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Trump Aides in Constant Touch with Senior Russian Officials During Campaign; Netanyahu to Meet with Trump; Undocumented Immigrants Seek Refugee in Churches. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired February 15, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This CNN Breaking News.
[01:00:00] ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: Hello and thanks very much for joining us. I'm Isa Soares in London, where it is 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATION CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes, it is 10:00 p.m. here in Los Angeles on the U.S. West Coast. And we are following breaking news for you out at Washington. Where the Trump administration is facing new questions about its relationship with Russia. And number of officials telling CNN, Top Trump Aides were in regular contact with Russian officials throughout the presidential campaign. Here's CNN's Pamela Brown.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, high level advisors closed, then Presidential nominee Donald Trump, were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to U.S. Intelligence. Multiple occurrent and former Intelligence Law Enforcement and Administration Officials tells CNN, President-elect Trump and then President Barack Obama were both briefed on details of the extensive communications between suspected Russian operatives, and people associated with the Trump campaign and the Trump business.
Now, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter both the frequency of the communications, and the proximity to Trump of those involved, raised a red flag with U.S. Intelligence and Law Enforcement. According to these officials that communications were intercepted during routine intelligence collection, targeting Russian officials and other Russian nationals known to U.S. Intelligence. Among several Senior Trump Advisors regularly communicating with Russian nationals, were then Campaign Manager, Paul Manafort, and then Advisor Michael Flynn. Manafort joined the campaign in March and was out mid-August. Flynn stayed on, and resigned as Trump's National Security Advisor last night.
Now, officials emphasized that communications between Campaign Staff and Representatives of foreign governments, are not unusual. However, these communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisors involved. Investigators have not reached a judgement on the intent of those conversations, but adding to U.S. investigators concerns were intercepted communications between Russian officials before and after the election, discussing their beliefs that they had special access to Trump.
Now, it's unclear whether they were exaggerating that claim or not. But this all came into time when the U.S. Intelligence Community was growing in confidence that Russian's were trying tilt the election in Donald Trump's favor. This investigation, still very much under-way in the FBI, and the Intelligence Community. Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.
SOARES: Well. Meanwhile, Russia has made another military provocation. Moscow deployed a cruise missile, which apparently violating 1987 treaty meant for protecting the two countries. Then there's the Russian spy ships sailing off the coast of Delaware right now, and then last week, Russian aircraft (INAUDIBLE) a U.S. Navy Warship in the Black Sea.
Now, some analyst say these actions are meant to test the Trump administration, which has advocated for stronger ties, with the Kremlins. Let's get more now on the story, Clare Sebastian joins me now. And Clare, before we talk about this Russia military actions, I want to ask - ask you about a breaking news because I know - I know it's very early in Moscow. Give us a sense though, if you can, as to how Kremlin maybe reacting to news that Trump advisors were in free- going communication with Russia operatives.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Isa, it is a little early to get official reaction on this, but what I can tell you is that we did know from the Russian side that there were contacts during the campaign here. After the - two days after the election we have from the Deputy Foreign Minister, who told the Russian News Agency in the fact that there's contact had been taken place, as to the frequency. And the content, we don't know anymore, really, at this stage. But interestingly, you know, in the wake of the resignation - or the, you know, the resignation of Michael Flynn, Russia officially has said, you know, this is an internal U.S. matter, that they are not getting involved.
They said that the conversations took place but as to the content of them and whether that influenced the - whether that sanctions were discussed, and whether that influenced the President Putin's decision not to respond to the U.S. sanctions in December. Well, Russian side said that information is not correct, what we are hearing interestingly perhaps, an echo even if tweets we've seen from President Trump is that the media is to blame for this. As Senior Russian Politician Aleksey Pushkov, tweeting yesterday that this wasn't because of any failure of Flynn himself, but because of the campaign - the witch-hunt in the U.S. media against Russia. So, that is really the line of rhetoric that we're seeing so far from this side.
[01:04:35] SOARES: Yes. And then you were saying, you mentioned the Deputy Foreign Minister, we know that was two days after the election in November where he said, there were contacts during the campaign between Russian officials to which, then the Trump transition team said, "this is not accurate." Now, let's focus on Michael Flynn, Clare, because - what more are you learning to this vice connections in Moscow? Because there was this video that's - that we've seen, and I'm sure our viewers will be able to see as well for bringing up, of him attending an event for Russia Today T.V. network. That's a Kremlin-funded T.V. network.
