tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN February 20, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
indicted 13 russians in connection with the attack on the 2016 election, president trump has been tweeting. tweeting about himself, tweeting about nascar, about oprah winfrey, tweeting about everything but the actual threat of russian meddling itself and what to do about it. he's also tweeted a whole lot of lies. tweeted about how the indictment clears him and his campaign, it doesn't. he's tweeted how it says russian meddling did not affect the election's outcome, the indictment says nothing about that. he says about the muddling, when he's even admitting there was any, that it wasn't really about getting him elected. the intelligence community says it mostly was. and the mueller indictment dos too. the president has suggested if it were not for the fbi investigating russia, last week's school shooting might have been prevented. four funerals were held today. having suggested at times there wasn't any russian meddling, the president has blamed former president obama for not doing enough to stop it. in short, he's made the acts of information warfare against american democracy by this
country's chief nuclear adversary about anything but that real and ongoing threat. after evil revolution, making bit exonerating himself and blaming others, he's taken things further and his message is being parroted by press secretary sarah sanders. >> he has been tougher on russia in the first year than obama was in eight years combined. >> tougher than obama in eight years. on russia. her remarks echoing a presidential tweet. 80 have been much tougher on russia than obama, look at the facts, total fake news." it always seems to come back to his predecessors or hillary clinton. later we'll hear from a former director of the cia and nsa says about the president's blame. right now do what the president suggests, let's look at the facts. the obama administration began with that famous attempt to reset the u.s./russia relationship, which quickly soured for a variety of reasons, and certainly included a number of missteps on the part of the
obama administration. plenty of people argue obama underestimated russia and didn't do enough to thwart them. it is a valid argument. the russian efforts to interfere with the electoral process did not begin until 2014, according to the did you want of justice, and increased with the run-up to the 2016 campaign. while the response to that was also far from perfect, and you could argue it was insufficient, president obama did, in fact, take action. we and others have reported on this extensively. the intelligence community reaching a consensus that russians were interfering in the election by the summer of 2016 to benefit candidate trump. the president confronting vladimir putin about it at the g-20 summit in september, letting putin know we were aware of the attacks but not trump trumpeting the threat publicly because ironically enough candidate trump had begun suggesting if he lost, the election was rigged against him, so president obama kept quieter than perhaps he should have out of concern he'd affect the outcome. today president trump returned the favor with these tweets m
misrepresenting something president obama said about rigging elections. quoting president obama the president tweeted, there's no serious person how the there who would suggest somehow you could even rig america's elections, there's no evidence that has happened in the past or that it will happen this time, and so i'd invite mr. trump to stop whining and make his case to get votes." the second tweet, the president obama quote just before election, he thought crooked hillary was going to win and he didn't want to rock the boat. when i easily won the electoral college, the whole game changed and the russian excuse became the narrative of the dems. keeping them honest, president obama was not talking about russia in that statement, he was scolding can't date trump for suggesting the democrats or others in this country might be rigging the election against him. also in september of 2016, top intelligence officials briefed republican and democratic congressional leaders but met resistant from mitch mcconnell, perhaps for partisan reasons, perhaps simply because he like president obama did not want to
risk interfering with the will of the voters. in addition, those same officials briefed president-elect trump on what the russians did. as a parting shot, perhaps, president obama ordered the closing of two russian diplomatic compounds and the expulsion of russian personnel. that's what president obama did. you can argue it was not enough. as for president trump, he's spent nearly every day since his inauguration downplaying the threat. there have been to the best of our knowledge no cabinet-level meetings on russian meddling nor specific presidential marching orders to the people still fighting the ongoing threat. >> has the president directed you and your agency to take specification actions to confront and blunt russian influence activities that are ongoing? >> we're taking a lot of specific efforts to blunt -- >> directed by the president? >> not as specifically directed by the president. >> that's fbi director christopher wray, president trump's hand-picked fbi director. here's the president a few months ago talking about his
encounter with vladimir putin on russian meddling. "every time he sees me he says, i didn't do that, and i believe, i really believe that when he tells me that, he means it." the president walked that back saying he only believes that putin believes it. still, the instances are vanishingly rare of this president simply saying what his own intelligence community says, that russia interfered in the last election, and is still at it now. which is strange when you consider how much weight the president, and before that candidate trump, put on naming your adversary. >> to solve a problem, you have to be able to state what the problem is or at least say the name. the name is there. it's radical islamic terror. we have a president that refuses to use the term. another event happens, i keep saying, i wonder if he's going to say it this time? and he doesn't say it. he won't say it. he won't say it. he doesn't want to talk about it. he doesn't want to mention the term. he doesn't want to use the term. we have a leader that doesn't even want to discuss the name of the problem.
