tv CNN Special Report CNN January 20, 2018 8:00pm-9:30pm PST
papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi about contacts with russians. he's now cooperating with the special counsel. and mike flynn has also pleaded guilty to plying to the fbi. also about contacts with the russians and is also cooperating. despite all of that, as the end of 2017 neared, calls for the president to fire mueller got louder. >> we are at risk of a cue day tau in that country if we allow an unaccountable person with no oversight to undermine the dually elected to the of the united states. i join the gentleman from arizona in calling for mr. mueller's resignation or his firing. >> those making the requests insist mueller wants to bring down president trump. >> any attempt by the president to remove special counselor mule
fr mueller from his position or to pardon key witnesses in any effort to shield them in accountability or shut down the investigation would be a gross abuse of power. >> the white house has repeatedly said that president trump will not fire mueller. and mr. trump told "the new york times" in an end of the year interview that he expects mueller to be fair. yet, in that same interview he insisted 16 times that there's been no collusion. >> there has been no collusion. there's no collusion. there's no collusion. and there is no collusion. there was absolutely no collusion. >> it's something he has said often. >> you know, i guess the collusion now is dead, because everyone found out after a year there's been no collusion. there's been no collusion between us and the russians. >> we don't know what mueller has found. what we do know is this. according to the intelligence community, prior to election
day, 2016, russia infiltrated the democratic national committee's computer systems and the e-mail account of clinton campaign chairman john podesta. another fact? there were overtures made by people with russian contacts to the trump campaign. donald trump junior and others from the trump team met with a russian lawyer at trump tower in june 2016. after don junior got an e-mail promising him dirt on hillary clinton. we know trump junior was interested in the information. he relied, quote, if it's what you say, i love it. we also know according to mueller trump campaign foreign policy adviser george papadopoulos also took a 2016 meeting with a kremlin connected professor who told him russia had dirt on clinton. >> papadopoulos is direct evidence that someone with the campaign was being contacted by
russians. >> and we know the head of a data analytics company contracted to the trump campaign reached out to wikileaks in an attempt to get e-mails from hillary clinton's private server. so the public doesn't know if there was collusion, but we do know there was a lot of smoke. >> do you think president trump told general flynn to lie to the fbi about his contacts with the russians? >> i don't know the answer to that. i know this, though, that in the aftermath of the flynn firing, you had the president of the united states intervening with the fbi director asking him to lay off flynn, intervening with lots of the heads of our intelligence agencies to ask them to back off. asking members of congress to try to put this investigation behind, to kind of back off. just think in terms of human
nature. someone that's taking this many actions, you can see well, he was new to being elected to office. any legitimate individual intervening this many times in what is in fact, in an open investigation, really raises a lot of questions in terms of what did he want to hide and what did flynn know that he didn't want flynn to disclose? >> for now, mueller continues to investigate. intelligence officials worry the u.s. is vulnerable to russian interference in this year's midterm elections and in 2020. up next. >> rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. right back, ok? you going to be alright? (vo) i was born during the winter of '77. my dad said i cried for 3 days straight.
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gillette - the best a man can get. in the united states president trump's pension for name calling can be unsettling. these actions take on a whole new dimension when north korea is thrown into the mix. 23 times this past year north korea has tested a missile. on multiple occasions it ignited mr. trump's fuse. >> north korea best not make
anymore threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury. like the world has never seen. >> a few days later the president promised military solutions, quote, are now fully in place. locked and loaded should north korea act unwisely. >> reporter: a month later the man who coined the monikers little marco and crooked hillary gave us a new one, rocket man. >> rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. >> reporter: that speech at the united nations triggered some bizarre trash talk. kim jong-un called president trump a, quote, mentally deranged dotard or old, senile person. madman president trump said. frightened dog, said kim. a rogue. a gangster fond of playing with
fire. >> north korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. it is a hell that no person deserves. >> reporter: kim jong-un then started the new year with this. >> translator: the entire u.s. is within the range of our nuclear weapons and a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office. that should be aware this is not a threat but a reality. >> reporter: and president trump responded tweeting, will someone from his depleted and food-starved regime please inform him that i too have a nuclear button but it's bigger and more powerful than his, and my button works. >> north korea, there's been criticism of the president's rhetoric, the language he uses. is it on purpose? >> some of it is on purpose. some of it is the president and
his own natural style. i think he's trying things that may not have been tried in the past because he doesn't have the luxury of waiting. >> in president trump's first year in office kim jong-un has tested more missiles than his father and his grandfather did combined. >> it's kind of tit for tat with a crazy guy like kim jong-un, and getting involved in name calling. it doesn't exactly inspire confidence among our allies. >> reporter: president trump even undermined his own secretary of state, rex tillerson, who was in china at the time trying to resolve the matter with diplomacy. quote, i told rex tillerson our wonderful secretary of state that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with little rocket man, the president tweeted. save your energy, rex. we'll do what has to be done. >> it was unprecedented, and it had to be pretty disspiriting to rex tillerson.
>> you cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state, said the head of the senate foreign relations committee to the washington post. it's something i asked the secretary about. >> he uses unconventional communication tools. he uses unconventional techniques to motivate change. >> you don't want to say anything about the senator suggesting you've been gelded before the world? >> i checked. i'm fully intact. >> the name calling may be unnerving but even some of the president's critics concede it might be effective. >> i don't agree with his statements and tweets on this, but i think the way he's handlihandl handling north korea is really good. you finally have a stick being shown, a stick option to back up the potential for a carrot and to get a diplomat ig solution. in january they agreed to resume face to face talks after
a successful meeting to discuss the upcoming olympics. in south korea's president gave president trump credit for pushing north korea to the table. another area where the president might deserve some credit? fighting isis. >> the caliphate is all but destroyed. isis is on the run. you see iraq and syria and what's happened. >> isis had already been severely weakened by the start of president obama. however, when trump entered office he gave the pentagon even more leeway to call the shots and averaged a largely kurdish group that helped lead to the defeat of a group in syria. people praised president trump for the missile launch against the asaad regime in april. after the syrian dictator used chemical weapons on his own people killing more than 80, many of them children.
