tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN May 21, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
tactics but, erin, you mentioned hillary clinton. we've also heard from bernie sanders as well as kamala harris. they are endorsing stacy abrams, but from where stacy evans sits, erin, she says she's feeling quite positive. >> all eyes will be on that race tomorrow. kyung, thank you. the latest in the series "born to run." thanks to all of you for joining us. anderson starts now. >> good evening, thanks for joining us. the president of the united states used the enormous power of his office to lean on some of the top officials charged with enforcing the law and investigating him. there are a lot of new details on the president's meeting with chris wray, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein and dan coats, the director of national intelligence, and all that led up to it including the deal it ended with. the question being did the pit himself blink. let's take a look at what this incident amounts to because keeping them honest, we know what this is. we've seen this before from
president trump, his surrogates and others when special counsel mueller makes a move. late today the president met with wray, rosenstein and coats about his demand that the justice department investigate whether the fbi infiltrated or surveilled his campaign. though it was scheduled a while back, this meeting, it followed this tweet yesterday from the president. i here by demand and will do so tomorrow that the department of justice look into whether the fbi/doj infiltrated or surveilled the trump campaign for political purposes. they want the probe to include the president's concerns. here's how the vice president responded to that concession. >> the president, i think, is grateful that the department of justice is going to have the inspector general look into it and determine and ensure that
there was no surveillance done for political purposes against our campaign. >> sarah sanders also said, quote, it was also agreed that white house chief of staff kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the fbi, doj and dni together with congressional leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested. the claim of a spy within the trump campaign comes with as of yet little or nothing to back it up and plenty to raise suspic n suspicions about its validity, including someone the president went out of his way to praise today. >> and a very courageous man, he's courageous, congressman devin nunes. thank you very much, devin, for being here, appreciate it. >> he is the chairman of the house intelligence committee. for weeks he's been seeking information on a top secret intelligence source who reportedly contacted two trump campaign advisers and one official, including carter page, who was already under suspicion for contacts with russia and
george papadopoulos, whose drunken boasting about getting dirt on the clinton campaign triggered the investigation in the first place. senior fbi and intelligence officials warned that providing the information could jeopardize the source and at that point the president agreed. then right-wing media got ahold of the story. on may 10th an op-ed ran in "the wall street journal." did the bureau engage in out right spying against the trump 2016 campaign. rush limbaugh talked about a spy in the campaign citing devin nunes and two days later andrew mccarthy wrote from pain staking research, nunes and committee staff believe they have identified such a spy. last week "the new york times" did some careful reporting not labeling this as a spy which breitbart news said leakers confirm fbi ran spy operation against trump campaign.
that was last wednesday and the president was off and running and citing andrew mccarthy, wow, word seems to be coming out that the obama fbi spied on the trump campaign. andrew mccarthy said there's probably no doubt they had one confidential informant in the campaign. if so this was bigger than watergate. he was making demands on the justice department. late today rudy giuliani told politico the department of justice memos about the informant should also be made available to the president's legal team on a confidential basis, as he said. he told "usa today," quote, i think they could help us if they show there's no original basis for the investigation. yet he also told the paper that his client called the meeting to demand the documents not in his capacity as the potential subject of an investigation, but in his official capacity as president. keeping them honest, the president has been here before and devin nunes has been here before as well. >> today i briefed the president on the concerns that i had about incidental collection and how it
relates to president-elect trump and his transition team and the concerns that i have. >> that was back in march of 2017. as we later found out he briefed the president on information that he had gotten the day before from the white house. there was no substance to it but for a while the president was calling it a real scandal and demanding it become a focus of the investigation. the president rage tweeted about it but never went as far as he did today. jim acosta joins us at the white house. what more do we know about the president's meeting today? >> we do know officials were telling us before this happened this was a prescheduled meeting. when the meeting happened with the deputy attorney general rod rosen scestei rosenstein, chris wray and dan coats, this was primarily about this demand that the president issued over the weekend, which a lot of people thought i guess that was somewhat disconcerting that the president would say i here by demand that this happen, but as you know, anderson, this
