tv Inside Politics CNN May 9, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
the economic pressure and move forward. in the midst of some very tough talk today, the iranians did say, in effect, listen, if the european partners are still on board with this plan, we're still on board with this plan. that's interesting, because we know -- the european partners have said as much. they said a strong statement yesterday. so you could have a scenario where iran stays in, why france, germany, and the uk and russia and china crucially stay in this deal. and then, you know, the question becomes what does the u.s. do? it reimposes sanctions on iran? does it then impose sanctions on european partner it is they stay in the deal? it's a big question. >> we'll come back to the iran bit later. and the president celebrating for good reason, even if you're a trump critic. we have no idea if the release of these three americans will get the u.s. anywhere when the
president sits down with kim jong-un. but on this day, three americans who were in prison in north korea yesterday are on the way home. and there is no -- nothing else to say except a good deal for america and great deal for these americans and good for you, mr. president, right? >> no question. they are flying as we speak with the secretary of state. there's going to be an arrival ceremony sometime after the early morning hours. and the president said he's going to be there. he wants to celebrate this as an accomplishment and sit an accomplishment. and it does set the way for the summit. the president ruled out the dmz. he said it's not going to be there. singapore is the most likely site that will be announced. but no question, this is going to lead to, you know, a historic session between these two leaders, which i was skeptical was ever going to happen, when the president walked into that
briefing room and agreed to that. the outcome, though, is impossible to predict. the stakes are incredibly high here, leaving one deal behind that had so many verifications in place, entering a new deal with almost zero verifications in place in a much more complicated scenario, makes this high risk for the president is. tz president in the middle of every country. now the world watching, is donald trump fire and fury, locked and loaded, is he going to sit down and have a productive summit with kim jong-un? >> yeah. and it looks like he's going to. but going back to the hostages, bringing the americans home, it's a little bit of a bittersweet moment here, because it's great for the americans coming back from north korea. but then when it comes to the iran deal, you know, with diplomats, diplomatic relations breaking down there, there are at least five americans that are
being held captive in iran, and those families obviously want their loved ones back, too. and with the end of this -- the u.s. pulling out, there's a question will they ever come home? >> someone who spent 18 months in an iranian president, that was his point. sadly, what is the path forward for those americans held in iran? >> let's turn to issue number three, the biggest issue right now in the united states. also the world is watching this one as well because of the post 9/11 history of the central intelligence agency, because of questions about whether the united states broke its principles, perhaps crossed the line in its treatment and many believe yes, torture of suspected terrorists brought into cia custody. gina haspel was an agency official, she's on capitol hill today as the president's nominee to be the first woman director of the cia. the administration says she worked her way from the bottom. when she was involved in these
controversial things, she was following orders. listen to gina haspel, if the president of the united states, if you are confirmed and president trump calls you and says torture a terrorist, go back to those old tactics, would you do it? >> senator, i would advise -- i do not believe the president would ask me to do that. i would be -- advise anyone who asked me about it that cia is not the right place to conduct interrogations. we don't have interrogators. i would not restart under any circumstances an interrogation program at cia, under any circumstances. >> if you're watching there, if you watched the hearing, you saw this play out. senator collins asked the question. she didn't answer in a declarative way. it was when she moved to a democrat he asked her again. she finally said, i would not restart under any circumstances an interrogation program at the cia. is this the question, is that
commitment enough -- for enough democrats to excuse her path? >> it depends on the democrat. we saw that in this hearing, right? somebody like congresswoman harris who said, do you think that those enhanced interrogation techniques that some people called torture, was it immoral? it was a question she didn't answer. she kept asking and she just was say the united states is on a different sort of moral ground now in terms of this. and she agrees that with this particular place america's approach to torture and enhanced interrogation techniques. you saw joe manchin just ask kind of open-ended questions, how did you feel after 9/11? what were you concerns after 9/11? i think we're going to see that split, right? the progressives are probably not going to vote for her out of committee, not vote for her on the senate floor and somebody
like joe manchin, who has supported most of the president's nominees, he probably is someone who would back her. >> director of the cia has to be able to answer that question, was it an immoral program? in the last decade and a half since 9/11, this was -- you could say the sorriest moment in the cia's history here, beyond getting the intel i don't think on iraq. this question was an enormous question there. i was in the middle east, this program was revealed around the time of abu ghraib, causing divisions with our allies who were fighting with us in a war. it caused an enormous loss of u.s. power in the region, to see america, who is presenting itself as a better model, to have examples of torture, and the cia carrying this out. you had military commanders who were very much opposed to it, for two reasons. one, it put u.s. troops at risk. two, it would tell me it gives you bad information. so the cia director, asked
