tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN March 28, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
xfinity, the future of awesome. happening now, breaking news. court order. as democrats fight to see the entire mueller report, they are asking the attorney general to remove a primary obstacle. will a judge agree to release grand jury testimony? calls to resign. the house intelligence committee chairman under fire as president trump tries to turn the tables on his investigators. schiff and republicans on his committee, they in open warfare. trump's net worth. a report documents mr. trump's efforts to convince lenders and investors that he is richer than he is. was it stretching the truth or outright fraud? smollett payback. chicago is sending the actor a
six-figure bill for the cost of his investigation. the president says the feds are reviewing the decision to drop the charges against jussie smollett. mr. trump is weighing in on the case tonight. 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. >> we're following breaking news on the fight by democrats to see of the mueller report. cnn has learned the house judiciary committee chairman has asked the attorney general to get a court order to release con if confidential information. cnn has learned it's more than 300 pages long. tonight, president trump says he hasn't seen the report yet but he is touting what he calls its beautiful conclusion based on
the attorney general's four-page summary. mr. trump is focusing on lingering rage on one of the top democrats investigating him. the president demanding that house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff resign from congress. this hour, i will talk with chris koons. first, let's go to our white house correspondent abby philip. the president is heading to a rally in michigan. we heard him a little while ago before he left the white house. >> reporter: that's right. president trump left the white house a few minutes ago seeming to be in a combative mood. he is celebrating the mueller report. but he is going on the attack. tonight, ahead of his first campaign rally following the release of attorney general bill barr's letter to congress summarizing the mueller report, president trump previewing his message to his supporters. >> look, i've been going through that for almost two years.
it's more than that. if you look back, you can probably look at the insurance policy area in terms of timing. it's a disgrace what happened. this was a terrible thing that was put on our count. nobody has seen anything like that, probably never happened before. beautiful conclusion. i haven't seen the report. beautiful conclusion. there was no collusion at all. there never was. everybody knew it. i wish it could have gone in one week instead of taking almost two years. but the result was great. no obstruction. no collusion. no anything. >> reporter: all this as president trump joins nine members of the house intelligence committee demanding the committee chairman adam schiff resign as chairman in the wake of the barr letter. >> schiff is a bad guy because he knew he was lying. he is not a dummy. he knew he was lying. >> reporter: republicans accusing schiff of pushing a
narrative of collusion that they say has been disproven. >> the findings refute your past and present assertions and exposed you as abused your position. >> my colleagues may think it's okay that the russians offered dirt on a democratic candidate for president as part of what was described as the russian government's effort to help the trump campaign. you might think that's okay. but i don't think it's okay. i think it's immoral. i think it's unethical. i think it's unpatriotic. yes, i think it's corrupt. evidence of collusion. >> reporter: barr's letter quotes the report saying the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign coordinated with the russian government. all
this after the president tweeted today, adam schiff, who spent two years knowingly and
unlawfully lying, and leaking, should be forced to resign
from congress. in the face of all this, house speaker nancy pelosi was unmoved. >> i'm so proud of the work of chairman adam schiff in stark contrast to the irresponsible, almost criminal behavior, of the previous chair of the committee. what is the president afraid of? is he afraid of the truth? i think they're scaredy cats. they don't know what to do. >> reporter: attorney general bill barr has refused to give house judiciary committee chairman jerry nadler assurances he will release the full mueller report, which sources say is more than 300 pages long. pelosi had this to say about that. >> how can i just say this more clearly? show us the report. >> reporter: the dramatic escalation comes as president trump and his allies seek to turn the tables on the investigators. >> we can never allow this
treasonous -- these treasonous acts to happen to another president. this was an attempted takeover of our government, of our country. an illegal takeover. >> reporter: after claiming he was completely and totally exonerated by mueller, trump is now accusing schiff of unspecified crimes. >> he knew it was a lie. and therefore, in one way you could say it's a crime what he did. because he was making horrible statements that he knew were false. he should be forced out of office. he is a disgrace to our country. >> reporter: while it's still not clear what exactly president trump will actually do to address these, what he is calling treasonous acts, that prompted this investigation, it's worth noting that he is heading to michigan this afternoon with two of his outside advisors, who have urged him to investigate the investigators. >> abby philip at the white house, thank you. let's go to capitol hill where democrats are trying to remove a primary obstacle to getting full access to the
