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DOJ: Session Did Not Disclose Russia Meeting and Other Foreign Contacts on Security Clearance Form; Comey Notes, White House "Tapes" Not Turned Over to Congress; GOP Montana U.S. House Candidate Accused of Body Slamming Reporter. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 24, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Thanks for joining us on a very busy night.

There's the new nonpartisan bottom line on the latest House Obamacare replacement bill. Over the coming decade, it could leave 23 million more Americans without coverage compared to keeping Obamacare. Republicans disagree with those numbers.

There's breaking news in the Manchester bombing investigation.

There's tonight's deadline for the FBI to turn over fired Director James Comey's memos of his conversations with the president and what combination of carrots and sticks congressional investigators and special counsel now have to get at the truth.

We begin, though, with two big new pieces of the Trump-Russia picture. New reporting on a story that CNN broke on the intelligence that first raised suspicions last year. Also, what CNN has just learned about what Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not reveal about his contact with Russians during his security vetting.

Manu Raju has that, and joins us with all the latest.

So, what have you learned, Manu?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Hey, Anderson, top Justice Department officials tell CNN that Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance form.

Now, this new information from the Justice Department is just the latest example of Sessions not listing contacts he had with Russian officials. Earlier this year, he came under withering criticism from Democrats after it was revealed that he did not disclose these same contacts with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during his Senate confirmation hearings.

Now, Sessions met with Kislyak at least two times last year, including at the Republican National Convention, and he did not note those interactions on his form. The form actually requires him to list, quote, "any contact he or his family had with a foreign government or representative over the past seven years."

Now, Sessions' initial failure to disclose these meetings to the Senate Judiciary Committee actually led to him recusing himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation. Though he has said during his testimony, after his testimony, that he did not recall discussing any campaign matters with Kislyak, Anderson.

COOPER: So in terms of not disclosing these meetings, was it just the Russians he left out or did he not disclose any meetings, thinking he didn't need to?

RAJU: He -- the Justice Department is saying that he did not reveal a wide range of meetings. In fact, my colleague Evan Perez is told by a Justice Department spokeswoman that initially, Sessions listed a year's worth of meetings with foreign officials on the security clearance form, but he and his staff were then told by an FBI employee who assisted in filling out that form that he didn't need to list these dozens of meetings that occurred with foreign ambassadors that happened in his capacity as a senator.

Now, the FBI did not comment on this story, Anderson. But others did, including a legal expert, Mark Zaid, who regularly assists officials in filling out these forms. And this attorney said that senators would still have to reveal the appropriate foreign government contacts, assuming they were not at a foreign conference, even if they were a senator, and these meetings were not in a foreign conference, Anderson.

COOPER: How are folks on Capitol Hill reacting?

RAJU: Well, just moments ago, John Conyers, a top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, calling for an investigation into Jeff Sessions, even saying there should be at least a hearing in his panel to look into what Sessions did and did not do, particularly as it relates to this latest revelation about his security clearance form.

And lawmakers on the House and Senate Intelligence Committee say it's possible that Sessions could be questioned about his meetings, and his role in the campaign as part of their ongoing Russian investigation. Anderson, a big question lawmakers have also is over the role that Jeff Sessions had in the firing of the former FBI Director James Comey. That question was brought up in a classified house briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last week, Anderson.

I'm told that Rosenstein refused to discuss whether Sessions had a role, but did say this is something that the special counsel Bob Mueller may look at -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Manu Raju, thanks very much.

Now, more on Michael Flynn, James Comey and Director Comey's memos of his conversations with the president, some of which reportedly including the president asking him to go easy on the fired national security adviser. House and Senate investigators set tonight as a deadline for the FBI to turn them over. Conflicting it though is how to reconcile it with the demand of the new special counsel overseeing the criminal investigations.

Elise Labott reports tonight on that and of the late developments in that investigation.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the House Oversight Committee has not received the documents it requested from FBI Director James Comey about his meetings with President Trump. The committee chairman, Jason Chaffetz, set today as the deadline for those memos to be turned over.

Sources say before testifying, Comey first wants to talk to special counsel Robert Mueller, a sign Mueller's investigation into Russia is taking precedence over Congress.

One memo, which allegedly states Trump asked Comey during a meeting to shut down his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, is central to all of the probes.

SEN. JACK REED (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: If he has such a document, that would credence to his testimony.

[20:05:01] Given his training as a lawyer and his professional skills, he would want to document not just verbally but in writing that he has such documents.


LABOTT: And lawmakers are turning up the heat on Flynn who today refused to provide documents to the House Intel Committee. Flynn already invoked his Fifth Amendment rights this week to avoid cooperating with the Senate probe.