SEBASTIAN: Absolutely. That's a very public event, Isa, that took place in December of 2015 to mark the 10th anniversary of R.T. that's that state funded English language T.V. network. A very big operation here in Moscow. He was pegged to that sitting next to Vladimir Putin at a dinner and we know that he was paid, he just mentioned this two - to whole day Q.A. session with an R.T. anchor during those commemorations in which he talked a lot about the Middle Eastern and American priorities there. And we know that he's appeared on R.T. number of times as an unpaid analyst as well. So, he certainly is open to working with Russia to appearing here and he's the face that is known here in Russia. Isa.
SOARES: Yes. And while the Kremlin, Clare, has his hand - has - while the Kremlin part in north, the presidential say, has his hands full at the White House. Talk to us about the recent activity in the form the alleged missile, what does that relationship - what does that say about U.S. relationship? And what has the Kremlin had to say that front?
SEBASTIAN: Well, nothing - for officially from the Kremlin yet, but we have had one reaction so far, this morning, Isa, to that accusation that Russia has deployed a cruise missile in violation of that 1987 treaty. Konstantin Kosachev, who is the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee on Russia's Upper House of Parliament, the Federation Council has told the state news agency wherein obviously, I'm just going to read the report from that. He said, "leaks in the media are a banal continuation of the information war against Russia, and against those in new U.S. administration who support normalizing relations with Russia."
So again, this is what I was talking about, they are blaming the media for whipping up anti-Russian sentiment. He said yesterday the same post Konstantin Kosachev said, that the story around Michael Flynn was a sign that the new U.S. administration had already been infected by "Russaphobia." I think that's a real concern here. That despite all the public statements by President Trump, that he wants to improve relations with Russia. Despite his efforts throughout the campaign and since not to an anyway criticize or insult President Putin that he may now be under pressure to adopting more hocus stunt towards Russia. Simply, to fall in line with other member of his members of his party and the rest of Congress. Back to you, Isa.
SOARES: Yes. Media, very easy targets, de javu. Thanks very much, Clare. Michael.
HOLMES: Isa, thanks so much. And here in Los Angeles; Republican Pollster, Justin Wallin; and Political Strategist, Mac Zilber joining me to talk a little bit more about this. And the curious thing, the red flag here, was that these contacts between Senior Trump Officials on the campaign and these Russians operatives were tapping exactly around the same time that there was emerging of the hacking of the DNC by Russia. How do you think this looks for the Republican?
JUSTIN WALLIN, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Well, how it looks and how it maybe - maybe very, very different.
WALLIN: And it is no questions that the optics are rough. And the President cannot be happy right now, he cannot be happy with the way things look and the way things were handled over the last couple of weeks. But all that said, what we still have right now is a lot of activity, a lot of uncertainty, none of us have seen any content about what took place in these conversations. We know they were taped. We know the transcriptions exist. We don't know what was done. We also don't know about the flow of those conversations, that says there's a lot of activity. Was that in response? Was that prompted? Were there - the Russians calling in order to get that kind of response? Is this all, frankly, a show? Russians do shows. I mean, they're - right now they're deploying missiles in places that are naughty, but they shouldn't be doing that.
HOLMES: But this - this was - this is the Russians doing the show, this is Trump campaign, people reaching out to Russians to discuss, who knows what.
WALLIN: OK. So, that - that maybe true, but I think that's a new one. So, we know that they were reaching out. I hear that there're multiple communications, but I don't know that it's always the case that they're initiating. And I think it's an assumption, if I'm wrong let me know, but I think there was just multiple communications. I don't know, as a matter of fact.
MAC ZILBER, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Well, what we do know is that it's supposedly constant contact. Now, I mean, I don't know about you guys but if somebody called me every day and I didn't want to talk to them, at some point I'd stop picking up my phone. I mean, there's a lot that we don't know, but when multiple campaign officials are talking to Russian intelligence officials, while Donald Trump is going out and saying, I want the Russians to hack my opponents, and then the Russians hacked his opponent. At a certain point, we don't have to put all that many pieces together, there's only a few little places but haven't already been colored in by what we know.
HOLMES: We saw - we saw Sean Spicer the day the Spokesman coming out and sort of defending Donald Trump and saying that, "he has been tough on Russia." We'll let's have a listen to what he said, actually.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:09:53] SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The irony of this entire situation, is that the President has been incredibly tough on Russia. He continues to raise the issue of Crimea, which the previous administration allowed to be seized by Russia. President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to de-escalate violence in the Ukraine, and return Crimea. At the same time, he fully expects to, and wants to be able to get along with Russia unlike previous administrations. So, that we can solve many problems together facing the world such as the threat of ISIS, and terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Which is all very fine. But the reality is, even though some in the administration - I'd like picking highly at the U.N., one example. Donald Trump has not been tough on Russian, he has been warm to Russia.
