tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN August 23, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
this is cnn breaking news, breaking tonight, the president's war against his attorney general maybe coming ahead. as jeff sessions finally hits back. he's vowing he won't let the justice department be influenced by politics, responding to some of the harshest attacks by mr. trump yet. mr. trump may fire sessions right after the midterm elections which could pave the way for firing the special counsel robert mueller. also breaking reports a t the national inquire publisher was granted immunity in exchange of information of michael cohen, the president and hush money payments to women. this hour i will talk to stormy daniels's lawyer, michael avenatti and david sisolini.
let's go to jim acosta today. we heard mr. trump slamming sessions and assaul sessions. >> that's not the only big news today. sarah sanders told reporters there had not been any discussions pardoning paul manafort and now the washington post is reporting yes, the president did bring it up with his legal team in recent weeks and he was advised to wait until after the investigation of the russia conclusion. i have been told the president had been advised against pardon for months including manafort. the most surprising moment came when the president found one republican in washington is willing to push back, jeff sessions. >> reporter: president trump and his favorite cabinet punching bag, jeff sessions, punch back. it started of him attacking
sessions again for recusiing himself. >> he should not have done and should have told himme. he took the job and said i am going to recuse myself. what kind of man of this. >> reporter: sessions said in a attorney, the actions of department of justice will not be partly influenced by the political considerations. that's until if he can hear the questions of his former adviser. >> are you going to pardon paul manafort. >> reporter: the president did not say he'll now pardon manafort but instead he focused on michael cohen. the president tried to say cohen's crimes were not crimes.
>> he pled to two crimes that are not crime which nobody understands. i watched the number of shows, sometimes you get good information by watching shows. those two counts were not even a crime. they were not campaign finance. >> reporter: here is the reality and cohen's plea deal, he admitted in making excessive campaign contributions when he paid off the porn stars who had affairs with mr. trump. >> he's been a lawyer for me and did not do big deals, just small deals. not somebody that was with me that much. >> reporter: the most surreal moment, mr. trump condemned the fixer for flipping. >> this whole thing of flipping they call it -- i know all about flipping for 30 or 40 years, i have been watching "flippers." everything is wonderful and they get 10 years in jail and they flip on whoever is the next highest one is or as high as you can go. it is almost should be outlawed. >> reporter: up late in the
lawyers and tweeting of the russians investigation, the president -- >> i don't know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job. i will tell you what. if i got impeached, i think the market will crash. i think everybody would be very poor. >> reporter: as rudy giuliani talked about rebellion. >> you only impeach him for political reasons and the american people would revolt against that. >> reporter: as for the white house has been saying manafort's pardon have not been under discussion. sarah sanders came in and we have put it up on screen. this pardon is not something being discussed in the white house and the president has not made a decision on pardoning of paul manafort or anyone else. wolf, you can look at how carefully worded that statement is. this discussion is not taken place inside the white house.
the discussion is happening at b bedminster. the attorney general was here at the white house for a meeting on prison reforms and job status did not come up and for now jeff sessions still has a job. wolf. >> jim acosta. thank you. let's talk more of the push back. our justice reporter is with us, laura, let's listen to what the president said about jeff sessions. >> the dems are very strong in the justice department. i put an attorney general that never took control of the justice department, jeff sessions. i wanted him to stay uninvolved but when everybody sees what's going on in the justice department. it is a very, very sad day, jeff sessions recused himself which he should not have done or should have told me. even my enemy says jeff sessions should have told you then you would not have put him in. he took the job and he says i am
going to recuse myself. what kind of a man is this? by the way, he was on the campaign, you know the only reason i gave him the job because i felt loyalty. he was an original supporter. >> pretty amazing, what kind of man is this. the only reason he had the job is because of loyalty. >> wolf, today was enough is enough, sessions put out the statement saying firing back, in part this. i took control of the department of justice the day i was sworn in. while i am the attorney general, the actions of the department of justice will not be influenced by political considerations. i am told the reason he fired back today after all days and all the tweets is not because the president is putting justice and scare quotes or all the names calling. it is because he said he did not have control. he's undermining him as the chief law enforcement officer, he's making it seems like the