>> no child of god should ever suffer such horror. >> reporter: while not any sort of long-term strategy, it was an action which may have contributed to desired result. the report of chemical weapons have gone way down since. something the president wishes he had more success on? renegotiating the 2015 iranian deal. the u.s. and five other countries agreed to lift sanctions against iran in return the country promised to limit its nuclear program to peaceful production and use only. >> frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the united states. >> an barembarrassment that tru punted and gave congress the power to right to decide what happens next. >> there's turmoil throughout the middle east and beyond.
importantly, iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal. >> the iran deal wasn't perfect. but the iran deal did buy us 15 to 20 years of a nuclear free iran. >> it seemed like he wanted just to rip it up and say it was no longer valid but people inside the administration said let's pursue this middle path here where you make it clear you don't approve of it but congress gets to rule on it. >> right. it has an incredible national security team. and he listens to to their counsel. >> when you hear conservative critics of the president who say thank god for the generals. does that bother the president? >> i think the president thinks it's great. the president is smart enough to hire smart people. bravo for him. he's a great ceo. >> he's a ceo suspicious of
multilateral agreements such as nafta. >> we are working on many trade deals that have treated our country unfairly for many years. we started with nafta. we'll see if it turns out. if it doesn't turn out, we'll have to do a new nafta. >> reporter: when it comes to jerusalem, president trump walked into not out of an agreement. >> i have determined that it is time to officially recognize jerusalem as the capital of israel. >> we're profoundly grateful. >> reporter: it was decision hailed by the israeli government but widely condemned elsewhere. >> these decisions are unhelpful for the prospects of peace in the region. the president says he was keeping a campaign promise. >> reporter: a lot of what the president has done, and i don't mean it necessarily as a criticism.
he's disruptive. he challenges conventional wisdom. you think that's a positive? >> the american people wanted to see disruption in washington. they wanted to president to send a message, break some china. >> and he's been doing that? >> absolutely. >> up next, the new book causing fury at the white house. also do you think the president has some sort of emotional problem? do you think the president is unstable? i was out here smoking instead
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so help me god. >> affordable care act pending reveal. >> after one full year in the white house, president trump has gained opponents and lost supporters. >> you're fired. get out of here. >> reporter: his approval rating mid december was at 35%. the lowest december rating for any first-term president. that means midterms now just around the corner could be difficult for him and the republican party. >> any president loses seats in the house and senate in the midterms. how concerned are you? >> our eyes are wide open about historical trends and what usually happens to the party in power in the white house. we're not willing to lean into that without a fight.
this is a president, donald trump, who doesn't repeat history. he makes it. >> reporter: still, if republicans lose control of the house or the senate, or both, it could be devastating. not just for the president's agenda but for the president himself. >> i'm told he's focusing on it more. there's one reason a democratic controlled house means investigation and potentially impeachment. >> reporter: democrats need to pick up 24 seats for the control of the house. nearly 50 seats will be open because a larger number of republicans hitting the door. one of them, charlie dent. >> i just didn't want to have to go through a year of trying to explain the chaos and dysfunction n. don't get me wrong. i expect a certain amount of dysfunction in government. at the white house they've taken the fun out of dysfunction. it's not that fun, and it's not that funny. fighting about things like crowd
size is not why i came to office. >> also jeff flake. >> we must stop pretending the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. they are not normal. >> reporter: flake announced his retirement in october. the reason? the trump critic, a man who had positioned himself as the moral center of his party, had determined that he could in the win his primary. >> the president is very popular with the base, and the base votes in republican primaries. i couldn't embrace this president and those positions. i couldn't run a campaign i'd be proud of. >> reporter: in the senate democrats now need just two pickups to become the majority. that's because of this. >> tonight, ladies and gentlemen, you took the right road. >> reporter: the left road, actually. doug jones became the first democrat in a quarter century to win a state-wide election in solidly red alabama.
it was an unexpected ending to an election more about the future of the republican party than who would be the next senator from alabama. >> thank you. v it's very nice. >> reporter: the republican nominee was roy moore who once said muslims should not be allowed to serve in conduct. moore was outside the mainstream republican party backed by a man who said he was committed to destroying it. the president's former chief strategist, steve bannon. >> and right now it's a season of war against a gop establishment. >> reporter: moore was expected to win the race and go on to be a disrupter in the senate. that was until he was accused of sexually assaulting and pursuing teenage girls when he was in his 30s. >> i stand by my previous statement that roy moore sexually assaulted me. >> these allegations are completely false. >> reporter: it's something he denied, and president trump supported him. >> so get out and vote for roy
moore. >> reporter: when moore did not win, president trump blamed stooe bannon. and that's not all he blamed bannon for. just days into the new year, this explosive book by michael wolff claimed that everyone around trump believes he's unfit to be president. >> according to your reporting, everyone around the president senior advisers, family members, every single one of them questions his intelligence and fitness for office. >> let me put a marker in that in the sand here. 100% of the people around him. >> this author is saying that it's 100% of the people. i know that's nonsense. >> reporter: a main source for the book? steve bannon. he claimed don donald trump junior's 2016 meeting with the russians was treasonous and unpatriotic.
