presidencies. this giant cloud still sits over the white house when you're about to sit down with the north korean dictator. >> i read that as pence talking to trump. all right, thanks everybody, for coming in. "inside politics" will be at this time tomorrow. wolf starts right now. have a great day. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. in new york, 6:00 p.m. in auger, 8:00 p.m. in jerusalem. wherever you're watching from around the world, thank you very much for joining us. we start with rockets aligning in the military. iran and israel traded fire in the golan heights. israel responded with iranian targets inside syria. one official said, and i'm quoting now, if it rains in israel, it will pour in iran.
meanwhi meanwhile, the syrian government says this now marks a new phase of the war and promises that sitter ythe syrian military will confront the attacks from israel. our or en lieberman is there. this was fired against israeli forces in golan heights. israel was on height alert, right? >> this is between iran and israel in the skies above as we watched it happen. israel was very ready for this to happen and has been for a number of weeks, if not months, now. that's because there were a number of strikes in syria targeting syrian and iranian forces that they blamed on israel. israel didn't comment on those strikes but prepared for a backlash. over the last couple days, the
idf knew the military was on high alert. bomb shelters were prepped, though in the end they weren't used. 20 rockets came over just after midnight. israel said those were irani forces firing them. we saw surface-to-surface missiles, bomb fire and more. the iranian commission tried to make sure it didn't escalate here. the white house sitting in israel's corner defending its right to protect itself. netanyahu said, iran has crossed the line. israel carried out several attacks against iran. very much a warning from netanyahu not to continue the aggression. having spoken with the israeli military, israel doesn't want to escalate at this point and
neither does iran, according to assessments from the iran military. this may be over, but it's incredibly tense and the night still young here, wolf. >> let's go to tehran. fred, what's been the reaction from the iranian government? has iran said they did fire at israeli forces in the golan heights? >> reporter: no, wolf, they haven't said that at all. in fact, there's been deafening silence here out of tehran. it's now past 9:30 in the evening here in the iranian capital and there still hasn't been recognition from the iranian side. iran state media was reporting there were attacks on israeli territory. some were hinting that it might have been skir mimishe srks bet syria and israel.
they said they were still waiting for some form of statement coming from the iranian government. that hasn't happened yet. this also comes at extremely tense times in tehran. you have the escalation going on in the middle east and then of course you also have president trump just yesterday backing out of the nuclear agreement, and that's something that certainly has a lot of folks here on the ground very concerned. you know, we went around tehran for the better part of today. we spoke to people. they said they're very concerned about the economic situation of the currency here. the oil is really tanking, prices are skyrocketing and they're seeing their country involved in that escalation in syria as well, and also increasingly being isolated economically by the united states, wolf. >> we go back to oren in golan heights. there was previous israeli attacks on some iranian supply operations inside syria, but this is the first time iran has
watched rockets on israeli targets in golan heights. is that directly related to the president's decision to walk away from it rthe iran nuclear ? >> not solely related but directly related in that it all fits in the same picture. there is no doubt that prime minister netanyahu with his presentation a week ago was very much trying to convince president trump to pull out of the iranian deal, so even if the strikes were expected and ready, what we saw from trump, a decision to pull out of the iran deal, that's very much what netanyahu wanted to see, and you're absolutely right, wolf, it all points to the same picture, the growing tension between israel and iran. we'll see if it dissipates or escalates. >> thank you both. we'll get back to you as this
position unfolds. senator, thank you so much for joining us. let's get your quick reaction. the regime of bashar assad is the relationship that's been going on for years there. what can you tell us about the attack between the israelis and the iranians? >> what we know here is the iranians have a foothold in syria. the iranians were very uncomfortable with that as iran got closer and closer to the israeli border with syria. this tension has been building for months now. we recognize that israel would take action if it felt that its security was being compromised. the decision was made by the israelis that they had to defend themselves and they took action. so i think it has to deal with the fact that the iranians are advancing in syria and have territory in syria that is very
much -- puts israel at risk. >> the israelis are also deeply concerned about hezbollah forces, not only in lebanon but syria as well backed by the iranians. russia is calling for restraint right now, given their relationship with syria, the iranians and israel right now. is russia set up to become the key peacemaker right now? >> well, russia certainly caused a lot of the problems in syria, particularly in supporting the assad regime. they created the vacuum that has allowed iran to have their influence in syria. certainly russia could play a very positive role by bringing about a process that would bring peace among the warring factions in the civil war with syria without allowing iran to get a foothold in syria. that should certainly be part of the u.s. role in whatever happens in syria.
