tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN February 19, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PST
hello. i'm john sciutto in for kate bolduan. president trump out of sight but on attack. he spent the weekend at mar-a-lago instead of his usual golf outings, he teed off on a wide range of targtargets. it was an epic explosion of angry tweets, even by the president's robust standards. nearly half focused on the russia investigation, and come on the heels of president's indictment of 13 russian nationals, accused of meddling in the 2016 election. that fueled his weekend tirade
and a jaw dropping tweet that seems to blame the fbi and the russia probe for last week's school massacre, just 40 miles away from where he was. quote, very sad that the fbi missed all the many signals sent out by the florida school shooter, this is not acceptable. they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign. there is no collusion. get back to the basics and make us all proud. exclamation point. kaitlan collins is in west palm beach. really an epic tweet storm, but the president here echoing a point that you heard from many on the right in the wake of the school shooting, trying to draw a tie between the russia probe and missed signals there. >> reporter: yeah. that's right, jim. we almost saw that tweet coming from a mile away. the president spent a considerable amount of time indoors this weekend after aides determined it would be in poor optics if he was out golfing in close proximity to the shooting and so shortly after it happened. so the president spent most of his indoors watching cable news
television, and growing angrier over this intensifying russia probe. and as far as that tweet about the fbi specifically, we are told by my cnn colleagues that the president made that -- wrote that tweet after he spent time with his sons, and they encouraged him to take a tougher stance against the fbi. but the president was really all across the board this weekend, jim, going not only going after not only the fbi, but democrats, his own national security adviser, and even oprah winfrey. so quite a tweet storm from the president. today is the first day that the president has traveled to his golf course on his last day here in florida before he heads back to washington this afternoon. and the white house did announce, jim, yesterday, that the president is going to hold two listening sessions this week at the white house on wednesday and thursday, one with high school students and teachers and another with school officials in the area. so we'll be waiting to see what the president has to say about what his administration is going to do in response to school
shootings like the one we saw last week then. >> so to be clear, his team determined it was insensitive to golf yesterday and the day before, but he's going to be golfing today? >> reporter: yeah, that's right. he has not confirmed he's actually golfing today, but he did leave with a small group of reporters that follow him around and he did go to the trump international golf course this morning, where you can presume it is 75 degrees and sunny here in west palm beach, a perfect day for golfing, jim. >> and now on the president's steps or possible steps or comments on tougher gun laws. he made a comment today about background checks. >> yeah. that's right. the white house actually issued a statement about a call that the president had with senator cornyn on friday. we just got essentially a readout of that call today from the deputy press secretary raj shah who said the president spoke to senator cornyn about a bill, a bipartisan bill
introduced to improve federal compliance with federal background check legislation. while discussions are still ongoing and revisions are baeg considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system. so there the white house is saying the president is open to improvements in the background check system, but they do say that there could be some tweaks to the language. that was a bill introduced after the deadly church shooting in texas late last year. but we have not heard from the president himself on this. we often see his press secretaries or spokesman issue a statement and the president later contradicts him and though as we have shown he was tweeting multiple times this weekend, we did not hear from him once about background checks, jim so we'll still be waiting to see if this is something that really is something that the president is truly behind or if it is just something that they're discussing that always comes up after shootings like the one that we had last week, jim. >> the difference would be follow through and in the past there never has been follow through. kaitlan collins, thank you very much. let's bring in our panel, cnn
security analyst shawn turner and david chanly. on the point of golf, the white house determined insensitive to golf for a day or two afterwards, but out golfing again today. >> i guess there is a 48 hour window of when they think the optics are bad. i don't -- listen, the president is entitled to golf, i don't know when you know after a tragedy like this would be the appropriate time to do it, but what is interesting and worth noting is as you point out, our reporting is that the aides were worried about the optics in the last two days. what is different about today that they're not worried about. >> and there are fun raerals to of the young victims of the shooting. this is not just his presidential meme, but others in the gop making a connection between the russia probe and the shooting. had the fbi been not looking into russia and ties and so on, they might have prevented this shooting. explain how you understand the fbi is set up to see if that's a credible argument. >> unfortunately it is not.