in report mr. trump released a statement saying steve bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. when he was fired, he not only lost his job but his mind. >> it reads like an angry vindictive person spouting off to a highly discredible author. president trump bashed wolf repeatedly. quote, i never spoke to him for book. full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist, he tweeted. michael wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. the book not surprisingly, went immediately to the top of the best-seller list, and the publisher cannot print copies fast enough. >> it would seem fairly common sense in terms of public relations that if there's a book that you don't respect, don't think is accurate, the more you talk about it, the more attention you're going to give it. >> i think the problem is that
nowheretive, i think is unfair to the president, because he wouldn't be president if he didn't have elements of that in his personality. >> of punching back? >> yes, he doesn't like taking guff from people that he think it's unfair. he likes to say he'll hit back three times harder if he's hit. >> the idea this horse is changing mid course isn't going to happen. he's in his 70s. >> reporter: if president trump won't change, the question becomes what is he changing with his behavior? is president trump -- has he changed the presidency forever? will it never be the same because of the different disrupting way he's doing it? >> our country can absorb an awful lot of hits. i don't think president trump will change the trajectory of our nation forever. >> trust me. i'm like a smart person. >> this is a nation built on a system of norms and not laws. if people don't sort of follow the norms in a good faith honor
system way, the system can break down. >> do you think the president is unstable? >> i am not medically qualified to give an analysis. >> i know you can't diagnose know -- diagnose him but you're a person. >> impulse control issues, come cannic temper? yeah, i see that. i'm not diagnosing anybody, but it looks like that to me from afar. >> that must concern you. >> yeah. it does. it does concern me. >> long time trump friend tom has no such concerns. >> my hope is that we'll be applauding for president trump at the end of four or eight years saying we saw what he was doing. he was tough. he had courage. he was very competent, and we're glad he was here. >> maybe he'll rise, but there's no way you could say after the
first year this has been a great noble experiment in american life when he's hijacked a national agenda and is just creating the cross fire food fights, the arguments to no end. >> reporter: for those who want to remain hopeful about the president's second year, consider this, president trump began 2018 in a similar way to the presidency in 2017. with a bit of chaos casting shadows over the white house. >> i believe you can do something to keep it together. >> reporter: in the first few days of 2018, president trump threatened north korea with his bigger and more powerful nuclear button. erered referred to the department of justice as the deep state. got into a back and forth with an author who claims the president acts like a child and is mentally unfit. and insulted the entire
continent of africa. >> the comments he made were vile. they were hate-filled and racial in tone. >> reporter: all that and it's not even february yet. >> announcer: the following is a cnn special report. only being a politician for a short period of time, how am i doing? am i doing okay? i'm president. i'm president. you believe it, right? >> a shadow hangs over the white house. >> why so many lies? >> this is not normal. >> the most explosive evidence yet in the russia investigation. >> the urgent questions. >> was it appropriate for you to meet with the russian officials? >> is it true that mr. manafort owed you millions of dollars? >> how is all of that not
collusion? >> at the heart of the trump-russia mystery. >> i have nothing to do with russia. >> but there were secret contacts. >> breaking and stunning news. release of an e-mail chain. >> it came from russians. >> some denials that defy facts. >> i don't know what you're talking about. it's disgusting, so phony. >> i didn't take any money from russia, if that's what you're asking. >> a shocking dismissal. >> the president of the united states has terminated the director of the fbi. >> he's a show boat, he's a grand stander. >> those were lies plain and simple. >> donald trump's changing stories. >> i own nothing in russia. i don't have any deals in russia. >> i've done a lot of business with the russians. >> compliments for vladimir putin. >> he is very much of a leader. he's done an amazing job. so start. >> where does the story end? >> you may or may not find evidence of an impeachable
offense. >> the russian story is a total fabrication. it's just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of american politics. [ speaking foreign language ] good evening. i'm pamela brown. for more than a year i've been part of a cnn team investigating this critically important story. a consensus of u.s. intelligence agencies concluded that russia interfered with the treasured right of american democracy, the free and fair election of a president. the big question now, were the russians working with any associates of donald trump or his company or his campaign? we followed hundreds of
different threads to financiers. we've reported new information almost every day. tonight we will bring that reporting all together in one place to tell a more complete story. we don't know how this investigative journey will end, but we do know where it starts. ♪ >> in november of 2013, donald trump brought the miss universe pageant to moscow. >> russia and putin, you know, i was in moscow and they treated me so great. putin even sent me a present, beautiful present. >> hi, everybody. welcome to moscow! >> it's an amazing location. moscow. all of russia is going wild over it money the miss universe
pageant is setting records. >> trump seemed to have the time of his life. >> wow. that's really -- >> you're looking very -- >> that is really nice. now i belong. >> the big man on campus. >> donald trump. >> this is the unlikely place where an unusual cast of characters first emerged. men who would end up in the middle of an investigation that has plagued a presidency. donald trump was paid between 12 and $20 million to bring miss universe to russia. >> russia wanted it, moscow wanted it, everybody wanted the miss universe. we had 18 countries that wanted it. they fought really hard to get it. >> the money came from this man. a billionaire developer, friend
of vladimir putin, sometimes called the trump of russia. >> then they were whisked away to the magnificent agalarov estate. >> miss universe was a family affair. son emin sang at the pageant. and his mom got a job, too. >> fashion and beauty expert, irina agalarov! >> trump seemed thrilled with his new russian friends. before the pageant, trump invited the agalarovs to dinner. and also there was music publicist rob goldstone. a fan of silly facebook posts, he he's the man who wrote the infamous e-mails to donald trump
jr., e-mails that promised dirt on hillary clinton. and emin, the singer, would later help goldstone set up the trump tower meeting with russians. and there was one more mystery guest, who would later show up at trump tower. ike kaveladze. trump wined and dined all of them but he was after a bigger fish to make his pageant great. >> well, we've invited president putin. i know he'd like to go. >> before the miss universe deal, donald trump almost never spoke of vladimir putin. it was 2013 when he seemed to address an intense admiration for the russian strong man. >> he's put himself -- a lot of people would say he's put himself at the forefront of the world as a leader. he's done an amazing job of showing certain leadership our people have not been able to match. >> he would echo those
sentiments for years to come. >> putin has an 80% popularity in this country. he's so outsmarting the united states that all of a sudden the people in russia like him. run but a very smart cookie, much smarter than our president. >> this was when trump began giving conflicting reports about knowing putin. >> do you have a relationship? >> do i have a relationship. >> what exactly is your relationship with vladimir putin? >> i have no relationship with putin. >> he would change his story repeatedly. >> we were stable mates. we did very good that night. >> i don't know him, i have nothing to do with him, i know nothing other than he will respect me. >> vladimir putin did not show up at the pageant but he made other contacts.