dems are running him up. no, mr. president, i am here to stay and i am in the driver's seat and in control. the relationship is dysfunctional and as jim acosta, the two were at the meeting today and no one brings up this statement and no one has any face to face confrontation. they left it as it is. >> it is a sick rimelationship. how close were sessions in losing his job? >> the fallout depends on the timing here. we saw a number of republicans rush to his defense today. people like john cornyn and orrin hatch defended him. senator lindsey graham says well, wait a minute -- listen to this, wolf. >> there comes a time sooner or
later of a new face, clearly attorney sessions does not have the competence of presence. after the elections, i think there will be some serious discussion of a new attorney general. >> the timing is matter. if sessions is ousted while mueller is working the way, then rod rosenstein would not still be in control of the investigation. the only reason he's seeing mueller is because sessions is recused. so if the president is finding a way to put a new attorney general in there, that person could work to undermine mueller. >> yes, that could take a long time in acting as the attorney general in the interim. thank you very much. >> joining us right now, who serve serve fed in the committee and foreign affair. congressman, let me get your
response to the current attack. how do you interpret that? >> well, i think it was a welcome statement from the attorney general, although i disagree on him on so many polici policies. it is good to hear him finally speak up to defend the professionals at the department of justice and the men and women as he says is the best investigators and best prosecutors who are doing their job. it is a complete rejection by a republican attorney general close ally of the president to the president's claim that the department is run by democrats and out to get him in a witch hunt. it was long overdue. i hope he'll continue to raise his voice. >> how concerned would you be that he's trying to install a replacement or bury mueller's
report? >> well, i don't think there is any question that's the president's intention. he has tried every way that he could undermine this investigation and undermine the professionals who are engage inside the investigation. the whole thing is a hoax and a witch hunt and make believe and all these sorts of things. he continues to say jeff sessions should never become the attorney general. seems to misunderstand the role of attorney general is not to protect the president of the united states, he owes the loyalty of the constitution and the american people. everyone's function is not to look out and protect him from his own behavior or wrong doing but to uphold the rule of law and protect the constitutions. >> the president also said something extraordinary today. he said that flipping almost all to be illegally. he's referring to individuals who face potential convictions, they decide in the end to cooperate with law enforcement and hoping to get some sort of
reduce sentence in the process, what is that tell you that the president said that flipping almost always ought to be illegal. >> well, i mean that's sort of the language you would expect from a mob boss and not the president of the united states. our law enforcement agency that the local and state and federal level relies on cooperating witnesses and keep america safe and solve crimes and prevent some of the most serious terrorist attacks and other dangers in the community that they investigate everyday. the idea that they should not keep the american people safe from individuals and sharing information is part of an ongoing investigation is lunacy will endanger the lives of the american people. that policy should stop. he's looking through the lens of his own predicament rather than understanding or caring about how important it is to law enforcement and how essential it is to keeping communities safe. >> he should have that
conversation with rudy giuliani. his lawyer when he was the u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. got some of his biggest convictions as a result of individuals flipping and kro cooperating with his prosecutors. another story, david pecker, who publishes the national inquire have been granted immunity in exchange for his cooperation testimony for hush money payments that the president, his lawyer made. >> how significance is this? >> very significant. this cooperates and plea of mr. cohen of the efforts to silence these two stories, sort of a catch and kill as they call it. these are close allies of the president who played a role and keeping a secret. i am sure the president is disappointed. this is an example of people understanding it is important to tell the truth to avoid prosecution and to be sure to do their part in cooperating in
this investigation. they were granted immunity which means they can't be prosecuted but they are sharing important facts that will continue to support the ongoing investigation and other prosecutions in this case. >> congressman ciciline, thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> the president claims, he barely knew the man. more on mr. trump lashing out at michael cohen. what did the national inquire publisher tells prosecutors in exchange for immunity where additional hush money payments were revealed. i will ask ronan pharrow what he's learning and we'll discuss with michael avenatti when we come back. just one free hearing test at
his local miracle ear helped andrew hear more of the joy in her voice. just one hearing test is all it took for him to hear more of her laugh... and less of the background noise around him. for helen, just one visit to her local miracle-ear is all it took to learn how she can share more moments with her daughter. just one free hearing test could help you hear more... laughter...music...life... call now for your free hearing test from an industry leader: miracle-ear. let's do an ad of a man eating free waffles at comfort inn. they taste like victory because he always gets the lowest price on our rooms, guaranteed, when he books direct at choicehotels.com. or just say, badda book. badda boom. book now at choicehotels.com
