tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN July 1, 2022 6:00am-7:00am PDT
this morning the wnba star brittney griner is in a moscow court for her first trial hearing, this after russian authorities accused her of smuggling drugs into the country. griner has already spent the last 130 days in a russian jail. officials have now extended her detention for six months pending the outcome of this trial. we should note the state department has said griner has been, quote, wrongfully detained. last night, cnn's abby phillip sat down with griner's wife for an exclusive interview. you'll hear part of that conversation in just a moment. back at home, though, new developments in the january 6th investigation. sources tell cnn that someone tried to influence the testimony of cassidy hutchinson, the former trump white house aide who shared damning details about what the former president was doing as the capitol attack unfolded. we'll have much more on that just ahead. we begin, though, this morning, in moscow. cnn's senior international correspondent frederik pleitgen is outside the court where
brittney griner's first trial hearing wrapped up, about an hour ago. fred, we should note, these trials take place in russia, with enormous political interference, often doing the bidding of the kremlin. but what are we hearing from the kremlin this morning, and also u.s. diplomats on this? >> reporter: hi there, jim. the kremlin this morning in a regular scheduled call with the kremlin spokesperson said this was not a political trial, they did not want to interfere, did not want to comment on this trial. you look at what is going on today, we came here, the media was not allowed inside the cos the way this trial date went, she was at first read the charges, she was asked whether she wanted to comment on the charges, she said she did not want to, but she said she understood the charges against her. there were two witnesses heard today. the trial date lasted about 2.5 hours and she was then led out of the courtroom. you're absolutely right, the u.s. embassy was here in the
form of the charge d'affaires. they say brittney griner is being wrongfully detained here in russia. i want to listen to some of what the charge said. >> the u.s. embassy, the american government cares very deeply about this case and about miss griner's welfare as do millions of americans, as well as we care about the welfare of all u.s. citizens imprisoned overseas. i did have the opportunity to speak with miss griner in the courtroom. she is doing as well as can be expected in these difficult circumstances. and she asked me to convey that she is in good spirits, and is keeping up the faith. >> reporter: so there is the charge d'affaires saying brittney griner continues to be in good spirits, despite the fact, of course, that this trial is one that could carry a significant prison sentence with it. the worst could be up to ten years in a russian penal colony. there were some details as to what exactly this trial is about
that we found out today as well. the prosecutor apparently saying that they found two vaping cartridges inside brittney griner's hand luggage and her luggage when she entered the airport from outside of russia, in february of this year. apparently one of them contained .25 of a gram of hash oil and the other one .5, around about .5 of a gram of hash oil, in total about .7 of a gram of cannabis oil that was apparently found with miss griner. a severe prison sentence could follow as far as this trial is concerned. i was able to speak briefly to brittney griner's lawyer after that, he did not want to make a prediction as to which way the trial will go. we know the next trial date is set for july 7th. >> fred pleitgen in moscow, thank you so much. >> last night, abby phillip sat down with brittney griner's wife, cherelle, for an exclusive
interview. abby joining me now with more. she had a message for president biden. what did she say? >> reporter: absolutely, jim, cherelle griner is clear-eyed about what her wife faces in russia and she wants to sit down with president biden. she believes that that is a pivotal step in the process of bringing her wife home. you know, one thing to note she told me, brittney griner cast her first ballot ever for president biden, and cherelle griner thinks that should mean something, that her plight should get all the way to the highest levels of this government and they should be willing to do whatever it takes, she said, whatever takes to bring her wife home. take a listen. do you trust that the maximum amount of effort is being put forward to bring b.g. home? >> no, i don't. the people working on this are
genuine people who i do believe, but i don't think the maximum amount of effort is being done because, again, the rhetoric and the actions don't match, you know. when you have a situation where b.g. can call our government, the embassy, 11 times, and that phone call don't get answered, you don't have my trust at that point until i see actions that are in b.g.'s best interest. it would have been in her best interest for her phone call to have been answered. it would be in her best interest for her to be back on u.s. soil. so until i see things like that, no. >> reporter: i know you had some conversations with the secretary of state and with other officials, but you want to talk to president biden. right? >> absolutely. and the reason why is because i'm new to this, you know. i don't -- i'm no politician. i just graduated law school, so i can only, you know -- i can only do those things that are being told are beneficial for my
wife, and the most beneficial thing that i've been told is that, you know, you meet with president biden. he has that power. he is a person, you know, that ultimately will make that decision for b.g. to come home. and so while everybody else wants to tell me they care, i want him to tell me he care. >> reporter: what would you tell him? if you were to sit in front of him, what would you say directly speaking to him. >> i want to humanize my wife to him. we got married and obviously i'm very, very, very big on voting and all of the legal processes and stuff in our system. this was her first year voting. his ballot was my wife's first time -- >> she voted for president biden. >> she did.