repeatedly, refused to answer that question to say do you believe it's immoral? that's a real omission on her part. >> since we left the hearing, gina haspel has just said on capitol hill, she's ending a public hearing and now going into a classified hearing. she did just say torture does not work. is the information you get when you water board terrorists and do other tactics as they call it, torture, is it -- you see her right there hugging some friends and colleagues. she'll have to answer more questions about this, saying torture does not work. that is one of the questions for her, what was her role? what did she say about the enhanced interrogation tactics, torture to many. the other question, was she involved in a coverup? there were tapes of these interrogations. she was the chief of staff to the cia official who ordered these tapes destroyed. she testified she did this because this was a great concern, and this is
understandable, that there were leaking coming out of the cia and they were worried the faces of the agents involved in the waterboarding, et cetera, would be released and make them targets. but democrats were also suspicious about this saying the tapes were destroyed within days of a prominent democratic senator saying he wanted to have a 9/11 type commission to look into this program. so listen to dianne feinstein asking the question about her destroying the tapes and her role in that. >> he and he alone made the decision to destroy the tapes. i would also make it clear that i did not appear on the tapes. our lawyers were very consistent saying to us, there was no legal requirement to retain the tapes, no legal impediment to disposing of the tapes. >> let's listen a little bit more. you heard that answer there. dianne feinstein follows up about the point, okay, you think
you were within the law, but did you want to destroy the tapes? >> senator, i did not run the interrogation department. in fact, i was not even let into the interrogation program until it had been up and running for a year. >> were you an advocate for destroying the tapes? >> senator, i absolutely was an advocate, if we could, within and conforming to u.s. law. >> now, again, her position was, this was done to protect people. and those of us who don't understand, you understand it better than anyone else, these people risk their lives every day for you and me, so give them some grace. dianne feinstein speaking on capitol hill live. let's go up the hill. >> hard for me that if she were asked for the agency, by the president, to do something which
was considered wrong and illegal, would she just refuse to do it? and she didn't answer that question directly. there were terrible things that were done, and i understand the time, and i understand the emotion, and i understand the functioning of the agency. >> do you feel better about her answer? >> no, i feel she did not directly say i would refuse to carry out the order. >> she said the order to destroy the tapes was an order that she said was not made by her. is that a sufficient answer about her destroying the tapes or the order to destroy tapes that she did not make? >> well, she parsed the question, she did participate. he made the decision.
she essentially carried it out by sending the e-mail or however it was communicated. i've got to go. >> i think an elevator and the restroom i haven't seen manu corner somebody on capitol hill. dianne feinstein is a critical player here. she's in the middle of a democratic primary back home in california. we cannot escape the fact that this nomination is even more controversial, even more up in the air, even more a big question, can she get the vote? because we're in an election year. if donald trump said apple pie was good, most democrats would say apple pie is bad. it happened in the obama administration. welcome to america. but the key question there, and we were playing the sound bite before, she said yes, she was in favor of destroying the tapes. dianne feinstein saying, if the president ordered her, but she did, she said she would not restart. but the democrats won't give her
any grace. she said she would not do that again, and i'm grateful for that. >> and the key is who she would be working for. it's sort of attempting to i -- i think senator feinstein was bringing it in the moment, would the president, he's been on all sides of the torture issue. during the campaign, he said he supported it. after he was elected, he said it may not work. but he's the wild card here. that's why these questions matter. she did say, i thought more directly, that she would not do it. would she resign if confirmed? who knows? but overall this morning, i would say the white house at least the people i'm speaking with, feel pretty food abogood her. of course, most democrats aren't going to vote for her, but i think she answered the questions probably better than some expected. >> at the end of the hearing, she was asked to explain to the
american people, if they don't know, who is khalid sheikh muhammad. a "new york times" story, khalid sheikh muhammad -- we know he was water boarded and said he gave information to stop the waterboarding, that it was bogus. so she's going to go into a closed hearing and be asked about the treatment of khalid sheikh muhammad. the trump administration is framing the politics, who are you going to side with, a woman tough on terror or the guy that orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. >> the folks getting water boarded were not boy scouts. but that doesn't get to essential questions, one, does this align with american values, something that took a long time to get there. she didn't give a straight answer. to be fair, there are democrats and republicans who do not agree with the torture program and
there are democrats and democrats who support her nomination. it's a moral question. so there's that. but then the other question, did you get good intelligence from khalid sheikh muhammad? and haspel herself said i don't know if another method could have gotten the same information that's an essential one, as well. >> part of the lessons learned is what she said. appreciate jim sciutto being next. up next, the secretary of state is on his way home from north korea. he has plans for a summit that would make history. he also has three americans freed from prison. hi i'm joan lunden.