>> let me switch gears for a moment while i have you, senator. your colleague, the arizona senator john mccain, he is urging senators to vote against the confirmation of gina haspel to become the next cia director. he states the fact that she won't say if torture -- that she oversaw the enhanced interrogation techniques were immoral. here's the questioning yesterday. listen to this. >> it's a yes or no answer. do you believe the previous interrogation techniques were i am mor-- immoral? i'm not asking if you believe they were illegal, i'm asking if you think they were immoral. >> i believe the cia did all to prevent another attack on this country given the legal tools we were allowed to use. >> please answer yes or no. >> where do you stand now in gina haspel's nomination? >> i think that exchange is
very, very troublesome. we want the director of the cia to be very clear about american values and about moral leadership. so i think that question was very, very troublesome. senator mccain, i'm reading the material that he has sent to all of us in regards to this nominee. i'm also reviewing today classified information before i make my final judgment. but i share these concerns. >> which way are you leaning right now? >> well, i think i'll withhold giving you the direct answer to that, but i can tell you i'm very troubled by these -- a role in these ens r enhanced techniques, what's now known as torture and her role is the destruction of the taping of these sessions.
if at the highest level those decisions were changed, how does she feel about these issues? should america participate in any circumstances in the use of methods that are torture, and the answer to that should be no, we won't participate in torture. >> senator cardin, thank you so much for joining us. >> my pleasure. good to be with you. we're including pertinent new details of michael cohen, the president's long-time personal attorney and just how aggressively the president's new attorney tried to capitalize off this client success in the election. mark your calendar, on june 12, president trump and kim jong-un will come face to face in singapore for a truly historic summit involving nuclear weapons. plus the trump team has a
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we now have insight into how michael cohen, the president's long-time personal attorney, so-called fixer, made millions of dollars by promising access to his client, the president. one source tells cnn that after the election cohen immediately began shopping himself around. a republican strategist said his sales pitch went something like this, quote, i don't know who has been representing you, but you should fire them all. i'm the guy you should hire. i'm closest to the president. i'm his personal lawyer, closed quote. at least four companies took the bait, including one tie to a putin ally. all in all the companies paid cohen around $2 million. it's important to note that cohen hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing, but the new methods do raise questions about whether
one of the president's closest confidantes illegally pitched business. so far at least two companies say they've cooperated with the special counsel and cnn has exclusively learned that robert mueller's team interviewed the russian about payments his u.s. affiliate made. he reached out to the president's attorney, rudy giuliani, this morning. he doubts the president knew about payments to cohen. he added, i'll only get concerned about it if somebody says it involves the president. so far they're not saying that, closed quote. with me to discuss all of this, cnn political analyst and veteran journalist, carl bernste bernstein. you just heard the explanation of what the sides are saying. what do you think? >> that's quite a list.
i think we need to look at cohen and his connections to russians, particularly the russian named in this latest round to whom his slush fund, his secret account, that is to say, cohen's received hundreds of thousands of dollars from someone connected probably to vladimir putin. tha that's the thing we ought to be looking at more than anything. because this whole idea that the president of the united states and others, his republican supporters, keep saying no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. in fact, one reason that there is an open case about collusion, from what we know from investigators, from others, is because of these constant contacts with russians among those around the president, including his fixer and his lawyer, michael cohen. and what the prosecutors in new york may have as a result of the raids that you just pointed out on cohen and his i-devices and
his computer. >> he had a connection with one of the american companies who was funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to michael cohen. >> more than mr. daxemburg, mr. cohen has a lot of ties to mob russians, to put it mildly, business deals with russians. what i'm trying to get at is this idea of the president and his surrogate saying no collusion is a bit of a ruse to undermine the investigation of mueller. the whole reason we need an independent investigation is so many people, mr. manafort, mr. gates and on and on around donald trump, including his son-in-law, have dealings with russians that we need to look at in terms of what happened in the
campaign, what happened that made the president of the united states or president-elect say, yeah, we'll do away with sanctions that mr. putin would like removed, et cetera. this is time for serious investigation, not political undermining of the special prosecutors investigation which mr. giuliani and the president of the united states are determined to do. >> he has defended michael cohen in the past. he described the fbi's raid, which had a court order against cohen's home, his office as break-ins. how do these payments, if at all, alter the dynamics of that relationship? >> we don't know. obviously that there is a lot of thought that cohen is facing perhaps an awful lot of time in the slam, to put it mildly, for many, many of his activities, and there is a desire among prosecutors in the southern district, i believe, that perhaps he will break and talk about what he knows in his relationship with the president of the united states. he was his fixer, he was his