>> i got to meet other leaders there. it was a top-level event. >> i was with oligarchs and generals. >> it's hard to say if oligarchs or generals were at the party. >> everybody was there. it was a massive event. it was tremendous. >> but trump did have at least one business meeting. >> we're thinking about doing a trump tower moscow. >> trump sent this good-bye tweet to his new russian friends. fantastic job, he said. trump tower moscow is next. four years would pass, but the players at miss universe would return to take center stage in the trump-russia drama. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news.
>> the most explosive evidence yet in the russia investigation. >> it was in july just six months ago -- >> breaking and stunning news, the release of an e-mail chain from last june. >> -- that the world first learned about the trump tower meeting. >> e-mails revealed that donald trump jr. went into a meeting with a russian lawyer. >> the president's son had a secret meeting with russians. >> clearly told she was working for the kremlin and that she had damaging information on hillary clinton. >> and it wasn't just don jr. paul manafort and jared kushner were there, too. >> the subject line of the e-mail chain, russia-clinton, private and confidential. >> i thought it might have been fake. >> russia-clinton private and confidential? >> who follows them down that rat hole? >> not very smart people. >> what? seriously, what? >> some of the e-mails read like a script for a bond movie, but
they were written by rob goldstone and donald trump jr. >> information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia and would be very useful to your father. >> this can't be dismissed as people out to get donald j. trump jr. or fake news. this is evidence of willingness to commit collusion. >> the offer of political dirt came courtesy of agalarov with assist from his popstar son, emin. >> this is obviously very high level and sensitive information, but it's part of russia and its government's support for mr. trump. >> when donald trump jr. is told the russian government is trying to elect your father president, he doesn't say what do you mean? how can that be? he says, "i want to hear this."
>> the actual response? >> "if it's what you say, i love it." >> the trump camp's explanations were confusing. >> strange and conflicting responses. >> trump jr. told the the "new york times" it was, quote, a short introductory meeting primarily about russian adoption. cnn reported that president trump helped write the statement while he was flying home from the g-20 summit. >> he weighed in and offered suggestion like any father would do. >> but the statement was misleading so there were questions about how large a role the president might have played in crafting it. >> it is something that i think the special counsel is very interested in and he wants to know who was involved in the writing of it. >> if a misleading statement was
put out, the core question is the classic question of intent. were trump administration officials starting with the president himself lying to the public about the nature of his campaign dealings with russia? >> the mueller team has questioned some who were on air force i when the statement was being written, including white house communication director hope hicks. when the story of the meeting first broke, trump defenders downplayed it. >> i don't know much about it other than it seems to be a big nothing burger. >> this is a massive nothing burger. >> hillary clinton? >> finally don jr. acknowledged the full story, that he had met with a russian lawyer offering dirt on hillary clinton. >> the stories kept changing about what the meeting was about. >> we got more information when donald trump jr. appeared on fox news.
>> someone sent me an e-mail. i can't help what someone sends me, you know? i read it, i responded accordingly. and if something was interesting there, i think it pretty common. >> the difference in this case was that it came from russians. >> russia, america's adversary. sean hannity did not press trump jr. about russian interference, but one year earlier, jake tapper did. he asked trump jr. about what were then still just suspicions. >> robbie mook, the campaign manager for secretary of state hillary clinton, i asked him about the dnc leak and he suggested that experts were saying that russians were behind both the hacking of the dnc e-mails and their release. >> keep in mind as you watch this, it was six weeks after the trump tower meeting, after trump jr. had been told russia wanted to help his father win. >> it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. they'll say anything to be able
to win this. this is time and time again, lie after lie. it's disgusting. it's so phony. >> journalists began questioning everything they heard. >> you are 100% confident that no one in the campaign, not don jr., not jared kushner, not paul manafort, no one in the campaign told the president about what happened? >> no one asked them to testify under oath about this. the president was not aware of the meeting, did not participate in the meeting. the president wasn't involved. >> there's a legal side and a political side. >> you're out there saying constantly there was no effort to collude with the russians in any way, shape or form. suddenly you have your son, your campaign manager and your senior adviser all in a meeting with russians who have promised to
bring you dirt. >> on the very same day his son set up that meeting, donald trump told a crowd that he would soon have something to share on the clintons. >> i am going to give a major speech on probably monday of next week and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. i think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. >> trump never did give that speech. but finally with all of washington buzzing about the trump tower meeting, donald trump weighed in from france. >> i think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting. it's called opposition research or even research into your opponent. >> even among republicans, the response was, really? >> any time you're in a campaign and you get an offer from a foreign government to help your
campaign, the answer is no. >> from the moment you watch mr. dr. zhivago to the point you had a shot of liquor with a guy in a furry hat, you need to disclose every contact you have ever had with russia. >> donald trump jr. said he had done that. >> so as far as you know, in is all of it? >> this is everything. this is everything. >> but it was not everything. there were more russian there is who were never mentioned. >> today we learned more people were in that meeting than just the lawyer and the three members of the trump team. so you're learning more about who was the eighth person in the meeting between donald trump and -- >> it was a friend of the agalarov family. >> we're waiting to find out if there were any russians in new york that day who were not in that meeting.
