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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  July 24, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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hello. i'm dana bash in for kate bolduan. a presidential diversion tactic that could come with real security implications for the country. what president trump is doing is transparent. he is singling out critics in the intelligence and national security world threatening to e revoke their clearance to turn attention away from unanswered questions about what happened in his meeting with russian president vladimir putin. this morning, the house speaker, he laughed it off. >> i think he is trolling people, honestly. this is something that's in the purview of the executive branch. i think some of these people have already lost their clearance. >> this is no laughing matter.
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it's something that really i think we all must take seriously, because donald trump is the president of the united states. this threat of political retribution is unprecedented. boris sanchez is in kansas city awaiting the president's arrival minutes from now. what is the white house saying about the president's thinking here, what's going on behind the scenes on this strategy? >> reporter: yeah, one source indicates that president trump is more than comfortable with how this discussion about security clearances is playing out. sarah sanders made clear the president is displeased about how these six national security officials have publically talked about relations with russia and the russia investigation. we should point out that sanders has said this is something the president is still mulling over. they are exploring how to go about this process of revoking security clearances, not a decision that's already been made. however, as was noted by speaker
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paul ryan in the sound bite, two of the individuals that the white house is singling out, comey and mccabe, have had their security clearances revoked for some time. it's unclear if the white house was aware of that when the announcement was made. sanders made the argument that the six officials are monitizing their public service. critics say there are trump officials who have done the same thing. the president is -- it's uncertain if the president is going to bring it up during his speech to some 4,000 veterans here at the vfw national convention in kansas city. we have seen the president go the unexpected route before. once he is done here, he will take part in a discussion with supporters, then a fund-raising lunch before heading back to washington, d.c. >> boris, thank you so much for that report. let's get to one of the former intel chiefs that the president and his spokeswoman singles out, joining us by phone
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is james clapper, former director of national intelligence and now cnn national security analyst. director clapper, thank you for joining me. first about what sarah sanders said yesterday. she said they, meaning you and others, have politicized and monetized their public service. have you made money since leaving office using your security clearance? >> not directly. the security clearance -- i guess i have benefitted from the 50 years of service in the military and in civilian capacity in the intelligence community. i wrote a book about it. i appear on this network. it's by virtue of that experience. a part of that, of course, is the eligibility or access to classified information. in a sense, yes, i have benefitted from that experience.
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>> currently are you? if you didn't have your intelligence -- your security clearance right now, would you be saying the same things, writing the same book, making the same arguments? >> absolutely. what this involves is my eligibility for access which i have had continuously since september of 1963. it has no -- whether or not i have actual exposure to classified information on a daily basis or get briefings or anything like that, absolutely not. this revocation, if that is what it turns out to be, would have no baearing on what i'm doing, saying or writing about. mike hayden is in the same situation. >> you said that you have had security clearance since 1963. since john f. kennedy was
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president? >> exactly. >> for people not in the intelligence world, people not familiar with the way the government works, can you just explain why you and others maintain that clearance, even though you retired from the government? >> well, the rationale -- this is a longstanding practice that goes back decades -- that senior formers from these positions are granted continued eligibility for access to classified information. this is to facilitate consultation with those who are occupying or who are the current incumbents. i have had occasion to engage with senior members of this administration who for obvious reasons will remain nameless, drawing on my 50 years of experience and my corporate memory and my background on