she made that conscious decision to trust in him and his administration. >> there is talk of prisoner swaps being the thing that needs to happen. is that what needs to be done? to you think the administration should say we will swap who you want for brittney and bring her home? >> to be very honest with you, i don't really listen to much of the talk about the how in measures of, you know what is necessary to get her home. but if that's what's necessary, then, yes, do it. >> reporter: and, jim, as you know, there has been some discussion that there is, perhaps, a prisoner swap that could be made. very high value prisoner for russia, known as the merchant of death, who is imprisoned in the united states. and brittney, you know, cherelle griner did not talk very much
about those details, but there is an awareness that if there is something that can be done, she wants that done. she wants a prisoner swap, if that is a possibility, to happen for her wife, and that was part of the message she wanted to deliver to president biden in this interview was that there is no prisoner that russia wants that is of higher value as i'm sure you can imagine than her wife. >> and there is precedent with this for swatches such as that. abby phillip in phoenix, thank you so much. back here in the u.s., cnn has learned from three sources that former white house aide cassidy hutchinson told the january 6th committee she was contacted by someone trying to influence her testimony. vice chair liz cheney said earlier this week that people connected to former president trump may have attempted to influence and intimidate at least two witnesses. this comes as cheney was forced to defend her work on the committee during a republican primary debate in her home state
of wyoming while her trump endorsed opponent repeated falsehoods about the 2020 election. >> i'm frankly stunned that one of my opponents on the stage who is a member of the wyoming bar, who has sworn an oath as many of us on the stage have of the constitution would be in a position where she is suggesting that somehow what happened on january 6th is justified. we have to put our oath to the constitution above party. >> we have a committee in congress now that they're focusing on something that happened 18 months ago, they're not focusing on the issues that are important to the people in wyoming, and they're also ignoring the corruption that is absolutely destroying washington, d.c. >> melanie zanona joins me now from the capitol. this was a key revelation from hutchinson's testimony earlier this week, that impression of possible witness tampering, what more are we learning? >> reporter: there has been quite a few developments since
that explosive hearing on tuesday. at the tail end of that hearing, the select committee revealed that trump and his allies tried to influence at least two witnesses in their january 6th investigation. and it was communicated to these witnesses that trump was paying attention, and trump was hoping that they would remain committed. now, sources tell my colleagues that cassidy hutchinson, the former white house aide, who testified earlier this week, was one of those witnesses. but, jim, we should point out it is no secret how trump has publicly tried to sway witnesses. whether that's attacking people who have gone up against him, or praising people who remained loyal to him, and cassidy hutchinson has been at the center of some of the attacks this week. trump and allies have been working to try to discredit part of her testimony, specifically they are privately, anyway, disputing a story that she testified under oath, that she was told by tony ornato about trump reaching up and trying to grab at the steering wheel of the presidential suv because he was so angry that the secret service wouldn't take him to the
capitol on january 6th. my colleagues also reported that the committee has spoken to ornato twice at this point and committee members have been frustrated with aspects of his testimony. stephanie murphy said ornato was evasive about the incident in question and adam kinzinger is drawing attention to instances where two former trump officials say tony ornato lied to them, saying there seems to be a major thread here, tony ornato likes to lie. clearly some very serious questions and concerns about tony ornato's credibility here, jim. i think the question now is whether any of these trump officials who are privately disputing this testimony are going to come forward and do so publicly and under oath. >> one thing to tweet about it, another thing to testify under oath. melanie zanona, thank you so much. joining me now to discuss the legal aspects of this, ambassador norm eisen, a senior fellow at brookings institution. good to have you on, sir.
