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tv   Wolf  CNN  January 4, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PST

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i'm wolf writser and it's 1:00 p.m. in washington. from wherever you are watching, thank you very much for joining us. west wing dram a. president trump said to be furious over a new book detailing the chaos in the white house. new revelations and new responses. plus the president's lawyers telling his vired adviser steve bannon to stop talking and the publisher to stop production. this as the white house also bans staff and visitors from using personal cell phones. we will get new information. and fools, that's how president trump is describing those
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criticizing his rhetoric against north korea and now takes credit for north korea and south korea beginning to talk. we start with an unsettled white house reacting to bombshells in a new book new book with friendly senators calling foreign leaders and cracking down on cell phones in the west wing of the white house. our senior is in the briefing room and scheduled to talk in about a half hour and the approximate president's attorneys are fighting back against the book and the author of the book and steve bannon. tell our viewers what they have done. >> they certainly are on the fourth diof the new year. we are seeing the president for the first time trying to get back to business and his immigration agenda. he is meeting with a handful of senators in the roosevelt room and he was asked about steve bannon and the explosive bomb
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shell comments he made in this new book coming out. let's take a look at what the president said. >> any word about steve bannon. >> he called me a great man last night. he changed his tune pretty quick. >> thank you. i don't talk to him. i don't talk to him. that's just a misnomer. thank you. >> the president saying he doesn't talk to his former chief strategist, but just yesterday here in the white house, the press secretary sarah sanders said the president does speak to steve bannon and the last time was early december. that's all the president clearly wanted to say about steve bannon. behind the scenes, the lawyers are saying so much more. sending a cease and desist letter to the publisher of the book called fire and fury in the trump white house. the president's lawyer sent
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this. mr. trump here by demands you immediately cease and desist from any publication or dissemination or book or article or summaries of either of them. and that you issue a full and complete retraction and apology as to all statements made that lack competent support. clearly the president's lawyers are trying to stop publication of the book. most experts say that's not likely, but they are saying that steve bon on violated a confidentiality agreement. that's a bit of a mixed message and the white house is trying to discredit the book saying the revelations are not true and steve bannon violated an agreement. it seems that this will continue to consume this administration even as it tries to get its footing back in 2018. >> you are absolutely right. another development unfolding where you are in the west wing
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of the white house in the briefing room. take us through the new announcement that the white house is banning cell phone use in the west wing. does it include you, the news media or the chief of staff? who is being affected? how is this being enforced? >> this is something just announced earlier this morning and the details are to be worked out. it is all being done. we are told to try to crack down to bring discipline and order over this west wing. the white house chief of staff john kelly said it was going to be implemented next week. all advisers and staffers cannot have personal cell phones and only government-issued cell phones. we do not believe he would reply to reporters or visitors and like the senator who is were here in the west wing earlier today, but of course it's an open question how it would be enforced. behind the scene many staffers
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are not reacting favorably to this. they said they work long hours, sometimes 12 or 14 hours a day and longer and personal cell phones are a way to stay in touch with their family. it's a sign this white house is trying to crack down on leaks and many of them are new explosive books by michael wolf. >> it's not done as a result of national security concerns. you are going to the white house situation room. you can't have a cell phone. this is being done because they are afraid that cell phones can record and take pictures and video. they are afraid of leaks? >> that's our understanding of this. that's normal practice. if you go into a secure facility and even spots at the white house, you have to set your cell phone aside. that happens in buildings across washington. this takes it a step further. even if they were working in local offices, they will not be able to have their personal cell phones with them.
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so the idea here gene instill december here is coming at the same time as the new book is coming ouchlt the white house has not said there is a connection, but it seems like there may be. >> thanks very much and we will stand by for the briefing later this hour. a lot more including the president's state of mind and the agenda and adam schiff is the top democrat on the house intelligence committee. thank you very much for coming in. your committee asked steve bannon to testify. you wanted to come before the house intelligence. >> we wanted him to come before the committee. there are a number of reasons we think he could shed light on a number of key meetings that take place. there is a lot you can tell us. >> your republican colleagues, are they on board? >> i think they are.
