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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  March 1, 2019 8:00pm-9:01pm PST

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closed captioning brought to you by christian faith publishing. tell your story and get your book published today. call for your free publisher kit today! good evening. there has been so much that is abnormal about this presidency, a daily deluge of lies and half truths, that the abnormal risks becoming normal. tonight we want to pause for a moment to point out that the times we are living through are not normal. it is not normal for a president of the united states, a country which has traditionally held itself as a beacon of freedom for the world, to praise one of the worst dictators on the planet. that's not normal. it should not be normal. the president of the united states insists he likes kim jong-un and calls him a real leader. just think about that for a moment. the leader of the free world calling the leader of the most repressive regime in the world a real leader. kim jong-un, a man who has
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imprisoned anyone who is suspected of not liking him. we are talking about a man who imprisoned tens of thousands if not more than 100,000 people in gulags, multiple generations of families, children, parents, grandparents. that's a real leader in the president's opinion? kim jong-un once ordered the killing of a family rival with an anti-aircraft gun. that's a real leader? this is a guy that poisoned his own half-brother at a busy foreign airport using a weapon of mass destruction. that's a real leader? that apparently is president trump's idea of real leadership. it is not normal. that is alarming. ronald reagan told mikhail gorbachev to tear down the berlin wall. president trump probably would have complimented the soviet leader on how strong the wall was, how powerful and beautiful it was. i want to play for you exactly what the president told sean hannity about his warm feelings for kim jong-un. >> he is a character. he is a real personality, and he's very smart. he's sharp as you can be and
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he's a real leader, and he's pretty mercurial. i don't say it necessarily in a bad way, but he is a pretty mercurial guy. >> i don't want to say mercurial in a bad way, i don't want to say anything bad. if mercurial is the worst thing you can call kim jong-un, you need to read a book about north korea or perhaps read and absorb your own intelligence community's assessment of what life is like in north korea. earlier in the week mr. trump said he trusted kim as well. now, maybe you think, well, kim jong-un is just killing his own people and it is not really america's problem. well, it is not just north koreans whose deaths he is responsible for, but the president doesn't see it that way. here is what he said yesterday when asked about the murder of otto warmbier in custody in north korea. >> what happened is horrible. i really believe something very bad happened to him and i don't think that the top leadership knew about it, and i will -- i did speak about it, and i don't believe that he would have allowed that to happen. just wasn't to his advantage to
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allow it to happen. those prisons are rough. they're rough places and bad things happened. but i really don't believe that he was -- he -- i don't believe he knew about it. >> did he say -- did he tell you that he did not -- kim jong-un, did he tell you -- >> he felt badly about it. i did speak to him. he knew the case very well but he knew it later, and, you know, he's got a lot of people. it is a big country, a lot of people, and in those prisons, in those camps you have a lot of people and some really bad things happened to otto. some really bad things. >> why are you -- >> but he tells me he didn't know about it, and i will take him at his word. >> kim jong-un felt badly about otto warmbier, a young american he imprisoned for 17 months. the president claims in fact that no one in the top leadership in north korea knew about what happened to otto warmbier. he believes kim jong-un didn't know about warmbier until later. america negotiated with north
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korean officials to get warmbier who was in a coma at that point out of the country. kim jong-un didn't know about that. pretend for a second that he didn't know. well, he certainly does now and who has been held responsible for otto warmbier's killing? who? mr. trump takes credit for getting warmbier out in time to die in front of his family. what about demanding to know what actually was done to this young american and by whom? the president keeps saying something happened to warmbier, something really -- that the president thinks something bad happened to him, really bad happened to him. something didn't happen to warmbier. terrible things were done to otto warmbier. that's what this country's top intelligence and national security professionals determined. as far as the president is concerned, no one in the top leadership of the most repressive regime in the world knows a thing. what about the promise he made to the family of otto warmbier, to their faces, a promise he also made to the country along with allies and adversaries during last year's state of the union address? >> otto's wonderful parents,
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fred and cindy warmbier, are here with us tonight along with otto's brother and sister, austin and greta. please. you are powerful witnesses to a men as th menace that threatens our world and your strength truly inspires us all. thank you very much. thank you. >> you know, the president says one thing to your face, and when you leave the room and he's with somebody else he says something completely different. honor otto's memory. he isn't honoring his memory by fawning over the man responsible for his death, the man the president believes is a real leader. sure, he's mercurial, but the president likes the guy. what can he do? the heart wants what it wants. here is what he said to the other guy the president seems to have a long-distance love affair with. >> some people say you shouldn't