is par for the course over here at the white house. but despite some pearl clutching here in washington, the president essentially got what he wanted. after this meeting was wrapped up, the white house put out a statement saying that essentially chief of staff john kelly will be setting up this meeting at the end of the week. we understand it's going to be at the end of the week involving some of these various officials and key lawmakers like the house intelligence committee chairman, devin nunes. they'll be given the opportunity to review classified information. a senior administration official said devin nunes was invited to review some of this material last week but did not respond to that invitation. apparently he'll get that opportunity this week. the president just wrapped up a meeting with a group of governors here at the white house. i tried to ask a question about rod rosenstein in this meeting that happened earlier today and the president did not respond to the question. they seemed pretty eager for us to get out of the room because a secret service agent tugged on my arm to pull us and the rest
of the press corps out of there. >> today was another day the white house has not given a briefing. have they given an explanation as to why? >> no, no explanation why. they were taking our questions and our calls throughout the day as they often do, but there was no reason i don't think why they shouldn't have had a briefing today. the president did speak over at the cia. sometimes they say when the president is speaking they want that message to carry the day. but we are seeing, and this may become a trending, but we're seeing fewer and fewer briefings. there were only two last week. on friday, sarah sanders, the white house press secretary, did not hold a briefing but somehow she had enough time to go on sean hannity for a pretaped interview in the evening. she had time to do that but not to give us a briefing and there wasn't one day. >> thanks very much. on capitol hill chuck grassley has joined the call for information on the russia probe. in a letter to deputy attorney general rod rosenstein he requested former associate deputy attorney general bruce orr's communications with christopher steele. richard blumenthal also serves
on the committee and he joins us now. thanks for being with us. how do you read the justice department is asking the inspector general now to look into the fbi and the department of justice tactics concerning the trump campaign. >> it's a concession to the president. a potentially dangerous concession. >> dangerous how so? >> well, number one, the president is obviously trying to interfere with an investigation. it happens to be an investigation of him. so it's a threat a. number two, there is no factual support. you said there wasn't a lot of facts to back it up. that's a charitable way of looking at i it. there is no evidence to support an investigation. the fbi was conducting a counterintelligence investigation against russian attempts to interfere with our election. in fact they warned the trump campaign about that effort to interfere with the trump campaign and the clinton campaign well before any of this
stuff happened. and so the precedent is very dangerous that an investigation will be launched simply because a president wants to stop an investigation. >> there are some -- do you see this as rod rosenstein capitulating for the president or buying time for the investigation? if there's no there, there what's wrong with having the inspector general look into it and, you know, settle it once and for all? >> that's a really important point, anderson. there is no there, there so all of this is likely to be seen eventually as a sideshow. the mueller investigation is proceeding, grinding along, bringing indictments and seeking and obtaining convictions. but the point here is that the principal of the objectivity and independence of the department of justice has been -- it's a face-saving bone to the president but has larger implications. >> the second thing that came out of this meeting is that chief of staff kelly will meet
with the fbi, the justice department and dni with congressional leaders to review intelligence, highly classified and other information. does that concern you? is that appropriate? >> i'm very concerned that information relating to a covert agent and informant may be made public and some of it unfortunately already has. there are criminal penalties against that kind of disclosure, ten years in prison is the punishment. but our credibility around the world depending on our ability to keep secrets is very much at risk here. there was a similar meeting last week, just as the inspector general investigation already is ongoing. so the change here is not all that dramatic, but the disclosure of any of this classified information could be extremely damaging. >> "the new york times" is reporting that this was not a spy within the trump campaign spying on the trump campaign, that this was a person, an asset
to meet with george papadopoulos and carter page and same clo cl was the third person. i can understand from trump supporters why they're suspic n suspicious of the deep state and why should they take the word of what "the new york times" has reported and others have said. >> there's no reason for them to take anybody's word. there is simply no evidence that that informant or agent acting covertly, seeking information about russian interference in the campaign, was anything more than that kind of informant. not a spy, not conducting infiltration or surveillance. but ultimately there will be no there, there and i think that the inspector general investigation will vindicate that part of the investigation. >> the president's attorney, rudy giuliani, has been claiming that the mueller team hopes to wrap things up, their investigation, by september 1st. again, that only comes from rudy
