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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  April 24, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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tweet the show@theleadcnn. thank you for watching. happening now, breaking news, trump's bank records. cnn has learned deutsche bank has started handing over some of president trump's loan records to new york state's attorney general. what will they reveal about the president's finances and his business. fighting the subpoenas, the president is not backing down and is escalating war with house democrats vowing to fight all demands relating to their investigations of him. unwilling to prepare -- election security. a sore subject at the white house where the former homeland security secretary was reportedly warned not to talk about it to the president because it upsets him. and one official tells cnn getting the white house to focus on election security is like,
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quote, pulling teeth. and warm wishes. kim jong-un arrives in russia for his first summit with fellow strongman vladimir putin. they warn not to expect any agreements or a joint statement. is it all designed to pressure the u.s.? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following breaking news. cnn has learned germany's giant deutsche bank has started giving new york state's attorney general documents related to loans to donald trump and his business. at the same time the president is drawing a battle line in his war with house democrats investigating him saying, and i'm quoting him now, we're fighting all the subpoenas. the latest stonewall the justice department telling the house oversight committee it won't comply with a subpoena over the citizenship question on the u.s. census. that's the third time if two
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days the administration has stonewalled a congressional demand for information. we'll talk about that and more with congressman dan kilde of the ways and means committee, they are refuse to go provide with the president's tax returns and our analysts are standing by. first straight to our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. the president calls the subpoenas ridiculous. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. there is another dark cloud hanging over the white house, as you said, and the president can't do much as new york state investigators have begun to obtain financial records from deutsche bank that are related to mr. trump's businesses. on nearly every other front and all of the other trump investigations the president sounds like he's in a fighting mood. the president came out swinging against the investigations launched by house democrats giving a thumbs down to demands for his tax returns and subpoena for the testimony of former white house counsel don mcgann. >> we're fighting all the subpoenas. these aren't like impartial
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people. the democrats are trying to win 2020. they're not going to win with the people i see. the only way they can luck out is by constantly going after me on nonsense. >> reporter: but there's another big headache for the president. cnn learned deutsche bank is providing financial records to the attorney general who issued a subpoena for documents connected to loans for mr. trump's business empire. earlier in the day the president claimed he's been cooperative with investigators even as he scoffed at them. but that's not true. the president has not released his long sought tax returns. >> i have been the most transparent president and administration in the history of our country by far. >> reporter: a source familiar with discussions inside the president's legal team told cnn his attorneys believe special counsel robert mueller already has them, something the president assumes as well. >> now mueller, i assume, for $35 million, checked my taxes, checked my financials, which are
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great, by the way. all you have to do is look at the records. they're all over the place. but they checked my financials and they checked my taxes, i assume. >> reporter: democrats say they're not giving up on obtaining the president's tax returns. >> it is the oversight duty of ways and means to see that the law is properly complied with and the chair is exercising his duty to make sure that the returns of the president were done properly. and we also want to know whether the president is paying his fair share of taxes. >> reporter: the white house is also pushing back against a report in "the new york times" that former homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen was blocked by mulvaney about talking about russian meddling. mulvaney release add statement saying i don't recall anything along those lines happening in any meeting. unlike the obama administration who knew about russian actions in 2014 and did nothing, the trump administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections and have taken
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steps to prevent it in the future. former president obama says he warned russia's vladimir putin to stay out of u.s. elections. >> i felt the most effective way to ensure that didn't happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out or there would be serious consequences if he didn't. >> reporter: white house critics wonder whether the west wing is getting serious begin the president's son-in-law jared kushner's comments on the subject this week. >> you look at what russia did, buying facebook ads, and it's a terrible thing. i think the investigations and all of the speculation that happened the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy and a couple facebook ads. >> reporter: now senior white house official conceded the president and his team have been more focused on border security than cyber security in recent months saying the border was the first, second, and third topic on the president's agenda. the official suggested former secretary nielsen is attempt to