and you can't solve a problem if you refuse to talk about what the problem is. anyone who will not name our enemy is not fit to lead our country. >> words to remember. joining me now is former pentagon press secretary and state department spokesman during the obama administration, admiral john kirby. david gergen, former individual tore four presidents. you see sarah sanders trying to clean up the president's tweet, foremost his attempt to use the florida massacre to degrade the fbi's participation in the russia probe. any excuse, any valid explanation for that? >> no. none. none that we've heard of, anyway. i thought a cnn viewer put it well this weekend, anderson. our high schoolers are looking like leaders, and our leaders are looking like high schoolers. we're an increasing threat to our democracy because the president, the white house, and the congress have not tried to
mobilize the forces of the u.s. government and state and local governments to stop this obvious threat to our new election, which is just seven months away. the lead story in the new york times today is how bots jumped on these stories over the weekend and put out a variety of stories drawing upon extreme views and trying to pit us against each other as a people. they are succeeding at that. this is a russian-led exercise. and there's no excuse that i can think of that -- which would discourage the u.s. government from doing more. every government i've been involved with, which goes back a long way, this would have been a huge warning to the workings of our democracy and they would have put every resource possible to stop the russians from dividing us as a people and essentially eroding a trust in the country and institutions. >> admiral kirby, according to the reporting, the president,
his nelgtds briefers, don't want to bring up russia because they think by bringing it up, they will offend him because he takes everything personally, he thinks it's all an attempt to raise doubts about the legitimacy of his election. >> yeah, he's making it all about himself. that's the last thing. i defer to mr. gergen given, who has more white house experience than, you but it's the last thing you want your president and commander in chief to do, take things personally. he's got to look after the welfare of the country. i'm reading harry truman's memoirs. i read where he says, you can't defend the country, you can't protect american citizens, if you're disengaging and ignoring the world. he seems to be willing to ignore this aspect of the world around him, which is that russia is an adversary. as i watched your lead-in, which was excellent, i kept wondering has he read his own national security strategy? it lays it all out there, what russia's really up to. just today, the attorney general announced that he's standing up a task force to go look at cyber security for the midterm
elections. i sure as hell hope that they've been doing something before today. because this seems like just a pr stunt. i sure hope they've been doing a lot more work already to try to get ahead of this. because david's right, the russians are not going to quit, they're very good at this, and we can expect them to be fully committed to it going forward. >> david, the idea that the obama administration should have done more, you know, it's certainly a valid point. former vice president biden said flatly it was congressional republicans who blocked a bipartisan statement condemning russian interference before the election and essentially president obama's hands were tied. but it would have looked like a partisan announcement without republicans on board. yet president trump doesn't acknowledge that at all. >> i agree. and i think you're absolutely right, that it's very arguable, in fact, i think in retrospect the obama administration did not do enough to stop the russians. starting right there when they went into ukraine. but especially in these elections now, which has this cloud over these past elections. but that is so -- you know,
there's so much looking in the rear-view mirror as opposed to looking at what's ahead. what's ahead is we have a big national election with huge stakes coming up in seven months. and if, if the republicans carry the house, there is going to be a lot of speculation on the democratic side that this was fake news and the russians really determined the outcome. which is not where we want to be. and of course if the democrats win, then the republicans are going to claim it's cnn and other fake news, mainstream organizations that have cost them the house. that is an extraordinarily divisive way to approach an election when the country just seems to be under such pressure and people are so unhappy and so disgusted with what they're seeing. >> admiral kirby, when the sitting president of the united states tries to blame his predecessor for something his campaign is under investigation for, when he publicly undermines via twitter his own national security adviser on russia and the white house brushes off the president's tweet as just an
