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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  January 30, 2019 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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♪ ♪ ♪ olly. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. we've got new developments tonight in the russia investigation, so we're devoting this entire hour to an in-depth look to all things russia. the president is weighing in to the mueller investigation in a new interview. and he's telling the daily caller he's leave decisions on the mueller report to the department of justice, but he adds this. i could have gotten involved in this, i could have terminated everything, i could have ended everything. i've chosen to stay. i've chosen to stay out of it, i should say. i had the right to end everything. i could have just said that's
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enough. many people thought that's what i should do. the president also had a lot to say about the arrest of his long time ally, roger stone, saying he was very disappointed to see the arrest, his words, go down that way. all this while robert mueller the special counsel is out with a new filing alleging more russian interference this time, aimed directly at discrediting mueller's investigation. a pro-russian twitter account allegedly used information from the account from concord management and consulting, information that was not publicly available as part of a disinformation campaign against a russia investigation. it's complicated, but we're going to break it down for you. we're going to start with shiposh shimon. the president is weighing in on his arrest of his long time ally, roger stone.
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he said the level of force used in the raid was unusual. is that true? >> here's the thing, i think what makes this so unusual is that the president is weighing in on the arrest of someone who is charged with activity, was questioned about activity surrounding the campaign, lied about that activity during the campaign. and that's what makes this so strange. obviously roger stone is his associate, has been friends with him for many years. and the fact he's weighing in on this obviously should raise all sorts of concerns. it's within his right, certainly, if there's something going on with the fbi or any other law enforcement to raise issues about the way something is handled. but this is just different because it has a personal connection. now, look there are some people who will say that this raid was appropriate, the way the fbi went in. this is standard procedure. and it is in a lot of cases. but, you know, it's so rare that we get to see something like this. and i think that may be what is so shocking. you know, certainly roger stone has no history of violence.
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no one would expect the fbi to go in this fashion. we don't know all the information the fbi had and the reason why they chose to do it this way. there may be reasons, but it is true when certain circumstances like this when people are charged with nonviolent crimes it's not always the fbi goes in this way. they usually tell people to surrender. they chose not to do that in case, and they may have a good reason for doing that. he could ask the department of justice to tell him, why did you guys do it this way, and they may tell him. >> but that doesn't help him with his base. he wants to put it out there, tweet about it, i want to end it blah, blah, blah. >> and the whole thing is discrediting the fbi and perhaps discrediting mueller. >> can we turn now to the filing by the special counsel? what is mueller saying here?
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>> this is kind of to dumb it down. a bunch of russians were indicted, a disinformation campaign, you know, hiring people to try and sow discord and interfere in the election process. and what happened is during the mueller investigation along with the department of justice they decided to indict 13 russians in connection with this. including a company called concord management. all in russia. it's this information research agency. they were running this entire operation. so in an unusual move -- in an unusual move the department of justice charges them. the company out of nowhere, no one expected this, has decided they're going to fight these charges. they are not in this country but they within their legal right have the right to fight these charges and in doing so are getting documents. and the person who owns this company is as the government alleges is putin's chef.
