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tv   CNN Special Report The Trump- Russia Investigation  CNN  January 5, 2018 11:00pm-12:31am PST

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the highest levels of the intelligence community during his first face-to-face meeting with them. you do learn a lot and you great better understanding of what this investigation is all about, anderson. >> pamela brown, thank you very much. thanks for watching "360." time now for the cnn special report, the trump-russia investigation. the following is a cnn special report. [ applause ] only being a politician for a short period of time, how am i doing? am i doing okay? i'm president. hey, i'm president. you believe it, right? >> a shadow hangs over the white house. >> why so many lies? >> this is not normal. >> the most explosive evidence yet in the russia investigation. >> the urgent questions. >> was it appropriate for you to meet with the russian officials? >> is it true that mr. manafort owed you millions of dollars? >> how is all of that not collusion? >> at the heart of the trump-russia mystery. >> i have nothing to do with
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russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person i deal with has. >> but there were secret contacts. >> breaking and stunning news. release of an e-mail chain. >> it came from russians. >> some denials that defy facts. >> i don't know what you're talking about. >> it's disgusting, so phony. >> i didn't take any money from russia, if that's what you're asking. >> a shocking dismissal. >> the president of the united states has terminated the director of the fbi. >> he's a showboat, he's a grandstander. >> those were lies plain and simple. >> donald trump's changing stories. >> i own nothing in russia. i don't have any deals in russia. >> i've done a lot of business with the russians. >> compliments for vladimir putin. >> he is very much of a leader. he's done an amazing job. so smart. >> where does the story end? >> you may or may not find evidence of an impeachable offense.
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>> the russia story is a total fabrication. it's just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of american politics. [ speaking foreign language ] good evening. i'm pamela brown. for more than a year i've been part of a cnn team investigating this critically important story. a consensus of u.s. intelligence agencies concluded that russia interfered with the treasured right of american democracy, the free and fair election of a president. the big question now, were the russians working with any associates of donald trump or his company or his campaign? we followed hundreds of
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different threads to financiers. we've reported new information almost every day. tonight we will bring that reporting all together in one place to tell a more complete story. we don't know how this investigative journey will end, but we do know where it starts. ♪ >> in november of 2013, donald trump brought the miss universe pageant to moscow. >> russia and putin, you know, i was in moscow and they treated me so great. putin even sent me a present, beautiful present. >> hi, everybody. welcome to moscow! >> it's an amazing location. moscow. all of russia is going wild over
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it. we're very happy. the miss universe pageant is just setting records. >> trump seemed to have the time of his life. >> wow. that's really -- >> you're looking very -- >> that is really nice. now i belong. >> the big man on campus. >> donald trump. ♪ >> this is the unlikely place where an unusual cast of characters first emerged. ♪ men who would end up in the middle of an investigation that has plagued a presidency. donald trump was paid between $12 million and $20 million to bring miss universe to russia. >> russia wanted it, moscow wanted it, everybody wanted the miss universe. we had 18 countries that wanted it. they fought really hard to get it. >> the money came from this man.
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a billionaire developer, friend of vladimir putin, sometimes called the trump of russia. >> then they were whisked away to the magnificent agalarov estate. >> miss universe was a family affair. son emin sang at the pageant. and his mom got a job, too. >> fashion and beauty expert, irina agalarov! >> trump seemed thrilled with his new russian friends. >> the most powerful people in all of russia. the richest men in russia. >> before the pageant, trump invited the agalarovs to dinner. and also there was music publicist rob goldstone. a fan of silly facebook posts, he he's the man who wrote the
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infamous e-mails to donald trump jr., e-mails that promised dirt on hillary clinton. and emin, the singer, would later help goldstone set up the trump tower meeting with russians. and there was one more mystery guest, who would later show up at trump tower. ike kaveladze. trump wined and dined all of them but he was after a bigger fish to make his pageant great. >> well, we've invited president putin. i know he'd like to go. ♪ >> before the miss universe deal, donald trump almost never spoke of vladimir putin. it was 2013 when he seemed to develop an intense admiration for the russian strongman. >> he's put himself -- a lot of people would say he's put himself at the forefront of the world as a leader. he's done an amazing job of showing certain leadership our people have not been able to
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match. >> he would echo those sentiments for years to come. >> russia. i mean, putin has an 80% popularity in his country. he's so outsmarting the united states that all of a sudden the people in russia like him. run but a very smart cookie, much smarter, much more cunning than our president. >> this was also when trump began giving conflicting accounts about knowing putin. >> do you have a relationship with vladimir putin? a conversational relationship? >> i do have a relationship. >> what exactly is your relationship with vladimir putin? >> i have no relationship with putin. >> he would change his story repeatedly. >> i know him very well because we were both on "60 minutes." we were stablemates. >> i don't know anything about him other than he will respect me. >> vladimir putin did not show up at the pageant. but trump made other contacts. >> i got to meet other leaders there.
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everybody was there. it was a massive event. i was with top-level people, both oligarchs and generals. >> it's hard to say if oligarchs or generals were at the pageant or at one of the many parties. >> everybody was there. it was a massive event. it was tremendous. >> but trump did have at least one business meeting. >> we're thinking about doing a trump tower moscow. so, we're talking to a group of people about doing that. >> trump sent this good-bye tweet to his new russian friends. fantastic job, he said. trump tower moscow is next. four years would pass, but the players at miss universe would return to take center stage in the trump-russia drama. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> the most explosive evidence yet in the russia investigation.