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i hope these revelations will not discourage them from falling through. >> you expressed concern in recent weeks about republicans trying to shut down the house intelligence investigation. do you still believe that? >> i do. certainly the push comes from the white house. we know overtly they worked to try to bring their investigation to a premature conclusion. unfortunately a lot of that work on behalf of the white house is being done by the committee. the efforts to go after the department of justice and bob mueller rather than focus on the russia investigation. we see a lot of efforts to distract and deflect in the service of the white house. none the less we have done important investigative work and there are dozens of witnesses we need to the core issue we are investigating.
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russian interference in our election. not unmasking and not the fbi, but russia. >> you believe the chairman is leading that effort to not deal with what you want to deal with other issues to distract? >> we led the unmasking effort into a dead end and no evidence of wrong-doing. that was designed to somehow provide cover for the president's tweet that he was being surveilled by the obama administration. likewise this effort to discredit the fbi and the justice department, bob mueller is a joint republican intel committee and judiciary effort that must have the blessing of the speaker. it will not only be a disservice to the public in terms of getting it to the bottom of the russia involvement, but it will do lasting damage to the department of justice and the fbi. >> let's talk about that controversial june 2016 trump
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tower meeting that some of the president's advisers including donald trump and jared kushner and paul manafort who is the chairman of the trump campaign. steve bannon suggesting it was treasonous and unpatriotic and for them not to notify the fbi about it. >> it was unpatriotic. whether they call it treason, that has a strict legal connotation and i don't know that i would go that far, but it could have been part of a experience that has been the subject of our investigation. what led up to that meeting and what koops after that meeting. we know, for example, prior to that meeting the rugs have made the campaign aware from papadopoulos that they had stolen e-mails and they know that they offered dirt on hillary clinton on the run up to that meeting and they expressed great eagerness and the campaign was disa pointed and the dirt got the meeting.
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we know there after they receive the stolen e-mails from the russians and the russians began publishing them through their own cut outs. there is a lot we know. there is a lot more we need to continue to investigate to determine what level of collusion may have been involved. >>. >> the president's son, donald trump jr. testified. he appeared before your committee behind closed doors. steve bannon said that donald trump jr. would crack like an egg in the course of this inquiry. did he? >> one of the most important questions we asked the president's son is when this became public and this meeting they have denied took place went it became public, what did you discuss with your father? he refused to answer that question. we know about some at least reportedly of the president's involvement in the crafting of that false and misleading statement about what took place.
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if you answer the questions on the basis of a nonexistent attorney-client privilege and we need to follow-up and bring him back with a subpoena to answer the questions. will the majority do so? for the white house for any records of conversations between the president and james comey. we sent two bipartisan letters to myself and the white house demanding that information on both occasions and they refused us. we said if they refused us, they would have to use the process, but we have not been able to get the majority to fall through. >> right now the congressman is leading this investigation on the russia probe with you because devin nunez removed himself from that investigation. is he with you still or are you cooperating? >> we worked together very well, but on these key decisions, do we subpoena the white house and records we asked for that they
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have told us? do we subpoena don and have them come back and tell us? those decisions are made by devin nunez and not made in the interest of our investigation. >> do you have anied about what steve bannon or donald trump jr. will appear? >> i hope we get steve bannon soon. >> what are does that mean? >> in the very near future? >> days or weeks? >> i can't be specific. we will leave it for the witness to say if they come in, but it's certainly our interest and desire to have the majority to bring him in and follow-through to make sure he comes and testifies plainly. >> he also suggested in this new bombshell book that money laundering which is illegal with the russians are basically at the heart of this investigation involving donald trump as a candidate as a businessman with the russians. tell us about that.