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certain issues. >> you help them out? you help out members of the current president's operation, the current president's government? >> yeah. yes. i have. at their behest, their request. will the republic collapse if i no longer have that eligibility? absolutely not. to me, though, this is a side issue. the bigger issue to me is the jeopardy to first amendment rights. that to me is the much bigger issue here. we're being suppressed or oppressed because of our outspoken political views or criticism of the current president. >> i'm grateful you are still coming on and speaking your mind. i want to talk about general michael flynn. he ran the defense intelligence agency. i maintained his security
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clearance after retiring and got really political on behalf of now president trump back in 2016. remember this? let's watch. >> lock her up. that's right. that's right. lock her up. i'm going to tell you. it's unbelievable. >> so that was him getting blatantly political. not just that, general flynn made $33,750 in the private sector from russia's state tv station speaking in moscow in 2015. he made $11,250 from russian charter cargo airline, $11,250 from a russian-based cyber security firm. he clearly monetized from and by the russians. he had security clearance. you were director of national security -- excuse me, director of national intelligence at the
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time director clapper. was there any discussion when listening to that, when seeing the money he made from russia, of revoking his security clearance? >> no, there wasn't. mike, he took advantage of his long experience in the intelligence and military by forming a company, the flynn intelligence group, the platform, the vehicle for profiting from his past experience. the obvious ironies here and the obvious double standard, i think, kind of speaks for itself. when he became very overtly and publically political, anti-obama, anti-obama administration, there was never a thought about ending his eligibility or classified information because he became politically active. absolutely not. >> what we are looking at are pictures of michael flynn at a
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dinner with vladimir putin back when he was in the private sector making money. it's been eight days since the president met with vladimir putin. the only readout we have gotten to our one on one meeting is from the russians. what do you make of that as somebody who has been in the intelligence world, the national security forum for 50 years? >> it's worrisome against the backdrop of the president's continued ambiguity about recognizing and calling out unambiguously and clearly the extensive russian meddling in our election and in our political processes. juxtapose against that and then the mystery about just what it is he discussed with putin in private and what he may have or not conceded, you know, as an
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american citizen, i find that very bothersome, very worrisome. >> james clampper, thanks for joining me. >> thanks. let's continue to discuss this with cnn politics reporter and editor at large chris lizza and cnn political analyst jackie kazinich. you didn't get the member me for the floral dress. >> i had a -- >> i would call you a skunk at the garden party. >> never on that e-mail list. >> in all seriousness, what did you make of what you heard from james clapper? >> the most important thing he said is that the republic in his words isn't going to collapse if james clapper isn't -- doesn't have the security clearance. he went on to say the most important thing, which is this isn't about clapper or hayden or comey. this is about free speech and your ability as a citizen -- forget as a former intelligence official.
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as a citizen to speak your mind. the thing to remember, there's no allegation of wrongdoing as far as i can tell by the trump administration directed at these six people. they are not saying they leaked classified information, they're using their access to classified information to get that out in the public. they're saying they are critical of the president and they are saying that there's ties to russia and donald trump doesn't like that, therefore, they're going to revoke the security clearance. doesn't mean they can't speak publically. why? i think it's meant to chill free speech. that, i think, director clapper nailed. that's the most important thing. whether it's a distraction from russia or not, chilling free speech is something we need to take seriously. >> no question. it's a very, very dangerous road to go down. i will say i think there's a little irony in the fact that donald trump is saying that they
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monetized the situation and they already have books out and by raising the profile of james clapper and james comey, you are probably helping them monetize it more. >> they aren't unique in the fact that they left the administration and wrote a book. that is sort of what ex-officials do. i'm having a hard time thinking of a high ranking official that hasn't left and written some manner of book. that sort of falls flat. i think this is twofold. this is a way to change the headlines. the president doesn't want to talk about his relationship with putin. several of the individuals that he named, susan rice, james comey, mccabe, these are villains on the right already. these are people that he can set himself up with and he can go to a rally today and his supporters know who it is. >> raw mateat. >> easy to put up as adversaries.