giuliani. viewers can take that for whether they think that's credible or not. does it make sense to you that mueller would be able to wrap up by then? >> you know, anderson, when i was a federal prosecutor, i would often ask by agents or assistant attorneys general to complete an investigation by a date certain. their response to me quite rightly was we'll do our best, but we need to follow the facts and the law. that's what the special counsel is doing. if he sets an arbitrary deadline and i have a lot of skepticism that he would have used rudy giuliani as his spokesman, even if he were going to do it. >> you think this might be giuliani trying to put pressure, public pressure on mueller. >> more likely than not, that's exactly what it is. >> when the president tweeted out that i hereby demand the doj look into the fbi, did that language concern you as a former attorney general? i mean he does have the constitutional authority to -- he has wide constitutional
authority. >> he has constitutional authority to ask the department of justice to investigate. it's the circumstances here that are so concerning. number one, no factual predicate. you know, when an fbi agent begins an investigation, they sit down and they do a form that says here's the factual predicate and the potential illegality involved or tell their superior or special agent in charge what is the violation of law here, what's the factual predicate. again, no evidence whatsoever except what's going through the president's mind. that's one dangerous point. but also we've been through some dark eras where officials asked or directed investigations without any factual basis, si l simply on suspicion or for political motives. >> do you believe the credibility of the department of justice and the fbi is being permanently harmed? >> i think it has been harmed. i say that with great sadness. i've spoken on the floor of the
senate to say that there are dedicated hard-working people working in the fbi day in, day out, they make cases, they put their lives in danger, and the president's continual, consistent, relentless attack on this agency has had some effect. but i think we can rebuild that credibility. when i say we, it's on us as public officials to speak out. my republican colleagues as well. the republican party used to be the law and order party. this is about our public safety. when an fbi agent goes to talk to a potential witness and he or she has heard the president of the united states attacking the fbi, it undermines that agent's ability to do his or her job. >> senator blumenthal, appreciate your time. thank you very much. coming up next, what has the president played. we'll tell you what a conservative ally of his says what the senator said was a face-saving bone thrown to the
president. later, an update on some stunning pictures. look at this lava spewing from a volcanic fissure on hawaii. that's ahead on "360." ways to lthe northern belly fat. percussion massage. not cool. freezing away fat cells with coolsculpting? now that's cool. coolsculpting safely freezes and removes fat cells. with little or no downtime. and no surgery. results and patient experience may vary. some rare side effects include temporary numbness, discomfort, and swelling. ask your doctor if coolsculpting is right for you. and visit coolsculpting.com today for your chance to win a free treatment. if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla.
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against the president's demand on the justice department. moments ago his republican colleague, jeff flake, had this to say. it's not appropriate, it really isn't, how doj responds will tell if we're in a crisis or not. so far it's held. as for one of the leaders of the conservative house freedom caucus, his take seems to be that the deputy attorney general put one over on the president. mark meadows tweeting rod rosenstein knows exactly what happened and what is in the documents requested by congress. either the matter warranted investigation long ago and he did nothing but he's seen the facts and believes nothing is wrong. his belated referral to the i.g. is not news, it is a ruse. here to talk about it is gloria borger, phil mudd and carrie cordero. you have senator blumenthal saying he worries about the precedent it set and the president supporters are saying the president got played. >> right. conservatives like meadows, i talked to a conservative attorney involved in all of this today who said, look, this is
just sweeping it under the rug because the inspector general, a, will take a while and, b, doesn't have subpoena power. so they're saying how are you ever going to get to the bottom of this? they believe that rosenstein was just trying to diffuse this, maybe save his job, and thats president eventually will get frustrated. >> phil, you worked in the fbi and the cia. is there precedent for this? you now have this investigation from the inspector general being expanded and you have chief of staff kelly going to be going through some classified information with folks from the fbi, the doj, the dni, and also congressional leaders. >> yes, sure. but i remember talking to vice president cheney back years ago before the iraq war when he was coming over to cia headquarters saying what's the intelligence you have, what's the connection between al qaeda and saddam hussein. so there is precedent for political involvement. i think the interesting story here and gloria alluded to this