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>> it's ironic because i'm discussing my concern for months now. and the fact that we are not doing what we need to do to get to the bottom of that allegation. only to be criticized by breitbart for raising this issue. now you have steve bannon doing it himself. people look at the issue of compromise. they think of a salacious video. from my point of view, if the russians were laundering money through the trump organization or guaranteeing financing for the trump organization, that's far more compromising of this president and our country. >> do you believe they were? >> i don't know, but i think it's negligent given the credibility of these allegations for us not to look into it. frankly it would be an easy thing to find out or refute. it will require a subpoena. >> deutsch bank, for example. has that happened? >> that has not happened. the only subpoenas for bank records where they have shown interest is fusion gps and not deutsch bank's.
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that's a real disservice to the country. >> the firm that commissioned the dossier that got a lot of embarrassing information involving donald trump and the russians. they're also suggesting the op ed in the "new york times" and the cofounders that money laundering is at the heart of all of this. >> i think they have a point. the transcripts of their interview should be released. this is a step that i embrace reluctantly because i think we ought to conduct the investigation and then disclose transcripts, but given how they misrepresented what they said and attempted to attack both him and his firm personally, i think out of fairness, we ought to replace the transcripts. among other things they will show and this is in public record, this sandwich again by the washington free beacon. at the time they published along the lines and doesn't know who was behind the financing of this
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work to begin with when it was their own paper. that research that was carried on later by democratic sources. >> the hillary clinton campaign and they took over. the washington free beacon here in washington. >> yes. >> they're originated with fusion gps the investigation. is that what you are saying? at some point they moved on and the democrats including hillary clinton's campaign took over and spent a lot of money for the purchase. >> yes. both the washington free beacon as well as the clinton campaign had an interest in learning what they could about donald trump and his businesses and business ties and potential money laundering. the question for us is how much of what they produced is true? i wish more focus was spent on that rather than simply attacking christopher steele or gps. let's focus on finding out or proving or disproving what has been alleged.
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>> what's your impression of the president's state of mind right now? >> the reality is what has been revealed in this book isn't surprising to people because it's consistent with what many others have said both in the white house and those that left the white house about the extraordinary dysfunction in the oval office about the president's erratic behavior and in many respects his unfitness for the responsibilities of that job. nothing all that surprising. even though steve bannon said positive things today, he didn't repudiate anything attributed to him in the book or say that's not true or i never said that. it being looks all too true which is a great concern to all of us. >> two of your republican colleagues, two members mark meadows and jim jordan are conservatives. you know them well and they are calling on the attorney general of the united states, jeff
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sessions to resign because they accuse him of losing control of the justice department and this entire investigation. what's your reaction? >> my reaction is that we have seen a concerted effort by the white house and external allies and allies in congress to try to tear at the department of justice with the goal of both discrediting mueller and limiting the scope of what mueller can look at. if they can get rid of jeff sessions and put in a more malleable attorney general who is not recused, they can tell bob mueller they can get rid of rod rosenstein. that to me if the motive is to interfere with bob mueller's investigation and represents a serious form of obstruction of justice and i think it's deeply irresponsible for members of the house to be condoning this effort by the white house to interfere with bob mueller's investigation. >> i think you are confident your investigation is going to
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go on not just for weeks, but months. >> it should if we are serious about it. if we are going to interview the witness who is have relevant evidence and documents, it will take months. whether they are seriously committed to this. the only thing at the moment they are seriously committed to is tearing down the department of justice. >> adam schiff from california, thanks for coming in. we will continue this conversation. up next, i will speak live on steve bannon's comments and money laundering involving the president of the united states and his family. the president taking credit for north and south ka rhea talking and calling critics fools. william cohen is here with me and he will respond. also, the white house briefing moments away from now. you are looking at leave pictures and new accusations surfaced from the explosive new book.
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president trump brushes off krit 1i678 of his war of words and takes credit for the fact that north and south korea are communicating. president trump tweeted this. with all of the failed experts weighing in, does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between north and south korea if i wasn't firm and strong against the north. fools! but talks are a good thing. more with tensions on north korea and important issues, let's bring in the former defense secretary. thanks very much for joining us. >> good to be with you. >> what's your reaction for the president claiming credit to the dimog that emerged for the first time since north and south korea. >> there is credit he can take by sending a very strong cycle that we would intensify sanctions that we were prepared to use.