WALLIN: But well, he has allowed his proxies to be tough on them without vocally condemning them. And we know for a fact that there's - there is no caution with the President, in that regard. If he feels that somebody who works on his behalf, who speaks for him is saying something that's contrary to his goals, he will not say it later, he will say it immediately. In a not so -
ZILBER: You know, I'm glad that you've brought that up because, we've all known since December that Michael Flynn called the Russian Ambassador that they have the sanctions. A reasonable person would assume, and many did at that time that that conversation was about the sanctions. If Donald Trump shuts down people who do things that he doesn't like when it happens, you think that he would've spoken up before this hit the press. And then, Trump has known for several weeks that Flynn lied about this and didn't speak up, until resigned, until this became a big news story. Clearly, he was OK with Flynn doing this.
WALLIN: Well, I think maybe he was. So, what? So, we had a conversation about policy before taking the office.
ZILBER: Yes. Normally, you don't provide aid and comfort to a foreign power before you have taken office.
WALLIN: This is very different, this is not a business person trying to position an oil company. This is an incoming administration -
ZILBER: No. This is about an undermining of the foreign policy of the United States while I'm in government.
WALLIN: But - you say that, but I haven't read the script. Have you?
ZILBER: Well, no. But -
WALLIN: It's a wonderful assumption that we -
HOLMES: With Michael Flynn have gone and had a conversation about sanctions with the Russian Ambassador, of his volition? Is that something that he might have done, pick up the phone and -
WALLIN: Michael pulls those things because he wants to do.
HOLMES: Without running it by anyone in the campaign, because of course, there're a lot of questions are being asked now about who knew what? And when? ZILBER: I think - I think it would be pretty shocking if you made a decision like that, without running it by his boss. And if he did, I think it would be pretty shocking if Donald Trump didn't ask him, "hey, what did you talk to the Russian Ambassador about?" And after the news reports came out, the idea that two months passed and Donald Trump didn't ask frankly doesn't pass -
HOLMES: Well, the other thing that raises some eyebrows is the administration saying that, "Michael Flynn resigned, because the trust no longer existed." That was the reason that he told the Vice President something that wasn't true, so there was a deficit of trust. Surely, the issue should have been that he was discussing sanctions with the Russian Ambassador.
WALLIN: It's not possible. I mean, we know that to some extent it was discussed but again, we don't know the scope of it. I presume we'll find out, I certainly want to. I think clarity is important. I also would like to find, and such a bit of an elephant in the room, but why is our Intelligence Service, as sit? Why are these things flowing out in to the public? They don't belong there. I think one of the things President Trump has learned, is you cross the American Intelligence Services at your term.
HOLMES: What - actually, Donald Trump tweeted about that. Let's just call it up here and he actually says, "The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal, on North Korea?" And he has a point the place is leaking like a soup, but that's not the real story surely. The real story is, all of these other issues - the leaks are bad, politically.
ZILBER: I'll tell you the reasons - one of the reasons these leaks had to happen was because Hope Hicks was asked if the Trump admin - if the Trump campaign talked to the Russians during the campaign? She said, they didn't. Sean Spicer was asked, he said they didn't. At a certain point when there's some stuff that's potentially going to really undermine the foreign policy of our country, and the administration is openly lying about it. Somebody's going to bring it to the public - it's whistleblowing, not leaking at that point.
WALLIN: You continue to say lying, and yet, day, after day, after day, we see one press conference, one representative saying one thing; one saying the other thing. Clearly, we have some operational issues in the White House in terms of - what is supposed to be said, who knows what? And maybe, just as simple as that. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.
ZILBER: Yes. That is terrifying, if the National Security Advisor can make an important foreign policy call to, maybe, the most important foreign power in the world? And you know -
WALLIN: It will be his job.
ZILBER: Those White House Spokes-people don't know.
WALLING: I mean, the President is not going to babysit him on every call. These are grown capable people.
[01:14:34] HOLMES: You know, the thing is, you're a GOP Pollster, but, you know, when you look at it - you've heard the court battles over immigration, you've got Kellyanne Conway in trouble over ethics issue. You've had this round-over Madison state being disgusted a public place in the restaurant at Mar-a-Lago, which is seems on its face absolutely extraordinaire. And now, this about the - over Michael Flynn resigning, and now these contacts between Trump. Have you ever - could you imagine three weeks in term. I've - I mean, I just reeled off top of my head staff, that's three weeks into it.
