tv New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman CNN April 11, 2019 5:00am-6:00am PDT
nothing. >> senator hirono, we appreciate you coming in to talk about all of these topics with you. >> thank you. we have more of our breaking news coverage of julian assange's arrest right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. good morning and welcome to your "new day," it is thursday, april 11th, 8:00 in the east. we do begin with the breaking news. just a short time ago police in london arrested wikileaks founder julian assange. in a huge development we just learned moments ago that he was arrested over an extradition warrant on behalf of the united states. now, we will hear much more from officials there very shortly. assange, as you just saw, he was dragged out of the ecuadorian embassy. according to wikileaks, one of the things you can see him shouting there, you can see his lips moving and hear some words. what he is shouting according to wikileaks is the uk must resist this attempt by the trump administration. >> very interesting. assange could appear in a london
courtroom any minute. of course, we would bring you that. he was a key player in the release of those hacked emails from the democratic national committee and hillary clinton's campaign. wikileaks also posted classified military information on the wars in afghanistan and iraq. assange has spent seven years in that building, the ecuadorian embassy avoiding extradition over a sexual assault case that sweden says it could reopen. cnn's nina dee santos is live with all of the breaking details. what have you learned? >> reporter: good morning. over the last hour what we've hearth is the metropolitan police, the british police who went into the ecuadorian embassy to arrest him have confirmed he was arrested, indeed, in relation to an extradition request issued by the united states. his lawyers are tweeting just now, they're saying that he has been arrested not just for breach of bail conditions relating to that historic rape
allegation in a sweden, the charges of which have now been dropped, but instead he has been arrested in relation to that u.s. extradition request and the u.s. warrant was issued in december 2017 and is according to jennifer robinson, julian assange's barister, in relation to conspiracy with chelsea manning. so that would appear to be an arrest related to what julian assange did back in 2010, which is when wikileaks burst on to the world stage by releasing those thousands of cables of soldiers in iraq and also in afghanistan. but whether or not there are any indictments that also bear his name relating to further activity that has caused the spotlight to be shined upon this embassy over the last few years, that again will remain a mystery. you will remember that wikileaks was famously referred to as organization 1 in the indictment that the special counsel unveiled over the course of the summer when they indicted 12 gru
agents. we also know that assange was mentioned in an inadvertently unsealed indictment towards the end of last year in a wholly unrelated case to that. there will be many questions between now and the next two hours when he is set to appear before westminster's magistrate court. if there is now the possibility of this u.s. extradition warrant that has been issued, obviously you could expect that presumably from the uk side we will see some very significant lawyers, very significant legal people who will be representing the uk in the court later on today. he's currently being held in a british police station nearby in london and we are expecting to see him charged in a couple of hours. >> thank you very much for that. we want to bring in now jim sciutto, "newsroom" co-anchor, susan glasser, a cnn global affairs analyst and jeffrey toobin cnn chief legal analyst. jim, you have covered this story
for years, you have interviewed julian assange. what is it like to watch him carried out of the embassy there this morning muttering things about the trump administration? >> the first thing you notice is he looks very different after seven years in that embassy where he has basically confined himself there. he looks a different person. big picture here, though, this is important because, remember, he is integral to several cases. central to russian interference in the election, u.s. intelligence views him as a middleman, a cutout, that he was in effect part of this interference. he's central, too, to questions about what the trump administration or trump campaign, i should say, knew prior to the release of those materials, right? what were the communications between roger stone, et cetera. robert mueller may have already closed that case but now you have a central witness this that case being expedited to the u.s. he is integral to a case that preceded all of this, this being the chelsea manning case. one of the big releases prior to the 2016 election campaign from wikileaks and his lawyers now, jennifer robinson, i've been in
touch with her for years, she's say that the extradition request from the u.s. relates to the chelsea manning case. is it confined to the chelsea manning case or is that one of the issues the u.s. wants to extradite him to the u.s. for questioning. this is not his only legal problem because he has been accused by two women in sweden of sexual assault and while those charges were dropped, i was in the courtroom when they went through all the evidence against him, while those charges have been set aside sweden made clear they could reopen that case. >> and those women said they were shocked. one was put out a statement saying she's been waiting for this for years. >> the british have a case against him because he jumped bail. >> let me remind people what the u.s. government thinks that wikileaks is. mike pompeo called wikileaks a non-state hostile intelligence service offer abetted by state actors like russia. the one statement we do have from russia so far today is lamenting the arrest of julian assange, calling him the throat of freedom.
