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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  March 23, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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. [ ding ] oh, it won't do that. welp, someone should. just say "teach me more" into your voice remote and see how you can have an even better x1 experience. simple. easy. awesome. hello, everyone. i'm fredricka whitfield in washington d.c. where right now the nation's attorney general is reading through special counsel robert mueller's report, the culmination of 675 days of investigation. he will then decide how much of it will be released to u.s. congress and the american people. the attorney general, william barr, says the principle conclusion of the russia report could be released as early as today. we just saw him leaving his virginia home and shortly after
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arriving at the department of justice where he continues to review that report. arriving right after him, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, while details of mueller's report remain a mystery, we do know one major headline. a senior justice official says there will be no further indictments from the special counsel. right now president trump is golfing at his club in west palm beach, florida. he's spending the weekend at marijua mar-a-lago surrounded by members of his key legal team. so far there has been an unusual silence from the president on the mueller report, but the white house is already privately flami framing it as a win for president trump. and in just a few hours house democrats will huddle for a phone call to discuss the latest developments. cnn's team of reporters and analysts have been covering this story very closely for 22 months now, and they are standing by to bring you details of everything you need to know.
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so, let's begin with congressional correspondent sund lynn serfaty. what can we expect to come out of this conference call with house democrats later today? >> this is an important moment today, fred. they are essentially getting prepared. they will convene a conference call with the entire democratic caucus around 3:00 p.m., just a few hours, eastern time where they're going to be talking to leaders and the committee chairmen, important people to talk to and such base about awhe where this is going in the next 24, 48 hours, not only to potentially receive that new information from the attorney general that could come as soon as today but also to prepare for what many admit will be a very long, tense and fierce battle ahead over what exactly is made available to the public and what exactly is made available to capitol hill. we have heard very quickly from many democrats saying that they want not only the full mueller
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report released to them but especially and notably the underlying documents, the supporting evidence that mueller used in his investigation. listen to senate minority leader chuck schumer. >> now that special counsel mueller has submitted his report to the attorney general, it's imperative for mr. barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to congress. attorney general barr must not give president trump, his lawyers or his staff any sneak preview of special counsel mueller's findings or evidence. >> reporter: now, the push to release the full report is a sentiment that many republicans up here on capitol hill share as well, notably the top republican on the house judiciary committee, congressman doug collins, he called for the entire report to be released. he says, quote, i expect dochblg
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doj to release the report to this committee without delay and to the maximum extent permitted by law. certainly here on capitol hill, fred, there will be a push very likely for robert mueller to come here and testify, for the attorney general to come here and testify, so we'll see of course where that goes in the days, weeks and months ahead. but at this very moment essentially capitol hill is in a waiting pattern, just holding, waiting for the new information from the attorney general. >> also, we're learning that president trump's son-in-law, jared kushner, has agreed to provide records to the house judiciary committee relating to its obstruction of justice probe. what can you tell us on that? >> reporter: that's right, fred, and this is significant and notably this is a different investigation outside of the mueller investigation, one of the many on capitol hill. jared cukushner has agreed to provide the documents requested by the house judiciary committee. chairman nadler, as well as
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jared kushner, to turn over what they have, documents potentially in terms of kushner's case related to his time on the campaign and transition and certainly his time at the white house as a senior have hadar to president trump. this is a good reminder that while we're talking about the mueller report ending, the investigations on capitol hill certainly are not. >> thank you so much. so as speculation swirls around what's in the mueller report, the first family is spending the weekend at mar-a-lago and so far president trump has remained silent. our national correspondent suzanne malveaux is near trump's mar-a-lago resort in west palm beach this afternoon. nothing directly from the president today. we saw him arrive at his golf club this morning and at dinner last night seemingly very relaxed. >> reporter: it's amazing that we haven't seen anything from his twitter account. everybody keeps checking periodically of course and whether or not there's any movement in mar-a-lago. you would look at the pictures and maybe it looks like a normal weekend but it is anything but
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normal. we did see the president and his motorcade reading a newspaper, holding a newspaper as he entered into his club. he is now golfing we have confirmed and that is a normal activity. but what is not normal is the entourage that is around him, his legal team, two press secretaries as well as a chief strategist and attorney 'emmite flo flood. so far, nothing from the president, but we did see a couple of signs last night that he was, in fact, meeting at mar-a-lago with mr. flood, that they were seen speaking with each other privately. we also saw the president at a majorraiser close to the estate there but he did not speak but introduced what he called his real friend, senator lindsey graham. lindsey graham went all in in terms of the investigation and criticizing, saying that one of