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>> it was in july just six months ago -- >> breaking and stunning news, the release of an e-mail chain from last june. >> -- that the world first learned about the trump tower meeting. >> e-mails revealed that donald trump jr. went into a meeting with a russian lawyer. >> say hello to don jr. >> the president's son had a secret meeting with russians. >> clearly told she was working for the kremlin and that she had damaging information on hillary clinton. >> and it wasn't just don jr. paul manafort and jared kushner were there, too. >> the subject line of the e-mail chain, russia-clinton, private and confidential. >> i thought it might have been fake. >> it looks like a farcical episode. >> russia-clinton private and confidential? >> who follows them down that rat hole? >> not very smart people. >> what? seriously, what? >> some of the e-mails read like a script for a bond movie, but they were written by rob goldstone and donald trump jr.
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>> information that would incriminate hillary and her dealings with russia and would be very useful to your father. >> this can't be dismissed as people out to get donald j. trump jr. or fake news. this is evidence of willingness to commit collusion. >> the offer of political dirt came courtesy of agalarov with an assist from his pop son, emin. ♪ >> this is obviously very high level and sensitive information, but it's part of russia and its government's support for mr. trump. >> when donald trump jr. is told the russian government is trying to elect your father president, he doesn't say, what do you mean? how can that be? he says, "i want to hear this."
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>> the actual response? >> "if it's what you say, i love it." >> the trump camp's explanations were confusing. >> strange and conflicting responses. >> trump jr. told the the "new york times" it was, quote, a short introductory meeting primarily about russian adoption. cnn reported that president trump helped write the statement while he was flying home from the g-20 summit. >> he weighed in and offered suggestion like any father would do. >> but the statement was misleading so there were questions about how large a role the president might have played in crafting it. >> it is something that i think the special counsel is very interested in. and he wants to know who was involved in the writing of it. >> if a misleading statement was put out, the core question is
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the classic question of intent. were trump administration officials starting with the president himself lying to the public about the nature of his campaign dealings with russia? >> the mueller team has questioned some who were on air force one when the statement was being written, including white house communication director hope hicks. when the story of the meeting first broke, trump defenders downplayed it. >> i don't know much about it other than it seems to be a big nothing burger. >> one of those people saying it's a nothing burger. >> this is a massive nothing burger. >> hillary clinton? >> finally don jr. acknowledged the full story, that he had met with a russian lawyer offering dirt on hillary clinton. >> the stories kept changing about what the meeting was about. >> we got more information when donald trump jr. appeared on fox news. >> someone sent me an e-mail. i can't help what someone sends
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me, you know? i read it, i responded accordingly. and if something was interesting there, i think it pretty common. >> the difference in this case was that it came from russians. >> russia, america's adversary. sean hannity did not press trump jr. about russian interference. but one year earlier, jake tapper did. he asked trump jr. about what were then still just suspicions. >> robby mook, the campaign manager for secretary of state hillary clinton, i asked him about the dnc leak and he suggested that experts were saying that russians were behind both the hacking of the dnc e-mails and their release. >> keep in mind as you watch this, it was six weeks after the trump tower meeting, after trump jr. had been told russia wanted to help his father win. >> it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. they'll say anything to be able to win this. this is time and time again, lie
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after lie. it's disgusting. it's so phony. >> journalists began questioning everything they heard. >> you are 100% confident that no one in the campaign, not don jr., not jared kushner, not paul manafort, no one in the campaign told the president anything about these e-mails, anything about this meeting, before it happened and he will testify to that under oath? >> nobody is asking him to testify under oath about this. i don't know how that's coming into the picture. the president of not at the meeting, was not aware at the meeting, did not participate in the meeting. the fact is the president of not involved. >> there's a legal side and a political side. >> yeah, there's a political side, which is, you're out there and you're saying constantly there was no effort to collude with the russians in any way, shape or form. suddenly you have your son, your campaign manager and your senior adviser all in a meeting with
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russians who have promised to bring you dirt. >> on the very same day his son set up that meeting, donald trump told a crowd that he would soon have something to share on the clintons. >> i am going to give a major speech on probably monday of next week and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. i think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. >> trump never did give that speech. but finally with all of washington buzzing about the trump tower meeting, donald trump weighed in from france. >> i think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting. it's called opposition research or even research into your opponent. >> even among republicans, the response was, really? >> any time you're in a campaign and you get an offer from a foreign government to help your campaign, the answer is no.
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>> from the moment you watch "dr. zhivago" to the point you had a shot of liquor with a guy in a furry hat, you need to disclose every contact you have ever had with russia. >> donald trump jr. said he had done that. >> so as far as you know, this is all of it? >> this is everything. this is everything. >> but it was not everything. there were more russians there who were never mentioned. >> today we learned more people were in that meeting than just the lawyer and the three members of the trump team. so you're learning more about who was the eighth person in the meeting between donald trump and the attorney. >> this was a representative of the agalarov family. >> we're waiting to find out if there were any russians in new york that day who were not in that meeting. >> the eight people were donald
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trump jr., jared kushner, paul manafort, rob goldstone, rinat akhmetshin, ike kaveladze, a russian translator. the leader of the meeting, attorney natalia veselnitskaya. at first, she denied any connection to the russian government. >> have you ever worked for the russian government? do you have connections to the russian government? >> but she does have connections to the chief prosecutor in russia, who she shared her talking points with months before the trump tower meeting. she also denied bringing up any dirt on hillary clinton. >> translator: i want to make sure that everybody understands that there was never a talk about damaging information about mrs. clinton. >> now she says she may have had
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dirt about alleged illegal donations to the clinton campaign. >> natalia says she provided certain documents to the russian prosecutor general. >> agalarov family attorney scott balber spoke with veselnitskaya. >> she referenced the possibility that money was provided to the clinton campaign. >> i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person has dealt with this. >> trump said that in january. no people has now grown to 12 people, trump associates who have had contact with russians. two of the most prominent have been charged with crimes. michael flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi. paul manafort pleaded not guilty to, among other charges, money laundering. you'll hear more about them later in this story.