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a russian who's very close to vladimir putin. so he has hired a bunch of u.s. attorneys and they'll be going into court here in washington, d.c. and fighting these charges. and a as a result the lawyers have been getting all sorts of documents from the mueller team. those documents have somehow wound up in the hands of russians who have now used it to try and get it out there and try and cause all sorts of disinformation, a disinformation campaign essentially on the mueller team putting out these documents. they've also in some ways put out forged documents. the fbi says these documents were published by someone in russia. so that's essentially it. they have these documents. the mueller team is fighting them because they want to be able to look at some other more very sensitive documents. and the mueller team is saying, no, we don't want you to have access to this. we don't want your clients, the russians to get their hands on these sensitive documents because it's going to cause all
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sorts of national security issues. >> so mueller is trying to prevent sensitive information from being passed onto rousha. there's a section in the filing that reads like this. it says the sensitive discovery identifies uncharged individuals and entities that the government believes are continuing to engage in operations that interfere with lawful u.s. government functions like those activities charged in the indictment. so what does that tell us? could there be more indictments on the way? >> yeah, certainly there could be. there are people that the fbi, the u.s. government, intelligence services are watching in russia. this all has to do with the interference campaign. we've heard the fbi, we've heard the intelligence services say they are concerned about 2020. and it looks like when you read this, that the fbi is monitoring a lot of this. they are in on these guys, and they're afraid if they start releasing this information that the russians are going to know who they're looking at, right, who's the fbi is looking at. what they're more more concerned
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about also is the methods. they do not want in any way to disclose the methods by which they are able to monitor some of this activity. look, it's very clear when you talk to the fbi publicly, privately, there's a lot of concern around 2020. and i think what we're seeing in this case is one of it limitations of a case like this with national security is that the fbi and the department of justice are always afraid to reveal too much information. and that is sometimes why we don't see charges brought in these kinds of cases. and simply what they're telling us here is, look, we're telling a judge we have to be careful here. we cannot release a lot of this information because we have active investigations, and if we reveal this information national security is going to be risked here. >> thank you, shimon. i want to bring in now michael isikoff. max boot is here as well. he's the author of "the
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corrosion of conservatism, why i left the right." so good to see both of you on this chilly evening here. max, you first. the president says he could have ended the investigation, chose not to do that. i don't know, does he want credit for not ending the investigation into his own campaign? >> right, he wants credit for not obstructing justice anymore than he's already obstructed justice. remember "the new york times" has reported that on several akags ak occasions he tried to fire special counsel mueller and was talked out of it by aides. we know he did fire fbi director comey, attorney general sessions. so he has obstructed justice but he has not totally ended the investigation, which would have been hard for him to do in any case because it's not clear he could pull the plug. it would have to be someone at the justice department. up until recently it would have been rosenstein, and he probably would have quit sooner than doing it. and the reason why donald trump
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didn't want to do that is he saw what happened when he fired fbi director comey. as a result of that he got a special counsel on this case, and his aides told him if he fired mueller the situation would be he would be ripe for impeachment. it's not that he deserves some kind of credit for observing the rule of law. it's some kind of self-preservation on his part. >> i want to add he has no hesitation at taking pot shots at the mueller investigation repeatedly on twitter talking about the witch hunt and mueller's angry democrats. so he's done everything he could to stir up his people, his base towards animosity towards the mueller investigation and to discredit it. but he realizes the political limits of going too far and actually trying to fire mueller. >> so he says he hasn't spoken to the acting ag whitaker about. but a term i've been hearing a
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lot from conservative media, process crimes. these are just process crimes. after almost two years it certainly would be process crimes or process, you know, questions. the answer is different than what you thought it might be, and some people say they lost their memory or lack of memory, which a lot of people can understand that, too. are we just talking about process crimes here? >> well, in some cases if one considers lying to the fbi and lying to congress a process crime, i suppose it fits. there are core crimes that mueller has indicted against the rugs who hacked the dnc, against the troll farm that manipulated american social media. in fact, that's what you were just talking about with shimon. it's the troll farm company that mueller had charged and apparently whose lawyers passed along some of this material. but it is true that mueller has
