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Lost Trust; Growing Doubts in Trump's Camp. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 27, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] Announcer: This is CNN breaking news.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Breaking news. A stunning turn of events involving the House investigation into ties between the Trump campaign team and -- Trump campaign team and Russia. Is it compromised? And can it move forward?
This is CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes defending his visit to the White House grounds to review classified information that he claims suggested Trump's team communications may have been picked up during surveillance of foreign nationals.
Did the White House know that Nunes was on the property? And who gave him the sensitive material to review in the first place? Tonight the top democrat on the committee says he has yet to see those documents and calls on Nunes to recuse himself from the Russia probe.
Plus, new questions about a newly disclosed meeting between Trump's top adviser, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and the head of a Russian bank that is subject to U.S. sanctions.
We'll discuss all of that. But I want to begin with CNN's global affairs analyst David Rohde, national security investigative editor for -- investigative editor for Reuters. Also, contributor Emily Jane Fox, a staff writer at Vanity Fair. Senior political analyst, Mark Preston, political analyst, David Drucker, senior congressional correspondent for the Washington Examiner. And justice correspondent, Evan Perez.
Good evening to all of you. Evan, I'm going to start with you to give us the news here. The chairman Devin Nunes says that he met with a source on the White House grounds a day before his controversial announcement and now the ranking member Adam Schiff is saying that he no longer has any credibility to head this investigation.
So bring us up to speed because you have some new reporting I understand.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Don. One of the strangest parts of today was the fact that Devin Nunes' staff essentially ousted that he went to the White House. He went to the White House complex. To meet with whoever it was that was providing this information.
Now the White House says that it doesn't have any information to provide as to who was the source. They keep referring questions back to Devin Nunes. We're told, though, you know, there's a lot of speculation that, you know, where this information could have come from, what exactly Devin Nunes is talking about because, you know, certainly in the intelligence community, the law enforcement community they don't have a clue as to what he's talking about.
We've talked to people who have some guesses, some educated guesses including one republican lawmaker who told Gloria Borger that one of the things that Devin Nunes is talking about is simply gossip that was picked up by U.S. intelligence that were monitoring foreign diplomats, foreign leaders who were essentially talking and relaying information about their interactions with the Trump transition team.
This would have happened back in November, December and January after the U.S. election. We talked to intelligence and law enforcement officials who say that this is the kind of routine monitoring that U.S. intelligence does and if these people, these foreign leaders, diplomats were relaying information that they got from their interactions with the Trump transition this would have been picked up by the NSA, by U.S. intelligence and summarized in these intelligence reports that are then kicked up to top officials inside the Obama administration.
So they say that there's nothing unusual here. Devin Nunes says that there is something wrong perhaps in the way the identification of Americans was done in these reports. Of course we still don't know yet. He says he doesn't have the reports in his hands to be able to share with his own committee.
LEMON: Interesting. Also there's something new that I want to discuss with you tonight. You have some new details about this meeting that took place between Jared Kushner and a Russian bank, this VEB Bank. What do you know about the various explanations given for this meeting?
PEREZ: Well, you might recall a few weeks ago the White House Sean Spicer said, described that there was a meeting between Jared Kushner and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador here in Washington. What we went back to them over the last couple of weeks, Don, and asked them about any additional meetings including with Kislyak.
They basically said that there was not much more to tell about it except today that the New York Times revealed that there was another meeting that Kushner had with the head of a Russian state bank who -- and apparently the bank also confirmed that this meeting took place.
They said it was nothing unusual about it. They said they meet with foreign leaders, foreign officials all the time. Kushner -- the White House spoke on behalf of Kushner, and they say that because he was in charge of meeting with foreign officials on behalf of the Trump transition that there was nothing untoward here, this is something that was routine as part of Kushner's duties inside the Trump White House. LEMON: All right, Evan, I want you to stand by. I want to bring in
Mark Preston now because Mark, the president is tweeting tonight, I'm not sure if this is an effort to deflect or what but let's talk about what he's tweeting about.
