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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS

White House in Crisis: Suicide Bomber at Concert in Manchester; President Trump Personally Asked Two of Top Intelligence Officials to Publicly Deny Collusion Allegatinos. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 22, 2017 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And again, speaking to that mom tonight, Charlotte, I was at a loss for words as to what to say to her. And we hope that she is reunited with her daughter and we hope many more people are reunited with their families. Sadly it won't happen for everyone and that is the tragedy in all of this.

I'm Don Lemon. I thank you so much for watching this hour. I want to turn you over to our live coverage now and my colleagues Jim Sciutto and Pamela Brown.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: This is a CNN SPECIAL REPORT and we are following two major breaking stories this hour. An apparent suicide bombing at a pop concert. The British prime minister is calling it an appalling terrorist attack. At least 19 people killed at a performance by Ariana Grande.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: And the crisis at the White House continues to escalate tonight. CNN has now confirmed that President Trump called two of the nation's top intelligence officials asking them to publicly deny any evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia. I'm Pamela Brown.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

First to the horrific developments in the United Kingdom where 19 people are dead, dozens more injured. Witnesses say a massive explosion rocked the Manchester arena shortly after American pop superstar, Ariana Grande, had finished a performance. Law enforcement official tells CNN that a male at the scene has been identified now as a probable suicide bomber.

Our Phil Black is in London. He is tracking the latest details.

And Phil, what are British investigators saying at this hour?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, it was just it was just stops the Ariana Grande had finished her performance in front of some 20,000 people. Much of the crowd began leaving the arena when there was a loud explosion. That could be heard through the packed crowd. And the video that's being posted online catches some of the terror, the panic, the extraordinary emotion that was felt by that crowd.

We know that according to police 19 people were killed. And according to local ambulance services, 59 people have been transported to a number of hospitals with a wide variety of injuries.

The crowd, we know was made up of teenagers, children. Some with their parents. And was a short time ago that Ariana Grande responded for the very first time to the event that took place outside her concert tonight.

On Twitter, she said this. Broken from the bottom of my heart. I am so sorry. I don't have words.

Police in Manchester have not commented formally on what they believe was actually responsible for the blast but they say they are treating this as a terror investigation, Jim.

Phil Black in London there.

And we talk about soft targets. This, the ultimate of soft targets. Young people and their parents leaving a concert in the public space.

BROWN: That's right. Any parent who have a child, they can do to concert, they can see themselves in that same position walking out and something horrific like this happening.

I want to talk to Zayn Nabbi. She is in Manchester.

And Zayn - and he, my bad. Zayn, if you want to set the scene for us because you have actually been talking to some of the eyewitnesses.

ZAYN NABBI, CNN PRODUCER: Yes. We've been around Manchester and particularly around the arena behind us. You see the car park, the police cordon prevents us from getting closer. Obviously, at the time of the attack that took place just before 10:35 p.m. local time in England, in Manchester here.

They were 20,000 people screaming out of the arena. They were attending the Ariana Grande concert. At the time there were a lot of people, obviously, out on the streets. Subsequently since then, people have made their way homes. You have had hotels like the Trump plaza and the Holiday Inn opening up their hotels and inviting people in. And you have also had local people assisting in any way they can.

I managed to speak to a number of people who had actually have been in the arena. One gentleman had been in the front row and he heard the explosion just as the concert ended. He managed to make his way on the stage and was actually assisted by Ariana Grande's bodyguard. He had a panic attack. He suffered an asthma attack and was rushed out.

I spoke to another young lady who was making her way out with her younger sister at the time of the explosion. And at that time, she was near where it took place and there were actually fatalities and injuries that have taken place around her.

The latest from the Manchester police is there have been 59 casualties, of them 19 people are dead, as we know.

BROWN: All right. Zayn, thank you very much bringing us the latest there from Manchester. Now let's turn to our team of experts for more analysis.

Peter Bergen, I want to bring you in. Obviously, the investigators are still trying to figure out what was behind this, who the bomber is. I'm told by western official they have identified a male as the bomber but they are still trying to learn more about him. What is most striking to you?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, the thing I will be looking forward is what was the bomb made out of? Because that leads you do a lot of conclusions. Now, this is the deadliest terror attack in United Kingdom since July 7th, 2005. It is the probably the first terrorist attack since then.

And it is almost certainly a hydrogen peroxide bomb. Why do I say that? Because getting dynamite or ammonium nitrate to make those kinds of bombs, very, very hard to do now. And the signature of Al- Qaeda and ISIS are these kinds of bombs. So if it is hydrogen peroxide bomb, where was it made? Because these are highly unstable. You need a commercial refrigerator often to kind store the chemicals possess they are unstable. They are very toxic if you're kind of making these kinds of bombs, you are often wearing a gas mask. There's a whole kind of apparatus here that I would be looking for. We don't know if it's a hydrogen peroxide bomb but it almost certain is I think based on Al-Qaeda and ISIS. So more people are influenced by them that we have seen the past.

[23:05:44] BROWN: Just a quick follow up, really quickly. Would it be a lone wolf scenario? Or how likely would that be for something like that where suicide bomber to make that?

BERGEN: I'm skeptical because of the lethality of the bomb. It is not impossible - I mean, we have had people in this country build hydrogen peroxide bombs and they kill themselves. If we will go together round this table and try to build one, it's difficult. You need training. I thought you have been in bomb making courses where people are building these things. It takes many hours. The proportions are very, very careful. So this is not something you can just like read on the internet and make, usually, by yourself.

SCIUTTO: Phil Mudd, I have spoken to British counterterror officials repeatedly over the last several months and they talk about a constant level of threat. And they talk about a number of plots toward it in recent months. They are already on the highest level you can imagine there. You are going to attack like this, a soft target which at the end of the day is difficult to prevent.

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I would say impossible. Think of a couple things. If you think about the United States and what we have heard, for example, from the FBI director, investigations in all 50 states, thousands of cases, I would roughly estimate, I have worked with European security services. They are sitting on at least 10 times the threat per capita.

When you are dealing with three source allocation, you have questions about how many people I can follow and the toughest question, intent. I'm looking at a subject saying I have got to choose between 100 people, which ones I have to cover. Within two weeks that individual need to decide not to cover may say I'm transitioning from I'm interested in jihad to I'm going to kill somebody. And you have got to be good enough to determine which of those people who are triggering you are going to follow.