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with the right steps, 80%of recurrent ischemicide. strokes could be prevented. a bayer aspirin regimen is one step to help prevent another stroke. so, i'm doing all i can to stay in his life. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. welcome back now. more on a very important diplomatic victory for the trump administration. and history in the making. the secretary of state, mike pompeo, on his way home from north korea. he has the planning in place for a trump-kim summit. the president of the united states saying the details will be announced soon.
secretary pompeo has with him three americans who have been detained in north korean prisons, released today as a sign of good will. just a short time ago at the white house, the president of the united states celebrating and giving us little details about what is to come. >> people never thought a something like this could happen. people never thought you were going to have a situation where we're having serious and positive communication with north korea. and we are. what happens, who knows? we have a chance that something really great for the world and great for north korea, and great for everyone. so i want to thank you all for being here. we will see you at 2:00 in the morning. [ inaudible question ] >> within three days. we're just working arrangements. >> is it going to be at the dmz? >> it will not be there. >> hard to hear the question,
but he asked the president if the summit planning was done and would it be at the dmz, where you saw the south korea-north korea meeting. the president saying it would not be there. but this meeting is on. it could still collapse, but there are a lot of questions would north korea show enough to convince the white house it was worth giving kim jong-un what is a giant propaganda gift, a meeting with the president of the united states of america. that is what kim jong-un wants, credibility on the global stage. the trump administration would argue, now we have three americans coming home. it's been a long time since they tested a missile. the u.s. and south korean forces conducted military exercises and not a peep from the north. so the president said, good will, let's test it. you have to give props to the administration for freedom of these americans. that does not mean kim jong-un is going to say, now i'm willing to give up my nukes. >> and the question is, whether
the administration is being clear eyed enough, and whrnlt they're going to get any real concessions. and whether kim really is different than his father on these questions. there's a lot that indicates he is, or that he feels now he must act differently, and that he does need to engage. there's a lot going on behind the scenes with regard to china that we don't quite know about. but i think this is the culmination at this point of the administration's policy on north korea, that they've been more consistent than any foreign or domestic policy for that matter. they've been thinking about this from the very beginning, and i think this wait and see strategy is the only thing they can do. >> and a long list of critics about how we got here, critics of the president when he was doing fire and fury and severe consequences and don't you dare, a lot of people were worried that he was leading us to war.
but until now, the president's approach has worked. but does he go into the summit meeting with a clear set of goals and a clear test, how -- what is the test for kim jong-un about, thank you for the three americans, are you ready to give up your nukes? >> that's the central question here. the president is so hungry for a deal here. there are some in the administration and others supportive of this, generally. if he's going to be so anxious for this it's going to derail it in some respect. the question here, what is the u.s. willing to concede or give up here? and how will they ever verify any type of dismantling of the program? so many questions now, as we have that summit, which, again, most of us didn't think would happen. now it looks like it will happen, probably in just three weeks, but this is the very beginning of this, certainly not the end. >> talk about the beginning. the process would take months and months, if not years, going in there, verifying what's there, if he agrees to giving
this stuff up, how do you dismantle it? how do you dispose of it? so it is -- the president clearly wants sort of the pictures of this, sort of the programming part of it. it will be amazing if this happens, to see him standing there with the north korean leader, propaganda victory for the north korea's leader, but also a victory for this president, who is so much about the big win, the big victory, the big television presentation of it. and no one thought this would happen, really. in many ways, even after he said it would happen, there was a lot of skepticism about it. so the fact that this is happening now is extraordinary. and a credit to what they've done. >> this is something to celebrate. again, whatever your politics, three americans imprisoned in north korea 24 hours ago are on their way home. the president saying 2:00 a.m., he's going out to joint base andrews. these americans, have the right, once they're on u.s. soil, to go their own way.