metastatic breast cancer is relentless, but i'm relentless too. mbc doesn't take a day off, and neither will i. and i treat my mbc with new everyday verzenio- the only one of its kind that can be taken every day. in fact, verzenio is a cdk4 & 6 inhibitor for postmenopausal women with hr+, her2- mbc, approved, with hormonal therapy, as an everyday treatment for a relentless disease. verzenio + an ai is proven to help women have significantly more time without disease progression, and more than half of women saw their tumors shrink vs an ai. diarrhea is common, may be severe, and may cause dehydration or infection. before taking verzenio, tell your doctor if you have fever, chills, or other signs of infection. verzenio may cause low white blood cell counts,
which may cause serious infection that can lead to death. serious liver problems can occur. symptoms may include tiredness, loss of appetite, stomach pain, and bleeding or bruising more easily than normal. blood clots that can lead to death have also occurred. talk to your doctor right away if you notice pain or swelling in your arms or legs, shortness of breath, chest pain or rapid breathing or heart rate. tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant. common side effects include nausea, infections, low red and white blood cells and platelets, decreased appetite, headache, abdominal pain, tiredness, vomiting, and hair thinning or loss. i'm relentless. and my doctor and i choose to treat my mbc with verzenio. be relentless. ask your doctor about everyday verzenio. be relentless. the first survivor of alzis out there.ase and the alzheimer's association is going to make it happen. but we won't get there without you. join the fight with the alzheimer's association.
but some give their clients cookie cutter portfolios. fisher investments tailors portfolios to your goals and needs. some only call when they have something to sell. fisher calls regularly so you stay informed. and while some advisors are happy to earn commissions whether you do well or not. fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. you wouldn't accept from any one else. why accept it from an allergy pill? flonase relieves sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, plus nasal congestion, which most pills don't. it's more complete allergy relief. flonase. in them therr hills on your guarantevacation.find gold but we can guarantee the best price on this rental cabin. or any accomodation from hotels to yurts. booking.com, booking.yeah
a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! we are following multiple breaking stories right now. including long trump's defender abandoning the president cutting a deal with prosecutors. there is new reporting right now that publisher of the national inquire has been granted immunity by the feds. let's go to brynn who's covering the story for us in new york. david pecker granted immunity in hush money probe. what's the latest? >> reporter: the president is saying he knew nothing to women who silence their stories. david pecker and michael cohen
who were friends formed an alliance as early as august 2015 to catch and kill story. now, it seems like michael cohen is the only one taking the fall. >> reporter: this one is gaining immunity for doing so. david pecker who runs a national inquire and his long time friend of trump's worked with the michael cohen's investigation prior to the 2016 elections. details of pecker immunity deal coming out hours after trump complaints to fox news of people flipping. >> everything is wonderful and they get ten years in jail and they flip of whoever the next highest one is or as high as you could go. it is almost should be outlawed. make up stories if you don't know, so they just make up lies. >> reporter: pecker was
subpoenaed by the feds in april shortly after the raid of michael cohen's office and hotel room. cohen told investigators the president knew of post-gaayment of the alleged affair with trump. and pecker's system to investigators is supported by documents and audio recordings seized from the raid according to the journal. court paper shows investigators found one conversation regarding to pay out to porn star stormy daniels on an encrypted app. it could look awfully bad for everybody. president trump has denied knowing of the hush money payments at the time but cohen alleges that trump knew about them and a claim supported by secretly made audio tape provided to cnn by cohen's attorney last month. on the recording you can hear the president and cohen talking about how to handle the
arrangement with david pecker. >> i need to open up a company for the transfer of info. regarding our friend david so that i am going to do it right away. i have come up -- >> give it to me. >> i have spoken to allen of how to set the whole thing up with funding. >> what are you going to do? >> yes. it is all the stuff. because you never know what the company is going to be. >> correct. it seems like the only one taking the fall. >> did you think it is ironic that you will go to jail before hillary? >> it is michael cohen. a turning point came to cohen when he spoke to his father who said quote, "he did not survive the holocaust to have his name sullied