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i think there is cred that can be given, but by the same token, the goal has been to not go to war and to have some kind of a dialogue which appears to be taking place on a very lower level at this point. we should not see this as a hallelujah moment, but rather understand what kim jong un's goals are and they are to drive a wedge between the united states and south korea. we have to watch that carefully. the president has to be very careful that he doesn't simply start to take this line that he can negotiate a deal with the north koreans without regard to what the u.s. and japan's interest and others were involved. it's a good thing that we are going to talk. they are going to talk. but i think we have to be careful that we don't overestimate. >> that are tweet he did is different than the tweet he had the other day when he was
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speaking about and warning the north korean leader that i too have a nuclear button, but it's a much bigger and more powerful than his and my button works. >> how he responded to what the president is saying. >> wie wish we handled it differently. i don't see anything good that comes from this kind of back and forth. i really don't. it's concerning. >> it's a style i have never seen before, but it's a way of communicating back and north. he is the president and he has chosen to do that. i don't prejudge it. hopefully it has good results. >> the senator from oklahoma. even senator cornyn, the number two republican in the senate said it's a very serious issue and i don't know how anybody'ses are served by escalating that res rick. >> i thought it was childish and unbecoming of the president of
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the united states. i tried to imagine would we ever see a ronald reagan make a statement or a jack kennedy who had something to do with dealing with the russians as did president reagan. it lowers the threshold and the dignity of the office to engage in that rhetoric and for the white house to say he is trying to show he is strong and not reak and will stand up for america, you it stand up for america, but he ought to start standing up for america by going after the russians and what they tried to do. i said this before, but the president has been involved in criticizing black athletes for taking a kneel during the anthem because they are protesting unjust treatment of black men and women being killed. i would hope and he is criticizing, and i want him not to take a kneel to president putin and to stand up and say mr. putin, you tried to interfere with our system and you are undermining our
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democracy and i will stand up to you and be critical and support the investigation that is under way to see what you have done and tried to do and you may try to do in 2018. that's what i top the see. that's how i think he should act as president. >> why doesn't he do that? >> there was a reason why he could criticize every ally we have in the british to the chancellor of german tow the prime minister of australia to the president of south korea. not a word towards putin. it's really quite incredible that that is taking place. it raises the spectrum. i was on this program with you at the beginning of last year. and i said there are three things that the president needed to do. he had to disclose what you own and what you owe and to whom you owe it. until they are answered, there will be the issues hanging over the presidency. that's what bob mueller is looking at in terms of were
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there any financial transactions that we have been concerned about and know about whether anyone can exercise to control the united states? those are really serious issues and what's troubling to me is that members of my party in the house seem determined to undermine that investigation. frankly it's disappointing to say we were elected to serve the american people. to search for the truth. anyone who is trying to obstruct that search for the truth certainly is not worthy of holing that high office. i would open that the republicans and the democrats would say let's put the partisanship aside. did they try to impact our elections? our community said so unanimo unanimously and yet we have a president and the administration who denies who refuses to come
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out and say that, it raises suspicions. >> when you say suspicious, what specifically are you concerned about? some said the russians have something on him. they may. >> precisely. that's what bob mueller is looking at. what do they have if anything? shouldn't republicans be concerned about whether or not president putin is able to exert influence over our democratic system to undermine it and compromise it and to say it's fake and rig and participate in that and why would any member of congress want to be part of trying to shut that investigation down? look for the truth and the truth whatever it is, make it factual, not fictional and or bannon's book. show me the facts. >> you speak on this sensitive issue with unique perspective. many years ago, you were a young republican congressman from the state of maine.