robert mueller has a dedicated team of people working on this investigation, working on the investigation from the beginning. he also has a wide degree of latitude with his ability to reach in divisions at the fbi, if there is something that that division is working on where he -- that he thinks will help inform his investigation. that's the kind of thing that happens on an occasional basis. it is -- it is simply not the case that the miami -- that the field office in miami where fbi agents are working and they're primarily focused on things that would be in their area of responsibility, it is just not the case that they would be too consumed with the russia investigation for them to be able to focus on, you know, the issues there in florida. so this tweet is really just -- it is another attack on the fbi and this one really just doesn't make any sense. the fbi is a large law enforcement agency and they prioritize the risks of the threats that face us today. this is an investigation that really looks back on what happened previously.
and so the idea that they would -- that they would prioritize this just doesn't make a lot of sense. >> the idea that robert mueller would reach out to the miami field office as part of his russia probe, the miami field office being the one that would be responsible for following up on a tip like this. >> there is no scenario that would make sense. >> and yet it is a point that the president is sticking with. oftentimes in our experience whether there is substance or facts to a claim doesn't mean that holds the president back. is that argument, that line, gaining some traction among the president and his allies? >> well, certainly among his core supporters including his son and a lot of fox news hosts out there sort of putting this out there, listen, jim, you have observed the president. you understand, his entire career, back in business, in the business world, as a candidate, as president, has been to try and create some other reality that allows him to function in a way where he's somewhat delusional about what is really
going on. and that's the case here with this russia probe. he is trying, not only to undermine no doubt, he's doing that, to try to soften the mueller team and make them susceptible to political attack, but he's completely trying to just alter reality and shape a series of events that make sense in his mind to convince his folks on his arguments on this that just don't match up with any of the facts that we learned and we learned a lot of facts last week with this indictment, none of it comports with what the president is trying to shape. >> the president is being delusional on this? >> he clearly is if -- he saw the indictment, the 13 russians and the russian organizations on friday, as some sort of vindication for him. i would call that pretty delusional. >> shawn turner, years in the intelligence community and also i know at times you work very closely with the fbi. i imagine you're still in touch
with a lot of folks from the fbi. from your perspective, how substantially damaging is it to have a sitting president commander in chief to repeatedly attack the fbi like this. >> what people in the fbi note to david's point, they know with regard to the president's saying these things and tweeting these things, all he has to do is say it, it doesn't have to be true. they understand that as soon as he says it, then that causes people who are inclined to believe the president to think that the fbi is after the president. but i can tell you that, i said this before, when people talk about the fbi, particularly people in the administration, they often say that they're concerned about people at the top, concerns about leadership and where their loyalties lie and thins along those lines. it is impossible to separate the leadership at the fbi from the rank and file who do the work that is being attacked on a day to day basis. if you look at the tweet that the president put out this weekend, he said they at the fbi. they are too focused on the russia investigation.
the people that he's talking about are the people who do the hard work every day. so when i talk to people in the fbi, look, they are continuing to focus on their mission and continuing to focus on their role and responsibility to keep us safe. but it is difficult. when you know that the things are being said about you and your organization are not true, and you know that just because they're being said that a significant portion of the american people out there are believing it. >> another target, david chalian, beyond the fbi, was the president's own national security adviser, hr mcmaster. he followed the indictments on friday, he said it is clear that russian meddling in the election is incontrovertible. the president took aim at him. there is no discussion in these indictments of collusion between hillary clinton and the dems,
but it is back to this impact on the election point, which we're not touched on by the indictments. to be clear, rosenstein said we're not alleging that there was influence here, but he didn't say we have looked at this and concluded there is no influence. >> it might lead us to believe that may be part of the ongoing investigation or not. we don't know. but there was no definitive case closed on that matter. this gets to the president's inability to separate the two things, that the legitimacy of his own election as president, astounding everyone watching his rise in 2016 from actually punishing the bad actors here, preventing anything like this from happening again, which his own intelligence community says is happening again right now as the 2018 midterms are approaching. he abdicates his leadership role, protecting future election meddling because he is so consumed with the notion that somebody is calling the legitimacy into question.
