tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 10, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
president's son after donald trump, jr. admits he met with a russian lawyer expecting to get damaging information on hillary clinton. tonight, new questions about collusion, and what the president may have known. weakening sanctions, did the trump administration secretly try to water down legislation that would slap new sanctions on russia and the putin regime? we're going to tell you what we're learning this hour. widening split, as more senate republicans refuse to support the republican health care bill, the president is daring lawmakers to skip their august recess while staying largely absent from the nitty-gritty up on capitol hill. is there any real hope for progress in the days ahead? and taking back mosul as iraq declares a crucial victory against isis, cnn goes inside the climatic battle with exclusive video of a war-torn city emerging from the terrorist's brutal grip. we want to we will p come our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer.
you're in "the situation room." breaking news. >> breaking news tonight, the top democrat on the senate intelligence committee says the panel absolutely wants to question donald trump, jr. the president's eldest son noup under intense scrutiny in the russia investigation. trump, jr. now confirming he went into a secret meeting with a russian lawyer last year expecting to get damaging information about hillary clinton. senator mark warner says it's the first time the american public is seeing what he calls clear evidence of an attempt by the trump campaign to get information from a possible foreign agent in an effort to hurt the clinton campaign. trump, jr. says he'd be happy to work with the intelligence committee and tell senators what he knows. senator warner says the panel wants to speak to everyone involved in the meeting including the president's son-in-law jared kushner and the former campaign chairman paul manafort as well as those who helped the trump camp connect
with the russian lawyer who has kremlin connections. tonight we are learning more about the meeting, who was behind it as the trump team escalates its damage control. the white house insisting that nothing came out of the meeting, that there was no collusion, and nothing inappropriate. deputy press secretary sara huckabee sanders said the president did not know about the meeting until a couple of days ago. we are covering all of that, much more this hour with our guests including congressman ted yoho. he's a republican on the foreign affairs committee, and our correspondents and specialists are also standing by. but lets begin with the senate's russia investigation and democrat senator, democratic senator mark warner's stinging assessment of that meeting involving donald trump, jr. and a russian lawyer. let's go to our senior congressional reporter manu raju. manu, the intelligence committee's vice chairman has lots of questions for the president's son. >> reporter: yeah, no question about t wolf, we are learning tonight be the senate intelligence committee does want to learn more about this
meeting, including by potentially calling donald trump, jr. as a witness before this committee to learn exactly what happened. not just donald trump, jr., but also the russian lawyer who attended that meeting. also jared kushner, the president's son-in-law who is already scheduled to be a witness before the committee, and of course paul manafort, the former campaign chairman also present at that meeting. now, mark warner, the top democrat in the committee, talked to reporters earlier saying it is the first time the public has seen any information showing possible efforts between trump officials and russia officials to coordinate, actually dig up dirt on the clinton campaign. here's what mark warner said just moments ago. >> this is the first time that the public has seen clear evidence of senior-level members of the trump campaign meeting with russians to try to obtain information that might hurt the campaign of hillary clinton. now, it's also a continuing pattern that we've seen since
the election of trump campaign and trump administration officials who have conveniently forgotten meetings with russians, only when they are then presented with evidence, can't acknowledge those kind of meetings. >> reporter: you want to speak to don, jr.? >> absolutely. >> reporter: now, wolf, i just had a chance to ask senate republican chairman richard burr if he wanted to talk to john, jr. as well. he said, i'm going to talk about any of my possible conversations, any witnesses coming forward. what we have learned separately, wolf, the committee does plan to interview trump campaign officials this week. there is going to be a new turn in this investigation. they are not saying who they're going to talk to, but they're saying they are trump campaign officials. so, we'll see what more they learn about that before some of the bigger names come forward, including possibly jared kushner, including possibly paul manafort, of course, don, jr.,
if he agrees as he says he will agree to talk to the committee because he says, wolf, there is nothing there to this meeting. >> manu, another sensitive issue, the white house now saying they are fully supportive of the current iran and russia sanctions legislation. but privately there is a lot of suspicion that is not necessarily the case. what are you hearing? >> reporter: yeah, that's right. in fact, concerns are being raised by senior members of the treasury department and senior white house officials as well about a key provision in this bill, this bill that passed overwhelmingly, almost unanimously in the united states senate. this bill would give congress the authority to veto the administration if the administration would try to loosen russia sanctions. mark short who is the white house legislative director told reporters earlier today that he believes that that essentially would give congress too much power over the executive branch. now, there is some significant push back tonight, wolf. i talked to bob corker, who told