addendum, what message does that send to the world? >> it's reinforcing to foreign leaders what they've already come to believe about this administration, that america does not -- is not interested in leading. not interested in engaging. that we have a chaotic and unrealistic foreign policy agenda, if you can even call it an agenda. and that they're going to have to go on their own and not count on american leadership going forward. that's really a sad statement when you consider that for 70 years, we led the international world order that we have enjoyed, the multi-lateral institutions that have helped try to move progress forward. we're just pulling ourselves out of that we're abdicating our leadership. i think when he does what he's been doing the last few days, it just reinforces for foreign leaders they can't count on us. >> admiral kirby, you were in the obama administration. the idea that the trump administration has done more to confront russia to you, does that pass the smell test? >> no, it doesn't. i agree with david. it's fair to do the forensics and look back and see if
president obama could have done more in those waning months. fair questions. when you look at the whole sum of what he did, everything that trump is doing now, and it ain't much, builds on what president obama started. in 2014, it was president obama w who, who at wales pushed for 2% defense spending for nato. 2014 at the crimea annexation and invasion, it was president obama who put in place a series of military moves that we're still doing today. more troops on the continent, more robust training to try to pushback on president putin. you mentioned things he did in the lead-up to the election when we found out they were election meddling, he slapped more sanctions on russia, in addition to the sanctions he slapped on after ukraine. by the way, it was the white house push for sanctions, not today, which is congress pushing for them and the white house not implementing them. yes, he was very robust and there's very little that trump has done that hasn't been just building on what president obama started. >> admiral kirby, david gergen, thank you.
the aim to paint the parkland students as fbi dupes and crisis helpers. we're keeping them honest. the student who watched as gun control legislation was defeated in florida. >> someone with an assault rifle here in florida, the death is going to be on them, it's going to be their fault that those people are dead. ♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable after just 4 months, ...
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survivors of the parkland school shooting have been standing up and demanding action to prevent the next mass killing. they've gotten a bitter reminder activism is neither easy nor simple. in forecast, the statehouse rejected a ban on ar-15 style weapons and large-capacity magazines. >> the next deaths of someone with an assault rifle here in florida is going to be on them. it's going to be on them and it's going to be their fault that those people are dead. >> cheryl joins us along with classmate spencer blum. cheryl, i know you were in the gallery when the florida house voted down the motion to take up the ban on assault weapons. what went through your mind when you heard that? >> well -- i wasn't surprised. it wasn't -- it didn't come as a shock to me.
it was just so heartbreaking to see how many names were up there, especially after it was my school, you know. and just seeing the amount of people who had no concern. it seemed almost heartless how they just immediately pushed the button to say no. and it was just -- i knew that it wasn't going to go through, but i guess i didn't expect how many people didn't want safety with guns. >> spencer, the final vote wasn't even close, 36-71. i'm wondering what message do you think that sends to those like yourself affected last week? >> you know, personally, i think that the people who are our representatives, we elected them to represent us in this state legislature.