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go to repair her image. wolf? >> there's more breaking news coming in. the former secretary of state, hillary clinton has just written a very strong op-ed in "the washington post" dealing with these issues. tell our viewers what she said. >> reporter: hillary clinton just post this haded this op-ed is saying congress should build upon the mueller report and start having hearings about what was uncovered in the mueller investigation. she is essentially telling her fellow democrats up on capitol hill this idea that they have to have impeachment or nothing is a false choice and she recalls back to her days as a staffer in the watergate days that this is something the congress should do. it should not forgo this responsibility. i'll read a portion of this to you. it says and is strongly worded, our election was corrupted. our defensemen cruiserweight
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assaulted. our sovereignty and security violated. this is the definitive conclusion of robert mueller's report. it documents a serious crime against the american people. these are very strong words from the former secretary of state. it goes on to say the debate about how to respond to russia's sweeping and systemic attack and how to hold president trump accountable for obstructing the investigation and possibly breaking the law has been reduced to a false choice, she says, immediate impeachment or nothing. history suggests there's a better way to think about the choices ahead. she goes on to say this is personal for me and some may say that i'm not the right messenger but my perspective is not just that of a former candidate. i'm a former senator and secretary of state who served during much of vladimir putin's ascent, sat across the table from him and knows firsthand that he seeks to weaken our country. wolf, this is obviously not going to sit well with the president who still goes from these rallies from time to time and listens to chants of lock her up. he clearly likes to go after her as a political target and use
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her as a political target. he may be tempted to weigh in on all of this. hillary clinton still very much feels as though she was the victim of a cyber attack against the u.s. democracy in 2016 and that americans across the country were also victims in the attack. she is basically making the case right now democrats up on capitol hill have a responsibility here to do something about it. these are very strong words from the former secretary of state when she says our election corrupted. very, very tough words from the former secretary of state. >> shoe concludes saying a crim was committed against all americans and all americans should demand accountability. jim acosta at the white house. let's go to capitol hill. tonight democrats are furious. they're firing back. what are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, this is really an escalation and a
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showdown between democrats on capitol hill and the white house in light of that stonewalling strategy that seems to be emerging from the white house and from president trump directly. today the justice department told the house oversight committee that it will not comply with the subpoena demanding an appearance of a senior doj official related to the democrats' probe looking into the addition of a citizenship question on the census. now this has set off the chairman of that committee, elijah cummings, given this is the second ignored subpoena coming from the white house this week. cummings saying in a statement in part, quote, this is a massive, unprecedented and growing pattern of obstruction. both president trump and attorney general barr are now openly ordering federal employees to ignore congressional subpoenas and simply not show up without any assertion of a valid legal privilege. these employees and their personal attorneys should think very carefully about their own
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legal interests rather than being swept up in the obstruction schemes of the trump administration. we heard from speaker of the house nancy pelosi's office today. she called this strategy of white house stonewalling, quote, a level of secrecy that should alarm all americans. >> on capitol hill, thank you. let's get to more on all of this. dan kilde is joining us, a member of the ways and means committee. thanks so much for joining us. let me get your immediate reaction to hillary clinton whose presidential campaign was targeted by russia in the 2016 election. she says, you just heard her, you and your fellow members of congress should continue your efforts to hold hearings on the mueller report and not rush to a vote on impeachment. what do you make of her advice? >> well, i haven't read the whole piece but i agree with that assessment. we don't have to draw the conclusion as to what action we might take in order to make sure we inform ourselves and, more importantly, inform the american people about all of these facts.
