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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 19, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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information now are public, revealing how robert mueller set his sights on the president's fixer early on, reviewing his e-mails, tracking his phone calls and so much more. should other targets of the mueller investigation be worried? maddening to watch. that's how kellyanne conway's husband is describing the president tonight, portraying mr. trump as deceitful, incompetent and unhinged. stand by for details on george conway sounding off about his wife's boss in a new interview. russia's secret bombers. is the kremlin deploying nuclear capable weapons on nato's doorstep? we will tell you with a what we learning. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news.
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sfwl we' >> the press claiming social media companies are including to stifle the voices of republicans. this as he continues to disrespect the memory of the fellow republican john mccain nearly seven months after the senator and war hero's death. mr. trump building on his latest tweet and vent spree as heed me with the brazilian president known for his trump-like tactics. tonight, a new window into robert mueller's investigation of michael cohen in unsealed federal warrants. they reveal the special counsel reviewed years of e-mails and other data from cohen's time working as mr. trump's fixer before and after he was president. i will talk about that and more with house judiciary committee member ted lew. our correspondents and analysts are standing by. let's go to our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. you were at the president's news conference as he embraced another conspiracy theory.
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>> reporter: that's right. no letup in the bizarre rhetoric over here, calling it a dangerous situation. president trump sounded off on a growing conspiracy theory we are seeing in conservative circles that republicans -- it goes like this. republicans are being discriminated against by social media companies, an accusation offered up without any hard evidence. the president went after the mainstream press as well as john mccain, continuing his battle with the nemesis. latching onto a new conspiracy theory, president trump accused the world's biggest social media companies of collusion. >> there's collusion with respect to that. something has to be going on. something is happening with those groups of folks that are running facebook and google and twitter. i do think we have to get to the bottom of it. >> reporter: the president said he supported an effort to sue
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twitter. accusing the tech giant of having a political agenda complaining of anonymous parody accounts that have mocked him. standing with brazil's leader, who has been dubbed the trump of the tropics, the president used the opportunity to slam the american president. >> look at the networks, look at the news, at the newscasts, i call it fake news. i'm very proud to hear the president use the term fake news. you look at what's happening with the networks. you look at what's happening with different shows. it's hard to believe we win. it's a very, very dangerous situation. so i think i agree. i think something has to be looked at very closely. >> reporter: the president made the complaints despite having a powerful social media presence that's supported by conservative news outlets. mr. trump tweeted to his nearly 60 million followers the fake news immediate k s media has ne dishonest or corrupt than now. it's the enemy of the people and our country.
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>> translator: we will respect whatever the ballots tell us on 2020. i do believe donald trump is going to be re-elected. >> reporter: the president defended his recent tweet storm attacking john mccain. saying he will never forget the late senator's vote against repealing obamacare. >> it's graceful. i was never a fan of john mccain and i never will be. thank you very much. >> reporter: the president weighed in on the husband of kellyanne conway who questioned whether mr. trump is mentally ill. on his tweets, george conway told "the washington post," the incompetence is maddening to watch. frankly, it's so i don't end up screaming at her about it. the president made it clear he is ready for the 2020 election,
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teeing off on democratic calls to expand the supreme court. >> i wouldn't entertain that. the only reason is that they're doing is they want to catch up. if they can't catch up through the ballot box, by winning an election, they want to try doing it in a different way. >> reporter: the president also weighed in on the crisis in v venezue venezuela, repeating all options are on the table, suggesting military options are on the table for the u.s. mr. trump did say he is making brazil a non-nato ally of the u.s. both leaders, they appear to be in sync on a whole range of topics. the brazilian president was all but fawning over the president. the attacks on the press were the latest that the president's rhetoric here in the u.s. aimed at the news media is spreading across the globe like a virus. he used the term fake news today. president trump smiled. we should note there are other governments around the world that hear the president using this kind of rhetoric aimed at