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the key documents that was integral in this investigation was a piece of garbage in thinks words. he mentioned hillary clinton as well as classified information to which the crowd, the audience there erupted in the lock her up chant there. that is how that all played out. it gives you a sense of where he's going and where his supporters are going with the reaction here. the president over the last two years insisting, fred, up until yesterday that this is all a witch hunt and a hoax, that type of thing. his press secretary sanders, she emphasized here that the process will play out with the attorney general, that they do not yet have this report. they're still waiting for that but there are so many different ways they could go. many of them spinning that this is going to be a positive development but we still have to wait and see. fred. >> suzanne malveaux, thank you so much. let's check in with cnn's jessica schneider looking over
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the report for the last 24 hours now. what are you looking for when it comes to these principle conclusions? what does that mean? >> fredricka, this is essentially going to be a summary of this confidential report that the special counsel, robert mueller, submitted to the attorney general late yesterday afternoon. we do know that attorney general bill barr, he reviewed it yesterday for a few hours but he was back at it. he's at the justice department now. he arrived here just before 10:00 this morning. he was followed closely behind when entering the doj complex by the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, so he is reviewing that now. we don't know how long it could take. we haven't received any guidance as to when he may actually be moving into that portion where he writes up these principle conclusions and submits them to congress and also releases them to the public. now, we have heard from an aide to senator dianne feinstein and the members of congress, they're expecting that this will, in fact, be only in writing, that
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there will be no in-person briefing and these conclusions could actually be submitted to them by the attorney general via e-mail. so that's all percolating now. we don't have any exact idea on the timing here, but we do know that as part of this review, the attorney general is reviewing this confidential report. we know that he's consulting with the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, as well as special counsel mueller. here's what he wrote to congress yesterday. he said i intend to consult with rosenstein and mueller to determine what other information from the report can be released to congress and public consistent with the law, including the special counsel regulations and the department's long-standing practices and policies. of course, even though this special counsel investigation is over, robert mueller is actually still special counsel. he'll remain in that role at least for the next few days as this officially wraps up. one thing, fredricka, we do know definitively here because the attorney general has told congress, we do know that there
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were no instances where either deputy attorney general rod rosenstein or acting attorney general at the time matt whitaker or even attorney general barr, there were no instances where they put the kibosh on anything that mueller's team wanted to do. that was spelled out quite explicitly in this letter to congress afternoon. it says the special counsel regulations require that i provide you with instances if any in which the attorney general or acting attorney general concluded that a proposed action by the special counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established department practices that it should not be pursued, and the attorney general here telling congress there were no such instances. so there was nothing that robert mueller's team came to the department of justice with that was actually declined. so that's pretty pertinent, pretty important as well. fredricka, the attorney general working hard here. this could be a swift
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turnaround. he just got the report, the confidential report, late yesterday afternoon. back at it this morning, arriving just before 10:00 this morning. it could be as soon as today but definitely the attorney general looking to get these principle conclusions to congress and in turn out to the public as well at some point this weekend. so we watch and wait. >> we do indeed. jessica schneider, thank you so much. with me now, cnn political correspondent sara murray, cnn legal analyst michael zeldin, a former federal prosecutor who was robert mueller's former special assistant at the doj, and assistant editor for "the washington post" and cnn political commentator, david swerdlick. good to see all of you. michael, we keep hearing these principle conclusions and we're also hearing from a doj aide that this report was very comprehensive coming from robert mueller. wouldn't that be expected that after 22 months there's going to be a comprehensive report but
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then really what does that mean for us? >> so it appears from the word comprehensive that mueller didn't write a skeletal, i declined and there was no evidence and that's the end of my report. it seems that he was fulsome in the narrative. i expect though that he gave a skinny, executive summary of what it is that the principle conclusions will be based upon. i believe that rosenstein and mueller have been working on this for a while, that this is not something that just arrived at the justice department yesterday for the first time and is catching them all by surprise. i believe that mueller and rosenstein logically would have been working on this and they are now fine tuning that executive summary so it can be passed forward without there being anything classified, government protected like grand jury and executive privilege protected. >> it would make sense that rosenstein would be there with barr at the doj to go over these