me this is a misreading of the bill. he said the white house does not understand this bill if that's what they contend. and he said the white house almost certainly will be overridden if it does come to that point. if the president does veto this bill, but right now, wolf, this is pending in the house. house republican leaders have not said exactly when this is going to be scheduled because behind the scenes the white house is trying to at that time least change some of the language here, but they know this is difficult if it looks like they are trying to lessen a russia sanctions bill when they are concerned about russia meddling in the election. >> it passed the senate 97-2, the second version almost nearly unanimous. manu raju, thank you very much. let's go do cnn justice correspondent jessica snyder, more on the breaking news about donald trump, jr. and the russia investigation. jessica, this began over the weekend when the "the new york times" broke the story of trump, jr.'s meeting with a russian lawyer during the campaign. bring us up to speed. >> reporter: wolf, the white house is pushing back against the revelation the president's
son met with the prominent russian leuer two weeks after donald trump clinched the republican nomination. today deputy press secretary sari sa huckabee sanders dismissed the meeting as short with no follow-up and she says the president didn't even learn about this meeting until just a few days ago. donald trump, jr. met with a russian lawyer promising damaging information about hillary clinton is the first known meeting between the trump team and a russian national during the campaign. the trump tower meeting on june 9, 2016 included the president's son-in-law jared kushner and the campaign chairman paul manafort. tonight the white house insists the campaign meeting doesn't mean anything inappropriate occurred. >> there was simply no collusion that they keep trying to create that there was. john, jr. did not collude with anyone to influence the election. >> reporter: but the president's eldest son he confirmed he expected damaging information about hillary clinton prior to the meeting. he sent out this sarcastic tweet monday morning. obviously i'm the first person on the campaign to have a
meeting about an opponent went nowhere but had to listen. after "the new york times" first reporting the meeting saturday, don, jr. downplayed it in a statement. it was a short introductory meeting. i asked jared kushner and paul manafort to stop by. we primarily discussed a program about the adoption of russian children. but after revelations from the times sunday, that the meeting was facilitated primarily on the promise of dirt on hillary clinton, donald trump, jr. issued a subsequent statement. i was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance i knew from the 2013 miss universe pageant with an individual who i was told might have information helpful to the campaign. the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to russia were funding the democratic national committee and supporting ms. clinton. it quickly became clear she had no meaningful information. my father knew nothing of the meeting or these events. monday morning trump, jr. retweeted a "the new york times" story, raising questions about his two separate accounts. no inconsistency in statements, meeting ended up being primarily about adoptions. in response to further ques, i
simply provided more details. the man who set up the meeting is rob gold stone who says he arranged it at the request of a client, a russian pop singer seen with president trump at the miss universe pageant in moscow four years ago. and in this music video. >> let's get with it. you're always late. >> reporter: gold stone tells cnn the laura apparently stated she had some information regarding ill you legal donations to the dnc she believed trump, jr. would be important. he agreed to squeeze us into a tight meeting scheduled. gold stone says nothing came of the meeting. it's not clear whether the russian lawyer produced any compromising information about hillary clinton. trump, jr. says she wanted to discuss the issue of the adoption of russian children and a u.s. law known as the act which imposed u.s. sanctions on russians over human rights abuses. the act is known to have angered president putin. the meeting came to light after jared kushner included it on his amended security clearance form
after initially failing to disclose it and other meetings with russia's ambassador and the chairman of a kremlin connected bank. top white house counselor kellyanne conway worked to downplay the meeting with the russian lawyer. >> there was no information given. there was no action taken. there was no follow-up. >> reporter: the details have emerged amid differing account between the hour meeting with russian president putin and trump. he confronted putin about meddling in the election. he said he denied it, they said the white house accepted the denial. the president said that is not true. >> the president absolutely did not believe the denial of president putin. >> this is russia trying to save face and they can't. they can't. everybody knows that russia meddled in our elections. >> reporter: the president seemed to flip on at least one development face to face with putin. sunday morning he tweeted putin and i discussed forming an impenetrable cyber security so election hacking and many other negative things will be guarded and safe.