emissary in many business dealings. but what's really so extraordinary so far is what the republicans in congress have done in terms of blind loyalty to mr. trump instead of saying, hey, we need to get to the bottom of what might have happened with a foreign power undermining our election through some of these people, perhaps including, if the evidence is exculpatory, let's put it aside and say, hey, trump, those around him did not do this. but let me try one equation on people who are watching this. supposing this were hillary clinton, not donald trump, and it were her fixer, mr. cohen, not trump's fixer. and it were her michael flynns and her paul manaforts and her roger stones. there would be a human cry from the republicans on the hill to put her in leg irons. forget about an independent
counsel's investigation. if hillary clinton had done anything like what we've seen alleged here, there would be a sack sacrisanct that republicans would never allow to be touched. we would be quick to judge current republicans and what they did in a presidency when the president of the united states was perhaps involved in some kind of collusion, and we cannot get out of it unless this investigation moves forward. >> it's interesting, robert mueller's team interviewed two of the companies that were paying michael cohen $200,000 six months ago, that he was well aware of what was going on. the vice president, mike pence, was on tv earlier this morning saying, you know what? it's time to wrap this whole investigation up. listen to this. >> in the interests of the
country, i think it's time to wrap it up. and i would very respectfully encourage the special counsel and his team to bring their work to completion. >> he wants robert mueller to bring his work to conclusion. >> the vice president of the united states, with all due respect to the office, this vice president is a total sycophant for donald trump, he's a surrogate, there is no reason to put any faith in his word in terms of this particular investigation. he knows very little, if anything. he's out of the loop. look, this is a critical moment in american history. is the rule of law going to prevail? are we going to have accountability to the president of the united states, or are we going to have a legitimate investigation undermined by republican members of congress and by those around the president and his supporters? one would hope that even his base, which is everything in terms of his politics, in terms
of how he goes after the press because he understands that we are meat to his base, and that is his hope of survival if the facts here turn out to be really nefarious and deleterious to his future, we need this information to go forward and enough undermining and enough people in some of the media -- fox, for instance. they are great reporters at fox. there are a number of them. they are beginning to report what's really going on in this investigation. and rupert murdoch who owns fox, his "wall street journal" has done some of the greatest reporting that every day the president of the united states and his spokesman put into the category of fake news. none of this is fake news. this is something that all america needs to be concerned about and keep their eye on. >> carl bernstein, thanks so much for joining us. >> good to be here. up next the date and location set for the highly
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united states overnight and the president praised the decision by kim jong-un to free the men. >> we very much appreciate that he allowed them to go before the meeting and we sort of understood that we would be able to get these three terrific people during the meeting and bring them home after the meeting, and he was nice in letting them go before the meeting. frankly, we didn't think this was going to happen and it did. >> the release of the american detainees followed a 13-hour visit to north korea by secretary of state mike pompeo. we are now learning new details about the trip which included a 90-minute face-to-face meeting between pompeo and kim jong-un. they discussed plans of the summit with president trump. our correspondent christian amanpour is joining us from london. christiane, the date is set, the detainees are now back on american soil. could the u.s. be headed to a
breakthrough in relations with north korea? >> i believe that is putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. it is great news those americans were freed. they should have been freed a long time ago. we all know regimes like this take americans and other foreigners. they do it to have leverage. and certainly they have done, according to president trump, a goodwill gesture releasing them earlier than anticipated, but of course they never should have been arrested in the first place. that being said, it does soften the atmosphere around the upcoming summit. both leaders want a good atmosphere going into the summit. and yet there is so much substance to be able to achieve before we know if a breakthrough has been made. clearly, though, there is a big change in tone from what we were hearing from both leaders. certainly ever since september, it really ramped up in he werer with the fire and fury, and
rocket man, and kim responded in kind, and we thought they may be on the verge of a horrible confrontation, and then kim jong-un starts to deescalate over the new year and make all sorts of outward gestures leading to the olympics in seoul and all the diplomacy that's come since then including the invitation to the president to come meet. >> how much leverage does this meeting have in singapore? >> quite a bit of leverage. no matter how much kim jong-un, which includes nuclear weapons and missiles that intelligence believes can reach the united states. this is something they have which iran does not have. but the u.s. is much more powerful. and so the threat of getting into a war with the united states is one that north korea presumably does not want to engage in.
