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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 6, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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drove him out? president trump dismisses russian meddling in the up coming election saying in the news conference that the u.s. has a plan to counteract whatever moscow does. the president touts a back up plan saying, it's called paper. encourages chaos. mr. trump says everybody wants to work at the white house. but cnn learned the president is encouraging an ally to tortures his chief of staff on television. is the president trying to bring down john kelly? and the sex guru tapes. she says she has 16 hours of tapes that could help the u.s. investigation into russian election meddling. but where are the tapes and will she hand them over? welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following breaking news. another high level white house official is leaving. president trump's top economic adviser gary cohn is resigning. the news came just a short time after the president denied any chaos in the white house, but admitted he does like conflict. we'll talk about the breaking news and more with senator chris coons and our correspondents and analysts standing by. first let's go to the chief white house correspondent jim acosta. jim, another west wing shakeup. >> reporter: that is right. believe what happens at the white house. another day of chaos as the president's top economic adviser gary cohn is resigning. he is leaving the white house. apparently according to sources talking to us here at cnn apparently upset about donald trump's plans to slap tariffs on some u.s. trading partners and
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allies. the president talked about this potential for a trade war earlier today. here is what some of what the president had to say. >> i'm here to protect and one of the reasons i was elected is i'm protecting our workers and companies. i'll not let that happen. we are doing tariffs on steel. we cannot lose steel industry. it's a fraction of what it once was. we can't lose our aluminum industry. when we're behind on every single country, trade wars aren't so bad. >> reporter: ever since the president announced the plan for tariffs last week, gary cohn has been working behind-the-scenes to try to change the president's mind. he has been working essentially alongside other top republicans on capitol hill like house speaker paul ryan who had been pleading with the president to change his mind in all of this. wolf, one reason we wanted to show the press conference clip a few moments ago. look at something conspicuous we
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noticed in the east room of the white house. gary cohn was supposed to attend the conference. there is a place card for gary cohn and the seat he was supposed to take at the news conference. he did not show up. white house press secretary sarah sanders sat in his place instead. although gary cohn notified the president within the last 24 hours about his departure, the president went on to say during the news conference here that there is no chaos inside the white house and that everybody in the world wants to work for him. listen to what he had to say about that. >> the white house has tremendous energy. it has tremendous spirit. it is a great place to be working. many, many people want every single job. i read maybe people don't want to work for donald trump. believe me, everybody wants to work in the white house. they all want a piece of that oval office. they want a piece of the west wing. not only in terms of it looks
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great on the remasume. it is a great place. it is tough. i like conflict. i like two people with two different points of yview. i like watching it. i like seeing it. i think it is the best way to go. >> reporter: despite the fact the president saying at the conference that everybody wants to work at the white house, apparently among the people who don't want to work at the white house is gary cohn because, wolf, he was in sharp disagreement with the president over the proposal to slap tariffs on trading partners and allies. britain among them and many allies. one thing we should point out, wolf, this is reverberating on capitol hill. i was spoking with a congressional source in last several minutes about whether or not gary cohn's departure bodes well for persuading the president's mind on slapping tariffs on the trading partners and allies.
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the word of the aide, the source said, quote, nope. and one other thing we should point out, wolf, is that this is a remarkable turn of events for gary cohn. keep in mind, wolf, the last several weeks we have been talking about the departure of john kelly. one of the names of the potential replacements or contenders that was bandied about and we heard from a source at the white house is gary cohn. gary cohn is gone from talked about as a replacement as white house chief of staff to suddenly leaving the white house. apparently very upset about the president's plans to engage in a trade war with a number of countries around the world. wolf. >> he is very close to jared kushner and ivanka trump as well. they have been almost a team over this past year, right? >> reporter: that's right. as a matter of fact, you recall back in august, gary cohn almost left the white house.