but by sunday night the president posted this, on security and a truce in syria, the fact that president putin and i discussed a cyber security unit doesn't mean i think it could happen. it can't. but a cease fire can and did. and the kremlin has now responded to those reports that donald trump, jr. met with that russian lawyer saying, the russian government was not aware of the meeting. as for the president's son, he's hired new york city lawyer alan who says he's representing donald trump, jr. about, quote, ongoing matters in washington, d.c. wolf? >> jessica snyder reporting, thank you. also tonight, senator mark warner says he expects to see james comey's memos about his conversations with president trump very shortly. th this as the president is accusing his fired fbi director of leaking illegal classified information. jason is at the white house for us tonight. jason, the president tweeted about this today. update us. >> reporter: he did. he has his sights set on james comey once again. tweeting about this particular
situation saying james comey leaked classified information to the media. that is so illegal, you'll remember that comey acknowledged that he did share one of his memos about his conversations with the president about the russia investigation. with that columbia university professor daniel richmond. richmond for his part, wolf, saying, look, he said nothing illegal happened here. that's first. and he said, second, nothing was passed on to him that was listed as classified. he said the president is, quote, simply wrong. he said no memo was passed on to him that was marked as classified. you'll remember when comey testified back in june, he said that he did all that he could to make sure that whenever he wrote that memo, that he would not include anything that was classified. going forward with that, just a short while ago then out comes this news report where there are allegations that comey did just that. that's what the president picked up on. earlier this afternoon, the
ranking democrat in the senate intel committee, he was asked about this. he was asked about comey. he was asked about the tweet. here's what he had to say. >> there are very few people that would know better how to draft a memo so it wouldn't fall into the classified area than jim comey. and he testified to that before our committee to a question that i asked him. i've seen these reports, that there may have been after the fact classification. we don't know who may have classified those documents if they were classified, and i want to get the answer to that. >> reporter: so, there you have senator warner's take on this. we also a little earlier during the white house press briefing, the deputy secretary -- press secretary sara huckabee sanders was asked about this. in fact, she was pressed on it, asked first whether she thought -- whether the president thought that comey had perjured himself in any way, shape or form. when she was pressed on that over and over again, she said, look, this is something that needs to be looked into a lot more. again, she was pressed on it again, wolf. and at that point when the
reporter said, look, is there any indication as to why the president said that comey had leaked this classified information? she said, look, he has a higher security clearance than i do. perhaps he knows more than i do on this one. wolf? >> all right, jason, thank you. jason carol at the white house for us. let's talk about all the breaking news in this russia investigation. joining us now republican congressman ted yoho, he's a member of the foreign affairs committee. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me on, wolf. look forward to talking to you. >> thank you. do you believe it was appropriate for donald trump, jr. to take a meeting with a russian national who promised to provide damaging information to him and his associates involving hillary clinton? >> do i think it's appropriate? i think i probably would have done the same thing. i mean, it's opposition research. anybody that's been in an election, you're always looking to get the upper hand. you know, keep in mind she wasn't an official for the russian government the way understand it. she's a lawyer, russian lawyer. if somebody comes to us and says, hey, we've got information
on an opponent, yeah, i think that's an appropriate thing to do. >> but she was apparently well known as somebody who had direct connections to the kremlin. this is not only a presidential candidate, hillary clinton, but a former secretary of state. there are some republicans, i should point out, who have suggested that if someone like that, a foreign national came to an american with obviously close contacts to the soon to be republican presidential nominee, that that person should have contacted the fbi about that information. do you think that was necessary? >> i think probably going forward that may be what happens, especially in this case where donald trump's the president now. but going back, you have to put yourself back at that time frame. at that time frame, i think it's perfectly appropriate for what he did. >> in other words, accepting the meeting and just listening, bringing paul manafort, the campaign chairman, jared kushner, the senior advisor, the president's son-in-law, into a meeting like that, hoping that
they would get, quote, dirt on hillary clinton? >> i think that was probably the premise for that meeting. but as donald, jr. says, the information that they got, they saw right away that it wasn't leading where they wanted to. he was there to talk more about adoptions and things like that. and then it broke away from that. and, so, you know, i don't want to fault them for what they did. i think i would have done probably the same thing, under the same circumstances. >> a lot of, including republicans, are suggesting it was not appropriate. forget about what emerged from the meeting in a statement on sunday. he said, i was told that this lawyer might have information helpful to the campaign. i was not told her name prior to the meeting. i guess the fundamental -- would you go to a meeting with someone, some russian lawyer, not even knowing this person's name, who this person was, just expecting to get some, quote, dirt about hillary clinton? would that be appropriate? wouldn't you do some serious vetting before you sit down with someone like that? >> you know, i look back over my own career.