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comprehensive notes, to go over these conclusions. how is he assisting him, rosenstein, likely? >> you have to look at what's been happening at the doj the last couple of years. there's been a lot of turmoil and rod rosenstein has been there from the beginning. he's been the constant. so he can walk bill barr through how mueller is doing this work, what the primary conclusions were, some of the decision-making, because he's in constant contact, overseeing robert mueller from the beginning of this investigation despite all of the chaos that's going on around it. i think that's why he's playing such an important role today. >> almost acting as a translator? >> a little bit. bill barr is brand new to this job and obviously he knew what he was walking into but rod rosenstein can walk him through that and i think that michael is completely correct that bob mueller is not immune to the conversation that's been going on in washington, not immune to the fact that congress wanted to see the entirely report but they certainly want more information rather than less and i'm sure he
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took that into account when coming up with the summary of his conclusions. i don't think bill barr showed up at the justice department this morning and thought, i have to write these conclusions and put them out to congress today. >> it looks like mueller is the one who came up with these principle conclusions, his recommendation. we're talking about 22 months, 6 675 days and this has hung over the president and the administration all this time. it has netted some pretty significant results, 199 criminal counts, 37 people and companies charged, 29 of them russian. 7 people have pleaded guilty. 5 sentenced to prison. and among some of these people caught in this probe, trump associates. so can the president claim this as a political and legal victory even if we're talking about no additional indictments? there are going to be recommendations, details that come from this report. >> i think the president will claim this as a victory and i think that actually explains in part why we haven't heard from him that much on his twitter
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this saturday morning like we often do on saturday morning. the narrative that's at least gelling on the republican side is that this is a win, even if a narrow win for the president, because no further indictments come out with this report and because again we don't know what's in the principle conclusions. but the sense is that we know already a lot of what's in this report, and the president will be able to sort of let this marinate over the weekend as a narrative that he's not the subject of a criminal charge. he obviously can't be indicted because of doj regulations and he will just let us talk about it, let it play out and then later, monday morning, he'll probably be able to have something to say about this, combine it with his victory over isis over the weekend or at least the coalition victory over isis, and i think the president sees this as a win, let's go golfing. >> at the same time there are some details in there that congress will be pouring over. it still could invite further investigation. there may not be more
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indictments coming out of it but congress will have their role. >> congress is going to want an answer about how bob mueller interviewed president trump in all of this. they're going to want to know. if donald trump was joe sha mow on the street, would you be able to bring an indictment against him. certainly he knows that's a question they're going to want answered out of that report. you ran through the list of all these charges and it has been in that sense a comprehensive investigation. >> it's not a nothing. >> no. roger stone is about to go to trial. michael cohen is going to jail. paul manafort is sitting in jail. rick gates is awaiting his sentence and we learned there are 16 trump associates who had contact with russians and instead of reporting those contacts to the fbi, they instead lied about them. so it's not like donald trump can point to this report and say, me and all of my associates are completely clean, completely
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blameless here. >> still unanswered, what was all the lying about? we still don't really know. we're going to have you back. we have so much more to talk about. sar sarah, michael, david, thank you so much. first, we've got this breaking news, this out of london. hundreds of thousands of people filling the streets right there in protest of brexit, britain's vote to leave the european union. they are demanding a second referendum. k we're live now in london. it's a significant turnout. >> reporter: fred, there's been a huge turnout here. organizers say that they estimate 1 million protestors took to the streets of central lond london. they started from hyde park and worked their way through some of the most important streets of london and ending up here, just outside of the houses of parliament where the members have been trying to sort out this mess for some time. the people at this protest are demanding that they have a say. they want to have a second referendum, a vote on whether
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they agree with theresa may's brexit that she's negotiating with the european union, that she's having so much trouble to get parliament to approve, or whether they cancel brexit all together. most people are pro european union and immigration and say brexit was sold to them on a bill of lies. there's a lot of anger here towards theresa may. they're hoping there will be a series of votes this week that will put forth the possibility that there will be that second referendum. >> thank you so much. back here in the u.s., the russia investigation may be over and now pressure is on, however, for the man who controls how much of the information from that report goes public. so what will the u.s. attorney general, bill barr's next move be? our breaking news continues. what if numbers tell only half the story? at t. rowe price, hundreds of our experts go beyond the numbers to examine investment opportunities firsthand.
