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tv   Wolf  CNN  October 31, 2017 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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>> i'm wolf blithser. it's 1:00 heir in washington and 8:00 in moscow. wherever you are watching from, thanks for joining us. we start with president trump said to be seething right now over developments in the russia investigation. a former campaign adviser is helping the special prosecutor's office and investigators say he's a small part of the larger ongoing investigation. the white house now seemingly focused on trying to discredit the man, george papadopoulos who
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president trump now calls and i'm quoting him now, a liar. the campaign foreign policy adviser is working with federal investigators after pleading guilty to lying to the fbi. they described papadopoulos this way. >> he was the coffee boy. you might have called him a foreign policy analyst, but in fact if he was going to wear a wire, all we would know how is whether he prefers a carmel macchiato over regular american coffee in conversations with his barista. >> they said they didn't know papadopoulos and may have only met him once at this security meeting in march of 2016, but the president did know the name. >> if you want i can give you some of the names. george papadopoulos. he's an oil and energy consultant. excellent guy. >> let's tick through the
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timeline of what we know about him. he is part of the campaign and the russia investigation. in march of last year, papadopoulos joined the trump campaign as a special foreign policy adviser. that same month, papadopoulos first met with the so-called professor in italy who is promising dirt on hillary clinton's e-mails. over the next two months, he meat contacts with russians and cultivated campaign officials including then campaign chairman paul manafort about his efforts. fast forward to post election and the russia investigation is in full swing. under the direction of director james comey. it was at this time in january that papadopoulos was interviewed by the fbi and made his false statements about those russian contacts. the next month another interview and a promise of cooperation and he deactivates his facebook account the next day in july. he was arrested at dulles
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international airport just outside washington, d.c. a few months later in early october, october 5th to be precise, he enters his guilty plea for lying to the fbi. we are now learning more about one originally unnamed person who figured prominently in the complaint. he is known as the professor. our international diplomatic editor is joining us now from london. you have been talking to a source who knows this so-called professor. what is your source saying? >> this source has known the professor for three or four years now. he describes him as a lecturer and a professor in diplomacy at a london academy. he believes his name is joseph misud. one reason he believes he is the professor is that he connected the source to george papadopoulos for a meeting.
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he told my source why don't you mead papadopoulos to discuss president trump's message to various world leaders. my source within a day of that e-mail exchange met with papadopoulos. his opinion about papadopoulos was this was a man who was a nice man is how he described him. somebody that didn't really have an indepth knowledge of the region and the issues that he was discussing. papadopoulos told my source that he wanted to explain what president trump was saying about certain leaders in the mideast to some of those particular countries. to explain what president trump meant and what he was saying. that's not the way candidate trump at the time was intending those things to be read. the source also describes separate meetings that he had with the professor, this person he believes is joseph.
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where he showed very pro russian ideals. he liked to brag about his connection to russian officials and he bragged about having met with president trump and had dinner with president trump and others. second week early april of last year. they, meaning the russians, had a lot of stuff on hillary clinton. this source is helping us flush out details about the professor, but also something about how the strength of papadopoulos and his ability to be a foreign policy adviser is to candidate trump. his knowledge was not deep enough to be a strong foreign policy adviser when he questioned the wisdom of having someone of that caliber. >> very interesting. nick robertson in london. president trump was seething as he watched the news coverage
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following the indictment according to a republican close to the president. sources are telling cnn while the president was not surprised by the manafort-gates charges, the guilty play by papadopoulos was unexpected. it didn't take very long to see how the white house was going to spin the guilty plea from papadopoulos. president trump tweeted out this in part. few people knew the young low level volunteer named george who has already proven to be a liar. check the dems. let's bring in sarah murray over the at white house. trump's former chief strategist and breitbart chairman steve bannon pushing if are a full court press against the special counsel robert mueller. is he behind the strategy to minimize papadopoulos's role? >> look, wolf. these are two parts to be more aggressive and all driven by steve bannon.