we have sat down with some meetings i kind of wished i would have done more vetting. in the future, and we have, and it's a learning process. again, i don't think it was inappropriate for what he did. if you've got information about an opponent running against you, wouldn't you want that information to vet it, to see if it's real information? and to use it accordingly? you can't do that if you don't have the initial meeting. so, again, i think what he did for the moment he did it at that time was appropriate. >> the white house claims that president trump just learned of the meeting over the past couple days or so ago, obviously very close to his oldest son, donald trump, jr., very close with his son-in-law jared kushner. and at the time was very close with paul manafort who was the campaign chairman. do you believe that explanation of events that he was only told of this meeting in the last couple of days? >> if that's what he's saying, i have no reason to dispute that. if there is going to be an investigation, that will probably all come out. so, i don't want to conjecture
what might happen. so, to answer your question, yeah, i think that's okay. >> the president himself has denied that the meetings of this nature ever took place during the campaign. listen to what he said in response to some questioning in february of this year. listen. >> can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with russia during the course of the election? >> well, i told you, general flynn obviously was dealing. so, that's one person. as he should have been. >> during the election? >> no, nobody that i know of. >> so you're not aware of any contacts during the course of the election? >> look, how many times do i have to answer the question? russia is a ruse. >> what's your reaction to that? russia is a ruse. he didn't know -- he said nobody that i knew of had any meetings from the trump campaign with russians. >> i kind of feel the same way. i think it's a distraction. and if you ask -- listen to the question that was asked, do you think russia did this, they're talking about a lawyer who happens to be a russian citizen.
so, as a russian lawyer, does that mean the country of russia was the one behind this? i don't think so. so, again, i stand on the side of the president 100% on this. >> when he says russia is a ruse, he's talking about all of the questioning that's going on, that russian intelligence tried to hack into a lot of democratic party computers, as you know, into john podesta, the campaign chairman for hillary clinton's campaign. >> sure. >> hack into his computer, leak all that information to wikileaks, that's what the fbi, the cia, the director of national intelligence, the national security agency, those four agencies, they all concluded the russians did it. i assume you believe them. >> i mean, the evidence is there. so, yeah, i don't think there is a reason to dispute it. >> so, why would the president call it a ruse? >> well, what are you talking about? >> he says the whole thing is a ruse -- no, he says the whole thing. he's called it a witch hunt, a hoax. you've heard the president describe this had whole russia
investigation. >> yeah, but did it influence the election? i don't think it did. i think that part is a ruse. i think james comey influenced the election more than anybody else, you know, the way he handled that information about the clinton investigation and then right at two weeks before the election, you know, reopened that. i think that caused more damage to the clinton camp. but i also think if they go down this road, they're going to find out there was foreign money going into the clinton camp. it's well documented in peter swiets ert's book clinton cash. and you look at the follow the money, they always say. i think it's something that if we go down this path, i think you'll see some things come out that there was money going into her campaign from foreign nationals. >> but you don't have any hard evidence of that because that would be illegal, right? >> that would be pretty illegal. >> why do you make that accusation? >> because of the stuff i've read, the investigations that we've done, you know, and the reports, if you follow them. i mean it's pretty well
documented. if you look at uranium one and the other things that went into the clinton campaign, their foundation. >> but it's one thing for foreigners to give money to the clinton foundation, which is legal. it's another thing for foreigners to give money to a political campaign, which is illegal. >> i agree. and, so, if it goes down that path, you may find out that there was money going into her campaign. but i think more importantly, we should focus on what happened at the g20. focus on what's going on in north korea because those are the things that we really need to be concerned. you know, the funny thing is nobody is talking about the 220,000 jobs. the bills that we passed, the rhetoric and the stance that donald trump has taken, that's cut off 67% of the people coming into this country illegally. and then the bills that we passed in the house, the kates law and the sanctuary cities law, that tightens up security in this nation, those are the things the american people are really concerned. the russia thing will play it is self out. russia, if you go back the last