and that's how they want to represent us, the people who just went through a school shooting and survived a school shooting? that's unacceptable. that's not representing us. we need to get new representatives who will represent us and who share the same views that we do. >> cheryl, to those who voted against the motion, i guess, what would you want to say to them, if you could? >> the next death of someone with an ar-15 is going to be on you. >> you really believe that? >> yes. i do believe it. because they had a chance to stop it today. if there is another mass shooting, it's going to be their fault. if there is another mass shooting here in florida, it's going to be their fault. because they had a chance today. they had a chance to stop it. and they threw that chance away. >> spencer, i understand florida's governor, rick scott, announced at a roundtable he's holding that he plans to put forth a gun policy proposal on friday, in his words, to move
the needle forward. he did this after listening to school safety leaders and parkland students. it's not clear what he actually means by moving the needle forward. i'm wondering if you trust the governor to do anything significant in addressing gun control? >> not in the slightest. all politicians said that, we're going to do something about this. they said it after sandy hook. oh, this is such a tragedy. never again. las vegas, oh my god, so horrible. but after all these tragedies that all had an ar-15, now it's our school. and they really cared and really wanted to do something, they had their chance. and today was another chance. and their chance is gone. it shows that they don't care about us. >> cheryl, have you thought about what you plan to do now in terms of activism? obviously seeing this today, seeing it up close, i know you said you didn't expect it to go
through. but the sheer numbers of votes against it. does it make you less -- does it make you not want to continue activism? does it make you more determined? what happens now? >> it made me so much more determined. to become a true activist. i'm going to do everything in my power to get those around me to vote correctly. vote the people who don't represent us out of office. >> it sounds like what happened at your school has sort of changed your perspective or changed perhaps the trajectory of your career what you're thinking about for your life. do you think it's fair to say that? >> yes. definitely. i wanted to be an artist up until now. but now i'm thinking of going into politics, which is something i never thought i would do, up until two weeks ago. >> cheryl and spencer, i know it's been a long couple of days for you, i appreciate your time tonight, thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. just ahead, speaking of kids
♪ like i've never seen before. ♪ ♪ xfinity x1, yeah, i always know the scor♪. ♪ triple corks in 4k... lookin' so sick. ♪ ♪ stream live on every screen, every win, every trick. ♪ ♪ 2000 hours of coverage, get your mind blown. ♪ 50 olympic channels, yup, you're in the zone. ♪ ♪ and if there's something that you want to see, ♪ pick up that voice remote and just say "show me..." ♪ experience nbcuniversal's coverage of the olympic winter games like never before with xfinity. proud partner of team usa. there were four more funerals in florida today. four funerals of children, students from marjory stoneman douglas high school killed in
last week's shooting. carol lock ran, 14 years old. gina montalto, 14. carmen sentra, 16. peter wang, 15. the u.s. army is awarding heroism medals to peter wang and two other victims, elana petty and marty dueque, in the rotc. west point says it will posthumously offer acceptance into a future class for peter wang, something his family says was a lifelong dream. this while students from the school were bussing to the state capitol, tallahassee, for the gun control vote. the "florida sun sentinel" says many of the kids went straight to the buss from the funerals. something else has been happening as these kids bury their friends, sick conspiracy theories cropping up. this is one of them, an aide to a florida state representative e-mailed out a picture of a cnn interview with students with "the tampa bay times" washington bureau chief who tweeted it out.
the aide wrote, from his state e-mail account no less, "both kids in the picture are not students here, but actors that travel to various crises when they happen." the aide is named benjamin kelly. his boss is republican sean harrison, who had kelly fired immediately after. the right thing to do, certainly. the whole idea of crisis actors is an accusation we've seen pop up time and time again from alt-right and far-right conservative and conspiracy websites. the fact that what would possess benjamin kelly to say that in the first place is stunning. where he would get such a ridiculous idea. as i said, the reality is most recently from the sandy hook shootings. the whole sick crisis actors business came up there as well. and just as a reminder, 20 young children lost their lives there. first graders and six adults. to be clear, david hoag and emma gonzalez are not actors, they are students who lived through the parkland school attack and are now empowered to fight for
change. david has been on cnn has been critical of the president, but he's also said this. >> my message to lawmakers in congress is, please, take action. ideas are great. ideas are wonderful. they help you get reelected and everything. but what's more important is actual action and pertinent action that results in saving thousands of children's lives. please take action. >> that was way too much, it seems, for a right-wing website called gateway public did it. "why would the child of an fbi agent be used as a pawn for anti-trump rhetoric and antigun legislation because the fbi is only looking to curb your constitutional rights and increase their power. not to be outdone, another extremist website, true pundit, "outspoken trump-hating school survivor, son of fbi agent, msm helps prop up incompetent bureau." msm is us, mainstream media. why we'd want to prop up the fbi