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we talked to sources at the time. gary cohn was upset about the president's comments there were fine people on both sides in the charlott charlottesville. we heard at the time that gary cohn was considering leaving the white house over those remarks and it was during the period, wolf, you recall that steve bannon was being shown the door at the white house. the president had enough of steve bannon, but before steve bannon left the white house because this is how steve bannon operated, he would tell people, sources and so on, he really did not like gary cohn's globalist views and that one nickname was given to cohn inside the white house was quote globalist gary. so, wolf, this appears to be a casualty of just an economic, you know, knife fight going on behind the scenes inside the white house. two pre-trialivailing view notie
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house. one for -- views in the white house. one for tracking down trade and people like gary cohn who were trying to persuade the president not to go down the road. the president is going down this road and gary cohn is out the door as a result of that, wolf. >> gary cohn came could work from goldman sachs. stand by. we'll get back to you. i want to bring in kaitlan collins. she is working the story for us. you are getting more information. what else are you learning? >> we are learning more about the details surrounding the departure. it is something that people saw coming for some time. they knew that gary cohn's departure was imminent officver next year in the white house. we are learning he did inform president trump he would leave the white house over the last 24 hours and that comes amid the fight over tariffs that the president announced at the last minute last week against the advice of gary cohn. the president was actually frustrated with gary this week
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because gary was trying to once he made his decision to impose tariffs, gary was trying to get him to soften them and exclude countries. some things they decided. it was something that frustrated the president. it is important to point out that cohn and the president were never ideologically in line. they agreed on taxes and tax reform. they got along well in getting the tax reform passed and that lifted gary cohn's standing in the west wing after jim said frustration over the comments the president made regarding what happened in charlott charlottesville. the president was frustrated and would roll his eyes when he saw gary cohn on television or when they were on air force one doing events for tax reform. that helped mend the relationship for some time. that's why it was talk of the town and cohn could be considered for the next chief of
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staff. they were never really aligned in the beliefs. it is important to point that out. >> you also are getting important information about john kelly, the white house chief of staff, and apparently efforts to squeeze him as well. >> that is right. we have seen the president complain there is no chaos in the west wing as has been reported. we are learning that the president does a great deal to sow this chaos himself. as you know, anthony scaramucci, the former communications director in the white house for a short period of time has been maki making cable news television appearances and being highly critical of john kelly. he referred to him as quote, general jack ass. he blamed him for the low morale and he said he needs to apologize for the fallout from the rob porter resignation. we are learning that the president is emboldened anthony scaramucci to continue to make the criticisms of john kelly. i'm told that the president is well aware of the criticisms that scaramucci is making of
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john kelly and he is not discouraged him from making them. i should point out that scaramucci was fired by john kelly. he was there for a short period of time. he has been frustrated in recent weeks because john kelly limited his access to the west wing. the president is emboldening scaramucci to make attacks on john kelly proves the president sows discord in the white house. something he bemoans. the west wing is actually quite low. >> when you say emboldening scaramucci to make attacks against john kelly, how does it work? he encourages him? >> based on my reporting, i would not say the president had the first idea, anthony go out and make attacks on john kel ly. he became aware and blaming him for the morale he did not discourage him or ask him to stop going on the air and
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criticizing the chief of staff. that is not what you would think of a president and former communications adviser. the president liked skraanthony scaramucci. it goes to show as the president said today he enjoys watching his aides clash. when they don't get along or have differing views as gary cohn and peter navarro did over the tariffs, the president likes to let them fight it out in front of him. >> were john kelly and gary cohn aligned as part of the team in the white house? >> i think john kelly appreciated gary cohn's efforts for tax reform. john kelly likes someone who has a job in the white house and doing that job. he gets frustrated in the west wing and the people who did not have well defined portfolios when john kelly entered west wing. that is certain something he
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likes. i'm sure he appreciated gary cohn on capitol hill for the west wing. he was helpful for tax reform. >> stand by. i want to bring in jeffrey toobin to assess what is going on. there you are over there. let's talk a little bit about the lack of chaos in the white house. you saw what the president tweeted this morning. the new fake news narrative is that there is chaos in the white house. wrong. people will always come and go. i want strong dialogue before making a final decision. i still have people i want to change. always seeking perfection. there is no chaos. only great energy. that tweet after his news conference with the swedish prime minister. your reaction? >> at the very senior level, gary cohn was the last survivor of the beginning of the administration with just two exceptions. ivanka trump and jared kushner. at this point, ivanka trump and and jared kushner are the only survivors of this presidency which is just a little more than
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a year old. it just underlines how unusual that is and i think at some level, people might say this is all inside baseball. who cares what the white house staff is all about. when you look at the tariffs decision was rolled out and the fact it was rolled out in a way where the facts were not known and the amount of tariffs has not been settled. the countries it covers is not settled. it is that instability that has affected the stock market negatively and roiled our allies. this is not like it is simply one person replacing another. these changes have real affects on the real economy. this departure will as well. >> you heard kaitlan collins that anthony scaramucci asserted the communications director to go out and smear the sitting