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we continue with our breaking news. special counsel robert mueller's report is now in the hands of the u.s. attorney general william barr. at this hour he is at the department of justice continuing to review the report and says he may hand over the, quote, principal conclusions to lawmakers as soon as this weekend but no further indictments will be coming. back with me, sara murray, michael zeldin and david swerdlick. good to see you all back. the attorney general has said in the past that he, quote, wants this to be as transparent as possible, but do you see that he will editorialize in any way the release of any details similar to that which we saw with jim comey on the release of a report with hillary clinton? >> i think not. i think that mueller will not make the same mistake or follow the same path that comey did which is to say comey said, i found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing but let me give you an editorial comment on what i think was sloppy, reckless sort
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of behavior. i don't think you'll get from mueller the editorial. i think you'll just get the facts, i looked at this and this is what i found, which makes it easier for barr to take that in whole cloth and say the findings of the attorney general -- rather, the findings of mueller, i as attorney general, finding of mueller is this, nobody found excessive sloppiness or anything like that. i think we're going to get a clean recommendation from mueller passed through barr. >> david, congress, the american people might get a portion of, if not all of the principal conclusions, but of course members of congress want all of it. they want the entire report so that they can make whatever editorial judgment or determine what's next, how their role of oversight should kick in. >> exactly. so far this process in the early stages has played out as it has supposed to. the special counsel requires the confidential report to go to the
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attorney general. the attorney general has suggested that he's going to give the principal portions of this to congress but he can, the attorney general, give the entire information to the congress and to the american people if he wants. he's not required to, but he is allowed to. and i think, to your point about comey, right, with special counsel mueller in this case, he's the guy that both sides wanted to be sort of a neutral arbiter in this. on the other hand, i do think if you look back on what fbi director comey did with the clinton investigation and other investigations, even though he was criticized by both sides at different times, we at least had a window into his thinking on all these cases. the american people knew, disagree or not, what he was doing and i think ultimately we in the media and the american people want to know what happened here. >> sarah, now a big test, how does the executive branch, doj, congress work together, work against each other? what's next here? who gets the upper hand essentially. >> work together, that's a cute thought. i think obviously they're going
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to get the top line conclusions and then we're going to see congress pushing for more. we have seen both republicans and democrats say they want to see the full report. i think that one of the concerns within the justice department is the precedent they may have set with hillary clinton's e-mail investigation. this was a situation where they declined to bring charges against someone lower on the totem pole on the president but made public app extraordinary amount of amount. people went to the hill, they provided an extraordinary amount of documents to lawmakers and i think that you're going to see members of congress, even though they hated that in the context of hillary clinton, the democrats did, you're going to see them push for that when it comes to this investigation and say why can you get all that stuff when we're talking about hillary clinton but we can't get that stuff when we're talking about the president, his allies or family members. >> they'll likely subpoena for
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it but at the same time they could subpoena bob mueller. he's a free citizen now to be subpoenaed? >> he can be subpoenaed. i think that congress wants not only the report but the underlying documentation that gave rise to the report because they want to be able to read that and make their own conclusions, their own editorial comments on it. yes, they can bring in mueller theoretically. >> could he refuse? >> he could be held in contempt if he refuses as a private citizen. i don't think he has that prerogative. i don't know for certain as a former doj employee whether you have prerogatives in that way. i don't think so. he may have to answer the question, what gave you the information that led you to conclude this. >> obviously this month -- and you've reported this a lot, sarah, that congress voted this month -- both sides of the aisle -- that they want to see
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the full report and they want the public to have this information. imagine the reverse logic. if you were attorney general barr and say we've done this for two years, put all these resources into it, we can't tell you what we found out. it would fly in the face of common sense. the american people are the ultimate judge and jury. >> we'll see if indeed that could come. appreciate it, sarah, david, michael. the mueller report is in the hands of the u.s. attorney general but significant questions remain. did president trump obstruct justice, and what was the extent of the trump campaign contacts with russia?