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but one lesser known player is also in the hot seat. donald trump first mentioned him at a meeting with "washington post" editors in 2016. >> george papadopoulos, he's an oil and energy consultant. excellent guy. >> excellent guy george papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi in the russia investigation. >> you called george papadopoulos an excellent guy. what is your reaction? what's your reaction to george papadopoulos? >> thank you very much. >> the trump team has been working overtime to portray him as a nobody. >> this individual was the member of a volunteer advisory council. >> he was the coffee boy. if he was going to wear a wire, all we'd know is whether he prefers regular american coffee. >> but the coffee boy found his way to the big boy table with donald trump and other top campaign people. >> he doesn't know how to even make a coffee. >> the fiancee of george
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papadopoulos says he was much more than a coffee boy. >> he attended many events and entertained contacts of high-level officials of different countries. he was actively giving his input and insight in terms of strategies. >> and it turns out papadopoulos may be the very reason there's a trump-russia investigation. "the new york times" reports back in may of 2016 papadopoulos told an australian diplomat that the kremlin had thousands of e-mails that could be damaging to hillary clinton. two months later, the e-mails began to leak. australia told u.s. officials what the young campaign aide had said and that led to the decision to open up an investigation. papadopoulos is now cooperating with the mueller team. when we come back -- >> the president thinks this is a witch hunt. is there any way can you respond to that? >> before there was a mueller investigation.
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>> he's become more famous than me. >> there was a comey investigation. >> i remember standing in the newsroom and somebody gasped and i thought oh god, what happened? >> the jim comey bombshell that no one saw coming. >> it's a dark moment in american history today. hey julie, i know today's critical, but i really need... ...a sick day. dads don't take sick days... dads take dayquil severe. the non-drowsy, coughing, aching, fever, sore throat... ...stuffy head, no sick days medicine.
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just over 100 days in office, president trump scored a much-needed win after a house vote on health care. >> only being a politician for a short period of time, how am i doing? am i doing okay? i'm president. hey, i'm president. >> but days later, he made a decision that potentially put his presidency in legal and political jeopardy. >> moments ago, breaking news that no one saw coming today. >> i remember standing in the newsroom and somebody gasped. >> a bombshell at the white house, james comey is out. >> president trump had abruptly fired the man in charge of investigating his campaign's ties to russia. although the president is allowed to fire the fbi director, there were suspicions about trump's motivations. >> this is not normal. this is not how presidents behave.
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it's a dark moment in american history today. >> one senator said it has plunged the country into a full-fledged constitutional crisis. >> it fueled calls for a special prosecutor and raised questions about how the firing was handled. >> comey wasn't even in the county. >> he was talking to fbi agents in los angeles and he looks up and sees he's fired from television? >> that is what we were told. >> that just gives you a sense of how impulsive this firing was and it really did backfire. >> the underlying facts are not in dispute. the president fired james comey. the issue is why. >> was something specific happening? was there a moment? >> the white house coms department didn't know about this. >> the media team was scrambling to answer reporters' questions. >> they couldn't come up with some talking points, a
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statement, an explanation and basic facts. >> and sean spicer was left standing by the bushes. >> just turn the lights off. >> no camera for a moment. >> let just relax and enjoy the night, have a glass of wine. >> they deliberately didn't tell the press office because they thought the press office would leak it. this is at that moment when he was hugely mistrustful of his own staff. >> at first, a memo win by deputy attorney general rod rosenstein was given as the justification for the firing. rosenstein was overseaing the russia investigation, as attorney general jeff sessions had recused himself. that recusal had infuriated president trump, who had saw it as disloyal. >> he expected a certain measure of personal loyalty from sessions, which is not how the u.s. government is supposed to work. >> "the new york times" reported when trump heard that sessions might recuse himself, he ordered white house counsel don mcgahn to stop it.
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that effort was unsuccessful. and trump is still angry at >> it's all a bunch of dominos that seemed to kind of fall. rod rosenstein appointed a special counsel and he believes there would be not a special counsel if jeff sessions remained engaged in the investigation. >> "the times" reports that special counsel robert mueller is looking at the matter as a part of a potential obstruction of justice case. meanwhile, on the night of the comey firing, the chaos continued. >> what prompted that step? >> you have to ask the deputy attorney general. >> but he just started two weeks ago. would the white house have told him to do that? >> the memo was critical of comey's handling of hillary clinton's e-mails before the election. >> why now are you concerned about the hillary clinton e-mail investigation when as a candidate donald trump was praising it from the campaign trail? >> i think you're looking at the wrong set of facts here.
