tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 27, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
the others don't. we offer up to 6 hours of 4g wireless network backup. everyone else, no way. we let calls from any of your devices come from your business number. them, not so much. we let you keep an eye on your business from anywhere. the others? nope! get internet on our gig-speed network and add voice and tv for $34.90 more per month. call or go online today. happening now, cohen's contradiction. the president's former lawyer willing to testify that mr. trump did know in advance about the infamous trump tower meeting. we have new reaction this hour to cnn's reporting as mr. trump stands by his denial and rails against michael cohen. putin's proposal. the kremlin boss reveals he invited president trump to visit
moscow during their secret summit talks in helsinki. why did we hear about it from vladimir putin and not donald trump? deadly inferno, walls of flames are ravaging a northern california city, forcing thousands to evacuate. cnn is on the scene of this now out-of-control disaster. and awkward. a picture worth a thousand words, as special counsel robert mueller spotted at the d.c. airport just a few feet away from donald trump jr. we want to welcome our viewers from the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today and you're in "the situation room." tonight president trump and his long-time fixer at war over the truth about the 2016 trump tower meeting with russians. the president disputing michael cohen's claims that he knew in advance of that meeting with a russian lawyer and the promise
of dirt on hillary clinton, but sources tell me and my colleagues that cohen says he was in the room and donald trump jr. shared the information about that meeting with his father. and cohen is willing to tell all of this to the special counsel, robert mueller. if true, it means the president has repeatedly lied about an event at the very center of the probe into possible collusion with russia. i'm going to get reaction from kremlin critic bill browder and democratic congressman jerry conley. our correspondents and analysts also standing by. first, to cnn white house correspondent abby phillip. the president's only response to this story has been his favorite venue, twitter. >> reporter: that's right, jim. the president not saying a whole lot with his own mouth about the controversies swirling around him and his administration. he left just a few minutes ago to go to bedminster, where his golf resort is, and refusing to take questions from reporters. the ruptured relationship with his personal attorney, michael cohen, is becoming a growing problem for him.
for a third day, president trump avoiding questions from reporters. >> mr. president, do you have any response to cohen's allegations? >> reporter: instead, keeping the press back and holding a carefully staged event touting economic numbers. >> i am thrilled to announce that in the second quarter of this year, the united states' economy grew at the amazing rate of 4.1%. >> reporter: changing the conversation and refusing to talk about his former personal lawyer, michael cohen. >> when did you find out about the allegations? >> reporter: privately, a white house official tells cnn, the president is fuming about a cnn report that cohen may testify that trump did know in advance about the 2016 trump tower meeting with russian operatives promising dirt on hillary clinton. the president tweeting, and so the fake news doesn't waste my time with dumb questions, no, i did not know of the meeting with my son, don junior.
sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam. and angry that cohen released a secretly recorded tape of trump discussing a payoff to an alleged mistress. in public, though, his aides insist that the president is not angry. trump's lawyer, rudy giuliani, sitting down with cnn's chris cuomo. >> i saw the president when the president first found out that he had been taped. and the president was completely shocked. >> i believe that. >> and he wasn't angry. >> what's his mood like at the end of such a week like this? >> very positive, upbeat. >> reporter: meantime, president trump meeting with his national security council behind closed doors to discuss election interference a week after appearing to doubt that russia would meddle in this year's midterms. >> is russia still targeting the u.s., mr. president? >> reporter: and after the white house pushed off an invitation
for russian president vladimir putin to visit washington, putin today offering his own conditional invitation. >> translator: we are ready to invite president trump to moscow to be my guest. he has such an invitation. i've told him that. and i'm ready to go to washington. i repeat once again, if the right conditions for work are created. >> reporter: and white house press secretary sarah sanders expressed an openness to that invitation saying president trump would consider it once the formal invitation has been sent from the kremlin. meanwhile, president trump this afternoon this an interview with sean hannity, a friend and adviser of his, says he's eager to get back on the campaign trail. those economic numbers this morning giving him a boost. he says he'd like to go on the trail six or seven days a week by the fall. jim? >> thanks very much. by cnn's count, we should mention, there have been at least 19 times when the president and his allies have denied that he knew in real time or in advance about that trump tower meeting. michael cohen now saying he will
contradict that before the special counsel. let's bring in cnn senior congressional correspondent manu raju. we know the trump tower meeting is a major focus of the special counsel's investigation on a number of possible lines of inquiry. >> and it's also been a stunning public fallout, jim, between the president and one of his closest confidantes, who is facing his own criminal investigation. the tension between these two men has been escalating, beginning with cnn's report of an audio report of trump and cohen discussing a payoff to a model to silence her account of an alleged affair with trump and now the willingness to testify to the special counsel and contradict the president about a meeting central to the russia investigation and that has major ramifications for trump and his son. >> he's going to make america great again. >> reporter: president donald trump has repeatedly denied knowing about a meeting his son had with russians in the heat of the 2016 campaign. >> the next president perform the united states of america --
>> reporter: piz his former personal lawyer, michael cohen, willing to contradict the president under oath. sources tell cnn that cohen is ready to tell special counsel robert mueller that trump knew in advance about the now infamous trump tower meeting. >> morning, don. >> reporter: in which donald trump jr. was expecting he would get dirt from the russians on the clinton campaign. >> what is on the rest of the tapes? >> reporter: cohen has privately asserted he and others were present. when donald trump jr. informed trump of the russian offer and that trump gave the go ahead to have the meeting. the bombshell claim directly contradicts what trump junior told congressional investigators last year. asked by the senate judiciary committee, did you inform your father about the meeting or the underlying offer prior to the meeting, trump junior responded, no, i did not. he also said he did not know the identity of the person he called three times before and after that meeting. and whose number was blocked. and whether that person was his father.
the news also calls into question cohen's own testimony before congress and his past public statements. a source tells cnn that cohen did not tell the house intelligence committee last year that trump had advance knowledge of the meeting. after trump junior said he did not tell his father about the meeting -- >> there was nothing to tell. >> reporter: -- cohen tweeted, so brought of donald trump jr. for being open, honest and transparent to the american people. today trump also took to twitter to push back on his long-time personal fixer. i did not know of the meeting with my son, don junior. sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam. trump's lawyer, rudy giuliani, also denied cohen's claims and accused him of lying. in an interview with cnn's chris cuomo. >> i expected something like this from cohen. he's been lying for weeks -- he's been lying for years. >> reporter: that's not how
giuliani, characterized cohen weeks ago on cnn's "state of the union". >> i don't think cohen will lie. he'll tell the truth. if he does that, we're home free. >> reporter: democrats say this opens a new front in the russia probe. >> it brings the issue of collusion or conspiracy to the president's feet. >> reporter: this claim wrapping up a week that saw a stunning public fallout between the president and one of his closest confidantes, starting with the recording revealed by cnn of trump and cohen. >> i was attracted to him, yeah. >> reporter: discussing paying off a model who alleged an affair with trump. and thursday's revelation in "the wall street journal" that the chief financial officer at the trump organization has been subpoenaed to testify in a criminal investigation involving cohen. now capping this very turbulent week for the president is this bit of remarkable news this afternoon, politico's playbook reported a photo of robert mueller waiting to board a