which is very different, jeffrey, than what donald trump has said in the past about wikileaks. i just want to play this to frame how our president has viewed this organization in the past. listen. >> this just came out. wikileaks. i love wikileaks. >> this wikileaks stuff is unbelievable. >> another one came in today, this wikileaks is like a treasure trove. >> getting off the plane they were just announcing new wikileaks and i wanted to stay there but i didn't want to keep you waiting. >> i love reading those wikileaks. >> i don't think the feeling is mutual anymore. >> i have to say, jeffrey, it's so odd now that this man was arrested because of an extradition order in the united states on behalf of the united states and the president of the united states we just played it, has celebrated this organization and by connection this man for so long. >> that's true, john, but it is also indicative of the incredible complexity of the wikileaks legal situation. i mean, the status of wikileaks
has been a subject of contention within and outside the u.s. government for years. is wikileaks a publisher like "the new york times" or the "washington post," which receives classified information and has a first amendment right to distribute it? or is it, as mike pompeo said when he was cia director, a co-conspirator in anti-government activities? that question has never been addressed yet by the courts, but if, in fact, assange is extradited to the united states, and if the charges relate to the chelsea manning documents or later hacks that wikileaks received, that issue will finally be aired out. anyone who tells you it's a simple or easy issue is really not telling the truth. >> there is a lot of mysterious things. given that president trump is sympathetic to wikileaks and assange as we just heard there,
why not? why today? why is julian assange arrested under the trump administration when for seven years people have been wanting to get him back and wondering when he would be arrested? >> well, look, these are all really good questions that we don't yet know the answers to. remember also that ecuador is a key player and it seems to me that there has been a behind the scenes effort we've received some public indicators of it, really intensifying over the last year or two, to get ecuador essentially to change its policy. that was only possible with a change of leadership in ecuador. i do think you will see this resounding in the country's politics today. the first thing that i thought of when i saw assange being sort of dragged out this morning of the embassy was how relieved those ecuadorian officials must be to have something like this over. i remember the united states had a situation like this after tiananmen square, we had a chinese dissident who took refuge inside the u.s. embassy in beijing, that became a
sticking point in relations with the chinese. there was a negotiated resolution to that case much shorter than seven years. i think, you know, this is a major diplomatic problem lifted from ecuador's shoulders right now and i think there was a lot of behind the scenes diplomacy that almost certainly went into this arrest today. it's a major change of policy for them. >> it's been going on for some time, this pressure. we reported last year that assange's lawyers were worried that they were going to be kicked out and the ecuadorians cut off his internet access which for him is like a lifeline a number of months ago. so the pressure has been applied by the u.s. for some time and it appears it's come through. it's possible this is something president trump himself is not particularly excited about, but his justice department which has a whole host of reasons to speak to and charge him is pursuing this and they got the extradition request and are following through. >> again, we don't know how the president feels just us the justice department. we do know that wikileaks was referenced in the indictments
last summer against 12 russians and organizations and organization 1, as the conduit for the stolen emails from podesta and the dn achc. >> can we note how laughable it is for russia to lament this champion of press -- russia pushes journalists out of windows and poise ens people on the streets of london. it's a joke. julian assange focuses all of his attention on the u.s. government. what has he exposed about russian government miss behavior? >> just two other points on wikileaks, number one, michael cohen claims that donald trump knew about the wikileaks release before it happened. he testified that roger stone indicated that, you know -- had told the president about it beforehand, whether that's true or not we don't know. and, yeah, i mean, i just think it's very interesting the continuing role this all has in this. we also learned in the last week that the mueller team never reached out to julian assange to get him to testify in their investigation. >> i find it also peculiar, jeffrey, because -- so mueller
is done, so mueller doesn't need to be talking to him, donald trump is a fan of assange and wikileaks, he won't want -- he won't want julian assange coming back and spilling everything that he knows and if he actually, in fact, ever did talk to roger stone and if he, in fact, was trying to be helpful to the trump campaign. i mean, this is not good timing for president trump and that's why i'm just curious that his department of justice wanted him extradited today. >> well, it's a can of worms in many respects. one thing donald trump has learned over the past two years as president is that the federal bureaucracy has its own momentum here and in this issue and many others and as we've been discussing, you know, the legal issues involving assange go back well before trump became president. i mean, it was in barack obama's first term that the chelsea manning documents were released, stolen state department