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in other words, you're going back to the campaign. this man is the president of the united states. he acted decisively today. he took the recommend days of his deputy attorney general, who oversees -- >> that makes no sense. >> finally trump gave what appeared to be his real reason. >> i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. it's an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that they should have won. >> the day after comey was fired, trump shared his feelings about it with russian officials visiting the oval office. according to "the new york times," the president said, "i just fired the head of the fbi. he was crazy, a real nut job." >> it was a staggering moment. disparaging the director of the fbi, albeit fired, to an adversarial power? >> perhaps of greater importance was when the president also said this --
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"i face great pressure because of russia. that's taken off." >> the words alleving pressure i think are going to raise questions for investigators. >> the president has consistently said he did not obstruct justice when he fired james comey. the two men come from completely different worlds. >> james comey is a professional law man. he has a respect for the traditions of the justice department. >> it should be about the facts and the law. that's why i became fbi director. >> donald trump, on the other hand, is a businessman. >> he expects absolute loyalty from everybody working for him. that's the culture in which he has operated for many, many years. >> their relationship got off to a bad start. before the inauguration, james comey was in charge of telling donald trump about the dossier, the controversial document containing allegations about the president gathered as part of an opposition research project
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during the campaign. >> i didn't want him thinking that i was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way. >> it turns out that's exactly what the president thought, according to an interview he gave the "new york times." >> trump's reaction was anger. he said it was completely false. >> the encounter apparently didn't sit well with comey either. >> we went back to the fbi suburban and pulled out a classified computer and wrote his first memo about his interactions with donald trump. >> i was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting so i felt it really important to document. >> comey's next public encounter with the president was awkward. the director of the fbi thought it was crucial to keep his distance. >> he stands in the part of the room that is physically as far from the president has it's possible to be. >> but then -- >> he's become more famous than
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me. >> it encapsulated the difficult position comey was in because he was at once the fbi director, answerable to the president of the united states, but also conducting an investigation of the trump campaign, which the president obviously hated. >> you've seen the picture of me walking across the blue room. what the president whispered in my ear was "i really look forward to working with you." >> the president kept reaching out. next came an invitation to dinner at the white house. >> the very fact that the president, whose campaign is under investigation, is asking to have dinner with the fbi director alone raises all sorts of red flags, as it did for comey. >> the dinner was an effort to build a relationship. in fact, he asked specifically
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of loyalty in the context of asking me to stay. >> the president's words, according to comey, i need loyalty, i expect loyalty. >> he was asking for something. i was refusing to give it. >> the white house denied he was asking for personal loyalty. >> i think the president wants loyalty to this country and to the rule of law. >> it is their last meeting which may prove to be critical in the investigation of potential obstruction of justice. >> just picture the scene in the oval office. the fbi director is there with his boss, jeff sessions, with other very senior officials. they are told to leave the room by the president and then it's just a one on one. >> why would you kick the attorney general, the chief of staff out to talk to me? my impression was, something big was about to happen. >> this was one day after national security adviser michael flynn had been forced out. the white house said flynn was fired because he lied to the
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vice president about his conversations with the russian ambassador. questions have been raised about whether the president knew flynn also lied to the fbi, which is a federal crime. so another critical question is whether trump knew it when he said this according to comey -- "i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. he is a good guy." >> the president of the united states with me alone saying "i hope this," i took it as this is what he wants me to do. i didn't obey that but that's the way i took it. >> it is so wildly inappropriate and so contrary to how the president is supposed to work and it may well be evidence of a crime. >> did you at any time urge former fbi director james comey to close or back down the investigation into michael flynn? >> no. no. next question. >> it may have been comey's appearance on capitol hill just
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days before he was fired in early may that finally sealed his fate. comey was asked about his decision to publicly announce the reopening of the clinton e-mail investigation before the election. >> look, this was terrible. it makes me mildly nauseous to think we might have had some impact on the election. but honestly, it wouldn't have changed the decision. >> comey's concern that he affected the outcome of the election infuriated trump. >> he considered it a personal attack. >> he's a showboater, a grandstander. trump hears that and he hears, my presidency is illegitimate. you're questioning if i should be in the oval office right now. >> the russians did not affect the vote and everybody seems to think that. >> the president spent a rainy weekend at his new jersey golf resort stewing about jim comey's testimony. >> he came back and said, i'm going to do it. i'm going to fire james comey. >> among those supporting the
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decision, son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner. >> it did show that some of the people around the president who are pushing this are beyond politically naive. >> after his firing, james comey returned to capitol hill, and revealed something extraordinary. >> i asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with the reporter. >> the memo described his last meeting with the president in the oval office. >> i asked him to because i thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. >> he was right. >> this is huge. >> this is a significant step. we're learning that the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein has appointed former fbi director bob mueller to oversee the investigation of the russia probe. >> the special counsel has a wide net he can cast to look into all things russia. and who knows what else he could find? >> that would not have happened had president trump not fired
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james comey. still ahead, chasing an oligarch. >> is it true that mr. manafort owed you millions of dollars when he was the head of the trump campaign? >> to chase down the real story. >> did he offer those private briefings to you as a way to try and repay that debt? >> on all the president's men. >> get lost, please. >> will you sign my russian flag? please, sign my russian flag. i realize that ah, that $100k is not exactly a fortune. well, a 103 how long did it take you two to save that? a long time. then it's a fortune. i told you we had a fortune. get closer to your investment goals with a conversation. laying here so traffic can safely navigate around this broken-down rv. really? a road flare? it's my new year's resolution. now i'm all about safety and stuff. you're not even going to try to catch something on fire? i'm not.