this mcmaster tweet, i don't know how the national security adviser goes to work every day now inside that white house. that shows very little respect or camaraderie between the president and his national security advise, never mind the complete different world view and interpretation of what friday's facts were. >> one thing is clear, no one is invulnerable. you get in his way or make a point inconvenient for him, he won't shy away from taking a shot at you. thank you very much. coming up, i wanted to strangle him. that's what the couple who took in the confessed florida high school killer said this morning. this on the reaction to the massacre, they also revealed what they knew about his guns in advance. plus, the growing outrage over the killing sparking new compromise for gun safety laws from a new generation of young activists. could this be a tipping point or will their voices be ignored once again. stay with us.
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for the first time since the florida high school shooting, we're hearing directly from the couple who took in the confessed killer last november, this after his mother died. in an interview with abc, james and kimberly snead describe a moment at the police station when they crossed paths with the shooter nikolas cruz. >> i basically -- i went after him. i wanted to strangle him more than anything. and everything i wanted to say just didn't -- i tried to reserve myself. really, nik, really, yelled at him. he mumbled something, but i didn't hear, he said he was sorry. >> said he was sorry. but i didn't hear that, i was just furious and heart broken. >> said he was sorry. rosa flores joins us from porkland, florida, we're learning more about the shooter's arsenal of guns, rosa. >> reporter: this is really
surprising, jim, especially because as you mentioned we heard from his host parents, we also heard from police about the type and style of weapon that was used for this massacre and now authorities telling my colleague evan perez that they believe that the suspect had ten firearms, all of them rifles. right now they're dong a lot of police work trying to figure out where he purchased them, where they were hidden, if they were hidden somewhere because according to this family, he had that one ar-15 weapon at home. and so a lot of questions, jim, today, as we're learning more about his arsenal of weapons. >> and what else did this couple say about the guns that cruz had? >> reporter: you know, this couple said they never saw the aggression that we have now seen from his social media and other acts. they just thought he was a little weird. and they did know that he had an ar-15 style rifle and they had a
conversation about guns. take a listen. >> the before he moved in, one of the stipulations is he had to get a gun safe. and we got a gun safe on the way back from lantana, from move his stuff to our house. >> he didn't have free access to this gun? >> no, no. i thought i had the only key to the gun safe. >> you had no problem with him having a weapon. >> no. not at all. he followed the rules. >> followed the rules. >> followed the rules. >> they weren't allowed to be out if we weren't home or one of us wasn't home. and he knew that. and so to our knowledge he never had them out. >> reporter: and now we know that that ar-15 style rifle was used to massacre 17 people in the school that you see behind me. and, jim, we also learned from authorities that he fired 150 rounds. >> 19 and he had ten rifles. thank you very much. i want to bring in tom fuentes, former assistant director at the fbi. tom, i have to ask you this,
let's ask someone in law enforcement, a number of years in there, is there any reason why a 19-year-old kid needs ten rifles and how does that make you feel about your current and former colleagues in the fbi who are on the front lines of law enforcement when it is possible for a kid that young, with problems, to get so many weapons? >> you're absolutely right, jim. it is a terrible, dangerous situation. i'd like to start by saying, again, my condolences go out to all of the victims of this, including the family that took this kid in. you know, as good samaritans, let's say. but the fbi has apologized for the catastrophic failure that occurred in the call center, not forwarding the information to the miami division. so that we know. but we have a series of societal failures that go way back with him and with many others that have been involved in these shootings where, you know, that
the mental health professionals knew there was a problem, the school administrators knew, the police in broward county had responded to 39 calls at that residence where he was accused of beating up his adopted mother, and other violence in that home. and, you know, yet that doesn't send any flags. there is nothing being put into any formal system that would alert the authorities or the gun shop owners do in the sell a gun to this individual. when i was a police officer, we worried about this. i was a cop for six years on the street. you worried about the people running around with guns who are mentally disturbed, and the comment was, when i went through the academy, you weren't worried about the bullet with your name on it you were worried about the thousands that were addressed to whom it may concern. and that's what we have here, except he went to that school, he had a grievance against either the school itself, that kicked him out, expelled him, or other students that he may have known or a teacher that he may
have not liked, and wanted to attack, we don't know that, we may never know all of that. but, you know, this is a really terrible situation because at so many levels, warnings were missed. and even if they weren't missed, what could the authorities in these different specialties, school administrators, mental health professionals, law enforcement professionals, in south florida, what could they do with the information in. >> that's a fair question. first, i want to ask you, many years in the fbi, a call comes into the call center, very specifically warning about a kid, troubled kid, even concerns he might carry out a school shooting. how, to your understanding, could that message not get relayed to local office? is it a matter of volume? do a lot of calls like that come in? is it the judgment of the person on the phone line? how could that not get communicated? >> well, first of all, when i was in the bureau, we didn't have the call center.