[01:15:07] WALLIN: You raised a good point but there is - as always - there's another side. Well, there's a lot going on. I mean, this is someone who has demonstrated that he's driven, he has an agenda, he's pursuing it. Well, whether you agree with it or not, he's going full bore at it and he's doing it faster than - really, I think, anyone on any ever administration has ever done it.
HOLMES: Well, I got to put this up too because it just struck me as somebody who's dealt with the military a lot over the years. A head of U.S. Special Operations Command had this to say about the White House at a conference today. He said, "Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I hope they sort it out soon because we're a nation at war." He's not the only one saying that - yes, that thing seemed to be a little bit tumultuous at the White House but this is a serving commander of Special Operations Command. For him to speak publicly like that, and quite possibly risk his job in doing so, seems to me to be extraordinary matter.
ZILBER: Well, this is a few weeks. We've got eight years left of this.
HOLMES: Yes, a plenty ahead -
ZILBER: Again, the assumption is - right. And frankly, I mean, we're already careening from potential Foreign Policy crisis to potential Foreign Policy crisis. I mean, it's high past time for Congress to open up early discussions of introducing articles of impeachment because frankly, I don't think that our national security is safe with a -- crumbling walls.
HOLMES: You're jumping. Do you think there should be some inquiries first?
WALLIN: Well, apparently, laws don't really matter in this particular because when laws matter --
ZILBER: Well, they don't matter to the President if they're breaking them left and right.
WALLIN: Why invent rules if they keep breaking them?
ZILBER: Well, from colluding with the foreign power, to the -
WALLIN: You're making an assumption of these colluding.
ZILBER: -- to Kellyanne Conway's ethics violations, I mean, there's any number -
WALLIN: When we see the evidence? Why object on board? I mean, how much more evidence do we need?
ZILBER: You're making a big - You need actual evidence
HOLMES: Is it safe to expect that it's going to be months of investigations here that you expect to see Michael Flynn up at a Congressional inquiry?
WALLIN: Yes, I think so. And I suspect that several of these things have to be taken seriously even something that may seem as frivolous as Kellyanne Conway's, you know, Ivanka Trump drama? I suspect that these things will be taken seriously if for no other reason, I think there is concern within the traditional GOP about the perspective of order. I may be wrong but I wouldn't be surprised if they want to have an appearance of approaching questions in a serious manner in resolving them.
HOLMES: Well all right, we have to leave it there, unfortunately. Justin Wallin, GOP Pollster and Democratic Strategist, Mac Zilber. Thanks so much for being with us gentlemen.
WALLIN: Thanks very much.
ZILBER: Thanks very much.
HOLMES: Now, a new mystery surrounding a North Korean regime. Kim Jong-un's half-brother has died suddenly and some believed he was murdered. We have more from Matt Rivers next.
DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: I'm Don Riddell with your CNN WORLD SPORT Headlines. For years, Paris Saint-Germaine have been trying to establish themselves as the European powerhouse. But in recent times, they've never got past the quarter finals on the Champion's League. Barcelona, on the other hand, are continental dragonoids with five European Cup wins. But on Tuesday, everything got turned on its head as PSG thrashed the cart lands in Paris. Angel Di Maria scored twice on his birthday. And would you believe it was also Edinson Cavani's birthday? And he too, was among the scorers as Paris romped to an emphatic four-nil win.
Meanwhile, a big night for the Portuguese champions, Benfica, who beat the German side, Borussia Dortmund. Benfica really fancy this one at top of the table in Portugal and Dortmund have just lost to the worst team in Germany. No goals in the first half but Kostas Mitroglou put the home side half early in the second half and that was good enough for the win. One-nil to final score. The second leg in Germany is in three weeks' time. The Oscars for athletes, the Laureus Sports Awards, were handed out in Monaco on Tuesday, given that 2016 was an Olympic year. Perhaps no surprise that it was the stars of Rio who dominated. After winning another three gold medals, Usain Bolt was named as the Sports Man of the Year for the fourth time and the American gymnast, Simone Biles, can add the Sports Woman of the Year to her four gold where she won in Brazil.
That is a quick look at your Sports Headlines, I'm Don Riddell.
[01:21:25] HOLMES: Welcome back everyone. Our live breaking news this hour. Multiple sources telling CNN that top aides to then candidate, Donald Trump, were in constant communication with Russian officials during the presidential campaign. And normally, this kind of contact is not considered particularly unusual. But investigators say this talks stood out for a few reasons because they happen so frequently and involved senior campaign officials.