is not exactly clear. and for the record, i never got my mainstream media memo to do it. true pundit said this about 17-year-old david hoag. if he knew the shooter would snap, promise he could have told his father about it, oh but wait, his father was in the fbi, bite not have mattered, that's the funny thing about the limelight, often the light can crash down on your head. charming but not actually the end. someone calling themselves thomas paine retweeted the article and this part's important, because while we'd normally be reluctant to give these conspiracy theories any oxygen at all, it's what happened next that makes it news worthy. the person who hit the "like" button on the thomas paine tweet was the president's son, don jr. we'd love to talk to don jr. about why he did that, why he is by extension attacking these kids who buried their friends. but it turns out he's in india promoting his father's real estate empire. no don jr. tonight. but david hoag and his father
kevin, who was in the fbi, could make time to talk about it. appreciate you being with us. david, first of all, that donald trump jr. is liking tweets espousing a conspiracy theory involving you and your dad, i'm won d wondering what goes through your mind? >> i'm so sorry these people have lost their faith in america. i know i certainly haven't. the fact that these people refuse to believe that something like this could happen is something that all of us don't want to believe, but the sad truth is that it is. these people saying this is absolutely disturbing. and i'm not an actor in any sense, way, shape or form. i'm the son of a former fbi agent, and that is true. but as such, it is also true that i went -- that i go to stoneman douglas high school. and i was a witness to this. i'm not a crisis actor. i'm somebody that had to witness this and live through this. i continue to have to do that. but i've also -- it's just -- it's unbelievable to me that these people are even saying
this. the fact that donald trump jr. liked that post is disgusting to me. but it's also false in terms of the sense that these people keep saying that i'm anti-second amendment. i'm not. i would love -- i want every american to be able to own a gun that has a mentally stable mind, a person that has a credible background, that doesn't have any previous major convictions, somebody that's not going to go out and commit these atrocities. those are the people at fault here. i do not want to take away the constitutional rights of american citizens, in the same way that withful freedom of spe you can't say something that causes direct danger, i want that to be the same way. you can't say there's a fire in a crowded movie theater, i want it to be the same way with the second amendment. people can use the second amendment, we just want safety checks in place to make sure insane people don't get guns. >> i hesitate, but i want you to respond. i want to read you part of
another tweet donald trump jr. liked. "could it be this student is running cover for his dad who works as an fbi agent in the miami field office, which botched the tracking down the man behind the valentine day massacre? just wondering, just connecting some dots jacksonville the president's son liked that. i want to give you a chance to respond to that sort of thing. >> the fact that these people are being critical of me as a victim -- as a witness and personally as a victim to this incident, having to witness this and live through it again and again -- it's unbelievable. and the fact that some of the students at stoneman douglas high school are showing more maturity and political action than many of our elected officials is a testament to how disgusting and broken our political system is right now in america. we're trying to fix that because unlike those people that are tweeting that stuff about me and unlike the people that are tweeting the stuff about my dad, i haven't lost hope in america. and my dad certainly hasn't either. because i know that we are all -- that the people at the fbi are hard workers.
and i acknowledge that my dad was a former agent. i'm not acting on anybody's behalf, i think it's hilarious that people think -- my dad literally walks the dog every day and talks about that. half the time i come home finding him he's fallen asleep snuggling my dog, watching netflix. >> i don't know how they believe such a thing. my career has been perfect. i've gone through, a navy pilot, then i was an elementary schoolteacher, california credential. i got into the fbi, was very proud of it, and still am. the fbi has provided me a chance to go to southeast asia with these trips where we would teach other countries, bangladesh, all over southeast asia and the philippines, cambodia, crime scene management courses. come back, worked in major cases. one of the tweets, something that went through here, i saw that it claimed that -- sorry. it claimed that i was involved
with something. there's no way. i don't know why they would say that. >> kevin, i'm wondering what you think of your son's activism. he's incredibly well spoken. i know he's a student journalist at the school. he recorded interviews with some of his fellow students, a girl named isabel, while they were in hiding, which i saw, which i just thought showed incredible presence of mind and somebody who is always looking for future journalists, he seems to have that as a possible career ahead. i'm wondering what you think of your son getting involved in this way? >> well, david's always been someone to learn at his own time, pace, and take over the situation and move out and really company good things with it. i bought him a nikon camera when he was younger, hoping he wouldn't break it, and he never did break it. that's a piece of responsibility. he's learning to deal with responsibility. he's carried that through. he's very successful with anything he's chosen to do and he's driven. he's much more well-spoken than i am.
