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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  May 8, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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evan perez, the fact that the president's already on the attack on this this morning shows you maybe how concerned he is about this testimony today. >> reporter: well, that's right, john. i think one of the things we're certainly going to be keeping an eye and an ear out for during this hearing is a little bit more about the investigation into russian meddling in the 2016 election. we're trying to see whether or not either sally yates or james clapper, the former director of national intelligence, will tell us a little bit more about what the u.s. intelligence knew, at least before they left office at the beginning of the trump presidency, but we expect a lot of this hearing, a lot of this today to focus on michael flynn, the former national security adviser who was fired by president trump back in january 26th is when sally yates went to the white house to express concerns that there was a chance that the russians could compromise and blackmail michael flynn. that's because he had had conversations with the russian
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ambassador here in washington and had misled the white house about what exactly he had discussed. now, four days after she went to the white house, sally yates was fired because she had refused to enforce the travel ban, the first edition of the trump travel ban. it took 19 days before the white house finally got rid of michael flynn, and that's only after news stories had described everything that had happened, including his discussions about u.s. sanctions. so, a lot of the focus today is going to be on flynn, and as president trump has already previewed, a lot of the republican talking points and the questions are going to be about leaks and whether or not sally yates and james clapper and other people in the obama administration had leaked stories to the news media about this russia investigation. >> evan, how limited is, you know, what sally yates is actually able to say and the questions she's able to answer going to be, given the confidentiality issues, given the executive privilege claims from the obama and trump
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administration, possibly? how far do you think she can go? >> reporter: well, that's exactly right, there's a lot of classified information that she won't be able to get into. and then you raised the issue of executive privilege, which was something that the justice department had raised a concern with sally yates about, the trump justice department. they said to her that some of her discussions about michael flynn fall under executive privilege. this is stuff that she had told president trump's administration, and so, she's not allowed to talk about it. we'll see how she navigates that, because there's a lot of questions here about exactly what happened and why exactly the white house took so long to act after she had come in with this warning. >> all right, evan perez, thanks for the reporting. we'll be watching that special coverage here this afternoon as well. we're also getting new information this morning on the progress, or i guess lack thereof, in some of the congressional investigations into those alleged campaign contacts with russia. our manu raju's on the hill. he's been talking to a lot of people on these committees about
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just how long they think it's going to last. >> reporter: yeah, no question, and how difficult it's been, too, because of the amount of information they're trying to assess, including the information that actually underlined that january assessment that said that russian officials, even vladimir putin ordered a cyber campaign to help president trump. but one thing that they've been struggling to find is the issue of collusion, whether there has been any so far between russian officials and trump officials. there are a lot of leads and questions that they have yet to answer, and a question about whether or not some of these meetings that occurred between trump associates and russian officials had anything to do with the campaign or if it was designed to help that trump adviser's own personal connections and own business connections. now, this comes as the senate committee has actually sent a number of letters to trump associates in order to get more information about their contacts with russian officials, including to former trump foreign policy adviser carter page, who has declined to provide any of his meetings
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until overnight, in which we revealed one meeting that he had in 2013 with someone he considered a junior atache to the russian government to the united nations, but someone u.s. officials believed to be a russian spy. now, page said it was a brief interaction. he downplayed that and he criticized the committee for conducting what he believes to be a witch hunt, but he did not provide a number of other documents that the committee has requested, and chairman richard burr and democrat mark warner have threatened to possibly even subpoena for those records. it just shows the difficulty that the committee is having in getting the records, going through that, never mind reaching a consensus on those tough issues. it could spill into 2018 in an election year, guys. >> indeed, it is an election year. that should be fascinating. manu raju, thank you so much. joining us, congressman eric schwall well , congress on the
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committee. sally yates was scheduled to testify before your committee in public in march. that was canceled. the hearing today is on the senate side, but i do want to know from you if you could ask her a question today, what's the most important information you want from her? >> i wish we had heard from her first, john. the most important question that i think should be asked of sally yates is what exactly did she know about michael flynn or anyone on the trump transition team's contacts with the russians and what was conveyed to the white house. i think the earlier report by evan really nailed it. why was michael flynn kept so long after they were told that he had contacts that were not disclosed with the russians? that's quite disturbing. and the larger question is, are there other individuals who are at the white house or in the administration who had similar contacts and the white house has kept them on because they just, frankly, don't care. >> so, along with sally yates today, we're going to hear from