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welcome back. as we wait for details on the principal conclusions in the mueller report which could be released at any point this weekend, there are a series of questions that have shadowed the presidency for the last two years as this investigation has gone on. cnn's tom foreman has more. >> reporter: what did donald trump know and when did he know it? those are the top questions that could be answered by the mueller probe. u.s. intelligence agencies have long said russians hacked computer, spread fake news stories and more trying to help trump win. >> it should be clear to everyone that russia brazenly interfered in your 2016 election process. >> reporter: trump has steadily questioned that assessment. >> i mean, it could be russia but it could also be china. >> reporter: he's insisted even if it happened, he was not involved. >> there was no collusion at
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all. >> reporter: but the investigation has put other key questions into play. did donald trump jr. and other campaign officials have more contact with russians than previously known? did don jr. tell his father about that meeting at trump tower as former trump attorney michael cohen thinks he overheard. >> i remember mr. trump saying, okay, good, let me know. >> reporter: and was there more to that meeting than an unfulfilled promise of dirt on hillary clinton? >> it went nowhere and it was apparent that that wasn't what the meeting was about. >> reporter: the mueller report could shed light on whether any trump associates played part in the left of releasing democratic e-mails, on how or if the alleged relationship between the russians, wikileaks, roger stone and the white house came to be, whether the russians had compromising information on trump. >> it's possible but i don't know. >> reporter: and most importantly, the report could tell if trump was involved or tried to hide anything, obstructing justice.
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>> i did nothing wrong. there was no collusion. there was no obstruction. >> reporter: other big questions, why didn't mueller interview trump, and who else was involved and what else? in indictments mueller has hinted at im proprieties without naming names, who might have helped michael flynn about what to tell russians. >> there's been no president ever as tough as i have been on russia. >> reporter: and lastly, what comes next? democrats have been treading gingerly around the question of impeachment while awaiting the conclusion of the mueller probe. they've also pressed for a full release of the results, which could super charge congressional investigations. mueller has referred some cases to other parts of the justice department for further scrutiny. don't forget, even if trump rolled out pardons for some of his old cronies, top targets of mueller, those would have no impact on state investigations which could follow if the mueller report points the way.
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>> tom foreman, thank you so much. still ahead, the u.s. attorney general says he could release some findings from the mueller report to congress as soon as today, but could concerns over classified information within the report keep it from going public? here we are! you don't always use your smartphone to like something. how is it? perfect! who is this? you don't always use it to share something. he's doing it! but when it matters most, you count on tracfone to keep you connected, for less. can you send that to me? yeah. our new smartphone plan gives you talk, text and data with unlimited carryover starting at $15 a month, no contract. all with nationwide 4g lte coverage. get top smartphones or bring your own phone. tracfone. for moments that matter.
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maria ramirez... mcdonald's is committing 150 million dollars in tuition assistance, education, and career advising programs... prof: maria ramirez mom and dad: maria ramirez!!! to help more employees achieve their dreams. it isn't clear yet how much of the mueller report could remain secret because some of his conclusions may be based on classified intelligence. even the near unanimous house vote calling for the full release left a narrow window for reactions, possible counter intelligence operations or even grand jury materials. i want to bring in a former senior adviser to the national security adviser under president obama and a cnn national security adviser, and a former secret service agent and a cnn law enforcement analyst. good to see you first.