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he is not doing that with vladimir putin. that's also something we should talk about. that's someone who has been an adversary on the u.s. stage. people aren't buying that. >> on that point, i want you all to listen to what congressman mike coffman said about this issue. he is an incumbent republican, who is one of the most if not the most endangered when it comes to november's election. listen to what he said. >> i think the first summit was a terrible mistake. the second summit would be equally bad. the fact is that the president went to europe and i think he was strong when it came to talking to our allies and weak when it came to putin. weakness invites aggression. i'm also very concerned about him meeting alone with putin. >> you think he got played? >> absolutely. >> you know, you certainly have a number of republicans -- the majority of republicans
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reluctant to say that. the fact that this is a republican who is going to rely on not just the republican base but independent voters to win re-election and he is being that tough, that could tell you something. >> yeah. look, i think there are a lot of signs as it relates to the election in 105 days that democrats are as well positioned as they have been since the start of this election. a lot of that has to do with independents and donald trump. i think what you saw -- do i think people follow foreign policy super closely? no. everything we know about politics suggest they don't. they follow something like the summit. where donald trump was -- his whole mo is.o. is i will be tou. he does it in iran and north korea, but when next to vladimir putin, he said, we're to blame and russia is to blame. >> you walk the halls of congress. when you hear that, what do you think? >> it remains to be seen how
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this affects donald trump. a lot of republicans have latched on to when president trump has wrangled by his handlers and gone back and said, no, there absolutely -- the russians did meddle in the election. they latch on to that, not his backtracking. they do have -- people don't follow this -- the tweets day to day. the midterms will be either a reckoning or all systems go for donald trump's current strategy. we will have to see what voters say at that time. we are still 100 days out. i think it remains to be seen if there are consequences. >> 100 days is an eternity in politics. coming up, the war of words between president trump and iran gets even hotter. iran's military now promising a crushing response to any new threats. is north korea taking new steps to dismantle its nuclear program? these satellite photos could have the answer. details after the break. hi, i'm joan lunden with a place for mom
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slonly remfresh useseep one in ion-powered melatonin ht. to deliver up to 7 hours of sleep support. number one sleep doctor recommended remfresh -your nightly sleep companion. president trump's all caps threat to iran is eliciting more reaction from tear rhran. the iranian foreign minister tweeted, color us unimpressed. be cautious. a military official said any threat to iran would result in crushing response. joining me to talk about this are tony blinken and former member of the bush national security council michael allen. thank you both. your big brains and bringing them here today. tony, let's talk about iran. how dangerous is this? >> it's dangerous on a couple
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levels. let's start with why the president's doing this. in all likelihood, it's to distract from his very unfortunate performance with putin, to change the subject. in changing the subject, what does this mean? he said if iran ever again threatens us, very bad things are going to happen. what happens today or tomorrow when iran issues another threat of some kind? is the president going to tweet, i really mean it this time in all caps? this doesn't go anywhere. what it does say is that unfortunately, the president pulled us out of an agreement working with iran, reducing and eliminating the vast bulk of its nuclear stockpile and has created a crisis of his own making. this is heading at some point to a bad place. if iran starts to put its program back in place, at some point we will be back where we were before the agreement, which is this terrible choice between either a lawing iallowing them nuclear weapon or going to war to prevent it.
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it's the agreement the president tore up. >> can you imagine if the guy you work for, president bush, tweeted something like this in all cops? private citizen trump would have gone crazy about the fact he is a warmonger. >> bush did say the axis of evil. here i think president trump is trying to send a message to the europeans that, listen, join us again in the maximum pressure campaign. i understand tony's point that the obama administration got us to a certain level. trump wants to get more concessions out of iran. i think he is saying to the europeans, cooperate with us on additional sanctions because i'm willing to go farther than that. i don't know that this is calculated very well to get iran to cave at this moment. i think there is a little bit of method to the madness. >> michael allen, trump whisperer. that was impressive. let's look at north korea. there are images showing north
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korea has begun to dismantle some test sites. this is -- if you can look on the screen. that's the satellite imaging. these have been important for the north koreans in terms of getting its nuclear program up and running. put it in context, tony. >> good if north korea is actually taking steps to dismantle parts of its program. the bottom line is this. unless and until they actually get rid of their nuclear weapons, the missiles and means to make them, we are not really getting anywhere. it has to start with something they haven't done. that is a full disclosure and declaration of their entire nuclear missile program. then we can begin to see if what they're doing is really meaningful. even as they have apparently started to dismantle one site, there have been reports they are expanding others. we haven't seen any net gain si since sing more. the north koreas are masters at
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stringing out talks, ring out commitments. the president prematurely declared success. north korea is getting a lessening of pressure. it does a few things like taking apart something it may have decided it doesn't need anymore. the bulk of the program is not moving in any forward direction. the jury is way out on this. at the best, we're at the beginning of a process, not anywhere near the end. >> speaking of dictator getting what he wants, vladimir putin seems to have done that in bigly as the president would say. listen to the president's ambassador to the u.n. sounding quite different from what the president sounds like. >> we don't trust russia. we don't trust putin. we never will. they are never going to be our friend. >> i feel like we got into a way back machine and she's speaking like the republicans pre-trump. >> good for her. that's music to my ears.