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>> something happened even before that investigation took place. during the course of that investigation, it turned out that we had learned that president nixon tried to influence the trial of daniel elsburg and by going to the presiding judge on that that was an outrageous act to try to influence the system. i remember the time they became president ford that said not to
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influence the judicial system. i reacted negatively to that. i was very vocal at the time. whenever you have someone trying to jeopardize the system, that needs to be condemned. >> you see that happening? >> when i see what is taking place with the attacks on bob mueller and i see trying to shut down and destroy the attempt to bring this to the surface, i'm concerned about it. if they are trying to use the office to shut down the investigation, why are they complicit? i want them to stand up and they took an oath to defend the country. i want them to defend it against all enemies, domestic and international and foreign and stand up and say find out what's
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the truth here. once we understand the truth, the rest of this will go away. president trump can serve out his term without this cloud hanging over him and the administration. frankly it's dangerous to us because our allies don't know exactly what they can believe in. we don't have a consistent policy and they are taking place on a daily basis. it's a danger on our country if we don't settle downright now. it looks like a house of shards. all of these pieces cutting against the grain of governance in this country. it has to stop. members of congress ought to say let's get the facts and we will act responsibly. >> do you think your fellow republicans -- you are still a republican even though you served in a democratic administration and consider yourself a republican. will they respond? >> i don't know. what i have seen take place in the house, i doubt it. i would like to speak to the
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american people, to the people who support president trump and say he has brought something that they needed attention to their particular ills in terms of adversities they have to confront. we are americans and the one thing they have to hold on to is central on our democratic system as the rule of law. i don't want to see the rule of law in any way bent or shaped that tries to bring about an out come that is for partisan or political purposes. i want the rule of law to prevail. the law of rule. that's what i fear may be taking place. >> thanks very much. very blunt assessment from you. the lawyers demanding the publisher stop the book from going out along with an apology and a retraction. can the president do that? we have legal answers coming up. cnn reports frustration after
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staff is banned from using personal cell phones. did the president order this out of frustrations. live pictures from the white house briefing room. the press secretary will be answering questions fairly soon. we will have live coverage. why are you checking your credit score? you don't want to live with mom and dad forever, do you? i'm making smoothies! how do i check my credit score? credit karma. don't worry, it's free. credit karma. give yourself some credit.
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president trump is now fighting to release the
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bombshell of his book that portrays his first year in office as aimless and dysfunctional. his team sent a cease and desist letter to the publisher of the book entitled fire and fury. they are investigating defamation of president trump and his family as well as an invasion of privacy. steve bannon is quoted among other things to say that donald trump and jared kushner and the president's son in law that they are both treasonous and unpatriotic. they have lots of questions about that and a lot more of the press briefing scheduled to begin shortly. we will have live coverage of that as you know. we stand by if are that and let's bring in the panel. the political reporter for "the washington post." andrew philipps is with us and analyst and prosecutor laura koeds as well as the chief political analyst gloria borger.
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you are our own legal analyst. can the president really stop the author of this new book from distributing the book and releasing it? >> we hopes to, but he is going to fail on more than one ground. he has two courses of action. he is trying to say it's disparaging what has been said and he doesn't like what has been said. that's the standard. it has to be what was published was knowingly false or made in reckless disregard for the truth. the opinion cannot be a basis for a defamatory action. he has a confidential disclosure with steve bannon. >> explain what that suggests. >> are you cannot reveal anything you learned while in my employment. that's the crux of it. maybe michael wolf never had to
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sign it. >> steve bannon did sign it. >> however, courts are really, really reluctant to ever enforce a contract that is against public policy and transparency is in the public policy to have that administration. and you have public figures for the president of the united states. and based on the fact that he doesn't like that it was disparaging. if it doesn't contain classified information, this is an issue of preference and public policy and we are not going to enforce it. >> it's ex-policeit. >> it is and this is trump's mo. always to threaten legal action and sometimes they pull the trigger on it and sometimes they don't. but the reason he is doing it is they are very well aware of how explosive toous you're word, this is. it's eye popping. i think that they could the