flight at reagan national airport in d.c. and look who's waiting in line at the same gate, donald trump jr. wearing that green shirt. mueller says, the other person in the photo was, indeed, trump junior, quote, mr. mueller was not aware of him and had no interaction with him. jim, now the question is, what will trump junior say to the special counsel if and when he does talk to him and will he say to mueller the same thing that he said to congress, that his father didn't know about that 2016 meeting with russians? >> people are going to jail for lying. thanks very much. joining me now is congressman jerry conley, a democrat, representing the district of virginia. thanks for being with us. >> thanks to be here. >> essentially here you have the president's word against his long-time former lawyer and fixer. simply, who do you believe? >> well, i think we have to back up a little bit. cohen is not a -- you know, a
heroic figure, but he does have credibility. he released a tape that completely demontdedemolished t denial of having an affair and having anything to do with hush payments. we hear him actually saying on the tape, pay him in cash, the president of the united states. and so, i think cohen has every reason at this point to actually be telling the truth. assuming he is and knowing, frankly, president trump has lied about every aspect of this on the record. he lied about donald trump jr.'s meeting, he lied about the purpose of the meeting. he dictated the letter that lied about the purpose of the meeting and made up a story about it being about adoptions. so, why would we put any credibility in any denial from this president? i think if you pause at that, this development is the missing piece in the collusion and
obstruction story with respect to russia. >> so -- again, i imagine folks at home, they've heard a lot of developments in this case through time. why is this one particularly troubling for the president, legally and politically? >> because he has -- god only knows how many times he tweeted, there was no collusion, in caps. well, assuming cohen is telling the truth and there are other witnesses, he claims, who were in that meeting, the president in advance of the meeting knew what the purpose was and approved it. and it's like dominos. so then donald junior claiming, i never went to my father and told him after the meeting what happened is absurd, ridiculous, obviously he did. again, president trump is lying. >> now, donald trump jr. has already testified under oath to the contrary of what michael cohen is willing to testify
himself during his testimony on the hill. is he possible he perjured himself in that testimony? if so, do you believe congress should call him back to ask him these questions again? >> yes and yes. i wish i could say otherwise, but the whole style of operation of this family is pathological lying. if it suits your purposes. and repeat it and get louder about it so that people might actually have doubts or believe you, even when you are blatantly telling a lie. >> in the midst of this you have plans, it appears, for another face-to-face summit between putin and trump after a summit, a little more than a week ago, widely panned by democrats but also republicans. some alarm expressed, in fact, by republicans about how that summit went down. is this a good time? is there a good reason for trump to meet putin again?
>> no. i think no good can come of that. frankly, from president trump's point of view, i don't think any good can come from that. he looked like a patsy. that's being charitable, at helsinki. others have accused him of treason and appeasement. and why do you want to repeat that on your home turf? why do you want to risk making it all worse? frankly, the one person in all of this who is really enjoying every day of the week is vladimir putin. >> of course, one of the reasons president trump was criticized is that he did not confront putin on 2016 election interference. in fact, took his word over u.s. intelligence agencies. we now have proof that russia is interfering in these elections. claire mccaskill confirming an attempted attack on her. are the 2018 elections safe from russia inteeshrference, in your view? >> they are at risk.
they are at risk, we know that from trump's own appointees and the fbi. dan coates, the director of intelligence, said the red light is blinking on the 2018 elections. the big question, though, is what in the world would possess a united states president to question his own intelligence community and accept the word of a russian dictator? what in the world wouldle make the american president accept an offer or seem to accept an offer from a russian thug, like vladimir putin, to actually put at risk american diplomats and ship them to moscow to be interrogated by russian officials? and this leads us back to the cohen question you began with, jim, which is, there is something there that's ugly and that trump obviously does not want us to see. >> we'll be speaking to bill browder, who russia wants to be brought back for these charges.
congressman jerry conley, thank you for taking the time. enjoy the weekend. coming can up, more on the trump tower meeting. who knew what and when and why it matters if the president lied. i'll speak with a vocal critic of the putin regime who champions sanctions on the kremlin that a russian lawyer discussed in that meeting with the trump camp. bill browder, he joins us next. ron! soh really? going on at schwab. thank you clients? well jd power did just rank them highest in investor satisfaction with full service brokerage firms...again. and online equity trades are only $4.95... i mean you can't have low cost and be full service. it's impossible. it's like having your cake and eating it too. ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs. how am i going to explain this? if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab. schwab, a modern approach to wealth management.