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dana bash has excellent reporting on how steve bannon does want to see a strategy when dealing with muller and he felt like it was too can'tive. we are seeing an effort from the president as well as his he eyes. to delittle this man and discredit him and minimize his role. it does make you wonder why it would be necessary when the president insisted there was no collusion and the president did nothing wrong. that would be the argument the lawyers might make for why they are being more inclined to be cooperative as president trump insisted from day one. there is no collusion. the special counsel has not reached that decision yet, but committees on the hill have not reached that conclusion yet. these investigations continue. i'm sure sarah sanders will get many questions about his strategy and twitter habits in today's briefing. >> we will stand by for that
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briefing in a little while. thank you very much. over at the white house. the first dominos have fallen and the man who was cooperating with federal investigators is described as a small part of this much wider probe. here with us, some of the cnn journalists following the facts of the russia investigation since day one, they have been breaking a lot of the news along the way. our crime and justice reporter. our justice correspondent and our chief national security correspondent and our justice corresponde correspondent, evan perez. what more have we learned about the contacts and his relationships with the russians? >> it goes beyond the professor that nick robertson was describing. according to the court documents that the fbi and the special counsel have prepared, it appears that he was in touch with someone who he thought initially was a niece of vladimir putin and having communications and setting up meetings with the russian
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ambassador to the united kingdom. the fact today that the russian government is sort of dismissing this ask saying there was nothing here. there was actually no meeting that could be set up between donald trump and vladimir putin. it appears that the special prosecutor and special counsel and the fbi believe not only did he have these connections, but he had some kind of capabilities and certainly had the intention to try to set up these meetings with the russians. >> that's a good point. we note that the federal investigators say that papadopoulos was really only a small part of what is a much wider investigation into russian meddling and collusion, if you will, into the u.s. presidential election and potentially obstruction of justice. >> the president and his people may call him a coffee boy or a liar, but the fbi believes he is providing valuable information to them. so much so that they listed all
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of the information in documents that were filed in federal court yesterday. everyone can say on the trump side that perhaps he's a liar or not to be believed. he was no one. the fact is that he had eyes into this campaign into the national security team of this campaign. he has now providd that information to the fbi. >> the whole coffee boy line does not stand up to the e-mail communications robert mueller has. if he was a coffee boy, you would not have the senior officials and manafort and gates among them responding to his e-mails. another campaign supervisor encouraging him to take a meeting with russian officials overseas. so those e-mails contradict that. these communications that papadopoulos is having with the russians in april and may proceed the june meeting whchlt we saw that meeting in isolation, it appeared to be one
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meeting and don and kushner said we have no idea that they were talking about that and an e-mail showed that don jr. knew they were bringing information on hillary clinton and we know that's not the first the campaign heard that russians had and were offering damaging e-mails on hillary clinton. it makes for a nice tweet ask sound from trump and others. coffee boy, don't know who he was. the e-mails contradict that. >> more from sarah sanders in the briefing. i want to get back to papadopoulos in a moment, but what are you hearing about paul manafort and rick gates. >> both pleaded not guilty in those cases yesterday. the terms is that they are restrictive and quite extensive. they are both under house arrest. they cannot leave the house unless it's to meet with attorneys or court appearances or medical appointments. the terms of their bond. it's a secured bond.
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if they violate the terms of home arrest, they have to pay it. manafort's is $10 million and gates is $5 million. these are restrictive and not what you see in a typical white collar criminal crime as alleged hereof. >> evan, you have been doing a lot of reporting on this. the transcript of the hearing on october 5th when papadopoulos pleaded guilty. he was arrested actually in july. pleaded guilty october 5th. at the time and if you read all the transcript with this federal judge, randolph moss, very interesting because they told the judge and the prosecutors i want you to unseal this in 30 days. that was october 5th. it's almost 30 days. they didn't have to. they could have asked for an extension, but they were incl e inclined to go with the test. 30 days is about now. all of a sudden yesterday we heard about this guilty plea.