sullied by mr. trump." >> reporter: cohen is facing his sentencing in december. we reached out for comments and we have not heard back. karen mcdougal is speaking out. she filed a suit against ami, in that tweet, her lawyer says, i told you so. >> thank you very much. joining us now is michael avenatti, thank you so much for joining us. what do you say, what does it say to you that the government was willing to grant immunity to david pecker? >> well, it says that the president is no a lot of trouble, wolf. the timing of all this grant, immunity is very important and let me tell you why. if the immunity was granted early on in the invasiestigatio with using the testimony to get the michael cohen, that's one thing. if the immunity is granted later in the investigation when they
already believed that they had michael cohen, that's an entirely different thing. why do i say what? because if they granted the immunity that mr. pecker knowing that they already had michael cohen's sewn sewn up as it rel convictions, that'll tell me that the government is looking beyond michael cohen to another party to use mr. pecker's system against and the only other party that i know of or that would make sense is donald trump. >> do you believe that pecker would know if any other women had been paid off these hush money payments or other potentially damaging information about the president? >> i absolutely do. i think that between him and michael cohen they likely had the water front covered as it relates to all payments to all of the women. >> because i asked the question
because at one point you had said that you have been approached to other women who claims to have affairs with president trump. were you able to confirm any of their stories. >> we have been retained and accepted the retention on behalf of three other women relating to other hush mapayments. i made that known a number of weeks ago, i don't have client approvals yet to come forward with details relating to their circumstances and situations. i know there are multiple women beyond miss mcdougal and my client. >> president trump says the crimes that michael cohen pled guilty to are counts of campaign violations were not crime. what's your reaction to that? >> well, this is a curious existence that the president has carved out for himself. this is absolutely make believe world, wolf.
truth is not truth and crimes are not crimes. the president is living a fallacy and sooner or later this is going to come crumbling down around him, this criminal enterprise that he's been the center of. there is little questions in my mind that's going to happen. but the president seems to believe that he says something is true that it makes it true when in essence just the opposi opposite. >> what about the president saying flipping almost ought to be illegal in his words. when an individual is facing convictions, they go ahead and cooperate with law enforcement hoping to get some sort of reduced sentence. >> it is a disgrace and it is an embarrassment to the united states. it is an embarrassment on the rules of law having the united states going on national
television where individuals should not be encouraged to come forward and telling the truth of criminal conspirators. it is a disgrace and disgusting. i am especially disturbed by it. >> the associated press, michael is now reporting that the national inquire kept a safe containing hush money and damaging stories and the relationship of donald trump leading up to the 2016 presidential election, with you aware of that? >> i am not going to answer exactly what i was aware of or i have not made public with. here is what i am going to say. what's happening right now is not unusual in connection of the criminal investigation. you begin to pull on a string and very soon there after in many circumstances, the ball begins to unravel and that's what we are witnessing and i product that's what we are going to continue to witness. this is going to become more and more problematic for the
president and he's going to face some very, very difficult days ahead. >> do you believe that michael cohen potentially could be found guilty of other crimes in addition to what he pleaded to in that federal court in new york city on tuesday? >> i do. i think he can potentially face other federal and state crimes and that's one of the reasons why he has begun to cooperate and why he'll continue to cooperate. he knows that his lawyers know that. they know that prosecutors have a lot of power relate to the sentencing that's going to take place in connection in december. he's going to be keenly aware of that at all times and therefore, i believe that he's going to fully cooperate and tell them everything that he knows. >> do you believe president trump could be i mplicated in other crimes. >> there is little question at this point that we have just begun to scratch the surface relating to the president's cull
cupablety. >> i am going to continue to work for the american people. we'll let everyone know exactly what transpire here and they'll decide what happens to the president. >> you will be able to predict both michael cohen and stormy daniels' lawsuits, what information do you want from them? >> i want to know what the president knew and what he did about it and communications he had with michael cohen relating to the crime and the attempted to cover this up. there is a bunch of questions that i have for both michael cohen and donald trump. i am looking forward to those answers under oath. you know it is one thing to lie to the press, it is a whole different ball game when you are talking about giving testimony under oath. >> michael avenatti, thank you
so much for joining us. >> we'll have more on david pecker immunity deal. i will speak to ronan pharrow on the system to protect the president and as jeff sessions punches back to mr. trump. are his days over at the justice department? the first survivor of alzheimer's disease is out there. and the alzheimer's association is going to make it happen. but we won't get there without you. join the fight with the alzheimer's association.