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report that michael cohen claims president trump knew in advance of the 2016 trump tower meeting with russians. that's when donald trump jr. thought he was going to get dirt on hillary clinton from a russian lawyer, we now know has ties to the kremlin. we are joined by bill browder, who is a critic of vladimir putin and his sanctions against russia. bill browder, thanks very much for joining us. >> great to be here. >> he have an enormous amount of experience with the putin regime. what do you make of michael cohen's claim that president trump knew about this meeting, the russians offering to give dirt on hillary clinton? >> well, it just connects up one more set of dots. and i can actually draw the dots from that conversation that michael cohen is claiming to have happened all the way to the putin helsinki summit in which it's basically been about the magnitsky act and all been about me. effectively the russians, the
russian lawyer who now apparently or allegedly donald trump knew about coming in was coming in very specifically to have the magnitsky act repealed and very specifically to get donald trump to investigate me. that conversation was then repeated in exactly the same form by president putin in helsinki a week and a half ago. so, it's all part -- part and parcel, the same russian attempt to get rid of something that vladimir putin hates most, which are these sanctions that i was responsible for initiating. >> that's a great point, because oftentimes when people hear magnitsky act in this, they say it's magnitsky act, it's not the dirt. but it's still relevant because you say these sanctions under that act really punish people close to vladimir putin for crimes at home. they want the trump administration to get rid of them. >> andist very important to understand what happened in that meeting. in that meeting the russian
lawyer, natalie veselnitskaya, who is an agent for vladimir putin, went in with an ask. the ask was to repeal the sanctions. now, the russians aren't stupid. they don't ask for something unless they have something to offer. we don't know exactly what she was offering, there is some allegations that she was offering dirt on hillary clinton. she might have been offering some other stuff. what we don't know is what she was offering and if that was accepted. that's the subject of the mueller investigation. >> exactly. there is an e-mail documentation of that, donald trump jr. believed she was offering dirt on hillary clinton. in the midst of this, as you know, president trump seems very willing to have yet another summit with vladimir putin a little more than a week after a summit that even republicans panned as disastrous. what is putin trying to do here by being open to another summit with president trump? what advantage is he seeking? >> well, let's just put this in very simple perspective.
vladimir putin has got an economy the size of the state of new york. he's got a military budget, which is 10% of the united states. and here he is, sitting at the top table with the most powerful man in the free world. just having that meeting is an enormous credibility boost for vladimir putin. i don't think that meeting should have ever taken place in the first place because of all the bad stuff he's done and how unimportant he is on an objective basis. vladimir putin showed up an hour late to a meeting with the most powerful man in the free world. he's turned down donald trump's invitation to washington and he's now saying, well, oh, yeah, you can come to moscow if you want. from putin's perspective, he's licking his chops, he's loving it. it's humiliating for the united states president. >> michael mcfall, former u.s. ambassador to russia, he's calling on the trump administration to protect him and others from something that you faced, which is being placed
on an interpol watch list by putin. you've had this experience yourself, it's called red notice, of course the title of your book as well. what are the options to protect a michael mcfall or others who are in putin's cross hairs? >> well, so, there's two different issues for mcfall and the ten other u.s. government officials. one is the u.s. should never put them into the hands of the russians. i don't think the u.s. government would do that and has pretty much concluded it won't. as you say, the second option for vladimir putin is to use this organization called interpol. it's an international organization that effectively operates on its own rules. and russia can, without any approval from the u.s., put me and put those 11 other people on the interpol list. the russians have done this to me seven times. and there's nothing that will prevent them from doing it to mike mcfall and those other u.s. officials. and there's really nothing that the u.s. can do other than being