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like him. why shouldn't i like him. >> reporter: -- >> i like him, we get along great. >> you can tell a lot about a person by the company he keeps or the dictators he likes. the warmbier family responded, quoting from a statement they gave cnn. we have been respectful during the summit process and now we must speak out. kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son otto. kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. no excuses or lavish praise can change that. i want to play the full exchange of what the president said about warmbier yesterday now that you heard the warmbier family response. this is the full question along with a piece of the president's answer. >> thank you, mr. president. you have a personal relationship, and i believe vice president pence does with the family of otto warmbier. >> i do. >> i'm wondering. you talked about this week, about kim jong-un being my friend. you called him on twitter, you said you have a great relationship. have you in singapore or here
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confronted kim jong-un about otto warmbier's death? >> i have. >> asked him to take responsibility? >> i have. >> and what did he say to you and why do you call him your friend? >> i have and i have talked about it, and i really don't think it was in his interests at all. i know the warmbier family very well. i think they're an incredible family. what happened is horrible. i really believe something very bad happened to him and i don't think that the top leadership knew about it. >> the president said that he was asked about -- asking kim to take responsibility for it. the president said, oh, kim doesn't know about it, didn't know about it. late today the president added more insult to his injury and insult. he tweeted, i never like being misinterpreted but especially when it comes to otto warmbier and his great family. remember, i got otto out along with three others. the previous administration did nothing and he was taken on their watch. he went on to say, of course i hold north korea responsible for otto's mistreatment and death. most important, otto warmbier
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will not have died in vain. otto and his family have become a tremendous symbol of strong passion and strength which will last for many years into the future. i love otto and i think of him often. the president today, because nothing says love like telling his family, you're welcome. nothing shows american resolve like playing defense attorney to a dictator, and nothing inspires respect in a dictator, whether it is the one in pyongyang or riyadh or moscow, in letting them lie to you and saying you believe those lies over the professionals, the american professionals, whose only job and sole sworn duty is to tell you the truth. in addition to appeasing dictators, the president, of course, has a record of antagonizing grieving families whether it is the warmbiers, john mccain's family or the parents of a fallen american soldier killed in a suicide attack in iraq in 2004. you remember the president attack his parents during the campaign. joining us now is his father. mr. khan, thank you for being with us. i appreciate your time. when you hear president trump
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praising kim jong-un and saying that he believes that kim jong-un didn't know what happened to otto warmbier, i'm wondering what your perspective is on that? >> well, first, our hearts are with warmbier family for their courage, for their patience, for their putting up with this amazing, amazing political ex pee pediency on the part of donald trump. i have a special connection with otto. he was a student of university of virginia, same school, thomas jefferson's university where captain khan went to school. >> your son. >> where i feel a special connection with otto and he never will be forgotten. we want the warmbier family to know that we stand with them, america stands with them, all decent america stands with them.
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now, it is -- i had said that two years ago and i have repeated that several times, that donald trump lacks empathy. most unfit person for the office of the president of the united states, time after time my statement is proven correct. we will continue to be embarrassed as the leaders of our national security have been embarrassed by donald trump. it is for what purpose, people ask, americans ask? why does he do this? he favors putin over leaders of our national security, his own appointed leaders of national security, of law enforcement. he favors the worst dictator the united nations has declared, north korea the worst
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dictatorship. 80,000 to 120,000 people are in starvation camps, in gulags in north korea, and he calls him leader, as you said. it is political expediency. my concern is now we have thousands of american students in various parts of the world. we have thousands of americans deployed, our law enforcement, our military, our other americans working in various parts of the world. who is responsible for their safety? if this is the reaction that the bad guys in the world are watching and listening, that this president does not care, he will favor a dictator, he will favor a fascist, he will favor a strong man who will torture americans, he will stand with them. >> yes.