SCIUTTO: But the rule of thumb, remember for the U.K., these are rough numbers, 200 cells, 2,000 suspected jihadists, 10,000 suspected supporters of jihadists. You don't have the manpower in a country like that. We saw that in France, too, when they have so many thousands, they can't follow all of them, even if they have a suspicion.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Not only that - I mean, you are looking at a situation like this, and Phil, I think you would know this in your own experience. I mean, to do a bombing, it probably looks like you have some kind of support system. It's not a single actor is more likely to do something like using a car to mow down people, as you saw outside the houses of parliament a couple of weeks ago. So at this point, you know, talking to law enforcement officials, their initial suspicion is that we are going to see the high likelihood here that this person had a support system, probably had some kind of training, as Peter Bergen was mentioning. And so there's a lot more here to get to the bottom of.

BROWN: And Tom, how concerning is this for U.S. law enforcement?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it very - I mean, all law enforcement in the world is understaffed when it comes to trying to track all the people that they have high suspicion although that may do something. So they have to narrow that down. They can't follow everybody. And you know, rely as much as possible on intelligence, on individuals cooperating in the community to tell them of suspicious persons and electronic capability. And that, you know, of course, then we have the other argument in a free society about civil liberties. Do we want, you know, Meta data being stored? Do we want NSA wiretapping international calls? All of that type of thing kicks back in. So it's very concerning.

SCIUTTO: A question, and we don't know yet because it's early. A question that's going to be addressed, and I'm sure they are already working is, was this inspired or directed? Was this someone who reading online, became self-radicalized, maybe found some of the, you know, the recipes in effect for the bombing online? Or if they had some sort of contact at home?

I mean, the truth is both of those is unsettling and alarming in its own way, right, because, you know, the self-radicalized are harder to track and the directed ones means that there's a line back to the war zones in Syria or the organizations in Syria.

FUENTES: Well, they have directed all of their followers all over the world to do. So they don't have to micromanage, you know, each individual case or have this person under, you know, calling him and saying are you ready, do it today. They are on their own. They dispatch them like zombies. SCIUTTO: I mean, the question is was there involvement that led them

to a particular target or this country?

BROWN: Right. And was there anything, Peter Bergen, anything recently coming from ISIS, which we know has been calling on followers in Europe the big concern to launch terrorist attacks? Anything recently that could have prompted this?

BERGEN: Times have been rubbing (ph) Osama bin Laden's son called for these kinds of attacks relatively recently. Then ISIS is constantly call of them. But you know, one thing is, you know, one school shooters look at other school shootings. And so here we have an attack at a concert hall, which is similar to that of Bataclan in Paris. Also, I think it was an American star that was performing, just it was an American band in Paris. So there's certainly sort of a copycat element here.

You know, Jim raised a question is five directed, enabled, or trained, that is sort of the spectrum. We have had 850 Brits go to get training in Syria. Two hundred of them are supposed to come back. We don't know - you know, we obviously don't know at this time but Brits have been pretty lucky I think so far. They have arrested all the people.

[23:11:41] PEREZ: (INAUDIBLE) certainly you have both heard from British officials and my five sense that, you know, they have hundreds of these guys that have come back. And as ISIS gets pressured in Iraq and Syria, more of them are coming back and they are very particularly worried about them going to in places and concentrating in places like Manchester and midlands and London because that's where there's a support network.

BROWN: And it just remind you that in the view of these terrorists no one is off limits. Clearly, the target here was women and children.

SCIUTTO: Phil, what is happening now? It is our reporting, it's Pam and others reporting that they have an idea on who they believe to be the suicide bomber. They are now I imagine looking at his connections who might have supported him raiding houses. Walk us through what the law enforcement process is now.

MUDD: You have law enforcement intelligence. Three tiers here. The first tier is are there co-conspirators? I'm not worried about what happened three hours ago. That's grieving. That's not investigating. The question is are there co-conspirators who are involved in the attack tomorrow? That is looking at what apartments did he rent? Where did the money go to? Where he travelled? The most critical element communications. I want a cell phone. I want a laptop because I can tell instantly who he talk to.

Second tier would be who provided money? Who radicalized in essence support network? Then finally, you are looking weeks, months down the road. Is there a tether that goes back someplace else? Might be Western Europe, might be Syria. Can we get enough information that might lead to a raid in six months, nine months against the safe houses in Syria among the people who might have been involved in this? PEREZ: And know they follow on attack, right? You have got to be

worried in a couple hours people are going to go to work in London, into subways there, whether or not there could be other people who might be waiting in the wings to do something just like this at other soft targets.

SCIUTTO: And when you look at other attacks that we have all covered the Paris attacks for instance, cellphones were key sources of intelligence find other contacts, look for, I imagine, and Tom, you have enormous experience in this category, look for how big the web grows if indeed there is a web because there's also a possibility of a loan actor.

FUENTES: You know, Jim, one of the biggest issues we saw in the other European attacks, Paris and Brussels were that in those neighborhoods, the police have almost no contact with people. They were very isolated neighborhood. So they had a difficult time getting cooperation and you could argue one way or another whose fault that may be. But they really had isolated communities that had been there for a couple of generations and not really assimilated into French or Belgium society.

So the question now is, is Manchester in a similar situation? Do we have, you know, an isolated neighborhood where people don't feel assimilated, they feel like they are British or assimilated. They still feel like foreigners in, you know, the United Kingdom. So we haven't heard that part of this yet of what the police relationships are in those neighborhoods.

SCIUTTO: Possible that you also have the profile of the folks who were the, you know, the average local teen, right. You have that UK, you have that here who were assimilated and then took this --.

But one thing that strike me is, you know, the ISIS attacks in Europe have already been a (INAUDIBLE) phenomenon, right. It is Belgium (ph) and Paris. All these people went through the Belgium prison system, the French prison systems. We haven't really seen in Britain. I think you have Britain is partly protected by the channel, partly protected by a very good intelligence service and maybe a little bit of luck. But you know, unfortunately, this is kind of a new development that is, you know, pretty worrisome. For a while we have seen a lot of Brits go to Iraq and Syria for training. But there must be -- the numbers for French and Belgium is much, much larger.