each field office had people answer the phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week and took the complaints and it was their responsibility to forward it either to the appropriate division of the fbi, program managers of the fbi, or state or local authorities if it was warranted. so we didn't have that. this call center was established about seven years ago because of the high volume and actually to achieve a higher degree of centralized training over the people who operated this center. so the center gets about 2,000 calls a day. and it is their responsibility to take these calls that come in from all over the world and have it sent to the appropriate authorities, which in this case would have been the miami division of the fbi, which never did get notified by that call center about that specific call. >> let's say the message did get to the miami field office, so folks at home understand, could they have picked him up? could they have picked this kid up based on what they knew.
he hadn't committed a crime. what options were available to them, greater surveillance? >> absolutely. what the bureau would have done and they have done this with complaints of someone wanting to join isis and travel to syria, they go contact that person, and interview them, and tell them, basically, you know, we're aware of these complaints against you, they would notify the local police, and the police would say, oh, yeah, we know all about them, been there so many times with this kid. but beyond that, even if they knew he had half a dozen guns, it wouldn't have the authority to take the guns away. >> that's incredible. that's incredible. tom fuentes, thanks very much for clearing things up for us. >> thank you, jim. well, two more victims are being laid to rest this morning. funeral services under way now for 14-year-old alaina petty, 15-year-old luke hoyer. they were both freshmen at marjory stoneman douglas high school. diane gallagher is in coral springs, florida, where the
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and paralympic winter games home to everyone. as we mentioned, moments ago, two more victims are being laid to rest this morning. our diane gallagher is in coral springs, florida, where one of those ceremonies is taking place. diana, difficult environment there. tell us how it is going. >> reporter: it really is, jim. we're talking two high school freshmen being laid to rest, just miles apart from each other today. behind me, the services for alaina petty, 14 years old, going on right now. they're broadcasting some of the sound out into the parking lot because it is a small church, not everybody can fit, so the front of the area they have people outside so they can also listen into that. her parents said even though she was just 14, she dedicated her short life to service to others.
she was a member of jrotc, very involved with her lds church family and after hurricane irma hit florida, she went and she went to those places that were most greatly impacted and helped rebuild. just a few miles away, luke hoyer, being laid to rest as we speak. his family at that service, his aunt spoke to "people" magazine and this stuck with me, she said, you know, he was 15 years old. he didn't know what he wanted to do. he was just excited about being in high school, he loved the former miami heat star lebron james, he loved basketball, hanging out with his friends, chicken nuggets. it kind of just resonates with you how young these kids are. 14 and 15 years old. and we have funerals for the rest of the week still. jrotc, peter wang will be laid to rest tomorrow, in jrotc with alaina here. he's credited by classmates with holding that door so he could get out. he died as a hero, they say, sacrificing himself. they put a petition together
with the white house hoping they can get enough signatures to be addressed. they want him to be buried with full military honors in his jrotc uniform. >> look at the faces there, heart breaking for the victims and families. thank you for being there for us. president trump says he's preparing a listening session with students and teachers to discuss the florida school shooting. but over the weekend, inflammatory tweets pointing the finger at the fbi, blaming the bureau for missing tips about the shooter, suggesting that they were focusing too much attention on the russia investigation. students who survived the tragedy now calling out the president, speaking to cnn just this morning. >> i think it is disgusting personally. my father is a retired fbi agent and the fbi are some of the hardest working individuals i ever seen in my life. they work every day, 24/7, to ensure the lives of every single american in this country. it is wrong that the president is blaming them for this. after all, he is in charge of the fbi. he can't put that off on them. >> the fbi were some of the amazing first responders who were helping us get to safety.
