tv CNN Special Report The Trump- Russia Investigation CNN February 9, 2018 9:30pm-11:00pm PST
cnn special report. this is the north korea you know. this is the north korea you've never seen. stories you've never heard. >> is that a legend, or did that actually happen? >> translator: our general is really a person who heaven sent to us. >> places you've never been. people with a common enemy. >> who do you want to fight? >> translator: to fight the sworn enemy, the americans. >> what if i told you i'm an american? you want to shoot me too?
>> unprecedented access, hidden from the world until now. come with me to "the secret state: inside north korea." ♪ north korea, a nation holding its nuclear sword over the u.s. and its allies, threatening to strike at any time. a society in a constant state of readiness for war. life on the inside is a mystery to most of the world. i've reported from north korea more than a dozen times over the last few years. each time, we open the door a little more and see this country and its people in unexpected ways.
just like this. yep, even in north korea, kids love video games. for these 14 and 15-year-olds, these are not just games. this is practice for real life. most of these boys and a lot of the girls will spend their first years of adulthood serving in the korean people's army, just like their parents and grandparents before them. >> what do you like about this game? >> translator: killing the enemy. >> hitting the enemy? who is the enemy? >> translator: americans. >> this hatred of americans stems from the korean war. north korea contradicts western historians, saying that america started the war that killed millions of civilians and divided the korean peninsula. >> who do you want to fight? >> translator: to fight the sworn enemy, americans.
>> what do they teach you about americans in school? >> translator: they forcibly invaded us, slaughtered our people, buried them, buried them alive. buried them alive and killed them. >> so they teach you that the americans are the enemy, and you need to shoot them, to fight them? >> translator: yes. >> here's where things get awkward. what if i told you i'm an american? do you want to shoot me too? >> transtor: yes. there are good people. we'll see if you're a good person or a bad person. >> i'm a good american, so don't shoot me. >> translator: um, no. i won't shoot. >> this is the paradox of north korea. smiling young people, friendly, polite, even as they tell me how much they hate the united states. from their earliest years, these children are told america could attack at any time, told they must prepare for the next war.
in north korea, government minders watch our every move and restrict what we can film, even if this is what we want to see. high school students horsing around at the beach. i can't help but wonder what do they actually know about america? >> translator: no. i just wear it to play sports. >> have you ever heard of portland? >> translator: haven't heard of it. >> have you seen any american movies or heard any american music? >> translator: no. >> ever heard of facebook or twitter or instagram? >> translator: no, not at all. >> these teens have been told americans act and look scary. >> what would you expect from an american? what would you expect an american to be like? >> translator: big nose with a hairy chest. >> big nose and hairy chest, huh? well, i don't have a hairy chest. you tell me, do i have a big nose? >> translator: with a nose like that, it is sort of.
>> have you guys ever met an american before? they become visibly uncomfortable when they learn i'm an american. i'm the first one they've ever met. i won't interrupt your game any longer. thank you very much. it was nice to meet you guys. next, our government minders want us to see this place, the songdowon international children's camp in wonsan, considered the best in north korea. entire school classes compete for a chance to spend two weeks at camp. many of these kids have never seen anything like it. but this is something they know well. the first thing you see when you walk into this camp, this statue. everything here, just like everything else in north korea, centers around the leaders. these children have been taught a fierce loyalty to their nation's leaders, all members of the kim family. photos and statues are everywhere. songs of praise are staples. ♪
even at this birthday party, students sing about the leaders. >> translator: he gives us more love than even our parents can give. >> why do you consider your leader, kim jong-un, like your father? >> translator: he's affectionate and more caring than my own parents. he gives us more love than even our parents could give. >> this boy, who just turned 14, says his own parents can't afford to give him a meal like this. many of north korea's 5 million children come from towns and villages where the basics -- electricity, clean water, nutritious food -- are not always available. >> translator: i declare i will become a true member of the children's union, who studies better in order to repay the love of respected leader kim jong-un. ♪
>> these young people are the future of north korea, an entire generation brought up to worship their supreme leader. no skepticism, no dissent, no questions. only loyalty for life. ♪ a basketball costs $14. what's team spirit worth? (cheers) what's it worth to talk to your mom? what's the value of a walk in the woods? the value of capital is to create, not just wealth, but things that matter. morgan stanley (whispering) with the capital one venture rd, you'll earn unlimited double miles on ery purchase, every day. not just airline purchases. (yelling) holy moly, that's a lot of miles! shh-h-h-h!