it was jared kushner, paul manafort, rob goldstone, rinat akhmetshin, ike kaveladze, a russian translator and natalia. natalia was a character right of a spy novel. she seldom tells the same story first. have you ever worked for the russian government? do you have connection to the russian government? >> but she does have connection to the chief prosecuter in russia who she shared her talking points with months before the trump tower meeting. she also deniied bringing up an dirt on hillary clinton. >> i want to make sure that everyone understands there was never a talk about damaging
information about mrs. clinton. >> now she says she may have had dirt about alleged illegal donations to the clinton campaign. >> natalia says she provided certain documents to the russian prosecutor general. >> agalarov family attorney spoke. >> she referenced the possibility that money was provided to the clinton campaign. >> i have nothing to do with russia. to my knowledge, no person i deal with does. >> donald trump said on in february. no people has now grown to 12 people, trump associates who had contacts with russians. two of the most prominent have been charged with crimes. michael flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi. call manafort pleaded not to among other charges, money laundering. you'll hear more about them later in the story, but one
lesser known player is also in the hot seat. donald trump first mentioned him at a meeting with washington post editors in 2016. >> george papadopoulos. he's an energy consultant. excellent guy. >> he has pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi in the russia investigation. >> you called george papadopoulos an excellent guy. what's your reaction? >> thank you very much. >> the trump team has been working overtime to portray him as a nobody. >> this individual was the member of a volunteer advisory counsel. >> he was the coffee boy. if he was going to wear a wire, all we'd know now is what coffee reprefers. >> but the coffee boy found his way to the big boy table with donald trump and other top campaign people.
>> he doesn't even know how to make a coffee. >> the fiance of papadopoulos says he was much more than a coffee boy. >> he attended many events and entertained contacts with high level officials of different countries. he was actively giving his input in terms of strategies. >> it turns out papadopoulos may be the very reason there's "the new york times" reports in may 2016, paup done husband told an australian diplomat the kremlin had thousands of e-mails that could be damaging to hillary clinton. the e-mails began to leak. australia told u.s. officials what the young campaign aide had said, and that apparently played a role in a decision to open an fbi investigation. papadopoulos is now cooperating with the mueller team. when we come back -- >> the president thinks it's a witch hunt, any way you can
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office, president trump scored a much-needed win after a house vote on health care. >> only being a politician for a short period of time, how am i doing, am i doing okay? i'm president. hey, i'm president. do you believe it, right? >> but days later, he made a decision that potentially put his presidency in legal and political jeopardy. >> we have major breaking news -- >> moments ago, breaking news that no one saw coming today -- >> i remember standing in the newsroom and somebody gasped. >> a bombshell at the white house. james comey is out.
>> president trump had abruptly fired the man in charge of investigating his campaign's ties to russia. although the president is allowed to fire the fbi director, there were suspicions about trump's motivations. >> this is not normal. this is not how presidents behave. it's a dark moment in american history today. >> one senator says it has plunged the country into, i quote here, a full-fledged constitutional crisis. >> it fueled calls for a special prosecutor. and raised questions about how the firing was handled. >> comey wasn't even in the city. he was all the way across the country. >> he actually found out by looking up and seeing it on the television. >> wait, okay, just -- i just got to stop. he was talking to fbi agents in los angeles, and he looks up and he sees that he's fired from television? >> that is what we are told. >> that just gives you a sense of how impulsive this firing was. and it really did backfire. >> the underlying facts are not
in dispute. the president fired james comey. the issue is why. >> did something specific happen? was there a moment -- >> the white house comms department didn't know about this. >> the media team scrambling to answer reporters' questions. >> they couldn't come up with talking points, a statement, an explanation, but the basic facts -- >> and sean spicer left standing by the bushes. >> okay, hold on, just turn the lights off. let's just relax, enjoy the night, have a glass of wine. >> he deliberately didn't tell the press office because he thought the press office would leak it. he was hugely mistrustful of his own staff. >> at first a memo written by deputy attorney general rod rosenstein was given as the justification for the firing. rosenstein was overseeing the russia investigation. after attorney general jeff sessions had recused himself. that recusal had infuriated
president trump, who reportedly saw it as disloyal. >> he had expected a certain measure of personal loyalty from sessions, which was not how the u.s. government is supposed to work. >> "the new york times" reported that when trump heard that sessions might recuse himself, he order the white house counsel don mac began to stop it. that effort was unsuccessful. and trump is still angry at jeff sessions. >> it's all a bunch of dominos that seem to kind of fall. rod rosenstein appointed the special counsel, and he believes there would not be a special counsel if jeff sessions had actually remained engaged in the russia investigation. >> the "times" reports that special counsel robert mueller is looking at the whole matter as part of the potential obstruction of justice case. meanwhile, on the night of the comey firing, the chaos continued. >> what was that -- >> ask the deputy attorney general -- he just starte two
weeks ago, would the white house have told him to do that? >> the memo was critical of comey's handling of hillary clinton's e-mails before the election. >> why now are you concerned about the hillary clinton e-mail investigation, when as a candidate donald trump was praising it from the campaign trail? >> i think you're looking at the wrong set of facts here. in other words, you're going back to the campaign. this man is the president of the united states. he acted decisively today. he took the recommendation of his deputy attorney general who overseas -- >> that makes no sense. >> finally trump gave what appeared to be his real reason. >> i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that they should have won. >> the day after comey was fired, trump shared his feelings about it with russian officials visiting the oval office. according to "the new york times," the president said, "i just fired the head of the fbi.