i wonder, as we look at what we have learned about communications between people in trump world and some of these witnesses, there is almost a mafia don quality to some of the communications as described by witnesses, you know, the president, the former president believes you will be loyal, et cetera. i wonder what is the legal standard to establish witness tampering? >> jim, witness tampering is forbidden under 18 usc 1512. what the government has to establish is what we seem to see emerging here, we don't yet have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you would have for a jury, but a very troubling pattern. you need to show an effort to intimidate, coerce, or affect the testimony of a witness, and it needs to be corrupt, it needs to be done with bad intent. and the picture that we have here very much fits into that,
because we have seen what they're doing to cassidy hutchinson, we have seen donald trump and his cohort attempt to do this before most famously with michael cohen. privately, we saw those messages, privately they applied the pressure, trump is watching, he reads transcripts, and then if you cross him, they blast you. another element that has come out, they pay your fees. so there is a financial aspect. and then, of course, the misrepresentations about her. >> let me ask you about that. hutchinson, for instance, had a lawyer, paid by trump world before she switched lawyers. would paying a lawyer to represent, that by itself is not criminal, but are you saying that fits -- that could fit na a fact pattern of witness tampering? >> indeed, jim. in my private practice i often represented executives when the corporation pays. but there are very strict ethics
rules. you need to be even more rigorous in that situation. you don't share without permission what your client is telling you, when you're being paid by another, you never let it affect your professional decisions. certainly not as being reported, her prior lawyer encouraging her not to testify. and then if it is true, changes lawyers and steps forward. it fits into a larger pattern and i think it is very important to consider ornato who has an alleged pattern of lying, his attacks on her after her devastating testimony as part of that larger pattern we have seen before from donald trump. >> final question, if i can, does it make a difference from a legal perspective if those communications go through an intermediary. not the president reaching out to witnesses, but others on behalf saying, well, the big man is watching, he believes you'll
be loyal, et cetera. does that make a legal difference? >> it does. it cuts two ways, jim. on the one hand, it can broaden the conspiracy, it brings another person in. on the other hand, it allows as we have seen this a lot in the history of the prosecution of the mafia in the united states, of organized crime, it allows the crime boss to be one degree removed, but here, it looks like they have been a little sloppy, based on what we saw on liz cheney, but on the big screen at the hearing. and direct representation of trump. >> norm, eisen, good have you break it down. thanks so much. >> thank you, jim. still to come, today expected to be the busiest travel day of the holiday weekend at airports. but, boy, airline staff shortages could affect your flight. i've had it happen to me a bunch. i'm sure you have as well.
i'll speak to the head of the pilots union what about could go wrong and how to fix it. the big break that helped u.s. marshals track down a texas yoga instructor suspected of killing an elite cyclist. and pete arredondo misses an emotional city council meeting filled with grieving families demanding answers. >> my nieces and nephews have to see him at walmart or go to school and know that they still have their jobs because -- these kids were obliterated. my sister was obliterated. when you have technology that's easier toto control... that can scale across all your clouds... we got that right? yeah, we got that. it's easier to be an innovator. so you can do more incredible things. [whistling]
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ask your healthcare provider about rybelsus® today. today is expected to be the busiest travel day of the july 4th holiday weekend, as a record number of americans hit the road. aaa predicts 42 million people will drive 50 miles or more. this despite high gas prices. leyla santiago is at a gas station in miami.
what do you see down there? >> reporter: well, i'm seeing gas prices that are higher than the national average of $4.84. i'm also seeing that when folks and families come to this gas station here in miami, you know, you see what you would expect to see, a sort of grumble when you look at the price, the total of what it takes to fill up at the pump and you're talking to people who will tell you they really made this, the soaring gas prices, a part of their planning for the holiday weekend. listen. >> we thought about where to go, what distance, like, maybe share a big car. we had thought opn different solutions. we need to be more, you know, to calculate my actions more because things are getting, like, very frustrating. so it is not easy.