mueller report. our senior congressional correspondent manu raju has that. what are you learning? >> reporter: a democratic staffer who had knowledge of the call between the house judiciary chairman and bill barr that happened wednesday night over what's happening with the mueller report says that a primary obstacle to getting the mueller report is the presence of grand jury information. this source said nadler and barr discussed the prospect of obtaining a court order in order to get this information. according to this source, barr did not commit. was open to the argument. but did not commit, not enough for jerry nadler. democrats are open to the notion of going to court themselves and demanding this information. also on that same call, democrats did not come away with a clear understanding of how the administration plans to get around the executive privilege issue if the white house tries to block any information from going forward. barr said he had no plans to give the information to the white house first. barr did not give any indication of why bob mueller did not make
a decision about whether to charge the president with obstruction of justice. that's a decision he left up to the attorney general and the deputy attorney general. according to the source, barr did not answer the question when asked by nadler. >> interesting. the house intelligence committee chairman, adam schiff, he is fighting back hard after president trump and republicans in congress called on him to resign. what's the latest on that? >> reporter: an explosive hearing. adam schiff faces calls to resign in the aftermath of him saying he believes there was collusion between the trump campaign and russians despite what bob mueller found regarding -- mueller did not establish members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government. adam schiff made clear he was not going to take the republican punches lying down. >> your willingness to promote a false narrative is alarming. the findings of the special counsel conclusively refute your past and present assertions and have exposed you as having
abused your position to knowingly promote false information. having damaged the integrity of the this committee and undermined the faith in the united states government. we have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties in a manner con ssistent with your responsibility and urge your resignation. >> my colleagues may think it's okay the russians offered dirt on a democratic candidate for president as part of what was described as the russian government's effort to help the trump campaign. you might think that's okay. but i don't think it's okay. i think it's immoral. i think it's unethical. i think it's unpatriotic. and, yes, i think it's corrupt. and evidence of collusion. and the day we do think that's okay is the day we will look back and say, that is the day america lost its way. your opening statement. i will not yield. >> will the gentleman yield? >> i will not yield.
>> we think you ought to allow us to speak of what we think. >> you can use your five minutes to speak. you attacked me. >> i have not had an opportunity to respond, especially to your statements of what we think. no one over here thinks that. >> reporter: an unexpected visitor. jared kushner interviewed by senators after he was interviewed by staff. operating open a bipartisan basis. >> it's all out warfare. thank you very much. now to questions about the president's personal finances and business practices. "the washington post" reports that president trump repeatedly inflated his net worth to lenders and investors based on a review of some unusual documents spanning multiple years. investigators are studying those
documents to determine if the exaggeration amounted to fraud. what are you learning? >> this stems from michael cohen's testimony on capitol hill. when he was there, he alleged donald trump inflated his net worth and documents he gave to banks. cohen had one sheet of paper. now we have 20 pages that he has supplied. through them, there's a lot of gray areas in accounting. "the washington post" dug into this and find black and white areas, specifically in 2011, they identified that in this financial document that donald trump said the trump tower in new york city was 68 stories. "the washington post" found it's 58 stories. the trump national golf course in los angeles in this financial document it says that as of june 30, 2011, there were 55 homes for sale. in reality, according to "the washington post," there were 31 homes for sale. in trump's statement of financial condition from 2012,