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this is cnn breaking news. >> paul manafort will surrender today. >> indictment, conspiracy against the united states. >> a former campaign chairman indicted on nine counts. >> i have the smartest people. >> trusted adviser jared kushner. >> a secret means of communicating with the kremlin. >> a top adviser who discussed back channel with the russians. >> i have the most dedicated people. >> michael flynn has resigned tonight. >> back door communications with russia. >> and a national security adviser guilty of lying to the fbi. >> i have the best people. >> paul manafort, jared kushner and michael flynn. this is the story of all the president's men.
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>> i got the best in the world. >> settle down, guys. you all right? ready? okay. >> november 10th, 2016. >> we talked about some of the organizational issues. >> two days after the election, president obama gives his successor a piece of advice. >> -- that ensures our president-elect is successful. >> do not hire michael flynn -- >> and now the oath of office. >> -- as your national security adviser. cnn was told something by u.s. officials that was deeply concerning. >> the next president of the united states right here! >> during the campaign, american intelligence picked up the russians bragging that they had a strong relationship with flynn.
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>> you have to take some of the conversations we were told with a little bit of a grain of salt, but this set off an alarm for obama administration officials who were quite worried about it. >> you know, people talk about temperament -- >> flynn had worried intelligence officials for months. in 2015 the retired three-star general appeared on the kremlin-funded news channel r.t. >> russia and the united states have to work together on this. >> he even at an event celebrating r.t.'s tenth anniversary and sat next to vladimir putin at dinner. >> you have a former top intelligence official at the united states celebrates this gala for what seems to be the propaganda arm of the government. >> flynn made almost $34,000 for his appearance. but investigators looking into his security appearance said flynn told them he did not take any money for the trip from a foreign source. >> i didn't take any money from russia, if that's what you're asking me.
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>> congressional members from both parties have said he may have broken the law in the process. >> it appears as if he did take that money. it was inappropriate and there are repercussions for the violation of law. >> it leads investigators to wonder why aren't you disclosing certain things? what do you have to hide? >> flynn has denied what he calls, quote, false accusations of treason. but the bombshell of robert mueller's investigation came on december 1st, when flynn pleaded guilty of lying to the fbi. he told fbi agents he had not discussed sanctions with russia's ambassador during the transition. but he had talked sanctions and the fbi knew it because the ambassador had been monitored by u.s. intelligence. >> he said he didn't do it and there were transcripts clearly showing that he did. >> what's more, flynn admitted in the plea deal that the sanctions talk had been coordinated with trump's transition team.
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>> the white house cannot argue this was michael flynn going off as a loose cannon here. >> a white house lawyer claimed that flynn's guilty plea didn't implicate anyone else. before he pled guilty, flynn was facing a lot of legal issues. but mueller only charged him with one count. so it possible that mueller has an even bigger story to tell. >> we see manafort coming in with counsel. >> paul manafort, the president's former campaign chairman is also facing possible jail time. he's charged with money laundering millions of dollars, concealing his work for a foreign government and conspiring against the united states. he has pleaded not guilty. >> the special counsel makes a very aggressive argument that this is someone who can't be trusted. >> manafort made a lot of his money working for this man,
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putin's ally, viktor yanukovych, the former president of ukraine. yanukovich was a strong man who presided over a deadly crackdown against protesters in the streets of kiev. he left his country in disgrace. manafort had helped bring him to power. >> paul manafort has for decades been the washington lobbyist and influence peddler around the world for a lot of the most vicious dictators we've seen. >> the question is, was manafort also linked to russia's strongman, vladimir putin? >> are there any ties between mr. trump, you or your campaign and putin and his regime? >> no, there are not. it absurd and there's no basis to it. >> but u.s. intelligence saw a different story. agents intercepted communications from suspected russian operatives appearing
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that manafort appeared to be asking for help. >> they describe him encouraging help, encouraging assistance to donald trump's campaign. >> his ties to russia go way back. he worked for a close associate of putin. oleg, one of a few wealthy oligarchs putin consults with regularly, according to a u.s. state department cable. >> he can pick up a phone to the oligarchs and say, hey, i need to get a message out and it gets done because he's vladimir putin and that's how the system works. >>less than two weeks before trump got nominated, manafort offered to brief him privately on how the campaign was going, according to "the washington post." >> it's not often that the russians get somebody to volunteer like that. >> does he owe you millions of dollars? >> in fact, court documents indicate that manafort may have been in debt to him. >> did he offer you those
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private briefings to try and repay some of that debt to you? is that why he offered them? >> get lost, please. thank you. >> his spokesman told cnn that the oligarch was never offered briefings by manafort. manafort's spokesman has denied he was in debt to him during the trump campaign and afterwards. but he has admitted that manafort offered the briefings. manafort was also at the trump tower meeting with the russians in june 2016. >> mr. kushner, will you sign my russian flag? please, sign my russian flag. >> and so was the president's son-in-law, jared kushner. >> do you have any comment, mr. kushner? >> kushner hasn't been charged with any crimes but troubling questions have been raised about his connections to russia. >> jared kushner is incredibly important for several reasons. he's a witness to virtually all the central issues in this
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investigation. he is also important because he's an independent actor. he is someone who had contacts with russian representatives. >> kushner has not been forthcoming about those contacts. he was required by law to disclose them to the fbi to get a security clearance. but he has repeatedly admitted foreign contacts and had to submit his forms four times, sparking tough questions from both parties. his reasons for the revisions range from forgetfulness to a clerical error. >> there have been stories that have been appearing for months about jared kushner's meetings. >> december 1st, 2016, kushner meets with russian ambassador sergey kislyak in trump tower. >> that russian ambassador came to new york. jared kushner met with that
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russian ambassador. >> they discussed setting up a back channel with moscow at russia's own embassy. >> you have to say that raises a red flag and say, well, why wouldn't this reported? >> kushner claimed he wanted to discuss syria and said the arrangement was never set up. some in u.s. intelligence believe that kislyak was one of russia's top spies in washington. >> did you recruit any members of the trump administration? >> december 13th, 2016, kushner meets with sergei gorkov, the head of a sanctioned russian bank that's often funded putin's pet projects, like the sochi olympics. the bank was also used as a cover by a russian spy in new york city who went to prison for espionage. >> the fbi now says it has busted a russian spy ring. >> he was one of three russian spies. >> and gorkov himself attended the training academy for russian