documents that made their way to wikileaks. you know, and the question of whether wikileaks was a journalistic enterprise in distributing those documents or a co-conspirator in the theft of classified information is one of the profound issues that's going to have to be addressed if that's at the heart of the case against him here and if he's extradited here. >> guys, stand by for a second. >> stand by for a second. on the phone -- what's the name of the person we have on the phone right now? kristen hirobson who is, i believe -- the editor and chief of wikileaks who took over for julian assange going into the courtroom right now. let me just get your reaction, kristen, to this arrest. >> i think this is an outrageous thing, but we have been warning this would happen for years now. we knew that there was a secret sealed indictment that now has
come forth, an indictment for -- for basically doing what journalists should be doing, that is publishing truthful information. this pertains it seems to documents that were published by wikileaks and "the new york times," may i point out, in 2010. it has to be resisted, the uk authorities must make a clear statement that they will never extradite a journalist, publisher or editor for practicing journalism. >> how do you know this isn't connected to the 2016 russian hack of the dnc computers? >> according to the information from julian's lawyers who have talked to him this is pertaining to the publications of wikileaks in 2010 which exposed war crimes in iraq and afghanistan and that is not a crime, that is journalism. >> let me ask you this, the united states says that russia
gave wikileaks, gave julian assange stolen documents. is that true? >> no. >> did russian cutouts -- >> we -- >> did russian -- >> -- in 2010. >> i'm talking about now. >> iraq and afghanistan. >> i'm talk being in the 2016 election, the united states, robert mueller's investigators, the federal government says that wikileaks was given stolen documents by russian intelligence essentially. if you didn't get those documents from them, where did you get it from? >> we are discussing here the indictment as being presented this afternoon in a court in london, which is -- pertains to publication in 2010. >> i understand they are two different things. i asked you a question about 2016, though. are you going to answer that question? >> julian assange has answered that question.
he said the source of the documents that were published in 2016 were not from a state actor and was not from a russian. as far as we know. i mean, that is basically what he has stated and what is known. >> did he communicate with roger stone or anyone in the trump campaign about those? >> i mean, it has been published and it has been widely noted that -- that roger stone exaggerated the connection he had with julian assange. >> what changed for julian assange? he had been in the ecuadorian embassy for so long. why now? >> well, we are seeing the escalation of the pressure in the trump administration to have him extradited and the pressure has been mounted on ecuador to push him outside the embassy. we don't know how far this has gone in terms of relations
between the u.s. administration and the uk administration, but this has been escalating in the last few weeks and even days and we knew that this was imminent. what we now have is out, what we've wanted all along, that a publisher and a journalist is now being indicted for publishing truthful information about war crimes and other issues pertaining to the wars in iraq and afghanistan, and that is of serious concern. this is a serious attack on the freedom of the press and should be noted as such. >> we're watching the moment that julian assange was taken from the ecuadorian embassy. he's saying something, he's trying to yell something, but do you know what he was saying? >> no. >> all right. thank you very, very much. that is kristen rosenson, i'm
sure i'm not saying that name correctly. the editor in chief of wikileaks. we're watching the arrest right now of wikileaks founder julian assange. jim sciutto, you've been here listening to this, very helpful because this is a story you've been covering for so long. what we had was, again, sort of a circuitous denial. >> listen to his answer on that question, though. did not receive it from a state actor. okay. the u.s. position is cozy bear, fancy bear, these hacking groups are hacking groups that are an extension of the russian government, working for the russian government, don't actually uactual actually wear a uniform of the russian government. there is a clear answer he could have given which is that wikileaks got this information through its own hard work and research and so on. it doesn't actually clear up. and the u.s. wouldn't make a public statement that wikileaks was a middleman on this if they didn't have the intelligence to back that up. so he could have been clear on
that, he was not. >> jeffrey, what did you hear him say there? i mean, he also said in terms of his connection with roger stone or anybody else, he said it's been widely reported that roger stone's account is exaggerated, whatever that means. >> exaggerated, that jumped out at me. another phrase he used jumped out at me which was publishing truthful information. he said, you know, we are being prosecuted or assange is being prosecuted for wikileaks publishing truthful information. and that's going to be a key legal issue if he comes to trial in the united states because what wikileaks has done in the chelsea manning case and certainly in the 2016 campaign case is publish newsworthy information that was truthful. now, it was improperly obtained by someone, perhaps wikileaks itself, but perhaps wikileaks was just an intermediary, and
the legal status of a publisher who publishes truthful information is something that traditionally has been protected in the united states under the first amendment. so i think, you know, the legal question of what -- whether anything that wikileaks has done and assange personally has done is protected by the first amendment's protection of freedom of speech and the press is one that courts are really going to have to struggle with. >> we're watching that very closely. there are statements expected very shortly in london. we should expect, i think, to hear from u.s. officials on this very shortly as well. there could be a lot of developments in the next few minutes, stick around, we are on top of all of them. how many ci have? six? well, now that i'm debt-free, i can contribute to my wedding... and have an actual honeymoon. this is why i sofi. with sofi's no-fee personal loans, you can consolidate your credit cards.