however, what is dim jong-un ready to put on the table? he keeps talking about denuclearization? what exactly does that mean? this is the real question. what are his intentions vis-a-vis just that aspect of it, denuclearization. what does he mean? does he mean, you know, getting rid of all the things that i just mentioned right now, getting rid of his past program, getting rid of the program forever? does he mean trying to drag the united states into a co-denuclearization, which has been the north korean aim from the start. we don't know. we haven't heard those kind of readouts if there have been any parameters set and issues sort of sorted out in the meetings with the secretary of state. so we don't really know. but president trump needs to get more than just a promise of a freeze on nuclear tests or ballistic tests.
it's better to have talk than war. >> christiane amanpour, thank you very much for that. coming up, the trump team has a message for the democrats who voted against the cia nominee, gina haspel. that message? you're a sexist. we have details on the sudden embrace of the gender card. they're playing cleanup after monica lewinsky calls out the town n country magazine. come back with us. clot in my lung. i was scared. i had a dvt blood clot. having one really puts you in danger of having another. my doctor and i chose xarelto®. xarelto®. to help keep me protected. xarelto® is a latest-generation blood thinner that's... proven to treat and reduce the risk of dvt or pe blood clots from happening again. in clinical studies, almost 98% of patients on
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director. the white house says democrats need to confirm her if for no other reason but that she's a woman. sara sanders said, quote, there is no one more qualified to be the first woman to lead the cia than 30-plus year cia veteran gina haspel. any democrat who claims to support women's empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite. diane feinstein responded, well, that's very interesting. i'm delighted to hear it. is that coincidental or is that purposeful? >> it's very important to have women in these positions, but i'm not going to accept a false choice that you either accept a woman or you accept someone who has not admitted that torture is
morally wrong. i think we can have both. >> let's get to our guests, national affairs correspondent john walsh and essy copeland. oou you've written an op-ed. what do you think about it? >> i'm offended by what sara sanders wrote. i'm inclined to support gina haspel and i'm also a woman. on the one hand, what we conservatives is critical of liberals doing a lot is saying if you're a woman, you must support liberal or you must support xyz. we try not to do that and that's exactly what she was doing. but it's also just flawed. there is nothing hypocritical with caring about women's empowerment, caring about national security and asking tough questions of a woman who would take on a very high position. in fact, at worst it's maybe
partisan, at best it's actually quite principled. then the idea that you must -- to support women's empowerment, you have to support every woman and every policy position she has is just absurd. i agree that gina haspel is the most qualified person for this position. i wish sara sanders hadn't brought up the fact that she's a woman to prove it. >> yeah, i think it's incredibly condescending, wolf. she stands or falls on her merits. she's very, very qualified but some democrats and republicans, notably john mccain, are worried she wouldn't say torture is immoral. i think the notion that feminism requires some kind of special pleading or get over your reservations, surrender your own moral judgment because someone is a woman, that's never -- conservative, liberal, feminist, that's never what women have been asking for.
>> the argument she's trying to make with gina haspel being the most qualified women, then why say this is women's empowerment if you don't approve her? >> during the presidential campaign, the trump campaign frequently argued that women shouldn't necessarily feel obliged to vote for hillary clinton because she is a woman. listen to kellyanne conway, what she said about all of this in 2016. >> i love using that word because it's a word that the left and hillary clinton's democrats love to impose if you're not in support of hillary clinton. if you're not in support of hillary clinton, you're a sexist. >> hillary clinton was the most qualified candidate in the race for sure. like her, hate her, whatever, that was certainly true. it's ridiculous. someone at the rnc admitted in the daily beast today that it's flat out trolling. they know they're trolling democrats. they know they're trying to shove people's noses in their
own arguments. they don't believe this for a minute, and i believe she's going to get a vote and it's not going to matter that she's a woman, it's going to be because she calls them immoral. >> they originally invited monica lewinsky to join in an event, then they learned that bill clinton would be there as well, so town n country d disinvited her. bill clinton was there. they have since apologized to monica lewinsky saying, we apologize to monica lewinsky and regret the way the situation was handled. >> that sounds a little like there was some miscommunication. i think town n country made a decision that bill clinton's attendance and comfort level at this event was more important than monica's attendance and whatever message she has. just go through this week's news
with matt lawyer and harvey weinstein in the headlines, how tone deaf is it to think we're still back in the '90s when bringing bill clinton to an event is more important than listening to a woman whose story was proven true 20 years ago and is still disrespected. >> and who was mocked and treated so poorly by both sides. it's so awful. have an event, be adult. if bill clinton wants to come or doesn't want to come, that's his decision. let them both come and be adults, but it's so insulting to her. >> they made a major, major blunder and they're obviously regretting that blunder. thank you for that good discussion. as a showdown arose between congress and the justice department, the chairman of the house intelligence and oversight committees have just been briefed by the department of justice by officials over there over the russian investigation. we have new details when we come back.