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i mean there is -- >> with such concern. >> there's no call for accountability even. i mean the president could claim that he believes kim jong-un didn't know, but there's still no call from the president for accountability, responsibility, somebody, you know, an actual investigation, you know, to find out what really happened. and i'm curious to know your definition of a real leader, because the president seems to think kim jong-un is a real leader. it seems to me a real leader takes responsibility for -- especially if you are a dictator and everything in north korea flows to you or flows from you, there is very little that kim jong-un is unaware of, particularly what is happening to a young american student who you have imprisoned for 17 months. >> correct. the real leader, really there is one basic character, which is
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empathy with the people that you lead, the people that you guide, the people that you claim to be leading. you empathize with them. you feel their pain. you feel their suffering. you feel what they're going through. but this president has disappointed time after time after time, be it captain khan's mother or sergeant la david's widow or parents of otto warmbier. he has disappointed the nation. he has disappointed us. basically, the element of that empathy is missing. without that we will continue to go through this ordeal, whatever time is left, whatever time we have to endure him being in the oval office. >> yes. you were obviously vocal during the campaign, you and your wife withstood the president's
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personal attacks. are you surprised how this presidency has gone so far? i mean the level of chaos within the white house, the sheer number of lies? does it surprise you? >> well, i am disappointed. it doesn't surprise. and the reason for that is that it was so obvious. it was so obvious that this nation is being conned, is being misled, misguided. something that wasn't there was being sold and the nation is finding out. the disappointing part is that our republican leaders, members of the congress, they have forgotten their leadership. they have forgotten their obligations to our democracy, to our rule of law. we saw it a couple of days ago
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at the hearing of michael cohen, his personal attorney for such a long time. they were tempering. they were abusing the witness who came to tell his side of the story, and the republican leadership totally was badgering the witness instead of performing their duty, their obligation, their constitutional obligation of checks and balance and making sure that the executive is kept under check. >> yes. >> it is a process that we are going through, and i am certain, i am certain, as i was certain that 2000 elections shown where real america stands. i am certain that in 2019 and 2020 america will show its decency. america yearns to be the beacon
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of hope for the rest of the world as it always has been. >> yes. >> momentarily we are going through an anomaly that has taken place in 2016, and i am certain that america's decency, america's leadership will prevail. >> mr. khan, i appreciate your time. my best to your family. thank you. joining us is columnist kristin powers, author of "corrosion of conservative, why i left the right." max, i don't know what to ask. why do you think -- is it just he is trying to gain leverage in negotiation goes and not alienate kim jong-un for the greater good? i mean i guess that's one argument. but the negotiations have broken down. he seems to genuinely -- i mean there are ways to not alienate kim jong-un and continue
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negotiations or continue involvement without praising him as, you know, a real leader, you know, a great guy basically. >> exactly right, anderson. i think the problem fundamentally here is that donald trump has an endless appetite for flattery. so he imagines because he knows he can be manipulated by people that flatter him, he imagines by flattering foreign dictators he can manipulate them. now, that theory, there's no evidence to support it. look what happened in hanoi. it doesn't matter how often donald trump says that he is best buddies with kim jong-un. at the end of the day, kim really likes having nuclear weapons. he's not going to give them up no matter how much he is flattered, but donald trump has not stopped flattering him. this is obscene. it is degrading. it is humiliating. i mean i get that sometimes you have to deal with unpleasant leaders, but when fdr met with joseph stalin, he didn't feel compelled to exonerate stalin from the crimes of the gulag or the ukrainian famine.