a major contributor to the interpol budget to reform the way in which interpol operates. and i've been a strong advocate, after russia has been abusing interpol so often in my case, effectively asking russia to be unplugged from interpol because they're abusing it, not using it for law enforcement. that's an argument i've made, i'll continue to make and mike and others will make as well. you can't have this nonaccountable organization being able to be used by dictators to chase their enemies. >> as a political weapon, it seems. bill browder, thanks very much for taking the time. >> thank you. coming up, the potential legal implications of michael cohen's new claim that the president knew about that trump meeting after all -- trump tower meeting, after all. our analysts are standing by. we're getting new information from the special counsel about who's ready to testify against trump's former campaign chairman, paul manafort. breaking news on that is just ahead. this is cnn breaking
we have breaking news coming into "the situation room." police have been called to trump tower in new york city after reports of multiple, multiple suspicious packages found outside trump tower. cnn joins us now from new york. tell us what the police are saying about this. >> reporter: yeah, actually,
jim, what we're hearing are those packages are inside trump tower. what i've hearing from a source, again, this is preliminary information as it comes into the nypd, secret service, other authorities, is that there were three suspicious packages in three separate locations inside trump tower. i want to get out of the way so you can get a quick look at the street. this is fifth avenue right here where trump tower is. you can see it is shut down for cars on the scene here as bomb squad. we also have the emergency service units. and there's just a number of streets closed around this area. i was actually walking toward trump tower for something separate when i saw the bomb squad race by me, along with other emergency vehicles. so, at this point we know there's a lot of officials inside trump tower, heavily armed people, standing guard, trying to figure out exactly what those packages are, where they are. this is obviously a much heightened response since it's inside trump tower. certainly, we'll stay on this and see what this is all about. jim? >> we should note that the president is not now at trump
tower in new york. i believe he's on his way to bedminster. this is a highly secured site. the white house north, as it's sometimes called. tremendous security there. how rare would it be to get something inside the building as opposed to outside the building? >> reporter: well, there are stores inside the building. there's a starbucks, a gucci store on the ground level. there are tourists often going inside trump tower. so, it's possible that the device -- rather, the packages were found in those communal areas where people often are. i'm not sure yet if those packages are in the residential area, in offices. we're still trying to find out that information. but it wouldn't be too difficult. it could be something where someone spotted something that didn't look right. and then investigators found there were multiple of those, and that's why it's causing even more alarm. i can tell you that while i was standing guard, waiting to see how this unfolds, people who live inside trump tower can't even get to their homes right now. i mean, it is completely shut
down at the moment. as you can see is, obviously, the streets around here quickly getting cleared by the police that are around really a one-block radius all around trump tower at this point. >> abundance of caution. thanks very much. if you're just joining us now, the nypd looking into reports of three suspicious packages inside, it appears, trump tower in new york. the white house north, as it's known. we should note the president not currently at trump tower but certainly a serious question there about security. we'll stay with this story throughout this hour. meanwhile, prosecutors from special counsel robert mueller's office have just released a list of potential witnesses in the upcoming trial of former trump campaign chairman, paul manafort. cnn justice correspondent evan perez has been following the details. evan, this list, it's long, almost three dozen people. >> that's right, jim. this is a list of 35 names that the special counsel has now released. niece are the people who will be
testifying or who potentially will be called to testify against paul manafort in his trial that begins next tuesday. look, it really is -- offers a little bit of a road map for the government's case, which is focused on tax and bank fraud, financial fraud charges against paul manafort. there is also, obviously, his business partners, rick gates, who was his business partner and has pleaded guilty and has turned against paul manafort. there's tad devine, a democratic strategist who worked alongside paul manafort in his business in ukraine, the former ukrainian regime that paul manafort did business with. and then there's a long list of accountants and bankers and realtors, people who helped paul manafort accumulate a lot of property and essentially hide some of his money, according to the government. there's also a bit of a road map of how, according to the government, paul manafort laundered millions of dollars over the years, jim.