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which can lead to coma or death; decreased white blood cells, which can be fatal; dizziness upon standing; falls; seizures; impaired judgement; heat sensitivity; and trouble swallowing may occur. you're more than just your bipolar 1. ask about vraylar. founder julian assange is under arrest, he was taken into custody in london and uk authorities say he was arrested on behalf of the united states. his lawyer says the arrest is connected to an extradition order having to do with the chelsea manning case which is the dump of information in 2010 concerning the wars in iraq and afghanistan. joining me now is senator joe manchin of west virginia. you've had been on the julian assange matter, writing letters about his announced role by
robert mueller and others in releasing the hacked emails in the 2016 election. >> i think it's extremely important and i think it's very good for us to finally get him on u.s. soil. so we can investigate, we can basically cross-examine, we can find out the facts that only he knows and his connections and how he basically distributed his information. this is something they can extract from julian assange, i think it would be great for the american people, it would be great for us as lawmakers making sure that we protect the system, john, and the system is basically how do we protect against foreign -- you know, foreign invasion type, if you will, as far as our political process. >> just to remind people what robert mueller and his investigators found last summer is that russian intelligence agents hacked the dnc and podesta's emails and gave them -- and gave them to wikileaks and wikileaks released them. correct? >> john, there is not one person that sits on the intelligence committee with me last year that ever had any doubt at all, not
one word of doubt or not one concern of doubt that russia was not directly intentionally involved. all the other stuff, fine, but i'm telling you there was not one democrat or republican that spoke out saying i don't think the dots connect here. i don't think with all 17 intelligence agencies that we have clarity that russia really was involved. we had absolutely clarity and we had proof that russia was involved. i think this will help even more see how intertwined it was. >> all right. senator, since i have you, the reason we invited you in today to talk about things was you were part of this committee hearing yesterday with the attorney general of the united states, william barr, where he said -- announced before your committee he thinks that the trump campaign was spied on and that's the word he used, he said there was spying by u.s. intelligence services. your reaction to his deliberate choice of language. >> i think that was a horrible choice of language and it was a
horrible statement to come from our attorney general. i know he tried to backtrack that and walk that back, the only spying that i saw was russia spying and russia was trying to spy on anybody and everybody they could to get more involved in our process to have some influence of what direction it would go. there is no doubt. now, whoever they're talking about the spying, i can assure you we didn't see the political parties spying on each other from that standpoint to where it was detrimental. we saw basically this whole julian assange, we saw all of that, we saw russia with no -- all the evidence we had and no doubt that russia was doing everything they could on social media and every other avenue that they could take in order to be involved. there was no doubt about that at all. so it was a horrible choice. what i would say to mr. mueller, you are the attorney general for the american people, all of us,
300 and almost 30 million of us and we expect you to be our watchdog, if you will. what we're seeing is, mr. mueller, please release that report. i believe that would help tremendously put him back in light that he is looking out for all of us and not just some of us. >> you made that plea with him yesterday in person. >> i did, yes. >> to release the full report. >> i did. i told him it was the best thing that could ever happen to this country for us to start a healing process. we're growing further and further apart, we're dividing on tribal lines, are you a democrat or republican, are you for or against the president, are you for or against the democratic or republican party? you should be for the country, you should be for the united states of america and whatever we can do to make it better and stronger, but you have to have confidence and belief in the information you're getting from those elected officials that they are being direct and forthright and being honest. by trying to pick and track, extraction -- we the congress should at least be able to see it. we represent the people and we should at least have that