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samantha, first, what exactly could be or should be held back because of concerns over classified information? >> well, there is a balance between transparency and national security risk. from the national security perspective, the full release of the report without any redactions to the public could result in grave national security risk on at least two fronts. in the first instance, counter intelligence investigations rely on classified sources and methods. these are assets and mechanisms that are used to gather information. by releasing their names and releasing the trade craft, you put those sources and methods at risk. second, fred, we have the issue of an ongoing investigation. special counsel mueller was looking at interference in the 2016 election. that was his mandate. we know that russia is still attacking our country. it is very possible that foreigners, for example, that are named in the special counsel report and any underlying documents that haven't been charged as part of the special
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counsel investigation may still be targets of an ongoing counter intelligence investigation. if we were to release their names that could really hinder those ongoing investigative efforts. >> right. separate from the mueller intelligence reporting. so jonathan, if some of these materials are held back from public release, is that something that could still be seen by the judiciary committee or the so-called gang of 8 senators? >> listen, yes, it is, but i think it's really important to understand how unique this reporting is by mueller. it's what i refer to as a convergence of the three cs -- criminal, counter intelligence, and congress. information that's contained in each one of those components of mueller's activity does have a classified component to it. as sam just mentioned, from a counter intelligence standpoint, the sources and methods, this is ongoing. we absolutely know that there's foreign adversaries who are
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trying to influence the 2020 election so is that information contained within the written report and more importantly is it in the underlying documents. also it needs to be noted that we have -- the activity by the doj in terms of criminal activity is still ongoing. we have to have the sentencing of flynn. we have roger stone who's going to be prosecuted in the fall. all of this activity, there's a potential for classified information to be contained within the report as well. all of this feeds into ongoing congressional investigations. so with that, yes, there's a ton of potential classified information here. members of congress should have the ability to view what those classified aspects are. however, disclosure could have far-reaching ramifications on national security. >> samantha, back to those other counter intelligence operations that are under way, there's already been acknowledgment again from the intelligence community that russia may be at it again for 2020. how much of a fear is there or
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potential danger of giving away information by publicizing too much in these ongoing operations? >> there's a huge danger and i really want to stress as well that we have the mueller report that is being litigated right now, whether it should go to congress, but the department of justice also has a legal requirement to keep congress fully and currently informed. that's the terminology that's used about ongoing investigations and intelligence matters so that congress can conduct their oversight responsibilities. based upon that, we should actually expect the department of justice to keep relevant committees, whether it's the intelligence committees or the judiciary committees briefed on the ongoing threat from russia and ongoing activities in that respect. the house and senate intel and judiciary committees are continuing their probes more generally including why the administration continues to do things that help russia's attack on our country and that really raise eyebrows from a counter
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intelligence perspective like, for example, president trump's refusal to turn over transcripts to congress regarding his meetings with president putin. >> and jonathan, the president has made it really clear that he hasn't respected the intel community on a number of levels, but particularly in the russia interference with the 2016 election. so, if this administration does embrace this report as, how, if at all, does this repair that fractured relationship between the president and the intel community? >> i think the relationship is always going to be fractured. i don't think this report, even if they come out and say, yes -- it's just a moment in time, i don't think the president or members of the administration really appreciate the hard work that the cia community does every single day to defend the united states. information that's contained within this report, i mean, really again, i refer to the underlying documents, the
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sources and methods. if that information does come out, that could be damaging to long-term national security issues that transcend well beyond this administration. >> jonathan, samantha, good to see you both. thank you so much. >> thank you. still ahead, coalition forces say they have defeated isis in syria, driving the terror group from its stronghold. how weeks of fierce fighting finally came to an end. and what happens next? and a new episode of the cnn original series "the bush years" premieres tomorrow. here's a sneak peek. >> please raise your right hand and repeat after me. i george walker bush do solemnly swear. >> i george walker bush do solemnly swear that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states so help me god. >> congratulations. >> for the first time since john quincy adams in 1825, a
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president's son reaches the white house. >> i know mom and dad have expressed that even greater than being president is watching your own son being sworn in as president. it was a joyful moment for the whole family but especially for mom and dad. >> there is that iconic photo where he goes to the oval office for the first time as president and his father joined him, and his father said hello, mr. president. and he said back to his father, hello, mr. president. it was an extraordinary day in that family. >> tune in tomorrow. "the bush years" airs at 10:00 p.m. right here on cnn. staying at hampton for a work trip. oh no. your new boss seems cool, but she might not be sweatpants cool. not quite ready to face the day? that's why we're here with free hot breakfast. book at hampton.com for our price match guarantee. hampton by hilton.