is timing. this is really fascinating from inside washington. this might look like the deputy attorney general and the fbi director sort of capitulated. what's going to happen in the next two or three months? i would speculate that mueller will come up with some of the final stages of the investigation. if he goes where i think he's going to go, which is indictments that get closer to the white house, this issue falls by the wayside. >> so you think rosenstein is buying time for mueller. >> yes, he's punting, buying time. look at the alternative, he says no. what does the president do? more collusion that there's evidence against me, not me against the russians. more evidence that they rolled over on hillary clinton. what was his option, to say no? it might have torpedoed the investigation, anderson. >> carrie, do you have any doubt that folks on capitol hill, the president's allies, they're not going to ratchet down their attempts to obtain information from the fbi and doj, they're going to have these meetings with kelly. do you have any doubt -- are they acting as private investigators on behalf of the president? >> well, you know, it really looks a lot like there is
coordination between the white house and some of his allies on capitol hill to get access to information. i'm going to disagree with phil a little bit in terms of i think there's a big difference between vice president cheney asking for intelligence information in the context of making national security decisions and the white house today demanding -- making demands about investigations that need to be expanded based on an investigation that targets individuals or has subjects or individuals who are affiliated with the campaign and who has interviewed many people affiliated with the white house. so this investigation i think is very different than a national security activity. with respect to the justice department's referral to the inspector general, there is no underestimating the extent to which an inspector general potentially can be disruptive to ongoing investigative activities. so while i understand why the deputy attorney general went ahead and handled things in this way by saying, you know what,
we're going to have the i.g. expand their look into whether or not there was any inappropriate political influence, i am worried that then that causes i.g. investigators, who are they going to be interviewing and who are they going to be investigating? they're going to be investigating the fbi. and that is disruptive to ongoing operations if there's not a real reason to do it. >> and carrie is right. i confess, i'm wrong on this one. but on the point of the i.g., that's right. people who look at this as sweeping this under the rug have never dealt with the i.g. the i.g. is a sledgehammer. when they came after us when i was at the bureau, if they're investigating you, they will find something wrong. it's like looking at an hour of an anderson cooper program and saying was there ever 30 seconds that didn't go completely right. >> look at what happened with andrew mccabe. these are serious investigations that take a while. and so, you know, there's the question, the president wants an answer tomorrow. and that isn't going to happen. >> does this whole thing of what's happened with this confidential informant, the
president is alleging he's a spy targeted at the campaign, does it hurt other confidential informants who cooperate with the fbi or with the cia who feel like, wait a minute, am i going to get blown? >> yeah, of course. if you walk into somebody -- remember, political corruption is part of the fundamentals of what the fbi does. forget about the president. it's a city council in a city across america where one of the city council members is saying i'm going to give you a contract because you're a friend of the family. what do you do tomorrow if you're the fbi agent running that investigation. do you say i guarantee you, we can protect your identity. one other issue and nobody has asked this question. i want to know the answer. is the fbi or somebody else at the request of this individual who's been now identified in other venues, is the fbi because of what the president has done providing that person security? because that guy, i guarantee you, is at risk today. the president put that individual at risk because of the -- >> at risk from whom, though? >> anderson, how much hate mail
do you get? i'm a low budget third rate cnn commentator and i get hate mail of people saying i want to hurt you. here's my cell phone number, i'm going to beat the crap out of you. what do you think this guy is going to get and who's responsible because of what the president has done to protect him. who now is providing protection and i bet it's the u.s. government. >> this is such a different scenario because in the past people in the fbi or justice department or intelligence community, they're used to the media, for example, trying to dig at information and trying to find out sources and dig behind investigations. what's different this time is that the impetus to out this individual is coming from the white house and congressional overseers. >> not just the white house, the president of the united states. >> the president of the united states. so to the extent the dni, for example, who was supposedly in this meeting today, whose statutory role is to protect sources and methods, to protect classified information, i would
think that the dni would have something to say about this exposure of this confidential source. >> and if you want to be conspiratorial about it, you could say this is a way for the president to push and push and push rosenstein and push wray until one of them decides they can't deal with it anymore and just quits. >> gloria borger, phil mudd, carrie cordero, thank you very much. just ahead, jeffrey toobin and alan dershowitz join us next. so we're committed to helping veterans through job training when their service ends... and to hiring 10,000 veterans and military spouses to be part of our workforce in the next 5 years. because no matter where you serve... or when you serve... t-mobile stands ready to serve you. so we provide half-off on all family lines for military.