there is a number of people, including people who sold him his tickets to the new york yankees. his season tickets to the new york yankees. there's the guy who helped sell him his mercedes, $60,000 mercedes. there's a person who runs a landscaping company in long island. this is allegedly, according to the government, where paul manafort spent $820,000 landscaping his mansion in the hamptons. and then there's his purchases from men's clothing stores. there's one man who works for a new york clothing store, where, according to prosecutors, paul manafort spent $849,215, which the government says was essentially used for money laundering. i think at that price you call it a haberdashery. it's not just a men's clothing store. >> i did not expect to hear that
word on our broadcast. thanks very much. a white house official is telling cnn that president trump is fuming over our report here at cnn that his former personal lawyer, michael cohen, claims that mr. trump knew in advance about the 2016 trump tower meeting with russian operatives. the president and his team have repeatedly denied that in public. let's dig in deeper with our correspondents and analysts susan hennessey, put this in the pantheon of discoveries in this investigation now. >> we have two not particularly credible actor, michael cohen and the president have repeatedly lied to the public. so, if it was just sort of he said/he said, i don't know if that would advance this particularly significantly, but it's not. all the available evidence here would suggest that president trump would have been likely to have known about this meeting in advance. he was intimately involved in all aspects of his campaign. he made contemporaneous public statements that suggests he
might have known. there's a lot of additional context here that would suggest that, you know, that trump is likely lying. i do think it's a little window into why the trump legal team is so incredibly afraid of him sitting down and having this interview with robert mueller. they really do appear to be afraid that trump is going to lie and that robert mueller. >> folks who lie to these investigators have faced jail time. joey jackson, you've been involved in a lot of legal proceedings here. it is not uncommon to have witnesses that aren't boy scouts, right? or who have problems in their past or problems with credibility. does that take away the value of their testimony in a case like this? >> not necessarily. and piggybacking off of and turning in another direction to what susan was saying, you certainly have to look at everything in context, but it happens every day and twice on sunday. we have to let viewers know in cases across the country, every day there rarely is a smoking gun. very rarely is there a smoking gun. what judges do is give a jury a
charge and charge juries -- we're not there yet but i'm giving you perspective on how you evaluate credibility. one thing they talk about is motivation to lie. who would have a motivation to lie here? now, this might, you know, go to the benefit of president trump. you have, of course, cohen here, who is in a bit of a pickle. obviously, as a result of that, he is going to be prone to jump out of it. but it's more than motivation to lie. it goes to opportunity to observe. what person would have an opportunity to observe what the president did, his actions, the meeting, than a person who's around him, like this fixer, michael cohen. and so, to the extent he's around the president, he would know what the president said, who the president said it to and who said what to the president. quickly, jim, on that particular point and looking at what he knew, you know, that is, the president and michael cohen and whether he was there, the fact is, is it begs a question, if michael cohen's such a liar, he's a bad guy, he doesn't know what's going on, why did you keep him around in such a long
time? even in the absence of a corroboration, a smoking gun that would go to show this, clearly you can look and say, michael cohen did know this. the final point is, of course, the president, look, he has a reputation for being a serial liar himself. if you measure one against the other, i would have to -- it would have to anore to the benefit of michael cohen. >> a lot of lies going around. samantha, let's walk through the timeline of these meetings. there are a lot of signals that make it plausible the president might have known this in advance. june 3, 2016, don junior first gets word of this russian offer of information on k hillary clinton. three days later he calls agalrov and then he called a blocked number. we know the president's number is blocked. at least raises that question. the next day trump says, there's interesting information on the clintons coming soon. june 9th that meeting takes
place and, again, donald junior makes a call to a blocked number. what do you make of all that? >> jim, i don't know what to make about all that, but the good news is bob mueller is probably looking at all this and find the answers and adjudicate. who's the biggest liar? we don't know. what we do know is this trump tower meeting has been a gift to the russians since it happened. the campaign irresponsibly took a meeting. they didn't report it. the white house misdescribed the meeting, which also helps the russians. now at this point as fingers are being pointed over who's a liar, who knew what went, the russians are probably sitting back, this is great. the entire white house is looking entirely less credible and they're spending so much of this time chasing their tails and trying to make the other side look bad that yet again we're not talking about russia's ongoing election interference. i'm going to guess the white house spent more time today