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not yet charged anybody in trump's orbit with conspiring with the russians. and, you know, we're going to have to wait and see. you know, i think everybody believes, most people believe we are at the end game here and mueller is either going to have yet one more indictment to bring or it's simply a report. you know, we have to wait and see what his full evidence is. but, you know, these crimes, lying to federal investigators, lying to congress they are felonies. people can go to prison for them. >> and we're seeing people actually go to prison for them. >> and if i could just say a word in favor of process crimes. i mean, remember this is why richard nixon and bill clinton were impeached, for perjury, for obstruction of justice, for witness tampering. and when bill clinton was being impeached for lying under oath about his relationship with monica lewinsky republicans
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weren't saying these are process crimes. they were saying this is threat to the rule of law. and i believe that. because you cannot have a president and his closest associates obstructing justice. you cannot have them lying to the fbi or congress. this goes at the very heart of our democracy. our legal system would not function if people thought they could get away with perjury and obstruction. so this is not something that's minor or trivial. this is actually a high crime and misdemeanor if it's committed by the president of the united states. >> you mention this just a moment ago, michael. let's talk about this filing by mueller this afternoon. russians waging this disinformation campaign against the mueller investigation. using these documents that shimon talked about, they got from the russia-related case mueller is prosecuting. what's your assessment of that in. >> look, what's interesting about that is the whole scenario was odd to begin with. mueller indicts this troll farm
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in the internet research agency owned by the concord management, putin's chef. nobody expected those russians to show up in federal court in the united states and stand trial. but they hired these high aggressive lawyers mounting this defense on their behalf, even though, you know, they were never going to show up in court anyway. what was the purpose of fighting in court? it was very clear and mueller's people sort of were onto this from the get-go, that the whole purpose was to get discovery so the russians could figure out how the fbi and mueller's prosecutors got onto them. how they were able in a very detailed indictment that named specific individuals, specific dates, who was doing what, who was setting up what accounts in the united states, phony accounts on facebook and twitter. the russians wanted to know how the fbi figured that out.
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so the whole purpose here was to get -- to get access to the discovery so they could pass it back to the russians -- >> straight out of russia's play book. >> yeah, exactly. and so it is not surprising what mueller filed today, that, yes, in fact that's exactly what they were doing with the discovery that was handed over to the lawyers. it made its way back to the russians. the rugs were using it it to discredit the mueller investigation. this was all part of the larger russian disinformation campaign that, you know, began during the election and from all appearances is going on until today. >> yet there is -- you know, the president down-plays russia's influence on our politics. max, a former green party candidate jill stein was on cnn this evening. she said she was asked about that dinner she attended with putin and michael flynn, and if mueller has reached out to her. i want you to check this out. >> you say no one from robert
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mueller's team has reached out to you, no document requests, nothing, from you or anyone who works for you? >> yes, absolutely. and if there was a shred of wrongdoing on my part mueller would certainly know about it because michael flynn has turned states evidence. besides i was completely public throughout aboutly what i was doing. tweeting about it, my speech to a meeting at rt which was attended by jesse ventura, by rocky anderson. it's a meeting of many peace advocates, which is how i happened to be there. >> we know there was a disinformation campaign to help jill stein. but mueller hasn't reached out to her. does that say anything to you? >> well, i mean, if she's telling the truth, and we don't know if she is or not, but assuming she is that would suggest she is not in the special counsel's cross hairs and there's no suggestion that
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the russians were actively colluding with her even though they might have been helping her. so we don't know what was going on there, but clearly it's striking for me with what you're talking about here with putin's chef and his company still engaging in this disinformation. we heard yesterday from the intelligence chiefs testifying in congress that the russians are still up to their old tricks. i mean, this is threat that has not gone away. and what we've seen repeatedly in europe as well as the united states the russians will use both the far left and the far right to try to undermine democracies. that doesn't mean they're necessarily directly in collusion with those campaigns, but they certainly want to promote the extremes. and oh, by the way the extremes on the left and the right tend to be largely pro-russian. and that's something we need to be worried about in the future. no one could forget the
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infamo infamous access hollywood tape. inside one hour wikileaks started releasing hacked e-mails from the clinton campaign. we have new details on how that happened. that's next. severe rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. vo: humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection.