>> reporter: and that gentleman, he is not alone. a lot of people echoing that sentiment. so let's break down the exact numbers. what exactly are we going to see from travelers this weekend? the gas prices certainly a factor, but it doesn't appear, anyway, according it the aaa forecast for independence day weekend that it is holding back all that many people because when you look at their forecast, they expect 42 million travelers to be driving this weekend, and that's an increase from last year, and a record-breaking number, 3.5 million people in the airports and 2.5 million that will be traveling this july 4th weekend through some other means. >> yeah. leyla santiago, in miami, thanks so much. airlines are preparing for passenger volumes not seen since before the pandemic, they say. already more than 200 flights canceled, 800 delayed. that number expected to grow throughout the day. american airline -- the group
representing major airlines say they are navigating a range of talent challenges including weather and staffing at the carrier and federal government level and making every effort to help ensure smooth travel this weekend and year round. i want to speak to captain dennis tager, commercial pilot and communications chair of the association which represents some 15,000 u.s. airline pilots. captain, thank you for taking the time this morning. >> thank you. pleasure to be with you. >> you hear the statement there, from the airlines saying range of challenges, weather, staffing, when i've flown recently and i had a lot of delays and i'm sure a lot of people had the same, staff will quietly tell me, man, this is a staffing issue, we don't have enough flight crews, we don't have enough flight attendance. is this really about a staffing shortage? >> well, i fly for american airlines and this week we had clear skies, and we had over 700 cancellations. one of the flights i was on was canceled. over 90% of the flights were
attributed to not having a pilot connected to the flight deck. so this is -- this really comes to the egg or the chicken. management was not prepared, they sold tickets for flights that they could not properly man this summer. this is the second summer in a row. in june, for american airlines, nearly 800,000 passengers have been impacted by cancellations. so the $54 billion that kept the airlines from collapsing, the investment, that worked, but they failed to recover and two summers in a row now. >> i -- that's my next question, $54 billion, that's taxpayer money, was supposed to bring the kind of planning you were talking about, hopefully prevent this kind of thing. are you saying that money didn't go where it should have gone? >> it didn't at american airlines. they incentivized d early retirement, they parked 100
airplanes, all of this triggered as well as their decision to not keep pilots current, which was one of the obligations of the loans, so all of this started this training backlog and that's when we came out of the pandemic, and it has continued because management can't seem to get it right, they focused on selling the tickets and fingers crossed they can get it done and they laid it on our plates and it is not working. there are unrealistic schedules, we have pilots fatiguing out, the bottom line is passengers, they're being canceled when it shouldn't have happened. this was preventable. >> let me ask you this, you can't create pilots out of nowhere, takes a lot of hours in the cockpit, takes a lot of training to qualify. i know they're trying to recruit new pilots, train them up. that takes some time. how long will this shortage last, do you think, and is enough being done now to fill the gaps?
>> no, enough is not being done. airlines have spoken to that. at american, they offered up a two-year, 50% override for the regional -- the smaller carriers because they think the shortage two years long. united said it is three to five years. so this is a long-term problem because of a failure to plan. we can get through this with the pilot unions, we can increase the training productivity, but management has been more focused on just printing the tickets, collecting the money, and not ensuring that we can execute reliably. we're going to help fix that, but management teams need to listen to us, particularly at american airlines and it is not just about the money. this is about realistic scheduling. >> yeah, you don't want to overstretch pilots and, boy, it is no fun when your plans get canceled when you're trying to fly. captain dennis tajer, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, sir. coming up next, rescue operations still under way after russia once again attacked
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in the odesa region. it was the same type of ammunition used when they hit the mall in kremenchuk on monday. it comes just after ukraine retook thenearby strategically important snake island. they deny they are targeting civilians, but there is a long record through this war of deliberate targets, targeting of civilian areas. what do we know about the most recent attacks? >> reporter: jim, not just deliberate targeting, but it seems in recent days increasing those attacks, dozens of missiles have been fired, these very hard missiles, these anti-ship missiles being used with these very large warheads falling on odesa overnight. three landing, one on an apartment block, residential building, nine stories there, 16 people killed, dozens wounded, rescue operations still ongoing but workers saying they doubt anyone is still alive in the ruins of that building.