Just yesterday, National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned due to his contact with Russian officials.
SOARES: Now, South Korea says the half-brother of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, has been murdered with poison. Kim Jong-nam was once considered to be next in line to lead the North. He was critical of his family, always living in exile. He suddenly fell ill at the airport in Kula Lumpur, Malaysia on Monday. Our Matt Rivers has joins us now from Seoul in South Korea with more. And Matt, do we know exactly how he was poisoned and by whom?
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know yet. This is a very complicated story and frankly, there's still a lot of details that we're trying to sort through. But here's one we know for sure, here this morning in South Korea, the National Security Council had an emergency briefing about this particular situation. It was after that meeting that there was a briefing held with reporters with the Chairman of the national assembly's Intelligence Community. It was a short briefing but what he said in that briefing was that the committee has learned and can confirm that Kim Jong-nam was poisoned at this airport and therefore was murdered because he died on the way to the hospital after being put in an ambulance there at the airport.
Now, they didn't provide any proof of that. Reporters asked how you know that, they wouldn't go into any details, they didn't provide a motive, they didn't say who might have done it and they didn't say how Kim Jong-nam was poisoned.
Now, a lawmaker also went on to say that there are two suspects that they have identified in this case. He said that both women are of Asian descent but he did not say how they know that. He didn't say who their identities are and he didn't say how he knew they were involved with this particular death. So, there's still a lot of details that are coming out but Malaysian police tell us it was on Monday morning that Kim Jong-nam went to the airport. He said he felt ill and went to a check-in counter and at that point told, according to a Police Chief, told a clerk that it felt like someone grabbed or held his face from behind. He was then put in the ambulance and died en-route to the hospital.
Now, we do know that Malaysian authorities are planning on conducting a Postmortem Analysis and we are awaiting the results of that autopsy and that's obviously going to be a very much sought after information to provide a little more clarity here. So, what we don't know is who might have done this and why? And the poisoning, how it actually happened. But there's of course, a lot of speculation given that this is Kim Jong-un's older half-brother. He's got connections to the regime in Pyongyang so there's a lot of speculation here. All of it, unsubstantiated and unverified that Kim Jong-un regime might be behind this. But CNN has no way to confirm that and there's still a long way to go in this investigation.
SOARES: And whilst we wait for answers on the investigation from the autopsy from Malaysia, Matt, do we know where he stood politically on the regime?
RIVERS: Well, it's interesting because for a long time, the observers said that Kim Jong-nam was the favorite son of Kim Jong-il, the former leader of North Korea who died in 2011. That he was the favorite son, he was the heir of parent. But apparently, he ran a foul of the regime in the early 2000's and was banished from North Korea and since then, kind of lived a life of a playboy. He's given a couple of interviews, he's a gambler according to the people in the know. And he hasn't been afraid to criticize Kim Jong-un as a being a leader - the current leader of North Korea as being not the best leader for the people of North Korea.
So, there's a lot of experts who say that he felt like he was a target at all of the elites in North Korea, feel like they're a target given that we've seen Kim Jong-un regime not be afraid to purge some of its top leaders.
[01:25:27] SOARES: Matt Rivers for us in Seoul, South Korea where it's 3:25 in the afternoon. Thanks very much, Matt.
Now, Trump aide in constant communication with suspected Russian operatives during the presidential campaign. Our breaking news coverage of the controversy, back into news next.
Plus, the Israeli Prime Minister is in the U.S. Up next, what can we expect from this meeting with President Trump? But what are new U.S. policies could mean to Israel? We'll bring you both those stories right here on CNN NEWSROOM.
HOLMES: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes in Los Angeles, where it is 10:30 pm.
SOARES: And I'm Isa Soares in London, where it's 6:30 on Wednesday morning. Now we are following breaking news out of Washington this hour for you as multiple officials confirmed President Donald Trump's campaign aides were -- and I'm quoting here -- "in constant communication," we found out, with Russian officials as he vied for the White House. Now investigators say contact by itself isn't unusual. But the
frequency of the talks and the high standard of -- the standing of the people involved, well, that's raised concerns. Mr. Trump's national security adviser, one of his earliest supporters, resigned after it became public he had misled the vice president over his talks with Russian officials.