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you can deal with these leaders and keep your dignity but donald trump does not. >> michael, is it appropriate for the president to, you know, say he thinks kim jong-un is, you know, a real leader, somebody he genuinely likes? >> i don't even know that i agree with what he said, but i do know the president has a more personal relational approach to diplomacy than we're used to. i think it has gotten us where we are right now with north korea, further along toward peace in that peninsula than we have been in generations. i am someone, i spent part of my time in the army infantry on the demilitarized zone between the two countries, north and south korea. i have friends of mine still there working in the dod. they say they feel better about the relation between the two countries than they ever have, and we have only gotten here probably in many ways because of the personal relational way that president trump deals with this. it also opens him up to criticism and some of it
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legitimate. it also hurts families like otto warmbier's. i think they're walking that back the way they should. but i expect more from these talks as we go forward. remember, it took eight years after president nixon met with mao to normalize relations between the united states and china. when president nixon went to china, a lot of people were upset about that. >> yes, but he wasn't sucking up to chairman mao by saying mao is, you know, a real leader and my buddy and we have a great love affair and he writes me great letters. i mean don't you find it just odd? i mean, you know, this is not normal behavior. >> it is different, for sure. >> it is different. >> it is different for sure. like i said, it opens up to criticism like you have just given, but, you know, i trust the impetus of the staff work here. i mean stephen biegun who is his emissary i have known 25 years. i believe he is doing great work and we will get to the place where we may even see more good
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and positive results here. but in the end, it is going to be something that happens between the two leaders. as great work and stephen and the rest are doing, it will be something that happens between trump and kim jong-un. >> kirsten, the president tweeted today, of course, i hold north korea responsible for otto's mistreatment and death. certainly not the same thing as saying he holds kim jong-un responsible for warmbier's death. >> yes. so it is -- and it is not just, you know, his death. it is the way he was sent back to the united states. i mean according to his parents, we have a 22-year old who was blind and deaf, who was jerking violently, making inhuman sounds. this is what his parents witnessed and saw when their son was returned to them. i think that it is -- donald trump has talked a lot about how he wants to return the united states to strength, right? he has this idea that he's not weak and that barack obama was weak. but the fact that the north
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korean government felt comfortable doing exactly this, sending, you know, a 22-year-old american back who had been tortured beyond, you know, anything you can imagine and really left for dead shows how little they actually respect donald trump and how little they respect the united states, because there was a time when people would be worried about treating an american that way and worried about how the president would react to that. so it wasn't -- it was something that was done to this family, but it was also something that was done to this country. and so for the president to react the way he has reacted, it really shows -- it is a sign of weakness to me. it shows that he is not in the position of power in this relationship. i guarantee that that's the way north korea sees it. >> yes. we have to leave it there. there's more to say but, kirsten, i appreciate it, michael caputo, max boot as well. what happened tonight and
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greeted the president on his return from the summit. we will talk to david axelrod and david gergen and talk about otto warmbier. later senator blumenthal and how little of the mueller report the white house may want us to see and his efforts to get as much out there as possible. and we'd like to put a fire pit out there, and a dock with a boat, maybe. why haven't you started building? well, tyler's off to college... and mom's getting older... and eventually we would like to retire. yeah, it's a lot. but td ameritrade can help you build a plan for today and tomorrow. great. can you help us pour the foundation too? i think you want a house near the lake, not in it. come with a goal. leave with a plan. td ameritrade. ♪ with cinemastream for less buffering,
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when president trump returned from hanoi he came back to more than he jet lag, more than criticism over the summit that ended with a whimper, more than anger over his remarks from kim jong-un. he came back to washington in turmoil if not outright chaos over all of the above and more. two people that know better than most what it adds up to are david axelrod and david gerg en, both white house advisers. david gergen, you know, it is easy everyday with every outrage
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and headline to get numb to it all and think this is normal, and every now and then the president says something which even republicans start to credit site a little bit. >> yes. >> and this otto warmbier comment is -- it is stunning that yet again the president of the united states, you know, after talking about having a love affair with kim jong-un, who has concentration camps in the country with tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people in it, and obviously was aware of otto warmbier and, you know, everything flows to and from kim in north korea. it can't -- it is not like he's uninformed. this is not normal for a president to be saying stuff like this. >> it is not normal and i don't think we will see it again for a long time, at least i certainly hope not. it is actually very chilling. you know, i'm glad you raised it in these terms because the central issue here is whether the president yet again is putting his faith in the world's