countryside, and we've just gotten stopped at a checkpoint. already several minutes now, our minders are speaking with the police officer. not sure what's happening, but he doesn't seem to want to let us pass. travel here is restricted, and getting stopped can be nerve-racking. but we're finally allowed to pass. it turns out the concern this time is only about our big van disturbing the road work ahead. driving on, we see men and women laboring in dark tunnels. much of the north korean countryside is undeveloped with very little infrastructure. but that also means the landscape is relatively untouched, and i must say the scenery is striking. majestic mountains. thick forests.
and this seaside city. we made it here to wonsan, a midsized industrial city, the fifth largest in north korea, on the east coast. popular for tourists, known for great seafood, fishing, and something else. wonsan is one of north korea's main missile launch sites, and they've been launching missiles at an unprecedented pace. north korea even has intercontinental ballistic missiles, potentially nuclear-capable and within striking range of the u.s. for the first time ever. in the 1980s, north korea's founder, president kim il-sung, launched the country's first missile. but since marshal kim jong-un came to power in 2011, he's advanced north korea's nuclear and missile programs faster than anyone ever predicted.
why do they keep doing this? for one, propaganda. each launch helps north korea's leaders project power, but also missiles are like an insurance policy for the regime, protecting north korea from the u.s. and its allies. so i have to tell you, your city is very well known around the world because of all the missiles that keep being launched from here. have you ever heard the missiles? >> tnslator: ocourse. wham, we see it going up. >> kim un-tek has lived here in wonsan his whole life. >> as a north korean when you see these missiles in the sky, what message does that send to you? >> translator: it gives me great pride. >> so did this massive military drill along the beach, personally supervised by kim jong-un. many north koreans don't even
understand why the u.s. and the world feel threatened. >> translator: why is the trump administration constantly imposing sanctions and stuff when we are doing these missile launches and all for our own defense capability? we're defending ourselves. >> is there any criticism, anything you'd like to see your leader or government do differently? >> translator: nothing at all. i'm so satisfied. >> keep in mind during all my trips, i've never heard anyone criticize the authoritarian government. north korea has zero tolerance for dissent of any kind. what happens to people who break the rules? the united nations says hidden in the hills, the country has a network of prison camps where torture and executions are common. north korean officials deny the allegations. they do say criminals are punished appropriately.
aside from missiles, one of wonsan's proudest achievements is a new hydroelectric power plant. we're told the lights in the city stay on for 24 hours a day, a rarity in north korea. in fact, when we stop for dinner at a teahouse miles away from wonsan, the lights go out within minutes. nobody seems fazed by it. we dine on wild pheasant by flashlight. north korea may have mastered launching missiles, but generating electricity is an ongoing struggle. if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, or psoriatic arthritis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats differently.
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we've traveled to parts of north korea that few foreigners have ever seen. in panmunjom, the cold war never ended. the quiet country side surrounding this area is littered with land mines. no filming allowed on the roads here. now our government minders are letting us do a little souvenir shopping. i've never seen a gift shop like this. these postcards are some of the most popular items. this one reading, we will crush the u.s. attempts for a nuclear war. this one, to the u.s. hard line,
we will counter with the ultra hard line. and you can buy them right here. if you think the postcards are intense, wait till you see the posters. you don't need to read korean to know what this means here. the u.s. capitol there. the symbolism says it all. >> yep, that's the capitol, and that's a giant fist crushing the u.s. did you see the american being annihilated by his own missile? i'm sensing a theme here. what makes all of this even more surreal is where we are. the korean demilitarized zone, or d, a place unlike any other in the world. to understand the dmz, we need to go back to the end of world war ii. the soviets and americans divided korea just like they did germany. and the korean war set the two superpowers against each other with koreans caught in the middle. 3 million of them died. technically the war never ended. an armistice agreement left
north and south korea facing each other down across the 38th parallel, the dmz. my tour guide is a north korean lieutenant colonel. when you actually live here, does it feel tense? when you actually live here, does it feel tense? does it feel like you're on the brink of a war? >> translator: i think it's not an exaggeration to say we are living at the brink of war given that we are constantly receiving threats of war. >> south korean and american soldiers down north korean soldiers and vice versa. they call this the demilitarized zone, but it's the exact opposite. both sides have masses of soldiers up and down this heavily fortified border, pointing weapons at each other. it's considers one of the most dangerous flash points in the world. and it's getting worse. a lot as changed since i came here back in 2015. more nuclear tests, dozens of missile launches. does it feel more tense now?