PEREZ: And the British, I do seem to have a better handle I think what Tom is talking about is definitely a problem in Belgium and in the UK. We keep hearing from them that they have certainly done a better job of trying to at least infiltrate and try to make sure they can keep an eye on those people that are coming back. But as you said, you know, you never know where this one that is hiding.

BROWN: It's a resource problem.

SCIUTTO: Well, I tell you. When I asked people, their top threats, Intel. Inter officials that the office tell is terrorism. In Russia, tonight is the night that where we have developments sadly in both continent.

BROWN: We certainly do. We have some breaking news in the Trump- Russia investigation.

CNN can confirm that President Trump personally asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials to publicly deny any evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Russian government. And we are told the request was made back in March. And that the director of national intelligence and the director of the national security agency both refused to comply.

Also breaking, I'm told that special counsel Robert Mueller has been briefed on the content of secret memos written by fired FBI director James Comey. And according to my sources familiar with the matter, that includes the memo in which Comey documented his claim, but the President asked him to end his investigation of fired national security advisor, Michael Flynn.

Tonight, a key House Democrat telling CNN that ne document show Flynn lied to investigators about who paid for his trips to Russia, including a 2015 speaking engagement in Moscow that he falsely claimed was funded by U.S. companies. This as Flynn has told the senate intelligence committee that he is defying a subpoena and invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid testifying. We are told the panel is open on the possibility of holding Flynn in contempt of court.

So Jim, this is certainly stunning information. Now we learn the President made calls to his two top intelligence officials to try to knock down what James Comey said publicly.

[23:15:59] SCIUTTO: Right. So we learned already that he made a request to the FBI director. Knocked this story down and the FBI director said no and was so uncomfortable at the request that he wrote it down and documented in memo. So we confirm tonight as first reported by the "Washington Post" that after Comey made that famous testimony before the House intelligence committee, March 20th, where he confirmed in a public setting that FBI was investigating whether members of the Trump team had colluded with Russia or communicated and colluded with Russia during the campaign, that he made calls to the director of national intelligence Dan Coats and to the director of the national security agency, NSA admiral Mike Rogers and asked them to publicly state that there was no evidence of collusion. Both admiral Rogers and Dan Coats refused that. And they were uncomfortable with it, my sources tell me, uncomfortable with the request. Felt that this was undue pressure that the President was putting on them with an investigation underway.

BROWN: And with this reporting that you have, it show as pattern because as you will recall last February, we reported that Reince Priebus called the FBI after the FBI to publicly knocked down reporting that we had in the "New York Times" about communications between Russia and Trump.

And Gloria, what really stuck out to me in particular reading this article of the "Washington Post" was that White House officials reached out to the FBI, people in the FBI trying to get them to end the investigation into Michael Flynn.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It means that this is spreading. I mean, obviously, you have a boss, kind of it. The boss is really unhappy. He is obsess with this. He is reaching out to everybody he can because he still thinks he is running the Trump organization rather than being President of the United States. He is telling his people can't you please talk to some people over there and put a stop to this. And then, you know, the "Washington Post" reporting says that these White House officials did that.

Now, we know about Reince Priebus' outreach, which he has explained. He did that, I believe last February, but this is a plural. This says senior White House official sounded out top intelligence officials, you know, about intervening with Comey. So suddenly this is spreading.

PEREZ: I think part of the problem is the President I think has had a lot of frustration about the fact that he thinks there's information that shows there is no collusion and he wants - you know, look, in his last press conference he sort of mentioned that he can only speak for himself. It is the first time he has used that language, by the way. He is now sort of suggesting that perhaps other people have problems but not he himself.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREZ: He is - a little bit of throwing under the bus. But I think one of his great frustrations has been that, you know, he knows that Comey has briefed members of Congress. And among the things that Comey did not say to them was that Donald Trump was personally under investigation. As a matter of fact, he has suggested that he is not. And why can't Comey come out and say that? That's what the President's frustration has been. And he has been hanging on, James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence who did say some of the similar sentiments in an interview on NBC.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And in your calls or in James Comey's testimony before multiple committees, he would not rule out the possibility of the President himself was under investigation, clearly pressuring the President.

Tomorrow also will be a key moment, both Dan Coats and Mike Rogers are appearing in separate hearings on separate issues on Capitol Hill. You will have a chance, Coats will go before the Senate armed services committee. John McCain, the chairman of that committee. Lindsey Graham also sits on that committee. So you may hear some concerns from Republicans on this issue of whether the President unduly try to pressure his intelligence chiefs to bat down these stories. And you are going to hear some concerns of the House --.

SCIUTTO: The commonality in all of this is that a pattern of interference. At a minimum, right? You can debate the definition of obstruction of justice and that's a fair debate because that's a legal question. But you have a pattern, at least of a President one going to the FBI director, we know, going to the heads of intelligence agencies during an active investigation. [23:20:08] BORGER: Didn't anyone say you can't do that?

BROWN: Well, that's what I was going to say. I mean --.

(CROSSTALK)

SCIUTTO: They did refuse the request.

BORGER: Shouldn't he know he can't do that?

BROWN: Either he knows and is OK with crossing the boundaries or he just doesn't understand the rules. I mean, that there are boundaries between the White House and the FBI for a reason.

PEREZ: Talking to White House officials, you can hear their frustration because I think there's been an effort to try to threat President know that here is what you can do. Here is what you cannot do.

But we know that repeatedly we have heard from Roger Stone that he is still in touch with the President. We have heard from other people who are under investigation by the FBI in this investigation who are still talking to the President. This is something that you should be doing simply because of the appearance. I mean, we don't know they are talking about the weather or football. It does not look good. And they keep telling him not do it.

RAJU: And remember, how he fired (INAUDIBLE), one of the U.S. attorneys from New York. He personally tried to call Barack (ph) before his firing and Ferrera thought that was inappropriate.

PEREZ: And did not take the call.

RAJU: Did not take the call. But the President seems not to have gotten that message when he talks to the other investigators.

SCIUTTO: So in the midst of this, we now have a special counsel, of course, Robert Mueller. And your reporting today, Pam, was that he has begun in this investigation to look at the Comey memos, right? So they are looking at the fact that the evidence that President interfered with Comey's investigation.

BROWN: That's right. So I'm told by a person familiar that part of this probe will likely focus on obstruction of justice. And he has already less than a week into his official role as special counsel, he has already been briefed on former director Comey's memos. And one memo in which he wrote that the President asked him to end the Michael Flynn probe. So that is something he is interested in. And now, the former director, Comey will be a witness in this investigation.