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dictators and authoritarians over those own intelligence agencies, and he has done it with putin in russia, he has done it with the crown prince of saudi arabia, and now he is doing it with kim. it is especially -- of north korea. it is especially galling because he doesn't seem to relate to the fact that kim runs these huge concentration camps. the u.n. says he has anywhere between 80,000 to 120,000 people in gioulags. he murdered two members of his own family, he medically experiments with his own people. and this young man comes home and trump says, i believe him about how this young man, otto warmbier, died. the story doesn't add up. he also is claiming i got warmbier out of there. how did he do that without kim being absolutely on top of it and knowing exactly what was going on? >> right. >> kim had to know right from the beginning. >> right. it is not as if there's, you know, flights coming and going that kim jong-un would be unaware, oh, a comatose american
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is being flown out of the country and he would have no idea about it. >> it is dishonorable to treat the warmbier family in this way. >> david axelrod, if you are president and three of the major headlines in the week are you overruled intelligence officials to give your son-in-law a top secret security clearance, you accepted a brutal dictators claim he knew nothing about the torture of an american prisoner and you are accused on live national television of being a criminal by your former attorney, isn't it time for some sort of, you know, a meeting to occur or a reset or somebody to -- i mean it doesn't seem like there's anybody around the president who really has any influence over him. >> you know, i think it is important to take a step back and think about what all of this means and everything we have experienced for the last couple of years and come to some conclusions about donald trump and how he thinks and how he operates. first of all, on otto warmbier, the thing that made it even all the more egregiousst is we all
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remember him inviting the parents of otto warmbier to the state of the union and he spent several minutes delivering a blistering indictment of kim jong-un for the death of that young man and now he offers him absolution here or accepts his denial in the face of the obvious evidence. the truth is, you know, david said, you know, he's believing them over their own -- his own intelligence. i don't think he believes him. i think he knows what happened in north korea. i think he knows what happened to jamal khashoggi. i think he knows what putin did. he has decided that it is in his interests to overlook those things, and that is what -- when you add all of these stories up, what you get is a guy who doesn't believe in rules, doesn't believe in norms, doesn't believe in values, doesn't believe in institutions. he believes only in self-interest and doing in the moment what he thinks is in his
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own self-interest. that is really disturbing. >> it is like he is trying to be a tough guy, like a john gotti and, you know, he has his kids in the white house. he has his son-in-law in the white house. it is -- we've just never seen anything like this. >> right. i think, anderson, what is happening right now is that as the mueller report is being awaited and we're all eager to read it, that it is also true that people are saying -- the mueller report is becoming less and less important in the big scheme of things. the issue is not whether he worked with the russians. of course, it is central to the investigation by mueller, but the issue increasingly for the public is, is he fit for the office? is he morally fit to lead the country and to lead the world? i think a lot of people coming to a negative conclusion. >> the idea you have been talking about morals is -- david axelrod, that's not even a conversation one would normally associate.
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it is like talking about a sense of shame, which is also something someone would not talk about relating to him. >> i think he thinks morals and shame are related to suckers. the investigation has shifted to new york because the focus is on his business and the way he conducted his business. what he has done is he has brought trump organization ethics to the oval office and to the governance of this country. that is really, really shocking. you're right, we have never seen anything like this before and it is not clear where it is all going to go. >> yes, trump organization ethics and trump organization lack of organization and chaos. i mean that's essentially what he has recreated. david axelrod, thank you. david gergen, as always thank you very much. you can see more of david axelrod, his guest senator elizabeth warren tomorrow night 597:00 p.m. right here. still ahead, jared kushner's security clearance and whether the president gave the order to get it.
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kushner's attorney at one point said one thing and just moments ago he said another. it is pretty startling. we will talk to senate judiciary member richard blumenthal next. gives you the strongest hold ever to lock your dentures. so now you can eat tough food without worry. fixodent and forget it.