i'm not really a, i thought wall street guy.ns. what's the hesitation? eh, it just feels too complicated, you know? well sure, at first, but jj can help you with that. jj, will you break it down for this gentleman? hey, ian. you know, at td ameritrade, we can walk you through your options trades step by step until you're comfortable. i could be up for that. that's taking options trading from wall st. to main st. hey guys, wanna play some pool? eh, i'm not really a pool guy. what's the hesitation? it's just complicated. step-by-step options trading support from td ameritrade
i'm a small business, but i have... big dreams... and big plans. so how do i make the efforts of 8 employees... feel like 50? how can i share new plans virtually? how can i download an e-file? virtual tours? zip-file? really big files? in seconds, not minutes... just like that. like everything... the answer is simple. i'll do what i've always done... dream more, dream faster, and above all... now, i'll dream gig. now more businesses, in more places, can afford to dream gig. comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network.
still following breaking news on trump's allies feeling threatened. one is fighting and the other is flipping tonight. david pecker reportedly has been granted immunity by the feds. mr. trump attacks him publicly once again. let's bring in our analyst, mark preston. sessions is now fighting back and he's publicly once again humiliated by the president but now he's at least fighting back. >> we saw this earlier at the beginning of the year but your point, the amount of criticism that he has taken from his boss, public criticism, i don't know how many people could actually take it. i think what we saw what happened today was two things. the president opens the door to allow sessions to do so. it is not just sessions, it is
everybody under jeff session's roofs. this is somebody who's looking towards his legacy and what his place is going to be. this was someone that's very accomplished before donald trump. why he has not until this point? i am i am under the theory to start thinking about this, republican leaders on capitol hill are asking him please stay where you are, we need to get this supreme court justice through. >> it is an important point. jeffery toobin, he's been a freak of the president's attack and criticism. take a look at some of the things the president have said about him. he made a terrible mistake hiring him and he's an idiot and very weak and very disappointed in him, he's a disgrace. >> today he said that sessions never took control of the justice department. that's just some of the examples of the humiliations he has
received from the president of the united states. >> well, it is nothing we have seen before. frankly in american history to have a president talk about a cabinet member that way and almost all of the criticism has been about sessions clearly correct decision to recuse himself from the russia investigation. about today is criticism from the department as a whole but the fact that sessions has taken all that in silence while being an incredibly obedient follower of trump's agenda to limit voting rights to minorities and crack down on immigration, all of that has been very much following the president's orders but it is just characteristics of the president that this stuff about him trumps everything else.
>> interesting. sabri sabrina sadiki. >> this is an important statement and not all that long ago when senator graham says there will be holy hell to pay if sessions were fired. >> we have seen a turn around from a number of key republicans including lindsey graham and as well as chuck grassley and also telling reporters that he would potentially have time to hold a hearing if the president felt he wanted to send another dominati nomination forward. putting their eggs in the basket and not wanting to pick a fight if he does take the step of removing sessions from his post. there are still a number of republicans who were cautious when they were asked by john cornyn of the number two
republican who says he does not think it would be a good idea and susan collins also pushing back against firing sessions. he still has some allies in congress. we have seen this theme where the president has been able to push the boundaries and see what he can get away with. republicans have not been able to take him on many public fashion. the question is will that change if he does take the step of actually removing jeff sessions as his attorney general. >> the president can't stomach jeff sessions. why does he just fire him? >> i think because one, he has the support of republicans in the senate and his former colleagues and i think because he realizes that he does not want to realize it probably that the political fire storm that would result, it may still come to that, wolf, the president could read the tea leaves and see how dramatic a moment that would be. ma matters what matters is there someone he can replace attorney sessions
wit with. if you put someone else in there, who's going to keep an arm's length like sessions has and let rod rosenstein run this investigation with mueller. it does not matter to the president what they do. >> jeff, you have done a lot of reporting with the national inquire over the years, what does it say to you, david pecker, the publisher of the american media, what does it say to you that he's now cooperating with federal prosecutors in exchange for being granted immunity? >> well, when you are given immunity, you don't haves any choice but cooperate. you can't decide not to answer questions. the web of connections between david pecker and donald trump goes back for decades. and, certainly there is nothing improper about a magazine supporting a presidential candidate. that's certainly goes on all the time and it is part of what the first amendment is all about. what's important here is what if
financial relationship there was. were there other payments made on behalf of the trump campaign by the american media which is the parent company of the national inquire. that has the potential to change the story even more dramatically if we know more money went for the benefit of the trump campaign through american media. that grant of the immunity suggests that at least a possible reason why the immunity was granted. >> the political fallout can be enormous. >> oh my gosh, can you imagine, wolf? if sessions were to be fired and mueller were to be fired. the republicans would have no choice but to begin impeachment proceedings. i am not saying this lightly. there is no reason to fire sessions. >> everybody stick around, there is more news we are reporting and david pecker being reported granting immunity.