they reference a vineyard that he owns. they said it was 2,000 acres in virginia. "the washington post" found public records that the vineyard is 1,200 acres. the summary of trump's net worth in 2013, out of nowhere this item that he has $4 billion in brand value that has never been referenced in prior documents we have seen from 2011, 2012. it raises a lot of questions about where donald trump is getting these numbers from. what information is contained in the here which michael cohen says has gone to banks. >> could this be subject to an audit? >> it's something that the house oversight committee is interested in. they have asked an auditing firm to provide ten years of documents about communication they have had with donald trump and the trump organization. in the report itself, the accounting firm raises red flags. this has not been audited. these numbers come from donald trump. it's not numbers they have devised. there were departures from
regular accounting rules. because of the significance and pervasiveness of the departures, they say that users of this financial statement should recognize that they might reach different conclusions about the financial condition of donald j. trump if they had access to a revised statement of financial conditions. you might come up way different valuation if you had underlying documents to support this, which the auditors don't. the auditors declined to comment. the trump organization declined to comment. >> he will monitor this. thank you very much. joining us, senator chris koons. he served on the judiciary and foreign relations committees. thanks so much for joining us. as you know, the attorney general bill barr, he briefed the chairman of your senate judiciary committee, senator lindsey graham, on the mueller report before he briefed the house judiciary committee chairman, jerry nadler. one is a republican. the other is a democrat. do you believe that was
appropriate? >> what i think is most appropriate is that we get access to the full mueller report as soon as possible. press accounts that suggest it's 300 pages reinforce my concern about the attorney general providing us with a four-page summary, having provided a preview as you suggested to the republican chairman of the judiciary committee in the senate before briefing anyone else in senate leadership. frankly, my main concern about attorney general mueller when he was nominated was the unsolicited 18 page memo that he had submitted to senior white house officials, department of justice officials, making an argument against obstruction of justice. making an argument that robert mueller's likely theory of obstruction of justice was ungrounded, unfounded. i'm concerned about attorney general mueller's independence in terms of his view of the arguments made to limb by robert mueller on obstruction.
i also think we in the senate need to move forward and need to deal with some of the other issues on the table like health care. president trump announcing this week that he is directing the department of justice under attorney general barr's leadership to change position and now actively try to sink what's left of the affordable care act through legal action. >> we will get to that. quickly, is congress entitled to see the grand jury material in the mueller report? >> you know, typically that's not something that's released. it requires a court order for grand jury material to be released. i think we should see the entire body of the mueller report and then reach our own conclusions about whether there is strong enough evidence we should pursue a court order to release the grand jury material further to the members of the judiciary committee and through us ultimately to the public. >> the president says the report reached what he described as a beautiful conclusion. those are the words of the
president. why has mitch mcconnell blocked efforts to release the full report, allow a formal roll call on the floor of the senate? >> that's a great question. i'm not sure what he is hiding. it should concern all of us. particularly given that both president trump himself and the chairman of the judiciary committee, lindsey graham, were saying last week that this report should be fully released. i don't see any reason, other than his concern about what might ultimately be in the 300 page mueller report, for why majority leader mcconnell is blocking its release on the floor of the senate. >> at what point would you be willing to support a subpoena to get the entire report and if necessary the underlying documents? >> i think if we don't have this report, a clear pathway towards getting the full report by the end of the month, we should proceed with a subpoena. obviously, in the republican controlled senate, we're not likely to see a subpoena. it would be coming from the house democratic majority open
house judiciary committee. >> what did you think of the exchange the chairman of the house intelligence committee had -- we're talking about adam schiff -- with the republican minority members of the committee? it's getting wild and the president tweeting that schiff should simply resign from congress. >> it's a striking exchange, wolf. at the end of the day, i think what chairman schiff has done during the time where he was serving as the ranking member on house intelligence was in the best interest of the country. making sure that the mueller investigation was able to begin and proceed, investigate and reach conclusions without interfere especially, without interruption i think was in the best interest of the rule of law. i do think it's a good thing that robert mueller concluded our president did not explicitly conspire with a hostile foreign power to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. but president trump keeps saying he is fully exonerated.