Now, the Senate Intel Committee is narrowing its requests, with new subpoenas targeting his businesses.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), VICE CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It is even more clear that a business does not have a right to take a Fifth if it's a corporation.

LABOTT: Flynn has until May 30th to comply, and the chair of the committee pledged to do whatever it takes to get Flynn's documents.

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We'll seek additional counsel or advice on how to proceed forward. At the end of that option is a contempt charge and I've said that everything is on the table.

LABOTT: Investigators appear to be focused on allegations of White House interference. And want any memos written by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, about their meetings with the president.

On Tuesday, coats faced questions from lawmakers about reports Trump asked both men to deny charges of collusion with Russia.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Have you talked about this issue with Admiral Rogers?

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: That is -- that is something that I -- would like to withhold that question at this particular point in time.

LABOTT: Sources tell CNN Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort is cooperating, handing over more than 300 pages of documents from his time on the campaign. He was asked about his ties to Russia, but curiously not about his work as a lobbyist for the party of Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine's former pro-Russian prime minister.


LABOTT: And as the investigations proceed, President Trump has tapped as his outside counsel Mark Kasowitz, one of Trump's long-time attorneys. Now, Kasowitz doesn't know Washington very well but is well-known trial attorney who also represents Russian companies. Meanwhile, the White House is resetting its search for an FBI director after wide-ranging dissatisfaction with the leading candidate, former Senator Joe Lieberman. Now, Lieberman is actually a partner at the same law firm as Kasowitz but officials say Trump simply wants to see a broader range of candidates for the job, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Elise Labott, thanks very much.

We've retained our own counsel. Jeffrey Toobin joins us, so is Kirsten Powers is here, Matt Nussbaum, Paul Begala, Bryan Lanza, Alan Dershowitz and John Kirby.

Admiral Kirby, let me start with you. I mean, you've had to fill out certainly a lot of forms over the years, how big of a deal is it for the attorney general not to have included the Russians and others? I mean, if it was just the Russians, I would see that being a bigger problem than the idea of him just not including anyone, thinking according to him that he didn't have to.

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), FORMER STATE DEPT. SPOKESPERSON, OBAMA ADMIN.: Yes, I agree with you on that, Anderson. I mean, I think, you know, in the context of everything that was going on over the course of the summer and through the election season, to not list them, to not put them on there, I do think that's significant. I think that was a mistake, he should have put them on there.

That said, and you probably just saw the Justice Department just put out a statement saying that he specifically was advised not only by his own staff, but by the FBI investigator that was doing this -- helping him fill out this form that he didn't need to list every contact he had in the business of being a senator.

So, I also don't think there was any maliciousness here or intent to conceal. I think the staff was just trying to churn through a very cumbersome process in the most efficient way. But I do think in context, yes, I mean, these two meetings you would have thought they would have risen to the level.

COOPER: Jeff, I see a look of skepticism crossed your face.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, the form says what it says. And the form says any contacts with any representative of the government and he didn't disclose them. Now, he says that some FBI person told him he didn't have to do that. Well, I think the appropriate thing is to find who this FBI person was, see if they actually gave that advice, and if he did, well then, he or she perhaps there's an explanation.

I mean, not disclosing contacts with the Russians, as well as others, in the context of -- following an election where even at the time he was filling out the forms, contacts between the Trump campaign of which he was a major part, and the Russian government and affiliates was a big deal. So, I would like to know who this FBI official was and on what authority, and if they in fact really gave --

COOPER: Well, Kirsten, in the article that Manu put out that CNN has, it does say, according to the legal scholar that they asked, that helps people with this, that if it was a foreign meeting with foreign personnel, that he would not have to -- or people don't necessarily have to do that if it's done in the course of government business. So, to me, this doesn't seem like a huge smoking gun in any way.

[20:10:00] KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I don't think it's necessarily a huge smoking gun if it was just an isolated incident. I think it's just in the broader picture of all the different moving parts of this story. Everything sort of makes it seem a little more suspicious.

But, you're right, if this is the only thing that happened, I don't think anybody would be talking about it. And there are some people who also have said, who are expert, who said they would absolutely not advise what this FBI person is alleged to have advised.

So, I think it's right. We need to hear from the person who advised it. It was just bad judgment on his part. I mean, he should know what's going on in the world.

TOOBIN: Well, remember, in sworn testimony, he also didn't disclose the meeting with the Russian ambassador. So, I mean, you could argue that this is part of a pattern.

COOPER: Matt, as far as Director Comey is concerned, it's not a surprise that he's deferring to Robert Mueller. We talked about this last week about -- not only them being very close, but he would not want to do anything that would actually interfere in an ongoing criminal investigation.