he was crazy, a real nut job." disparaging the director of the fbi, albeit fired, to an adversarial power? >> perhaps of greater importance is when the president also said this. "i faced great pressure because of russia, that's taken off." >> the words relieving pressure i think are going to raise questions for investigators. >> the president has consistently said that he did not obstruct justice when he fired james comey. the two men come from completely different worlds. >> james comey is a professional law man. he has a respect for the traditions of the justice department. >> it should be about the facts and the law. that's why i became fbi director. >> donald trump, on the other hand, is a businessman. >> he expects absolute loyalty from everybody working for him. that's the culture in which he
has operated for many, many years. >> their relationship got off to a bad start. before the inauguration, james comey was in charge of telling trump about the dossier. the controversial document contained allegations about the president, gathered as part of an opposition research project during the campaign. >> i didn't want him thinking that i was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way. >> it turns out that's exactly what the president thought. according to an interview he gave "the new york times." >> trump's reaction was anger. he said it was completely false. >> the encounter apparently didn't sit well with comey either. >> we know he went back to the fbi suburban and pulled out a classified computer and wrote his first memo about his interactions with donald trump. >> i was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so i thought it really important to document. >> the inauguration was such a success -- >> comey's next public encounter
with the president was awkward. the director of the fbi thought it was crucial to keep his distance. >> he stands in the part of the room that is physically as far from the president as it's possible to be. >> but then -- >> oh, and there's james. he's become more famous than me. >> it encapsulated the difficult position comey was in, because he was at once the fbi director, answerable to the president of the united states, but also conducting an investigation of the trump campaign which the president obviously hated. >> you've seen the picture of me walking across the blue room. what the president whispered in my ear was, "i really look forward to working with you." >> the president kept reaching out. next came an invitation to dinner at the white house. >> the very fact that the
president, whose campaign is under investigation, is asking to have dinner with the fbi director alone, raises all sorts of red flags. as it did for comey. >> the dinner was an effort to build a relationship, in fact, he asked specifically, of loyalty in the context of asking me to stay. >> the president's words, according to comey, 80 need loyalty, i expect loyalty." >> he was asking for something and i was refusing to give it. >> the white house denied he was asking for person aal loyalty. >> i think the president wants loyalty to this country and to the rule of law. >> it is their last meeting which may prove to be critical in the investigation of potential obstruction of justice. >> just picture the scene in the oval office. the fbi director is there with his boss, jeff sessions, with other very senior officials.
they are told to leave the room by the president. and then it's just a one on one. >> why would you kick the attorney general, the chief of staff, out to talk to me? my impression was something big is about to happen. >> this was one day after national security adviser michael flynn had been forced out. the white house said flynn was fired because he lied to the vice president about his conversations with the russian ambassador. questions have been raised about whether the president knew flynn also lied to the fbi, which is a federal crime. so another critical question is whether trump knew it when he said this, according to comey. "i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. he is a good guy." >> there's a president of the united states with me alone saying, i hope this. i took it as, this is what he wants me to do. i didn't obey that, but that's the way i took it. >> it so is wildly inappropriate, it is so contrary to how the government is supposed to work. and it may well be evidence of a
crime. >> did you at any time urge former fbi director james comey to close or to back down the investigation into michael flynn? and also, as you -- >> no. no. next question? >> it may have been comey's appearance on capitol hill just days before he was fired in early may that finally sealed his fate. comey was asked about his decision to publicly announce the reopening of the clinton e-mail investigation before the election. >> look, this is terrible. it makes me mildly nauseous to think we might have had some impact on the election. but honestly, it wouldn't change the decision. >> comey's concern that he influenced the outcome of the election infuriated the president. >> trump heard it as a personal attack. >> look, he's a showboat, he's a grandstander. >> when trump hears that he hears, my presidency is illegitimate, you're trying to question whether or not i should be in the oval office right now. >> the russians did not affect
the vote. and everybody seems to think that. >> the president spent a rainy weekend at his new jersey golf resort stewing about jim comey's testimony. >> he came back and decided, i'm going to do it, i'm going to fire james comey. >> among those supporting the president's decision, son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner. >> it really did show that some of the people around the president who were pushing this are beyond politically naive. >> after his firing, james comey returned to capitol hill. and revealed something extraordinary. >> asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a recorder. >> the memo described his last meeting with the president in the oel office. >> i asked him to because i thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. >> he was right. >> this is huge, pamela. >> this is a significant step, we're learning deputy attorney general rod rosenstein has appointed former fbi director bob mule tore oversee the russia
probe -- >> that was a dangerous day for the president, potentially. >> the special counsel has a very wide net that he can cast to look into all things russia, and who knows what else he's going to find. >> that would not have happened had president trump not fired james comey. still ahead -- chasing an oligarch. >> is it true that mr. manafort owed you millions of dollars when he was head of the trump campaign? >> to chase down the real story. >> did he offer those private briefings to you as a way to try to repay that debt? >> on all the president's men. >> mr. president, will you sign my russian flag? please sign my russian flag. mom, i have to tell you something. dad, one second i was driving and then the next...
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this is cnn breaking news. >> paul manafort will surrender -- >> the indictment, conspearcy against the united states -- >> >> adviser jird kushner -- >> a secret means of communicating with the kremlin. >> a top advise history discussed a back channel with the russians. >> i have the most dedicated people. >> michael flynn has resigned tonight. >> back door communications with russia -- >> and national security adviser guilty of lying to the fbi.