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white house chief of staff john kelly. >> look, it is surreal. it is bizarre. it is unfair to general kelly. this is how the president works. by the way, h.r. mcmaster, the national security adviser, he is hang by a thread too. the entire top leadership of the white house staff looks like it is about to turnover. >> that's a good point he makes, rebec rebecca. john bolden was mesin meeting i white house today. among all of this and he could be out of the white house by the end of the month. >> our colleagues at cnn suggested that h.r. mcmaster is on the way out. turmoil in the white house. par for the course in the trump administration. it is extremely unusual for a normal white house, but this is no normal white house. this is a president who manages
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and governs by chaos. he sows chaos among staff and in washington generally. we have seen this with the tariffs rollout and decision and of course gary cohn frustrated with the way the president handled this decision and rollout of the decision. he did not consult or speak with any of the decisionmakers in washington. he did not talk to congress about this or consult his legal advisers or have legal review. it was incredibly haphazard process. >> david, listen to the president because at the conference today, he said he has no problem filling all of the critically important positions at the white house. listen to this. >> you know, i read maybe people don't want to work for trump and believe me, everybody wants to work in the white house. they all want a piece of that oval office. they want a piece of the west wing. not only in terms of it looks
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great on resume. it is a great place to work. it has tremendous energy. it is tough. i like conflict. i like having two people with two different points of view. i certainly have that and i make a decision. i like watching it. i like seeing it. i think it is the best way to go. >> those remarks. what do you think? >> wolf, increasingly the island of misfit toys at the white house and administration. what the president is saying just doesn't reflect what we have seen for last year. with the departure of gary cohn, there went the corner stone of the centrist pro business cohort in the white house. it signals to other people that no matter what, you will wind up leaving the administration. senior people i'm talking about will leave the administration with people questioning some of the things you have been involved with even if you were not directly involved with it or supposedly fighting against decisions that the president made. it is tough. >> i want to bring in a guest senator chris coons. member of the foreign relations
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and judiciary committees. senator, departure of gary cohn, the top economic adviser another example of the chaos we have been seeing? >> wolf, this is the latest example of how the president's comment that he likes conflict within his staff is an understatement. i believe hope hicks was the fifth communications director in the white house in just over a year to depart and the idea that cohn is departing largely over the timing and deliberation or lack thereof behind the president's abrupt announcement of large tariffs that which is distance us from the key trading partners and close allies is a reminder his love of conflict has real consequences. dow futures for tomorrow are already down 300 points. the president loves to take credit for the dow going up. will he take responsibility with the dow going down with cohn's
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an brubrupt departure? >> he tweeted i still have people i want to change. that's the tweet. do you worry about the attorney general jeff sessions that he may be included in that group of individuals the president wants to change? >> i do. the president has repeatedly and publicly harassed, shamed, demeaned the attorney general. last summer as well as over recent weeks. that has brought push back from former senator jeff sessions' close allys liffi allies in th. some saying you should leave ge. what concerns me is the specific reason the president continues to go after the attorney general because he thinks he shouldn't have recused himself from the russia investigation and he thinks attorney general sessions should be more aggressively
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investigating the political opponent in the 2016 campaign, former secretary of state hillary clinton. >> the president at thes news conference said the administration is working very hard, his words, to counteract russian meddling in the november mid-term elections and the 2020 presidential elections. he said seem to be belittling what they did in the 2016 election. they may be involved, but other countries involved and other individuals may have meddled as well. he did not name anyone. have you seen evidence that other countries or other individuals other than russians were engaged or involved in trying to influence the 2016 presidential election? >> none, wolf. there is no evidence that i'm aware of that any foreign entity other than russia attempted to directly interfere in the 2016 presidential election. a few weeks ago, president trump's chosen fbi director and
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cia director and national security adviser all testified in front of the house intelligence committee -- his director of national intelligence testified in front of the intelligence committee that it is indisputable that russia had a broad campaign and did interfere in the 2016 elections and can be expected to do so again. despite the president's statements, wolf, there is no evidence that he is taking seriously russia y's interferen in the last election or preparing to defend our next election. the report suggesting a $120 million fund that congress created to push back on meddling hasn't been spent yet. not one dime. >> that money was appropriated in 2016. $120 million as you pointed out. nothing has been spent yet. house republicans at the same time signaling intention to wrap up the entire russia investigation, especially in the
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house intelligence committee. they say the senate is on the same page at least the republicans are saying that. could president trump potentially use this development to try and fire robert mueller the special counsel? >> i hope not. i have a bipartisan bill to make it challenging for the president to fire robert mueller. i think it is in the president's best interesting as and robert mueller, a sign yoenior law enforcement position confirmed by a republican to complete his investigation and get to the bottom of this. the president could, of course, take advantage of an opportunity to fire him by replacing the deputy attorney general after replacing the attorney general. i hope he won't. i think that would be harmful to rule of law and our democracy and global reputation and president trump himself. >> senator coons, thank you for joining us.