>> translator: yes. we can say the state of affairs is more tense, but it's rather the united states' continued hostile policy against north korea reaching its peak. >> if you got the order right now, what would the military do? >> translator: as soon as we receive the order from our supreme commander, we will liberate south korea, and we will turn the u.s. mainland into a sea of fire. >> maybe it's time to change the subject. the lieutenant colonel and i are both the same age, 36. but our lives couldn't be more different. still, we must have some common ground. what's your favorite kind of music? >> translator: my favorite song is our eternal revolutionary song, the song praising our general, kim jong-un. ♪ >> i really like classic rock. have you ever heard any classic rock?
>> translator: i think i've heard of it before, but, um, i'm not sure. >> what's your favorite sport? >> translator: i like basketball. >> you like basketball? oh, i'm terrible at basketball. okay. so we don't have much in common, but i think he's warming up to me. we say good-bye as friends. >> thank you very much. it's good to see you, and i'm glad we're meeting like this and not on the battlefield. next stop, kaesong, the north korean city closest to the dmz. what is it like to be so close to south korea but you're not able to go? >> translator: it hurts. and you've been asking about south korea a lot. it's a place i want to go. >> we are so close to seoul, south korea. thriving economy, modern skyline. do you ever ask yourself why you don't have that here? >> translator: we have pyongyang. it's been built with our own power, our own technology, our
own independent economy. how can seoul compete with that? >> i can't help but wonder what would his life be like if his family ended up just a few miles south after the korean war. driving back to pyongyang, i have no idea we're about to experience one of the strangest days i've ever had in north korea. it begins like every other morning in pyongyang. ♪ this music is the city's alarm clock, played every day beginning at 5:00 a.m. to commemorate the sacrifices of north korea's leaders. we head to the pyongyang international airport for the arrival of a vip. dennis rodman has been invited back for another round of so-called basketball diplomacy. are you bringing a message from president trump to north korea's supreme leader, kim jong-un?
>> i'm just here to come see some friends and have a good time. >> distracted by the rodman circus, we have no idea a secret handover is happening at the pyongyang airport. american college student otto warmbier is quietly put on a u.s. government plane, a final sad chapter in a story that began a year and a half ago. warmbier came here on a private sight seeing tour. after a night out on the town to celebrate new year's eve, the university of virginia student was accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner from the wall of his hotel. for that, he got a 15-year sentence. soon after, mysteriously, he ended up with a brain injury. >> in north korea, otto warmbier has been released. let's go straight to our will ripley. >> this was one of the hardest reports i've ever had to give. i had spoken just weeks earlier with warmbier's parents.
at the time, they had no idea about their son's condition. >> but this reunion is not the happy reunion his family had been hoping for as recently as a week ago because that is when they learned according to a family statement that otto warmbier has been in a coma since march of 2016. in june of 2017, he returned to his hometown near cincinnati, ohio, in a vegetative state. otto warmbier died six days later. he was 22. ♪ as i'm writing this, at least three other americans remain in north korean custody. the state department has since banned most u.s. citizens from traveling here. the stakes have never been higher.
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we're heading 40 miles south of pyongyang to north hwanghae province, a place where people are definitely not used to seeing foreigners. even getting permission to come here is complicated. there's a lot of discussions that are happening, making sure that we're going to the right place, speaking to the right people. but we're not headed for a sensitive military site or secret prison camp. what we want to see is a farm. farming is a sensitive subject in north korea. the nation still struggles to feed its own people. limited farmland and a significant drought could put millions at risk. the united nations world food
program estimates 70% of the population, nearly 18 million north koreans, don't have a sufficiently diverse diet. they survive on basic staples -- rice, porridge, fermented cabbage called kimchi. beef, chicken and pork are often too expensive. this handful of farmers seems to be putting on a demonstration for our benefit. after they finish, i try to ask them some questions. most of the group is camera-shy, but this woman has plenty to say. >> translator: the thing i am fond of is taking care of the land. >> how long have you been doing this? >> translator: it's been about ten years since i came here. >> what's the farthest that you've ever traveled from home? >> translator: not that far.
