Skip to main content

tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  May 30, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

4:00 pm
of work to do in this area, but it's a good start at least on this day. barbara starr at the wpentagon, thanks very much for that report. thanks to all of our viewers for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. outfront next, the white house shuts down questions about jared kushner as the fbi zeros in on kushner and a russian banker. plus the world according to sean spicer. his description of the president's overseas trip, historic turning point, outstanding. and a long-time admirer of national security advisor h.r. mcmaster says the day has come for him to step down. that man is my guest tonight. let's go outfront. good evening, i'm erin burnett. tonight the white house press secretary in his first press briefing in two weeks not answering reporters and repeatedly charging their questions are based on anonymous sources. here is sean spicer responding to questions about the russia
4:01 pm
investigation and jared kushner's communications with russians. >> what your question assumes is a lot of facts that are not substantiated by anything but anonymous sources. your question presupposes facts that have not been confirmed. so again, i'm not going to get into confirming stuff. there's an ongoing investigation. i'm not going to dignify partisan accusations of anonymous sources and alleged unsubstantiated attacks. >> anonymous sources. the thing is, it turns out that anonymous sources work just fine for this white house when they support the president's narrative. earlier today president trump fired back at a "washington post" story that said jared kushner tried to set up back-channel communications with russia. trump's defense referred to a fox news report using anonymous sources. it included the headline which reads, jared kushner didn't suggest russian communications channel in meeting, source says. hmm, guess it all depends what source is saying.
4:02 pm
at today's press conference a reporter called out spicer on the obvious hypocrisy. >> but you said that, first of all, that the article was based on anonymous sources. >> which it is. >> but the fox article that the president retweeted was also based on anonymous sources. why are those sources or this source that they used more credible than the ones in the "washington post" article. >> again, there's two issues at hand. one is the statement that jared's attorney has provided. a second is, is whether or not the back -- the dossier that is largely the basis of this was largely discredited in the first place. most of the publications here refused to even publish it in the first place. so again, i'm not going to get into confirming stuff. there's an ongoing investigation. john. >> look, there's no good answer to that question as to why one anonymous source is acceptable and another isn't. this comes as yet tonight another trump associate is under congress' microscope and we are learning that the former national security advisor, michael flynn, will now provide some of the documents under subpoena to the senate intelligence committee. this is according to multiple
4:03 pm
reports, a development coming in just in the past couple of moments. jim sciutto is outfront. jim, what are you learning? >> cnn has spoken to a person close to retired general michael flynn, the fired national security advisor, and we are told as "the wall street journal" and others first reported that general flynn will provide some of the documents that have been requested by the senate intelligence committee. not all of them, but some of them. these documents relate to his businesses. this part of the investigation into russia ties, funding, money that he received from russia. we're also learning of new trump advisers that are being asked for information. one is michael cohen, the president's long-time lawyer. he has refused senate requests for that kind of information. a third person, boris ep stein, who advised donald trump during the campaign, he has now been asked for information. it's not clear what his answer will be. >> these are significant developments, all of them, jim. you also have exclusive
4:04 pm
reporting about conversations russian officials had about president trump. >> that's right. two former senior intelligence officials and a congressional source tell myself, pamela brown and dana bash that russians were intercepted -- communications between russians intercepted during the campaign claiming that they had, quote, derogatory information about president trump and some of his advisers. going on to claim that that derogatory information might give them leverage in a potential trump administration. we're told as well that some of this claimed derogatory information was financial in nature. i should caveat that u.s. intelligence sources telling us it's possible that these russians were exaggerating the information they had. they might even have been making up the information they had. but what's key here is that they were speaking to each other claiming to have it and describing that as a way that they might influence the campaign. this one piece of the larger russia investigation that is going -- that is ongoing, open questions as you know, erin, as
4:05 pm
to whether there was collusion between trump associates and russian, russian officials, others known to u.s. intelligence. these still open questions explored not just by the fbi but the senate and house intelligence committees. >> jim sciutto, thank you very much. news of these discussions among russian officials coming as the president's top adviser, and son-in-law, jared kushner, is under new scrutiny tonight for conversations he had with russian officials. diane gallagher is outfront. >> conversations picked up boy u.s. intelligence suggest the russians believed they had the ability to influence the administration with the information. two former intelligence officials and a congressional source tells cnn. former director of national intelligence, james clapper, said conversations they were monitoring raised a red flag and warranted investigation. >> there were a series of communications and dialogues that we grew -- i say we. members of the intelligence community that were aware of
4:06 pm
this were very concerned about. >> the investigation into russia's interference in the u.s. election continues to swirl around those close to the u.s. president. his most trusted advisor, son-in-law jared kushner, is under intense scrutiny. a u.s. official says the fbi is looking into kushner's contact with russian officials during the transition as well as various explanations given for those meetings. on december 1st, kushner met with russian ambassador sergey kislyak at trump tower. later that month at kislyak's urging he met with sergei gorkov, the chairman of a russian bank, a close putin associate and a former spy. in march the white house insisted it was part of kushner's official transition role. but the bank said it was only about business, a key contradiction the fbi is now focusing on. the meeting with kislyak was initially left off of kushner's security clearance disclosure forms but added the next day. this month sources told cnn kushner discussed setting up a