Well, CNN's Don Lemon spoke earlier to a panel of U.S. generals about the turmoil we're seeing at the White House.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SURPEME ALLIED COMMANDER: You can be sure that inside the White House not much else is getting done as people are trying to get their facts together and figure out what's going on. It's been a mystery to me. I never understood why President Trump didn't release his tax returns, didn't divest himself of his businesses because all along there's been this suspicion that, for years, he's gone after Russian money.
And now it's all been deepened by the revelations of these contacts. We don't know what was in the contacts. We don't -- maybe somebody does but it hasn't been released yet. We don't really know the purpose of it.
But I think it's incumbent on the White House to clear this up as rapidly as possible. It may well lead to an investigation but it shouldn't be pried out like a tooth extraction. This is something the White House needs to really put together and come clean with.
President Trump needs to address the country on it in some way; if not President Trump, someone in his administration in an authoritative way, and get this cleared up and let's move on. There's important business to be done for America.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: They keep saying they want to move on. And that is the way to do it.
General Hertling, I want to bring you in now.
How is all this turmoil viewed inside the military?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it's increasingly troubling, Don. You're not only talking about what some are perceiving as a strategic advantage, more so than ever before, by the Russian in several fronts.
You're talking about -- they have tried to insert themselves into Afghanistan. They're certainly still going on in Syria. The Ukrainian front, as General Clark well knows, because he's there as much as I am, has come almost to a stalemate, not in Crimea as Sean Spicer said today, but in the Donbas, the Eastern region of Crimea.
And what has happened since President Trump was elected, is there has been reinforcing units going into that area to -- and, really, having a great deal of effect on the Ukrainian forces that are there. And that's not even counting some of the things that are going on in
Europe across the board, with threats toward Kaliningrad, against the Baltics and some interference in some European elections.
So all of these things are strategic advantages that Russians trying to take the advantage of, truthfully.
But then in addition to that, you have some of our commanders in the field, who I've talked to recently. You mentioned Tony Thomas a few minutes ago in the earlier show. Tony is trying to hold Special Operations Command together and he just wants some direction for some things that he's doing.
Ben Hodges and Mike Scaparrotti, who are two general officers in Europe, are continuing to train Ukrainian forces. So all of this stuff is happening while it's a turmoil in Washington.
LEMON: Let's talk about this, General Marks.
The -- what the red flag was here, they said both the volume of the communications and the proximity to Mr. Trump.
So what does that mean?
How much contact would there need to be to raise a red flag?
BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Don, I think the real issue here is what I would call a reasonable man standard. There has been a great deal of discussion about the Logan Act, which would not be invoked in this case, simply because if you were to interpret that in a very literal sense, every communications with every foreign power, whether you're in U.S. government or you're a priori, assuming a position in government, would be suspect.
The challenge that we have is that the nature of our relationship with Russia has never been more challenged. And because of their adventurism, as described by Mark, in Ukraine specifically, Crimea, elsewhere, you know, Russia clearly is advantaged when there is turmoil on their near abroad, which means we pay attention to what's happening on their borders.
It allows them some comfort and freedom of action within their own borders.
We need to be able to pay attention to this very, very closely. General Clark nailed it. This president needs to come forward and say, look, folks, this is where we are. This is my choice for my new national security adviser. And this is my relationship with that national security adviser.
You hear everybody discussing what --
MARKS: -- the model is for that relationship. It depends upon what the president wants to achieve and how he wants to employ and influence power internationally.
That's a very unique and a very personal relationship. And that NSA either needs to be a policy guy -- which would be a huge mistake; you have got Steve Bannon now assuming an increased role there, which I think is a mistake.
But that's a decision the president has made or it needs to be an integrator, which is really what you would for with an NSA, to take policy input from the Sect 8, the Sect F, and DHS, Homeland Security and integrate that and present policy options to the president.
That's where we need to move right now so we can get rid of this whitewater; far too much turmoil.
HOLMES: When we come back, undocumented immigrants looking for help in churches. Ahead, why communities across the U.S. are on edge. We'll be right back.
SOARES: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.
Now Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Washington right now --
SOARES: -- for a meeting with President Trump on Wednesday.
Mr. Netanyahu says he is looking forward to a stronger alliance between the U.S. and Israel. He and Mr. Trump are expected to discuss, among many other things, Syria, Iran as well as West Bank settlements.
But the big headline before that meeting is the Trump administration will not -- will not insist on a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Yossi Mekelberg, a professor and associate fellow with the Middle East and North Africa program here at Chatham House joins me now.
Yossi, thank you very much for joining us here on the show. Not insisting on a two-state solution. I mean, that pretty much breaks away with years, I believe, of U.S. -- decades of U.S. foreign policy.