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but it won't save you any money on car insurance. geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more. why haven't you called geico? new details tonight about the release of that infamous "access hollywood" tape just one month before election day and about an alleged plan to distract from the bombshell. within minutes of the tape's release wikileaks dumped a batch of stolen e-mails from hillary clinton's campaign chairman. joining me now to discuss. but first here's cnn's sara murray with more on this story. sarah? >> reporter: well, don, it's a story we did not see in roger stone's indictment, that the day the infamous "access hollywood" tape was released in 2016 roger stone went looking for help from wikileaks. that's according to jerome corsi, but it raises the
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question whether additional questions might be coming for roger stone. >> this is speeding bullet heading for his head, not me. i'm just a small collateral damage compared to him. >> reporter: conservative author and conspiracy theorist jerome corsi is doubling down on his claim that in the bleakest moment of trump's presidential campaign stone turned to wikileaks for help. >> it's my recollection stone mentioned this billy bush was coming and he wanted to know if this assange could begin dropping e-mails. >> reporter: just a month before election day a tape became public showing trump in 2005 bragging about sexual harassment to former "access hollywood" host billy bush. corsi claims before the tape was released publicly stone knew it was coming. he called corsi with a request,
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convinced wikileaks founder julian assange to release clinton campaign chairman john podesta's hacked e-mails. less than half an hour after the "access hollywood" tape was released wikileaks dropped its first batch of podesta e-mails. e-mails wikileaks obtained from the russians. but he denies he ever communicated with assange. >> i have i believe figured out that assange had podesta's e-mails. i did tell this not only to roger but to others, and it turned out i was right. now, that was deduction on my part. as best i can remember i was putting together the dots. >> reporter: the "access hollywood" tape rocked the trump campaign. as crist christie the former new jersey governor who advised trump during the campaign recalls in his book. >> the tape was hard to watch, it was harder to listen to.
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the words sounded crude and vulgar playing through the small speaker on hope hick's laptop, even more so with him sitting right there with us. >> reporter: he vehemently denies it. >> jerry corsi is clearly delusional. >> reporter: stone has pleaded not guilty to seven charges of obstruction of justice, making false statements and witness tampering. and even though corsi says he shared the "access hollywood" saga with mueller's team and the grand jury, it wasn't referenced in the indictment. >> there wasn't any evidence of that in the public record that we know of, absent that it seems mueller is not going to rely on the word of corsi all by itself as part of this indictment. it's just too dangerous for mueller. >> reporter: two months ago mueller's team told corsi they were prepared to indict him for lying to investigators, although not about the "access hollywood" story specifically.
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they offered corsi a plea deal, which he rejected. as for jerome corsi so far he isn't facing any charges. >> we're going to dig into it next. give your eyes some love, honey! new age perfect hydra nutrition honey eye gel with manuka honey extract and a cooling rollerball wand to visibly de-puff and reduce bags. eyes look younger and refreshed. new age perfect hydra nutrition honey eye gel
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and the army taught me a lot about commitment. which i apply to my life and my work. at comcast we're commited to delivering the best experience possible, by being on time everytime. and if we are ever late, we'll give you a automatic twenty dollar credit. my name is antonio and i'm a technician at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. so just before the break as you just heard half an hour after the "access hollywood" tape was released wikileaks dropped its first bunch of stolen podesta e-mails. let's discuss now. sugarman, and jennifer rogers, a
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former assistant u.s. attorney and she joins us quite often. so the "access hollywood" tape and wikileaks, at the moment of this potentially existential threat to trump's candidacy, and i remember sitting here waiting for the response. you remember? the first stolen batch of podesta e-mails dropped. if it is proven that stone coordinated that, what does it mean to him? >> well, i don't think it means a whole heck of a lot actually. we already know from the indictment that they were looking to use the wikileaks drops strategically, right, that they were trying to either detract from bad news or hillary's campaign. whatever they were doing they were trying to do something active and strategic with that. this gives us more color on what they were trying to avoid during those late stages of the campaign. the problem is what is that legally, and i don't think it rises to the level of conspiracy. you know, they're not dealing
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with the rugs. they're dealing with wikileaks, and what they're trying to get i think is not going to rise the level of a campaign contribution as to violate the campaign finance laws. >> jerome corsi said that stone allegedly told him to release these stolen e-mails, to get them released because of the vulgar tape. there should be lost of text and e-mail evidence that would show that, right? >> probably. or at least you'd turn the screws on corsi and one of the questions is corsi going to be indicted, and will there be more pressure on him to cooperate and reveal maybe he has that information. but i agree with jennifer. i think that adds more flavor and detail from the already existing story. >> does that help to bolster other things if you see, okay, this is how fis part of the -- you say it may not rise -- but this part, it worked this way.