>> if you could go -- if you could leave north korea and go to any other place in the world, where would you like to visit? >> translator: i want to visit the u.s. >> her answer surprises me. no north korean has ever told me they want to visit the united states. >> translator: i want to see what on earth the u.s. looks like to be harassing korean people so much. it's so hard for us right now because of it. i really curse the americans. i want to destroy their land. >> now i understand her answer. >> it's very nice to meet you. i wish you the best. ♪ so now we're being taken to a family's home. this is a family that has been selected for us.
like most families in this farming co-op, they grow their own crops in the front yard. offering to share some of their food with us, they tell me this is a typical lunch. it's got a kick to it. it's strong. duck eggs, bean paste, and rice wrapped in lettuce with garlic and spices. simple, healthy, delicious. a lot of people in the outside world think that people in north korea still are starving. how is the food supply now? i ask about a time most north koreans didn't have enough to eat. the north kore famine of the late 1990s hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of north koreans died of starvation. >> translator: we ate tree bark after going up to the mountain for food and wondered just how long we'll have to do this. but it's not a problem now compared to that.
this is all homegrown. after farming for a year, we get rice and money to live off of, which is great. this house, i got it for free. >> he gives me a tour. like every north korean living room, there are portraits of the late leaders. >> translator: this is a photo of our family and the general when he came to visit. >> you have a dvd player here. what kind of dvds do you like to watch? >> translator: cooking and lifestyle, new songs, movies. i watch a lot of them. >> have you ever seen any western movies? >> translator: oh, we don't watch them. we wouldn't even if we could.
>> he does watch state tv, and he listens to propaganda broadcasts on the radio. but his favorite ritual, like many of his generaon, reading the newspaper. how important is the state media to getting information about what's happening? >> translator: it's very important. it gets broadcast right away to everyone through television and newspapers on that day. the reaction is amazing. >> so what do you know about president trump? what have you heard about him? >> translator: my opinion from reading the newspaper, i think president trump is an impulsive person. i think he's impulsive and not calm, and so he's losing the trust of the american people. >> trust, something so few americans have in politicians and the media. but what about here in north korea? here the message is tightly controlled.
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goose-stepping, chest puffing displays of national unity and military might. perfectly executed by tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people. what you don't see, countless hours of mandatory practice before work, after school, on sundays, in the rain and the cold. north korea knows how to put on one hell of a show. ♪ this is a much more modest version. bright and early each morning,
these women are out waving flags to motivate fellow citizens to work harder. discipline, dedication, revolutionary fervor, it's all expected if you're one of around 3 million north koreans allowed to live in pyongyang. we get a rare view from above, flying over the city in a soviet-era helicopter. pyongyang has a surprisingly colorful, modern skyline. sure, it's full of grandiose monuments idolizing the late supreme leaders, the ruling workers' party of korea, the ideology of self-reliance. but recent years have seen a slew of new construction projects, futuristic buildings, skyscrapers, all pet projects of their supreme leader, kim jong-un. he ordered north korean soldiers
to build this entire street of residential high rises in one year. top party officials give all the credit to their leader for his tireless work. it's here we find north korea's version of the apple store. the brand is named for the iconic korean folk song. the store manager says out of three north korean cell phone brands, this is by far the top seller. what are the main differences between the three brands? like why pick the arirang versus the other two? >> the arirang brand is well known to our people. it is known as a designer label. >> i notice the price over there. $350 for a phone is a lot of money for anyone, anywhere. how do people afford these phones? >> translator: it just means our people's living standard went up that much. >> we never do get a clear answer as to how people can actually afford all this.