4:07 pm
secret communications channel with russia using their facilities as a way to bypass detection by u.s. intelligence. but as an explanation said it was so he and then nsa nominee flynn could discuss military strategy in syria among other topics. the white house is pushing back, calling the reports false and unverified claims. >> i think secretary kelly and general mcmaster have both discussed that in general terms, back channels are an appropriate part of diplomacy. >> and the president's son-in-law may be his top advisor, but jared kushner has plenty of other white house duties, including middle east peace and streamlining government. even with all that's going on dealing with the russia investigation and extra scrutiny, a source familiar with kushner's role said at this point he isn't giving up any part ofportfolio. outfront now, democratic congressman eric swalwell. good to have you with me again,
4:08 pm
congressman. you heard some of the breaking news, general michael flynn providing some of the documents that the senate had requested. from your point of view where you sit, is general flynn now cooperating? >> well, erin, i'm not going to go into specifics with witnesses, but i'll say that we are seeking relevant witnesses to give us testimony about what they saw and documents that may help us understand what russia did, who they worked with, if anyone in the united states, and then we want to tell the american people what we're going to do as guardians of this democracy to make sure that we're never in a mess like this again. we just want an honest investigation not obstructed by politics and certainly not obstructed by the white house. >> so sources are telling us, as you just heard, that russian government officials discussed having potentially derogatory information about -- at the time it was presidential candidate donald trump. this comes from conversations intercepted by u.s. intelligence. do you believe at this time, congressman, that the russians actually have something on trump himself?
4:09 pm
>> can't say yes or no to that. however, we did hear last week from former director brennan that part of the russia way is to seek to influence people in the united states. and we heard also through directors comey and rogers that they do this whether it's through financial entanglements or what they can use with embarrassing or illegal behavior they can use against them. at this point we want to investigate whether this exists. i hope we're back on track as republicans and democrats on the house committee to do that. >> so in terms of this meeting that jared kushner had, the white house has not denied it. they haven't denied that he had this meeting to try to establish a back channel to talk to the russians. do you think there is anything illegal about what jared kushner did, or do you think perhaps it was just inept? >> well, let's break down the who, when, where and how. who are we talking about here? it's the russians. they had just attacked our democracy with an interference
4:10 pm
campaign so that certainly would be bad judgment. the where to have this conversation at their embassy and away from u.s. officials or at a u.s. facility is also unusual. also the when. to have it before jared kushner is an official u.s. government person i think also would be unusual. finally, the how. to not use official means, that considering what russia had done to us, and that to many looks like it's trying to circumvent monitoring that may exist. >> so obviously at the least you think poor judgment, but you're not going so far as to use the word "illegal" at this time. >> too early to tell. certainly there's the what were they talking about. >> so on this note, too early to tell, but at this time jared kushner, perhaps the closest advisor to the president of the united states, should his security clearance be revoked as you get answers to those questions? >> you know, that's really the call of the fbi. i hope that they are reviewing it. it was also reported a couple months back that he had failed to disclose on his sf-86, the
4:11 pm
form that you use to apply for security clearance, he had failed to disclose prior contacts with the russians and other foreign nationals. so that i hope is being looked into as well. >> if you were in charge of that decision, what would you do? >> i'd revoke it. >> you'd revoke it. okay. i just want to make sure i understand. the press secretary today, sean spicer, was asked about whether the president knew about this, that jared kushner was trying to establish a back channel and he wouldn't directly answer the question. here he is. >> i'm not going to get into what the president did or did not discuss. >> do you think the president knew about this back channel when you hear that? he said he's not going to get into it. but do you think he knew? >> it's too hard -- it's too early right now to tell, erin. what we see is a pattern of the president, as soon as the heat is turned up on individuals in this investigation, he starts to distance himself from them. if you listen to the president, he'd have you believe that
4:12 pm
michael flynn was just a campaign volunteer who made, you know, volunteer phone calls at a t timbuktu campaign office and we know that was not the case. so he may tell us in short order that he hardly even knew jared kushner, who knows. >> of course as you point out -- >> he's a friend of his daughter's. >> all right. congressman devin nunes, i don't know if you heard this before, chairman of house intel committee, your committee, has recused himself from this investigation. obviously significant. he says that democrats are using the russia investigation to justify clinton's loss. here he is at a private fund-raiser. we actually have video obtained boy "the los angeles times" and i wanted to play it for you, congressman. >> the democrats don't want an investigation on russia, they want an independent commission. why do they want an independent commission? because they want to continue the narrative that vladimir putin and donald trump are best friends and that's the only reason why he won because hillary clinton could have never
4:13 pm
lost on her own so it had to be someone else's fault. >> so what do you say to chairman nunes? >> well, i wrote the legislation with elijah cummings to have an independent commission. i did that because our sovereignty was violated by a foreign adversary and i think republicans and democrats because republicans are on my bill as well care about the future of our elections. and if we don't have free and fair elections, what do we have in this country? so i hope both parties can put aside politics and just get to the bottom of what happened. we've been attacked before, erin, and the constant has always been that republicans and democrats have united to understand the vulnerabilities that allowed the attack to occur and then to make reeforms to mae sure that doesn't happen again. >> are you surprised he would say that you're trying to continue the narrative that vladimir putin and donald trump are best friends because hillary clinton never would have lost on her own and it must have been someone else's fault?