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the news media and they are emulating it all across the planet. >> they are. jim acosta at the white house, thank you. now to robert mule aeller's investigation and the information involving michael cohen. warrants show the former trump fixer and lawyer was an early target of the special counsel allowing years of his e-mails and other information to be scrutinized. sara murray has been studying the warrants. what are you learning? >> reporter: this gives us an idea how early it was prosecutors were eyeing michael cohen, the president's longtime lawyer. just how far they went into delving into his digital life to prove that he had committed crimes. hundreds of pages of newly unsealed warrants revealing today that the special counsel's team was allowed to pour over years of e-mails of michael cohen. robert mueller targeted cohen, the president's former lawyer and fixer, soon after his
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appointment in may 2017. long before the fbi raided cohen's home, office and hotel room. investigators dug into cohen's g-mail account. by february 2018, mueller handed certain aspects of its investigation into cohen over to prosecutors in the southern district of new york. those prosecutors then sought additional phone and electronic data from cohen. according to the warrant, they were investigating a criminal violation of the campaign finance laws by michael cohen, a lawyer who holds himself out as the personal attorney for president donald j. trump. as detailed, there's probable cause to believe that -- redacted. the fbi raided cohen's property in april 2018. cohen pleaded guilty in a manhattan courthouse to making an illegal campaign contribution and other crimes. in the new batch of documents,
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details of the scheme stretching almost 20 points are completely redacted. a signal that the investigation into hush money payments to two women who alleged affairs with donald trump remains ongoing. the documents highlight the lengths investigators went to to uncover cohen's illegal activity. on two occasions, a judge approved mueller's request to track the numbers of cohen's incoming and outgoing calls. they tracked the location of his cell phones, seeking a warrant for historical cell phone location information. used an electronic technique commonly known as trigger fish to determine the location. investigators also subpoenaed google, knew he was communicating using encrypted sig signaling apps. they uncovered cohen's consulting work, including seven payments linked to a russian oligarch.
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the fir now, of course these documents tell us a lot. what we want to know is what's under the redactions and what's going on with the ongoing criminal investigation into the hush money payments. there's a possibility that could be other people implicated in that. michael cohen implicated the president himself. >> there's a lot going on. a lot of new information we learned in this document. i want to bring in shimon prokupecz and jeffrey toobin. almost 20 pages of this document. it's 400 pages. it's very, very intense. 20 pages are blacked out or redacted, involving presumably hush money payments. what do we glean from that? >> this is the scheme as the department of justice, the southern district is calling it. it's the illegal campaign fund scheme. i think what we can read out of this is that this part of the
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investigation is not over. the u.s. attorney's office in new york is not prepared to reveal all of the information that they have in terms of this scheme, in terms of how they went about making these payments, who came up with this. we know that the president has been implicated in this by the department of justice, by michael cohen. what else could there be? there's always the chance that other people are going to be charged. remember, there are checks that michael cohen has, with the president's son's name on it, other people in the trump organization that can be brought into this scheme, into charges. i think that part of the investigation, which is very obvious, is ongoing. >> that looks like a boring legal document. like so much of what mueller has written. it's like a short story. the villain at the beginning is uber of all things. michael cohen owned all these taxi medallions. he borrowed against it. because of uber and lyft, the value of those medallions
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declined. he needed money. he started lying about his money. he started keeping secret bank accounts. that's -- submitting false documents to get bank loans. then at the climax of this short story, it ends with the black -- the blank pages. the 20 pages of what was going on with donald trump and the hush money to the two women, we don't know if there's something in there beyond what -- beyond what's publically known. the scale of the investigation is just so enormous. all the e-mails, the phone records. it's way more than even an ordinary -- >> you seem the 20 pages, the redacted 20 pages involving what they call individual number one, namely the president of the united states. let's not forget, michael cohen is going to jail in part for
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three years because of the hush money payments. >> you don't have to assume that. it says that. it says that the redacted area is the discussion of the hush money conspiracy. the precise contours of that and who is involved in the illegal activity, that's not disclosed. >> should the president be worried about all of this right now as he keeps talking about a witch hunt? >> he has to be worried about this. he has to be worried about the investigation tls that are continuing in new york. the justice department guidelines that you cannot indict a sitting president. donald trump is not going to be president for the rest of his life. i know we're waiting for the mueller investigation to wrap up. we're waiting for the potential that could be -- there could be more bombshells. i think we need to be prepared for the fact that we could wait a while. these could be investigations open for quite some time. we may not see movement on them. there may be cards that prosecutors in new york decide to hold close to their vest until donald trump is no longer president. i don't know if you are him how