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the former director of national intelligence, james clapper, and he said in january that as of his last day in the post, january 20th, he had not seen any evidence of collusion between the trump campaign and the russians. on this network on friday, you said, yes, there is fire, and you said you've seen "evidence on the unclassified and the classified side of that fire." so, what's the evidence? >> so, first, poppy, i want to speak very generally, because i think i can address this issue. it is often the case that the fbi, if they're conducting a counterintelligence or a criminal investigation, would not read in the dni, mr. clapper at the time. i hope that is asked of him, so that is cleared up. and what i was suggesting on friday is that i have seen evidence both on the unclassified and classified side of collusion. that's evidence that the fbi must continue to develop, you know, so it can come forward -- >> so, you can share with us
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then, you can share the unclassified evidence then. >> sure. >> so, what is it? >> happy to go through it. first is senior foreign policy adviser carter page. after being told he was meeting with russian spies, he, you know, showing very bad judgment at the very best, looking in the best light for carter page, he goes over a month after it's revealed that russia is interfering with our elections to moscow. general michael flynn, who had a security clearance at the highest level, knew that "russia today," a russia state broadcasting company, is directly linked to russia's intelligence services, gives paid speeches to russia, sits next to vladimir putin, and then working on the transition team reportedly is telling the russian ambassador, don't worry about those sanctions we put on you. paul manafort, chairman for the campaign -- >> congressman -- >> yes, go ahead. >> these all may be questionable activity -- >> bad optics. >> some of them may actually be in violation of the law, but what you have said on cnn is you have seen evidence of collusion
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between trump campaign associates and the russians. and that's an incendiary charge. i mean, you are saying that the trump campaign colluded with the russians in this election. if that's the case, we're just asking you what evidence you have of that. >> yeah, well, i just gave you two examples. i have a lot more, john -- >> but that doesn't prove -- >> that's not evidence of collusion. that's evidence, again, of possible wrongdoing, it's evidence of sketchy activities, but not, as far as i can tell, actually that they were working together on the campaign. >> john, i disagree. paul manafort, chairman of the campaign, being paid reportedly by russia intelligence services, also being paid -- and we've seen the ledger now -- by pro russian ukrainians and then serving -- >> that was up to a decade before he served as chairman. >> right, but here's the convergence, is that he is serving as the chairman of the trump campaign when the campaign is asking the republican national committee to take out any pro ukrainian language at its republican convention, so again -- >> so, he said that he didn't do that. again, manafort said on "meet
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the press" that he did not, he was not the one who spoke up to change the platform. i mean -- >> do you think manafort is a credible witness? >> i'm absolutely not the one to judge, but john's point -- i mean, you need to answer his question. you made these claims of collusion. where's the evidence? >> so, roger stone. roger stone intimates to the world that john podesta is about to spend his time in the barrel. that is weeks before john podesta's e-mails are put out by guccifer 2.0, and then we see conversations that roger stone was having with guccifer 2.0. so, you know, these are not just mere coincidences. this is a convergence. and then there is a whole classified side of information that i hope the world sees very soon. i hope the fbi -- and i have every reason to believe -- we'll continue to develop this. but this is not donald trump being the unluckiest man in the world to have all of these coincidences converge at the same time that russia's interference was taking place. >> and just so we know, again, there is the public information that we've discussed. you assert that it points to
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collusion. we were questioning if, in fact, it does. have you seen things on the classified side that you cannot tell us about, though, that is even stronger evidence than what is out there publicly? >> yes. >> okay. so, there are things that you cannot tell us that you think are more, you know, perhaps more convincing than the public information? >> there's a pattern here, john, on the classified and unclassified side of deep personal, political and financial ties that donald trump and people in his family, in his businesses, and on his campaign had with a foreign adversary in russia that converged at the same time that russia was interfering with our campaign. now, the classified side, that's the role of the house investigation to develop, that's the role of the fbi to develop, and the strength of that evidence, hopefully, will come forward, you know, in the coming months or maybe perhaps even longer. but this is a complicated set of financial transactions, electronic messages, foreign witnesses. it's going to take time, not as
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fast as i'd like, but the american people deserve to hold any u.s. person accountable that was working with russia. >> indeed. our manu raju reporting after talking to you and others, it could stretch into 2018. congressman eric swalwell, we appreciate you coming on and sharing what you can about the investigation. >> thank you. >> we have information about the u.s. relationship right now as it stands with russian. secretary of state tillerson will meet with sergey lavrov here in the united states, in washington on wednesday. fascinating meeting that will be. they have a lot to talk about, no doubt, about the situation in syria, also ukraine as well. >> of course, after that phone call between the presidents last week. all right, still to come for us, calling out congress. former president obama urging lawmakers to show courage and defend his health care law. he's also calling out the current president without uttering his name. plus, we're sorry. the kushner family is now apologizing for mentioning the president's son-in-law in an attempt to lure chinese investors to a project.