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there was a conjunction with wikileaks and that leads to something else. are they building a bridge or -- >> it tells a story. there's no question all of these things are a piece of the story hopefully we'll be able to see somebody when the mueller report is released, but i just don't think it's going toby a separate criminal charge. >> i agree. we don't have an additional charge on the federal charge we see here. so the existing indictment is about a series of false statements, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. july 16th, that's the point where a senior trump campaign official is directed. we don't know who that is, but there's only a couple of people that could be including donald trump or maybe trump, jr. or another campaign official who says to stone go reach out to wikileaks. and that end of the july timing is right around the time of the democratic national convention where trump gets up and says, russia, if you're listening, if you can find those 30,000 e-mails, right? so here's the piece that i'm
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interested in. if a pardon comes down for stone, could he face any state liability? so the key thing about a presidential pardon is it only affects federal criminal -- >> you were reading my mind. go on. i've been thinking about it. >> so this is the question is did mueller strategically bring certain charges of the indictment that only a federal prosecutor could bring? felony, false statements on a federal level, obstruction of justice, and did he leave out other charges that could potentially be brought by new york state? none of those are the slam dunks you see in this indictment against stone. but the question i'm asking is could you bring a state charge under new york law for aiding and abetting for a hacking conspiracy or soliciting stolen goods? i think there's a stronger case for those crimes than you would for violations of campaign financial. if you have stone involved with a conspiracy to solicit stolen
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goods or aid and abet computer hacking, even if trump pardons stone, you could still have a new york state prosecution for stone, which means he needs to cooperate. >> as this was all happening, just for the last couple of days of -- you just answered the question i had. thank you. i appreciate it. because if it does go to you said state charges or if it goes to the southern district of new york, is that what you're saying? >> no, i'm talking this is federal and state. so mueller and fdny are federal, and then the question are different state charges, that means trump's pardon for stone would actually not let him off the hook. you might still have state charges. >> it's about two months before the indictment drops. it says person 1 stated in part word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. impact planned to be very
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damaging. corsi confirmed to cnn the information in the indictment is accurate. how much of a problem is that for stone? >> well, i think it's a big problem for him as far as this indictment goes. i mean, this indictment is a very strong indictment. the evidence seems to be solid. you know, they have lots of texts, lots of written materials backing this up. they may end up with the written testimony of jerome corsi. kind of within the four corners of this indictment and these charges it's really important. i don't think, again, it's going to lead to additional charges for roger stone in the conspiracy realm. but as far as this goes i don't think he will plea because he doesn't seem like that kind of guy, but he really ought to be looking for some sort of resolution. >> meaning stone? >> yes. he won't but he should. >> you said you won't think he will plead. didn't we hear that from michael cohen and other people, i'm not going to do it and all of a sudden oh, wait, what happened? do you think stone is cut from a different cloth?
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>> i do. i also think his game right now is to keep all of his options open. i think he tries to drag out this pretrial phase. i think he keeps giving the trump talk points to keep the pardon open. i think he loves to be in the spotlight and keep that going. i think for the moment he's raising money for his defense fund through tv and that's why he's going to keep it going. >> that's why people are saying if he doesn't go to jail, he would not be happy because he wants to attention, and he can use that possibly in a book or part of his story. do you disagree with that? >> well, i think all of that sounds great in theory when you're out flashing the nixon v. signs out in front of the courthouse. nothing concentrates the mind like an execution. nothing concentrates the mind like facing jail possibly. as much as roger stone enjoys the spotlight here, i think there may be a reckoning where he says i might like to walk the streets freely.