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you go to sleep every night and don't think about that. >> who else could it be? roger stone was not involved in the hush money to these women. it wasn't paul manafort being involved. it wasn't michael flynn. the only person who was involved in this conspiracy was michael cohen and donald trump. the southern district has filed papers in the cohen case saying trump was involved. trump has to be all over -- >> what about david pecker and american media? >> they could be involved as well. they have settled their case. they have gotten a non-prosecution agreement. they are not criminally exposed anymore. >> it's very clear that this blacked out part is naming people that were involved in this scheme, is also indicating parts of the investigation that are just not publically known yet that the department of justice does not want out there. when you look at everything else they have included -- what you see about pen register and
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phone -- this is like a drug case. you see this when the fbi, dea are trying to track drug dealers, where they're going, who they are talking to, not necessarily listening in. they want to do the gps. were they here? who were they talking to? that's how this reads. you don't normally see this detail out there. that's the way they went about this investigation. very detailed. >> if you are someone like roger stone and others who are being investigated, you learn the extent of the details that the prosecutors, the fbi can collect on you basically where you are breathing every minute, you gotta get really, really worried. the scope is so intense. >> unless you have led a perfectly blameless life and you have never sent an e-mail that's embarrassing or incriminating. if you have, as they say in new york, forget about it. >> yeah. rod rosenstein all of a sudden, he was supposed to be leaving. around these days. all of a sudden we're learning
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he is sticking around. >> he is sticking around that could be because we don't have the mueller report yet. it hasn't been submitted to the department of justice for the attorney general to review. we have been given the impression he wanted to stay until this was complete. he started this investigation. he wants to see it to its completion. i think it's fair to say we thought he would be gone by now. he was ready to leave. we know who is going to potentially be replacing him. this was supposed to happen perhaps maybe a week or two ago. he is staying on. we don't know exactly how much longer. what it all means, i don't know. >> i asked him what it all means. >> we will figure it out eventually. stick around. congressman ted lew is going to be joining us in a moment. stand by. cnn has learned that the white house has missed the house judiciary committee deadline to te turn over records that's part of the democrat sweeping investigation of president trump. i want to go to manu areraju.
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what is the committee prepared to do? >> reporter: this sets the stage for a clash between house democrats and the white house over scores of requests they are making, including this committee, this investigation into what democrats believe is obstruction of justice, potential abuse of the president's office. in this request that they have made to the white house, they have asked for documents and records relating to the firing of james comey, internal conversations about the recusal of then attorney general jeff sessions overseeing the russia investigation, discussions about potentially firing robert mueller as well as the hush money payments the president was involved with to silence those stories about those alleged affairs that may have come out right before the 2016 elections, all those documents, jerry nadler, the chairman had demanded by a monday deadline, yesterday deadline. white house did not respond by the deadline. we're told by a source familiar with the matter that the white house does plan to respond
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sometime soon. whether that will be enough to satisfy democratic demands remains to be seen. we're learning from republican ai aides that only eight people have responded. many have agreed to provide information. republicans say 8,000 pages have been provided, now the tens of thousands that nadler's committee said democrats are pushing back on. expect more going forward from this committee demanding information from people who have not yet complied and others, including white house, who they are waiting for information from. we're also learning tonight that some former white house officials, including don mcgahn and annie donaldson have referred it to the white house. the white house has to respond for former officials. how they decide to respond is
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going to influence how they will proceed. >> manu raju on capitol hill, thank you. let's get more on this. a congressman serves on the judiciary and the foreign affairs committee, i want to get to your committee's investigation in a moment. first, what strikes you about the scope of these special counsel warrants for michael cohen? >> thank you, wolf, for your question. i'm a former prosecutor. i'm very aware the government can bring a vast array of resources to any investigation. in this case, the investigators were thorough, meticulous. they made sure they is and dotted their ts. >> what are the implications of this for president trump? >> if i was donald trump, i would be scared.