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>> there is no accident that it was unsealed at the same time we heard about the charges with paul manafort and rick gates. part of the story here is that the robert mueller and his investigators know that there is a lot of push back from the white house and the trump administration that there is nothing to see here. manafort's own side. look, what it this does, these documents show they have a lot of leverage and they believe they can bring it bear on paul manafort. we don't know it's going to work, but they believe this. you are beginning to see what that is. the ultimate goal is to get people to flip. you have papadopoulos who flipped and i don't know what proactive cooperation he has done with the government, but it's clear that manafort is also the intention here. to get him to flip up. the question is, who can he flip up against? the president and people closest to him. >> in the sentencing agreement there as you see it, you can see one incentive to get folks to
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flip. he had the sentence reduced from hard time years. >> let me be precise. i took note when is i read the transcript. this is the incentive he has why he is pleading guilt fe he would have gone to trial, he could face years in prison and a fine of $250,000. by pleading guilty under the sentencing guidelines, when they had the final sentencing at 190 to 120 days according to the federal judge, he could get zero time in jail up to six months and have a fine of $500 or up to $9,500. that explains why you plead guilty. >> that's a traffic fine. you are talking about flipping up if you are looking at manafort and banks as targets. their sentencing is 12.5 to 15 years minimum for each of them. serious fines. they have an immense incentive
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to cooperate. >> he pleaded guilty to a felony and gives up his right to vote and hold public office and serve on a jury and right to possess a firearm or ammunition. all that was spelled out in the hearing. it was also interesting as part of this guilty plea he surrenders his passport. he can't leave d.c., northern virginia or the northern district of illinois. he is stuck in those three districts until sentencing. that's significant amid the reports of the speculation that he may have shown up in london. his passport has been surrendered. >> if he did try to leave, it would violate his release right now. what the government agreed to do. there is no way he would be able to leave. if he did try to leave, they would arrest him and he would be in jail. the other thing i want to say is the clinton dirt. this is a second instance where
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we have learned that papadopoulos was trying to meet with someone who claimed to have dirt on clinton. we know about the trump jr. meeting at trump tower. this was all part of it. that's another instance. what this all shows and intelligence officials have been screaming about for over a year now, the russians were making every attempt to infiltrate this campaign. their playbook worked. now it's this doubt throughout the campaign. they have been able to build doubt within this with folks at the white house and his presidency. it shows what the russians did was a success. they did what they wanted to do. they have succeeded. >> and they make it clear that the prosecutors and the attorneys representing robert mueller, this is an investigation involving russian tampering potentially in the
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u.s. presidential election. >> it's possible collusion. >> i will get you the exact quote. >> every time the president said collusion is off the table, read the court documents that say the opposite. >> we take your word. the president said to be seething and fired adviser steve bannon is telling him to fight robert mueller hard. new details on the mind set. could the tweets be used against him. is the criticism of a cooperating witness putting him in legal jeopardy? the chief of staff under fire after he praised robert e. lee and said a lack of compromise led to the civil war. the explosive remarks and we will assess much more coming up. ! oh my gosh! how are you? well watch this. i pop that in there. press brew. that's it. so rich. i love it.
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hearing that steve bannon is urging the president to go after robert mueller as they produce the first charges. they are spinning that the former trump campaign adviser george papadopoulos's role was minimal. have a listen to the press secretary, sarah sanders. >> this individual was a member of a volunteer advisory council that met once over the course of a year. he was a volunteer. he was not paid by the campaign. he was a volunteer on a council that met once. he was a volunteer on the campaign and a volunteer member of an advisory council. i'm telling you he was a volunteer member of an advisory council that literally met time. >> let's bring in julie davis, an analyst and reporter for the "new york times." cary is a former counsel to the
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attorney general for national security. thanks to both of you for joining us. the white house stereo chief of staff was on fox last night and confirmed what a lot of people suspected. the white house is basically pusheda, way. the presidency is being investigated. >> i don't know how much longer it could go on, but we are in great hope that is it wraps up. it is distracting to the president as it would be to be investigated. >> i don't know if you confirm that, but he is suggesting that the president himself is being investigated by robert mueller and his team. >> he just acknowledged something that has been a parent for a while. he is within the scope of bob mueller's investigation. the president was keen to get jim comey to state he was not under investigation. the fact that his chief of staff s said this.