north korea's average income is around $4 a day. here people are buying smartphones, tablets, hi-fi speakers, hd tvs. this customer says she loves listening to music and playing games on her new phone, including one that looks an awful lot like angry birds. do you like sharing photos with your friends? >> translator: yeah. >> do you like taking selfies? >> translator: yeah. >> that's good. i like yours better. north koreans can send text messages, read the news, check the latest scores. one thing most cannot do -- connect to the internet. they can only access a state-controlled intranet completely monitored and censored. do you have anything like google here in north korea? >> translator: yes, we do. we have our own data search
system, our version of google. it's a search engine. >> the search results, only government-sanctioned contact. what about social media? do you have anything here like facebook or instagram or twter,ut the north korean version? >> translator: yes, we have it. it's currently only being used on computers, but we're still working on developing it in our own way for cell phones. >> next we visit a north korean department store where filming is usually strictly forbidden. we see people buying groceries, mostly north korean products like beer. also plenty of brands you might recognize, usually chinese imports. china continues to trade heavily with north korea despite international sanctions. you can find designer fashions, high-end appliances, and on the top floor, there's a huge food court. we see people piling their plates with all kinds of korean
food. yes, i did try the fish head. i also tried the american-style fast food complete with pretty familiar packaging. it doesn't get more american than french fries and milkshakes. even the color scheme. it's actually good. after lunch, more shopping. all the art in north korea is state-sanctioned, which means a lot of landscapes and plenty of siberian tigers, considered an unofficial national symbol. pyongyang has a growing consumer class, and for them living standards are improving under kim jong-un. the north korean economy grew by almost 4% in 2016 according to south korean central bank estimates. ♪ which means people have more ways to enjoy their rare time
off, like this group of factory workers having a picnic and singing karaoke. they're happy to share their meal with us and seem even happier to let loose. we expect north koreans tok hard. this, we don't expect. ♪ need a hair smoother.? get super fruit moroccan argan oil with fructis sleek & shine hair is super sleek, for up to 3 days. no parabens. garnier fructis sleek & shine super fruit. super hair. garnier. directv has been rated #1 in customer satisfaction over cable for 17 years running.
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our flight takes u400 miles north of pyoyang to a place cnn has never been allowed before. as a western journalist, even setting foot here is extraordinary. sam jon county, right along the chinese border is a mountainous region. north korea's nuclear test site is in the very next province. we're not here for nuclear tests. we're here for mt. paektu, the highest point on the korean peninsula, also an active volcano. state propaganda glorifies the kim family for their mt. paektu bloodline. north korean society prizes racial purity. a paektu bloodline is tied to the ancient rulers.
their tombs are national landmarks. visited by droves of north korean citizens. but the ultimate journey is to the mountain itself. still hours away on bumpy dirt roads. we've never been this far inside rural north korea. >> can we take pictures? no? no. >> we catch only fleeting glances of the groups marching by.
quick peeks at the living conditions in these deep, rural areas. we're allowed to stop just for a few minutes in a tiny farming village. the children on their way home from school are amused. it's quite possible they've never seen anyone who looks like me. we're looking at them, but they're looking at us as well. every time i try to take a picture of those girls, they run away. we eventually make it to this sleepy town. the town's centerpiece, yet another monument to the late president, kim il-sung.
we're shown a bullet-riddled building where he led a surprise attack against the japanese. this is a typical north korean village. china is about five miles that way up over that hill, and this is a simple life out here. you don't see shiny buildings. you don't see a whole lot of new construction. you see people living a slow, simple life. down another windy road, another sight north koreans consider sacred, a cabin near mt. paektu north korea claims is the birthplace of general kim jong-il. outside historians say he was actually born in russia, but here our guide tells the story of his supposedly mystical birth. >> translator: so it was really cold, and the weather was not normal, but somehow the day the general was born, the strong winds stopped all of a sudden. the sun began shining through. everything was bright, and a
quiet calm took over. the flowers bloomed, and in the sky was a particularly bright star. >> is that a legend, or did that actually happen? >> translator: yes, it actually happened. it's not a legend. our general is really a person who heaven sent to us. so he changed the weather too. it's a true story. >> people from the outside hear these stories, and they wonder how any of this could possibly be true. >> translator: it's hard to explain in one word, but our general is so great, we can't say it's only a legend. nature actually transformed itself to announce the birth of our general to the whole world, blessing it. that's how it happened. ♪ >> i realize for north koreans, this is their faith just like the bible, quran, or torah.
when they come to mt. paektu, they're making a pilgrimage. ♪ why is this place so special and meaningful for you? >> translator: mt. paektu is the soul of korea's revolution, the spirit of our people and our pride. we are members of the great country of paektu. >> you know, in a lot of ways this mountain is the way the north koreans view their lives, one big, tough climb.
as we reach the top, one of the most breathtaking views i've ever seen. now i understand why north koreans are visibly emotional when they come here. mt. paektu symbolizes their achievements. >> nice to meet you. >> after more than a dozen trips to north korea, i can't help but believe, at heart, we share the same hopes, the same struggles for food and shelterfor safety
and security, to learn and to live. ♪ but i wonder is it all at risk? on september 3rd, north korea tested its most powerful nuclear weapon ever. >> north korea will be met with fire and fury. >> american officials responded with words of war. >> he is begging for war. >> and shows of force. now the world waits and watches, uncertain of our common future. (cedricka) i could see it in your face, like he is not giving up for me. (crying) he is not giving up for me.