4:14 pm
>> it's not true because our committee had always worked very well together and we're going to have to work together on other non-russia issues going forward. we still have challenges in syria, north korea and with iran. so i hope we can find our way again, because the american people are counting on us to protect this democracy and also fulfill our national security duties. >> congressman swalwell, pleasure to have you pack and thank you for your time. >> my pleasure. president trump under fire said to be emotionally withdrawing, lonely and angry. is a shake-up of the white house staff his next move? plus white house spin on steroids. you will hear next about what sean spicer had to say about president trump's overseas trip and it's worth listening to. and the national security advisor, h.r. mcmaster, someone who knew him for 20 years calling for him to step down.
4:15 pm
advil liqui - gels work so fast you'll ask what bad back? what pulled hammy? advil liqui - gels make pain a distant memory nothing works faster stronger or longer what pain? advil. we come into this world needi♪ others. then we are told it's braver to go it alone. ♪ but there is another way to live. ♪ a way that sees the only path to fulfillment- is through others. ♪
4:16 pm
♪ pressure. i feel it everyday. but at night, it's the last thing on my mind. for 10 years my tempur-pedic has adapted to my weight and shape, relieving pressure points from head to toe. so i sleep deeply and wake up ready to perform. ♪ now through june 11th, save $600 when you buy select tempur-pedic adjustable mattress sets. find your exclusive retailer at a lower a1c is a lot witabout choices.tes but it can be hard sometimes, 'cause different sides of you struggle with which ones to make. well, what if you kept making good ones?
4:17 pm
then? you could love your numbers. discover once-daily invokana®, a pill used along with diet and exercise to significantly lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. it's proven to lower a1c better than januvia®. invokana® works around the clock by sending some sugar out of your body through the process of urination. it's not for lowering systolic blood pressure or weight loss, but it may help with both. invokana® may cause dehydration, which could make you feel dizzy or weak when you stand up, so be sure to drink enough water. important side effects to know may include kidney problems, genital yeast infections, changes in urination, or potentially serious urinary tract infections. as is risk of fracture, or increases in cholesterol or potassium. ketoacidosis is a serious condition, which can be life threatening. stop taking invokana® and call your doctor right away
4:18 pm
if you experience symptoms. or if you have an allergic reaction, with signs like rash, swelling, or difficulty breathing or swallowing. do not take if you have severe liver or kidney problems or are on dialysis. taking with a sulfonylurea or insulin may cause low blood sugar. the choice is yours. ♪ lower your blood sugar with invokana®. imagine loving your numbers. there's only one invokana®. ask your doctor about it by name. new tonight, a tale of two trips by president trump. u.s. allies questioning america's standing in the world after trump's first foreign trip as president. but press secretary sean spicer speaking about the trip in glowing, and it is fair to use those words, glowing, terms. >> it was an unprecedented first trip extraordinary week for america, historic turning point. historic economic development deals, outstanding success.
4:19 pm
>> jeff zeleny is outfront at the white house. jeff, those are some superlatives. >> reporter: no doubt about it, a lot of adjectives used to describe the trip. interestingly on the other side of the pond, european leaders are not describing the trip like that at all. in fact the -- you know, the words from angela merkel, basically the leader of the european union, the chancellor of germany, of course she gave that extraordinary speech at a campaign stop over the weekend basically saying because of the new leadership in the u.s., we have to take our fate in our own hands. so the reality here, erin, is that, yes, the white house calls the trip a success. we shouldn't be surprised by that. to the president, everything is always the best ever, the greatest ever, the biggest ever, but the reality here is the old alliances, the old nato allia e alliances here who were lectured to by this president. i was there in riyadh when he said we're not going to lecture
4:20 pm
to the muslim world. in fact he did lecture to the european leaders. and the reality is that they did not necessarily like what they heard. but, erin, the proof is going to be in the climate change decision. >> right. >> when president trump makes that decision this week, all signs point to him wanting to pull the u.s. out of that. that is going to change the u.s. position around the world, particularly with european leaders here. so sean spicer's words today may not hold up after that climate change decision. >> all right, thank you very much, jeff. now our senior political analyst, mark preston, former white house communications director for president obama, jen sachi and director for the trump transition team jason miller. jason, you just heard sean spicer, superlative after superlative in a row. he was laying them out pretty thick. it truly does sound like he believes this was the most consequential trip by an american president in history. >> it was definitely an important trip. i think president trump did a fantastic job with his speech in
4:21 pm
saudi arabia and i think after eight years where i believe we had weak leadership at the helm of the united states, finally we had a strong, tough, confident leader who was helping to restore america's standing in the rest of the world. i think in particular i was happy to see that president trump was willing to stand up and deliver some tough words to our allies in the eu. i think as many trump supporters around the country, people who voted for him this past november who think we have been pushed around far too long and other allies haven't been paying their fair share, we were glad to see that. >> jen, unprecedented, historic, outstanding. >> i have no idea what trip he is referring to. obviously president trump didn't speak a lot during this trip, didn't do a lot of press conferences, but the most problematic part of the trip was certainly his trip to nato. the fact is all of these european countries committed to giving 2% of their gdp in 2014 when obama was president by
4:22 pm
2024. germany is paying 15% of the operating budget to nato. the united states pays 22%. we can keep raising that, that's fine, but the reality is that european leaders around the world today, in germany an italy were questioning whether the united states would still be a global power and questioning our alliance on very specific issues. climate change being one of them. also providing arms in a conflict and the travel ban. those are specific areas that president trump is going to need to change if he wants to renew these alliances and these important relationships. >> mark, in this press conference sean spicer didn't want to answer reporter questions really on much of anything. he was very terse, seemed almost angry today. but on this issue he was explosive with his rhetoric, right, with these words that we just said. you say actually he doesn't care what reporters think or anybody else thinks, there was an audience of just one. >> yeah. look who talks that way.