He said "Why isn't the house intelligence committee looking into Bill and Hillary Clinton deal that allowed big uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech, money to Bill that Hillary Russian reset, praise of Russia by Hillary or Podesta Russian company? Trump Russia story is a hoax." And then MAGA, Make America Great Again.
[22:05:12] Is he trying to take the focus off of Nunes? And by the way, if you look at any fact check on the uranium deal, he's tweeting something that's not absolutely not true again.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: You know, he's not only tweeting about this but we also have seen, Don, just in the past few minutes he has gone after and his criticized the Freedom Caucus, his own republicans as well. Now he's fighting a war on a couple fronts right now.
He's fighting democrats. He's fighting republicans. But you know, I said this earlier this evening and I think it's worth mentioning again. Let us stop and just think about where we are at this moment in time.
You have a president who's in office for about 60 days right now and you have four of his associates at different varying levels of closeness to him who are going to testify on Capitol Hill about potentially, and I emphasize potentially, treasonous acts. That's pretty insane. I mean, it's a moment in time right now that I don't think we have seen certainly in our past history.
LEMON: You have one of them who had to resign as national security adviser.
LEMON: And then you had another one who had to recuse himself.
PRESTON: Right. Well, well, that was...
LEMON: And not just for anything that is related to this.
PRESTON: Right. Well, that would be Jeff Sessions. So, OK. So five now is tied up. We won't see the attorney general up there. But we have Carter Page, who said he was a foreign security adviser. We have Paul Manafort who was his campaign manager. We have Jared Kushner who's his son-in-law. And we have -- he's going to get so mad at me but I'm glad I forgot his name.
LEMON: Carter Page?
PRESTON: No. DAVID DRUCKER, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Paul Manafort.
PRESTON: No. The gentle -- oh, my God. This is so great.
LEMON: It's OK.
DRUCKER: Roger Stone.
PRESTON: Roger Stone. They'll all going to testify.
LEMON: That was sarcasm.
PRESTON: Yes. But still, though, I mean, look, this is an amazing time right now in history, that we're seeing this 60 days into a presidency.
LEMON: Interesting. David, I have to ask you regarding this meeting with Kushner and the Russian bank. Reuters has extensive reporting on this. What can you tell us about it?
DRUCKER: Well, it's -- the problem here probably is not disclosing it. It might be seen as a routine meeting. You know, but it raises suspicions. Why didn't they talk about this earlier? And this is a bank specifically sanctioned by the Obama administration. These are the kinds of sanctions that Russia wants removed.
And this all plays into this, you know, theory of coordination or collusion. And to be fair to the Trump administration, you're right. They will all testify.
DRUCKER: There is no sort of definitive proof yet that there was coordination or collusion. But it's an extraordinary moment.
DRUCKER: So I think this will add fuel to the fire. Again, the headline is Russia-Trump, Russia-Trump, Russia-Trump.
LEMON: Can we just -- and I want to hone in on the Kushner thing because there's in discrepancy, as Evan reported, as to what the Russian bank says the meeting was about and what the Trump administration is saying, or at least what Spicer is saying this meeting was about.
And by the way, today when the reporter asked that question, he got very defensive. Like he went from zero to 100 very quickly, Spicer did.
EMILY JANE FOX, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I'll tell you, a White House official, when the first meeting was disclosed, I believe that was last month, the White House official told me that Spicer did not know about the meetings at the time, and this speaks to a broader problem within the administration. And the explanation for why Spicer didn't know was that Jared Kushner
did not think that this was anything out of the ordinary. The official said to me that he was meeting with 100 people throughout the time of the transition. The Russian ambassador was one of them. I think the banking official was another.
And to him it didn't stick out in his mind. The problem is that he is a senior adviser to the President of the United States. That that wouldn't stick out, especially when there is this kind of cloud hanging over his head, that's an issue for someone who's one of the most influential voices in the president's ear.