the mueller report did not say that either. it did not reach a conclusion that exonerates him of obstruction. it's important to keep in mind that several senior figures in the trump campaign and the trump team have pled guilty or been convicted of significant crimes. if there was nothing going on, it's really striking how many of the most senior folks on the trump campaign team were having meetings with russians and lying about their meetings with russians. i still think there's unfinished work to do here in terms of making sure we understand what happened so that we can secure our 2020 elections and making sure that in the interest of transparency the public gets the full mueller report. >> on the issue of healthca car which you want to raise right now, the president says his administration will succeed in striking down obamacare, the afor affordable care act. he says he created a group to come up with a replacement
health care plan. >> they have had nine years to come up with a replacement plan. one of the reasons that senator john mccain ultimately voted against repealing the affordable care act on the floor of the senate was the absence of any credible replacement plan. forgive me for speaking for him. that was my conclusion. from his comments on the floor just before that significant vote. the absence of any credible plans means that what the president is threatening to do is to remove pre-existing condition protections that currently prevent 120 million americans who have pre-existing conditions, ranging from asthma and alzheimer's to diabetes and pregnancy, from being exposed to the way that health insurance worked before the affordable care act. the vast majority of americans get their health insurance through their employer. the affordable care act made advances in giving people access to health insurance who don't
get it through your employer. there's 150 million americans who get their insurance through their employer and where before the affordable care act, those of white house have pre-existing conditions -- that's a very sizable number of americans -- were at risk of discovering when we needed our health insurance, it wasn't there to protect us. it was a central issue. i'm struck that president trump is putting his own reputation at risk. he should be working with us to make health insurance more accessible and affordable rather than in court trying to throw more chaos into the health insurance markets by invalidating what's left of the affordable care act, the critical protections. >> thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. just ahead, chicago officials now want the actor jussie smollett to reimburse the city with $130,000. as president trump calls the case an absolute embarrassment to the country. h anybody else? we know their rates are good, we know that they're always going to take care of us.
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woman: help stop the clock on further irreversible joint damage. talk to your rheumatologist. right here. right now. humira. we're covering multiple breaking stories, including efforts by the house judiciary chairman to get full access to the mueller report. we have learned jerry nadler asked the attorney general to get a court order that would allow the release of sensitive and confidential information from the mueller grand jury. let's bring in our analysts and etch peri experts to discuss. jerry nadler is upset to learn that bill barr, the attorney general, actually briefed the chairman of the senate judiciary
committee, lindsey graham, a republican, before he briefed him. how contentious is this process getting? >> i mean, i think it's been pretty contentious. it shows promise to continue to be so. here is what it seems to me. the democrats are settling in on where they think the safe political space is post-donald trump being cleared according to barr's description of the mueller report and by barr and rosenstein on obstruction in that letter. it seems that the democrats are keenly aware, i think as we all are, overwhelmingly the public wants this report released. democrats, republicans, independents. polls have shown that for months. this is a safe political space to be in. even though the president may have had a political victory over the weekend, this is where the democrats think they have the strongest ground to stand and fight. >> laura, you are at the justice department. tell us what you are learning about the mueller report. >> well, wolf, we know that it
runs over 300 pages. up until a couple days ago, even that one detail was shrouded in secrecy. i have toll yell you, getting t page count was like pulling teeth out of the justice department. an official confirmed it today. a second source confirmed that the report is somewhere between 300 and 400 pages. if you don't include exhibits. it's clearly lengthy. as you mentioned, barr has signalled to nadler the sticking point here is the grand jury material. we know a small team is scrubbing it. the real issue i wonder is whether nadler is willing to push this. if it drags on, will he subpoena for it? will he try to get mueller up to capitol hill? they have been sort of going through an incremental approach right now. you have to think at some point they're going to have to really call the question on this. >> publishers are thinking about getting that 300 page report and publishing it maybe in paperback down the road. the president says adam
schiff -- the president has gone after him in a big way over the past several months -- should be forced, in the president's words, to resign from congress. republicans on the committee, they're really angry at him. watch the house minority leader kevin mccarthy. >> does america truly believe or does adam schiff truly believe he knows something more than mueller? that 40 fbi agents, 19 attorneys, 2 sshg,800 subpoenae0 witnesses looking into 13 countries and saying no collusion at all? he needs to resign from the committee. >> the chairman adam schiff, he is responding big time. >> right. i think chairman schiff has good grounds to respond big time. there you saw mccarthy asking kind of the wrong question. chairman schiff has said before and said today, in committee, that lower case c collusion is