YOSSI MEKELBERG, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE: Definitely from September 1993, when the Oslo Accords was signed actually in the White House, which the basis of it is two-state solution.
Since then in Israel, living side by side, all negotiations since 1993, including the latest effort by John Kerry that failed, as we know, was based on a two-state solution. Now maybe the United States is reaching now the conclusion, the effects on the ground makes a two- state solution less and less viable.
SOARES: Perhaps, Yossi, but could this be a tactical move, could this be a temporary decision, just to help Netanyahu at home?
MEKELBERG: The question, if not two-state solution, what's there?
If Trump says that he is the big dealmaker and he wants to make a deal, to strike a deal between the two, so what's the solution?
Because also for Israel, is it a one-state solution they're after?
I don't think the Israelis are after a one-state solution. Maybe a confederation but confederation as such is two-state solution with a different arrangement.
Is the continuation of the occupation?
Is this (INAUDIBLE)?
It's maybe said, oh, I'm not insisting, there is clean slate.
But what do you want instead?
How you're going to treat it?
Are you going to start negotiation from scratch, forget the last 20- something years?
SOARES: I think you're pointing at something that we've all noticed, which is a lack of clarity when it comes to Israel in terms of policies from the U.S. administration.
So Netanyahu, going into this meeting, what do you think he'll try to get?
What does he want to get out of this?
MEKELBERG: I think he's in sort of a scouting mission. He's trying to establish some chemistry. He wanted for many years now a Republican president but he got probably the wrong Republican president, the one who is not naturally an Israel supporter, someone that is erratic.
He's unpredictable. He is a complex character and Netanyahu said this himself.
So the first thing I see of Netanyahu's mission is to be defensive. In other words, don't upset the person; don't start on the wrong foot. Start to establish good relations. I think he's probably quite content where a two-state solution is not a must because that's what some of his most radical right-wingers in parliament actually send him, tell him, tell Donald Trump that two-state solution is a bad idea. We shouldn't talk about a Palestinian state. But at the same time Netanyahu knows that, if it's not that, what's there?
Top of his agenda, well, he knows that his commonality with Trump is Iran. And Netanyahu tactics usually, when he wants to divert from other issues, let's bring the -- you know, his trump card is Iran. It's under police investigation, the Palestinians, should the expansion of the settlement -- Chancellor Merkel just counseled --
MEKELBERG: So if he can found around Iran, bilateral, talking about Syria, the danger of the Hezbollah, talking about military, I think he will be content.
SOARES: Yes. Of course, with Iran, we know that the hawk on Iran, Michael Flynn, he has actually resigned. So we don't know.
But I want to bring, before we wrap up, I want to bring up U.S. newspaper that I saw, a "Ha'aretz" article, opinion piece actually in "Ha'aretz," because comparing the situation of states to what's happening in Israel.
How will America look after years of Trump and Bannon?
And it says, "See Israel," because we know that Netanyahu is facing plenty of pressure at home investigations, isn't he?
MEKELBERG: Absolutely. And I think for the (INAUDIBLE) find himself in power but not in control. And Netanyahu, actually reaching 4,000 days of being a prime minister, altogether compared to not even 28 days of power.
His very experience actually can give a lesson to Trump as how you survive these police investigations with scandals, with problems at home, very unpredictable aides that wants you to do all sorts of things and not being an ideologist.
And both of them, in this sense, are about being in power but not having a coherent idea how to move forward. So they will find most of them it's the expense of being safe persons (ph) --
SOARES: They'll have something in common at least. Thank you very much, Yossi.
MEKELBERG: My pleasure.
SOARES: Thank you.
HOLMES: Thanks, Isa. Well, migrants and refugees across the U.S. are desperately looking for sanctuary after raids led to hundreds of arrests. We'll have the details coming up.
SOARES: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.
Let me update you on the breaking news we've been following here on CNN for the last few hours. High level advisers to Donald Trump were in constant contact with Russian officials during Mr. Trump's presidential campaign.
Now multiple law enforcement and intelligence officials say they were concerned about the frequency of the communications as well as the proximity of those involved to Mr. Trump.
HOLMES: Now the recent raids by U.S. immigration authorities has immigrant communities across the country on high alert, nearly 700 people arrested in operations in five cities. Rosa Flores reports people are now looking for safe havens.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This church congregation in Chicago is made up of nearly all undocumented immigrants and refugees. The renewed panic is fueled by the story of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, an Arizona woman --
FLORES: -- with two U.S. citizen children and no violent criminal background, who was deported after a routine check-in with ICE. Multiple people here have to do exactly that in the coming days, including this mother. She only wanted to be identified as Jessica.