>> i have the best people. >> paul manafort. jared kushner. and michael flynn. this is the story of all the president's men. >> i got the best in the world. >> set down, guys. you all right? ready? okay. >> november 10th, 2016. >> we talked about some of the organizational issues -- >> two days after the election, president obama gives his successor a piece of advice. >> that ensures our president-elect is successful -- >> do not hire michael flynn. >> now the oath of office. >> as your national security adviser. >> so help me, god. >> cnn was told something by u.s. officials that was deeply concerning. >> the next president of the united states right here!
>> during the campaign, american intelligence picked up the russians bragging that they had a strong relationship with flynn. you have to take some of the conversations we were told with a little bit of a grain of salt, but this set off an alarm for obama administration officials who were quite worried about it. >> you know, people talk about temperament -- >> flynn had worried intelligence officials for months. in 2015, the retired three-star general appeared on the kremlin-funded news channel rt. >> russia and the united states have to work together on this -- >> he even spoke at an event celebrating rt's 10th anniversary. he sat next to vladimir putin at d dinner. >> here you have a former top intelligence official in the united states government celebrating this gala for what seems to be the propaganda arm of the kremlin. >> flynn made almost $34,000 for his appearance.
but investigators looking into his security clearance said flynn told them he did not take any money for the trip from a foreign source. >> i didn't take any money from russia, if that's what you're asking me. >> congressional members from both parties have said he may have broken the law in the process. >> it appears as if he did take that money, it was inappropriate, and there are repercussion forth the violation of law. >> it leads investigators to wonder, why aren't you disclosing certain thins? what do you have to hide? >> flynn has denied what he has called "false accusations of treason." >> do you feel you betrayed your country? >> the bom shell of robert mueller's veinvestigation came december 1st when flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi. while he was national security adviser, he told fbi agents that he had not discussed sanctions with russia's ambassador during the transition. but he had talked sanctions. and the fbi knew it. because the ambassador had been
monitored by u.s. intelligence. >> he said he didn't do it, and there were transcripts clearly showing that he did. >> what's more, flynn admitted in his plea deal that the sanctions talks had been coordinated with trump's transition team. >> the white house cannot argue that this was michael flynn going off as a loose cannon here. >> a white house lawyer claimed that flynn's guilty plea didn't implicate anyone else. before he pleaded guilty, flynn was facing a lot of tough legal issues. but mueller only charged him with one count. so it's possible that flynn has an even bigger story to tell. >> we're seeing manafort come in now with counsel -- >> paul manafort, the president's former campaign chairman, is also facing possible jail time. he's charged with money laundering millions of dollars, concealing his work for a foreign government, and conspiring against the united states. he has pleaded not guilty.
>> the special counsel make at very aggressive argument that this is someone who can't be trusted. >> manafort made a lot of his money working for this man. putin's ally, viktor yanukovych, the former president of ukraine. yanukovych was a strongman who provided over a deadly crackdown against protesters in the streets of kiev. he left his country in disgrace. manafort had helped bring him to power. >> paul manafort has, for decades, been the washington lobbyist and influence-peddler around the world for a lot of the most vicious dictators we've seen. >> the question is, was manafort also linked to russia's strongman, vladimir putin? >> are there any ties between mr. trump, you, or your campaign, and putin and his regime? >> no, there are not.
it's absurd. there's no basis to it. >> but u.s. intelligence saw a different story. agents intercepted communications from suspected russian operatives indicating that manafort appeared to be asking them for help. >> they describe him as essentially encouraging help. encouraging the russians to provide assistance to donald trump's campaign. >> manafort's ties to russia go way back. he worked for a close associate of putin. >> is it true that mr. manafort owed you millions of dollars -- >> oleg deripaska, one of a few wealthy oligarchs putin consults with regularly according to a u.s. state department cable. >> he can pick up the phone to the oligarchs and say, i need to get a message out to this american, and it gets done because he's vladimir putin and that's how the system works. >> less than two weeks before trump got nominated, manafort offered to brief oleg deripaska privately on how the campaign was going, according to the
"washington post." >> it's not often that the russians get somebody to volunteer like that. >> in fact, court documents indicate that manafort may have been in debt to oleg deripaska. >> did he offer private briefings to try to repay some of that debt to you? is that why he offered them? >> get lost, please. thank you. >> oleg deripaska's spoke manz told cnn the oligarch was never offered briefings by manafort. manafort's spokesman has denied manafort was in debt to oleg deripaska during the trump campaign and afterwards. but he has admitted that manafort offered the briefings. manafort was also at the trump tower meeting with the russians in june 2016. >> mr. president, will you sign my russian flag? sign my russian flag, please sign my russian flag! >> solves the president's son-in-law, jared kushner. >> any comment, mr. president? >> kushner hasn't been charged
with any crimes. but troubling questions have been raised about his connections to russia. >> jared kushner is incredibly important for several reasons. he's a witness to virtually all the central issues in this investigation. he is also important because he's an independent actor. he is someone who had contacts with russian representatives. >> kushner has not been forthcoming about those contacts. he was required by law to disclose them to the fbi to get his security clearance. but he has repeatedly omitted foreign contacts and had to submit his forms four times, sparking tough questions from both parties. his reasons for the revisions range from forgetfulness to clerical error. >> there have been stories that have been appearing for months about jared curb nevkushner's m.