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they have information from michael cohen from early on, months before his office was raided. they have e-mails. they were tracking his incoming and outgoing phone calls. michael cohen was donald trump's fixer.mind the american people, michael cohen is going to prison because he did two felonies. one was hush money illegal payments. he inflated assets to secure loans. that's bank fraud. with donald trump, it looks like he did the same thing. donald trump wrote the checks for these hush money payments and based on public reporting, he inflated his assets to get loans from deutsche bank. >> he committed perjury, lying to congress. that's a federal crime. he begins his three-year sentence may 6 in a federal penitentiary in upstate new york. do the redactions on these pages -- there are 20 pages that are fully blacked out, do they indicate that the hush money payment scheme in this investigation is still ongoing?
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>> absolutely. you have ongoing investigations. we know from documents provided by michael cohen that donald trump is implicated. he is viindividual one. >> what new questions does all this raise, the new information we got today about michael cohen's lobbying for foreign entities? >> we also know from the search warrants that about a month before the 2016 presidential elections, michael cohen opened up accounts in which there were a vast number of payments that were from foreign sources. that looks deeply suspicious. we will see what happens with investigators on how judiciary committ committee. >> white house lawyers say they expect to have a chance to review the mueller report before
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it's released to congress. how do you respond to that? >> i'm fine if the white house gets to see the report first. i just want to make sure that congress and the american people get to see the entire report. the american taxpayers paid for this investigation. they deserve to have the report. second, internal department of justice guidelines don't apply to congress. regardless what the department of justice wants s to do internally, congress needs to get this entire report. we're a separate and co-equal part of government. we can't do oversight if we don't have all the information. >> the white house wants to see it. they suggest before you guys see it to maybe go through it and cite executive privilege and redact certain information that you won't be allowed to see. is that okay? >> that is not okay. it will be fine if the white house wants to get an advance copy and look at it. they should not be allowed to
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redact or withhold. >> what if they see private conversations between the president and his staff, information that shouldn't be made public? certainly, you are okay with redacting sensitive, classified information? >> that's correct. classified information should not be released to the public. however, it should be released to members of congress. we can go look at it in a classified setting. >> let's talk about another sensitive issue that's ongoing. the white house has not responded to the request from your judiciary committee to submit documents in your investigation into potential abuse of power by president trump. republican aides say 8 of the 81 people or entities on your list have handed over the documents requested. what does this say about the current state of your investigation? >> the republican aide is not correct. about a half hour earlier we checked with the staff.
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about half of the people on the document list either have sent documents that we have received, they have mailed those documents or they will be sending the documents shortly. one reason we haven't gotten all the documents immediately is because many of them are sending them via regular mail. these are large amounts of documents. that takes time. it goes through security screening before it comes to our offices in the capitol. >> what about the other half who haven't responded? >> it's a process of negotiating. these 81 document requests were not form letters. they were specific to specific individuals to their unique case. some of the cases, we're happy to work with the individuals if they want to do a partial request, if they have privileges they want to assert, we're happy to work with them. we expect to get the majority of documents we have requested. if we don't, then we will start looking at subpoenas. >> of the half who have responded, either submitting documents or saying documents
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are on the way, how many have completed the process and submitted all the requested documents? >> i don't know what exact number is. i know we have gotten tens of thousands of pages of documents and many are en route. this is an investigation that is just beginning. it's a process. we will get the majority of documents we have requested. >> the chairman of your committee, jerry nadler, says you have heard -- uyou have head from a large number of recipients who handed over or promised to hand over documents. where does this move from here? what happens if some decide they're not going to cooperate? >> then we will look at issuing subpoenas. we are going to have to go through the judiciary to get those documents. the american people really should be asking, what are they hiding? what is the white house hiding where they don't want to provide these document ss? we believe we will get most of the information. >> congressman, thanks for
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joining us. >> thank you. let's bring in our experts and analysts to assess the late developments. jeffrey toobin, you are still with us. what's your reaction to what you heard that a lot of the recipients, a lot of those who have been asked for documents, they have responded but maybe just half? >> i think it's not surprising since most of the people who were on that list have some or greater degree of hostility to the democrats who are on the judiciary committee. the most important is the white house. white house reaction can be expressed ed bed by a hand gest cannot be used on television. they are giving them nothing. they will have to fight. i anticipate that a court fight could drag on to the end of trump's presidency. >> that's going to go on and on if there's a court battle. white house cites executive privilege.