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president obama speaking out for the first time on the house gop health care bill and their work to dismantle the signature law that bears his name. >> he received the profiles in courage award at the john f. kennedy library in massachusetts overnight and he urged congress to stand up guinness the agains and as he puts it, have courage. >> there was a reason why health care reform had not been accomplished before -- it was hard! it is my fervent hope and the hope of millions that regardless of party, such courage is still possible. that today's members of congress, regardless of party, are willing to look at the facts
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and speak the truth. >> all right, cnn senior washington correspondent brianna keilar following this for us. the former president did not really mention the current president directly, but he almost didn't have to. >> reporter: certainly not, especially when he said that it was hard. that's why health care reform wasn't accomplished before. it seemed to be a direct rebuke to president trump talking about how nobody knew that health care could be so complicated, and he also -- president obama -- did not explicitly mention this vote that we saw on thursday in the house to repeal and replace obamacare, but it was pretty obvious that he had a message for those house republicans. here's part of what he said to them. >> i hope that current members of congress recall that it actually doesn't take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential, but it does require some courage to champion the
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vulnerable and the sick and the infirmed, those who often have no access to the corridors of power. >> reporter: and i was talking, john and poppy, to a source familiar with president obama's process going through this speech, and it's something i was told that came together here in the last week, so it wasn't really a stretch for him to make this somewhat topical. he received this award from the jfk library foundation, the profile in courage award, and of note was that he spent a lot of time looking toward democrats who had voted in 2009 and 2010 on health care reform and really holding them up as an example of a profile in courage. you'll remember a lot of them lost their jobs because of that vote and other votes that they took in that congress, and president obama acknowledged that last night. >> 63, to be exact. and you've got to think some republicans are thinking about their seats. >> reporter: that's right. >> and being in jeopardy now.
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brianna keilar, great reporting. thank you so much. the future of health care, it is in the senate's hands. the pressure is growing, and it's on mitch mcconnell now to deliver. phil mattingly is working his sources on capitol hill. i mean, you've got susan collins saying we're starting from scratch. rob portman doesn't love what this does to medicaid. and lindsey graham is saying view this with suspicion. tough road ahead? >> reporter: yeah, so you can tell senate republicans aren't warmly embracing what was sent over by the house, despite the house weeks upon weeks upon weeks of really difficult, complicated, arduous process to get them to that point. the reality, guys, is the senate's going to write their own version. it's their prerogative to do such things, and that's exactly what they're going to do. now, you mentioned mitch mcconnell, the majority leader here. he is really the central player here. he is going to be the one that has to figure out a way to get this through, to kind of bridge the divides that you guys are talking about, senators that come from medicaid expansion states that find what the house did to the bill absolutely important, marry that with senators who want to cut back even more on obama regulations
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than they did in the house. but you mentioned susan collins, poppy, and this is important because she is a crucial, crucial player to this process. take a listen to how she described the process now. >> the house bill is not going to come before us. the senate is starting from scratch. we're going to draft our own bill, and i'm convinced that we're going to take the time to do it right. >> reporter: and guys, take the time is an important point here. i'm told weeks, maybe even months as they work through this process, kind of behind the scenes what's actually going on right now, there is a senate republican working group, 13 senators, committee chairs, leadership members, people that span the ideological spectrum, and then there is a second group, people like susan collins, bill cassidy, shelly moore caputo, working on specific issues. at some point, they're going to have to marry all of this together. an interesting element here, i asked one senior gop aide that's working on this, what's your end game, what's your goal, how do you restructure the tax credit or work on the medicaid expansion, how do you get
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everybody together? and the simple response was, our goal is to get to 51 votes. that's all they care about right now. however long that takes, whatever the proposal looks like as they come out of this, that's the goal here. that's what they're going to be working forward. but i want to stress, it's going to be a lengthy process. a lot of it's going to be behind the scenes, and there is certainly a lot of work to come, john and poppy. >> interesting. you ask a complicated policy question, you get the answer is politics. phil mattingly for us on capitol hill, thank you so much. no one has died because they don't have access to health care. controversial statements being made by one republican now on the defensive. that's next.