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damage this does to the president and the administration. to the way they conduct business inside this white house and gives a lot of ammunition to his opponents. >> amidst all of this, richard burr, the senator from north carolina and the intelligence committee said he doesn't see the need for the commito to question steve bannon and the chief strategist. adam schiff said they want steve bannon to testify he has information that could be used. >> it's still an open question what steve bannon knows. this is one of the rare splits i should say on the intelligence committee leading congress's investigation between the top republican and top democrat. i don't know how they will get through that. richard burr is the chairman. multiultimately it's an open
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question what steve bannon knows. he was not on the campaign when donald trump jr. held the meeting in russia. he may have his own opinion about it that he shared, but it's not clear whether he was involved as reporting comes out about mueller's investigation. another parallel investigation into this. we haven't heart steve bannon's name. >> hoar suggests money laundering is a major problem which is illegal especially doing it with russians and suggesting that the meeting at trump tower was treasonous. that raises questions that committee members want answers to. >> the point is and you are right that he joined this administration after the trump tower meeting. a couple of months. we also know the context of all of this which is that steve bannon hates jared kushner. president. end of story. he is going to say a lot of
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stuff about jared that jared is clearly going to dispute. we know this from our own reporting. there is a question in today's excerpt, for example, about how involved jared was in the firing in pushing trump to fire comey. we know from our reporting that the jared kushner camp said he just seeded to it and he was not intimately involved. steve bannon said no, he's the driver of this decision which bannon himself says on the worst decision the president has made. >> remember the fact that steve bannon joined late in the game is not going to immunize him from mueller's investigation. george papadopoulos joined late in the game and he has a guilty plea on the record and is somebody who was not going to be enough. the question remains what he knew and when he knew it. mueller will look and he may already look.
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>> does he have firsthand knowledge. the trump tower meeting, unless he spoke with people about it after the fact two months later. we don't know that. >> everybody stand by. there are more developments unfolding. we are standing by for the white house press briefing. it's about to begin. much more coming up after this.
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we are just getting in new details about russia-related document that is the trump organization in new york has turned over to the special counsel robert mueller's team and sources say the documents include a range of events, conversations and meetings for president trump's real estate business. let's go to the money correspondent who is joining us from new york. fill us in on the details and what else are you learn something. >> the request focuses on the time period between 2015 when trump announces candidacy and the inauguration. the touch points and the meetings and e-mails between russians and anyone involved in the trump campaign. things like a speech that don
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jr. that the ambassador was present for. and although we don't see any requests for prior business deals and this is very important against the backdrop of these calls to investigate potential money laundering and to look at his prior deals, it doesn't seem like the requests are focused just yet. it's important to point out they can go to other courses and my colleague pam, evan, and shimon reported that mueller's team that the fbi specifically was looking at prior business deals and they were tapping third party sources to take a look at
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those and from prosecutor's mind set, they may want to understand the relationships to understand the foundation for possible collusion. wolf? >> thanks very much. we get more from the panel and are looking within the in irrelevant circle, jared kushner, who know what about firing comey. here we have evidence of them looking at the inner circle of trump's business and how they operate, which suggests investigators see a reason to at least look into whether there is a link between the two. that's significant. >> laura. >> if you are trying to understand if you are a prosecutor what would make you vulnerable to having someone say we'd like to interact with you for collusion. so you follow the money trail to figure out what is weaknesses
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and makes them vulnerable. so these types of documents would be the type of information that lead them to conclude whether there was a vulnerability or open door or invitation. >> suggests also, gloria, and i think you'll agree, this investigation is continuing. >> right. >> doesn't seem to be wrapping up. >> well, it is, i think it is continuing. and i think the notion of sort of following the money is very important. and it also plays, you know, into the michael wolff book. he maintenankes the point, whic agree with, which is that the trump team never thought they were going to win so they continued to do their business outreach. we know from the letter of intent from trump tower moscow, which went no where and it was a failure, but they were still work on the possibility of doing some more business in russia. so i think that this would be something that would be likely for the special counsel to look at. >> all right. everybody stand by. we are also awaiting the starting of the press briefing
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over at the white house about to hear from sarah sanders the white house press secretary. she will be answering questions. a lot of questions, no doubt about the new bomb shell book that's taking readers behind the scenes of the trump presidency. stand by with us. cannot live without it.
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