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>> they shouldn't count, even if they win the initial rounds, they shouldn't count on getting anything from this white house. >> david, let's talk about michael cohen. these documents, the search warrant, the information released was enormous today. 20 pages were redacted involving the hush money payments. you have gone through this document. you went to law school. what do you think? >> i think the idea that there's 20 pages of redacted information in there on top of what we already know certainly should concern those involved in this, up to and including the president. we knew that michael cohen had this essential consultant slush fund in which he was getting money from various corporations based on his at least advertised influence with the administration. that some of the payments related to stormy daniels and karen mcdougal came out of that fund. we also know that the president knew that michael cohen was
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handling payments related to stormy daniels, that there's more to this and that this initiated with the special koupkou counsel's office does suggest there's more to come. >> we should point out that up with of the companies that was paying michael cohen was at&t, which is now the parent company of cnn. >> good point. >> he was getting a lot of money, including from a russian billionaire who was providing half a million dollars. >> correct. >> that russian billionaire is very close to vladimir putin and the investment firm that he owned -- he is one of the individuals sanctioned by the u.s. government. that's also one of the key findings from these documents that have been unsealed. in july of 2017, two months after robert mueller's appointment, the special counsel had reason to believe cohen violated a number of laws which included acting as an
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unregisterunregister ed foreign agent. that's not something he was charged with. it's something that do come up in other investigations, particularly as they relate to the ongoing investigation of the russian interference with the election. >> you have to register with the justice department as a foreign agent. >> their crackdown has had reverberations in washington. the justice department beefed up that section of enforcement. there are people all over washington, lobbyists who are on the bubble of doing work for foreigners who are being looked at and saying, you have to register. you are a registered lobbyist for this foreign entity. it's beyond the trump world now. >> what do you think about the white house lawyers now saying that before the mueller report is made available to congress and certainly before it's made available to the american public, white house should have a first look at it to review it
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and to redact or delete or black out sensitive information that they don't want anyone to see? >> this is an important distinction between kenneth starr, who was an independent counsel, had nothing to do with janet reno, who was the supervisor -- the attorney general at the time. he could write whatever he wanted in his report. robert mueller is an employee of the department of justice. he is a subordinate of attorney general barr who is a subordinate of president trump. the president has every right to look at this -- not only just to look at it before it goes out, but to sensor it. because he is in charge of the department of justice. that may be a political problem. as a legal matter, this is something that the department of justice has the authority to do and the department of justice is part of the trump administration. >> to jeffrey's point, sometimes
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the independent counsel is like an attorney general operating in one case versus the special counsel acting like a u.s. attorney who is in charge of one case. i do think the way jeffrey set it up is right. it seems to me it presents problems with the administration of justice if the president is potentially a subject of the investigation, even if not indictable or even if not accused of a crime, the idea that essentially if you can sensor this report, does that mean you are above the law? >> go ahead. >> the issue of barr has a tricky issue. >> the new attorney general. >> the new attorney general bill barr. the white house is saying privately to pam brown and others at cnn that they expect to see the report on whether they can -- whether they need to assert executive privilege. barr, he could split the difference and say, comb the report and say, these are the parts of the report i think would be potentially relevant to executive privilege. show those to the white house.