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a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! well, there's breaking news right now on a story we first brought last night, a report in "the new york times" president trump ordered then-chief of staff john kelly to get his son-in-law, jared kushner, top security clearance. moments ago kushner's attorney abby lowell put out a statement. here is what she said when the issue first came up. as you see, he was pretty straight about how the clearance was granted. he was pretty clear about it, as well as who was and wasn't
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involved. listen. >> who made the decision to restore his security clearance? how did that happen? >> the intelligence community and the fbi. it happened in the normal course. it happened the way it happens for thousands of people. there was nobody in the political process that had anything to do with it. there was nobody who pressured it. it was just done the normal, regular way. >> the normal, regular way, nobody pressured for it. that was last may, abby lowell, jared kushner's attorney stating with great certainty no one outside of the regular people were involved in the clearance process. tonight he is telling "the washington post" and the "wall street journal" something else entirely. quote, mr. lowell was not aware of nor told of any request for or action by the president to be involved in the security clearance process. again, officials affirmed at the time that the regular processes occurred without any pressure. joining me is senate judiciary committee member, democrat richard blumenthal of connecticut. is there -- there's not really any other way to read lowell's
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statement than just saying either kushner lied to him or kushner was lied to and -- but the white house officials lied to abbe lowell about the process and maybe the president. >> someone was lying. >> someone was lying, yes. >> and what's really important here, anderson, is that this clearance was not normal in any way. the president of the united states personally overruled his security advisers, the intelligence community, who had good reason to deny this clearance. >> legally he can do that, but it is just unprecedented. >> legally he can do it now, which raises the question, by the way, whether congress should impose more restraints. i think congress has to consider imposing more restraints on that now-apparent, almost absolute authority to grant or revoke security clearances. but remember what he did here was not only overrule the intelligence community but also his chief of staff, general
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kelly, and his counsel. they felt so deeply -- >> the white house counsel, don mcgahn. >> exactly. and they felt so strongly about it, they made a paper trail. they decided to write memos detailing why they objected to it, and i think congress, the judiciary committee, the intelligence committee of both houses has the right to see the memo post-a memos and know more. >> what i don't understand, why lie about it? again, this is a question we ask almost nightly, but why lie about it? i mean he could -- he is legally entitled to do it. this is the person he wanted. why not just say, you know what? i have overruled them, this is the person i want, he has to have a security clearance. but, no, there's this -- you know, there's like constant lying. >> i may be the last person to try to tell you what is going through donald trump's head at any point, but most people lie because they want to conceal
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something, because they feel they have something to hide. in this case the reason that jared kushner was denied a security clearance -- by the way, i raised this point repeatedly six, eight months ago, asking first that his security clearance be reviewed. then i wrote with colleagues, asking that it be suspended because of his conversations with russian agents, his secret conversations with sergey kislyak, the russian ambassador, his effort to establish a back channel to russia, and his conversations with a russian banker, gorkov. so there was a lot here that could have contributed to the denial of his secret -- >> right. kushner was looking for money for 666, his building in new york that was in financial trouble. i mean this is why there are anti-nepotism regulations in place and why most presidents do not choose to employ their daughters and their daughter's husband. if hillary clinton was president
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and she employed chelsea clinton and chelsea clinton's husband, there would be -- people's heads would explode, certainly on the right. i mean democrats probably would go along with it, but it just seems to be another incident of the president not caring overall about the integrity. even ivanka trump apparently lied or was misinformed during an interview and said, oh, no, it was just the regular process. >> there's a lot here, anderson, that lends itself to caricature and almost humor. >> it is funny, but it is not funny because it is serious. >> it is not funny at all, because we're talking about something deeply dangerous, and deeply dangerous to people who right now are risking their lives trying to uncover secrets that this nation has to protect. and what donald trump did was put those secrets and those individuals in the gravest of jeopardy by overruling the intelligence community about who should have access to those secrets. we know kushner and his family had very serious debts.