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we're following breaking news from the u.s. defense department. the pentagon has just released a report on the deadly ambush in niger. it concluded a series of failures led to the ambush. barbara starr is reporting. there still seems to be confusion over the search for sergeant la david johnson. >> the search for sergeant la david johnson began immediately
as it did with the other soldiers. there was a report that he could be over with the other soldiers at tongo tongo. it turned out to be an errant report. he ran 960 meters and ran a long way where he was last seen and made his last stance where he fought until end under a tree. >> was there a delay in searching for him? what happened? >> they insisted there was no delay, even though the eight-page summary that they handed to reporters and it was only a summary of a 6,000 page report we have not seen. that summary said it did lead to some delays. this is only one of the many confusing items, still seven months after the ambush, seven
months after four american soldiers and a number of nigerians lost their fight. there was confusion. the troops were separated, the rescue and medevac forced took hours to get in there. the real question is what were they doing there in the first place? they are not authorized to be in combat, not authorized to be going after high-value targets. that was one of their missions during this entire two-day episode. confusion all around. perhaps equally disturbing now they say they're going to fix a number of problems that troops now in this area will be given the ops tion of armored vehicle and better weapons, all of this seven months after four americans died. >> they better learn some important lessons to make sure it doesn't happen again.
thank you for that report. >> with a possible showdown looming between congress and the justice department, two lawmakers were given a special briefing on robert mueller's investigation. devon nunes and chairman trey gowdy were briefed. they left the d.o.j. just a few moments ago. nunes has threatened justice officials with contempt of congress charges which led to this from the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. >> i can tell you the different people who have been making threats privately and publicly against me for quite some time, and i think they should understand by now the department of justice is not going to be extorted. >> here with me is our legal and national security analyst. how unusual, asha, is a briefing like this? >> i think what's unusual is the circumstances under which it's happening. we have an ongoing investigation
right now. congress obviously has broad oversight authority. typically they're looking at something after an investigation has concluded. what we have right now is the department of justice pushing back and saying this is going to threaten national security and may get one of our sources killed if we give you this information. and it's also not really happening in the context of a full congressional investigation. that was ostensibly concluded with republicans issued the report. i think all of this makes this somewhat out of the ordinary. >> we know adam schiff, the ranking member of the house intelligence committee, he separately, we're told, is going to be briefed on this. >> i think they're going to be trying to come up with some negotiation compromise where they can satisfy congress's request while still preserving the national security concerns. you need to remember, wolf, it's not just about the danger to the source in this particular case. this impacts the fbi and cia's
ability to gather sources generally. they have to assure people that the fbi, cia, the government will protect them and this is sending a strong message for all kind of cases to these sources that the government may not be able to do that for them. it's pretty important for justice to find some middle ground here i think. >> what's extraordinary is that devon nunes has threatened the attorney general, jeff sessions, with contempt unless he does what they want him to do. the white house is backing jeff sessions. speaker ryan seems to be backing the republican leadership of the house intelligence committee. does today's briefing you think bring this fight to an end? >> i hope so. this is going to be a separation of powers clash. again, you have different interests from different branches of government. ideally you don't want to compromise national security. you also don't want to see the
head of the department of justice go to jail for contempt. so they should be able to find a middle ground, i hope. and also i hope that to the extent that these members of congress are accommodated that there won't be a leak because of apparently how sensitive this information is. >> especially if the release of what they described as the most sense it ha-- sensitive informa of sources could lead to the death -- >> and we know what happened in salisbury, england that russia not above going after people who are helping other intelligence agencies. so i think the threat is very real here. >> thank you, asha, for your excellent help. >> coming up, pay to play? we have new details.
. hi there. i'm brianna keilar in for brooke baldwin. new details on president trump's personal attorney was peddling his access to the president. we now know michael cohen received more money than reported and his sales pitch was more aggressive than initially known. as we learn how cohen tried to profit off his proximity to the president, the president's new attorney is