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>> 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? >> 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 do with h, i know nothing other than he wi 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. >> rsia-inton 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 pop 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 introducto meeti 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.
>> 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? 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.ppeared on f 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? >> i don't know how that's coming into the picture. the president of not at the meeting, was not aware at the meeting, did not participate in the meeting. the fact is the president of not 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. >> she denied bringing up any dirt on hillary clinton.
>> i want to make sure 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. >> no people has now grown to 12 people, trump associates who have had contact with russians.
two of the most prominent have been charged with crimes. michael flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi. paul manafort pleaded not guilty to, among other charges, money laundering. you'll hear more about them later in this 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, an oil and energy consultant. excellent guy. >> excellent guy george papado has paded guilty ng tto lyithe fbi in the russia investigation. >> you called george papadopoulos an excellent guy. what is your reaction? what's your reaction to george papadopoulos? >> the trump team has been working overtime to portray him as a nobody. >> this individual was the member of a volunteer advisory council. >> he was the coffee boy.
if he was going to wear a wire, all we'd know is whether he prefers regular american coffee. >> but the coffee boy found his way to the big boy table with donald trump and other top campaign people. >> he doesn't know how to even make a coffee. >> the fiancee of george 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 and insight in terms of strategies. >> and it turns out papadopoulos may be the very reason there's a trump-russia investigation. "the new york times" reports back in may of 2016 papadopoulos told an australian diplomat that the kremlin had thousands of e-mails that could be damaging to hillary clinton. >> this is a big deeshlg the
fact that a trump foreign policy official is bragging that he knows early that russia has said they have these e-mails and they want to use them and to release them to benefit republicans in the election. >> when the e-mails began to leak, australia told the u.s. what the young campaign aide had said and that apparently played a role in the decision to open an fbi investigation. papadopoulos is now cooperating with the mueller team. when we come back -- >> the president thinks this is a witch hunt. >> is there any way you can respond to that? >> >> before there was a mueller investigation. >> he's become more famous than me. >> there was a comey investigation. >> i remember standing in the newsroom and somebody gasped and i thought oh god, what happened? >> the jim comey bombshell that no one saw coming. >> it's a dark moment in american history today. bibs on people! lobsterfest is back at red lobster... with the most lobster dishes of the year.
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just over 100 days in 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? i'm president. i'm president. >> 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 his 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, and 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 was even in the city. he was all the way across the country. >> he saw it on the televisioning. > he was talking to fbi agents in los angeles and he looks up and sees he's fired from television? >> that is what we were 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 thing specific happen? was there a moment? >> the white house comes department didn't know the about this. >> the media team was scrambling to answer reporters' questions. >> they couldn't come up with some talking points, a
statement, an explanation like the basic facts. and sean spicer was left standing by the bushes. >> just turn the lights off. >> no cara for a moment. >> let just relax and enjoy the night, have a glass of wine. >> they deliberately didn't tell the press office because they thought the press office would leak it. this was at that moment when he was hugely mistrustful of his own staff. >> at first a memo mo written by deputy attorney general rod rosen tine was given as the justification for the firing. hosen stein has been the top official overseeing the russia investigation since jeff sessions we accused himself last march. that many recusal infuriated president trump who reportedly saw it as disloyal. >> he had expected a certain measure of personal loyalty from sessions which is now how the u.s. government is supposed to work. >> what prompted that study? >> have to ask the deputy
attorney general. >> he just starred 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 again donald trump was praising it from the campaign trail. >> i think you're looking at the wrong set of facts here. 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 generally that makes no sense. >> finally tru gave what appeared to to be his real reas >> i said you know, thisussia thin with trump and russia is a madeup 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 nutjob. >> it was a staggering moment, disparaging the director of the fbi albeit fired to an advers y 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 leaving pressure i think are going to raise questions for investigators. >> thank you very much. >> the president has consistently said that he did not obstruct justice when the 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 absolutely loyalty from everybody working for him. that's the culture in which he
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