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>> gnthank you, wochlf. the breaking news continues in the situation room with the top economic adviser to the president gary cohn resigning. which most pills don't. ni flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one. flonase. a hilton getaway means you get more because you get a break on breakfast get an extra day by the pool get to spend more time together get more from your spring break getaway with exclusive hilton offers. book yours, only at hilton.com vof hundreds of families, he'se hmost proud of the one the heads
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president, deciding he had enough and moving on. >> that's right. it is interesting what it came to as this is what he is leaving over which is the tariffs the president announced last week. to give you context, this is a decision had been decided last week by the president on his own against the will of gary cohn. the days leading up to it, they were discussing it and gary cohn advising him not to do it, but people like wilbur ross and peter navarro were pushing for the president to do this. as he met with the people of the aluminum and steel industry, he would announce he would not do the tariffs, but announced the tariffs that would significantly impact the economy and without gary cohn's advice in a way. that was really the final straw that kind of broke the camel's back for gary cohn. it certainly is a little bit of a surprise it came today even to
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those close to gary cohn. they did believe at some point he was going to leave the white house. he and the president are not aligned. they do not have the same views on many things except tax reform. that is what brought the two of them together. it is not a total surprise. >> he supports free trade. a former member of goldman sachs. he waited until the markets close on wall street. look at the dow futures. dropping big time because gary cohn was seen as a source of support and strength for the establishment republican economic agenda. >> he was a steady hand and unpredictable white house. it is different, wolf, when you see someone of his stature in the white house, the top economic adviser to the president step down as opposed to someone like hope hicks who was close to the president, but she was the communications director. this is a big deal. it could have real world consequences.
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the first and most immediate being the tariffs the president is planning to impose. gary cohn was the voice in the white house. a really urgent voice in the white house against that. now the stock markets are panicking. without gary cohn, who is in the white house to speak up against the tariffs? >> jerffrey toobin, the presidet doubling down on the steel tariffs. a trade war could be very good. >> i think it is an interesting lesson in, you know, the ethics and principles of gary cohn. gary cohn made a big show of being disgusted with the president's behavior after charlottesville. he may resign over the president's racism. he stomached the racism. he could not take tariffs. if you want to weigh the morale imperatives, it doesn't reflect well on gary cohn. >> at the same time, his job was
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to advise the president on economic matters. not to advise him on being a moral leader. if the president wasn't going to listen to gary cohn's advice on economic matter like tariffs, there is nothing bigger than that. what could he accomplish in the white house? >> the president's statement, david, he did praise gary cohn for his help and getting the tax cuts through. >> exactly. i think to rebecca's point, this under cuts a narrative that president trump cultivated when he ran for president and wanted to hang on to the idea he had never been in government and he did not know what he was doing on the granular issues of managing the federal government. he would be the ceo and hire the best people and hire someone to advise on the issues. a president of goldman sachs and this undercuts him. >> there are others as well who may be on very thin ice and days numbered in the white house. including the president's
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national security adviser h.r. mcmaster. he could be out before the end of the month. >> for so many people in the white house, this is an odd fit. cohn with the economic policies he wants don't match with trump. general mcmaster the national security adviser has come from an interventionist background in the military. he pushed for a number of policies that the president was never going to agree with and there is a personal issue with the two of them. the president flat outdoesn't like him. finds him -- flat outdoesn't like him. finds him condescending. >> what about the former ambassador to the administration coming to the white house having another one-on-one meeting with the president? >> it looks like they are interviewing for the job. bolton has been through this before. >> also, bolton is a famous neo