MATTHEW NUSSBAUM, REPORTER, POLITICO: That's right. It's not a surprise. It's certainly disappointing. I think we all would like to hear more from Director Comey, but I think it makes sense that he's holding back and deferring to Mueller's investigation, which has become the dominant investigation in Washington. The Senate investigation and the House investigation just really pale in comparison to what Bob Mueller is doing. That's the serious investigation. I think Jim Comey recognizes that.

COOPER: So, Professor Dershowitz, would you be surprised if Director Comey decided not to testify at this stage?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: He has no choice. Congress has as much power as the Justice Department to compel testimony. I would argue in this context, more power, because this is an issue that goes well beyond whether there were any crimes committed. Mueller has a very limited jurisdiction as a prosecutor. Whereas Congress, part of its job is to inform the American public.

Were there any problems in the relationship between Russians and the campaign? The American public has the right to know that. Comey has only three bases for refusing to answer. Fifth Amendment, he's not going to take that. Classified, seems to me that's a phony argument. He's using that, I suspect, to cover his own reputation, because he's looking worse and worse and worse every day.

This new information about this Russian material that influenced his decision, to make the statements about Hillary Clinton turns out his own people told him maybe it wasn't even authentic. He has a lot of answering to do, and he ought to do it in public, not in private. And I think the American public have the right to hear him testify in public, and that's why I've called for repeatedly an independent investigatory committee which is nonpartisan.


DERSHOWITZ: But in the absence of that, Congress has at least as much power and it should not defer to the special counsel.

COOPER: Bryan, I want to give you a chance to Jeff Sessions not disclosing his context.

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I think it's much ado about nothing. I mean, he sat down with the federal investigator, they went through the process, he initially had the information in there and they asked him to remove it. He was just following the protocols or procedures of the FBI and it's just much ado about nothing.

COOPER: Paul, I mean, you do have Jared Kushner also not having disclosed and obviously issues with General Flynn.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Mr. Kushner, you have General Flynn, you have Senator Sessions at the time in testimony, as Jeffrey Toobin pointed out on January 10th saying, and I quote, I did not have communications with the Russians.

COOPER: You carry that around in a little book with you all the time?

BEGALA: I have it actually tattooed down my forearm. I have to get a bigger arm.

But this, alone it's just a point, but this is a point at least they're painting. And we're going to -- we pull back, we're going see what really happened. I do think Professor Dershowitz makes a good point, that an independent public inquiry is necessary for the policy reasons, not the legal reasons. But we don't have that, and we do have an independent counsel who seems very, very serious, and I'm not surprised that Comey is not --

COOPER: But you say an independent counsel for the policy reason is -- obviously, the Mueller investigation is looking at criminality. He may very well may after looking at investigating for however long say there is no criminality there. Obviously, the public may want to know, well, what actually happened? Was it morally wrong? Was it just politically wrong?

BEGALA: What did Russia do? How did they hack our election? They've been trying for years. How did they get into our election? How did we let that happen?

How was apparently, professor Dershowitz points out, a report today that the FBI director himself fell victim to fake news, fake documents from the Russians, which prejudiced him against Hillary Clinton. There's a lot the public needs to know. But there's also serious questions of obstruction of justice and the special counsel is going to look at that.

COOPER: We got some breaking news from the campaign trail. Yes, the campaign trial. Alleged violence at an event in Montana special congressional race. Ben Jacobs, a reporter for "The Guardian", says on Twitter he was body slammed by the GOP House candidate, Greg Gianforte.

Alexis Levinson, a reporter for "BuzzFeed" who was outside the room, she join us now by phone.

So, Alexis, you were outside of this room? What did you see or hear?

[20:15:00] ALEXIS LEVINSON, BUZZFEED REPORTER (via telephone): So, we were all -- this was the campaign meet and greet at Gianforte's campaign headquarters in Bozeman. And there was a sort of main room where a lot of volunteers were making phone calls, where all of us were standing around kind of waiting for a campaign event.

There was a side room where a TV crew, I guess a local TV crew was set up to do an interview. Gianforte went in there, the door was half open, Ben walked in to kind of listen in. But -- so, I had a kind of half view.

All of a sudden, I heard giant crash, saw Ben's feet fly in the air, like if you -- someone gets knocked down. And then they're very angry, very audible to everyone in the room, yelling. I can't guarantee I know who was yelling, but it sounded like Gianforte saying Ben -- I believe Ben posted audio. So, he probably has a clear or a more exact version of this. But it sounded like -- if I'm remembering correctly, it was: get out of here, are you from "The Guardian"? This is the same damned thing the other people did.