and the fact that he wants to discredit them in any way and trying to shift our focus on to them is -- >> disgusting. >> it is not acceptable. >> here with me now, cnn political commentator, former campaign manager for hillary clinton, robby mook, and the ceo for american majority, former writer for george w. bush, ned ryan. how do the president and the supporters answer the criticism you heard just there from kids like that? >> i wouldn't have gone there. i would have called into question why was the fbi warned twice, especially with the january call directly to them warning specifically about this and not passed on to the field office in miami. i would not have gone to the other difficulties and this. i would have focused on their failure to respond to a direct threat. >> you're saying the connection being made by the president, many of his allies, that somehow because the fbi, a number of agents have been asked by robert mueller to do particular things
for the russia investigation, you're saying the argument that somehow them doing that -- >> let this issue be the issue of why did the fbi fail to respond to this call directly, deal with the other issues in regards. many have issue with the fbi and other behavior. maybe the focus was in the wrong place. to correlate that with the school shooting, i think it is a little far. right now, it is a very sensitive subject of people that have lost their lives, a lot going on. let's not go there. let's deal with why the fbi failed on this specific instance. >> this is sadly by no means the first or the last school shooting that this country experienced. there was sandy hook, an effort was made to improve gun laws. afterwards didn't happen. do you see something fundamentally different this time as you hear younger voices like we heard there, just then? >> i do. i think this is different because the audience here,
rather the victims of this incident are teenagers. you know, these young kids at sandy hook probably couldn't speak out the way that these teenagers can. i think it is incredible that they're getting out there. and pushing this message and honestly, they're our best hope now. we tried everything else. we had a president of the united states in barack obama who is out there advocating on this issue, you know, i'm just doing everything i can to cheer these young people on from the sidelines. i think what gets hard is as the things go, once the funerals are over, people move on. and they have to keep on the pressure, keep pushing. >> ned, your response. >> no, i think we need to have a debate. i think trump, we mentioned earlier, going and doing -- figuring out how background checks are done better. there is a lot of failures in how that system has gone. i want to know why this young man was visited 39 times bit police in a period of serven, eight years, and it wasn't
flagged. the other conversation i want to have, i four kids in public school, three in grade school, one in middle school, how do we keep our children safe moving forward? we need an honest debate about how effective, or ineffective, the gun free school zone act is and have a conversation about how we move forward. i trust these teachers eight hours a day to protect my kids and keep them safe. we should move toward do we allow them in a very responsible way to be able to get security guard training, and even potentially have concealed carry. i want that conversation. >> you want teachers okay requiring concealed weapons? >> if they have the right to carry a concealed weapon in malls, restaurants, sporting events, and they have -- >> some states. >> in some states. my children in a school for eight hours, we are advertising right now with gun free school zones, putting up signage saying for insane people with guns they can show up to shoot at unprotected, unarmed people. i think we have to have that conversation moving forward. >> rob robby, your response.