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surveillance of his campaign for political purposes as he said. a demand in essence that the investigators be investigated. and just like that, the phrase "constitutional crisis" has been popping up again. jeffrey toobin has a new piece in "the new yorker" about whether the fervor to impeach the president will start a democratic civil war. he joins us along with alan dershowitz. jeff, is there anything illegal about what the president is asking the justice department to do? >> i don't think it's illegal, but i do think it's a violation of the norms that have been in effect for decades in terms of how the president deals with the fbi. we have a system in place where the president, though he is the head of the executive branch, allows the investigative functions of the fbi to function independently. this is especially true when the president is the subject of the investigation. it's entirely inappropriate for what the president is doing, but i think it's legal.
>> professor dershowitz, there may not be anything illegal or unconstitutional about the president ordering this investigation. it does go against decades of how presidents have conducted themselves, would you agree? >> well, decades may be overstating it. it's certainly gone against some years. obviously early in our history, jefferson, lincoln, franklin delano roosevelt, john kennedy, all instructed the justice department who to investigate, who not to investigate. but let's start with the end. i think an investigation is warranted, whether the president was right in asking for it or not is a different question. whenever any undercover person gets close to a political campaign, it's worth of an investigation. you need no probable cause to put an informant in a campaign. there's no judicial oversight. there is the risk, the possibility that it may be done for an improper purpose or the agent may become an agent provocateur. it's worth an investigation. if it turns out there's nothing
there, fine, let's be reassured there was nothing there. but i think doing an investigation by the inspector general is a good thing. i do agree with jeffrey that it would be better if it didn't come in a self-serving way from the president. though what the president did was perfectly legal and consistent with the role of a unitary executive who was also head of the justice department but it does fly in the face of very recent tradition. >> but let's be clear. alan, you're throwing around terms like provocateur. there's absolutely no evidence that this individual was that. the mere fact that the president can call for and receive an investigation to what is a perfectly legitimate investigation just shows why you shouldn't have this in the first place. >> but jeff, if there's no there, there what's the harm in having an investigation to settle it once and for all. >> that's like saying, well, if you have nothing to fear, isn't
it okay if the fbi searches your home? the act of the fbi investigating has a chilling effect on people who are involved. it is deeply disruptive. it is time consuming. it is scary. it is not something that people should ordinarily expect. and just because it's ultimately -- the fbi is ultimately vindicated doesn't mean that you should have an investigation in the first place. >> but you're assuming without any evidence that there was a legitimate basis for putting an undercover agent into the campaign and having him had contact with some of the campaign aides. that may turn out to be the case. but i certainly don't assume that. there was no judicial intrusion, there was no warrant. this is just a decision that was made. i think we're entitled to be assured that they were not inserted -- he was not inserted for an illegitimate purpose. we know that agents aren't always passive. once they're inserted, i've had
a lot of experience with this in ordinary cases, they begin to do things beyond just collecting information and listening. listening usually involves a two-way conversation. and i'd like to know and i think the american public would like to know what the basis was, was it legitimate. if it was, let's put it behind us. if it wasn't, let's know that. >> but saying he was inserted into the campaign, it makes it sound as if he had an office in trump tower. it sounds like he met with papadopoulos, carter page and i guess sam clovis in some capacity. >> right. >> overseas with carter page, according to the reporting by "the new york times," "the washington post" and also with papadopoulos, and basically asked questions that didn't seem to get many really answers. >> well, we don't know that. all we know is that he was sent to have contact with people in the middle of a campaign. i have to tell you, if this had happened to hillary clinton, the aclu would be jumping up and down the way they did when i was on the board of the aclu when
undercover agents were put into the anti-war movement, into civil rights movement. all they were there was to listen, into muslim churches. civil libertarians are generally a little bit suspicious when undercover agents go just to ask questions. and i think we as civil libertarians ought to be suspicious of this. allay our suspicions and then we'll be fine. >> jeff, it didn't come out of nowhere. george papadopoulos, according to all the reporting, had already voiced and spoken to an australian official which is what got this on the radar in the first place. >> this was a legitimate investigation. >> we don't know that. >> you have no evidence that it wasn't. >> let's find out. >> there was ample evidence of collusion between russia and the trump campaign. that's what this whole investigation was about. so the idea that now the investigation has to be investigated, it just shows what happens when the president takes control of an investigation of him. >> so now what you're saying is