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you're mandating people on medicaid accept dying. you are making -- >> no. you know, that line is so indefensible. nobody dies because they don't have access to health care. >> all right, republican congressman from idaho, raul labrador, being criticized by the people in the room after he said that nobody dies because they don't have access to health care. >> right. he later amended that statement on facebook, saying it was not elegantly phrased kayleigh mcenany and angela rye, former executive director of the congressional black caucus. kayleigh, let's start with your reaction to what labrador said, saying nobody dies because they don't have access to health care. aside from being just factually not the case, this shows, does it not, a messaging issue for
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republicans on selling this to their constituents? >> look, there was certainly a messaging issue there. it is never good to kind of dismiss the fears of the questioner. raul labrador should have said, look, i get that this is a deeply personal issue, i understand your fear, i recognize that. you know, with recognizing that, i think your fears should really be at the sinking "titanic" that is obamacare, the fact that several states are facing the real dire consequences of having no insurers in the individual market. but he didn't handle that one well. it's imperative that republicans do handle this well, because in order to sell the ahca, you have to have a messaging strategy. >> you know, we want to talk about the exchanges and about insurers pulling out of states in just a second, but angela rye, first to you. look, we now know, we always knew that health care is complicated -- most of us, i should say, always knew that hath kelly policy and health care reform was complicated, and there were statements that the obama team made that proved difficult and challenging, and
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they had messaging issues early on. is this another example of that? look, if you like your health care, if you like your doctor, you can keep it. we now know that wasn't a 100% guarantee right there. so, is this another case of that? >> um, i actually think it's a little bit different, john. i think it's closer to republican messaging saying that obamacare would be equivalent to death panels. i think it's similar to that messaging and not the president, the former president, trying to ensure that people would be able to keep their doctors. i was one of the lucky people that did get to keep my doctor. i still have the same doctor i had before obamacare and after, and i think that it's an important distinction to make. i also think that raul labrador, you know, really fell on the sword with this one. i'm sure that's not what he meant, but it's highly problematic, because it actually speaks to what most of the country hears, right, when we hear republicans talking about health care. what it seems to the common person is that by all means, they didn't want barack obama's name on a health care plan, and so that meant by any means
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necessary, they were going to sabotage the thing. 60-plus votes in the house to repeal obamacare meant that instead of bolstering and supporting a system that, yes, of course needed work because it was new, they instead tore it apart, watched it fall apart and said, oh, my god, look at the disaster, and forgot to say in parentheticals that we created. this could have been easily avoided by just simply amending the process instead of trying to destroy it and then trying to start from scratch, which is now where the senate has to end up. >> kayleigh, this is only a win for the trump administration if you actually get a bill passed, if you actually get something signed into law. so, then susan collins comes out, republican senator, and says, this is never coming before the senate, we're starting from scratch. and then you have a congressman from the house and freedom caucus saying if they change one ioda, you're not going to have 218 votes. where does that leave this white house on this? >> with a lot of work to do. there's no doubt about it.