opportunity and i think the more that he does, the quicker he does it the better he will be and the better we will all be. >> his word choice yesterday with the spying accusation, does that color your view of him? >> well, it makes me -- it gives me pause. it surely does. you know, i know he's well qualified and i said that he was very well qualified in his background and his dedication to the agency and to the law. he has family members there. it's in his blood and body and i appreciate all of that. i just hope he doesn't get caught up in all this other. i just hope he doesn't get caught up in the political and basically be our representative, our attorney general. >> senator, let me just tell you what we're looking at right now, we were just showing you pictures from outside the courthouse where julian assange, we believe, just arrived there. there was some movement, it was hard to make him out because the british press is all over this. this is a major international story needless to say. >> john, i understand they
intervened on our behalf, we are going to extradite him. it will be really good to get him back on united states soil. he is our property and we can get the facts and truth from him. >> that is what we've been told as well, that he was arrested on behalf of the u.s. >> we were, too. >> on an extradition order to bring him back here. we're waiting to see if we learn more about what those exact charges might be. senator, i'm going to lose you shortly. i also want to get you on healthcare right now. you are very upset that the administration has signed on to this court case to invalidate obamacare to throw it out in a courthouse, correct? >> totally. i think they're totally wrong. i think they're going to lose. the only thing i asked attorney general barr, when you do lose this case will you go back to defending the laws of the affordable care act? we have 180,000 west virginiaians that have wealth fair for the first time, preexisting conditions 800,000 west virginiaians that are available to have affordable healthcare they have never had before. we're treating mental illness and opioid addiction.
we can fix what we know is wrong. that's the thing that gets me. that's why john mccain voted not to repeal. it he didn't vote because he loved the bill, he voted because there was a process they weren't letting take place that we could fix things, work in a bipartisan way. that's what john mccain did store the american people and the pay treat that he was. i'm asking mr. barr, please, this is ridiculous. we have got to have healthcare so our people have access to it. >> i would be remiss if i didn't ask you before i let you go, are you thinking about returning for governor of west virginia again? >> i'm thinking about where can i best help my state and country. i look at it from all different angles. this would be a decision me and my family would make. we're considering putting ourselves in the best place to help. right now this is a challenging place to get a lot done. i've worked for eight years bringing people together, john, doesn't matter if it's democrat or republican. i don't take sides. you're entitled to your own opinion, you're just not entitled to produce your own facts to support your opinion
and that's what i see happening on both sides of the aisle. >> senator joe manchin for now at least, keep us posted on that and other things. appreciate it, sir. >> i will. thank you. back to our breaking news. wikileaks founder julian assange has just arrived at a london courthouse. you see the media scrum trying to get pictures inside that van that he is traveling in. he was arrested on behalf of the united states this morning. we have much more of our breaking news coverage next. anyone can go fast. the question is... is fast enough? ♪ or, do you want speed and style? power and attraction? exhilaration and distinction? ♪ introducing performance, born of refinement. ♪ the lexus rc line. ♪ experience amazing at your lexus dealer. experience amazing plants capture co2.
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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. all right. the breaking news you're looking at pictures from london from just moments ago, wikileaks founder julian assange has been arrested, just arrived in court. he was arrested on behalf of the united states, an extradition order from the united states and we learned just moments ago that very shortly the u.s. government will unseal it's charges. we will learn what the charges are against the wikileaks founder julian assange. evan perez live in washington with much more on that. evan? >> reporter: that's right, john. we are expecting that the justice department is going to announce kpa exactly these
charges are against julian assange, perhaps in the next hour or two. we expect that, again, these are the charges that are behind the u.s. extradition request that the uk police were able to arrest julian assange today at the ecuadorian embassy. now, we've seen some movement on this case recently. you heard earlier today from julian assange's lawyer in london that her understanding was that these charges relate to the 2010 wikileaks dump of documents that were stolen by chelsea manning, just in the last few weeks chelsea manning was brought before the grand jury in alexandria, virginia, she refused to testify as part -- >> hold on. prime minister theresa may -- that's prime minister theresa may, she has just taken the podium to speak about this. >> -- and to welcome the cooperation of the ecuadorian government in bringing this matter to a resolution.