>> let's not talk about the problem, let's talk about the response to a crisis. could the fbi have done more, absolutely. do we always need to analyze how our first responders come into the situations? first, we do. the problem is the guns. we have seen in connecticut where they passed strong gun laws, the rate of gun violence went down. people don't need these guns to go about their everyday lives. we're back into this cycle, let's distract, put the focus on the fbi, the fbi is there to investigate, our first responders are there to respond, the gun are causing these problems. i find the irony here incredible that the only time republicans care about mental health or mental health care is when somebody goes and shoots a bunch of people. so they don't even have credibility on that right now. so if you want to talk about a comprehensive mental health system, let's fund obamacare, let's go there. we need the guns off the street. there is absolutely no reason an
18-year-old should have military-style weapons. we're talking about a military burial for a high school student because they're in jrotc. a military burial for a high school student. that is outrageous. i think he deserves it, by the way, but the fact that that's even a thing that could happen in this country is outrageous. >> we can have this debate about mental health issues and making sure those people aren't -- don't have the ability -- >> let him finish. >> there should be a real conversation about how if people have been flagged from mental health issues, again, if you've been visited 39 times by the police, if there are mental health issues, these should be flagged before you're able to buy a gun. no disagreement on that issue. i would think -- i think i saw a statistic, 90% of gun owners and nongun owners agree on that issue. >> will you support university
background checks? >> how we move forward on that and allowing federal, state and local to go through and have the same information to approve a background check, i totally agree with that. where we draw the line, that's the debate. >> we have to leave it there. i appreciate the debate, a debate, god help us, i hope our country continues on this issue. thank you very much. don't miss a very special town hall this wednesday, survivors of the florida school shooting joining cnn to talk about the tragedy and the action that they're demanding out of washington right now. what we're talking about, continuing this debate. that is going to be this wednesday night, 9:00 eastern time, only here on cnn. still ahead today, rick gates makes three, another former top trump aide set to plead guilty and cooperate with the special counsel's investigation. we'll tell you who he will testify against, that's next. gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea can start in the colon and may be signs of an imbalance of good bacteria. only phillips' colon health has this unique combination of probiotics.
welcome back. there is yet another twist in special counsel robert mueller's russia investigation. the l.a. times reporting that former trump campaign aide, his deputy campaign manager, rick gates, will plead guilty on fraud related charges. that plea expected within the next few days. he and his co-defendant paul manafort both pleaded not guilty back in october, but now the times reporting that gates will testify against his former boss. i'm joined now by cnn political correspondent sara murray. do we know why this sudden reversal? >> well, jim, we first reported last week that rick gates was finalizing this plea deal with robert mueller. he appeared poised to cooperate. the l.a. times is flushing that out with new details. they say gates is likely to serve 18 months in prison. this is a guy under a lot of pressure, not just financially,
but also personally. he has four young children, he has loved ones pressing him to kind of wrap this up. and so the big question, of course, what does this mean in the scheme of bob mueller's investigation. the russia probe more broadly. gates' cooperation will put more pressure on paul manafort, his co-defendant, to cooperate. but it could be building further than that. we don't know exactly where this special counsel is going with this. so gates cooperation could be a building block and a potential case against president donald trump or against other trump associates. but from the white house's perspective, they have downplayed any potential news about a plea deal. they're saying, look, this has to deal with their own financial activities before they were involved in the campaign, before they were involved with the president, the white house does not believe that this will ultimately impact the west wing. >> sara murray, thank you very much. let's dissect the legal developments now. joining me now is seth waxman. so if i remember correctly, when gates and manafort were first charged, gates was facing something 10 to 12 years, now it
is down to 18 months. typically if you're a prosecutor to get that sentence down, that defendant has to be offering a fair amount. >> no question. the way you get individuals to flip is to put charges in front of them that are significant. whether that's in the 8 to 10 to 20 year range, and then, you know, to cut them a deal, to get information from them that helps you advance your case up the chain to the bigger fish, and in exchange you get something in return and in this case potentially a sentence around 18 months. >> do we know from looking at this deal, the reporting about the deal so far, whether it is solely confined to business dealings pre-election, manafort, gates, into a lot of dodgy business stuff and ukraine, et cetera, possible money laundering. can we tell for sure where the focus is? >> i can almost assure you we won't be able to tell for sure when we see the paper work. what i can also tell you for sure, it is everything. so when you cut a deal with the government, they're going to get whatever they can out of you and in my mind, this may be the most
significant event in a week of significant events. bob mueller is focused in on three main people. trump jr., jared kushner, and paul manafort to roll them up on the president eventually. he's set his sights on paul manafort and getting rick gates to cooperate and get all the information he has about paul manafort is significant. what i think bob mueller has are e-mails, text messages, bank records, those are cold, hard documents. you need someone on the inside, a cooperator, to walk you through, breathe life into those documents, and tell you where the bodies are buried. i can tell you that paul manafort now is not sitting comfortably and don't think people in the white house should be either. >> right. paul manafort was facing something in the similar range, 10 to 15 years. so you got your deputy now going states evidence to some degree. if you're his lawyer, advising paul manafort, what are you telling him now? >> there is an x factor that is different than any other criminal defendant in the country.