still his position, even if the mueller report and the barr summary don't find a criminal conspiracy. he listed off the trump tower moscow dates from michael cohen's testimony. the trump tower meeting in summer of 2016. paul manafort, he talked about some of the other things that have been reported out whether or not we actually have this report and re-upped his position. in today's partisan environment, it's stark the way republicans came after him today. he concluded that the only way to respond was to fight fire with fire. >> by the way, the president just arriving in grand rapids, michigan. he is getting ready to go to a big rally there. we will hear from him at that rally. we will see what he has to say. i don't think anybody should be surprised he is on the offensive right now going after the democrats, going after the entire mueller investigation. we will watch that closely. our new cnn poll asked this question. what should congress do with the
mueller report findings? 57% said hold hearings. 43% said end the investigation. there's majority support tore adam schiff to continue to hold hearings and continue the investigation. >> that's exactly right. what we have seen come out of the public hearings has been really fruitful for the investigations. we have seen impartial investigators move forward, whether that's launching investigations into bank fraud in new york or insurance fraud on the hill. i think that the more and more these tidbits that are rolling out about the way that attorney general barr has handled the proseegd pr proceedings since mueller filed his report and briefing senator graham before he briefed chairman jerry nadler, that politicizes this further and undercuts the purpose of why special counsel was created to begin with. i think the more that happens, the more the public is going to be clamoring for a public
hearing to hear things for themselves, to hear mueller and barr testify and talk about their findings. >> we're going to have more to discuss on this. weome back, you are about to hear the president of the united states reversing what his education secretary betty devos had to say about federal funding for the special olympics. a little anxious sometimes. these days we all feel so i'm partnering with cigna, to remind you that how you're doing emotionally affects you physically. go for your annual check-up and be open with your doctor about anything you're feeling. physically, and emotionally. body and mind. they're america's bpursuing life-changing cures. in a country that fosters innovation here, they find breakthroughs...
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analysts. as the president heads to a rally in michigan right now, david, real embarrassment for the trump administration, betsy devos has spent three days defending her decision, her department's decision to cut federal funding for the special olympics. the president heard about it and this is what he said as he was leaving the white house just a little while ago. >> the special olympics will be funded. i just told my people, i want to fund this te special olympics. i authorized a funding of the special olympics. i have been to the special olympics. i think it's incredible. i just authorized a funding. i heard about it this morning. i have overridden by people. we're funding the special olympics. >> what an unforced error on the part of the education secretary. >> no doubt about that. she was defending the indefensible. it's the president's budget. this is not -- there shouldn't
have been a secret plan to him. he acts almost as if he has no responsibility for what devos was trying to defend. she wanted to push back on her boss with her statement, which bizarrely stated, the president and i -- i'm glad we are completely on the same page. they weren't on the sale pame p. then she went on to say she's been fighting for special olympics funding behind the scenes for the last several years as if i think to suggest that the president had been on the other side of this debate. >> in the scheme of things, given the enormity of the federal budget, it was $18 million that was going to the special olympics by the federal government. >> right. republicans have signalled that they're going to make budget cuts. why would you go so early to cutting something that has such bipartisan support. there's not that many things left in america that everybody agrees on. i think by far people think that the special olympics is a worthy cause that this was quickly put
on chopping block, even if it was overturned, was as you said an unforced error. >> i have to say, the president responding to intense public blow back does not undue the fact there's three years of cuts and skepticism from the trump administration toertd towards that help people with disabilities. a lot of people participate in special olympics. there are social security disability insurance, there are smaller programs within the department of education that help kids with autism, they have proposed cuts to these over the past three years. i know we cannot always say that this budget will never get enacted, that people on the hill won't allow this to go through. a budget is a reflection of your values. it's clear that the trump administration is skeptical of people with disabilities. nick mulvaney said that. he was saying why he was making cuts to social security di disability insurance. he didn't believe the amount of