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get that answer. then give the rest to congress with those exceptions. >> remember, this was one of the key sticking points during the confirmation hearings for william barr. he wasn't clear about the extent to which he would be willing to make the mueller report public. it is within the purview of the white house to make claims of executive privilege. one thing barr told lawmakers was if he felt the climbs were desi designed to prevent information incriminating to the president, that he would disagree. there's a test coming up for the newly minted attorney general. of course, that's something that the white house is now teeing up as a confrontation in the weeks that come. >> jeff points out, the distinction is does the white house assert control over what
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happens to the report or do they just stick with this narrow argument that we want to be able to assert executive privilege? if trump demanded he gets to decide, that would be politically explosive. >> it would be. i anticipate that if there is a political explosion, donald trump's popularity will stay exactly the same as it is now. because it never moves, no matter what happens. >> you might see members of congress -- the chairs of the committees and the house at that point maybe subpoena mueller himself or his staff to tell them what information and what's conta contained. >> absolutely. the democrats who run the house of representatives are not going to sit by and say, well, you know, we're not going to look into what mueller found in any part is not disclosed. the question of what they can do about it and what the courts will allow them to do is very unclear to me. >> what does it say that rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who was supposed to be
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out right about now, is sticking around a bit longer? >> i think as our colleagues who cover the justice department have said, he wants to see the mueller investigation through to the end. apparently like the rest of us, he doesn't know exactly when that's he wanted to leave right away. he is still around. presumably, he is not staying around too long. i don't know what the mueller investigation is going to end. it looks like rosenstein doesn't know either. >> what do they do? whatever out -- unresolved investigations are still going on. the special counsel robert mueller, once he wraps it up, he sends it off to the u.s. attorney in new york. the u.s. attorney in d.c. or norther virgin eern virginia, t over. >> my recollection is this, if there are people who are to be indicted, they would be indicted either in the court in virginia or in d.c.
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the big picture of the president's inner circle, that information as you said before goes to the attorney general or maybe to rosenstein first, then the attorney general. then maybe to the president. them that would be presented to congress either in partial form or not at all or maybe they will decide to give the substantial amount of the information to congress other than let's say classified information. >> what do you think? >> i think they have already begun the process of turning over some of the cases like the roger stone case is being prosecuted by the u.s. attorney's office in washington as well as the special counsel. i would be surprised if any investigation -- any indictment issues after mueller. it's about issuing indictments. finishing up the sentencing of michael flynn or the resolution of the cases against the russian entities to the extent anyone can be found to be prosecuted,
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those will be turned over to u.s. attorney offices. >> there are ongoing investigations that are being overseen by the southern district of new york, one of which involves the president's inaugural committee and alleged pay to play scheme in which wealthy donors were essentially seeking to buy access to the incoming administration. when michael cohen testified publically on capitol hill, he was directly asked if the president was perhaps himself involved in any other illegal activity. he said, yes. he answered in the affirmative. he said he could not get into the particulars because those allegations are the subject of ongoing investigations. >> stick around. there's a lot more we need to discuss. new developments emerging. we will continue all of this right after a quick break. i hear it in the background and she's watching too, saying [indistinct conversation] [friend] i've never seen that before. ♪
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i can worry about it, or doe. something about it. garlique helps maintain healthy cholesterol naturally, and it's odor-free, and pharmacist recommended. garlique we're back with ourfollowin. cnn has released a new poll on the democratic field. we will put it on the screen. joe biden, he hasn't officially announced, but he will announce soon. bernie sanders up. look at this, kamala harris has gone from 4% to 12% right now. that's a pretty impressive jump. beto o'rourke from 9 to 11. >> there were two candidates who were famous. biden and sanders. biden because he was vice-president. sanders because he was runner-up last night. everyone else is fighting to be