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house democrats on the intelligence committee promised one of the first things they'd do after winning a majority would be to authorize the release of dozen of witness interview transcripts to the special counsel to assist the investigation. democrats were unable to do that until the republican members were named to the committee, which happened late this afternoon. so joining me now to discuss this one of the democrats on the committee, congressman shawn patrick maloney. so good to have you on. thank you so much. >> good to be with you. >> no that republicans have
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named their committee members will will the committee's witness transcripts be released. >> the chairman has said it's a top priority. i believe he said it's really our first order of business. so now that republicans have finally named their members we can get down to it. i don't have a specific time frame for you, but it'll be as fast as we can i believe. >> when is the new intelligence committee slated to meet, congressman? >> we've been waiting for republicans to get their act together. unfortunately, you know, the congress, you know, is finished for the week today. so i don't have a time frame on that either. the members on the republican side were literally just named today, so that's been a bit of a frustration. but i can tell you chairman schiff is ready to go. we've got a lot of work to do. >> speaking of that let's talk about as you said chairman adam schiff has said that the first order of business is to release those transcripts. give me a second order of business. >> well, look, i know it is a
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top priority for the chairman to make sure that the intelligence committee is returned to the professional respected committee that it has always been. and in a bipartisan fashion, if that is still possible. you are going to see a chairman who's smart, focused and takes his job seriously. that's going to be a refreshing change from the last couple of years. and that means we're going to redo these investigations as necessary. we're going to take our oversight responsibilities seriously on the russia matter and everything else. and i think you will see we are going to defend the integrity of our investigation and hold accountable people who do not tell the truth. >> congressman, as you know just after the u.s. intelligence chiefs gave their assessments of the global threats. the president publicly criticized the very people he's appointed. what do you think is behind the disconnect between the intelligence chiefs and this president? >> well, you said it. it's cleary a total disconnect.
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i do give the intelligence chiefs credit for coming before congress and calling it like they see it. it kind of begs the question where does the president get his information if all the people who work for him see the world one way and he sees it another. their assessments were very clear-eyed from the iran nuclear deal to the threat posed by russia. you may have noticed they didn't spend a lot of time talking about some fantasy project at the border because it was not among the most serious security threats to the united states. so i give them credit, and the president should be ashamed of himself from running down his own appointees. >> i'm glad you mentioned that because if you guys can't reach an agreement there in washington that there could be an emergency call and then it either goes to court or they start building a wall or whatever is going to happen, are you concerned the president is going to use this to shutdown the government again? >> look, we've seen what happens when we shutdown the government.
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only a mad man would do that again. i can tell you the republicans on capitol hill have no appetite for that. mitch mcconnell said there's no education in the third kick of the mule. it's frankly a very troubling action by the president, sets a terrible precedent. and the fact is that it should never come to that. we should be able to work through our differences on border security. we should never shut done the government over it. that's outrageous. and there's really not that much to divide us if we focus on what really goes into a secure border. and by the way, a lot of us would like to remember we've got immigration reform we need to do starting with the dreamers and all the other issues. so let's talk about everything. >> congressman, appreciate having you. come back anytime. >> robert mueller says russians are altterring documents from his investigation in an effort to discredit him and his team. bold move for putin, no? when did sleep start requiring effort? what if it didn't have to? each tempur-pedic bed is made with advanced pressure-relieving material,
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a new filing by robert mueller alleges that a pro-russian twitter account waged a disinformation campaign against the russia investigat n investigation, using information on a case by the special counsel. there's lots to discuss here. matthew, thank you for joining me. this attempt to discredit the mueller investigation, using documents from a federal case prosecuted by mueller, it's pretty bold, and right out of the russian playbook, right? >> it's consistent with a lot of the information operations that we have seen, whether they're being directed by the russians or supported by the russians or simply information being put out by the russians and others are running with it who might have a political interest in doing so. it's all very much part of the same playbook that we saw before