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that's the way most conservatives were brought up in the reagan mold. i'm glad that she and pompeo were there to make sure that we remind people that allies are good. our alliance is good. russia is not -- cooperating with russia is not going to happen and cooperating with putin is a real long shot. >> michael is right. what's so striking about this is that when it comes to putin and russia, the administration speaks with one voice except the president's. >> except the question is whether and how that will play out when the ambassador and others like pompeo are sounding much more strident and more traditional towards russia and the president is not. we will see. that will be for another discussion. thank you so much for coming in. coming up for us next, let's just say the president follows through on his threat to revoke security clearance of former intelligence officials, could congress do anything to stop it?
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we will ask a top senate democrat next.
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of them worked in and they are criticizing the russia investigation. joining me is richard blumenthal. thank you for being with us. i wanted to play what the house speaker said about this whole threat being a distraction by the president. take a listen. >> i think he is trolling people, honestly. this is something that's in the purview of the executive branch. some of the people have lost their clearances. some people keep their clearances. that's something the executive branch deals with. it's not in our purview. >> senator, not in your purview. we know this is the prerogative of the executive branch of the president. by this i mean having and giving security clearances. let's just say that the president follows through on these threats. would or could congress act to reverse it?
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>> first, dana, there's no prerogative on the part of the president to launch a petty personal political vendetta against distinguished public servants, which is what the president is doing here. it's unworthy of the president. it would be beneath most presidents. it may be an effort to distract. but it's a very nefarious, malicious effort. things are not going well for the president on russia. i'm going to be spon sosoring a resolution disapproving of the putin visit that the president has planned for this fall. i'm hoping that we will have bipartisan support for such a resolution. an effort to distract using this kind of malicious and petty personal political vendetta is really a disservice to the presidency and to our country. >> senator, i want to turn to the supreme court nomination that is pending before you in
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the senate right now. the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell told senior democrats if you push for the release of kavanaugh's documents relate together bush administration, that mcconnell will delay the vote until before the midterm elections. he controls the senate floor schedule. are you concerned that your efforts will backfire? >> good question. i am concerned that the republican leadership will use the kavanaugh nomination in a very cynically manipulative way for political purposes. the ruse of delaying it because we are doing our constitutional responsibility, asking for all the documents, is transparently political. it is a cynical manipulation of the process. we need and deserve all of those documents, including from the bush administration and also
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including documents where he is copied. not just where he is a sender or receiver. because we have seen from other judicial nominations, even supreme court justices, that those cc documents can be highly relevant. i hope that the republican leadership will rise to this occasion. >> what if they don't? what can you do about it? >> we will use every tool that we have available. certainly, speaking for myself, i have no intention of surrendering our constitutional prerogative and duty to demand all of the relevant evidence about kavanaugh. >> thank you so much for joining me. appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, more michael cohen on tape. prosecutors have at least 12 recordings of president trump's former personal lawyer. how does that change his legal case? that's next. liberty mutual saved us almost $800 when we switched our auto and home insurance. with liberty, we could afford a real babysitter instead of your brother.