ronan pharrow is standing by live, he has done ground breaking reporting of the relationships between the tabloids and mr. trump. here's a trip tip: when you search hotels on tripadvisor... enter your destination and the dates of your stay. tripadvisor searches over 200 booking sites... to find the best deal on the right hotel for you. tripadvisor.
highest in investor satisfaction with full service brokerage firms...again. and online equity trades are only $4.95... i mean you can't have low cost and be full service. it's impossible. it's like having your cake and eating it too. ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs. how am i going to explain this? if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab. schwab, a modern approach to wealth management. the first survivor of alzis out there.ase and the alzheimer's association is going to make it happen. but we won't get there without you. join the fight with the alzheimer's association. you might or joints.hing for your heart... but do you take something for your brain. with an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish, prevagen has been shown in clinical trials to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. who would have guessed? an energy company helping cars emit less.
granted immunity, what he knows about michael cohen and secret paymen payments. joining me now is ronan pharrow, thank you so much for joining us. you have done a lot of reporting on how david pecker operates. what sort of information pecker gives federal prosecutors warranted him of being granted immunity >> of course from this charging document and the cohen's case that there is a close relationship between cohen, pecker and donald trump. indeed the document making is clear there is an active agreement that they would find on flattering stories and killed them. the reporting i did the last few months involved a string of cases of that type. we know that pecker was aware of the stormy daniels' case.
one one in the case of mcdougal of trump and one in the case of of -- in both of those cases, this is a company paying money to silence stories. this is a pattern of behavior that could get this company in legal trouble. we talk to election law experts who says that's dicey territory especially in such a close recissio relationship. >> are you surprise that pecker returning on the president considering their long stand personal relationship? >> we knew from the beginning that this was potentially risky behavior from a legal standpoint. we had legal analysts saying this looks like an attempt to influence elections that could lead to problems. any law enforcement officials looking at this case may have a lot on pecker. this is a company where multiple employees of the company allege various kinds of activities.
i would imagine that conversation really back david pecker into a corner. >> the associate press reporting that the national inquire kept a safe containing documents on hush money payments and other damaging stories, it kills as part of the relationship of donald trump leading up to 2016 presidential election. what can you tell us o f the safe and other stories that have not been yet made public if you can. >> certainly that safe was something well known to a large number of national inquire employee. and some of the documents that were basis for our story of the agreement of that doorman resided at the time. in terms of stories i am reporting, i am going to stay away from that. >> how may this influence the ongoing lawsuits of stormy daniels and karen mcdougal. do you think pecker or the
president for that matter will be decompopodeposed? >> i will say it is clear that a major theme was this question whether the suppression of their stories influencing the elections of this set of documents -- >> toipt moi want to move onto stunning development, you and your colleague just published a story in the new yorker about a the memo says they were behind coordinated attacks against the new president and his advisers. tell us about your reporting. >> wolf, this was circulated at very high levels of the white house. it's a document that seems to buy into a conservative conspiracy theory aired on sites
like breitbart that opine that there was a war room of obama officials engaging in a secret, coordinated attack on the administration. and the memo is really written in the style of a military analysis memo. it treats these former obama aides almost as enemy combatants. >> talk a little bit about that. your report that the language in the memo, it mirrors documents produced by black cube. that's considered an israeli private intelligence firm. you report that they were allegedly tasked with smearing people involved in crafting the iran nuclear deal. do you think there is a connection there? >> so i had previously reported that there was this undercover operation to undermine proponents of the iran deal, including former obama aides. and they used some pretty extreme tactics, wolf, in undertaking that goal. they were using front companies, false identities, going after people's spouses. what we've now learned is that that operation was underpinned by documents that used very similar language, talking about
this same conspiracy theory. we do not report that the client in that operation, which that private intelligence firm, black cube, has kept secret, is related to the trump administration, but certainly this shows a commonality of interest and it shows just how deeply these kind of conspiracy theories have penetrated politics and business. >> this is the same firm, i take it, that harvey weinstein used to go after his accusers. that according to your previous reporting, right? >> that's exactly right. >> and to be clear, i just want to make -- issue the statement that black cube gave you guys. and i'll read it to our viewers right now. this is the statement from black cube. black cube does not get involved in politics, it has no relation whatsoever to the trump administration, to trump aides, to anyone close to the administration, or to the iran nuclear deal. black cube is not aware of the documents mentioned in this article, neither their contents. what's your reaction to that? >> we're very careful to include that statement and to include what we do and don't know. we don't know the identity of