Now, of course, it raises the question on what about him testifying? He has given the indication to Congressman Chaffetz today that he wants to talk to Mueller before he goes on the hill and testifies because now he is a key witness.

SCIUTTO: So even if he does continue with his plans, to testify before the senate intelligence committee, it raises the question, Manu, does it not that Mueller may tell him there are things you can and cannot talk about. I mean, is there concern at the committee that he might not be able to appear at all? Is that --?

RAJU: I'm not (INAUDIBLE). There's concerns about what he may say. I take to James Lankford (ph) today, one of the members of the Senate intelligence community said that's a concern. What can James Comey say publicly? Mark Warner, the top Democrat in the committee where I also had a chance to talk today. He said he, that Mueller, also known to the Mueller and Comey were having a discussion in terms of what Comey could say publicly. So we will see.

BROWN: And I'm sure if Mueller had it his way, he wouldn't testify at all.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: He wants to tell his story. This is not a shy person. This is somebody who kept these memos and has a story --.

SCIUTTO: Insisted on a public testimony as well.

BORGER: Exactly. He has a story he wants to tell. So while he can't talk about the investigation or he can't talk about what he was doing, but he can talk about what was in those memos, it would seem to me.

PEREZ: Well, the other thing to keep an eye, though, on that account is whether the White House tries to assert any kind of executive privilege. Now, they have already discussed some of this so there is some waving of that privilege that has already been done at least in the view of legal experts who watch this kind of stuff. But we can probably expect there is somebody at the White House who is looking at this and trying to figure out a way to reserve some of that. Because we don't know everything else that Comey has in these memos. Certainly the White House doesn't know, I don't think, what everything that is in those memos.

BORGER: And unless the lawyer, the White House counsel has talked to the President him about what he to Comey. I mean, we - you know.

BROWN: Well. And also it makes you wonder if Mueller will tell Comey not to reveal anything else about the memos because they are considered evidence in this investigation now.

SCIUTTO: It is a fair question.

Now, I have to ask you, Gloria, because the missing is, of course, the President is on his first overseas trip. He has had a moment to shine, I imagine, with a big arms deal with Saudi Arabia. He is now gone to the western wall in Jerusalem. You know, they have talked about peace in the Middle East. But he is going to come back here in a few days and you are going to have Comey appearing and dragged back into it, I imagine, very quickly.

BORGER: Right. This was supposed to be a reset. And you know, in many ways, it was. I mean, the President's had, so far, a very successful trip. And so what they are trying to do is reset. You saw that Reince Priebus high tailed it back here because they have got budget coming out tomorrow. I don't have to tell you this, Manu. They have got lot. They want to deal with tax reform. They have other issues. And the President hasn't really been tweeting on this at all because he has been abroad which may be a blessing.

So when he comes back, he is going to -- I'm sure he is aware of this Post story, and he is going it get back in the thick of it. He was obsessed about it before. I don't think it's going to lessen any given this story about Dan Coats and Mike Rogers.

[23:25:18] RAJU: And he kept the story alive today by in the meeting with Netanyahu he said --

SCIUTTO: That was a truly, truly remarkable moment. In effect confirming that Israel --

RAJU: -- was the source of that information he gave to the Russians. And that meeting between the White House and Russian official or President Trump and Russian officials where he apparently divulge the highly classified information. That issue is not going away. Members of Congress absolutely want to get records of that meeting, particularly in light of the reports Friday of him calling James Comey a nut job in that meeting.

PEREZ: Right. And I think you are seeing the White House already kind of preparing for the fact that this is going to be a continued crisis. We are told that Cory Lewandowski met with the President before he left and the idea that is actually being thought very seriously in the White House is to bring him back to do some kind of crisis management or control. We are told that's an issue, an idea that is actually under serious consideration.

But keep in mind, Corey Lewandowski is a lobbyist. He has got a very interesting list of clients. And I'm sure he probably doesn't want to divulge if he comes back into service. I'm not sure how they are going to this. But keep an eye on this because I think it's going to be an indication of how seriously they are taking this friendship.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: Shake up is not gone. There was supposed to be a staff checkup a while ago. I think he is still very much alive. We don't know exactly how it's going to land.

SCIUTTO: What is good way to keep fear in the west wing as well?

(CROSSTALK)

SCIUTTO: Manu, the other star witness before committees is coming up will be General Michael Flynn. Today we learned he is going to take the fifth.

RAJU: Yes. And the question is what's next? And both Richard Burr, the chairman of the committee Mark Warner, I mentioned earlier. I spoke to both of them today. Both of them are open on the idea of trying to hold him in contempt of Congress or doing something to try to get access to these documents. Now, we know going through the contempt procedures is a long process, very difficult to enforce it. But the idea for Burr and Warner are to scare the other witnesses into complying with the request for other records, specifically about the communication with Russian officials of the Trump associates, anything they have talked about with Russians, they want to make sure those records are turned over.

Michael Flynn, however, I talked to a source close to him earlier today who says that he is not going to testify publicly if it does come to it. But Burr still may make him come to the committee, actually plead the fifth publicly in an effort to embarrass him and scare others into complain.

PEREZ: It does seem that Flynn has some peculiar, some very specific issues that only apply to him because of the issue of not registering as a lobbyist for Turkey while he --.

SCIUTTO: Reporting foreign income.

PEREZ: Right. I mean, so it is not the same issues that the other witnesses.

BORGER: And what about Elijah Cummings today?

BROWN: Right.

BORGER: Exactly. This is so much news in one day.

SCIUTTO: We have concern about the committees getting riled up in partisanship, right. But here you have the Republican chairman of senate intelligence committee, you know, subpoenaing and saying no immunity for Michael Flynn, the president's former national security advisor and you better bring those documents, you know. And they are talking about contempt.

BROWN: And they resisted going the route (ph) with the subpoena. But he finally did. And now it makes you wonder bigger picture, Gloria, how damaging this is for President Trump the White House if his former national security advisor is pleading the fifth, not responding to a subpoena request.