there was ready evidence of collusion so it was legitimate to put an informant in the fbi to see if, a, there was enough evidence to warrant further investigation, maybe ask some hard questions to get them to give incriminating answers. that does sound like a pretty fulsome investigation. i think the american public has to be assured that there was a basis. it's not enough for jeffrey toobin to say there was collusion already at that time. i want to know what the facts are that justify that. >> professor dershowitz, some fbi agents, i saw an op-ed piece, said this may have been actually a way to protect the campaign. >> i've heard that before. >> the they sent fbi agents to go talk to george papadopoulos and carter page, that could be seen as more provocative as
having some professor or whoever this person was meet privately with these people. >> when they sent agents into martin luther king during the kennedy campaign, they said they were doing it to protect martin luther king from the influence of communists. they always say they're doing it to protect the good people from the bad people. that may be true. let's get the facts. i'm not willing to accept an assumption that law enforcement is always legitimate, that without judicial oversight that what they do is always correct. i want to apply the shoe on the other foot test. if this had been an intrusion into the hillary clinton campaign, would people be saying the same thing or is this special lack of concern because it's donald trump. i just want to be assured. >> are you just sucking up to law enforcement? >> i am not sucking up to law enforcement, but the questions alan has about this case he could raise about absolutely any fbi investigation. >> and i do. >> and you do. and if there a presidentially
directed investigation of the fbi agents in those cases? the answer is of course not, because what's going on here is that donald trump is trying to destroy this investigation. that's what's going on here, not any sort of legitimate inquiry -- >> well, if he is, he's not doing a good job. this won't destroy the investigation, it won't derail the investigation, we'll just get some facts. if you're right, we'll all be satisfied. >> and if your departmeapartmen nothing to fear, then it's okay for the fbi to search the place. >> you could say they have nothing to fear having an fbi in the campaign. privacy is important. privacy is a legitimate concern. whether you have something to hide or not. >> professor dershowitz, jeffrey toobin, thank you very much. more ahead. claims of campaign spying, demands for investigation, so much jarri dpogon you want to h
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investigation's or the department of justice tactics concerning the trump campaign. that's the white house word, tactics. perhaps no one better to talk to than james clapper, the former director of national intelligence. he's the bother of "facts and fears, hard truths from a life of intelligence." he joins me now. director clapper, the president ordering the justice department to investigate this confidential source, is that appropriate? >> i believe it is, at least as far as i can recall. it is a precedent and i think it's a rather dangerous one, although it looks to me like sort of a solomon-like compromise was arrived at here by referring this to the inspector general, which is appropriate. the point i would make, though, the objective here was actually to protect the campaign by determining whether the russians were infiltrating it and attempting to exert influence. we sort of lost sight of that
point. >> so you believe -- you believe this was an effort to protect the campaign because clearly the trump administration sees this as spying on the trump campaign itself. >> well, that's certainly the interpretation. but, you know, i am very confident that the objective of the fbi was to learn as much as they could about what the russians were trying to do. frankly, i wish the president were as aggressive about doing something about the russians undermining us as he is about this informant. >> can you explain how important confidential sources are to the fbi, to the cia, in terms of intelligence gathering, and do you think this is going to hurt that effort, hurt the confidence of informants or assets down the road? >> in general, it's a very important source for the fbi. the fbi has lots of informants who give them very valuable
information. and when they do so, they are assured of confidentiality. their identity is going to be protected. and so this informant is -- i believe is at risk right now and of course i would guess this will have a chilling effect on other informants who already work with the fbi and certainly make it more difficult for the fbi to recruit other informants. >> in the new book "facts" you talk about the vital role of confidential informants. you say it's essential for people working in the intelligence community to stay true to the key tenets, serve truth to power even if the power doesn't listen to the truth. how can they do that if the power doesn't listen to the truth? >> well, they have to keep -- the metaphor i've often used, the intelligence community needs to keep shoveling that intelligence coal down there in the engine room.