the second missile landing in a recreation center, four people killed, including a young child, and thankfully the third missile landing in an open area. but, yes, while ukrainian forces are, of course, very much focused on the battle for the east, where they're losing territory in the donbas, there seems to be this second psychological war, if you will, on ukraine. dozens of these missiles coming, from long range areas, anti-ship missiles with huge warheads, falling on civilian areas. russia claims it is targeting weapons, that it is trying to take out ammunitions provided by the west, but we have seen on the ground they have struck malls, they have struck apartment blocks, kindergartens and it is to break the back of ukrainians. that's how they feel. that's why that victory in snake island is so important, it is a morale boost, but it denies russia one more military outpost, and there is other ways that we're seeing ukrainians resist. we heard from u.s. officials recently that in the occupied region of kherson, a russian-occupied region, there
has been a trail of assassination attempts by ukrainians on pro russian officials. yet another sign that ukrainians are always finding a way to hit back, jim. >> salma abdelbdelaziz, thank yo much. president biden met with a bipartisan senate delegation on the u.s. response to vladimir putin's actions, ongoing invasion of ukraine. republican leader of that group told reporters it wasn't just the senators meeting that was a success. >> i do believe that he knows the major issues. i think the administration played -- has played a key part in what made this summit a success. >> republican senator there calling the summit a success. i spoke with jeanne shaheen, also part of that congressional delegation, while we were in madrid. she said the u.s. was leaving spain with more confidence that nato is responding appropriately to russia's aggression. >> i think that the nato
countries have been very effective in supporting ukraine and the addition of sweden and finland is very exciting. and its reassurance to the baltic countries who are very concerned about the threat from russia, to poland, who is also very concerned, all of the eastern european countries, and i think they will -- everyone will leave the summit with an appreciation for the increased support in eastern europe against the threat from putin. >> i spoke to the estonian prime minister yesterday and they are somewhat confident things are changing, but still fearful that they may be next, and i wonder do americans underestimate the possibility that russia may attack nato members next. >> well, i think the baltic countries have been very vocal
about the importance of having troops there to protect against russia's future aggression, because they invaded ukraine and provoked, because of the horrific acts of violence there, the attacks on civilians, i think everyone's very concerned about their -- the potential for future aggression, but that's why the strength of nato is so important, that's why putting additional troops, and the eastern europe and the baltics is so important, and why sweden and finland joining nato is so important. but make no mistake, the goal here is to do everything we can to support ukraine in this courageous fight against russia to defeat putin and his aggression. >> it was far from guaranteed that an agreement would be reached here in madrid on finland and sweden's joining nato. what made the difference? were you surprised that it came
together here and what made it cross the finish line? >> well, i was very pleased -- i'm leading a bipartisan delegation with thom tillis from north carolina. we visited helsinki and stockholm on our way here, to show our support in the senate, bipartisan support for their joining nato and i was pleased that they were able to negotiate with nato, and turkey, a settlement that was acceptable to everyone and that their accession is going forward. i think it is a real tribute to both finland and sweden, to turkey and nato, and the secretary-general here. >> putin's view, something i hear consistently from, again, european diplomats here, is that he can wait out the u.s., he can wait out nato, he can bear the economic costs, that, in other words, the west will blink before he blinks.
and i wonder what is your response to that? are you convinced that the u.s. can -- and europe can withstand the costs of this war over time? are you concerned that the resolve weakens? >> well, we had a number of those discussions, both with our u.s. officials who are here in madrid, and with our allies, with the germans, with the british, with others, we did a forum yesterday where we talked about this, and the importance of all of us as officials making clear to our publics, our voters, why this fight is so important. the fact is this is about whether we are going to allow a dictator, a brutal dictator, like vladimir putin, to violate the international order, to go into a country, unprovoked, to interfere with that country's own decision-making process,
with their own vision of what they want to be in the future, and we can't let that happen. this is about whether democracies are going to prevail or we're going to let russia or in the future china or iran or north korea and so we have got to stay together, we have to stand strong and make the case to our public and i talk about this whenever i go to new hampshire about why this fight is so important to all of us. it is important to our security in the united states, to our ability in the future to remain free, to determine our own future. >> senator, thanks so much for joining us this morning. >> thank you. still ahead, heart broken families in uvalde, texas, are demanding action from the mayor. they want to know why the former school police chief pete arredondo also a city counselor still has his job.