4:23 pm
president trump himself is known to use words like that to describe himself, to describe his policies, to describe the campaign, to describe his administration, to describe his vision, so when you see a spokesperson go out there and in this case sean spicer and of course we saw this with sean's deputy as well, sarah huckabee sanders, they go out there and they're talking to a room of reporters, but really their audience is the person who is behind the door behind them and that's president trump. because to walk off of that stage and to go through that door and to then encounter president trump in the west wing, if he doesn't like what you said, he doesn't think you did a very good job in defending him, that is the last audience that you want to have to deal with. >> jason, you know, "the washington post," it's interesting it's not just sean spicer doing this, it's hope hicks. you've been in this position where i'm sure you felt the eyes of the president on you. "the washington post" recently ran a story titled snubs and slights are part of the job in trump's white house, referring to, of course, from the president.
4:24 pm
the white house is pushing back on it. hope hicks, spokeswoman, responded in part, quote, president trump has a magnetic personality and exudes positive energy which is infectious to those around him. he is brilliant with a great sense of humor, an amazing ability to make people feel special and aspire to be more than they even thought possible. the former national security council spokesman tommy veeter tweeted hope hicks does a tremendous impersonation of propaganda. let me ask you, jason, how much of a problem -- does he have a point? when you're out talking about magnetic personality, exuding positive energy, is that you doth protest too much? >> i think hope got a lot closer to the pin as far as folks like myself who have worked for the president would view him. i worked for the president about seven or eight months or so and during that stretch i found him to be very supportive, someone who is very encouraging to his team. i definitely enjoyed working with him. so a lot of these criticisms that we've seen from whether
4:25 pm
"the washington post" or even the partisan adversaries are a sad reflection on politics today. there's a frustration from trump supporters out there who see these anonymous stories come out. i know that's something they harp on all the time but they come out and say the president wants that many scoops of ice cream for dinner or they want to attack someone in the administration says this. and it's so detached from reality. i mean i was chatting with the folks at the white house today and they said the president is in a great had mmood, he's fire june is going to be their big jobs month and they have all these great things mapped out for the next four weeks. it's a completely different world than what you're reading in some of these newspapers. >> i want to make two points. i will say on the two scoops of ice cream and i'm not trying to be light about this, that was from a "time" reporter in his own words. he actually saw it. so i know it's funny, but i am saying that wasn't based on an anonymous source. jen, what's your response, though. do you think that people are missing the broader story, as jason points out?
4:26 pm
>> look, it's the job of every spokesperson, which hope is one, to defend their boss. but i think you cross a problematic line when it no longer sounds and feels credible paced on what's happening out there. it's hard to look at what's happening from this administration without any successes legislatively, with a very problematic foreign trip, with talks of staff shake-ups and think everything is going swimmingly. there are points in many administrations where things are down, and you have to find a way to defend your boss and defend your team while still being credible. and that's a problem, i think, right now. >> but this is where for trump supporters, and i think a lot more than even just trump supporters, we saw this trip this past week as being a big success. he had the great arms deal with saudi arabia. we're glad to see him stand strong on the international stage in europe. this was a big success. and i think obviously we're looking at two completely different lenses --
4:27 pm
>> but what the criticism is, jason, is not from me as a democrat. there's criticism from global leaders. and i think that's a problem for any president, whether you're a democrat or a republican. >> i think because they're used to having a pushover in the white house, and so now finally we don't have a pushover, we have someone showing some strong leadership. >> i don't think there's a single national security expert of either party who would say that's the case. >> it might be a little bit of a culture shock, but we think that president trump is really restoring our standing on the international stage and we're glad that he's doing it. >> i will leave it there. thank you all. next, a source telling cnn that when it comes to the white house right now, president trump is lonely, angry and is lacking people he trusts. so what is the president's next move? and my next guest is a two-time pulitzer prize winner who has called h.r. mcmaster one of america's most thoughtful generals. tonight he is calling for him to step aside. ♪ ♪
4:28 pm
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ to take advantage of this offer on a volvo s90, visit your local dealer. to take advantage of this offer on a volvo s90, ♪ whoa that's amazing... hey, i'm the internet!