this places a great burden these days, i believe, on leaders of the intelligence community. notably, for example, now gina haspel, now director of the cia, to provide that top cover for the great men and women throughout the intelligence committee to continue to generate the facts and the truth to the maximum extent they can. and it's very important that the leadership in the intelligence community today provide that top cover so they can continue to do that. >> director clapper, i appreciate your time. thank you very much. >> thanks, anderson. all right. coming up, a lot more ahead. a new report from "the new york times" on a meeting that donald trump jr. held before the 2016 election with a cast of characters that included an emissary who assured him the princes of saudi arabia and the united arab emirates wanted his father to win the election. details on that ahead. 's with he's happy. your family's finally eating vegetables thanks to our birds eye voila skillet meals. and they only take 15 minutes to make. augh!
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with all the other breaking news tonight this next story could fall under the category of any other day. any other day this could be our lead story. the "new york times" is reporting that before the 2016 election donald trump jr. held a meeting with a small group that included a emissary from the united arab em rats and saudi arabia. the goal was to help his father to win the election. head been pitched a social media manipulation pitch. joining me, one of the reporters that shares the by line, david kirkpatrick. can you explain what the purpose of the meeting was? >> the purpose was clearly to offer help to the trump campaign to help elect donald trump. the main organizer of the meeting was eric prince who at the beginning of the meeting appears to have said, my friends and i are doing everything we can to get your father elected.
he said that to donald trump jr. the most important person in the meeting appears to be george nader who was there as an emissary from the kroub prince of abut dabi in the uae. he said they wanted to see donald trump elected and they would do everything they could to help. >> was donald trump jr. acceptant of this outreach? >> he doesn't appear to be negative. he put out a statement and said that he had not been receptive and the proposal hadn't gone anywhere. but what's interesting is this is the start of owe long relationship. george nader then becomes a
member of many meetings with people like jared kushner, steve bannon, michael flynn. these go on after trump is in the white house. then you see his patron, the crown prince of saudi arabia sneaking into the u.s. even more mysterious, you see the same guy nader turn up in eric prince in the seychelless at mohammed's second home there for a meeting that's designed to put together eric prince as a representative of the trump campaign with a russian businessman close vladimir putin and also close to george nader. so whatever happened in that meeting on august 3rd with donald trump jr., it was the beginning of something. we don't know exactly what, but
something start that had day. >> why exactly did saudi arabia and the emirates rant to get trump elected? is that clear? >> well, they didn't like president obama's foreign policy in the middle east. they didn't like the iran deal. they didn't like his hands in syria, the approach to the arab spring. to a large extent they thought president hillary clinton would be an extension of those policies. they didn't like the things she was doing and saying when she was obama's secretary of state and thought trump would be a stronger hand. >> the outreach through the emissary continued after the election. >> yeah, that is important. and i think that's one reason why the special prosecutor, robert mueller, has taken a keen interest in george nader who's now cooperating with that investigation. >> just to be clear, its the illegal for foreign governments or individuals to be involve in
the american elections. >> yes, it is. george nader is an american citizen, but he was clearly there on the behalf of the crown prince of abu dabi. in the meeting he was showing off pictures of himself with the crown prince to convey his bona fides. the other gentleman he brought with him, a brought an israeli technology specialist who was las vegas out the possibility of doing fake facebook pages for the trump campaign. he have not an american citizen. he's an israeli. that would also be illegal if the help was given or accepted by the trump campaign. we don't know what happened, but as i say, it was the beginning of a long relationship. >> david kirkpatrick, i appreciate it. it's a pleasure. coming up what the justice
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investigators were investigating him, that's what the president demanded from the russia probe and to some extent that's what he got. did the doj cave? did it punt? the rosenstein make a ruse on the president? look at all the angles starting with jeff zeleny he white house. jeff, what are you learning about today the meeting at the white house with chris raid, rosenstein dan coates? >> it was on the agenda before the president's weekend storm online on twitter, but there was nothing regular about the meeting. the president wasn't asking the justice department to essentially investigate the investigators, as you were saying. this is something that presidents don't formally do. the justice department should be an island, an oasis. they were all sitting in a meeting together for less than an hour or so. we haven't gotten much