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we know that they were in touch with the saudis and with other potential foreign bankers. >> qatar, with the chinese. i mean, you know, there's no telling how far it goes. senator blumenthal, i appreciate your time as always. up next, his name was mentioned 25 times during the michael cohen testimony on wednesday so who is allen weisselberg? according to a former trump association employee he's the guy who knows where all of the financial bodies are buried. i will speak with former executive barbara ress next about her time working with allen weisselberg and how important he is in the corporation.
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when president trump's former attorney and fixer michael cohen testified before the house oversight committee this week one name kept coming up. >> weisselberg is executive one, correct? >> yes. the bottom signature i believe is allen weisselberg's. i was asked again with allen weisselberg. i was instructed by allen. in the office with me was allen weisselberg. mr. weisselberg for sure. allen weisselberg. >> who would know the answer to those questions? >> allen weisselberg. >> that's trump organization chief financial officer allen weisselberg. he was granted limited immunity in the investigation to hush n money made to two women years
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ago. his name was on the check that was shown this week. the intelligence committee wants to talk with weisselberg. randy kay has a look at the man who controls the money for the trump family business. >> reporter: allen weisselberg is the chief financial officer for the trump organization, the top bookkeeper who knows where all of the financial bodies are buried according to a former trump organization employee who spoke with cnn. when trump won the white house, he put his sons and weisselberg in charge of the family business. >> he has relinquished leadership and management of the trump organization to his sons, don and eric, and a long-time trump executive, allen weisselberg. >> reporter: weisselberg, who hasn't returned our request for comment, oversees the trust. he has prepared the president's tax returns and is the treasurer for trump's now defunct charity. weisselberg also has reportedly been privy to trump's real estate transactions both here at home and overseas, including
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where all of the funding was coming from. there's no doubt about how vast weisselberg's knowledge is. he has a long history with the trump family going back decades. in the 1970s he was an accountant for president trump's father, fred trump. he then moved over to the trump organization. the "wall street journal" reported weisselberg oversaw many of trump's personal transactions including household expenses as well as the purchases of trains and boats. >> reporter: tristan snell, take former assistant attorney general who helped lead the prosecution of trump university, says weisselberg is the single most indistenseabpensable persoe trump organization. in that case he said weisselberg knew where every dollar in the trump organization came from and controlled where it went. over the years weisselberg has kept a pretty low profile, one former colleague telling the "wall street journal" that weisselberg fits in with the wallpaper, but that suddenly has gotten a lot harder to do.
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randi kaye, cnn, new york. >> joining me now is barbara res, a former executive of the trump organization and author of "all alone on the 68th floor, how one woman changed the face of construction." good to have you back. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> allen weisselberg when you got to the organization he was working but working for donald trump's father fred out in brooklyn, correct? >> that's right. he worked for fred. >> and can you talk about his role? i mean his role now i guess is -- i don't think he was chief financial officer back then. >> no. >> but what was his role back then? >> he wasn't the chief financial officer back then. when he worked in brooklyn, i was working on trump tower in manhattan, right? that was really the only big project we had in manhattan. brooklyn used to pay us. they did everything went through brooklyn except the job expenses which went through an outside accountant. all of the bills, the invoices, the collection and all of the payment of little invoices and things, that was all done by allen. >> do you think, you know, michael cohen certainly seemed
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to indicate time and time again allen weisselberg's presence in the room during, you know, what investigators believe are important moments oral l allen weisselberg's signature on checks. do you think he would know more than michael cohen, who was there for ten years? >> i personally don't. i think that he might know more about the exact numbers like the fact that -- i don't know that he would know much about details. >> would he know, i mean, if he's -- allen as chief financial officer, does he have access to all the financial records? >> he probably does. >> so he could have looked at tax returns. he could have looked at, i mean, he would have access to them? >> he would have access. but for instance, tax returns, he didn't do them. they had accountants that did that. >> but if he's consulting with him about how to pay hush money to a porn star, that's out of the realm of most chief financial officers.