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we have a president who is the most, i guess, least transparent president in the history of the united states. this is really a frightening moment to see him ignore a bipartisan subpoena, to order his officials to ignore a subpoena of the congress of the united states. it really paints a picture of a president who is even more out of control than he has been since he's been in office. this is a frightening moment for us. >> he says he's the most transparent president ever. democrats, as you know, you're trying to hold public hearings. the president is pledging to fight every subpoena. so how do you conduct oversight when the administration is refusing to comply with subpoenas? >> well, a couple ways. one, anyone taking those directives from the president or the attorney general or the deputy attorney general ought to think carefully about their own
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responsibility. if they're officers of the court they ought to think about violating the law themselves by not complying with a legitimate subpoena. that's number one. making it clear they should think carefully about complying with a legal subpoena from the legislative branch. but we're not going to roll over if they don't. we obviously will pursue every legal means we have to enforce those subpoenas. even if that means going to camp to make sure they are enforced. this will not end well for the president. all of the information he's trying to hide is going to come to light. the idea he thinks he can get away with it, this is not a question about the minutes of the board of directors on the condo association at mar-a-lago. this is the government of the united states. he does not get to decide what the american people know and
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don't know about how he is conducting the government. >> your democratic colleague from virginia, jerry conley, says the president's actions in his words are pushing a lot of democrats into the impeachment camp. do you think that's true? >> it is true. i have not made any final conclusions on this but i've talked to a lot of my colleagues. i went into this with the idea i don't think we should hope for bad news in the mueller report. but i've been reading this and now seeing the president's reaction afterward and it's worse than i thought. the directives that he gave, for example, to don mcgann, it's worse than i expected. many members like myself who have been very careful not to draw any conclusions are seeing a picture being painted of a president that's really frightening and a challenge to the basic tenets of our democracy. he seems willing to do anything he can to protect himself.
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he's not the most transparent president in the united states with one exception. he's completely transparent in the sense it's easy to see everything he does is to protect himself. everything he does is to deflect somebody damaging his already very tender ego. and it's a dangerous moment. it's one that does bring us back to recall some of the darkest moments of the nixon administration. this guy is circle the wagons and we all ought to pay very close attention to what he's doing and is trying to keep us from knowing. >> as you heard at the top of the hour deutsche bank is turning over some of the president's financial records to the new york state attorney general. has your committee considered turning to the state level to try to get some of the records or even the state tax returns when you file your income taxes that you have to include some portion of your federal taxes? >> we have not yet at this point.
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we in the section is very clear. it gives the authority to the ways and means committee to order any tax return to be delivered to him. it's very clear law. they shall deliver the returns. we don't think we have to return to any other venue other than to have the law exercised and we will pursue every course available to make sure that the law is exercised. this all relies on the fact that we have serious questions as to whether or not the irs is properly auditing and enforcing the tax code on the president and his holdings. and we're determining whether or not we need to take legislative action to that end. we have to have access to this information. that is why section 6103 was
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written into the law. we're exercising that law because the president has failed to keep his promise to divulge his tax returns as he promised he would during the campaign. >> get ready for a huge battle. >> frankly, wolf -- i was just going to say, as every president has done for nearly 50 years. he's violated that custom and that's one of the reasons we're having to pursue this. >> dan kildee, thank you for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. breaking news continues. our going to dig into hillary clinton's just released op-ed calling for congress to build on the mueller report instead of rushing to impeachment. top officials warned not to talk to the president about election security. is the white house leaving the country vulnerable to a 2020 attack?
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tonight some very troubling new reports are raising serious questions about the trump administration's ability and desire to secure the 2020 election from foreign interference. our senior and national correspondent on the story for us. alex, tell us more. >> reporter: wolf, here we are gearing up for the 2020 election and yet sources are telling us that russian interference isn't something you should talk about with president trump, that the last time he led a cabinet level meeting on election security was last july. and he has just pushed out the second whose department helps lead the charge in defending america's elections. for then embattled homeland
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security secretary kirstjen nielsen securing elections against russia and other threats was a top priority. but her boss, president trump, didn't want to hear about it. it was like pulling teeth, a u.s. official told cnn, to get the white house to focus the attention needed on this. cnn has learned dhs had for months tried to sound the alarm and set up cabinet level meetings on election security. >> thanks very much. >> reporter: acting chief of staff mulvaney said it wasn't a great subject and should be kept below trump's level, according to "the new york times" which first reported the story. the requests were rejected. nielsen is now gone. and tonight new concerns that the administration isn't prepared for a sequel to the 2016 election attack. >> the systems weren't put into place. the politicians don't understand what's in front of them. >> reporter: the president has long seen talk of russian interference as delegitimizing his victory. >> it's a democrat hoax that was
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brought up as an excuse for losing an election. >> reporter: and less than a week after robert mueller reported the attack was radically downplayed by white house senior adviser jared kushner. >> i think the investigations and all of the plagues has had a much harsher impact than a couple facebook ads. >> reporter: this as it was warned russia's attacks far greater than buying facebook ads have continued. >> we have seen what has continued unabated and intensifies during the election cycles is this maligned foreign influence campaign. >> reporter: a crucial component is the department of homeland security's arm led by chris krebs. >> i think they have some sheets
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we haven't seen yet. >> reporter: shoring up america's voting systems. he's gearing up for 2020, what he's called the super bowl. >> we've got to be thinking through how they're going to innovate. >> reporter: the focus is on three areas -- states voting systems, hacking of campaigns and political parties, then disinformation on social media. all detailed in the mueller report. >> it's to create this tension, sow discord and have us fight each other. >> reporter: overall the presidential campaigns are arguably the most vulnerable. in the face of attacks they have to figure out cyber security on their own. >> there's a hole in the system that has to be plugged. the security blanket that exists on top of politicians when they're in congress or in the senate hasn't been extended to their private lives or political lives or campaigns. that's the urgency.