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conservative and big supporter of the iraq war which the president has denounced over and over again. what is the president's foreign policy? if he doesn't like mcmaster, but he like bolton. >> this is what the president does. he brings people in with different views. he is a big fan of john bolton. he has liked him. john bolton is at the white house every few months. he is there a lot. he was there today. we broke he was with the president. unclear what they were discussing. whether it was a job offer or whatnot. that was the rumor. the president was bemoaning chaos in the white house. he says that is not true. there are people he wants to change because he quote is seeking perfection in his staff. this is what the president likes. he likes to bring in all of the people with the different world views and fight it out to have
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his attention and ear. we saw that last week with gary cohn and peter navarro and wilbur ross. >> i would say how is that working out for him? bringing all these people in? no one is left except jared and ivanka. you know, at some point, you know, you need to have at least some stability. >> jeffrey, there was a story in "the new york times" the president was encouraging john kelly to convince jared kushner to leave the white house. go back to new york. >> you know, the idea you could have close to 100% turnover in 13 months. this has never happened before in american history in the history of the presidency. you know, i suppose people just make up their minds whether that is a good idea.
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unemployment is low. maybe that is the answer to everything. it is just surreal. >> it is government by reality show. >> david, some of the people who have left the trump administration. you see all of those in senior positions, important positions. the president denies there is chaos. he says more departures are on the way in the tweet. he made it clear. i'll read you that sentence. i still have some people i want to change. always seeking perfection. clearly gary cohn was one of those people. he offered his resignation 24 hours ago. this morning when the president tweeted, he knew gary cohn was on the way out. >> it is increasingly clear, wolf, when he says he is seeking perfection. he is seeking a mix of people you are describing that gets him where he wants to go optically for a united white house. if you don't have core beliefs on the traditional republican view of trade, you wind up with
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this chaos. >> matthew, you report on this all the time. the president is moving quickly on the tariffs for steel and aluminum. irritating the closest u.s. allys in the world. >> -- u.s. allies in the world. >> it is amazing. this is the president who has come in and doesn't seem to want what republicans traditionally want. the foreign policy establishment. which is close relationships with real allies. bring t britain is furious. >> he is undermining closest allies in washington on capitol hill. >> wolf, he rolled out the tariffs plan. you could hardly call it a rollout. he announced the tariffs plan without consulting congress and without consulting the republican leadership in congress. this was a surprise to speaker paul ryan and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. ryan has been urging the president to rethink this just
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like gary cohn. he did not consult his lawyers. there was no legal review. it harkens back to his decision on transgender military members which he also did in a hurry and was a rash decision. he did it because it was an emotional decision. he thought it would help him politically. he was angry about the way things are going. he thought that the snap decision would help right the ship. same thing here. he thinks this will help him politically. it is burning bridges at the same time. >> another example -- >> we are trying to rationalize a president who thrives okay embry -- thrives on chaos. he has these views. he said he would do this throughout the campaign. you can act like you are surprised by it. you can't be surprised about it. the impulsive reaction is the muslim ban on people coming from majority muslim countries which was struck down by the courts
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and now they're trying to get the third version upheld by the courts. it is one thing to react emotionally and do tariffs and do the muslim ban and do the transgender ban on the military. you know, you have to follow the law. you have to have political supporters. he hasn't done too well. >> everybody, stick around. more breaking news we are following. president trump's top economic adviser resigns. stock futures are already down on the news. ip was not an option for us. i am taking the steps to own a home because i want my children to know it's all so that they can have a better life. oh my gosh. this is amazing. we're so much closer to home ownership.