4:29 pm
i know a bunch of people who would love that. the internet loves what you're doing... build a better website in under an hour with... ...gocentral from godaddy. type in your idea. select from designs tailored just for you and publish your site with just a few clicks-even from your... phone. the internet is waiting start for free today at godaddy. beth is a total boss. ♪ because she switched to the best deal in america. total wireless. she gets the largest most dependable 4g lte network... ...and five gigs of high speed data for thirty-five dollars a month. mommy didn't sign no contract. make it rain, beth. make it rain. thirty-five dollars. five gigs of 4g lte data. get a samsung galaxy s7, or bring your own phone. total wireless. total confidence. available at walmart.
4:30 pm
4:31 pm
new tonight, a key communications advisor calling it quits for president trump. his resignation could be the first sign of a long rumored shake-up at the white house. it comes as the administration is trying to contain a growing number of questions about russia. sara murray is outfront. >> reporter: as the trump administration struggles to find its footing amid a cloud of controversy, a senior official is stepping aside. communications director mike dubke submitted his resignation may 18th. though it's unclear when he'll serve his last day in the white house. his upcoming departure comes as speculation about a broader staff shake-up reaches a fevered pitch. former campaign aides like corey lewandowski and david bossie met
4:32 pm
with truch in the west wing and bossie is playing coy about whether he may be heading to the white house. >> i'm not going to say there's something sitting on the table for me to pick. >> reporter: even former aides like david urban, who hasn't been spotted reasonly but ran trump's successful campaign in pennsylvania are dodging questions about whether they're joining the administration. >> are you talking to the white house? >> no comment on that. >> reporter: as jared kushner, the president's son-in-law, faces scrutiny in the fbi's russia probe, sources tell cnn he isn't going anywhere and that for now, sean spicer's job is also safe. the press secretary re-emerged in front of the camera for the daily briefing today, his first since mid-may, and insisted the president's priorities are on track. >> the president's legislative agenda is in full swing. >> reporter: but in the chaotic west wing, crisis management is putting the brakes on the agenda. trump, venting on twitter tuesday, said the u.s. senate
4:33 pm
should switch to 51 votes immediately and get health care and tax cuts approved fast and easy. dems would do it no doubt. but both of those issues are slated to move through a process that only requires 51 votes. the biggest problem has been getting republicans on the same page. meanwhile, the president isn't making key decisions that lie within his control. he hasn't named a new fbi director, though he's interviewing two candidates today. he hasn't made a decision about whether to send additional troops to afghanistan. and he hasn't announced whether the u.s. will remain in the paris climate accord. fresh on the heels of a trip to nato and the g-7 where trump privately criticized german officials, trump took his goal in public tuesday, tweeting we have a massive trade deficit with germany, plus they pay far less than they should on nato and military. very bad for u.s. this will change. >> now, the president may have had some tough talk for germany, but german officials have had
4:34 pm
plenty of sharp words to say about the united states and president trump. german chancellor angela merkel recently suggested that the u.s. is not the leader it once was and that germans need to take their fate into their own hands. >> all right, sara, thank you very much. and outfront now, the retired u.s. air force general, michael hayden, also former director of the cia and the nsa. thanks for being with me, general. you heard sara there, angela merkel's takeaway from the president's trip is that the united states is not the leader it used to be. your reaction. >> well, it's a sadness for anybody of my background, but i'd have to point out, erin, that what president trump did in europe was very consistent with his language in the campaign and, frankly, consistent with that tweet that you just read. he viewed and talked about this during the campaign, but american alliances were not a strategic advantage for the united states, but a strategic burden and he seemed to act out that judgment in his time in europe with our nato allies. >> so you're not surprised, but
4:35 pm
obviously you still believe him to be wrong in that belief? >> i think he's terribly wrong. look, line us up with major adversaries around the world. list the good friends of china who are good friends and important. list the good friends of russia who are good friends and important. and you pretty much get the null set for both countries. we have a lot of good friends who are important. they are a strategic advantage. they give us long-term strength. and i fear we are doing damage to those relationships. >> you just heard when we're talking about the potential staff changes at the white house that jared kushner is safe in his job right now. the white house press secretary was pressed as to whether president trump approved of kushner going ahead with that secret back channel with the russians today in that press conference. here's how sean spicer responded, general. >> secretary kelly and general mcmaster have both discussed that in general terms back channels are an appropriate part of diplomacy. >> is that true? secret back channels, important part of diplomacy. >> just the way sean spicer said
4:36 pm
it is absolutely true. both secretary kelly and h.r. mcmaster said that in general back channels are an important part of diplomacy. this wasn't in general. this was specific. and i wouldn't have even called it a back channel. at least in the way that governments use back channels. i've been a back channel. i've taken messages from president bush to foreign leaders below the radar so they would not attract news so that the conversation could be discreet. but this was a transition team. this was an administration in waiting trying to establish secret communications, not secret from the russians, secret from the americans while the government in power, president obama's administration, was facing and making decisions of a very serious nature with regard to the russian federation. i wouldn't call this a back channel at all, and i know that secretary kelly and general mcmaster were very careful in their language. they were talking in general,
4:37 pm
just the way mr. spicer said. >> what would you call this if not a back channel? what's the word you would use, general? >> a back channel actually has a legitimate place in diplomacy. back channels are not conducted by nongovernments, and the trump transition team wasn't a government, so i would not give it that label, which gives it some sense of legitimacy. >> so sources tell cnn that russian government officials discussed having what they say could have been derogatory information. those are their words, on trump. one source saying it could be financial in nature. what do you make of this? do you think they have it or not? >> well, a couple of observations. this former director of cia and nsa is uncomfortable when stories begin with according to intercepted communications between two russian officials, so that's actually quite destructive and a sadness. now, with regard to the intercept, the alleged intercept, former head of nsa, erin, even i know one has to be careful with intercepts.