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>> reporter: the white house is pushing back tonight with a national security counsel spokesman saying any suggestion this administration is giving less than a full-throated effort is patently false, end quote. for something so urgent, critics do say the government needs to name one person to coordinate election security across the government but there is no clear lead leader. >> these are disturbing developments. thank you for the report. hillary clinton has new advice for divided democrats. stand by. you're in "the situation room." . i'd make it available in dozens... make that thousands of configurations. it would keep an eye on my fleet... ...and an eye out for danger. with active brake assist. if i built a van, i'd make it available in diesel and gas. introducing the all-new sprinter starting at $33,790.
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breaking news, hillary clinton calling on congress to hold hearings on the mueller report. in a new op-ed she warns her party against rushing to judgment but doesn't rule out eventual impeachment for president trump. let's get to our political and legal experts for some analysis in this "washington post" op-ed. congress should hold substantive hearings and not jump straight to an up or down vote on impeachment. the republican-led house rushed to judgment. that was a mistake then and would be a mistake now. do you think her advice will have an impact? >> i think it's fascinating she felt the need and the desire to write this kind of op-ed.
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she talked about the difference between now and impeachment which was not a happy time for her family. and what's going on now and another very important time in history that she was a part of which she was actually a lawyer, a young lawyer, on the watergate committee. today should be more like back then during the nixon era where there were lengthy, robust hearings that did begin to impeachment hearings. but the substant of it is fascinating and she makes a lot of important points separate from impeachment. she says maybe i'm not the best messenger since i was targeted in 2016 or at least the target was to hurt my chances to be president but she's right and that was the beginning part which is important not to forget. the russians were actively
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trying to meddle and they haven't stopped. >> and they're intensifying by some accounts. what do you think? >> i think it is interesting that she chose to weigh in in this way. it does seem democrats are following this strategy, not rushing to impeachment. you hear nancy pelosi saying find the facts first. they have stonewalling from this president essentially saying he's not going to respond to the subpoenas. we saw that with the subpoena for a justice department official and the census changes. yeah, there's a different variable that democrats have to deal with and they're trying to figure that out. are they going to charge folks with contempt of congress for refusing to appear. this will be a lengthy battle. the president saying it could end up in the supreme court.
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>> she makes an argument that you made, maybe she was watching you here, the televised hearings added to the factual record going back to watergate and helped the public understand the facts in a way that no dense legal report could. similar hearings with mueller and other key witnesses could do the same today. >> the truth for better or for worse is that americans get most of their news and information from screens not written material. the mueller report is 440 single spaced pages. it's been read by many. it hasn't been read by everyone. the difference between words on a page or on a screen and an individual telling a story is enormous. mrs. clinton, secretary clinton, as a veteran of watergate, someone who worked on the watergate investigation, she knows that.
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and that i think -- i don't think democrats have to be ashamed of possibly calling testimony that repeats some material in the mueller report. they're very different things and they serve different purposes. >> and in reference -- >> i was going to say, hearing the former white house counsel don mcgann say on television in a sound bite what he said to the mueller investigators, that the president told him to lie, to go fire the special counsel, all of that will be very powerful. >> which to jeffrey's point that like millions of other americans the president clearly gets his news and information largely from television as well. and in his opinion it could be very damaging to hear don mcgann say that. that's one of the reasons the president does not want him to testify. it was also interesting then to have hillary clinton reference watergate where she said in this op-ed, quote, executive privilege could not be used to shield criminal conduct.