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famous. the person who has done best job so far is kamala harris. she has had the biggest impact with her rollout. similar if you look at google searches. more people are interested and want to find out about her. she's the one non-famous candidate who has captured the imagination of a lot of democrats, with beto close behind in his fame and stardom and interest in him stems from his texas campaign. >> look at this, david. important to note, 59% of the democrats polled, they believe the field is wide open right now. 37% prefer one or two candida candidates. >> you don't have a once in a generation retail political talent in there. you have a lot of good candidates fighting it out for various democratic constituencies. i agree that after you get past
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the the two most well-known, senator harris has done a good job because she checks a lot of botches for boxes for a lot of people. >> ten months before the iowa caucuses, barack obama wasn't barack obama either. you say as if was a talent. remember, he and john edwards and hillary clinton were practically tied. coming up on the iowa caucuses. a lot is going to change. >> i take your point about edwards. the one thing that is that democrats focused on the idea that they wanted to turn the page on the iraq war and that gave obama a lift. >> to that point, you don't have this time around is a hillary clinton. one of the key differences is that last time around, democrats effectively cleared the field. they felt it was hillary clinton's turn and time to be the nominee. that's what gave bernie sanders somewhat -- in the end not enough of an opportunity, to
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capitalize on this grass-roots movement, seeking for a more progressive agenda. this time around, there are a lot more candidates vying for the spotlight because democrats want this to be a contested primary. there has been no clearing of the field for joe biden. we will see if and when he enters the race if he will emerge as a frontrunner. some have more in name recognition than others. that plays a role in how they are received. that reinforces the work other candidates have to do to distinguish themselves in a crowded field. >> elizabeth warren last night said at the cnn town hall, she supports getting ritd of the t electoral college. hillary clinton would have been president if there was a popular vote. >> you know who else thought that? richard nixon wanted to get rid of the electoral college. this has been a recurring theme.
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it's only in recent years that it has become a democratic versus republican split on this issue. there were a lot of republicans for many years who wanted to get rid of it. don't hold your breath. >> there is this -- just under the surface, the states, one by one, are banning together and once they hit that magic number, you won't need a constitutional amendment to do this. >> not holding out for either option. >> the supreme court would have to pass on whether that was constitutional. >> stick around. more news we're following. kellyanne conway's husband in a war of words with his wife's boss after suggesting on twitter the president is mentally unfit. george conway goes in-depth on donald trump in a new interview. ominous military moves by the kremlin. is russia declares nuclear capable forces in nato's backyard? hey, who are you? oh, hey jeff, i'm a car thief... what?!
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and millions of wifi hotspots to help you stay connected. and this is moving day with reliable service appointments in a two-hour window so you're up and running in no time. show me decorating shows. this is staying connected with xfinity to make moving... simple. easy. awesome. stay connected while you move with the best wifi experience and two-hour appointment windows. click, call or visit a store today. tonight we're following the escalating war of words between president trump and the husband of his senior adviser, kellyanne conway. george won okay conway is unloa the president. let's talk about the breaking story. josh is joining us, white house reporter for the washington post. he had a chance to speak with george conway.
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thanks very much for joining us. i want to read a bit of what conway told you, trying to explain his twitter attacks. quote, it's so maddening to watch. the incompetence, it's maddening to watch. i get it off my chest and move on with my life that day. that's basically it. frankly, it's so i don't end up screaming at her about it. he has been incredibly outspoken on twitter. it's rare to hear him speak to a journalist about all of this. why do you think he decided to talk to you? >> he decided to talk to pe larme because the president called him a loser today. the president really escalated the war of words. the president's campaign manager claimed that the president did not know george conway. he said he couldn't pick him out of the lineup. today, the president called him a loser. conway felt compelled to explain
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his history with the president. he had concerned once he took the unusual step of trashing the spouse of a senior aide. >> he had his own relationship with the president for a while now. it wasn't as if they never spoke. >> it dated back to 2006. the president relied on george conway to help him in a dispute at one of his properties in new york. some of the residents were trying to take the name trump off the building. george conway came in. then the two had a number of encounters over the years. in 2016, they went together to a party at the home of rebecca mercer. the president's consulted george conway over what lawyers he should have for the russia probe, how he should handle cases. how he should handle a good bit of his white house in the early days. the president would consult with george conway. that has soured now.