4:38 pm
they're a great source of intelligence, but they can also be intentionally misleading. >> right. >> and finally, you could actually be getting conversations between two people who just don't know what they're talking about. >> right. so this is a big question. because here's the thing, general. president trump has insisted recently multiple times when we talk about this issue of whether there's something financially derogatory that they have over him. he said he had no business dealings with russia. here he is. >> i have no dealings with russia. i have no deals in russia. i own nothing in russia. i have no loans in russia. i don't have any deals in russia. i have no investments in russia. none whatsoever. i don't have property in russia. >> okay, this is all very recently, general. but here he is on david letterman in 2013 saying something completely the opposite. >> i've done a lot of business with the russians. >> usa today reports his companies have been linked to ten former wealthy soviet
4:39 pm
businessmen or russian businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations, money laundering. i mean what do you think is the truth here? the man who's saying i have no dealings with russia, i have no investments, nothing, nothing, nothing, or the guy that said i've done a lot of business with the russians? >> well, president trump and prior to that private citizen trump seemed to say things that were useful for him in the moment, in the eternal now, without any regard to history or consequences. now that he's president, people are keeping book on the kinds of things he's saying, has said, and they are contradictory. now, erin, i have no idea what the truth is, but that's why we've got these multiple investigations on. the criminal one over at the fbi, but frankly the one that might be more important for the welfare of america are the investigations in the house and senate intelligence committees, because they're going to paint the whole picture. you know, some things might be very important to this story that don't reach the level of
4:40 pm
crimes. but still need to be known by the american people. >> all right, thank you very much. an important endorsement, i think, to explain to people why those investigations are important now that we do have a special prosecutor. thank you, general hayden. next, h.r. mcmaster should stop enabling trump and quit to save face. that's what my next guest is saying about a man he has known for decades. a shocking outburst in court. a man accused of killing two heroes after allegedly yelling anti-muslim slurs on a train making new threats just moments ago in court. >> death to the enemies of america. starts a chain reaction... ...that's heard throughout the connected business world. at&t network security helps protect business, from the largest financial markets to the smallest transactions, by sensing cyber-attacks in near real time and automatically deploying countermeasures. keeping the world of business connected and protected. that's the power of and.