BORGER: Yes. Well, it doesn't look good, does it? And of course, Donald Trump, we believe, remains friends with Flynn. He's an orphan to everybody else at the White House but I don't think to the President. And today Elijah Cummings, a Democrat charged that Flynn lied on his security clearance forms and said that he told investigators he was paid by U.S. companies when he travelled to Moscow in December of 2015 when we know that he was paid by Russian television. And that, you know, we had only insubstantial associations with foreigners and foreign officials. And we know he had dinner with Vladimir Putin. So, you know, I think that there is a large credibility problem for Flynn, which of course, makes you ask the question why did he become national security advisor?

RAJU: And that, Jim, you made the point of committee showing bipartisanship with the House oversight committee. He is one that has not really shown that. The Democrats are pushing Jason Chaffetz to issue subpoenas for White House documents to show whether or not Michael Flynn during the vetting process disclosed any of these issues, these foreign payments, any connections with the Russians. Something the White House has not yet comply with because the White House says they claim they don't have some of those documents. But nonetheless, Chaffetz has been silent on this issue --.

[23:30:15] PEREZ: And he is leaving soon, right.

RAJU: And he is leaving soon. So the question, what's going to happen after?

BROWN: You have these investigations on Capitol Hill, you have this special counsel probe. We were told today, Evan, that Robert Mueller who is now overseeing the probe has already been to the FBI headquarters. He has already been meeting with counterintelligence agents who have been working on this case. How is this investigation going to move forward when you have the two investigations on the hill? Do you think he is going to and to try to negotiate and say look, I'm taking the lead here?

PEREZ: No. I think he is. And look, he is the guy who wants to do this - he wants to do this quietly. He wants to do it with a little less drama perhaps. He is hiring people. He is going to make sure -- I think he is working very quickly to try to make sure he gets security clearances and to make sure this investigation is well funded and it will go wherever it will go.

And I think I mentioned this in our last -- the last time we did this that one of the things to keep an eye on is, you know, when -- as this investigation goes forward, are we going to get an answer from the justice department as to when Robert Mueller finishes the investigation, if he finds any kind of criminal activity it even goes to the President perhaps. Again, we don't know where he will end up. Will the justice department promise to refer that to Congress? Because as we know there's an existing legal guidance to the justice department that does not allow you to charge a sitting President with a crime. So the question for the justice department and Rod Rosenstein in particular is, will you make a promise that you are going to refer whatever he finds to Congress which then Congress has a political solution to all of this?

BORGER: Right. But why - I mean, Congress has a different investigation. Just as in Iran contra. We keep talking about ancient history here. But in Iran contra, you know, the congressional investigators wanted to get to the truth and so they gave Oly North (ph) immunity. Where the special counsel did not. Lawrence Walsh (ph) did not.

It took years for him, after Oly North (ph) testified in Congress, it took years for him to convict Oly North and then that was overturned because he couldn't prove that -- he couldn't uphold the conviction without using the immunized testimony from Congress. So that got really tricky and complicated. But the American public knew what happened before the courts decided anything because they heard from Oly North.

SCIUTTO: It is interesting, the Iran contra. A lot of folks I have spoken to -there is all the comparisons to Watergate, of course. But then many will say Iran contra is a better parallel here and partly because of the process but also because Reagan survived Iran contra right. But his presidency was the debilitated. He eventually overcame it but perhaps --.

PEREZ: But you know, it was key what he did. And Jim, you wrote an interesting article. The former Bush administration official. He talked about a little bit about how Reagan was able to get over this. And one of the ways he did it was by embracing the investigation. He made changes. This is not something that Donald Trump has seen any inclination to do. We began this portion of a program by talking about his efforts to try to essentially do the opposite. To try to bury this, to try to tell people it's fake news, to tell his intelligence officials to go and help stop the FBI from looking at this. So he is doing all of the opposite things that Ronald Reagan did.

SCIUTTO: He has tried several agencies. And you know, let's take a moment to look at the positive, right. I mean, the sense that the system is working, right. He has tried his intelligence chiefs, they refused. He tried his FBI director, he refused. He did get fired. He had tried - I mean, in effect, he had his man at the department of justice, right. But the deputy AG, after the attorney general had recuse himself, you know. He appointed to special counsel. So you have, you know, you have a lot of push back there in the way it's operating.

BORGER: Right, exactly.

BROWN: It makes you wonder for it. Do you think part of this is because he went from a business world where he was head of a company to now being in a world where there are checks and balances?

BORGER: Right. I mean, he was running the Trump organization. And in the Trump organization, I would argue it was probably OK to take a loyalty oath to Donald Trump because that is man you were working for. Asking Comey to ledge his loyalty is not the right thing to do. When you work for the president, even if it he appointed you. He didn't appoint Comey, but he did Roger (INAUDIBLE). You take a pledge to the United States. You don't take a pledge, personally to Donald Trump. So that is the difference here. And the question is whether the President himself understands it because he figure maybe I appointed you guys. You owe me.

RAJU: Is there anybody but White House is telling him, he should not be doing it or is he ignoring?

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: I mean, no one has really entered this question, did Dan McGahn, White House counsel ever tell President Trump look, you shouldn't talk to Comey, you shouldn't talk to these intelligence agencies about the investigation, right? And maybe they have --. [23:35:12] BORGER: And maybe they have but we don't know. And maybe

they need somebody else to come in and do an intervention.

PEREZ: Well, I think that is what they are doing. They are doing lawyers, personal lawyers for the president who may be able to get through to him because they clearly understand that there's a risk here for the President. The fact they are thinking about bringing in outside counsel to personally help the President through this crisis shows you that they realize - people at least close to him understand that this is something that is very risky for the President.

BORGER: And when Sally Yates came in and talk to Dan McGahn, the White House counsel, with her hair on fire about general Flynn, did he go into the President and say you know, we really -- we have to think about this?

BROWN: Those should be applying the wall during that conversation. And that wasn't the only warning. Sorry to cut you off. But also press this warning on Flynn, your reporting, Gloria.

BORGER: Right. You know, Chris Christie did not want Flynn to be national security advisor. General Flynn, I'm told, wanted to be national security advisor, secretary of state or secretary of defense. Chris Christie was fired, the first transition team was fired. He was not on their list for any of those jobs. And I believe they might have thought of him for DNI or director of national intelligence, something like that. But they knew he was trouble for them. And I believe to a certain degree, after their first briefing that I believe it went so badly for Flynn that Donald Trump came out of it and spoke with someone with whom I spoke who said, you know, that was really bad and Donald Trump agreed but said, you know, he has been so loyal to me.