you know, there's nothing significant other than us ribbing each other all the time. >> yeah, i just think that i have to take this time because our politicians won't. it's advertise gusting the fact that so many people think it's true. it's sad people have lost that much faith in america. i support the second amendment in the same way that i support the freedom of speech. i don't want people putting in a clear and present danger involving the second amendment. we have a right to live just like we have a right to bear arms. >> david, kevin hoag, i'm sorry you're coming under attack in this way and i wish you the best, thank you. >> i'm not worried about it, they can bring it on, it's a joke. they want to ask questions, i don't think they did. >> thank you both. tomorrow night the students of stoneman douglas speak out in the live cnn town hall, "stand up" hosted by jake taper tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. eastern. now that there have been mutt peel indictments who are these unwitting americans whom russian trolls allegedly
targeted during the 2016 campaign? cnn's drew griffin went looking for answers. >> b.s. and please, please report that. i don't believe that. that's bull [ bleep ]. smile dad. i take medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. but they might not be enough to protect my heart. adding bayer aspirin can further reduce the risk of another heart attack. because my second chance matters. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. bundle and save big,
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americans to take part in election hearing including supporting the candidacy of donald trump. cnn correspondent drew griffin went looking for some of those americans and here's what he found. >> b.s. >> reporter: she may be one of the unwitting americans, trump supporters who helped the russian internet trolls infiltrate u.s. communities by spreading russian-made messages without knowing it. but 34 ren goldfarb, who still runs the team trump broward facebook page, thinks that's all b.s. right down to the timing of when robert mueller decided to release his indictments. >> i think it's a cover-up. that's my opinion. they're covering up the blunder on the shooting that was done at the high school. >> reporter: one group the russians operated under was called "being patriotic," calling themselves an online community. they were actually russian internet trolls, according to the fbi, trying to direct unwitting americans to holding rallies, posting russian-made
anti-hillary clinton messages, telling them what to print on homemade signs. according to the indictment the russians under the online name "being patriotic" encouraged trump supporters to stage a flash mob on august 20th and the team trump broward group responded. lauren goldfarb posted the information for the ft. lauderdale flash mob on the facebook page she still runs. cochair of the team trump broward, dolly return, was there holding a crooked hillary sign. dolly wouldn't talk to cnn. her husband told us by phone, we are disgusting and not to bother them. goldfarb told us we are fake news, part of the cover-up. what part in this instance is a cover-up? are you saying that's not true or what? >> the russians? i don't care if they were involved or not. that's -- that to me is the least important thing. >> but they were involved with you. did you guys know that? >> they weren't involved with us. you know, just make sure that you report it correctly. that, you know -- >> you guys were involved with
"we'll patriotic"? >> very, very patriotic -- >> "being patriotic," the group that contacted and helped organize some of these activities that you posted on your own facebook account. >> those were legitimate. >> those were russians. >> they were not russians. i don't go with the russians. >> that group was russian. >> i have nothing to do with the russians. >> apparently you did. >> no. >> reporter: even though the indictment says the russians organized the rally, ms. goldfarb says she never communicated with any russians, and no one at any of her events were anything but americans for trump. the russians pretending to be trump organizers also reached out to harry miller in boynton beach, florida, paying him to build a cage large enough to hold an actress depicting clinton in prison uniform. he did just that. appearing at rallies. friday, miller, who now lives in pennsylvania, tweeted, "this is the cage the russians paid for." by phone he says he learned about his unwitting involvement from the fbi.