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she is suggesting and referencing that element of the investigation saying that executive privilege could not be used there. she's saying that was the right decision and it should be applied this time as well. it's not a situation where democrats pursue impeachment or focus on trying to win the election and focus on issues that could help americans, that it should be a slower process, a rush to judgment for her own husband's impeachment versus watergate. >> and politically maybe the democrats have moved on. on the raw politics here maybe some of the candidates wish she would zip it. she does lay out here a very important point. i defy to you find somebody who has the experience that she has on so many of the issues that touch on what we're talking about. she was as a young staffer on watergate, the first lady during an impeachment of her husband
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and she was secretary of state. a u.s. senator. and was a candidate targeted. she addresses all of those things and the idea that maybe she's an imperfect messenger but comes with all of those experiences. >> i'm not saying dana is saying this, every time hillary clinton opens her mouth you hear people say why doesn't she just shut up? this is a woman who got almost 70 million votes in the united states, is a major american figure, a major world figure, and the notion she should have no forum to talk about these issues is really absurd. >> what makes it more difficult for many democrats to move on from the impeachment route is the fact this administration, this president, his inner circle from rudy giuliani over the weekend saying there was nothing illegal about what the russian does to jared kushner saying it
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was a few facebook pages, facebook ads, to the president not acknowledging that russia attacked our democracy and continues to making it that much harder that on that scope, that perspective, this administration is still in denial. the president is. >> a lot of people are making that argument. george conway, a conservative, he makes that argument. kelly anne conway's husband. it comes on a day the president was tweeting this. he said all the crimes were committed -- he committed no crimes, i did nothing wrong -- all the crimes were committed by crooked hillary, the dems, the dnc and dirty cops and we caught them in the act. everybody stand by. there's more news. we call it the mother standard of care. it's how we care for our cancer patients- like job. when he was diagnosed with cancer, his team at ctca created a personalized care plan to treat his cancer and side effects.
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money laundering including money laundering with russia. all these officials including the house intelligence and financial services committee want those records to see if there was any improper dealings involving the trump organization. >> and that's key what jeffrey said. what you're talking about is the new york attorney general. there's also the u.s. house of representatives asking the same bank for the same information. the fact deutsche bank is apparently turning over to new york certainly a signal they're going to do the same thing to the house. >> and this is what they're hoping. they might get blocked by trump administration officials saying no to these subpoenas but deutsche bank -- >> they're going to go where the money is, the bank. >> he assumes the mueller team reviewed his financial records including his taxes. he doesn't know that for sure. they looked at it, even though there's no references in the 400-plus-page document.
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>> sort of a nothing to see argument. it's not going to cut it with either the new york state or the committees as well. you have deutsche bank which says they are complying. they've asked to narrow the scope. this is something they've been working on for a few months cooperating in anticipation of turning over these documents. this was an ugly chapter for deutsche bank. they had a terrible comeback from the financial crisis. they are in the process of merging one important arm of the company with another bank. they want to put this past them. having this mired in courts is not something these banks want to be dealing with. deutsche bank is not the only bank the committee subpoenaed. there are other banks they subpoenaed as well saying they are complying. this is yet another big headache for the president. >> do you think, jeffrey, the mueller team did have access to the president's tax returns? >> you know, i'm going to say those three forbidden words, i don't know.