There seems to have been some kind of prior issue that they were upset about. They had previously been making clear that they didn't want give Ben an interview, which is not usually in my experience how that works as congressional campaign usually when you fly (ph) out there --


COOPER: So, did you actually see the reporter being -- I mean, he said he was body slammed?

LEVINSON: No, no, no. Sorry, so I heard -- I saw -- I heard exactly what I -- I saw and heard exactly what I tweeted. He -- Ben was in the room, I heard a crash, I saw his feet flying in the air, I heard the yelling, then someone slammed the door, someone opened the door, Ben walked out with his broken glasses in his hands, one of the -- like one of the earpiece things had come off.

He looked at me and said, he just body slammed me. A campaign aid came out and said Ben needed to leave. And then he was picked out and there was a lot of aides and Gianforte kind of cycling between closed doors and there was no campaign event and they just left.

COOPER: So, there was no campaign event. Gianforte didn't say anything after the incident? Did you see him leave?

LEVINSON: Gianforte didn't say anything. He went into a room with an aide, closed the door, didn't come out. Finally did come out, didn't speak to anyone, there were cops and ambulances outside, and I believe honestly the hospital, and you should ask her. He's at the hospital right now, you should ask him about that.

But there were cops, cops were speaking to people. My understanding is that they must have spoken with Gianforte because he disappeared for a very long time. And then the next time I saw him was in the passenger seat of a car with two of his aides and they drove away without saying anything.

COOPER: Do you know approximately how many people were in the room when this actually happens or how many other people would have witnessed this?

LEVINSON: Maybe 15 or 20.

COOPER: Oh, wow.

LEVINSON: Like it was not an empty room. It was kind of volunteers sitting there making phone calls. You know, his body guy, Ben and I, I think, were the only national reporters there. There may have been more reporters that I haven't recognized. Gianforte's wife was there.

COOPER: Where is Ben Jacobs now? You said on his way to --

LEVINSON: So, last I saw him, he was in an ambulance. The paramedics were saying, you know, in these situations, you know, what paramedics say, you're welcome to say no, you don't have to go to the hospital, but we always advise you to go to the hospital. So, he's headed there.

And the cops came out, took formal -- they're taking formal witness statements. I have to go to the some law enforcement center to give a formal interview after this.

COOPER: Wow, that's --

LEVINSON: That's how it went down.

COOPER: Yes. All right. Alexis Levinson, I appreciate you telling us what you saw and what you heard.

More after a quick break, including audio of the incident that we've just obtained.

Also, more arrests in the Manchester bombing. And late details on preventing additional acts of terror.


[20:22:39] COOPER: The story just breaking now, the alleged assault of a reporter by the Republican candidate in Montana special House election. We just got audio of the alleged incident. Let's listen.


BEN JACOBS, THE GUARDIAN: -- the CBO score. Because, you know, you've been waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill, and it just came out --

GREG GIANFORTE (R), MONTANA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: We'll talk to you about that later.

JACOBS: Yeah, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious --

GIANFORTE: Okay, speak with Shane, please.

JACOBS: But, you got to --

GIANFORTE: I'm sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

JACOBS: Jesus!

GIANFORTE: get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing. You with "The Guardian"?

JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You'd like me to get the hell out of here? I'd also like to call the police. Can I get you guys' names?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you got to leave.

JACOBS: He just body-slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to leave.


COOPER: And back with us on the phone is "BuzzFeed's" Alexis Levinson, who was outside the room.

So, that's the audio, I guess that the reporter has released, do you know the back story on this? I mean I just read "The Guardian" story that the candidate basically had an investment fund or was invested in an investment fund that had invested, I guess in Russian companies.

LEVINSON: I don't know the background. I can say -- I was standing there with Ben when Gianforte, one of his aides, I guess his body guy or spokesman, a guy who's always been traveling with him, as much as I've been there, came over and -- I asked for an interview.

And then Ben -- and they came over and said, yes, I think you're going to get some time. And Shane, his body guy or his spokesman came over and Ben said, hey, can I have a few minutes and he made some allusion to some "Guardian" article that had been written in the past that they were not pleased with.

They kind of -- they did something similar to me. They have been a little -- they clearly are taking press they don't like very personally. And I don't know what the story was that had been written, but there was evidently some issue that they have with it and they made that clear to them and made it -- intimated he would not be getting time with the campaign.

COOPER: And, Alexis, the reporter Ben, when he left the room, he indicated specifically that it was the candidate who had body slammed him, not the body guy that you referred to.

[20:25:07] LEVINSON: He just -- so the body guy wasn't in the room.