mr. speaker, this goes to show that in the united kingdom no one is above the law. turning to counsel, my priority is to deliver brexit and to do so in an orderly way that does not disrupt people's lives. so i continue to believe we need to leave the european union with a deal as soon as possible and, of course, this house -- >> let's go back to evan perez who is getting some fresh reporting on everything that has happened with julian assange and his arrest at the ecuadorian embassy in london. sorry to cut you off for the prime minister there, but you were just telling us about what we're expecting in the next few minutes. >> it is question time so i think it's perfectly appropriate. theresa may was referring to the fact that the arrest was queried out and obviously the british had to arrest him under british law, but there was a u.s. extradition request as well, al si s alisyn. we knew julian assange had been
charged in november, the prosecutors in alexandria, virginia, accidentally posted publicly a document that said there were those charges. we have heard from unone of the lawyers for julian assange in london who said that part of the charges relate to the 2010 dump of wikileaks documents. these are diplomatic documents that were stolen by chelsea manning. we saw recently also chelsea manning was brought before the grand jury in alexandria, virginia, she refused to testify and has remained detained because she refused to testify. so all of that it shows us exactly what has been going on behind the scenes. we know that the justice department lawyers and state department lawyers have been working with the ecuadorians and the british to try to get this done and finally today you saw the arrest of julian assange. >> evan, thank you very much for all of that reporting. obviously we will come back to you as soon as those charges are listed and we can hear them. joining us know is james clapper, he served as the director of national intelligence for seven years under president obama is now a cnn national security analyst. director clapper, it is so good
to have you here during this breaking news because julian assange and wikileaks some of their most active years were 2010 through 2017 when you were director of national intelligence. what do you think as you watch the arrest today at the behest of the united states? >> well, i was, of course, recalling the 2010 era which was right as i had started and had to deal with the impact of the chelsea manning revelations which are quite damaging and caused us all kinds of grief in the intelligence community. i do think that jeffrey toobin, i think, as always, articulated the complexities of this case and there is the freedom of the press aspect. i personally -- and this is a personal opinion, not a legal
opinion -- think -- i'm in the mike pompeo school that wikileaks is really a non-nation state hostile intelligence service, but i'm saying that as an intel guy and having lived through the grief that those revelations caused. there is the comparison between wikileaks and the likes of, say, "the new york times" or the "washington post." >> that's what wikileaks is making. i mean, they want to make that comparison. >> i recognize that. i will just point out one subtle difference from a practical standpoint is that when "the new york times" -- the likes of the "new york times" or the "washington post" or any responsible media came into possession of classified material, typically, not always, but typically they would at least give us the intelligence community an opportunity to comment and make the case for not publishing something.
now, i will say also, though, that their definition of what is harmful to national security and my definition of what's harmful to national security were not exactly congruent, but the important difference here, alisyn, is at least we had the opportunity to make our case, and if someone's life was potentially at risk, responsible media would not publish that. >> yes, these are hard conversations that are had in news rooms around the country and the world all the time, but obviously all of us are curious to see when this is unsealed and we expect it to happen moments from now, what the charges are against julian assange. it sounds like if you believe his editor, we spoke to the wikileaks editor a few minutes ago, that it's about the 2010 publication and revelations, that it's not about 2016, but, of course, so much has changed since 2010 here in this country and you will remember that
president trump said i love wikileaks, he encouraged wikileaks, he hoped that wikileaks would publish more from the dnc hack, he was quite sympathetic to wikileaks and a fan of wikileaks. so what does that mean now for the court case back here at home now that president trump is sympathetic to them? >> you're right to point out what's changed since 2010. i don't know. in fact, it makes the arrest at our behest apparently even more curious and obviously if there's a court proceeding here undoubtedly assange's attorneys are going to point that out, that, you know, the president of the united states as a candidate, he praised on wikileaks. again, i'm not an attorney, i don't know how that's going to complicate the legal case that the united states government would now make against assange.