4:41 pm
whattwo servings of veggies? v8 or a powdered drink? ready, go. ahhhhhhhh! shake! shake! shake! shake! shake! done! you gotta shake it! i shake it! glad i had a v8. the original way to fuel your day. i hate the outside. well, i hate it wherever you are. burn. "burn." is that what the kids are saying now? i'm so bored, i'm dead. you can always compare rates on oh, that's nice, dear. but could you compare camping trips? because this one would win. all i want to do is enjoy nature and peace and quiet! it's not about winning. it's about helping people find a great rate even if it's not with progressive. -ugh. insurance. -when i said "peace and quiet," did you hear, "talk more and disappoint me"? ♪ do do do do ♪ skiddly do do ♪ camping with the family ♪ [ flame whooshes ]
4:42 pm
brtry new flonase sensimists. allergy relief instead of allergy pills. it delivers a gentle mist experience to help block six key inflammatory substances. most allergy pills only block one. new flonase sensimist changes everything. working on my feet all day gave me pain here. in my knees. so i stepped on this machine and got my number, which matched my dr. scholl's custom fit orthotic inserts. so i get immediate relief from my foot pain. my knee pain. find a machine at
4:43 pm
the energy conscious whopeople among usle? say small actions can add up to something... humongous. a little thing here. a little thing there. starts to feel like a badge maybe millions can wear. who are all these caretakers, advocates too? turns out, it's californians it's me and it's you. don't stop now, it's easy to add to the routine. join energy upgrade california
4:44 pm
and do your thing. new tonight, one of the nation's top experts on the military and national security urging h.r. mcmaster to step down as national security advisor for president trump. writing in an op-ed for politico, quote, i worry that having people like mcmaster around trump simply enables trump so i think mcmaster should step down, not just for his own good but for the good of the country. outfront now, the author of that piece, thomas ricks who's covered the u.s. military for more than 35 years and is also the author of the brand new book "churchill and orwell, the fight for freedom." you have known general mcmaster since he was a major, more than two decades you have known him. you say he is one of the nation's most thoughtful generals. obviously he's led troops in combat in two different wars in iraq. why do you think he should step
4:45 pm
down? >> well, when he came in and other people were coming into the trump administration, i thought it was a good thing. there was a sort of sense of having some adults in the room would be a good thing. but these people are matured, seasoned national security experts. but i haven't seen mcmaster improve trump's foreign policy. rather, i have seen trump degrade mcmaster. so i've now come to think that the saving grace of donald trump is his extraordinary incompetence and we should not be having people in there to help him look better. this president is a disaster. that foreign trip undercut nato, which is the organization that has kept peace in europe for 65 years. that's the longest spell of peace that europe has had in the modern era since the french revolution. we should not attack nato lightly. we shouldn't attack nato at all. so i think that mcmaster is not
4:46 pm
doing any good and in fact all he's doing is putting a little bit of lipstick on the pig of a presidency. >> so what he's done is defend president trump on a couple of his big controversies, right? when trump shared highly classified information with the russian ambassador and foreign minister and then trump's son-in-law, jared kushner, when he sought a secret communications channel with moscow. here is how h.r. mcmaster came out and defended the president. >> the premise of that article is false, that in any way the president had a conversation that was inappropriate or that resulted in any kind of lapse in national security. we have back channel communications with a number of countries. what that allows you to do is to communicate in a discreet manner so it doesn't predispose you toward any sort of content of that conversation or anything. so, no, i would not be concerned about it. >> so you're saying what's happening there is mcmaster is the one being degraded? >> yes. and i think he is making a crazy situation with this white house look better.
4:47 pm
he adds an air of rationality to it. mcmaster is a very intelligent, well respected general. now he is lending his reputation and uniform to this real disaster of a presidency. i say step away from the abyss, let trump and the people around him stew in their own incompetence. the less trump does, the less effective he is, the better. the analogy would be would you rather have a mafia family run by michael coreleoni or one run by his brother, alfredo. obviously the michael one would be more dangerous to society. so i say let donald be donald. he's alfredo. >> obviously your politics are very clear, tom, but even if one accepts your politics, right, isn't it possible to believe that the right thing to do for this country is to do the best thing you can for whomever is in the oval office?
4:48 pm
is it perhaps the may patriotic thing for h.r. mcmaster to stay? >> it is absolutely possible. in fact i believed it until recently. but watching h.r. mcmaster the last couple of weeks, i've come to think the opposite, that it's not good for the country or for h.r. mcmaster. that the less effect donald trump has as president, the better. so we have the rest of the government kind of chugging along by its own. i think it's a good idea to have general mattis at the pentagon and the rest of the federal government seems to do well. i'm saying we don't really have a president right now, we have one who plays one on tv and on twitter. that's fine, just let him do that and let the rest of the government run itself. >> all right, tom, i appreciate your time. thank you very much. you can read tom's full op-ed in politico. next, the man who will steer the president through the snowballing russia investigation. who is power attorney marc kasowitz? and breaking news from a portland courtroom. the man accused of knifing two men to death on a train went on
4:49 pm
a verbal rampage moments ago. we have that for you. we'll be right back. d up to am. matter how bright. if a paint could protect your door's color against the strongest uv rays... it still paint? aura grand entrance from benjamin moore ® . thithis is the new new york.e? think again. we are building new airports all across the state. new roads and bridges. new mass transit. new business friendly environment. new lower taxes. and new university partnerships to grow the businesses of tomorrow today. learn more at
4:50 pm a new world.s... deeper than the ocean. as unfathomable as the universe. a world that doesn't exist outside you... ...but within you. where breakthrough science is replacing chemotherapy with immunotherapy. where we can now attack the causes of disease, not just the symptoms. where medicines once produced for all, are now designed to fit you. today 140,000 biopharmaceutical researchers go bodly to discover treatments and cures unimaginable ten years ago... ...and are on the verge of more tomorrow.
4:51 pm
with my moderate to severe crohn's disease,... ...i kept looking for ways to manage my symptoms. i thought i was doing okay... then it hit me... ...managing was all i was doing. when i told my doctor,... ...i learned humira is for people who still have symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease... ...even after trying other medications. in clinical studies,... the majority of people on humira... saw significant symptom relief... ...and many achieved remission. humira can lower your ability... fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened;... have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where...