"JESSICA", IMMIGRANT: (Speaking foreign language).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says that since Guadalupe was deported in Arizona, she can't sleep, she can't have peace because she's afraid that she'll be next.
FLORES (voice-over): Like Guadalupe, Jessica's immediate family is in the U.S. legally. Her one run-in with the law: using a fake visa in the '90s. Because of that crime, she's been required to check in with ICE for more than a decade now. Her appointment in three weeks is especially stressful. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says that her message to President Trump is
that she's not a criminal, she's not a terrorist and that she doesn't want her family to be separated.
FLORES (voice-over): Pastor Emma Lozano says her church is a sanctuary for people like Jessica. This weekend alone, she says she received multiple calls from her congregation, asking her to save a space for them in the church just in case Immigration knocks on their front door.
EMMA LAZANO, PASTOR: I feel like they're my children. And they're coming after my children. And it's been extremely difficult and I want to stand up for them.
FLORES (voice-over): The fear is spreading across the country. More than 6,000 people have signed up to provide sanctuary around the country, including 800 churches. That number doubled from 400 since Donald Trump became president, according to leaders of the Sanctuary Church Movement.
But Pastor Lozano thinks that's not enough.
LAZANO: We need a lot of people to stand up and I'm going to do whatever I can for them. I'm only one pastor.
FLORES (voice-over): She understands why some people are hesitant to provide sanctuary to the undocumented. Her church has been tagged with hate speech at least five times in 10 months. As for Jessica, she doesn't plan to take refuge inside the church.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said that she would rather follow the law, check in with ICE.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Gracias.
FLORES (voice-over): Even if that means getting deported.
FLORES: The fear in the undocumented community appears to be impacting business in Little Village or Little Mexico here in Chicago. Now that is according to the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce there, who says that sales are down 10 to 20 percent since Donald Trump won the presidency -- Rosa Flores, CNN, Chicago.
HOLMES: And joining me here in Los Angeles, Tessie Borden, spokeswoman for Red Mexicana, an immigrants' rights organization.
Following on from Rosa's story, Tessie, thanks for being here by the way. I was reading an article and a pastor was quoted.
And he said this, quote, "There is a dreadful sense of fear. It is more than palpable. It is radiating. People are terrified."
Is that a fair summary of how people are feeling? TESSIE BORDEN, RED MEXICANA: I think so. I mean, I think that throughout, at least our community, what we're seeing is people are calling the organizations that they feel like they can trust. And they are asking for advice.
And we are going forward and telling them what kinds of things that they can do, what their rights are. So we're telling them to -- they have the right to remain silent. We're telling them specifically that if they see ICE agents or police coming to the door, not to open the door.
If they have a warrant or a search warrant, that they should -- the agents should be asked to slip it through the bottom of the door, so that they can see it. They should ask for specific people. And you know, those are the main things that we're telling people.
HOLMES: It's interesting. President Barack Obama was, at one point, I think he was call the deporter in chief because he was sending so many people back to their home countries.
What is different from that compared to now?
What's happening now?
BORDEN: Well, you know, with President Obama, we protested because we felt like his policies sort of deporting people, even under programs like Secure Communities, were still too rough.
But the situation with the Obama administration was that they were making priorities. So they were saying, we're going to put certain people in lower categories because we don't believe that they're a threat to national security. Under the Trump administration, basically everyone --
BORDEN: -- has become a priority.
HOLMES: They're sweeping up.
BORDEN: Which means that there's no priorities. Everyone is under sort of the same --
HOLMES: So they're sweeping up. Yes, President Trump went on Twitter last Sunday, I think it was, and he said the crackdown on illegal criminals is merely keeping my campaign promise, gang members, drug dealers, others are being removed.
So the government says it's going after the bad guys.
You're saying they're just going after everyone?
BORDEN: Well, in fact, there -- we know for a fact that they are not just going after people who have hard criminal histories because we had Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who was arrested and deported. We also heard earlier today about a young DREAMer, who had no criminal
record. So, on the ground, in the community, that is not what we're seeing. We're seeing that people are being swept up in a kind of raid.
HOLMES: It's worrying for those people. Tessie Borden with Red Mexicana, thanks so much for coming in.
BORDEN: Thank you.
HOLMES: And you've been watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes in Los Angeles.
SOARES: And I'm Isa Soares in London. We'll both be back with more new after a very short break. Do stay right here with CNN. We are, of course, the world's news leader.