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intelligence operatives. >> what did you really speak to jared kushner about in new york when you met him in december? >> no comment. >> there have been questions about whether kushner might have discussed his family's business with banker gorkov. kushner owns a storied fifth avenue building with a reported $1.2 billion mortgage coming due in 2019. kushner says his business dealings never came up with gorkov and that all of his meetings with russians were nothing to worry about. >> i did not collude with russia, nor do i know of anyone else in the campaign who did so. >> your bank said it was a business meeting. >> but his bank implies that it was about business, referring to kushner as the head of kushner industries. robert mueller's team has questioned the influence of
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kushner, including in the firing of james comey. >> did anyone in your campaign have contacts with russia in the course of the investigation? >> investigators still have many questions for the president's men. >> how many times do i have to answer this question? >> the collusion question -- >> i have nothing to do with russia. >> -- is not closed. >> to the best of my knowledge no person that i deal with does. >> mr. trump -- when we return. >> i have no dealings with russia. i have no deals in russia. >> but but donald trump has made money with russians. >> i paid $40 million, i sold it for $100 million to a russian.
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in "the situation room" we have major breaking news right now. >> the u.s. justice department has just named a special counsel in the russian investigation. >> this is a significant step. >> a development that could change everything. >> i think we will see justice. >> bob mueller is very thorough. good for the investigation, maybe not so much for president trump. >> does anybody have any questions? >> the day after that bombshell announcement, president trump had his first chance to strike back. >> was this the right move or is this part of a witch hunt? >> i respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch
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hunt. >> this is a witch hunt and a hoax. >> russia is a ruse. >> a fiction, a fabrication. >> it's all fake news. >> no matter what the trump team would call it, the russia investigation was very real. >> the president thinks it's a witch hunt. is there any way you can respond to that? >> and robert mueller going in a direction the president did not want it to go. >> i built a great company. i built an unbelievable company, but if you look there, there's nothing in russia. >> if you listen to the statements of the president and his team make about the mueller investigation, they feel like financial issues should be walled off. they should be off-limits. >> to look at a real estate deal from ten years ago would be outside of the mandate and we would object to that. >> it is clear that mueller's team is looking directly as his business dealings for the perfectly understandable reason
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that money can be a motive. understandable reason that money can be a motive. >> we followed the money to the very beginning of trump's connection to russia, decades earlier, in 1987, when 41-year-old donald trump took off for his first business trip to moscow. >> in 1987, donald trump was flush with money. and donald trump was invited to russia. so he and ivana went to russia and tried to make a deal to build a trump tower there. >> that deal never happened. >> there was talk of trump tower in moscow. >> but again and again trump would keep on trying. >> donald tried at least five times to build a trump tower in moscow. >> donald trump has an enormous ability to deny reality. reality is, that during the campaign, not just in ancient
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history, during the campaign, he was negotiating for a hotel to be built in moscow. >> aaron, we learned that michael cohn, his personal lawyer was in talks with moscow about a proposal to build a trump tower there. >> that is the definition of business dealings in russia. >> the deal, outlined in a nonbinding letter of intent signed by trump in the fall of 2015 fell through. but not before trump's attorney reached out to the kremlin for help. >> cohn said he e-mailed vladimir putin's spokesperson for help on this project on behalf of the trump organization. >> we could make deals in russia very easily if we wanted to. >> according to james henry, all of the focus on trump's deals in russia might be missing the point. >> it is not so much that he has invested in russia, he is receiving lots of finance from
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the former soviet union states, from the oligarchs. >> i have more oligarchs living in my buildings -- >> and before he became a politician, businessman donald trump boasted about it. >> have you had any dealings with the russians? >> i have done a lot of business with the russians. >> the most expensive home ever sold in america. >> back in 2008 at the height of the u.s. housing collapse, trump made a record-breaking deal with a russian oligarch known as the fertilizer king. >> he bought from donald trump a mansion about two miles from mar-a-lago in palm beach, florida. >> i paid $40 million, and i sold it for $100 million, and i sold it to a russian. >> mr. donald j. trump. >> he would reappear in the 2016 election. when according to mcclatchy
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news, his private plane was spotted in two u.s. cities where trump was campaigning, concord, north carolina, and las vegas, nevada. >> it certainly looks suspicious that we have this leading russian oligarch bird dogging our presidential candidate on the campaign trail. >> he called it a pure coincidence that occurred while he was traveling on unrelated business. >> but we still don't understand that to this day. >> what remains clear, however, is that this oligarch is hardly the only russian to have bolstered trump's bottom line. >> there's a surprising high number of russians involved in his deals everywhere. >> after his financial collapse in 1991 that threatened to end his empire for good,
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trump spent most of the decade digging out from under enormous debt. >> he was unfinanceable by major banks. >> luckily a new source of money was right around the corner. >> an avalanche of money pouring in from the former soviet union, just when trump is in serious trouble financially. >> after the collapse of the soviet union in 1991, russia's state owned businesses moved into private hands, creating a class of russian oligarchs, who began investing in american real estate. >> if you want to be noticed you buy real estate. >> in the years that followed, properties like trump tower in new york, and developments in sunny, florida, according to roiters, started filling up with russian buyers. >> my name is donald trump. and i'm the largest real estate developer in new york. >> and donald trump was finding
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his way into american living rooms across the country. >> he has this incredible stroke of luck. he turning into an actor playing a successful businessman. >> and who will be "the apprentice"? >> and "the apprentice" opened the door for trump to a new way of making money. >> he shifted his business model. he started licensing his name and putting it on everything. >> doing it in this haphazard, chaotic way. >> when it comes to great stakes, i just raised the steaks. >> he licensed neckties, he licensed buildings. >> he plugged into this solution, this beautiful, beautiful solution, that if i don't ask a lot of questions and i allow my name to go on projects, then i'll get paid. >> there are buildings where he didn't put up a penny but he got a fee up front that it were to have the trump name on them.