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the judge in the trial of former trump campaign chairman paul manafort is meeting with potential jurors this morning. 12 jurors and 4 alternates will be chosen to decide the first trial in special counsel robert muell mueller's russia investigation. yesterday, the judge granted manafort's request to push the start date back from tomorrow until july 31. the judge also granted immunity to five witnesses. joining me now to discuss is cnt legal analyst and former federal
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prosecute sean wu who for a time representing manafort aide rick gates. thank you for joining me. let's start with the notion of these five witnesses being granted immunity. what's the significance of that that? >> it shows how much the special counsel is putting into this case. five is a lot of people to grant immunity to. they really want to make sure that they dcome out with a win n this first one. there are pros and cons to granting that much immunity. sometimes it doesn't look good to the jury. they make take the viewpoint of they will say anything the prosecutors want because they have nothing to lose. >> they had a lot to lose if they didn't agree to immunity. >> right. that's why the lawyers asked for it. >> you tweeted that the fact that the judge decided to and agreed to delay the trial until the end of the month is rare. explain. >> the judge is a classic rocket
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docket judge. they are very fast. he does not tolerae any delays. for him to grant this sort of delay pretty much on the eve of the trial indicates that he must have found some compelling reasons, such as there's a lot of new evidence. he wants to make sure that he protects his verdict. if there's a guilty plea, he doesn't want some apeissue they didn't have enough time to prepare. >> i'm reading about this and reporting it out that the prosecutors going into the manafort trial explicitly said they don't intend to submit evidence relating to russia, the russia investigation. based on what you know about this trial, that does not mean that there won't be a direct connection throughout the trial to president trump. corre correct? >> i think that's correct. they have to be limited to what the indictment says and relevance would stop them as well as manafort's attorneys would stop them from talking about collusion issues.
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certainly, the president's name is going to come up. probably manafort's relationship -- >> you think anything that could be embarrassing or detrimental? >> possibly. i think they will be careful to stay focused on the direct charges ge s against manafort. i believe the manafort team yesterday sought to have a motion excluding any mention of manafort's actual job title with the administration. >> is that going to be successful? >> i don't think so. >> i would bet not. real quick, we learned yesterday that federal prosecutors in new york, in the michael cohen case, received 12 audio recordings from the fbi raid of cohen's home and office. the parties have withdrawn their privilege on this case. what does that tell you? >> i think that's a very strategic move on giuliani and that side's part. if they litigated the privilege issue, they run the risk that the judge might determine that
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there's a crime fraud exception to it. much more of a public debate about what's in the tapes. by doing it this way, they have a better chance of controlling the release. >> they say they're doing it -- giuliani and company are saying they're doing it because they have nothing to hide. do you think that's spin or true? >> i think that's strategic spin. they don't have to reveal -- i think davis has been on them about that and is getting a bit of the better part that was argument saying, go ahead and release everything. >> thank you so much for joining me and giving your legal expertise. coming up, will president trump put american critics of the kremlin in the hands of vladimir putin? we will discuss with the former house staffer on putin's wish list. that's next.
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breaking news. los angeles police say the woman who died during a shootout and stand-off at trader joe's on saturday was killed by an officer's bullet. she was an assistant manager at the trader joe's in the silver lake district. officers were chasing the suspect who ran into the store firing at police. los angeles authorities just released officers' dramatic dash cam videos from the incident. br [ sirens ] >> shots fired. >> shots fired. shots fired. >> paul joins me with the latest. paul? >> they're skpexpecting the sust to appear here later in court. they've ramped up the charges
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against him, some 30 charges, including murder, six charges of attempted murder. earlier, the police chief, michael moore, the new police chief, came out. he seemed emotional during this press conference. he said the officers who fired are devastated. he said he wanted to offer his deepest condolences and sympathy to the victim's family. let's listen to the chief. >> i'm sorry to report that we've now determined through our forensic investigation that one of the officer's rounds struck the victim. she was later carried out by others within the store. officers moved up, and she was moved to a point of safety and treated by the los angeles fire department. tragically, she died as a result
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of the gunshot wound she sustained. >> and repeatedly through that news conference, the chief saying how sorry he was, but he added that gene atkins' violent behavior precipitated this. he talked about how this started in south los angeles when atkins allegedly shot his grandmother seven times and an acquaintance. some say it was his girlfriend. shot her once, a wound that grazed her head. for now, he said the officers had to defend themselves. the city of los angeles and others. but there still will be further investigation into all of this. back to you now. >> how tragic. paul, thank you so much for that report. and we'll be right back.