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there's nothing in the report that refers either to his tax returns or his personal financial dealings. but that doesn't necessarily mean the prosecutors didn't see it. i don't know. >> i asked the question, dana, because the house judiciary committee wants the full unredacted report, they want all the underlying evidence. and if there are tax returns in that underlying evidence, that's what they'd like to see. >> exactly right. and that's separate from the ways and means committee which has a law on the books or a ruling that gives them the green light to ask spes ofcalcificall the president's tax returns. the president's legal team, many people i talked to, they thought it was likely that mueller had seen the president's tax returns. the fact there was no allusion to it or really anything that had to do with money and financial anything was really specifically limited to russia
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and to the probe, maybe that tells you something or maybe not since a lot of this was punted to new york to other prosecutors. >> 14 cases including 12 we don't know anything about. the u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york reviewing evidence provided by the mueller team, at least in some of those cases. >> that's right. it wasn't the president coming out saying he was exonerated, the mueller report, not on the charge of obstruction. but this other legal headache which we don't really know the details of in terms of trump's business dealings in terms of some of the things that came about in terms of trump's organization with cohen. there is a lot more obviously that the public doesn't know and certainly that sdny is probing and the house committee wants to know. >> very quickly. >> there could be something nefarious or embarrassing. we don't know what the network number is or what the charitable
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givings have been as well not to mention any possible dealings with russia. >> good point. all right, guys. stick around. more news we're following. the north korean dictator, kim jong-un, arrives in russia with warm wishes for vladimir putin. the two men are about to meet for the first time, an encounter that could put serious pressure on president trump.
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north korean dictator kim jong-un is in russia tonight. ahead of a summit with vladimir putin. brian todd is in "the situation room." we've seen a lot of pomp and ceremony so far, the question will there be any substance to this summit? >> reporter: that is a big question. neither side is saying anything about signing any formal agreements or making any statementsality the summit but make no mistake, u.s. officials and south korean leaders and allies are very concerned over the possibility that kim and putin could strike a secret deal which might throw a wrench into the efforts to get kim to give up his nuclear weapons n. russia tonight, rolling out the red carpet for kim jong-un. the north korean leader arrived across the country border to a hero's welcome, taking a break from trump, kim stepped off his armored train and met by girls in vintage russian costumes offering him bread and salt while the 35-year-old dictators
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appeared to taste the salt, his trip is designed to rub it in an open wound with donald trump after the failed summit in february. >> it is possible that kim jong-un is also thinking about this in terms of making donald trump jealous. trump clearly enjoys being in the spotlight on the north korean diplomacy and putin is taking that away. >> reporter: the russian president choreographed his visit and they call the russian-korean house built for his father appearing in 1986 and nothing left to chance from lining up his train with the red carpet to an elaborate greeting featuring an honor guard and marching band. tomorrow's meeting is highly symbolic, the first time the two men have met. >> translator: i have come to russia with the warm wishes of our people. i hope this visit will be successful and useful. and i hope through talking with the esteems president putin i will be able to discuss specific issues like resolving the
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situation on the korean peninsula. >> reporter: experts say after president trump walked out on the february summit, kim is turning to putin to help him build his stature and leverage with trump. there is something in this for putin as well. analysts say this is a chance for putin to peel another world leader away from trump's influence. >> what putin likes to do is take advantage of opportunities presented to him by president trump and his difficult relations with the number of allies. we've had an example of that with chancellor merkel where she's heavily criticized by president trump and putin started to behave toward her in a more reconciliation status. >> reporter: they asked that mike pompeo be replaced as the leader and said the u.s. has until the end of the year to change its attitude. what might be worrying u.s. officials about this kim-putin alliance tonight? >> what would worry me is a russian move to cheat on
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sanctions and provide north korea with cash or access to cash and with possibly even help on some weapon systems so that would be more extreme. >> reporter: analysts say with this summit vladimir putin is working toward a couple of bottom lines with kim jong-un. they say putin does not want north korea to have nuclear weapons and he would rather help kim stay in power because he doesn't want a unified korean peninsula under south korean and american influence. wolf. >> very interesting and very important. brian todd, thank you. there is breaking news. new york state attorney general now getting a first look at president trump's loan records from a giant german bank.
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happening now, breaking news. breaking the bank. some of the president's closely guarded financial records now are being turned over to investigators. what will the documents from deutsche bank reveal? subpoena showdown. mr. trump said he's fighting every new democratic demand for interviews and information. tonight a key committee chairman is accusing the administration of, quote, a growing pattern of obstruction. don't tell trump. that is the message reportedly sent to the former homeland security chief as she tried to get the president to focus in on the the 2020 election security issue. is the administration ill prepared to stop russian attacks on the american democracy. and unleashed. the president going off on a tangent over border security praising drug detecting dogs as the greatest equipment in the world. i g


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