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we are following breaking news. the resignation of donald trump's top economic adviser gary cohn. we will have more on the continuing chaos in the white house in a moment. first, the president's long time personal lawyer is reportedly caught the eye of the special counsel robert mueller. let's bring in jessica schneider. jessica, mueller's team examined specific episodes involving michael cohen? >> that is right. focusing on two interactions with michael cohen. one during the campaign and one the week after donald trump took office. both involving russia. michael cohen never worked for the white house or campaign, but the role with the organization
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and one business deal probed by mueller's team. tonight the president's lawyer who played a big role in the trump organization is drawing scrutiny from the special counsel according to "the washington post." michael cohen is not a target of the investigation, but robert mueller's team asked for documents and interviewed witnesses of cohen's business deal involving russia. the special counsel is looking at negotiations by cohen during the 2016 campaign to launch a trump branded tower in moscow. he reached out to putin spokesperson to advance the project in january of 2016, but did not receive a response and abandoned the plan. the post reports the special counsel is reviewing a russia friendly policy proposal given to cohen by a ukraine lawyer. michael cohen is a name on the subpoena issued to sam nunberg. a former and short lived adviser to the trump team. after threatening to defy the
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subpoena, nunberg tells cnn i'll cooperate with whatever they want. >> what i will not have is to help mueller's team target roger stone. roger is my mentor. roger is a surrogate father to me. >> nunberg has to hand over documents between himself and ten prominent people involved with the trump campaign from november of 2016 to now. the deputy rick gates has pleaded guilty and manafort maintains innocence. and steve bannon and roger stone. stone said in a statement he has not spoken to the special counsel nor turned over documents. he wrote, sam nunberg marches to his own drummer. he is not speaking at my behest or direction.
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stone once claimed to have a relationship with wikileaks and founder julian assange. something they both have denied. stone exchanged messages with gucifer 2.0. they claimed responsibility for the dnc hack and outed as a front for russian intelligence. >> i e-mailed them 30 times a day. >> nunberg alluded to the questions he faced from the mueller investigators when he sat with the five and a half hour interview last month. he indicates mueller is zeroing in on the president and his potential business deals. >> they know something on him. i think they have him on something. they're smart enough to know they have him on something it has to be during the election. >> nunberg believes investigators want testimony about the miss universe pageant trump held in 2013. >> they want to know about the
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padgeg pageant in 2013. >> the british publicist is one of the people who attended trump tower meeting in june of 2016 with donald junior and jared kushner. nunberg doesn't believe the denials from the president and his son that trump wasn't aware of the meeting. >> i think he probably knew in advance. >> in advance? >> yeah. i think if i had to guess, don informed him about it. >> nunberg provided no evidence for any of his claims and nunberg has acknowledged he left the campaign on bad terms with trump. nunberg was fired in august of 2015 an ffor racially charged facebook posts. in the midst of hours of television interviews monday, some questioned nunberg's mental state prompting erin burnett to
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have this. >> i have smelled alcohol on your breath. >> i have not had anything to drink. >> anything else? >> no. >> no? >> no. besides my meds. >> okay. >> antidepressants. is that okay? >> nunberg told cnn today he plans to comply with all aspects of the subpoena. including the grand jury testimony he has been called to give here in washington on friday. nunberg has also said he has no regrets about his public defiance for several hours yesterday. he says he has been spending all of his time now working to comply with the document request. wolf. >> jessica, thank you very much. jessica schneider reporting. let's get more on all of this with james clapper. general, i want you polito listo the president's comments today on russian meddling in the presidential elections. listen to this. >> the russians had no impact on our votes whatsoever, but certainly there was meddling and
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probably meddling from other countries and maybe other individuals. you have to be very vigilant. one of the things we're learning is it's always good. it's old fashion, but it's always good to have a paper back-up system of voting. it's called paper, not highly complex computers. >> so are you worried about russia trying to meddle in the mid term electr-term elections? >> no, we will counteract. we are having strong back-up systems. we have been working. we have not been given credit for this. we have been working hard on the '18 election and the '20 election coming up. >> what is your reaction to those words? >> just to be clear, what we saw in the intelligence community assessment when we delivered and briefed to trump on january 6th, we said there was no evidence meddling of voter tallies.