now believes it was russians who called him on the phone, paid him between $500 to $1,000 to build his cage. >> how could you be embarrassed? they had that beautiful website. very supportive of the candidate. there was nothing, nothing at all, to lend you to think that it's anything other than people trying to support a candidate. >> reporter: the russians weren't just recruiting unwitting trump supporters. as cnn reported last october, a group calling itself "black fist" turned out to be russians trying to infiltrate black communities and seed social unrest. other groups were encouraged by russian internet trolls to hold protests against police, for and against immigrants, sometimes encouraging both at the same location, to increase the possibility of violence. the indictment also reveals this post-election protest outside new york's trump tower was organized by russians on
facebook. it grew so large, even cnn covered it. michael white, one of the original occupy wall street organizers, says he believes he was contacted by russian troll in may of 2016. he worries about the long-term effects. >> if it is true that a russian-created activist group is indistinguishable from an american-created activist group, that will make -- that will have negative impacts on our ability to create social movements that are positive that actually benefit ourselves and not some foreign power. >> people will always be wondering, is this a real event? >> right. i think that may have been part of the goal of the russian thing. >> reporter: to goldfarb, there is no russian thing, it is all as she repeatedly told us b.s. >> b.s. and please, please report that. i don't believe that. that's bullshit. i know all the people that were with me, they were at my meetings, they're all trump supporters, okay? >> but did you realize that you
guys were in communication electronically with russians? >> not me. not me. >> you were posting stuff -- >> hillary, hillary clinton was. and so was all her bandits. >> some of the stuff that you -- you were in charge of the facebook account, right? you were posting and reposting almost word for word the information that was coming out of this internet research agency -- >> no, bye. >> you don't believe that? >> nope. it's bullshit. thank you. >> so clearly she does not believe the russians were involved, as the department of justice says they were. the guy who built the hillary clinton cage, he does. >> absolutely. he spent five to six hours with the fbi, he told us. he's convinced it was russians now that he was talking to on the phone. not trump people. he actually told me the accent sounded muslim to him, whatever that is. that's what he said. and he applauded what he believed at first were these first-generation immigrants supporting trump.
he was fooled, anderson, no doubt about it. >> he still supports the president, obviously? >> he does. but not as enthusiastically as you might assume. he tempered his comments on the phone saying he likes how trump has restructured the economy. he struggled to support some of the hostile comments the president keeps making. but explained to me that, he says, is how blue collar america talks. and anderson, you and i don't understand that. >> that's what he's saying, all right. thanks very much. with me, retired cia chief of russian operations, cnn national security analyst steve hall. these 13 russian individuals may have been name the in the department of justice's indictment but we know russian interference doesn't end with them. there's russian bots still pushing divisive hash tags, accounts on social media, even now. >> yeah, anderson. it's as it always has been a multi-pronged attack. now that we're learning more thanks to the work being done by doj and mueller's team and others, we're seeing exactly how deep this goes. 13 people actually dispatched to come to the united states.
this is not a virtual thing that is done online. for context, imagine that we're -- this is pre-world war ii and the president of the united states finds out a bunch of germans came to the united states to try to find out information about what was going on here, our infrastructure, how to make us fight with each other. would fdr have said, what was my predecessor doing about this? a lot of people say active war is too strong and it's too hyperbottic. i'm not sure that it is. this is foreign agents dispatched to this country to try to, i think in an act of at least hostility, if not war, weaken our democracy. that's really serious stuff that needs to be done -- more needs to be done. i'm not sure a whole lot is being done. i fully anticipate that in the future, the elections later this year, we're going to see more of it. >> that's obviously been the criticism of president trump, that he is not sort of spearheading the efforts, the fbi says they're doing stuff. but they have not been directed by the president specifically. the reporting is there's been no
cabinet-level meeting about this. some trump supporters said, that doesn't matter as long as mike pompeo of the cia is focusing on this and the fbi is focusing on this. do you believe that, while individual efforts from the cia or the fbi, that there does need to be coordination from the top, from the president? >> sure. i mean, you know, if for no other reason than symbolically. to the men and women who are working at cia, fbi, nsa, homeland security. they need to know that there is not any wishy washiness at the top. look, folks at cia are going to continue to collect and analyze the intelligence that is obtained with regard to russia. the fbi in both its law enforcement role as well as its intelligence role will continue to do their thing. because these people are professionals. but you have to have -- again, basic leadership. this comes close to being a time of war. i mean, we know that a hostile nation is now engaging in asymmetric warfare, using their