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>> the trump sojo is a very, very special building. >> in the case of trump tower sojo, the trump organization got 18% ownership of the tower, without investing a single dime, according to bloomberg news. the financing of the project was left up to his partner. >> it's a problematic project from top-to-bottom. >> a lawsuit filed by a former bayrock insider in 2010 accuses bayrock of money laundering and having questionable ties to russia and russian organized crime. the suit is ongoing and bayrock denies the allegations. >> there's a, huh, why would trump ever do business with those guys? >> guys like russian-born felix seder, bayrock's dexecutive. >> my life has been beyond
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interesting. >> he was a twice-convicted felon. after his second conviction, he cooperated on cases with the justice department. >> he has been accused of stabbing someone in the neck. 1998, he's convicted of a $40 million financial fraud. penny stocks, minute trading. >> despite his checkered past, satters business dealings went beyond sojo. they included deals in the u.s. and abroad. but in a sworn testimony in a deposition, trump insisted he barely knew satter. >> how many times have you conversed with mr. satter? >> over the years? >> over the years. >> not many. >> not many? >> if he were sitting in the room right now, i really wouldn't know what he looked
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like. >> it is absolutely untrue that donald trump doesn't know felix satter. >> at one point, satter worked out of an office at trump tower and held a business card for the trump organization. he was also the go-between for trump's most recent and perhaps most controversial attempt at building trump tower masako. according to the "new york times," he urged him to tour this proposal. and hinted this he could help him win the presidency. >> the e-mails come out when you can see satter saying we can use this business opportunity to get donald trump elected. >> president trump would be so much better for u.s.-russian relations. >> there's no question, during the campaign, that trump was trying to get closer to russia and repair relations with russia. >> there's nothing i can think of that i would rather do than
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♪ houston, texas. >> white power. >> the heart of texas facebook page invites its 250,000 followers to the stop islamization of texas rally. a and addbuy promotes it. at precisely the same time and place that people gather for the united muslims of america
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facebook event. shockingly, americans had nothing to do with starting those facebook groups. for about $200, russian trolls got about 15,000 people to see their ads. >> across the country, you may have driven a protest for any hot-button issue. these protests in some cases were organized out of russia. >> russian imposters pushing messages, sometimes false, and often controversial. $100,000 in facebook ads. thousands of twitter accounts and google ad dollars. russians were behind it all, creating content designed to pit americans against one another. >> social media was weaponized
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to target the minds of the american people. >> it seems like the u.s. government was, perhaps, a bit blind slooided when it came to social media threats. is that fair? >> i think that's a fair statement. >> around 150 million people. that's how many were potentially exposed to the bogus content on facebook and instagram alone. that's equivalent to more than half of the total u.s. voteing population. >> do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. >> now capitol hill wants answers. >> the political ad was paid for by rubles. isn't that a red flag? how could that happen? >> it began 4,000 miles away in st. petersburg, in this utterly nondescript office building. >> they were placing thousands of ads on facebook during the
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2016 presidential election to stoke arguments. and in some ways also to hurt hillary clinton and help donald trump. >> almost all of the propaganda found so far traces back to the internet research agency, investigators say was financed by a company owned by this man, russian oligarch evgeni pregoeshsen. he's a wealthy business man and part of putin's inner circle. >> they would work in 12-hour shifts leading up to the election. >> there was an entire english language department, designed to insert messages, social media posts in the united states. they were required to watch "house of cards" to better understand american politics. >> in two weeks' time, you will be heading to the ballot box to decide what kind of country you
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want to live in. >> the idea was to mas mquerade themselves as americans. >> they understood that black lives matter ads should be targeted to cities like baltimore and ferguson, which saw violent protests in killings of african-american men. they understood that gay rights was a big issue. they understood that gun rights was a big issue. >> some people may have seen these videos. >> hillary clinton is not our candidate. >> posted to pages now identified as part of moscow's influence campaign. >> this is really a thoughtful, detailed process of how do i make this look legit? >> legitimacy boosted when influential people amplified the message. bearing the tennessee state sale, this russian-run account was retweeted by donald trump jr., kellyanne conway and michael flynn. >> in sharing this content, the
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campaign, whether knowingly or unknowingly, helped liggeegitim and spread russian information. >> i doubt i would be here if it weren't for association meelddio be honest with you. >> the trump team used every digital tool to their advantage. that approach was borne out of sheer necessity. from day one candidate trump faced an uphill battle. he lacked the foot soldiers and local offices that his opponents had spent months, even years, cultivating. >> we were all wondering, why isn't he buying ads? why isn't he running a traditional campaign? because he's got no money. trump's campaign turned to a new and powerful way to turn out the vote, big data. jared kushner oversaw that part of the operation. >> he treated trump like an
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ecommerce company, like a consumer tech company. >> trump's team bet big on one simple idea. >> you can target to a smaller group of people and have that message be more impactful. >> i understood that how trump was going to win. twitter is how he talked to the people. facebook is how he won. >> trump campaign digital director, brad parscale, led the effort. >> i could find 15 people in the florida panhandle i could never buy a tv for. we took chances they didn't. >> like what? >> we had their staff embedded in our offices. >> what? >> facebook had employees in our offices. >> facebook offered a service to both political campaigns. the trump campaign took facebook up on it. the clinton campaign surprisingly did not. >> while parscale and kushner
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have testified on capitol hill, both deny any collusion with the russians. >> by all accounts, the russians feel like they were success in what they were trying to accomplish. >> i would imagine every day that vladimir putin and the people around him are watching american news, saying, in our wildest dreams, we never thought we could be this disruptive. the russian, probably rightly think, that they won.