4:52 pm
...certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb,... ...hepatitis b, are prone to infections,... ...or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. just managing your symptoms? ask your gastroenterologist about humira. with humira, remission is possible. ivanka trump next to the man advising on all things russia. tom foreman is "outfront." >> reporter: at $1500 an hour, marc kasowitz is described as a powerhouse attorney, the toughest of tough guys. he'll be enlisted by the president to beef up his legal team after a special counsel was chosen to lead the justice department's probe into russian meddling into the u.s. election. and after a former cia director talked about -- >> contacts and interactions
4:53 pm
between russian officials and u.s. persons involved in the trump campaign. >> reporter: kasowitz was seen with first daughter and presidential adviser ivanka trump over the weekend. even as reports swirled about her husband's russian contacts. jared kushner is a presidential adviser, too. kasowitz's firm has represented some big names. former fox news host bill o'reilly, mia farrow and for about 15 years, donald trump. kasowitz kept the divorce records sealed and handled the lawsuit over a book on trump and trump's a the lan particular city casinos, disputes about trump university and when "the new york times" wrote a story about two women who say trump touched them improperly, kasowitz demanded a detraction.
4:54 pm
kasowitz is a proven ally with a difference. it's a sum shun that many of the trump employees are kept around because they tell the president what he wants to hear. that's not the case with attorney marc kasowitz. this is a top-notch attorney who will tell president trump the way things are, whether or not the president wants to hear it or not. >> reporter: one potential issue, kasowitz also represents a russian bank as well as a company controlled by a russian billionaire with ties to the kremlin. in a previous statement, kasowitz's firm says it has never relayed information or facilitated communication between that client and the trump team. but for a white house being scrutinized over every brush with russia, the political optics are not good. unlike the white house counsel, which is primarily tasked with protecting the office of the presidency, kasowitz will be looking after the personal
4:55 pm
interests of donald trump, the individual. in a probe that could go on for a very long time. erin? >> all right, tom, thank you very much. we'll be hearing a lot more about marc kasowitz. next, breaking news from portland. the suspect in two shocking murders on a plane had an outburst in court moments ago. >> leave this country if you hate our freedom. so you miss the big city? i don't miss much... definitely not the traffic. excuse me, doctor... the genomic data came in. thank you. you can do that kind of analysis? yeah, watson. i can quickly analyze millions of clinical and scientific reports to help you tailor treatment options for the patient's genomic profile. you can do that? even way out here? yes. even way out here.
4:56 pm
tthat's why at comcast,t to be connected 24/7. even way out here? we're always working to make our services more reliable. with technology that can update itself. and advanced fiber network infrastructure. new, more reliable equipment for your home. and a new culture built around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable network ever. one that keeps you connected to what matters most.
4:57 pm
breaking news, chaos in the courtroom. the man accused of killing two people who tried to defend two muslim women making his first court appearance. and within moments of stepping before the judge, he started making new threats. dan simon is "outfront." >> free speech or die, portland. >> reporter: 35-year-old jeremy christian launching into a verbal t verbal tirade at a court hearing in portland. he didn't refer to the stabbings but the message is clear. no remorse. >> i call it patriotism. >> reporter: it was friday night at the height of rush hour when
4:58 pm
christian started yelling at two women, one wearing a hijab. >> he told us to back to -- >> ricky best and talies taliesin namkai-meche were killed. >> there was just blood everywhere and we started running for our lives. >> reporter: best, a father of four and army veteran and namkai, a recent college graduate, were both killed. micah fletcher survived. on a train the very night before, a woman was so alarmed by christian's behavior, she began recording on her cell phone. >> it looks like we have a christian or a muslim bus driver, i'll stab you, too. >> reporter: president trump condemned the attacks yesterday on twitter, notably from the official white house account, not his personal one.
4:59 pm
the violent attacks in portland on friday are unacceptable. our prayers are with them. to his critics, it came two days too late. the president had time to tweet about fake news before weighing in on the stabbings. >> it's not my job here as the mayor of portland to wordsmith for the president, but i'll tell you that the country needs his leadership on these issues. >> reporter: portland's mayor is also concerned about an upcoming, quote, trump free speech rally with the community still reeling, he's urging organizers to cancel the event, saying these kinds of rallies have the potential for bloodshed like past events in portland and berkeley when groups from the far right and left violently clashed. >> we are just trying to keep a lid on this. we want everything to be as safe as possible for everybody. >> reporter: it appears that this rally is still going to take place this weekend. erin, let me explain why people are concerned about this. what we've seen at these
5:00 pm
rallies, they tend to attract people from the alt-right and some people have began to associate the suspect with the alt-right. now throw in some left-wing an nar kift and you have a potential for a toxic. good evening, we begin tonight keeping them honest with a flood of new reporting in the trump/russia investigation and the president's ongoing effort to brand fake news. this is happening with his son-in-law and happening with his former national security adviser and now his corporate lawyer facing questions or requests for demands for information pertaining to the russia probe. it's happening with new reporting from real former intelligence officials and a real congressional source about russian officials possibly having derogatory information on the man who would become president, possibly financial in nature. it's happening with a real inside source who speaks to the president, speaking to us about his frame of mind since returning from overseas.