>> all right. we need you on stand by because obviously we are waiting for those charges to be unsealed. we believe at any moment now and so obviously i will go back to that when that happens. in the meantime i wanted to ask you about what we saw yesterday from the attorney general, bill barr, in front of the senate. you called it stunning and scary, those are your words, that barr would use the word "spying." so can you tell me what was scary about that to you? >> well, spying has a term i have never liked, i never liked that term being applied to me, even though i spent 50 years in the intelligence business. it has a bad connotation. it's a pejorative term, it smacks of illegality, lack of oversight, all those kind of things, and that wasn't the case here. my concern in all this, as it was when i served as dni, was
the russians and what the russians were doing and to the extent that there was surveillance of anyone, it was occasioned by contacts with russians who were targets, validated foreign intelligence targets. and we sort of lost sight of that in the threat that the russians pose because this all started is the russian meddling. so when the attorney general -- and i believe he used that term deliberately, you know, he has been the attorney general before so he's not unfamiliar with all this, i thought it was quite stunning and apparently he's -- his concern is more broadly to the intelligence community at large, not just the fbi. so i'm very interested in what it is that gives him concern. >> yeah, he was unclear. he did not expound on what gave him concern. it sounded like he was open to being concerned and he was going
to wait to hear what the inspector general had to say. but i want to talk about how what you hear republicans saying and the president is that they should have -- if there was an investigation, a counterintelligence investigation that involved the trump campaign, they should have alerted the trump campaign. now, you were the person who in january of 2017 one of the people went to tell the then president elect that all of this was swirling around and he had already been alerted that russians were trying to interfere in the campaign, and so should the campaign have known before that date that you went over there that there was an investigation -- possibly a counterintelligence investigation involving some people connected to the campaign? >> well, i can't speak specifically, alisyn, to what the fbi did. i believe, but i don't know for sure, but i believe they did give kind of standard defensive
briefings after the candidates were designated after their respective conventions. when the two candidates emerged, we started, as is customary, intelligence briefings for both candidates and those intelligence briefings -- >> should it have gone deeper? >> those intelligence briefings included reporting on the russian meddling that was ongoing. >> yeah, so when you hear different republican lawmakers say how dare they not alert the campaign that there was this counterintelligence investigation, are they right or wrong? >> well, i don't know what the decision calculus was here by the fbi contemporaneously, but i do know as a general rule with -- particularly with respect to a counterintelligence investigation that when you start it you want to be sure who is potentially complicit and who
isn't. as a general rule of hum you try to be as cloiserred and compartmented about such investigations for all kinds of good reasons. again, i don't know what the decision calculus was at the time contemporaneously that the fbi used. it's my understanding they did give general counterintelligence briefings specifically focused, i believe, on the russians. >> it's good to get that context. director james clapper, keep your phone handy we will have you on speed dial as all of this unfolds. >> thanks. cnn has learned that the justice department will announce the charges against wikileaks founder julian assange very shortly. this of course after his arrest in the united kingdom. our breaking news coverage continues right after this. you see a lightning fast formula one car... but mclaren saw a way to rapidly transform the healthcare industry. by taking the same predictive analytics powered by dell technologies to diagnose their race cars...
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police have arrested julian assan assange. arrested for breach of bail after nearly seven years in the ecuadorian embassy. he has also been arrested in relation to an extradition request from the united states authorities. this is now a legal matter before the courts. my humble friend the home secretary will make a statement on this later but i would like to thank the metropolitan police for carrying out their duties with great professionalism and to welcome the cooperation of the ecuadorian government in bringing this matter to a resolution. mr. speaker, this goes to show that in the united kingdom no one is above the law. >> no easy for theresa may to get applause these days in the house of commons. >> was that groaning applause? >> that's how they do it. that's how they do it. and they drive on the left-hand side of the road. cnn has learned that the justice department will announce charges any minute against assange. the u.s. justice department, this is such an interesting development, back with us, evan perez, susan glasser and jeffrey toobin. seven, i want to start with you
on these charges which we will hear any minute from the justice department. >> well, that's right, john. look, his daughter -- assange's lawyer in london has now said to her understanding some of the charges relate to the 2010 hack, the 2010 stolen documents that chelsea manning leaked to wikileaks. that's where this investigation actually began. there has been a lot that has happened since then. obviously the barack obama administration tried to bring charges against julian assange, they ended up deciding that they could not bring charges simply because how do you bring charges against julian assange when you don't bring charges against "the new york times" and other news organizations that published those very same documents, documents that were stolen and that were published by wikileaks. that's where the obama administration ended, the trump administration took over and took a new look and arrived at a different conclusion. this he decided that julian