50 to 100 years, they've always interfered and meddled as other countries have, in elections and things like that to throw people off. they're kind of like the old maxwell smart, cause chaos and confusion. they've done a great job. whether they meddled in this, look how much time we spent following russia instead of dealing with our $20 trillion in debt. that's where we need to focus. i think you'll see donald trump, as he matures as the president -- i went through the same development being a congressman. once you realize you're a congressman and the weight behind that, you're going to see donald trump probably be one of the most effective presidents we've ever had in this country. and his strong language on what america stands for, i think it's a welcome message as we saw in poland, as we've seen in this nation, as you've seen in the last four special elections. i think that speaks real loud and clear on the track we're on. so, this other stuff, i think
it's a distraction. let's work through this and let's get america back on track because that benefits all americans. >> i'm sure the special counsel, robert mueller, all the committees on the hill investigating, they'll work through it. congressman, stand by. there is more we need to discuss. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back. it's ok that everybody ignores me when i drive. it's fine. because i get a safe driving bonus check every six months i'm accident free. because i don't use my cellphone when i'm driving. even though my family does, and leaves me all alone. here's something else... i don't share it with mom. i don't. right, mom? i have a brand new putter you don't even know about! it's awesome. safe driving bonus checks, only from allstate. sometimes i leave the seat up on purpose. switching to allstate is worth it.
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congressman, there are some other important issues i want to get to quickly. first, do you support the latest effort to levy new sanctions against the russians? >> absolutely. i think, you know, until we get things worked out, you know, we've got to hold them accountable to actions. you know, they're helping north korea in the trade issue, so, i think it's a smart thing to do. >> because as you know, the senate passed it, 97-2. it's now before the house, but there seems to be delay after delay because the white house -- the administration doesn't like it completely because it doesn't give the president a waiver to stop the sanctions if he wants to. >> well, we've got the three branches of government for a reason. congress has the ability to do that. it's a national security issue. the president, pardon the pun, but the president can trump something for national security issues. so, it's not going to limit him, but it's going to put a extra layer of oversight.
this is something that is important because look down the road to the next one or two or three presidents. if a vehicle like this is in place, i think it's a safeguard for our country's national security. >> so, why hasn't it come up for a vote on the floor? >> i suspect -- well, we'll talk about it next week. they just passed it, it's coming over to the house from the senate. so, we'll see where we go next week on that. >> because the senate, as you know, they passed it once, 98-2. the second, the house didn't like sometime language in there, they thought it stepped on house privilege so they went back, the senate passed it. these are sanctions not only against russia but also against iran, 97-2. but it's seemingly been delayed. officials from the treasury department, the trump treasury department, there up on capitol hill last week in an attempt to, quote, educate lawmakers about the trump administration's concerns. the fear is that the trump administration is trying to water down the sanctions. you accept that? >> well, again, i haven't read
the bill. i could see where they could maybe be doing that. but again, i'm going to hold off on commenting until i read the bill. it's a novel concept. >> you'll have a chance, i assume, fairly soon as usual. congressman ted yoho of florida, thanks for joining us. >> great, thanks for having me on, wolf. have a great day. >> thank you. just ahead, clear evidence and changing stories. stand by for more on the breaking news of donald trump, jr.'s meeting with a lawyer and the motive behind t. also, we have exclusive new video coming into cnn from inside mosul as iraq declares it has liberated the city from isis control. there's nothing more important to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel room, i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. booking.com gets it. and with their price match, i know i'm getting the best price every time. now i can start relaxing even before the vacation begins. your vacation is very important.