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♪ we close tonight with a
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dossier, that controversial document that contains many troubling allegations about donald trump, his associates and his campaign. some have said it's evidence of solution. others have said, it's been completely disproven, even fake. neither of these statements are correct. for our story, we will stick to the facts. ten days before the inauguration of donald trump -- >> we're live in chicago tonight. >> -- on the same night president barack obama was giving his farewell address to the nation. >> we have breaking news in the nation's capital tonight, that we need to tell you about. >> a team of cnn reporters broke a stunning story. >> jim sciutto, evan perez, and carl bernstein and i have been working on the story. >> about america's new president. >> claims of russian efforts to compromise the president-effect donald trump. >> the president-elect and the
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outgoing president had been briefed on the sensational charges in the dossier. >> allegations that russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about mr. trump. >> u.s. officials with direct knowledge told cnn that russian had been warned. russia could have the damaging information often gathered through surveillance that vladimir putin is believed to have on powerful people. >> was there concern that they might have leverage over the president of the united states? >> well, yes. >> former intelligence chief, james clapper. >> gaining leverage, that's their game. and if they can compromise somebody, they have a term for it, compromise. >> it was our sense that the senior officials would not waste the time of the president and the president-elect if it was cockamamy, easy to dismiss
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information. >> cnn did not reveal the contents of the dossier, beyond what was learned from sources, because it was not verified. but shortly after the release of the story, buzz feed put the entire dossier on the internet. donald trump was furious. journalists did not verify it, portions of the dossier had been in fbi hands for months. >> chris steele, the former mi6 officer who compiled the dossier, puts it in the hands of someone he knows in rome who is an fbi agent. that puts it in the bloodstream of the fbi. christopher steele worked for the mi6 intelligence service. was a russia eggs perxpert. >> he had compiled the dossier as research for the democratic
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national committee and the clinton campaign. >> he was from british intelligence, who was based in the country involved in this dossier, russia. and in fact, since his time in british intelligence, he worked for u.s. law enforcement. >> now, through the fbi's investigation, and extensive reporting, we know parts of the dossier are true because u.s. government intercepts picked up conversations between russians that core responded with conversations in the dossier. >> they did take place in the times and in the places between the people involved as described in the dossier. >> the reports that make up the document allege extensive russian interference in the election, information that u.s. officials later confirmed to be true. >> the russians were responsible for hacking the dnc. the intelligence that i've seen gives me great confidence in their assessment that this
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happened at the highest levels of the russian government. >> it was designed to help donald trump and hurt hillary clinton. those claims in the dossier have all pretty much been verified by the u.s. intelligence community. >> another powerful charge in the dossier will sound familiar now. that associates of donald trump were in contact with russians throughout the campaign. >> the dossier described trump associates, russians tied to the government, not only communicating and meeting, but communicating and meeting, discussing and cooperation. russians tied to the russian government. >> and the dossier describes other ways they tampered with the election. >> the use of social media to influence the election. fake news. many of those pieces start to fit together in the timeline. >> there is no evidence so far to support the most sensational
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allegation, that the kremlin has compromising material on donald trump. but a former cia station chief in moscow says russia almost certainly has a file on the president. >> so, you believe that the russians have compromat on donald trump? >> it's what they do. that's what the intelligence service does. they've done it for decades and decades. >> most important, investigators say, is this -- the dossier is just one piece of information in their wide-ranging inquiry. >> i've spoken to a number of people who have been briefed on the classified intelligence. at one point they make very clear, listen, there is a lot more out there than this. the dossier is one small piece of a much larger picture. >> as we've tried to bring that picture into focus, we have made several attempts to speak to one of the president's lawyers on camera. we were unable to obtain an interview. donald trump maintains in statements and on twitter that there was no collusion.
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but multiple investigations by the special counsel and in congress continue. as a result, we will also continue to report this story, focusing on the facts. i'm pamela brown. thanks for joining us. my name is jeff sheldon,
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♪ this is "trump one year later," a cnn special report. new political aftershocks in the one-two punch absorbed from the trump white house this week. i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm pamela brown. first came out the slow rollout of scandalous allegations from a tell-all book, raising new allegations about the russia investigation and trump's fitness for office. >> that all pointed to a possible obstruction of justice case. and new reporting tonight. a senior administration official tells


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