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you have at least four senators who are saying, look, i reject the medicaid provisions and pre-existing provisions of the house. and you have three on the other end, the conservative wing, the rand paul side, saying i don't want to give an entitlement in the form of tax credits. look, this is a gargantuan, monstrous task and it will take work on behalf of the freedom caucus. they can add teeth to the pre-existing conditions waiver, saying states, prove to us you have a working system before we give you a waiver, and if we give you one, we'll put in a revocation provision that says we can take back that waiver if it stops working. it will take negotiating on both sides. the question is can it be done? >> the issue there -- and again, as i can see democrats saying, yeah, well, tom price from hhs is going to be the guy who determines that waiver? i could still see them saying that's problematic there but it would have more teeth, absolutely, than the current system. angela rye, to the notion that you are having insurers now pull out of states, you know, in
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virginia there could be several counties with only one insurer. in iowa, there are insurers pulling out left, right and center, some counties with no options or barely any options at this point. there's a problem right now that's going on with health care. the system cannot stay exactly as it is, can it, angela? >> no, it can't. and i think that's the point i was getting to earlier on. when you sabotage a system by trying to repeal it over and over again with no solutions, this is where you end up. so, i think senator manchin said it best talking about this new plan -- medicaid, taking medicaid away from folks in west virginia is just as problematic as someone in an inner city. you have to figure out how to strengthen and bolster a system. health care is not a partisan issue. it is a right, contrary to what raul labrador and lots of other folks believe and actually say. this is something that we need to work on together. i think the president said it best yesterday when he said we have to have the courage to ensure that united states citizens are covered. >> and covered in a way that's affordable, because that's a
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complaint i've heard from a lot of folks about obamacare. they can't afford it. but also on the other side, angela -- i've got to get kayleigh for a last word. but also on the other side, the unaffordability issue plays both ways. kay lead, i want your response to what reince priebus said this weekend on fox news talking about republicans being rewarded for this. li listen. >> there are sometimes in life you have to do what's right, not what's politically xee lly expe. we're going to do our jobs as legislators to get this done. i think the republican party will be rewarded. >> maybe, we were talking earlier about the 63 democrats who lost their seats after voting for obamacare, kayleigh. is this something, a tough vote that is going to reward republican lawmakers in the end? >> it will be determined by the facts on the ground. look, if people are able to keep coverage and premiums come down, which the cbo score shows premiums coming down but also people losing coverage -- if they can ameliorate the first half, make sure people keep coverage, they will be rewarded
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in the end, and i do think it's important to point out, obamacare, it's not just an amending issue, it is in an actuarial death spiral, according to one insurer's words. amending won't work, repealing is what's necessary, but republicans need to keep in mind the consequences of their own bill. >> what cbo score, though, kayleigh? kayleigh referenced the cbo score. that was from the bill two months ago, so i think we owe it to the american people to be honest about that. >> we have no cbo score on the current bill. >> thank you. >> that is a fact as it stands now. kayleigh, angela, thank you for being with us. appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up for us, it's not just sally yates testifying today. also the former director of national intelligence, james clapper is on the hot seat. why his testimony is so critical. we'll dive into that next.
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all right, in a few hours, we will hear from former acting attorney general sally yates. what did she tell the white house about michael flynn's contacts with russia before she was fired by the president? >> joining us, counterintelligence analyst philip mudd, former cia counterterrorism official. nice to have you here. if you were questioning sally yates, what would your number one question be to her today? >> what did you tell the white house and what was the urgency with which you told the white house? the second question is going to be can you give me some background on the seriousness of the allegations? poppy, one of the problems, just to close here, that she's going to have when she answers that question, and i guarantee it's going to come up is she's got to be careful talking about the specifics of individual americans, michael flynn, because she was privy to private information. but that question of what did you tell him and what was the message you got and the urgency they got it with i think is the number one question. >> why does the urgency matter
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so much, phil? because the white house acknowledges that sally yates told the white house counsel, don mcgann, got a heads-up, the white house says. so, why does it matter if it was an urgent heads-up as opposed to say a casual heads-up? >> well, the question is two-fold. first, why did it take them so long to ask him to leave the white house? but the second is a serious question about ethics at the white house. if you're getting a warning that someone has inappropriate contacts with foreign officials, one of your questions has to be is it appropriate for that person to sit around the table when we're having sensitive policy discussions about that issue. so i want to know whether the message was, there's something going on you ought to think about. i think the message is going to embarrass the white house today, and it's going to be forget about a heads-up. i walked over as a senior justice official to tell them one of their people was doing something completely inappropriate and they sat on it for a while. >> and the reason why it matters is her belief -- and we'll hear more about this today -- that russia could have leverage over
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michael flynn and could use him to their, whatever they would like to see because of those communications that were not disclosed. let me ask you about carter page, all right? you were on another not-to-be-named network -- >> moonlighting. >> moonlighting. >> two-timing us. >> excuse me. >> and you were talking about carter page. you were talking about carter page and the fact that we know he came out on friday and said that he's not going to give these committees the details of his conversations with the russians. he sort of quipped, they can go ask the obama administration for those, alluding to surveillance and the fisa warrants, et cetera. but you said look, he's chump change, don't pay attention to carter page. why do you think he doesn't matter at all? >> he matters halfway. i was saying he's out in the public domain, therefore, people like me talk about him. other people, for example, paul manafort, are less out in the public domain, there's less information, they're engaging less with the media, so carter page is the subject of an attack because he's made himself a public figure. that said, i do believe we shouldn't underestimate the fact that the russians might have seen him as a great access point
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in the campaign. forget whether he was senior or not, he knows a lot about who was who, who was making decisions on policies, what starbucks they went to. that kind of information for an intelligence officer's pretty valuable. >> and phil, you make the case that you think the fbi is doing behind the scenes -- and this is quite separate from the congressional investigation -- you think the fbi is trying to find someone to flip, find someone to lean on and do what? >> ask them to talk about other people, typically more senior targets in the investigation, because remember, half the story here can't be told. they're not going to talk to the russians, so they've got to look at things like travel records, financial records, interviews. they've got to look at discrepancies in interviews, which is one reason this takes so long. if somebody lied in september, you've got to go talk to them again in january, and they're looking for one person, two people to say, well, instead of going to federal prison, i'd be happy to give you the real scoop. that's critically important when they can't talk to the russians. >> all right. stop going on those other networks and we'll have you back. >> philip mudd, thanks much.