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combined with the most wifi hotspots. it's a new kind of network. xfinity mobile. we're following break egg news this hour. a top democrat now says the american people are seeing for the first time clear evidence that the trump campaign tried to get information from a possible russian agent in an effort to damage hillary clinton's campaign. that's how the senate intelligence committee's vice chairman mark warner is describing new revelations about a meeting involving the president's son, donald trump, jr. let's bring in our analysts and our specialists. gloria borger, what do you make of the shifting stories, first of all, over the past 48 hours, coming in from donald trump, jr.? >> well, donald trump, jr. calls it clarification. i would say it's an expansion of his explanation with a big difference. in the first time he explained his meeting to us, he called it
a, sort of a short meeting and it was largely about russian adoption. and the second time when he expanded his explanation, we learned that he went to the meeting and brought in a couple other people close to the president in order to get dirt on hillary clinton. and what's troubling about it is not that this thing doesn't go on during campaigns. of course, people do opposition research during campaigns. it's a part of campaigning. but this came from a russian national with ties to the kremlin. if that happens as leon panetta said to you earlier, you go to the fbi if russian nationals are trying to do this kind of thing. that's what panetta said he would do, and that's what a lot of other people -- >> the story is even weirder than that because it's one thing -- someone says we have information. >> right. >> you say, okay, send a flunky, find out what it is. they don't send a flunky. they send this candidate's son and his son-in-law and the
campaign manager. this is not just a casual meeting. >> right. >> this is a big deal. now, he says, well, there was no information of value. i'd like to hear more about what went on at this meeting. >> by the way, this was a very busy time in the campaign. donald trump had really effectively just secured the nomination. they were facing a delegate fight, if you'll recall, at the convention. and they were, and they were also heading into a general election. and suddenly at this meeting all these top people show up with this russian woman whom donald trump, jr. said he was not told her name prior to the meeting. >> david, as you know, for months and months we've been pointing out that we still didn't have any hard evidence that any collusion took place, but you're beginning to suspect we shouldn't be saying that any more. >> well, i certainly don't think we can dismiss this notion that
there's nothing that we know that would point to these questions. now there is. i'll leave the evidentiary questions and legal definitions of collusion to jeffrey tubin. but it is clear now for the first time that during the campaign, very close to donald trump -- his son who was at the upper echelons of the campaign in strategy meetings, campaigning across the country for his father -- has this meeting that is about getting this negative information on clinton, which would be beneficial to the trump campaign from our adversary, from a russian national with ties to the kremlin. so, there is now -- you can't just do what donald trump's been doing on this story and just dismiss this now as nothing. this does raise a lot of questions. and to gloria's earlier point about who else was in the meeting, and jeffrey was saying this was no casual meeting. remember back in the days when the white house was trying to make us believe, have us believe that paul manafort was just a brief employee who did nothing
but count delegates? well, obviously not. he's in this meeting with jared kushner and donald trump, jr., about this opposition research on hillary clinton. >> significant development indeed. bee anna, you're an expert on russia. it's sometimes difficult to distinguish between russian officials and russians who may have ties to the kremlin but aren't technically government officials. how do you see this? is this an example of russians using that so-called gray area to their advantage? >> well, with all due respect to congressman yoho, this was not just some random russian attorney. this was a woman with close ties to the kremlin. her former husband was a government official, and most importantly, she was campaigning against an act that arguably is the most upsetting to vladimir putin, something that he would like to see lifted right up there with sanctions imposed after the annexation of crimea. the magnitzki act. i spoke with the american
businessman who was really the sponsor of that act. that was his attorney, tax attorney who was murdered. he said, according to all the evidence that he's gathered, that this woman had all of the resources, all of the backing from the kremlin directly when she was protesting the act in a film, for example, in europe about five or six russian state-run news stations came to follow her as well. the same thing in washington, d.c. so, i don't know why the congressman would brag about probably doing the same thing if he had been in don, jr.'s position. i wonder what his constituents would think about that as well. we have to always remind ourselves russia is not an ally. russia is, in fact, an adversary. the act is not just something about russian orphans that can't be adopted in the u.s. there is a reason russian orphans can't be adopted by the u.s. because vladimir putin insisted upon that as retaliation for the act, an act