but by all indications, the white house expects them to come here to the united states. the remarkable moment is you have this amazing potential diplomacy, well, there is diplomacy. north korea, because of the relationship, secretary pompeo has developed with the north koreans, they have freed these americans. they have not taken provocative steps in weeks and weeks. diplomacy, working. the president walking away from the iran nuclear agreement 24 hours ago, and you see from the european leaders this outrage, what is the united states doing here? the president, at that same meeting, explaining why he thinks the right idea to rip up the iran deal and walk away. >> it was a one-sided deal, it was not good and not appropriate. and we'll see how we do with iran. probably we won't do very well with them, but that's okay, too. they've got to understand,
because i don't think they do understand. a terrible, terrible deal that should have never, ever been made. and we will be putting on among the strongest sanctions that we've ever put on. >> now, the president promised this in the campaign. whatever your opinion, you should not be surprise. the surprise to me is he waited 15 months. now we're here, and what the critics of the president are saying, hillary clinton among those, what's plan b? and that's a fair question. whoever asked that question, it's a fair question, what do you do now? part of that depends on what iran does now, right? >> yeah. and i would say that it's just interesting to see, you're seeing two different president trumps here when it comes to global policy. he doesn't know whether he wants to put on the peacemaker hat with north korea or go america first and kate tore the base with iran? iran has been at the table and been with the iran nuclear deal, showing this willingness to move forward in terms of trying to
make peace and de-nuclearize, et cetera. north korea has been way more adress sa aggressive when it comes to nuclear weapons, but the president is making a diplomatic effort there and blowing up the iran deal. the other part of this, how does north korea know if there is an agreement, that we're going stay in it? because the united states has made commitments with the paris climate accords, also the iran nuclear deal and we're changing our policy already. and so what makes them think -- >> one word you didn't hear said in that is president obama. he says it's a one-sided deal. it was obama's deal he inherited. he wants to make his own deal with north korea. >> the president, like him or not, like the decisions or not, driving the world conversation. up next, the special counsel investigation looking at the president's personal lawyer and his bank accounts and some income from russia.
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fiber choice... the smart choice. welcome back. michael cohen is back in the news today, facing new questions that somehow, yes, somehow, managed to connect the hush money payment to stormy daniels with eye popping relationships with russian oligarchs. cnn has learned the special counsel robert mueller's team has questioned one of the oligarchs, wanting to know about hundreds of thousands in payments that his american affiliate made to cohen after the 2016 election. adding to the intrigue, michael avenatti, the lawyer always on tv that represents stormy daniels. he says he used the same bank account for the daniels' payment for a series of payments after the election. full disclosure, at&t trying to
buy cnn's parent company time warner. >> michael cohen should not be selling access to the president of the united states. it appears that this may be your typical pay to play type scenario, where you have someone close to a politician, in this case, close to the president of the united states, which is highly unusual, selling access, potential access to the president of the united states. i don't believe that michael cohen is registered as a lobbyist or registered to represent any foreign agents or foreign interests. this is a big deal. >> now, we should note for the record cnn has not verified the authenticity of the documents that avenue neti released to support his claims. let's try to untangle this increasingly complex web. shimon, help us understand why this matters.