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it's something of a shame for the president to hear. the point that he makes that i hope he wraps this up because it's distracting to the president. i think that's an important point. he is about to embark on a 12-day-trip to asia. lots of stops talking to north korea and the relationship with china. this is not something that is helpful to the president and it's distracting to him and under cuts his leadership on tax reform that he would rather talk about. >> it's among the most sensitive things they could be doing. investigating the president of the united states. >> although the focus for the president wanting to be assures he was not the subject of an investigation. the charge he was given from the general to conduct this investigation is focussed on the trump campaign. the idea i think from the beginning that the fact that this investigation was not touching the president in some way was sort of not an accurate
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read of the charge that special counsel was given. the special counsel was directed to look into any potential russian interference as it related to the trump campaign and anything else turned up in the source of that investigation. >> what do you think of this argument sarah sanders is making that papadopoulos was a low level volunteer and met with the president once and was really not involved? >> it was striking for her to say this had nothing to do with the president. this person may have been low level, but he had contact with key people and setting up meetings with the russians and having a discussion about incriminating e-mails and hillary clinton. whether or not he had a high ranking position on the way in, we know from this plea if you believe what's written in the plea, he said he had conversations with senior people in the campaign and encouraged by them to pursue these outreach
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efforts by moscow. it's almost irrelevant how high or low he was. it was an effort to keep it at an arm's length. >> the president keeps tweet being all of this. the fake news is working overtime as paul manafort's lawyer said there was no collusion. these events took place long before he came to the campaign. few people knew the person named george who proved to be a liar. check the dems. is that smart for a president whose white house is being investigated? >> not only is it not smart. he shouldn't be tweeting and sarah sanders shouldn't be giving an opinion or political interpretation of what's going on in the special counsel investigation. the white house shouldn't if this was a normal white house that was following norms and rules and regulations of the justice department and what typically an attorney general
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would require would be that a white house would not comment on this investigation. it's really wildly inappropriate of course for the president to be tweeting about it, but for sarah sanders to be talking about it. >> could robert mueller use the tweets from the president as part of his investigation? >> certainly there were tweets that the president gave around the time of director comey's firing that did look like potentially trying to intimidate director comb whoa down the road may turn out to be a witness this this investigation. the president's tweets and anything he says or does can be used in obstruction matters. >> the president's lawyers tried to advise him not to tweet about these things. it has been a few months before they influenced him on that. it's clear they can't. when he tweeted over the weekend on this, amid the news that mueller was about to come forward with an indictment or more, his lawyer did come out and make a statement saying just
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so everyone knows, these tweets are unrelated to the special counsel with whom we are cooperating. it's on their minds. >> i don't expect the president to take your advice and stop tweeting about all of this. you are probably right. if he were to say and the spokes people were to say there is an ongoing investigation and we are not going to comment, goodbye. that would be intelligent, but i support he is not going to do. and they spent nearly two million dollars on rugs and landscaping. we have ties to foreign agents. plus the white house chief of staff john kelly under fire after praising robert e. lee and saying that led to the civil war. standing by to join us. stay with us. you wouldn't do only half of your daily routine, so why treat your mouth any differently? complete the job with listerine®
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the white house chief of staff john kelly is under fire for comments he made about the controversy taking down statues of confederate figures. during the interview on fox, kelly praised confederate general robert e. lee and said a lack of compromise started the civil war. listen to this. >> robert e. lee was an honorable man who gave up his country to fight for his state which in 150 years ago was more important than country. it was always loyalty to state first in those days. now where it's different. the lack of an ability to compromise led to the civil war. men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand. >> let's discuss this and more. democratic congressman is a
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member of the congressional black caucus and the cochair of the policy and communications committee. thanks for joining us. >> good to be with you, wolf. >> let me get your reaction to what we just heard from john kelly that the civil war was fought because there was a lack of compromise. he clearly did not mention slavery. >> it's sad that john kelly continues to be enlisted by donald trump to do his dirty work. his conduct that really is unbecoming of an officer and a gentlemen. his comments related to robert e. lee and the civil war were outrageous, offensive, racially insensitive and historically innor ant and clearly intentionally. the administration wants to distract the american people from the failures of the administration. they have failed on health care. they have failed on jobs. they have failed on transforation and infrastructure. they have failed on trade. they have failed on immigration.