thinking about this michael cohen tape in the situation room than actually having a meeting on russian election interference. >> you covered this administration, the white house. we know it was and it seems today operates like a small business, right? i mean, it's a pretty tight group, particularly during the campaign. very few trusted advisers around this president. among them, michael cohen. the idea that in a meeting like this that jared kushner, paul manafort, donald trump jr. took time out of their day to go and sit down with them, what are the chances that did not filter to the president in an operation that small? >> i mean, it's totally outside of the realm of possibility, in my opinion, jim. the president could not have known about this. and it's exactly, as you said, because of the unique nature of the donald trump campaign, this was not a normal organized presidential campaign where you
had people delegated to certain tasks. this was a campaign that was run in almost every respect by donald trump from the top down. and he had his hands in everything. that's what made it kind of not only an unusual campaign but really a disorganized campaign in many respects, obviously. it succeeded in spite of that. but it just -- it's completely unbelievable to me as one who covered this campaign and was very familiar with that hierarchy that donald trump q o would not have been aware, especially when you consider his own son was one of those people involved in the meeting and in the room. >> incredible. we have a lot more to talk about. just ahead, vladimir putin now says that he is ready to come to washington and that he also invited trump to moscow. what is putin's game plan? plus, breaking news. two people dead, thousands of homes threatened. just look at those pictures. we'll have a live update on what is becoming a fast-moving wildfire burning out of control tonight in california. chicken?! chicken. chicken! that's right, candace--
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another twist tonight, a potential second summit between president trump and russian president vladimir putin. back with our panel now. susan hennessey, what's the reason to meet with the russian president right now? you just had a disastrous summit, questions about what was even discussed in that summit. why meet again? >> i think it's a little baffling, right? this is an area in which donald
trump is entirely on his own. congressional republicans, congressional democrats, his own staff, his own administration officials, all are either pushing him to get tougher on putin or ratchet back this level of engagement. i really do think we have to ask ourselves why donald trump is over the objections of his own party, so insistant on having this affection relationship with vladimir putin. >> is there any political motivation for tlump trump to do that? is his base snoo does he see political advantage? >> everything donald trump says and does and in this case he thinks, i believe, based on, you know, his statements that he looks strong when he meets with these world leaders. he looks like the president of the united states. if gives him that air of importance, of diplomacy, and for most americans they're not tuned into every incremental
development like we are, and so they just see president trump interacting with someone like vladimir putin and kim jong-moon, and they think potentially, this is his bet, i believe, that they will believe he is a great diplomat, a great strong leader. that's the persona he wants people to see. >> what does that say about the efforts to prevent the u.s. attack on the u.s. election? >> jim, that's a great question because this administration has lined to tout all the things that it's done to be tough on russia, but it's somewhat of a red herring when we are aware of the fact that we're still under
attack. everything they may or may have done hasn't proven successful, and we also don't know what russia is doing via social media, via information warfare to actually help candidates in the 2018 election that they have a preference for, like when they have a preference for donald trump during the 2016 election. the question is why does president trump want to meet with vladimir putin? historically successive presidents have successive -- successfulfully summited with the russian counterparts, but it was for a specific purpose. it was for an arms control agreement or a chemical weapons accord. we are now seeing a cycle where president trump is saying he wants to meet putin again, but with no actual objective that's been outlined.
>>. >> president trump's cozy relationship with vladimir putin, is that relevant? >> you look at what a person is actually doing, what they're saying. their movements, et cetera. i think robert mueller, as quiets as he is, as cued in on everything at the end of the day, you have to base any actions, if any, that come forward on specific evidence and not just, you know, things, speculation, et cetera. you had better believe that robert mueller is tuned into this and everything else, and i think that in due course we will learn exactly where that investigation is going. >> that's part of the surprise here. in a normal world people are no longer unbiassed.