>> it matters for one reason, john. we reported that the mueller team has been looking at foreign influence, russian influence in the campaign, and an aspect of that is money. was russian money flown into the campaign or flowing into any people who perhap wrs soes were associated with the president? a concern is that victor veklesburg, who has now been sangctioned for interference, there's concern there may have been money exchanged here perhaps for influence. that is why the fbi and the special counsel have take an look at it. this company in new york, columbus nova, which is linked to viktor vekselberg, the ceo is a course of of viktor. they were seen together as the trump inauguration. so all of these sort of links,
these coincidences perhaps, have raised some suspicion among investigators. that's why they started looking at these connections and also at the money that ultimately went to michael cohen. >> shimon, one more quick question. when michael avenue nanetti say payments were after the daniels' payment, that's his conjecture, we have no evidence of that, right? >> no, it's conjecture. we confirmed that money went to michael cohen to this account that he paid stormy daniels the hush money. we know that they have some kind of business arrangement. but we don't have a lot of our -- a lot of our questions have not been answered in terms oh of what the business relationship was, how do they know each other, when did they meet, those kinds of questions that probably investigators are
asking and already know the answers too. we don't have those answers, john. >> you're right about the special counsel's team. appreciate the reporting. it's just one of these -- you start reading these things and you think this can't be real. but the president consistently says no russian collusion, no public evidence of collusion involving the president. but how about russian cozy and just plain outright stupidity. if you have michael cohen, the president's lawyer, taking money from a company that has a close relationship with a russian oligarch after the election, when you know the president and his whole team are under investigation for russia connections, the gentleman has been sanctioned by the united states treasury department for meddling in the united states election, it raises a lot of questions. >> without a doubt. at best it's a judgment question. and we have to keep in mind, that the white house repeatedly slow walked many sanctions.
so i think we're just at the tip of all of this, of understanding all of this. but michael cohen did not come inside the white house. but boy, what were all these corporations paying him for? his company was essential consultants. he talked to the president all the time here. to me that is the most fascinating part of this. he was obviously doing business as he always did, in the shadows as a fixer. but the rules changed once he was elected. >> and the president said he was going to drain the swamp. and even if there's nothing about collusion or elections or this is not connected to anything, michael cohen, $500,000 from columbus nova, $400,000 from novartis, $200,000 from our potential bosses here at cnn, at&t. this is selling influence. i know the president, therefore, pay me money. which is, depending on what was done, is potentially absolutely
above the board and legal. it stinks, but legal. >> there's nothing unusual about this. maybe they'll work on a campaign and set up a consulting chapter because they know people in the administration. this seems sort of similar to that. you throw a rock in washington and you meet somebody who is a consultant that's just how it works. so it doesn't seem to be -- even though bad judgment, that's not a crime. >> he was not a registered lobbyist or whatever. >> if you're asking the other end about specific policy, if you're just saying here's what the president thinks about pharmaceutical companies, or i know the president hates the at&t-time warner merger -- >> he does not like his staffers to profit off of him. he's been very -- >> he says that, but does he mean that? corey lewandowski, same business. michael cohen was not invited to the white house.
some of us who have been haven't come in. >> there are consultant firms all around washington, d.c. where people have these relationships and companies pay them big dollars, because they know somebody on the hill or in the white house. again, unless it's paying money to get policy changed, there's nothing illegal with that and we see it all the time. going back just a couple of times, we were talking about with hillary clinton and people were investigating it on the hill. of course, the hill is not investigate thing at this point and i wouldn't think they're going to because republicans don't want to touch this at all. >> but mueller is. and that to me is the biggest takeaway. this didn't happen two weeks ago, this has been going on for months, and we should be cautious about michael avenatti presenting things he doesn't have evidence for. what we do know is that mueller is still looking into things we don't know about. and every person in the trump friendly orbit who says mueller
has gone astray, he doesn't have anything, this investigation needs to end, i think that drumbeat is getting louder. we find out that mueller knows a lot more than we do. and is looking into a lot more. maybe nothing comes out of it, but it's worth investigation, as your segment first pointed out, all of the connections that are suspicious. >> oligarch payments to a trusted trump associate. making $35,000 contributions. do they just love donald trump or is something else afoot? >> i just found it curious that these russian oligarchs are talking to mueller. why would putin want them to do this? >> in the case of veklesberg, when his plane landed in the united states, they were waiting
welcome back. the establishment wings of both political parties are, for the most part, happy today, believing it avoied major potholes last night. in west virginia, republican voters rejected don blankenship and in ohio, they fended off a chang from the left wing in the governor's race. president trump is happy, saying the economy is so strong, and with nancy pelosi wanting to raise taxes, why wouldn't we win? one takeaway from last night, bad to be a d.c. insider, especially bad year to be a house republican. let's go around the table.