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they are under criminal investigation in terms of the trump campaign's possible in colluding with russian spies to attack our democracy. the chairman of the trump campaign has been indicted on a variety of charges, money laundering, conspireing against the united states of america and one of the advisers to the trump campaign pled guilty to lying about possible collusion with russian spies. this is all one big distraction. clearly directed by donald trump who wants to hide the failures of his administration from the american people. >> do you believe that general kelly's views on the civil war reflect comments made by trump earlier this year. just to remind the viewers, in an interview in may, the washington examiner reporter,
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why was there the civil war and why could that not have been worked out. what's your reaction? >> it's perplexing that the comments toon to be made not just by the president, but john kelly and others that seem to provide aid and comfort for those who worship white supremacy in america. i came to the conclusion that the reason why they consistently return to a sort of playbook that would be administered, you would expect by someone like david duke is to distract the american people. historically ignore ant comments like the civil war was a failure to compromise. wolf, i think you know the american people understand there was the 3/5 compromise and the missouri compromise and the kansas-nebraska act.
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the problem is that you cannot compromise on a crime against humanity. that's what slavery was. it needed to be buried and resolved in the context of the civil war. why are we continuing to litigate the civil war when there are a host of pressing issues related to the well being of the american people? we as democrats will continue to focus on that and creating better jobs and wages and a future for the american people and leave the circus alone. that is the chaos, crisis and confusion of the trump administration. >> in that same interview, general kelly declined to walk back comments on democratic congresswoman fredricka wilson who made public the details of the condolence call to the widow of sergeant la david johnson who was killed in the ambush in niger. listen to this. >> it was absolutely depressing to me to see how that was turned into a political event.
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i don't know how anyone could possibly criticize another human being for doing the best he or she can do to express sorrow from the bottom of their hearts. >> do you people to like you have something to apologize for? >> no, never. i will apologize if i need to, but something like this, i stand by my comments. >> congresswoman wilson tweeted saying i stand by what i said. john kelly owes the nation an apology. when he lied about me, he lied to the american public. do you believe it's too late for johnicle tow off john kelly to offer an apology for comments she made many years ago at the new fbi building in florida? >> it's never too late to apologize. he owes congresswoman wilson and the american people an apology for politicizing the issue and attacking her personally.
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by calling her an empty barrel. that was an act of character assassination and it was an unfortunate thing to see that come from a four-star general who was supposed to be the adult in the room in the white house. apparently folk who is work for donald trump engage in behavior that is the lowest common denominator. we have seen that time and again from a variety of people who work out of 1600 pennsylvania avenue. it's sad, wolf, that the white house chief of staff continues to engage in this behavior. fortunately i think those of us here in the capital are going to endeavor to work on issues that the american people care about. to try to bring about a middle class tax cut to cut taxes from small businesses and not be distracted by the charade that is constantly thrown at us from the folks over at the white house. >> congressman from new york, thanks very much for joining us.
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>> thank you, wolf. >> getting new details on the guilty ple of campaign officials including the so-called professor in london. stand by for that. russia's foreign minster dismisses accusations of meddling as endless fantasies and calls for the u.s. to investigate ukraine. we will go to kiev. stand by. new information coming in. parb and want more coverage, guess what? you could apply for a medicare supplement insurance plan whenever you want. no enrollment window. no waiting to apply. that means now may be a great time to shop for an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. medicare doesn't cover everything. and like all standardized medicare supplement insurance plans, these help cover some of what medicare doesn't pay. so don't wait. call now to request your free decision guide. it could help you find the aarp medicare supplement plan that works for you.