assange could be charged under u.s. charges. that's what we're expecting to see in the coming hour or so from the justice department, an official announcement as well as a description of what they're seeking to do with regard to extradition from the united kingdom. one last thing i want to mention, the uk has a law obviously, they do not extradite people to countries who might subject those people to the death penalty. so one of the things that's been brought up in this case is whether or not julian assange could face charges under the espionage act. we're told that part of the negotiation behind the scenes has been exactly that, that the u.s. would have to promise not to use the death penalty, no the use any charges that would bring the death penalty as well as they've been trying to give assurances to the ecuadorians about the same issue. again, there is a lot of moving parts, a lot of things that have been going on behind the scenes, a lot of negotiations between the u.s., ecuador where he had citizenship until just the past
hour and the united kingdom where he is now under arrest. >> if this court case ends up being about the publication of classified military documents from 2010 can the hack of the democratic national committee also -- the 2016 activities by julian assange and wikileaks, the publication of whatever was hacked, can that come up in that court case? >> it certainly could, and there could be additional charges related to the 2016 hack. you know, we've been talking all morning about the constitutional difficulty of prosecuting julian assange. is he a publisher like a newspaper or like cnn, or is he a participant in a crime? the point i want to make about that is that, yes, it's a difficult question, but the facts matter. we will start to learn some of the facts the government is purporting to prove when the charges are released. it's one thing for a journalist
to accept information and then publish it, it's another thing if that journalist participates in the hacking or encourages or somehow aids and abets the underlying legal activities. what will be particularly interesting to see in how the united states frames the charges is will they charge him just with receiving these stolen documents or will they charge him in some way with participating in the underlying theft? if they do and if they can prove it, of course, that would make the constitutional issue a lot easier for the government than if he is simply acting as a journalistic conduit. >> susan, put julian assange in historical perspective for us because he is at the crossroads of such key events, the 2010 release of information about the u.s. war in iraq and afghanistan and, of course, the russian attack on the u.s. election in 2016. >> that's right. i think he represents it seems
to me a key stage in the -- not just the distribution of information in a new digital moment, but the weaponization of information and he suggested perhaps he crossed over the line and that may well be part of the court case that ultimately is waged against him. at some point did he change from essentially a publisher of information into a partner of russian intelligence? he certainly showed the way to governments around the world the new uses to which secret information could be put and i do think that now we're living in a permanently weaponized era. you saw the president cheerleading, that's a clip that's going to be played over and over and over again of donald trump cheerleading for wikileaks. he saw him as an extension in a fact of a key campaign goal in 2016. now, there's a narrower question of course about the legality of those actions and the extent to which wikileaks was operating as a partner of russian intelligence, but i think, you know, in addition to the
criminal proceedings, you know, we are going to remember this as a key moment when we saw the extent to which the digital era had upended the ability of even nonstate actors to play in global politics. remember, in 2010 this was a key trigger, the release of the wikileaks state department cables, it was a key trigger in revolutions around the world. the toppling of tunisia's long-time leader took place at least in part because of the wikileaks documents exposing corruption inside that society. we haven't had a chance to talk much about it today but the long-time leader of susan is being toppled today in a way that suggests that global politics have been disrupted in part by the mobilization of people that's possible and in part by the use toss which information can be deployed to good purposes and to not so good purposes. i think that's what really we will be talking about in regards to the 2016 u.s. campaign for a long time to come. >> evan, will the department of
justices' case against julian assange be affected by president trump's cheerleading for wikileaks? >> look, i think it's going to make things a little uncomfortable. i think it's very, very clear that what a candidate says ends up having an effect. you saw this during the obama administration where the president was applauding -- as a candidate was applauding certain things and where the justice department had to essentially change course once he took office. it does sometimes have an effect, but in this case i think not, simply because the analysis that they've done, they believe shows that wikileaks -- they showed, i believe, that julian assange was more than just a publisher, to jeffrey's point, that they had become more of a participant, more of a conspirator. again, that's their allegation and we don't know what evidence they have to prove it. that's where this comes in, that's where the courts in the uk will come here and the courts here. it's not a slam dunk case i don't think and i think it does raise to susan's point some very
uncomfortable questions for journalists as well. >> again, the president says i love wikileaks, his government just arrested its founder. thank you very much. cnn's breaking news coverage on julian assange continues right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. all right. it is quite a thursday morning already. good morning, everyone, i'm poppy harlow. >> and i'm jim sciutto. we begin this morning with breaking news, consequential news. any moment now the justice department is expected to announce charges against the wikileaks founder julian assange. london police arrested him this morning, it was a dramatic scene, here is him being carried out looking a very different man than when he went into that embassy seven years ago. he is set to appear in front of a judge very soon. >> london police confirmed that assange was arrested on behalf of the united states in part. that's really significant, of course, because u.s. officials
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