the house republican who is running in that west virginia race lost. two house republicans in indiana lost. the first incumbent went down in north carolina, a republican house member, lost. what else? >> it's going to be a tough year to be a house republican, no doubt about it. this is just the beginning, and they're going to lose a lot of seats in the midterm election. in indiana, you have luke messer and todd, two pretty prominent republicans in the house. they were expected to be the next budget chairman. but then they went home, they ran for the senate seat and tried to argue about who loved trump more. one of the lessons from last night, you can't just say you love trump and trump loves you. both of them lost. the other guy, rob pittinger of north carolina, this is someone that gop leaders knew he was going to go down at some point.
they thought he would lose in the general election opposed to the primary. again, this is just the beginning for republicans. >> that seat in north carolina, democrats think they have a chance at that because of the nominee there. the happiest man in washington, i think even more happy than the president, is mitch mcconnell. don blankenship, that coal executive, ran against the "china" people, that would be mitch mcconnell's asian-american wife. he called him cocaine mitch. last night, mitch mcconnell tweeted out this. thanks for playing, don. you see the senate majority leader, what is he doing, making fun of cocaine? but clearly, very, very happy. >> yeah, they're spiking the football on this, because blankenship was obviously one of these many candidates that mitch mcconnell and republicans trying
to take over and trying to hold on to the senate have been afraid of, that he would have been another roy moore. but it did seem a little to me that move -- a little -- act like you've been here before. he came in third place and lost pretty badly. time for republicans to move on and just take the win. >> one other quick question, will this encourage republicans to go to the president more often? he tweeted about don blankenship. he said don't vote for this guy. are there more of these primaries out there? >> it's a sign that the president is very vested and interested in trying to be helpful to the leadership in the senate. he and mitch mcconnell have not always had the closest relationship. it's improved dramatically in recent months. he wants to hold on to his majority. he'll do anything, even if that means stay away. >> it's one thing for the president to say he embraces you. got to go from the president.
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the message worked for the white house and republicans, just 12% of those surveyed in a recent monmouth university poll says their family has seen great benefits. nearly a third say they've seen some. a quarter say not much. 30% say the booming economy hasn't helped their family at all. a attorney versed in impeachment at the trump white house. emmet flood starting work today with a packed schedule, including numerous meetings on the russian investigation. he replaces ty cobb, who took a more cooperative approach that many expect flood will take.
mueller was only hired after james comey was fired. president trump did that one year ago today. eight days later, special counsel robert mueller was appointed, and that probe still hanging over the white house. just a short time ago, comey thanking the people of the fbi for their commitment to the truth. vice president pence also active on twitter, congratulating republicans who conprimaries, including his older brother, greg pence. speaking of hoosier state connections to the vice president, jimmy kimmel's late night audience last night learned about another one. >> mike pence was a student at hanover college while you were there. >> yes. >> did you know him? >> i knew him, yeah. we were both -- i was there on a presbyterian scholarship. he was involved with, you know, church activities. i was considering being a
minister. then i just went a different way. >> yeah, you did. >> oorveah, woody. woody, woody, woody. >> are we talking about woody? >> he definitely went a different way. woody harrelson is always the "cheers" bar tender. i guess he's played in a different way. >> maybe one of the most consequential moves of the trump presidency. that is what sent off a chain of events that led to mueller. this is the world we're living in, because the president made this decision to fire james comey. >> and at the time his advisers thought it would be a popular,
bipartisan, speaking on capitol hill. probably one of the last pieces of advice that some of those advisers have given the president. they could not have been more wrong about that. it set everything into motion, you know, that is going on and really hanging over the white house and the president. >> the vice president's brother, greg, largely avoided reporters during his campaign. >> let's just hope he's friendlier with reporters and doesn't do what happened in montana a couple of months ago. >> excellent point there. >> i remember, yes. >> thanks for joining us. "wolf" starts after this quick break. have a great day.
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