobb said quote, the white house favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly. the white house is committed to fully cooperating with mr. mueller, unquote. my panel's back with me. phil, your reaction. >> well, that's more of a traditional lawyer's statement than the kind we saw from president trump's previous lawyer. doesn't really say much, obviously. >> can we throw a penalty flag for just a moment here. the white house favors anything, except the president's son couldn't search his e-mails for a year and couldn't tell us what happened in the meeting until the "new york times" released the e-mails. give me a break, that's ridiculous. >> i just spoke with ty and he said they did not know anything about this. they still don't know anything about this. and he said, as he said in a statement that we're all in
favor of finishing all of this i spoke with another source who said look, mueller had his offices -- not mueller, they started investigating this in virginia on the flynn investigation when somebody else was leading the investigation. mueller's offices are now in d.c., it makes sense to impanel a grand jury in d.c. as opposed to virginia, and this source was saying, well maybe this isn't so much of an escalation. and we think it is. >> that it's just a geography -- >> yeah. >> the previous person in charge was from virginia, and now mueller's here in washington, d.c. >> right. >> bill, a lot is made on the right politically, the political right about how some of the attorneys who mueller has hired are democratic donors, one of them i think used to represent the clinton foundation, i believe, obviously bob muler is registered republican and has an impeccable reputation.
is it fair to bring up where lawyers have given their political dollars? >> bill clinton attacked some of the lawyers on ken starr's team, at the end of the day, the facts are facts. i think donald trump has given more to democrats than all of mueller's lawyers. trump was a very generous donor, he was to a bunch of democrats, including hillary clinton if i'm not mistaken. i come back to the air force one. think about that for a minute, flying back from the summit and donald trump's there and says i want to work on that statement for donald jr. maybe that's fatherly concern, but i don't know, that's an awful lot of interest for him to have in making sure that the statement says, we were just discussing adoptions. i just -- i can't -- this is your point, i can't get my head around the innocent explanation for that. >> the other thing is that washington post story about that said that donald trump jr. and other white house advisors, donald trump jr.'s advisors and other white house advisors wanted to do what you are supposed to do in a situation,
get out all the information on your own terms, assuming that the "new york times" has it or it's going to come out anyway and don't hide anything, be fully transparent even if late and president trump was the one who overruled them. >> that's what the lawyers wanted to do. a lot of these attorneys have a lot of experience in washington. and they know they're going to come out anyway. and so the only conclusion you could reach is that there was -- i was told there was a plan that was semidone in place, and that somehow it got upset, and nobody quite knew why. so the only conclusion you could reach is because of the president. >> i want to talk about something that pamela and evan and simone broke which is we knew that intercepted had picked up manafort or russians talking about manafort before. they advanced the story today saying that these russian operatives were discussing how manafort had expressed interest in dirt on hillary clinton. >> yeah.
>> how reliable, you're a former cia officer or operative or official, one of those three o's -- >> big shot. >> and how reliable are intercepts of operatives? they could be lying, they could be acting as if they had more information than they did. >> what are you telling any subordinate tells the boss, he's back in moscow, i'm really good at my job, i have terrific access. there is one piece that is reliable. there is a meeting, around that data, text messages, phone messages, e-mails, i'm going to take that meeting and draw a spider web around that and if they say nothing happened in that meeting and i see a history of e-mail, phone, text, i'm going to say whoever said nothing's happening, they're not telling me the truth. >> all right, great, thank you so much one and all. appreciate all of you being here. that's for the lead, i'm jake tapper. now wolf blitzer who is in the situation room, thanks for watching. happening now, breaking
news, grand jury probe, special council robert mueller is reportedly impanelled a grand jury in his investigation into the russian interference in the u.s. presidential election. and a separate report says grand jury subpoenas have already been issued in connection with donald trump jr.'s meeting with a russian lawyer. follow the money. cnn learned that the special council's investigation into president trump's potential financial ties to russia may extend to possible crimes unrelated to the 2016 campaign. trump has warned, that's a red line, investigators shouldn't cross. how will he respond? russian intercepts. cnn has also learned that investigators are now looking at intercepted communications from suspected russian operatives, trying to coordinate with trump campaign chairman paul manafort. did they pass on information designed to hurt hillary clinton's campaign? and leaked transcripts. word for word details of president trump's phone