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>> thank you. >> stay loyal. all right, on the streets right now, growing protests, this after an historic election there. not much of a victory lap for the new president-elect. what does this all mean? we'll be there live next. umbrellas!! you need one of these. you wouldn't put up with an umbrella that covers you part way, so when it comes to pain relievers, why put up with just part of a day? aleve, live whole not part. tell you what, i'll give it to you for half off.
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all right, at this moment in the streets of paris, riot police accompanied by many, many, many protesters who have gathered there, many of them union members. they're protesting what is an historic election in france. >> yeah, a few hours ago, the president-elect, emmanuel mac n macron, he met with the outgoing president, francois hollande. francois hollande announced the inauguration for the new president will be sunday. they don't mess around in france. want to go to the streets of paris, back to what we were seeing before, those protests with the riot police. that's where we find isa soares. not much of a honeymoon for the president-elect in france, isa. >> reporter: not at all, not a honeymoon, john, and definitely not a victory lap, at least with the images that we've been seeing this morning. what started off as 300 or 400 people now led to 1,000.
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people behind me starting to disperse somewhat, but this was yesterday a historic election. we saw many people didn't expect them to get to the final two make it to the presidency, to the champs elysees, against a woman who obviously also a populist who many didn't expect to get to the number two. she lost, of course. she wanted to win. she lost, but it is a huge number for her, more than 30% or so, something that her father, who started the party, couldn't even achieve. but what you have now, john, is pretty much a divided country. more than 11 million people voted for marine le pen. almost 10% voted blank, and that basically means not for one or the other candidate. whilst we're hearing so many people say, you know, he is, macron, is the new jfk, many are worried here about what that will mean for them because he doesn't represent them. i've been traveling up and down the country to get a sense of what worries people, and people feel disillusioned by the
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elites, by the political parties. and although he has a political movement, not a party yet, it's a movement, many people are worried about his reforms and what he's promising, and the fact that many say he belongs to the elites. john? >> all right, isa soares for us in paris right now, just a few days to get ready to take over for the fifth republic. isa, thank you very much. all right, coming up, new concerns this morning about the trump administration and conflicts of interest. this time, it involves jared kushner's sister and wealthy business owners in china. wait until you hear this. listen, sugar, we're lettin' you go. it's that splenda naturals gal, isn't it? coffee: look, she's sweet, she's got natural stevia, no bitter aftertaste, and zero calories. all the partners agree? even iced tea? especially iced tea. goodbye, sugar. hello, new splenda naturals. but they're different.d kind it's nice to remove artificial ingredients. kind never had to. we've used real ingredients, whole nuts, and natural flavors from the very beginning.