people receiving it were actually eligible for it. >> the president has promised during the campaign, he promised, david, that there would be no cuts to social security, no cuts to medicare, no cuts to medicaid, not exactly happening. >> not exactly how the administration is putting together its budget proposal. there's no doubt about that. he actually did that in a way to try to break out of what had been a republican problem politically. he really tried to differentiate himself. but he is not fully backing it up with what he puts forward, as you said, in a statement of values. >> let me get lauren to update on something going on at the justice department. i understand the president's choice for the number three over at the justice department is now withdrawing her name from consideration. what are you leng? >> that's right. it's an interesting number three here over at the justice department, the associate attorney general. hern a wrench into it given opposition from senator mike lee among others. we're learning that one of the
issues that came up was her previous affiliation with a woman's organization that had penned a letter in opposition to the nomination of justice alito to the supreme court. to be clear, she was on the board of the organization. she was the vp. she didn't sign on the actual letter. she had supported justice alito's nomination. nonetheless, senators, conservatives found this problematic and considering that this group had also signed on to legal briefs supporting a woman's right to choose. so now she's forced to withdraw the nomination saying that it would be a distraction. an official telling me she's doing this. bill barr, the attorney general has been supportive of her and her nomination and is keeping her on as a d.c. u.s. attorney. she's keep her on in an advisory role. it shows the unforced errors that have come apart in this administration. someone well qualified couldn't get through. >> interesting development. stick around, there's more
news we're following, including the charges against jussie smollett have been dropped. chicago officials are refusing to let him get off without paying a significant price. will the actor now agree to write the city a $130,000 check? at fidelity, we make sure you have a clear plan to cover the essentials in retirement, as well as all the things you want to do. because when you're ready for what comes next, the only direction is forward. hello to the best part of the day.... with italian quality pizza. get two medium, one-topping pizzas for just $6.99 each. every store. every day. the italian way. hello primo.
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another swipe at the actor calling the decision to drop the charges against him an absolute embarrassment. this as we're learning that officials in chicago want smollett to reimburse the city for $130,000. our national correspond eent sa sidner is joining us. what are you learning? >> reporter: this has been an extraordinary response by the democratic mayor of chicago and the president of the united states to what has been an extraordinary turn of events in the jussie smollett case. tonight, chicago mayor rahm emanuel is demanding jussie smollett pay up. the city demanding more than $130,000 to help pay for the smollett investigation. >> given that he doesn't feel any sense of contrition and remorse, my recommendation is when he writes a check in the memo section, he can put the word, i'm accountable for the hoax. >> reporter: all 16 charges have been dropped against smollett, who arrived back in l.a.
he has maintained his innocence saying he was the victim of a homophobic and racially motivated attack in january. his attorney responding to the mayor saying, it is the mayor and the police chief who owe jussie, owe him an apology for dragging the innocent man's character through the mud. jussie has paid enough. as questions mount over the decision to dismiss the charges against smollett, media outlets went to court today to request sealed documents in the case not be destroyed in the case is expunged. the judge responding, the county does not physically destroy case documents. and then this twist. >> based on what defense counsel represented to us outside of court that mr. smollett will not be filing a petition for expungement. >> reporter: his attorneys confirm they are not going to file to expunge his case. a case that has gotten the attention of president trump. >> i think that case is an absolute embarrassment to our country. somebody has to at least take a
very good, hard look at it. >> reporter: the president suddenly announced a federal review of smollett's case via twitter saying, fbi and doj to review the smollett case in chicago. it's an embarrassment. the fbi nor department of justice has said whether they will look into the case. smollett's attorney is maintaining the case was handled properly. >> we have nothing to be concerned about because there was nothing on our end to request this, to do anything improper. to my knowledge, nothing improper was done. >> reporter: kim foxx, who is facing scrutiny, has defended her office's decision. but said the sealing of the case was a mistake she was trying to rectify. >> we did not advocate, do not believe that the court file should be sealed. we believe in transparency, even on difficult situations. we will answer the questions. we did not ask for that file to be sealed.
>> let's unseal it. >> i believe that is in the process now. >> reporter: tonight, cnn has learned foxx's office will not be able to unseal the charges. her office spokesman telling cnn, all information in the criminal case court file, including police reports, has been sealed by order of the circuit court. the cook county state's attorney's office has no authority to unseal court records. by the way, if smollett's camp asks for his case to be expunged, it would mean that the court record would have to be unsealed. by not asking for an expungement, it means that court record remains closed and out of the public view. wolf? >> with the latest, sara sidner in chicago, thank you very much. just ahead, new details about a miysterious raid at a north korean embassy as kim jong-un's enemies claim responsibility. but allstate actually helps you drive safely...