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♪ that was the marching band in eastern syria playing the american national anthem and celebrating the announcement by the u.s.-backed syrian forces that they have fully liberated syria from isis. but as the syrian defense forces raise liberation flags over the final isis stronghold, it's a victory that can only resonate so far. the breeding ground and ideology of isis still thrives. cnn's ben wedeman has been on the ground in syria now for the past 50 days. ben, what does this mean that the isis caliphate has been defeated in that portion of syria? >> reporter: it certainly means that it's a major setback for the ideology upon which isis was
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based. for a few years going back to 2014 in june, when isis took over mosul, the second largest city in iraq, there was a feeling that they were unstoppable, that they were fighting armies that were corrupt and basically incompete incompetent. i was in iraq as they were taking one major iraqi city after another while they were expanding in syria as well. so the removal of that certainly has led many to breathe a sigh of relief. however, the problem is that the fertile soil upon which isis grew and thrived is still there, and that is the autocratic regimes that spread across the middle east that their prisons are basically a breeding ground for people who are disillusioned, have been tortured, have experienced
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corruption which is rife throughout this part of the world. therefore, until those problems are addressed, you will always have those who go to the extreme, to the most fanatical solutions that might be out there and that's what isis represents. there are, for instance, young egyptians who took part in the revolution there in january of 2011, had hopes in that resolution, became disillusioned and joined isis and moved to syria or iraq. so unless that situation is changed, i'm afraid that we may not be far from the emergence of isis 2.0. fredricka. >> and now what's next if isis is gone in that stronghold of syria? >> reporter: well certainly in the short term the concern is sleeper cells, isis sleeper cells, which are active in many
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parts of syria as well as iraq. now, isis grew out of the vacuum that was created by the syrian uprising that began in march of 2011, and it also thrived down the anger and frustration in iraq caused by the sectarian nature of the government there. so you have the problem in both of these countries of these sleeper cells which are very active not in the areas ruled by isis but very much throughout the country, and in fact, near one town we were staying, one day there were two suicide car bombings, killing 14 people, claimed by isis. so if opportunities aren't created, if reconstruction doesn't happen, isis will find a way and come back. fredricka. >> ben wedeman, thank you so much for that. still to come, more on the breaking news. u.s. attorney general bill barr
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set to brief congress as soon as this weekend on the initial findings of special counsel bob mueller's investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election. we're back in a moment. it's probably gonna be dinner and drinks. discover. hi, what's this social security alert? it's a free alert if we find your social security number on the dark web. good, cuz i'm a little worried about my information getting out. oh, why's that? [bird speaking] my social security number is... 8- 7- 5 dash okay, i see. [bird laughing] is that your daughter? no, it's a macaw. and his name is timothy. timmy, want a cracker? timmy, do you want a cracker? [bird speaking] what do you think, kevin? no. sign up online for free. discover social security alerts. for adults with moderately syto severely activeou? sign up online for free. crohn's disease, stelara® works differently. studies showed relief and remission, with dosing every 8 weeks. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization.
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hello again. thanks so much for joining me in washington d.c. i'm fredricka whitfield. we're following breaking news right now. u.s. attorney general william barr is at the department of justice reviewing robert mueller's russia report and deciding what parts to release to congress and the public. he says the principle conclusions of the report could be released as early as today. meanwhile, president trump is golfing in west palm beach, florida, spending the weekend at mar-a-lago surrounded by top staffers, his family, key members of his legal team.
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