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the minions are coming to ihop. with an all new menu you're going to love. ♪ ♪ excuse me! enjoy the minions menu at ihop. for a limited time kids eat free! and catch minions: the rise of gru. it was a tense and emotional city council meeting in uvalde, texas, as victims' families demanded answers on law enforcement's slow response to the school shooting that left 19 children and 2 teachers dead. notably absent from that meeting, pete arredondo, the school district police chief, who has been put on leave, but remains a city councilman. according to the city charter, he could be voted out if he misses the next city council meeting. cnn's rosa flores joins me live from texas. i wonder how this could play out going forward, the level of
frustration there with leadership, particularly arredondo, is so stark and we saw some of that play out last night. >> reporter: absolutely, so much frustration and technically arredondo already missed three city council meetings. but according to the city, one of them doesn't count because it is an emergency meeting. now i know this because i spent time this weekend looking through every single attendance record for city council since arredondo took office. and i counted them. i asked the city about yesterday's meeting, because yesterday would have been the third meeting he missed. but the city says that emergency meetings don't count. now, here is what the city mayor said, because it really sounds like city officials here appear to want to do what their constituents want them to do, the removal of arredondo. the mayor said, quote, this is his second meeting, if he misses the third, i don't think there
is anybody up here that will tell you that we won't take the action that we need to take. what he's talking about is according to the city charter, a majority vote is required for arredondo to be replaced as city council member. that's what the families of the victims and the parents of the victims have been asking for in this case, they have been attending these meetings and voicing their very strong opinions about this. take a listen. >> what if it was your kid? you can't say nothing. >> i can't, you're right. >> nobody can. you understand that? so do your part for us. you can't say something, do something. >> i'm trying every day, i promise you. >> nobody is giving us any answers. it has been over a month. you have no idea how frustrating this is. the kids were obliterated. my sister was obliterated. there was a closed casket. i couldn't hug her. i couldn't touch her.
i couldn't say my last good-byes. how do you sit here? there has to be some help. we're asking you for your help. >> reporter: the pain in uvalde is palpable. the next city council meeting is scheduled for july 12th. i've reached out to arredondo's attorney for comment and have not heard back. jim? >> goodness. we just need help, they ask there. hard emotions, rosa flores, thank you so much. still ahead, captured in costa rica after 43 days on the run. how authorities tracked down the yoga instructor accused of killing an elite cyclist. we'll have the details next. when you have technology that's easier to control.... that can scalele across all your clouds...
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after 43 days on the run, a texas woman accused of shooting and killing an i elite cyclist s been captured. he was killed in may. the fatal shooting may have been motivated by romantic jealousy. jean joins me now. just an out rageous crime and a brazen attempt to escape. do we know more how authorities tracked her down and when she is expected to come back to u.s. >> this is very interesting because the u.s. marshal office is saying it was a fraud lulent
passport and the costa rican authorities say it was fraudulent to her. it may have been a legitimate passport issued by the united states but in someone else's name. it looked like armstrong and she was able to use it. she's now at the prison in costa rica. they can be slow. they can take up to 30 days. i want you to listen to brandon. he is a u.s. marshal. let's listen. >> shorten the hair length. she dyed it dark brown. she had some type of bandage on her news with some type of bruising, fixated below her eyes. she was trying to set up another type of lifestyle. >> that was from good morning
america. the wilson family to have deceased came out with a statement. they are so grateful. they say we are relieved to know this phase of uncertainty is now behind us and we trust that justice will prevail. one other thing, jim as you mentioned this wa als allegedly romantic triangle flp was a boyfriend for both women. collin admitted to authorities on may 11th that he had gone swimming with wilson that day. they went out to dinner and then he dropped her off at the parmt of the friend she was staying at because she was in austin for a cycling event. he says he left and then authorities say that later on they saw a car that resembled armstrong's at the house. when they got there, her body had multiple gunshot wounds and she was pronounced dead at the scene. >> just remarkable case. thanks so much for covering. coming up next, we do have details on the intimidation of january 6th committee says some
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a very good friday morning to you. i'm jim scuitti in london. cnn has learned someone inside former president trump's circle tried to influence the testimony of cassidy hutchinson, the former white house aide who appeared before the january 6th committee on tuesday. committee vice chair said some of trump's circle were trying to intimidate witnesses. we are learning the select me met with white house deputy chief of staff on two occasions in january and march