BROWN: Always back to the loyal thing.

PEREZ: The thing for Flynn that really I think won this job for him was the fact he had this personal -- direct connection with the President. This is something that, you know, nobody else could really interfere with.

BROWN: And Jared Kushner also was very supportive.

SCIUTTO: It is interesting about - the folks who -- you ask the question who is standing up to the President, right? Now, early on, you had Sally Yates who stood up on the travel ban. She was fired, of course. You know, portrayed by the President and many in the party as an Obama partisan, right, even though she served, you know, previous administrations of both parties, et cetera, but perhaps easier to make that argument to some degree. Then as you move along, James Comey. He served both parties, both administrations. He has fired, call him Obama's guy.

Now you have two of Trump's own guys, as it were, Dan Coats, his appointee, direct of national intelligence, said no. He would not knock down these reports. Mike Rogers, who granted king from the Obama administration, but he was meeting in Trump tower with Trump during the transition. There was talk of him being the director of national intelligence. I'm not saying he is Trump's guy but he is certainly not someone in the Trump team considered an Obama aide (ph), right. And they are saying no to him.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: You have to remember Richard Nixon, not to bring this up, but you will recall, you know, the Nixon administration, his chief of staff asking the CIA to get the FBI to end this investigation into Watergate.

RAJU: I think that's one of the things in the Trump administration, the Trump cabinet. There are a lot of officials who would not necessarily have been Trump cheerleaders all the way to the finish line, all the way from the starting line. Nikki Haley, for one. She did not support Donald Trump during the primary. She was very critical of Donald Trump and you have seen her break from the Trump administration on some key issues. That's why it's going to be so interesting when Dan Coats go before the senate on Trump's committee tomorrow and is asked direct questions about whether the President pressured you to knock down reports because Coats, who I know very well. I know he is not necessarily someone who carries water for Donald Trump. He wasn't during the campaign. He did support him, but what will we do now as the --.

PEREZ: I think that is one of the most fascinating things, Manu, I think, you just hit it right there, is talking to people on Capitol Hill, Republicans who are trying to figure out exactly how far they need go or can go to support the President simply because there's a lot they don't know. They simply don't know whether if they put - they stick their necks out there for him, will they find out in the end that actually all of this is true. And so, just in talking to people on the hill, you get this sense of tension as they try to figure out how much to embrace the President or whether or not they should step back and let the Democrats do their thing.

BORGER: And that's why the news of the special counsel was so welcome by many Republicans, even though they didn't want one before his appointed and after was appointed. As one Democrat said to me, now he is awesome because they really, you know, it sort of could take off their plate. But as you have this drip, drip, drip of stories coming out every day, whether it's CNN or the "Washington Post" or "The New York Times," they are coming out every day and then Republicans have to respond.

[23:40:11] RAJU: Yes. And it's the obstruction aspect that is the most alarming to the Republicans on the hill. The collusion aspect is something that a lot of the Republicans are not sure it's there. But the obstruction when he has talked about interfering totally different ball (ph).

BROWN: So against the back drop of all of this, as we know, the President has been traveling overseas.

I want to bring in our CNN senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny who has been travelling with the President in Jerusalem. So Jeff, how has the administration been handling all of these various revelations day after day?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, they certainly been watching these revelations as they happen in real time. And as Gloria was saying earlier the chief of staff, Reince Priebus and the chief strategist, Steve Bannon are back in the west wing. They are monitoring all of this and that is for a reason.

I mean, this is a part of a split screen operation here. No question the President is seeing this trip as a welcome distraction. He is seeing this trip as a way to sort of get back on track. But the underlying sort of feeling out here among aids, advisors, you can see it on their face, you know, every moment a new story pops like this. It re-hurts (ph) them back to what's awaiting them in Washington.

And earlier when the President was meeting with the British prime minister -- sorry the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, he slipped and he, you know, talked about the thing he said to the Russian officials in the oval office. He said I didn't say Israeli, well, no one said he did about the fascinating information. That was the one moment that you could see the President certainly was clear that he still had Russia on his mind.

But as he goes forward here, they also have the attack in Manchester on their mind. The President will be giving a speech here in a couple of hours-time before going to the Rome, to Vatican and then to Brussels and then to the G-7 meeting in Italy. And then he is back to Washington late Saturday. And again all of this is waiting for them.

But behind the scenes, I am told by senior administration officials and advisors close to this president, they are narrowing in on the personal lawyers that he will have, a team of lawyers. I'm told there's not going to be one individual who is going to be sort of working on this, on this side as an outside lawyer. It's going to be a team of lawyers. The President will sign off on all of those. And of course that is something that is always necessary.

Other White House staffers also may have to lawyer up. But this is very much in the moment here. They are, you know, certainly doing everything they can to stay focused on this trip. They are definitely watching every bomb shell that still happens in Washington -- Pamela.

BROWN: And Jeff, has the White House had any response yet to the terrorist attack in Manchester?

ZELENY: No, they haven't, Pamela. We are told by administration officials that they are preparing a statement. They are go having to a statement at some point. We thought it might be here by now but the sun is just about to arise. It is like arising here in Jerusalem. And the President is waking up really to what is the first major terrorist attack of his presidency, the biggest one no question.

He has been talking about extremism, talking about combatting extremism. Well, this rests exactly that heart of that. Again, he will be giving a speech in a couple hours' time. Certainly expect him to address that. But look, he is also heading to Europe tomorrow. And this is something he has been, you know, talking about a lot and is indeed the biggest challenge facing him. But we are still awaiting a statement on the specific attack in Manchester last evening -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Jeff Zeleny, live in Jerusalem for us. Thank you so much for bringing us the latest.

SCIUTTO: And back to our breaking news. CNN has learned that President Trump attempted to persuade two of the nation's top intelligence officials to issue public statements knocking down the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Joining us now are lawmakers from both parties. We have Representative Pramila Jayapal, she is a Democrat on the Judiciary Committee and representative Jims Banks. He is a Republican from Indiana. He is on the armed services committee. Thanks very much to both of you.