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>> how does kelly anne conway se things? how does she spin the attacks coming from her husband? >> kellyanne made it clear that she does not appreciate being caught between the president, who she has been a high-profile and loyal surrogate for and her husband who is increasingly tarnishing the president and questioned his mental capacity. george conway for his part richs the president would -- he wishes kellyanne would quit. the president made his feelings pretty clear today. a little strange dynamic in kellyanne being in the white house and a prominent role caught in the middle of the men in her life who like to tweet. >> the president is promoting this idea he shot down george conway when he wanted a justice department job. conway describes things differently. he told you a little about how president trump viewed the former head of the department of justice, the attorney general
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jeff sessions. what does he say? >> he describes the conversation in june 2017 at steve mnuchin's wedding. george conway dropped out of contention to lead a civil division. he had grown disinchanted over the president's attacks on the fbi, the firing of james comey, appointing of special counsel. the president approaches him and says that he understood why conway would drop out of a job because jeff sessions is such a weak man and no one wants to work for him. he should have never recused himself. conway says, he had to recuse himself based on what i know. the president grew very upset at that. in this conversation that happened right after conway left the position or left being under consideration for the position, the president certainly is telling a different tale than his campaign manager was saying last night. he said he was fired. truth be told, he never worked at the department of justice because he night. he said he was fired.
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truth be told, he never worked for the department of justice every day. >> thank you so much for joining us. excellent reporting, as usual. >> thank you. just ahead, there are ominous new signs, russia may be deploying nuclear forces in nato's back yard. what is behind vladimir putin's latest moves. ♪ ♪ i have... ♪
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tonight we're tracking new military moves by russia that may threaten the united states and its allies. key allies in moscow say chemicals have been moved to crimea, the ones vladimir putin seized five years ago. our senior correspondent fred pleitgen is joining us right now. what are you learning from this deployment? >> reporter: some conflicting information out of moscow. it seems like lawmakers have jumped the gun, possibly deployed to the black sea region. here's what we're learning. tonight, new signs the kremlin might be moving nuclear capable forces to its base's right on nato's doorstep. just as russia celebrates five years since the annexation of crimea, moscow confirming it recently flew m-3 bombers of the black sea. two law makers claiming the
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planes are now based there. the head of the parliament's defense committee stating quote the deployment of u.s. missile defense in romania was a serious challenge, in response to which the russian defense ministry decided to deploy tu-22 h-3 bomb first crimea. this step radically changed the balance of forces in the region. the lawmakers and russian official press agencies later reversed course and denied the tu-22 m-3 bombers or nuclear capable medium range missile systems were ever deployed to crimea. but the national security council has shown its concern, tweeting russia's annexation of crimea continues to pose a threat to our regional allies. tensions have been on the rise between russia and the u.s. and its allies in the black sea region. in november, russia drawing widespread condemnation after its forces captured and arrested
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the cruise from naval ships and pounded the vessel. the u.s. has increasingly sent warships to the black see to reassure its allies. this week, nato ripped into moscow's increased activity in crimea. an alliance spokesman saying, quote, we condemn russia's ongoing and wide ranging military buildup in crimea and are concerned by russia's efforts and stated plans for military buildup in the black sea region. and the russians say they will not back down from their plans to further fortify and expand their military hardware and installations in the black sea despite american pressure. of course, washington, the russian versus their own take on what's going on in the black sea region. the ministry of the foreign affairs says it comes out blaming nato for actively militarize tag black sea region, putting more hardware into that
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region. >> tension increasing. fled pleitgen, thank you. to our viewers, follow me on twitter and instagram. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett "out front" starts, right now. "out front" next. breaking news, the deputy attorney general staying on the job longer to absorb the punches and deal with the fallout from the mueller report. this is mueller's team signals it's too busy to meet a crucial deadline. busy with what? more indictment? george conway fighting back, after the president called him a loser. plus a bank that will loan millions when no one else would. new questions tonight about the president's megalender. let's go out front. and good evening, i'm erin burnett. "out front" tonight, the breaking news, absorbing the punches. that's what

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