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a former u.s. ambassador to russia is headed to the white house today. he's looking for help on harassment he and others have been subjected to by moscow. michael mcfaul is one of several former u.s. officials wanted by russia for questioning. he tweeted, quote, i am coming
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to d.c. today to try to meet with several u.s. government officials to urge them to communicate with their russian counterparts about the negative consequences of further harassing former u.s. officials like me. mcfaul hasn't responded to cnn's request for comment. joining me now to discuss is kyle parker, chief of staff at the u.s. commission on security and cooperation in europe. that's the u.s. government agency that promotes human rights, military security, and economic cooperation in 57 countries. parker is also on putin's list. i want to get to that in a minute, but first i want to talk about a tweet that the president just sent out. we'll put it up on the screen. i want to get you to react. the president tweeted, i am very concerned that russians will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming election, meaning the midterms in november. based on the fact that no president has been tougher on russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for democrats. they definitely don't want
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trump. your thoughts? >> well, the russians seek to sow chaos. i certainly don't necessarily think the president is wrong. who knows who they might support in this. you know, their goal isn't a strong u.s. administration. >> it's pretty remarkable that i have to say this, but the fact that he is saying that the russians are going to try to have an impact on the upcoming election is something that was actually in question. not that they were trying to have an impact, but the president recognized that last week and now he's acknowledging it. does that tell you anything? >> you know, i don't know what it tells me. i have the honor of serving both sides of the political spectrum. so i really don't think it's my place to really grade the president. >> fair point. well, let's get to the main reason why you're here. that is you were on the list of americans that russians say they want to talk to. just by way of context, you were
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for a long time a top hill staffer and more importantly you pretty much wrote the magnitsky act. the background of that, for those who are not familiar, it was and still is some really tough sanctions and penalties on russia in response to the fact that russia killed a man by the name of sergei magnitsky who exposed really pretty big fraud in russia. now, you speak fluent russian. i think we can put up on the screen the list that the russians gave. your name is one of them. if you can see below -- oh, sorry. that was your tweet saying, look, mom, i'm on the list. so you are kind of trying to make light of it. there you go. there's your name in russian. on that list, it had to have sent a chill up your spine. >> you know, you have to take it seriously when someone like vladimir putin is, you know, names you personally and is out to get you. that's for sure.
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twitter is for this sort of thing, i guess. but that was my first reaction when i saw it in the russian press. >> ambassador mcfaul is going to the white house today to talk about americans, including himself, being harassed. are you being harassed by moscow? this is about one of the biggest pieces of agenda items for vladimir putin, to get rid of this act that you wrote. >> right, right. yes, i mean, that's why i assume i'm on the list. you know, this is -- i wrote the magnitsky act for senators carden and wicker and other members of congress. in a sense, this is an attack on them too. >> how are you being harassed? >> you know, i have received threats emanating from russia in previous years. i think in 2014 when we first imposed some pretty punishing sanctions on russian officials. >> ten seconds. what do you hope ambassador mcfaul gets from the white house today? >> well, it would be nice to see an unambiguous pushback from the
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very top, something like the president's tweet recently to the president of iran. to president putin, mentioning in no uncertain terms. >> maybe an all caps tweet. that would be nice. thank you for joining us. "inside politics" with john king starts right now. thank you, dana. welcome to "inside politics." i'm jauohn king. president trump is in missouri this hour for a speech to the veterans of foreign wars. plus, the threat to revoke security clearances. a -- of former top intelligence officials. and don't believe everything you find on the internet. really. this just


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