that imposes sanctions on those who are very, very close to him directly. >> fair point. jeffrey tubin, the legal scrutiny that donald trump, jr. might be coming under from the special counsel robert mueller, is it significant, not that significant? >> it's certainly significant that he's a witness. again, we always want to jump to the conclusion about who is going to be charged with what. the most important thing that director mueller has to do is find out what the facts are. i mean, think how much we've learned in the past 48 hours. first we heard about this meeting. and donald trump, jr. said well, it's just about adoption. then we find out that it's a meeting about getting dirt on hillary clinton. what mueller needs to do is find out the facts about who was present, what everybody's version of these facts are, were there other people that we don't know about present, were there other meetings. gather the facts, then decide whether there is any legal implications to it. it is certainly not illegal. i think we have to say in fairness to donald trump, jr.,
it's not illegal for him to have a meeting with a russian. but what was said, what was agreed to, what was known, that's where, you know, the story could get more complicated. >> you know, it's interesting, the white house today, gloria saying, the president only heard about this meeting in the past couple days or so. >> it may be true. >> you accept that? >> look, i have no reason to believe otherwise until and if we learn more. i mean, the white house is saying the president did not know about it. when you're a candidate in a campaign and people in your campaign are meeting with somebody, doing research, many times you try and divorce yourself from that. however, on the other hand of this, look at who was in the meeting. the campaign chairman, his son-in-law, and don, jr. >> and if you want to do a thorough job as an investigator, what do the e-mails show? what do their texts show? it takes time and detail to get all this material. >> yeah. so we don't know the answers.
>> very quickly -- yeah. >> you make the point that donald trump didn't know about the meeting. but as you showed in the clip earlier from that press conference in the east room, he had no problem saying that there was no such meeting without all the facts. >> stand by, everybody, because there's a lot more news coming in after getting an earful from constituents about their health care bill. senate republicans are now back up on capitol hill. they're trailed by protesters this time, but the lawmakers themselves are deeply divided. is there still a chance for a deal? i was playing golf days ago... love golf. i used to love golf. wait, what, what happened? i was having a good round, and then my friend, sheila, right as i was stepping into the tee box mentioned a tip a pro gave her. no. yep. did it help? it completely ruined my game. well, the truth is,
the senate republicans face an even steeper climb tonight trying to pass a health care bill. a holiday break only made matters worse and another recess is looming. cnn's ryan nobles is following the story for us. ryan, there's been some chaos, but is there any real progress? >> reporter: wolf, most of this negotiation is happening behind closed doors, and we saw senators ducking in and out of rooms all day long. they say they are making progress, but there is no doubt that the overall prospects for this bill remain bleak. >> then we disagree. >> reporter: tonight after a week of hearing from their constituents -- >> they absolutely do care whether people are covered or not. >> reporter: senate republicans are back in washington. greeted bid pro testings as they try to revive their health care reform push.
>> this bill is going to kill. >> reporter: it appears the week outside the beltway is not making the process any easier. >> the one and only issue that came up no matter where i was, time and again, was health care. >> reporter: at least ten republican senators remain opposed to the health care bill in its current form. and they are senators from both the conservative and moderate wings of the party. the difference in viewpoints has left many wondering if a grand deal can be brokered. >> my view is it's probably going to be dead, but i've been wrong. >> reporter: despite the differences in opinions, senate leadership is not giving up yet. mitch mcconnell is hoping his members will find a way to come together. >> we're in a big discussion among ourselves, that is the senate republican conference, about the way forward. >> reporter: mcconnell continues to offer tweaks to the bill. those changes have not been revealed, even to most members. but tweaks alone may not be enough to convince those who are the most firmly opposed. do you think a complete overhaul is necessary?