>> trump often has some political reason for doing all of this, but i don't know anyone that could identify what exactly it is. >> it's so much about the image for the president, right? i mean, sam raised the point that the president doesn't have any clear policy out and about that he could get from this. he didn't have any policy outcome to tout from the first russian summit from this meeting with kim jong un, but it's not about outcomes for donald trump. it's all about the image and that image of strength. >> that's on a daily basis. thanks very much.
>> we'll get the details on this from cnn money senior reporter dylan buyers. dylan, what are we learning in this article? >> well, what we have here, jim, is allegations from at least six women against the chief executive of cbs, less moonves, and it is hard to think of a more sort of well known and influential figure in hollywood. in fact, one media executive here likening it to a nuclear bo bomb.
>> the first one is from moonves himself. he says i recognize that there were times decades ago when i may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. those were mistakes, and i regret them immensely. i always understood and respected and abided by the principle that no means no, and i have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career. second statement from cbs, cbs is very mindful of all workplace issues and takes each reported misconduct very seriously. we do not believe, however, that the picture of our company created in the new yorker represents a larger organization that does its best to treat its tens of thousands of employees with dignity and respect. >> private meetings with these women. they allege he used his power as retribution when they were about those advances. he is saying that is not the case. obviously, cbs trying to defend
the larger nature of the culture. now what's happening, the board much directors at cbs has said that they are going to look into these issues. they take these allegations very seriously. we'll see what they come back with and go from there where zbloosh dylan, it's impossible to summarize these in a short time frame, but just to be clear from reading this, there are allegations both of physical force, is that right, as well as pressure? >> that's right. the word -- the phrase that runs the journalist returns to is forcibly kissed. the idea that he would invite these young women who had aspirations of acting, writing, directing, into his office and effectively make advances on them. they would rebuff those advances, and he would then use his power to basically jettison their career. there's one actress, iliana douglas who says he effectively had her fired from a comedy project that they were working on in the mid 1990s.
i should also add these allegations go back several decades. we have allegations here from the 1990s, from the 1980s. you know, there's this question here, sort of, of going back over the entirety of this man's career, and you really have to think about the immense influence that he has had over so many people's careers in hollywood, and, again, cbs board of directors are going to look into this and we'll be back with their results when they have them. >> dylan buyers, thanks very much. i should note that roenan pharaoh, the author of this new yorker article, he is going to be on aaron burnett out front on cnn. that's in the next hour. paul, tell us what the scene looks like there. >> jim, we'll show you mentioned these homes that were threatened. they lost at least destroyed, they say, 65. another 55 damaged.
that number sure to be racheted up. we're at ground zero right here in redding. look over here. you can get the nature of the fire coming, roaring out over the hillsides. burning more than 44,000 acres. you can see the cardicass of a r that's been burned up. there's a horse trailer there. people getting out with their lives and thrilled to do so,ing and many of them now feeling a sense of relief that they're alive, but the devastation here in this city of redding is tremendous. snoo many houses went up in flames. >> completely. completely burned down to the ground. just look behind me. there's the remnants of what was the laundry room, and this is as far as the eye can see from where we're standing.
back to you, jim. >> it is devastating. those were people's homes there, all that had he had lost. paul boouk, thank you very much for being on the scene there for us. i'm jim schudo. thank you for watching tonight. my colleague is coming up next. erin burnett out front starts right now. >> he predicted months ago that trump would save himself, but as mielk cohen the least of trump's worries. trump's long-time personal attorney jay goldberg is out front tonight, and the breaking news. six women accusing cbs chairman les moonves of six alwal harassmeharas -- sexual harassment. >> geepg. i'm erin burnett. out front tonight, someone is lying, and the truth is it'