own phraseology. these are things we know they can't go against us conventionally, nato is too strong, nobody wants a nuclear war. this is russia's new version of a war against the united states and western democracies writ large. to have the leader of the free world, president trump, sort of sit back and take it all personally because, oh my god, we don't want to talk about something that might imply that i wasn't legitimately elected, i can't risk that. i can risk the >> it is amazing how personally he takes it. he portrays himself as a leader of strength. but it is a sign of weakness that can be exploited by others that he can't separate himself from you know, what should be done for the country. he can't separate it as being criticism of himself and delegitimizing his election which no one seems to be saying it is. >> look, in my assessment, anderson, this president is an opportunist. he doesn't care about the republican party, he doesn't really care about the democratic party, and i don't think he
cares about putin or the russians. it's all what's in it for me, how can i keep the questions going away from the legitimacy of my election, and if we have to sacrifice national security, so be it. >> steve hall, thank you very much. coming up, it seems to be the president's default move, when in doubt blame obama. he's doing it again on russia. we'll speak with presidential historian douglas brinkley to see if his attacks on his predecessor are unprecedented and presidential. that's next. doing it yourself or tagging a friend thing. more checking-in or checking out things. like faaaaaaaaaar out of this world things. far out. more revolutions in the making thing. that play like a girl thing. is it a '4 your eyez only,' thing. more of a 'no role modelz' thing. that triple-double thing.
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president trump keeps punching back on the notion he's not tough on russia. much tougher than president obama, he tweeted about today. quote, "i've been much tougher than president obama, just look at the facts. total fake news." this of course was parrot bid sarah sanders today at the briefing. the truth is not so much. here is a look at the actions taken by both presidents over the recent years. the scales such as they are come down on the side of the former president. obsessed, if you will, by comparisons. presidential historian doug brinkley joins me now. is it clear to you why the president focuses so much on whether it's obama or even hillary clinton? >> well, trump thinks he scores political points with.
he really began his political career saying barack obama wasn't born in the united states. the original sin, the whole birther story. and he got a lot of fuel from that. he was able to differentiate himself in the republican presidential bid by taking tacky kind of hard right on obama and he feels he scores points with his base. i've never seen a president who so routinely has to say i'm better than my predecessor, and we saw it on his first major thing with the inaugural, with the crowd size and all that. >> it is interesting because president obama got a lot of criticism early on in his administration when he would talk about the economy and point to what happened under president bush and people after a certain time said look, after a certain point you own it, stop talking about it. i'm wondering, how common is it for presidents to criticize a former president this long -- after a year in office? >> it happens. franklin roosevelt ran on --
herbert hoover got you into the great depression. hoover bills. fdr even took the name off -- it was called the hoover dam and he stripped hoover's name off it and called it's boulder dam for a while. you had ronald reagan win in the white house and stripped off the solar panels that jimmy carter put in. after about a year, it doesn't play anymore, and donald trump is staying on this theme too long. it seems like what trumpism is is anti-obamaism. any executive order, anything barack obama did he's trying to unravel. >> the tweet that he's been tougher on russia and gets trumpeted by sarah sanders, it is interesting how the spokespeople from the podium kind of have to go into verbal gymnastics to follow up on presidential tweets that are often either just flat out incorrect or, like the tweet he said about the fbi has been -- they're spending so much time on russia investigation that's why they -- basically intimating that's why they dropped the ball
on the school shooter. >> well, exactly. the obama administration was tough on russia. vladimir putin despised hillary clinton as secretary of state because she was pushing the economic embargoes. putin's had a honeymoon with donald trump. but i think what really happens is anytime trump's backed into a corner he has two bogeymen to strike at. the fake news, the mainstream media, and barack obama. how much of this is racial, it's hard to divide the quota. but it's the idea of taking the first african-american president and constantly saying you failed, you didn't do anything. unfortunately, yesterday was presidents day. new polls come out and show barack obama is up by ten points where president trump is lying at the bottom of the heap with james buchanan. >> douglas brinkley, thanks very much. appreciate it. the president tweets about background checks for guns and also makes a statement about bump stocks. we'll have the latest on that.
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