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build a better california for all of us. all right, an apology this morning by the company owned by jared kushner's family after a pitch to chinese investors by kushner's sister seemed to suggest that an investment would give them access to this administration. >> our christine alesci on the
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conflict of interest beat joins us now. this was stunning as i read it as this was happening. i was like, that really happened? >> essentially, what this boils down to is it suggests the kushner family is willing to use its proximity to the administration for personal benefit. here's what happened. the kushners are trying to court wealthy chinese investors through a program called eb-5. under this program, a wealthy person can invest $500,000 in a job-creating program, like a real estate development, in exchange, that person gets a path to citizenship. now, here's the problem, though, the eb-5 is controversial for its own reasons. the problem is, during this presentation, jared's sister drops jared's name in the presentation and his role in the administration. also, the investors, the prospective investors were shown a slide with donald trump's picture on it that suggests he was a key decisionmaker in the
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eb-5 program. based on our reporter who was in the room, people came away with the impression that a kushner investment was safer because of this direct connection with the administration versus another eb-5 program that a competing developer -- [ everyone talking at once ] so the kushner organization this morning apologizing, saying quote/unquote, ms. meier wanted to make clear that her brother had stepped away from the company in january and has nothing to do with this project. kushner companies apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors that was not ms. meyer's intention. but here's the thing, we are talking about china. in this culture, proximity to power is valuable, and family connections are also valuable, so it's very likely that the kushners and the organizers knew what those images and what those words would relay to the audience. >> she chose to talk about her brother. she chose to talk about the fact that her brother works in the white house. she chose -- or maybe she didn't
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choose -- but certainly someone there knew there was a picture of the president up on the screen there as well. this stuff sends a clear message. >> nothing ever happened. there was outrage, and then -- i remember reporting on conflicts of interest for months and months and people are outraged. ethics experts are laughing at this apology today. they're on twitter harassing the administration, and essentially, it seems like, you know, it doesn't really stick in terms of the impact to the family, in terms of the impact to the administration. but the other problem here is that the administration, donald trump does hold sway over the fate of this controversial program that directly benefits his family. there is conflicts everywhere. it's riddled with them. >> and again, eb-5 visas are controversial because you're selling visas outright. >> saying it's easier for rich people to become citizens than poor people. >> and that's why members of congress, some of them want to end the funding of this program -- >> and it was going on under
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president obama, too. this program is not new. >> yep. >> cristina alesci, thank you so much. president trump unveiling the names of ten nominees to fill federal judgeships today. >> yeah, two of those from a short list to be possible supreme court picks. this list was disclosed by the trump campaign during the election season. want to bring in cnn justice reporter laura jarrett. laura, ten names, clearly the administration, as any does, wants to remake the judiciary in its ideological image. >> reporter: well, that's exactly right, john, and president trump is expected to announce, as you said, a slew of conservative judges to the federal bench later today, both federal district court judges as well as federal appeals court judges. of particular note, we've got several from the list of past supreme court nominees. number one, joan larsen, who's expected to go to the sixth circuit. she's on the michigan supreme court. we have also got david stras,
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hailing from minnesota, expected to go to the eighth circuit, as well as a professor at notre dame, amy barrett. and finally, kevin newsom who is going to the 11th circuit and he clerked for justice suter. lots of court clerks now going to the federal bench as president trump starts to begin to fulfill those 120, roughly 120 vacancies on the federal bench. john? >> laura, also, the president's travel ban today, 2.0, if you will. big day in court. what happens? >> reporter: yes. yeah, that's right. the travel ban is back in the spotlight, so to speak, today, in the fourth circuit court of appeals. and you'll remember back in march, maryland-based federal judge blocked the core provision of the travel ban that banned foreign nationals from six muslim majority countries from coming to the u.s. and so, the crux of the issue for the fourth circuit today will be whether the district
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court got the law right when he examined trump's statements from the campaign. as you will remember, he made a litany of different statements about muslims. and so, the question will be whether he was allowed to look at those statements from the campaign when evaluating the constitutionality of this executive order. poppy? >> how much longer do we have in this appeals process at this point, laura? what's next and where? >> reporter: well, so, the case will go before the full bench today, the fourth circuit. and we were actually hearing about two significant recusalre actually. we were expecting all 15 judges, but we've now learned that two of the more conservative-leaning judges have recused themselves, judge harvey wilkinson and judge duncan. so, that means ten, ten democratically appointed judges will be hearing this travel ban case, 10 out of the 13. and so, after this, the next stop is the supreme court. >> and you'll be there for us all along the way.
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laura jarrett, thank you very much. thank you all for being with us. i'm poppy harlow. >> and i'm john berman. "at this hour with kate bolduan" "at this hour with kate bolduan" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. the russia investigation back in the spotlight in a major way. just a short time from now, one of the major players in the probe of russian meddling in the 2016 election breaks her silence. the former acting attorney general, sally yates, the same sally yates, of course, who refused to enforce the president's travel ban and lost her job because of it. she will be testifying along with the former director of national intelligence, james clapper, before the senate. and while we don't know, of course, what yates is going to say, we do know that expectations could not be higher. her testimony's expected to contradict how the white house has described her warnings about the president's national security adviser,


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