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he add this is about paul manafort. concerning manafort, the ukrainian trace should be investigated by ukraine so they can tell what you position they had in the election campaign of the president of the united states. the indictments of him and his campaign. rick gates is linked to the work they did in the ukraine. the former president of the ukraine is a key player in these indictments. tell our viewers why he is so important. >> he is a central part of the indictment against manafort and gates. it talks extensive lie about the nearly a decade working relationship between manafort andian cove itch and the millions that he made through that professional relationship and the regular contact just on a personal and professional
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level that the two maintain during that time. what's really significant is about victor and him being such a huge presence in the professional life of paul manafort is the fact that quite simply put it doesn't get much closer to the kremlin than victor. this was a president who was seen as a hand picked candidate by the kremlin. this man said himself in television interviews that he owes his life to president vladimir putin. when there were protests back in 2014, he was forced to flee the country, he fled to russia reportedly absconding with millions and millions of dollars in ukrainian money he managed to embezzle. he widely regarded with people on different sides of the spectrum as an unsavory and controversial character dogged by allegations of corruption and
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imprisoning his opponents and most seriously even accused of ordering riot police to fire bullets on those pro western demonstrators that i was talking about in 2014. he's a very important character and even beyond the scope of the criminal allegations outlined in that indictment. there are real questions raised as to why the trump campaign would get so involved with someone like manford so deeply connected to the controversial character. >> seen as putin's puppet by so many. live from ukraine. noemt moments from now, the white house set to respond to the indictments and the guilty plea. former officials. you are looking at live pictures as the president dismisses one of those individuals as a liar. stand by. an exclusive report that we will retrace the steps american
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troops took before the deadly ambush in niger. we will go there live.
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in a cnn exclusive senior correspondent damien traveled to the site of the deadly ambush in niger where four u.s. soldiers were killed. she was the first to visit the remote dangerous corner of the world and for the first time seeing the isis linked fighters and hearing from people who witnessed the attack firsthand. >> reporter: in this vast terrain, wooded sections that worry the nigerian soldiers
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most. ideal cover for ambush so they advance on foot. headed back to the site of attack that has thrown this remote border region into a global spotlight. october 4 may have been america first casualties in these lands but not niger. their patrols regularly come under attack. the ground outside ton go ton go is littered with machine gun casings and ask the soldiers we are with if they know they were fired by american or nigerien forces. >> they can't be sure because they said they used similar weapons. we were only given ten minutes on the field in the village. people are terrified and reluctant to talk. we tracked down the village chief uncle and brother and they insist the attackers came from elsewhere. initial reports were that the attack occurred some 10 kilometers outside tongo-tongo.
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they are swearing on the koran that the american and niger yen convoy never stopped here. they drove through the village. then when they hit the outskirts that's when they heard the first gunshots. and signs of the attack every where. that's the school that we are being told was burned down in the attack. single classroom. they have to wrap it up right now because our escorts are quite anxious about spending too much time on scene. but you can see how close it was to the village. they hadn't made it out. weeks after the attack many questions remain and so too does the threat. >> and joining us now live from . did you see many nigerien soldiers and we are told there might be as many as 1,000 troops there.
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are they very visible? >> reporter: at this stage, no, wolf, they are not. and actually the u.s. military tries to generally something of a low profile even when advise and assist teams go out. it's not what you would imagine the way they go out and say i rack or afghanistan with up armor humves and foull battle gear on. it took us about four hours from the point that we drove off the main highway, if you can call it that, to get to the ambush site going through the desert roads. and we didn't really see much of a nigerien presence except for the one that was with us. we had about 70 soldiers, if not more, with us with six heavily armed gun trucks. and that's how the nigeriens generally patrol this area. it is massive.
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and as it goes up against the border with mali. they have come under regular attack. and the nature of the silence they are seeing, especially in the zone has changed within the last two years. it is more from having more of a nature as being more of terrorist in kind, wolf. >> damien doing some courageous reporting from niger. be safe over there. we'll stay in close touch. moments from now the white house set to respond to the indictments guilty plea of former trump campaign officials. we'll have live coverage. stand by.
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accused of obstructing justice to theat the fbinuclear war, and of violating the constion by taking money from foreign governments and threatening to shut down news organizations that report the truth.
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if that isn't a case for impeaching and removing a dangerous president, then what has our government become? i'm tom steyer, and like you, i'm a citizen who knows it's up to us to do something. it's why i'm funding this effort to raise our voices together and demand that elected officials take a stand on impeachment. a republican congress once impeached a president for far less. yet today people in congress and his own administration know that this president is a clear and present danger who's mentally unstable and armed with nuclear weapons. and they do nothing. join us and tell your member of congress that they have a moral responsibility to stop doing what's political and start doing what's right. our country depends on it. all right. here we go.