>> i do need a complete overhaul in order to get to yes. >> reporter: meanwhile the white house is sending vice-president mike pence to attempt to reign in way ward senators. he spenthis morning on conserva radio went on to promise a deal would get done. >> this will be an historic step towards reversing the disastrous and collapsing policy of obamacare and i promise you that the president and i have not stopped working. >> the president telling senators not to leave washington without passing a, quote, beautiful new health care bill. there are no plans to play a large role in selling health care prior to his trip in paris on wednesday. democrats don't have the votes to stop the bill are keeping up the pressure. chuck schumer sent a letter to mcconnell asking them to consider fixing obamacare in its current form. >> when using bipartisanship as
a threat is your only argument, it's time to move on. >> reporter: but it's ultimately republicans that will need to strike a deal and even though they have time, optimism is not running high. >> clearly, the draft plan is dead. is the serious rewrite plan dead? i don't know. i haven't seen the serious rewrite plan. >> reporter: and when the rewrite plan comes out, it will require an entirely new score from the congressional budget office. i spoke to senator john thune of south dakota. he said that they are in constant conversation with the cbo and that new bill and that new score could come as early as the end of this week but, wolf, if that's the case, the earliest that we'll see a vote is sometime next week. >> all right. ryan nobles, thanks. much more news right after this. e with safelite autoglass, you get time for more life. this family wanted to keep the game going. son: hey mom, one more game? tech: with safelite, you get a text when we're on our way.
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tonight, the iraqi prime minister is declaring full victory over isis in mosul saying the entire war-torn city has been liberated. nick paton walsh has an exclusive report from inside mosul. >> reporter: iraqi prime minister haider al abedi has talked about victory after 48 hours of iraqis being on the streets celebrating the demise of isis in mosul but really across iraq as opposing force. even as he spoke, the area we were in just this morning was still seeing clashes. here's what it looked like this morning. it's like something supernatural
has hit it. this destruction, absolutely breathtaking and a sign of dust and bones that isis has left in their wake. old city mosul, the damage new, the city gone. mosul almost free of isis. elsewhere, iraqis are celebrating victory, dancing in the streets. yet here, the streets are still being ground to rubble. in the last 100 yards of isis, the group that once held iraq and syria down here to their last bullet, we're told. there it is. through the heart of mosul, it marks the end of isis territory in iraq, really, but between these iraqi special forces and body of water, the victory are still dozens of isis fighters still holding out.
american air strikes hammer them. that's the intensity and proximity of the fighting here, the air strikes are called in right next to iraqi forces. they even feel the rubble landing in their faces. perhaps because this really is the end, some of them appear to give themselves up. a sniper still there. they're welcomed. carry him, carry him, the commander shouts. after the propaganda, now we finally see what the iraqi soldiers see is the true human and defeated face of ooiisis. this man is asked how he got here. >> isis forced me here, he insists.
they have fought the world's war in mosul and casually pass isis fighters. this man was with us at the start and has lost many friends. how does it feel? >> i feel tired. i have tried to run the operation here after all this nine months. >> reporter: brigadier planted the iraqi flag on the river bank the day before but this isn't a battle of flags anymore but for isis of smaller cells of survival. so, the fight went on even as the official declaration of iraq's prime minister announced victory. so it will be for iraq in the years ahead. the operations will continue in iraq against isis. they have towns still under their control and there will be a low-level insurgence against the government here.
their image here, their ability to protect themselves as opposing force has massively suffered with this announcement. wolf? >> nick paton walsh, thank you. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, the breaking news, senate investigators demanding answers from donald trump jr. does it point to collusion with the russian government? and who is the lawyer allegedly claiming to have dirt on hillary clinton? plus, donald trump and chelsea clinton dueling on twitter over ivanka. investigators want donald trump jr., the top democrat wants answers from the president's son. senator mark warner calling donald trump jr.'s meeting with the russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign the first, quote,