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pg&e wants you to plan ahead by mapping out escape routes and preparing a go kit, in case you need to get out quickly. for more information on how to be prepared and keep your family safe, visit pge.com/safety. a. more breaking news now. the fate of some u.s. residents in china. let's go to our senior diplomatic correspondent, michelle kosinski at the state department. what are you learning? >> reporter: officials are telling us multiple americans are being held in large scale chinese detainment camps. i asked, are there many?
no, a few. when i pressed, are these american citizens, they didn't want to give too many details because they said of privacy concerns. they said at the very least they have legal status in the united states. the u.s. believes china has been operating in secret, now not so secret, these large scale camps and they've been cracking down on ethnic minorities, especially in the last year. the u.s. believe this is a could be holding up to 2 million people in these camps, mostly uighur muslims but others as well. sam brownback detailed one as of yet unconfirmed case he just heard of, of a man who has legal status in the u.s. he's 75 years old. he has a son in california. he recently went over to china in this province where they have these camps and he has not been heard from since. it's hard to confirm these
cases. brownback said the raised these questions to the chinese and they said there are camps but said they are vocational training facilities. >> sounds pretty awful to me. thank you. also, the claim of responsibility for a brazen raid on an important diplomatic outpost for kim jong un. a shadowy group says it's behind the embassy break-in. this raid has been shrouded in secrecy, what are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, we have new information on tactic this group used to get in the embassy and what they may have stolen in the raid. they acknowledged they carried out the operation but dispute the reports of spanish authorities that they got violent. a mysterious group of kim jong un's enemies is claiming responsibilities for a daring raid at one of his most important embassies.
calling itself clorox heolima defense -- cheolima defense. they said they tied up the staff and beat them. >> you don't tie people up and don't beat them up and make a public statement after. this is a completely unprofessional break-in. >> reporter: when the assailants arrived they pre-tenned to be north korean officials and pretended nothing was going on. they later got away in embassy vehicles with a stash of thumb drives, and phones and computers. they said this man, activist, change, a mexican living in the u.s. they say caught a flight to the u.s. shortly after the raid. the civil defense disputes the accounts of the operation and said they never beat or tied anyone up and the group said it didn't work with any government.
chilleoima did post a video showing someone's father and grandfather and said for our people, we rise up. >> their goal is to overthrow the regime and bring in human rights to north korea. and in london, a top official who defected said it could raid computers around the world. given the spies north korea runs out of its embassies, those computers could be a treasure trove for u.s. intelligence agencies. >> they're running drugs, all sorts of black market stuff. they're running agents in the korean community, getting the names of those agents and getting what they're doing from the exiles would be a counter intelligence break through.
tonight, the defense said it's suspending operations because their members have been exposed. >> they could try to kidnap them. they could try to assassinate, kill them. they can also try to ruin their reputation by doing some sort of smear campaign. >> both spanish authorities and the civil defense group itself say the group shared information on the raid with the fbi. and they said they did that at the fbi's request. the fbi is not commenting on the case. we reached out to u.s. intelligence and got no comment from them. a state department spokesman said no state department agency had any part what so ever in this raid. >> sounds like there's a lot more information we're working on to get this rather mysterious development. thank you very much. to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in the "situation room." you can always follow me on twitter and instagram at wolf blitzer.
you can always tweet the show at cnn sit room. thanks very much for watching. erin burnett out front starts right now. >> out front next, trump tripping up his own party leaving the gop scrambling to come up with a new health care plan. is he hand agnew election gift to democrats. and asking for a court order to get their hands on the full mueller report, 300 plus pages. is the attorney general general, bill barr dragging his feet? >> pete buttigieg rising in the polls, telling democrats to keep the faith. let's go out front. good evening. i'm erin burnett. out front tonight, trump fumble, a republican congressman telling cnn trump is blowing it at a time he should be celebrating what's come out of t