Bipartisan show of support tonight for us. If I could begin with you, congresswoman, what's your reaction to our reporting, as first reported by the "Washington Post" tonight that President Trump made calls to admiral Mike Rogers, Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence in effect asking them to knock down evidence in this investigation?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D), WASHINGTON: I think it's incredibly troubling. I think it continues a stream of events. I feel a little bit like I have whiplash going from one story to the next. But all of them point to this President trying to interfere with in an investigation. And I think that is extremely disturbing. You know, I think that we are looking to try to get to the bottom of this. Obviously, there is the special counsel investigation. But we also in Congress have authority over these matters. And so, the question and I think you were discussing it earlier is what kind of information can we get as we start to look into all of these issues.

[23:45:11] SCIUTTO: You use the word interference. Is it obstruction of justice?

JAYAPAL: I think if it's true, I believe it is obstruction of justice. We have to prove intent. That is part of the obstruction of justice. But the more that we have stories, the more it seems like an intent is there. It is clear, you know, perhaps one conversation is troubling enough. But you have him calling now two intelligence directors - intelligence agency directors. And I think you start to get into this is a person who is determined to try to stop any investigation into Michael Flynn. And that is, you know, I think for nothing else he should understand that this would be very bad optics, but that's in the best case scenario.

BROWN: And I have it ask you, Congressman Jim Banks because you are a veteran. And this report would essentially mean that he was ordering a uniformed Navy admiral Mike Rogers to basically tamp down an investigation. What do you make of that?

REP. JIM BANKS (R), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, if these allegations are true, this would be a pattern of a number of troubling allegations. But I think Republicans and Democrats are unified on Capitol Hill to support the Mueller investigations, his independence, his integrity that he has brought and credibility that has brought to the investigation along with the congressional investigations in the house and Senate. Let's let those investigations do their work, their due diligence before we make a rational statements about anything further than that. I'm content and allowing the investigation to work and went through the process.

BROWN: So you see, if these allegations are true. But then what? What do you mean by that? If? What if they are true? BANKS: Well, if they are then we need to take - we need to take

action and deal with them appropriately. If not, then these are --

BROWN: And what would that action be? What would be --?

BANKS: You know, I'm content in waiting for the investigations to work through the process to make statements about what hypothetically what should happen following that. I think it is important and entirely appropriate for members of Congress to allow the investigations to work their way through the process before making statements about what might or might not happen hypothetically.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this because it gets down to what is the standard here. If it is proven to be true that President of the United States called on his director of the FBI and then director to the intelligence agencies and told them to stop an active investigation, would that to you -- let's forget the legal terminology for a moment, obstruction of justice. But would that to you be undue interference?

BANKS: There's no question these allegations are serious. They undoubtedly will be a part of director Mueller's say independent investigation as well as the investigations in the House and Senate. But I believe it is a completely responsible and appropriate for members of Congress to allow the investigations, to work their way through the process before addressing hypotheticals about what comes after.

BROWN: And that brings to the next question because you do have this special probe or special counsel Robert Mueller who is taking over the investigation. I was talking to one official who said, you know, there is concern on his part that you have these two investigations on Capitol Hill where they are calling witnesses to testify including James Comey and how that could sort of interfere with what he is trying to do. How is this going to work?

JAYAPAL: It is a challenging situation. We saw just a tiny hint of it when Rod Rosenstein came and spoke to us on a classified briefing. There wasn't much that was classified there but I would say that one of the things that was very frustrating to many of us in the room was when we were just trying to get information about why he wrote the memo? When did he write the memo? Why did he write the memo? Did he just wake up one day and say hey, it would be great to write a memo or did somebody actually come to him and asked him to write it? If that was the case, did he know that it was going to be used in a way? He didn't answer any of those questions. And he directed that to the fact that Mueller is going to be doing the investigation. We need to wait.

But, you know, there are competing priorities here - not competing priorities but there are parallel priorities. Let's say that. That Congress has an oversight authority. We should be able to continue to investigate as this goes forward. And while it's true that we want to wait for the facts to emerge, we can't afford to wait a long time particularly with story after story emerging. This latest news I think is extremely distressing.

BROWN: And of course, another big headline that came out today is the fact that Michael Flynn will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in response to subpoenas from the Senate intelligence committees.

This is what President Trump said during the campaign about those who take the fifth. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She has people taking the Fifth Amendment. Four people plus the guy who illegally did the server. You know, put in the illegal server. So there are five people taking the Fifth Amendment. Like you see on the mob, right? You see the mob takes the fifth. If you are innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[23:50:00] BROWN: OK. So Congressman Banks, if General Flynn is innocent, why is he taking the fifth?

BANKS: I can't say or defend whether or not he is innocent. But that again, it will be a part of the investigation.

BROWN: What do you make of the fact he is taking the fifth?

BANKS: It's a troubling. And it's part of a troubling series of actions by Mr. Flynn. And it -- it, again, foreshadows I think a troubling pattern of behavior that we have seen in recent weeks.

SCIUTTO: I want to ask about your -- because of course we have heard many Democrats in public criticize the President's behavior here. It's only in the last week or two where speaking to folks on the hill Republicans who at least privately some publicly but many more privately say listen this is getting to a different level. Wide eyed was the way one Republican lawmaker described it to me last week. Do you sense a change in the last or two about the level of concern from inside your own caucus?

BANKS: A concern in whether or not we will fulfill an agenda that we all set out to fulfill at the beginning of the Congress. I run for Congress last year. I'm a freshman on Capitol Hill to address the big issues of the day. And as we get caught up the frenzy over each breaking news item from day to day related to the administration, it is definitely a distraction from our ability to do that.

SCIUTTO: So it is more of a destruction? Are you becoming concerned and other fellow Republicans concerned that the President did something here that requires a remedy, right? That may have crossed a line?

BANKS: Again, it's irresponsible to say too much more without allowing the investigation to work its way through the process. That's why I believe it's important to allow director Mueller to do his work, allow the congressional committees to do their work before speaking anything -- saying anything further about hypothetically should come next.

BROWN: So congresswoman, this could take a while for these investigations to wrap up. What would you like to see in the meantime?

JAYAPAL: Well, I think we would like to see - you know, each of these roles has a slightly different charge, a special prosecutor, special counsel has a different charge. We have also been calling for an independent commission sort of like.

BANKS: 911 style.

JAYAPAL: A commission that would be made up of citizens that could actually look at this -- what's happening not only in the short-term but in the long-term. And then we would like to have the information right away around the memos, around some of the answers. And you know, I think it's a little bit more than a distraction. I really do. I understand the challenges of trying to implement an agenda for the majority party but we are talking about the sanctity of the democracy. And to me that is really what is at stake here. So it's more than a distraction. It is deeply concerning to the future of our country and the future of our democracy.