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i give the president the benefit of the doubt. that is what he is referring to there. that ignores the huge impact of social media, fake news, trolls, the rt propaganda effort and all that. i think as far as securing the voter apparatus, if i can call it that, and voting machines and et cetera, which is largely a state responsibility, i trust that's going on. that ignores what to me is an even bigger issue which is the big impact that russia had. you know, we didn't assess what impact the russian meddling had on the election. >> let me your reaction. the president said maybe they did, but there was meddling going on from other countries and maybe other individuals. he doesn't name anyone. did you see any evidence that other countries besides russia
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or other individuals besides russian controlled individuals were meddling in the u.s. presidential election? >> we did not. this was russia. it was -- >> why does he say that? >> i think he tries to muddy obfuscate. it continues his difference for calling out what the russians and what they did during the 2016 election and an what they're continuing to do. >> he says he is working, the u.s. is working hard on safeguarding the mid >> listen to this exchange what the director of national intelligence dan coats said in exchange with senators today. >> one coherent strategy worked between the executive branch and the congressional branch has not been put in place yet. >> 2018 elections are right around the corner. why do we not have a whole government strategy already? >> i don't have a specific answer to your specific question, which is which agency
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or which individual person has taken the lead at this point. >> so, is the president on the same page as dan coats, director of national intelligence? >> well, i think dan coats is correct, in that the intelligence agencies over which he leads, are continuing to collect information on what the russians are doing. but what this requires is not just a whole government approach, not just the intelligence community, but a whole of government approach, and for that matter a whole of society approach, and only one person that can lead that, and that's the president. and so far he hasn't chosen to do that. >> yeah, he hasn't ordered anyone to do anything, if you listen to his intelligence advisers and the state department, they have $120 million that was appropriated in 2016 to start doing something, not a penny has been spent of that money yet. >> yes. and we are 13 months since or actually more than that, since the election, november 2016.
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and apparently we are still admiring the problem and trying to device a strategy for how to protect the forthcoming midterm and election in 2020. >> thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. >> just ahead, a young russian woman self proclaimed sex grew o gurro that could help russian meddling. what does she want in return? we have new information coming up. models can be simulated...
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the most trusted name in news. >> a russian self proclaimed sex coach now jailed in thailand since she has 16 hours of tapes containing details of moscow meddling in the election. tapes she says she will hand over in exchange for a sisylum. fred, tell our viewers what you are picking up. >> reporter: well, it's interesting in moscow, we are hearing these are allegedly of 16 hours of tape of ol garr if when man fort still the chairman of the trump campaign. and also including an hour of alleged meetings with three unnamed americans. now, the big question, of course, is first of all, if these recordings exist, where are they?
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and does she have access to them while she is still in that thai prison. it was interesting throughout the course of the day, wolf, picking up chatter on social media in russian language saying that apparently there might have been a deal in the works between rip ka, this lady and u.s. authorities, and perhaps she may have handed over some of those recordings if indeed they do exist. none of that has been substantiated. it seems this may turn into ha waiting game with her in prison hoping to get out and still hoping to strike that deal with u.s. authorities. she certainly has been actively lobbying to try to do that speaking to u.s. media and also of course having other preen eo who have her followers speak to authorities and come to america if she does have those recordings. >> supposedly she's in fear of her life. if her life is in danger potentially she could get asylum here in the united states. what do you hear about that, whether her life is in actual
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danger? >> reporter: well, i mean, that's one of the things that her followers apparently have been saying. they believe that first of all, conditions in the thai jail she's in are of course very difficult ones, apparently very difficult to get access to food. being brought food by people from the outside. then of course there is the fear of what would happen if in fact she were deported back here to russia, there is no secret the man is a very powerful man with direct ties to the kremlin in this country, and therefore there could be a threat she obviously believes to her life if she is deported back here to russia. the other option could be she is also a citizen of belarus, she could be deported back to there, but that is close ally to return federation as well. so certainly some concern, and there might be grounds at least she and her followers believe for her to be able to claim
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political asylum. but in order to do that she has to get in touch with u.s. authorities and make her way to u.s. embassy in thailand or third country, wolf. >> we'll follow the late breaking developments in bangkok. moscow for us. thanks very much. that's it for me. erin burnett outfront starts right now. h. outfront next breaking news, president trump's top economic adviser gary cohn quit. stocks going down when he says there is no chaos. own chief of staff john kelly on television. and bob says he'll cooperate with bob mueller. let's go outfront. >> good evening i'm

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