black cube's client at this point. what we do know is that they were running an operation with very significant political ramifications. going after former obama aides and apparently trying to discredit them specifically in the context of their work on the iran deal. and you mentioned the rosenstha weinstein parallel, this firm was using many of the same tactics, blackmail and false identities. this is a stunning turn of events that now public servants are being subjected to that. >> do you think there's a connection? >> i think there's a thematic connection, no doubt about it. >> what does the memo tell you about president trump and how the current white house functions? >> i think it reveals just how deeply involved in these conspiracy theories this administration is. we talk a little in the story about the kind of factionalism of this white house and how these stories about a secret war room of obama officials has driven apart some of those factions. this was something that ran like wildfire in the nsc, and right now there are a lot of people reacting to this article saying, hey, this isn't what the
national security council should be spending its time on. they shouldn't be treating former officials adds enemy combatants. >> very strong reporting, ronan. thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. just ahead, the secretary of state mike pompeo announces he'll be heading back to north korea soon. can he persuade kim jong-un to live up to his nuclear weapons agreement with president trump? plus, he apparently isn't dead after all. we're having new information, new details emerging about a newly released audio from the isis leader. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job from any one else. why accept it from an allergy pill? flonase relieves sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, plus nasal congestion, which most pills don't. it's more complete allergy relief. flonase.
the first survivor of alzis out there.ase and the alzheimer's association is going to make it happen. but we won't get there without you. join the fight with the alzheimer's association. money managers are pretty much the same. all but while some push high commission investment products, fisher investments avoids them. some advisers have hidden and layered fees. fisher investments never does. and while some advisers are happy to earn commissions from you whether you do well or not, fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. pah! thano, no, no, nah.k. a bulb of light?!? aha ha ha! a flying machine? impossible! a personal' computer?! ha! smart neighborhoods running on a microgrid. a stadium powered with solar. a hospital that doesn't lose power.
tonight, secretary of state mike pompeo says he's heading back to north korea next week to resume talks on denuclearization. there's new evidence suggesting kim jong-un isn't living up to the promises he made to president trump. let's go to our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. barbara, what are you learning? >> good evening, wolf. tonight, no promise that mike pompeo is going to get a meeting with koim jong-un when he arrivs in pyongyang. there are signs, however, that north korea is still not denuclearizing and maybe moving in the other direction. new commercial satellite imagery show s the dismantlement activiy at a satellite launch site has been stopped, no longer dismantling. the imagery showing that all of that dismantlement activity has come to a full stop. this comes, wolf, as the very respected international u.n. nuclear watchdog group, the international atomic energy
agency says it has grave concern, their words, about north korea's nuclear activity. they are seeing evidence of continuing nuclear activity at north korea's experimental reactors, at its nuclear fuel sites. they are watching all of this very carefully, wolf. >> as they should. and now, in the midst of all of this, for the first time in months, isis all of a sudden has released a new audio message attributed to its leader, abu bakr al baghdadi. what do we know about this. >> well, here's the interesting thing. this audio, not officially verified by the united states, but late last night, the u.s. central command that oversees operations in the middle east said that they now believe that abu bakr al baghdadi is alive. that's some of the most definitive assessment that we have seen in months. the u.s. military believing that he is alive. and this comes adds a new military assessment continues to
show that isis may be able to command up to 30,000 fighters adherent stronger than al qaida was back in iraq in 2006 and '7, wolf. >> barbara, good reporting. thank you. and thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room". "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, another trump insider turns on the president. "national enquirer" publisher david pecker, a longtime trump protector, reportedly cooperating tonight with investigators. one of pecker's former lieutenants with deep knowledge of the tabloid's tactics is "outfront" tonight. plus, more breaking news. "the new yorker" reporting about a memo circulated in the trump white house accusing obama officials of a conspiracy against them. and trump voters weigh in on the president's legal whoas. what is the red line for them? you may be surprised. let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm poppy harlow in tonight for erin burnett. "outfront" tonight,