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>> i would say so but i think of him more as donald's accountant than a chief financial officer for a big company. >> that's interesting if he's donald's accountant, then he certainly knows, it sounds to me like he would know a great deal about mr. trump. >> absolutely. i think that was one of his main jobs to do everything that donald spent money on -- excuse me, or president trump spent money on, or needed to collect personally was all, allen oversaw all of that. i'm sure of that. >> if that's the case, if he has other payments to women, if there are other, you know, he has loan problems and he's got, you know, felix sader who has an office on the floor, that had former ties to russian mob figures, allen would be aware of that? >> if it had to do with his
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direct, own personal finances, yeah. through a bank, maybe not. >> but trump's own personal finances seem to be at the core of this. >> they appear to be, absolutely. what is he like? >> allen? >> yeah. >> he used to be, and i knew him well, he was a very low-key guy. lived in queens. not queens, long island. he called donald -- everyone called him donald, he called him mr. trump. he was a mr. trump guy. he was not in the top tier so to speak, wasn't in the inner circle. he did his job. >> would he sign off on things without mr. trump's knowledge? >> i do not believe that anyone would sign off on anything major without it. >> that's the way the organization worked? >> absolutely. >> he had oversight over everything? >> some level of approval, yes. >> most organizations aren't --
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people delegate, that's not the way the trump -- >> it's not that big of an organization. people tend to think of it as this massive company. >> he talks about 10,000 employees. >> when i with was there there was only 7 or 8 people in a group, but suddenly people can do their own thing and people have responsibilities. >> but when he talks about 10,000 employees, he's talking about groundskeepers at golf courses. >> dealers at a casino, i don't know if he has any more, or not. >> thank you. appreciate it. >> my pleasure. >> we want to check in with chris. >> look who i have with me. one of your fans, my son, mario. >> i saw your son playing ball earlier in the hall. >> i know. >> i would have offered to play ball but it would be embarrassing. >> anderson will ruin the game for you because you'll realize you'll never be that smooth. so, the theme of the show tonight is integrity. we're looking at different types
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of integrity by the democrats and what's going on with this presidency. mario, what's a simple definition of integrity? >> like, the ability to do the right thing even if you know that you're not going to get caught. >> yes. even if you won't get caught, will you still do the right thing? that's integrity. you have integrity. i love you. that's what we'll be talking about on the show tonight. we have a congressman leading the fight for oversight. you heard the sound bite from maxine waters. we'll be looking at deutsche bank to see what the president did with lending. how much is too much? we'll get into that. >> i'd be happy to just have mario for the rest of the program. >> he's good-looking. >> you should have him on every night. >> he's good-looking. and he's a big fan of your hair style. why do you like his hair style so much? >> it's sexy. >> it's sexy. good to know. good to know. same word i would have used. see you later. have a good weekend. >> good to see you. >> sexy, really? >> up next, the republican party, of course the bush years
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jtsds jtsds. this sunday night, "the bush years," i spoke to neal bush, who spoke about his father's legacy. i don't know if it was in his dna or upbringing, the way he was raised but there was a humility about him which is something we don't see increasingly in public life. >> yeah. it was totally in his dna and his mom probably would have not had it any other way. so maybe it was partially social. you know what, anderson, i observed as my parents got older and as old people get older, their filters dropped. >> that's for sure. >> my mom was spunky. >> absolutely no filter left. >> your true nature comes out.
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my mom was feisty and fun and a little sharp-witted, amazingly sharp, but she said things she might have regretted and she said more things later in life she probably would have regretted. having said that, dad's true nature was kind and gentle and caring. he did everything in life even to the very end of his life leaning in with love. >> i had a nice, longer talk with neal bush. you can go to to see the full interview and watch the bush years, family, duty, power at 9:00 p.m. sunday on cnn. let's go to chris. see what he's working on. >> thank you, anderson. have a good weekend. i'm chris cuomo, welcome to "primetime." are our national secrets safe with this white house? the combination of all the lying about contact with russia and now word that the president forced clearances for his son-in-law despite questions about his conflicts? that is a recipe for a subpoena from congress, and that's what the democrats are threatening if
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they don't get answers.