is president trump going to pardon him? has that been conveyed to paul manafort in words or substance? that's an x factor i can't answer. in the normal scheme of things, given what i know is probably behind bob mueller's investigation, bank records, text messages, e-mails, they have ten years of a relationship and now paul -- rick gates flipped. that is a very difficult situation, so under normal circumstances, i would say the other shoe is about to drop very quickly. the x factor being a pardon. >> that's remarkable that that, from a lawyer's perspective, that that is a possibility. right now you're getting to a fairly long list of folks you have to pardon, you know, michael flynn, who pled guilty, george papadopoulos, he's been states evidence for a number of months, right? cooperating. rick gates, paul manafort, is this something the president could get away with? >> i think paul manafort is something -- and rick gates are something different. if you talk about that key trump tower meeting in 2016 with the russians, three main people were there.
so i don't know that trump has to go out and pardon everyone. whether rick gates had contact with the president and knew the inner workings, he seems a little further removed, but if we're talking about paul manafort or his son or jared kushner, he wants to play that pardon card once or twice, the political ramifications wore serious. if it comes down to having someone in that trump tower meeting cooperating with the government and talking about what those conversations were like with the president before, during and after, that's very troubling. so it could be the pardon card. other than that, if i was just a white collar defense lawyer or former prosecutor, i would say the other shoe is about to fall because under these circumstances, you got to think a plea is the way he would go. >> the remarkably senior people with respect to the president, campaign manager, deputy campaign manager and former national security adviser. thank you for helping us understand. still ahead, sewing division among americans, from thousands of miles away. opposing protests were ginned up from russian trolls online.
russia is responding to the mueller investigation's indictments of 13 russian nationals. kremlin claims there is no proof that russia interfered in the 2016 elections. a spokesman denied there is any evidence that russia was involved in the meddling, pointing to the fact that russian citizens were targeted in the indictment. matthew chance joins me live outside st. petersburg. matthew, you're outside this
russian troll farm that's named specifically in this indictment. what do we know about this company and the man who is behind it financially? >> reporter: it's called the internet research agency. that's its formal title. we all, of course, know it as the russian troll farm or troll factory. it's inside that building there where you can see there are lights still on. here in st. petersburg, this u.s. indictment said russian nationals, some of whom have been indicted, posed as american citizens. they organized rallies on the streets of the united states on very controversial, divisive political issues. they bought political adverts that supported one candidate over another in the election campaign. so basically this is the place, this is the office in which that atmosphere of chaos was stoked from the russian side. that's why 13 russian individuals, including the
financial benefactor, the person who bankrolls that organization, have now been indicted in the united states. his name is yevgeny prerushkin. he is a figure very close to vladimir putin. he is dubbed putin's chef because he has a very lucrative catering contract with the kremlin. but he's also got his fingers in all sorts of other foreign policy pies in this country as well. he's linked with the private military contractors called wackner who operated in ukraine and syria as well, and there is this troll farm link as well where the indictment says he is the person who bankrolls it, jim. >> quickly, you looked through the trash there? what did you find? >> reporter: yes, we did. well, we came here expecting this office to be empty, but, in fact, all day here, we've been
here throughout the course of the day, people have been going in and out. we went to the trash can to see what we could find with old people dumping rubbish here. new computers are being delivered here and they throw it away with the rubbish. >> well, they exist. they're there and still operating and matthew chance standing right in front of it. thank you so much. coming up, in the aftermath of one of the deadliest school shootings in years, the president says he's supportive in checking on the gun background check mission. the question is, how much of a push will we see? stay with us. and cardiovascular risk? i asked my doctor. she told me about non-insulin victoza®. victoza® is not only proven to lower a1c and blood sugar, but for people with type 2 diabetes treating their cardiovascular disease, victoza® is also approved to lower the risk
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welcome to "inside politics." i'm john berman in for john king. president trump holed up and fired up during a weekend in mar-a-lago after special counsel robert mueller charged 13 russians with a plot to interfere in the u.s. election. and students beg lawmakers to act after that deadly school massacre in florida. the other white house says the president supports approving federal background checks. plus, ar