>> december 1, 2016. kushner meets with russian ambassador kislyak in trump tower. >> the russian ambassador came to new york. jared kushner met with the russian ambassador. >> they discuss setting up a back channel with moscow at russia's own embassy. >> you have to say that raises a red flag and say, why wasn't this reported? >> kushner claimed he wanted to discuss syria and said the arrangement was never set up. some in u.s. intelligence believe that kislyak was benefit russia's top spies in washington. >> did you recruit any members of the trump administration? >> december 13th, 2016, kushner meets with sergei gorekov, the head of a sanctioned russian bank that's often funded putin's pet projects. like the sochi olympics. the bank was also used as a cover by a russian spy in new
york city who went to prison for espionage. >> the fbi now says it has busted a russian -- >> one of three russian spies -- >> gorakov himself attended the training academy for russian intelligence operatives. >> what did you really speak to jared kushner about in new york when you met him in december? >> no comment. >> there have been questions whether kushner might have discussed his family's business with banker gorkov. kushner owns a storied fifth avenue building worith a report $1.2 billion mortgage due in 2019. kushner says his business dealings never came up with gorkov and all his meetings with russians were nothing to worry about. >> i did not collude with russia, nor do i know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. >> your bank said it was a business meeting -- >> gorkav's bank implied the
meeting with kushner was about business, referring to kushner as "the head of kushner industries." republican's team has expressed interest in kushner, including his role in the firing of james comey. can you say whether you are aware anyone who had advised your campaign had contacts with the russian investigation? >> how many times do i have did answer this question? >> the collusion question -- >> -- is not closed. >> to the best of my knowledge, no person that i deal with has. when we return -- >> i have no dealings with russia. i have no deals in russia. >> but donald trump has made money with russians. >> i paid $40 million, i sold it for $100 million. and i sold it to a russian. 'sup, world? it's the box with 30% savings for safe drivers.
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we have major breaking news right now, the u.s. justice department has just named a special counsel in the russia investigation -- >> this is a significant step -- >> a development that could change everything. >> i think we could see justice. >> bob mueller is very thorough, good for the investigation, maybe not so much for president trump. >> does anybody have any questions? >> the day after that bombshell announcement, president trump had his first chance to strike back. >> was this the right move or is this part of a witch hunt? >> well, i respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt. >> this is a witch hunt and a hoax. >> russia is a ruse. >> a fiction, a total fabrication. >> it's all fake news. >> but no matter what the trump team would call it, the russia investigation was very real.
>> the president thinks it's a witch hunt. any way you can respond to that? >> under robert mueller, going in a direction the president did not want it to go. >> i have a great company. i built an unbelievable company. but if you look there, you'll see there's nothing in russia. >> if you listen to the statements of the president and his team about the mueller investigation, they feel like financial issues, trump's business dealings, should be walled out, should be off limits. >> to look at a real estate deal from ten years ago would be way outside the scope of the mandate and we'd certainly object to that. >> it is quite clear that mueller's team is looking directly at his business dealings for the perfectly understandable reason that money can be a motive. >> we follow the money to the very beginning of trump's connection to russia. decades earlier in 1987. when 41-year-old donald trump took off for his very first
business trip to moscow. >> 1987, donald trump was flush with money. and donald was invited to russia. so he and ivana went to russia. and they tried to make a deal to build a trump tower there. >> that deal never happened. >> there was talk of a trump tower in moscow -- >> but again and again, trump would deep on trying. >> donald's tried at least five times to build a trump tower in moscow. >> donald trump has an enormous ability to deny reality. reality is that during the campaign, not just in ancient history, during the campaign, he was negotiating for a hotel to be built in moscow. >> we've learned michael cohen, president trump's personal lawyer, was in talks with moscow through an intermediary about a proposal to build trump tower
there -- >> that is the definition of business dealings in russia. >> the deal, outlined in a nonbinding letter of intent signed by trump in the fall of 2015, fell through. but not before trump's attorney reached out to the kremlin for help. >> cohen said in a statement today he e-mailed russian president vladimir putin's spokesperson dmitry peskov for help on this project on behalf of the trump organization. >> we could make deals in russia very easily if we wanted to -- >> according to economist and investigative journalist james henry, all of the focus on trump's deals in russia might be missing the point. >> it isn't so much that trump has been investing in russia, it's that he's been receiving lots of finance from the former soviet union states, from oligarchs. >> i've got more oligarchs living in my buildings -- >> and before he became a politician, businessman donald trump boasted about it. >> have you had any dealings with the russians?
>> well, i've done a lot of business with the russians. >> the most expensive home ever sold in america -- >> back in 2008, at the height of the u.s. housing collapse, trump made a record-breaking deal with a russian oligarch known as the fertilizer king, dmitri radalovev. >> he bought from donald trump a mansion about two miles from mar-a-lago in palm beach, florida. >> i paid $40 million, i sold it for $100 million. and i sold to it a russian. >> mr. donald j. donald trump! >> ridalovev would reappear during the 2016 election when his private plane was spotted in two u.s. cities where trump was campaigning. concorde, north carolina, and las vegas, nevada. >> it certainly looks suspicious that we have this leading russian oligarch birddogging our president on the campaign trail. >> a white house source told
mcclatchy news the pair never met. and ribalovev called the overlaps pure coincidence that occurred while he was traveling on unrelated business. >> but we still don't understand that to this day. >> what remains clear, however, is that this oligarch is hardly the only russian to have bolstered trump's bottom line. >> there's a surprising amount of russians involved in his deals everywhere. >> after his catastrophic financial collapse in 1991 that threatened to end his empire for good, trump spent most of the decade digging out from under enormous debt. >> he was basically unfinanceable by major banks. >> luckily for trump, a new source of money was just around the corner. >> you have this unbelievable avalanche of money pouring in from the former soviet union. just when trump is in serious trouble financially.