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the 2016 elections, we saw elements of it in the 2018 elections, and we're going to see it going forward, and the reason is, because it works. >> interesting. you know, it seems like a real in your face move, just a day after the intelligence chiefs testified that russia is continuing cyber attacks and adapting along the way. does putin even care if his fingerprints are on this or if he gets caught? >> i think the russians have a different understanding of information confrontation or conflict. i think that their belief is that this is one of many domains of conflict of warfare that the united states enjoys disproportion nate advantages in a lot of the convention aldo mains of conflict. we've got more tanks, more money to spend. this is an area, where because of their tactics, because of their experience, and frankly, because of the vulnerabilities of being an open and democratic society, we have a free press,
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we have information being leaked and spread around all the time, and we do have cyber vulnerabilities, in that respect, they have a dispropassionate advantage, and they're going to use that. i ex% them to keep doing that. >> the president is reportedly furious with dan coats, saying that his intelligence chiefs are naive and passive. this because they publicly contradicted him on iran, on isis, north korea, russia. what do the russians think when they see the president of the united states blasting his own intelligence chiefs? >> yeah, it's very ironic, don, when you think about vladimir putin himself being an intelligence professional, and he uses that term, he even talks about it in his own autobiography. his dream was to be an intelligence professional. he served as a kgb officer and
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he rose to being director of the fsb, the successor of the kgb, so, the irony that the president of russia is himself a product of the russian deep state, and that is something that in american politics has become a curse word, to the sort of trump movement and to trump himself, he's very wary of the deep state. i think for vladimir putin, those two things go hand in hand. he knows he's in a conflict with the united states. he knows he's in a conflict with american intelligence. and the idea that, you know, he may actually have, you know, some argument that can persuade the american president that he shouldn't trust his own intelligence is probably very attractive to vladimir putin. >> matthew, can i get your reaction to this report that the president had a private discussion with vladimir putin at the g20, no aides or u.s. translator present at that meeting? does that give the russians and upper hand in our dealings with them? >> you know, that's where i'm very skeptical.
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i think you have to not go off half cocked without any evidence of what the actual conversation was. all the indications we've had from reports from testimony from u.s. officials is that, you know, there were no promises made or representations or agreements, and certainly nothing that we've actually seen enforced in u.s. policy that anyone in the administration has a problem with. the idea of private exchanges, it's really up to the president himself. it would be useful to him to have staff support, if he chooses to do the exchanges completely privately, that is also his call. but it's going to be harder for him to implement agenda if he doesn't have the administration team behind him. >> you know this is all happening as trump and putin are backing rival leaders in venezuela, matthew. how does this situation fit into the u.s./russia relationship? >> so, what's happening in venezuela now really has the feelings of the beginnings of a
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proxy conflict. we saw this kind of thing in latin america all throughout the cold war, but frankly, we have seen it in the middle east, we have seen it in europe, we have seen it in asia, we've seen it all around the world, including in the post-cold war period. basically, you have the nominal sitting government of maduro, this is a successor to hugo chavez in venezuela, which is being backed with russia and china, with money, with weapons, politically and diplomatically. the united states has said that we back the alternative to the government, we want that government gone. this is the classic example of a proxy war. and remember, the united states has provided a lot of security assistance, and this is, after all, the western hemisphere. it goes back 200 years to the monroe doctrine, the united states has always said, the united states will be the principle power in the western hemisphere, no one else can muck around in politics here. so, it does seem like it's the beginning of a proxy conflict. those can be very dangerous.
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>> matthew, appreciate your time. thank you, sir. >> thanks, don. >> and thank you for watching. hope you all stay warm on this very cold night. we're going to leave you with a look at just how frigid it is out there. double digits below zero in chicago. brr. it's only going to get colder tonight, so stay safe. our coverage tonights. one hougot it.p order? ran out of ink and i have a big meeting today. and 2 boxes of twizzlers... yeah, uh...for the team... the team? gooo team....
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