BROWN: And I want to continue our discussion of the stunning developments right here in Washington.

CNN has confirm that President Trump personally has his two top intelligence officials publicly push back on the investigation and on the possible collusion between the Russia and the Trump campaign. And our experts are here for more analysis.

Gloria Borger, set the stage for us. How significant is this?

BORGER: Well I think it's very significant. Because it comes on the heels of our understanding that he tried to -- that the President of the United States tried to shut down the investigation with James Comey. And then I think what you see here is more evidence of that. More evidence of the President of the United States trying to say, let's cool this investigation. Is there any way you guys can sort of figure out how to stop it?

So what we have is a President who is obsessed with this. Who is concerned about what it means for his administration and potentially for him. And he is trying to end it and it doesn't seem to understand that he really cannot ask these people to do that.

SCIUTTO: We shouldn't mince words here right. Because now you have - and granted they haven't given public testimony yet Comey, Coats and Rogers, but there are people who know they are talking to people, right, myself included and Comey has written memos how he is going to testify on the hill. This is a President going to senior intelligence and law enforcement officials and giving them instructions about an ongoing investigation.

BORGER: Right. Not good. Not good.

Now, we know from our reporting, Pam, that director Comey was keeping these -- writing these memos because he thought that somehow he could teach the President what was appropriate and what was inappropriate. It didn't seem to me from my sources that -- that director Comey at that point thought it was obstruction. He thought that this was somebody who doesn't know --.

BROWN: It made him uncomfortable but he didn't necessarily in that time think it was that.

RAJU: That's going to be the one area where Republicans defenders of President Trump are going to seize on in the hearings why didn't James Comey raise this earlier either in hearings or in private or even in classified briefings with the Senate intelligence committee leaders? He did not do that. Why not? That's going to be -- whether you guys mention how you expect him to address it. But does he pass the threshold of believability and credibility? How do the voters view it? How do viewers view it? How do senators? That's the big question.

[23:55:14] PEREZ: And if he didn't view it as obstruction, I think that's a big deal for Republicans in Congress to illuminate. And also by the way, it's a kind of curious practice to be writing these memos and talking to people outside the FBI about what you are discussing with the President. I think that's is going to be another question that wen are going to hear members of Congress wanting to hear from Comey because it is sort of weird.

BROWN: And I was told by one source.

BORGER: He might have thought it was obstruction.

BROWN: I was told - exactly. And that's what we were told, people we have been talking to that in retrospect, he did believe that, you know, the President was trying to influence him. And I did ask someone that he speaks to and said why would he share this with you to your point? And basically this person said that he was using his close associates as a sounding board because it did make him uncomfortable. Now, whether that's the right answer that's not for -- .

PEREZ: Well, I can tell you this. I have watched a lot of Jim Comey hearings on Capitol Hill. And every time someone asks him about some conversation he has had with the President he always says I can't talk about what I discuss with the President because I cannot -- and you know, look that is usually a very good answer that a lot of people give. Because it is true you want to give advice to the President and you don't want to go on blab it. However, it appears that Comey was telling his friends about this. And that is a strange thing.

SCIUTTO: Unless you are genuinely alarm, right, what seems to be the motivation here?

Laura Coates, if we could bring you in because General Michael Flynn has his own storm of legal challenges now. And now, he is taking the fifth. First of all, can he take the fifth?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He can. There is consequences to the taking the fifth. I mean, you have the issue of contempt. You could certainly say I'm not going to be amenable. I'm not going to be agreeable. There is clearly a criminal investigation that's going to be looming overhead where any statements he may give or any documents he may produce will certainly tend to show either be incriminating whether he is guilty or not. You have a right. It's meant to protect even the innocent people from saying you cannot government force me to build the case against me.

The burden is always on the government whether Congress or prosecutor to say are you guilty or you can't actually prove your innocence. So there is consequences. There are two paths to take either the Congress can say well, we are going to recommend to a federal district court that they hold you in contempt. Good luck with that. Or you are to say to the DOJ, justice department, please hold the person in contempt. Good luck with that.

SCIUTTO: So Laura, I want to ask you. Just on Friday I asked you the same question. When at that point we just knew about the President's conversations with Comey. Now we know the President had similar conversations with the director of the national intelligence and the head of the NSA. Is that obstruction of justice when you have a pattern then of similar pressure applied to senior officials?

COATES: Well, I believe that the contextual clues we are all speaking about, all the circumstantial stuff, really does lead to the conclusion of the obstruction of justice. However, as a former prosecutor would I charge just that? No and here is why. That's really an add-on claim if you think about it. I mean, that's a crude way of thinking about it add on.

If the goal is to get the highest charge possible, obstruction is a way to add on a penalty perhaps or to show there is somebody trying to impede my quest for what the highest charge is. You know, it forms articles of impeachment. It can, at least two Presidents. It is a serious charge and allegation. But if your goal is actually to understand what collusion in nebulous terms really mean, what criminal law or penalty can attach to the term collusion. Obstruction is not your end game. And I think that's the reason you have prosecutors right now and perhaps Mueller and everyone else saying we are not going there yet because that is not the goal. That's a step in the direction trying to add the cherry on top the prosecutor who is clearly celibate over the concept of collusion.

SCIUTTO: And Gloria, it's really a political question. Do you get Republicans onboard? If we get and we are many steps from that stage, but who call it obstruction as well.

BORGER: You know, it's very early on. And I just remind you that you know even in the Nixon impeachment, question the house Judiciary Committee voted out the articles of impeachment less than half the Republicans supported that vote. So we are a long way from there. We are a long way from Republicans just jumping overboard.

I think the people need to know more about the discussions with Comey, need to know more about this so-called collusion. Need to - you know, I just think we are actually, believe it or not at the beginning of this and not at the end.

SCIUTTO: It is remarkable evening. And don't forget we have a terrorism story tonight. We have many developments in the Russia story and this feels like the norm.

BROWN: Of course there is another major breaking news story that you alluded to there, Jim, the massive explosion in Manchester in the United Kingdom.

SCIUTTO: And CNN live coverage of that breaking news story continues now with CNN's John Vause and Isha Sesay.