LEVINSON: The only -- as far as -- I don't know where he was. I don't know exactly who was in the room. Like I said, I could not see fully. And again, Ben should speak for himself, because I couldn't see the whole thing. But I know the candidate was in the room, I know Ben was in the room. I believe the TV people were in the room, and the aide after the crash came walking out of another room and walked across to that room.

COOPER: Alexis Levinson, again, I appreciate your time.

Let's just -- I want to play that audio, because we're just hearing it really as you were hearing it for the first time. Let's play that.


JACOBS: -- the CBO score. Because, you know, you've been waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill, and it just came out --

GIANFORTE: We'll talk to you about that later.

JACOBS: Yeah, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious --

GIANFORTE: Okay, speak with Shane, please.

JACOBS: But, you got to --

GIANFORTE: I'm sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

JACOBS: Jesus!

GIANFORTE: get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing. You with "The Guardian"?

JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You'd like me to get the hell out of here? I'd also like to call the police.


COOPER: Paul Begala, you worked for the candidates. Is this --

BEGALA: It's kind of unusual. I was just in Montana few weeks ago on a fact finding mission. And I was asking about the race. This is a state that Donald Trump won by 20 points. And yet it's close enough now, the election is tomorrow. This special election, Ryan Zinke is our new interior secretary. He gave up the one congressional seat Montana has.

It's close. Democrats, they probably don't have a great chance because it's a state Trump won by 20. This tells me that Mr. Gianforte is a little feeling pressure. I don't know that Democrats are going to win, but Rob Quist, the Democratic candidate, has so far not beaten up any reporters. I don't know -- maybe it helps you in Montana.

Probably would help you in Texas.


COOPER: I know, I was going to say, Bryan, how this might actually play in Montana?

LANZA: We don't know if he hasn't beaten up anybody in the past. We're throwing that out. I don't know the candidate's past. But, yes, listen -- BEGALA: He's a guitar player, he's great. By the way, he used to

play in nudist camps. That's focus. If you're going to play guitar in a nudist colony, you got focus, man.

LANZA: That confuses me a little bit.


COOPER: I would say this, passions are running high. We should wait for all the facts to come out. Obviously, you have one side of the story, and there will be another side and let's see how the election goes tomorrow. And let's see how the facts bear out over the next couple of days.

POWERS: Is it possibly tied into the fact that we have a president that's constantly fomenting rage against reporters. I mean, is it possible that there's some connection here.

LANZA: We have a country that doesn't trust reporting.

POWERS: No, no, but this is a different level than it's ever been. I mean, there's no comparison to the way it is today than even a year ago frankly, the absolute rage towards reporters.

COOPER: Jeff, in terms of the legality here.

TOOBIN: Is it legal to body slam someone? No. No.


TOOBIN: I mean, look, I mean, I doubt this is going to wind up with an actual prosecution, tempers run high. But it's indicative of how tense this campaign is, it sounds like this guy, this candidate reacted inappropriately, this is not something you should do. I do remember right here at CNN center, Howard Wilson who was one of Hillary Clinton's aides, grabbed me during the campaign, in a certainly not what the law enforcement community would think of as an attack.

But I remember being struck by that. People get very upset in these campaigns. It's not something I think the law should probably get involved in.

COOPER: Matt, have you ever seen anything like this?

NUSSBAUM: I've never seen anything like that. I can tell you. I know Ben Jacobs. He's a very professional reporter. He covered the Trump campaign, so he's not a stranger to hostile candidates. All I know is what Ben's tweeted, the audio we just heard, but that's obviously very disturbing, it's one thing to berate reporters at rallies, that's something we're used to, but to be physically accosted by a candidate, I find that pretty disturbing.

COOPER: Yes, Professor Dershowitz, the fact that this is allegedly by -- Jeff, the fact that it's allegedly by a candidate himself, you might think, OK, some aide to a candidate perhaps wants to try to get the person out of the room.

TOOBIN: Remember during the Trump campaign, Cory Lewandowski, there was this issue about whether he grabbed a reporter or not, and that sort of faded away after the police got involved initially. This seems more serious. I mean, a body slam is more dangerous, more -- clearly illegal, than what Corey Lewandowski did.

But it's indicative of the atmosphere in which we're living now. And I don't mean to make light of it. I mean, it's bad. This is not something that should happen.

BEGALA: The question according to the tape, that set Mr. Gianforte off, was not about these investments that he had in Russia.

COOPER: CBO score.

BEGALA: But CBO score of the health care bill, which has been a big issue in Montana. Gianforte has, in private but it leaked out, praised the Republican healthcare bill. The Democrat, of course, opposes it. But In public, Gianforte, said, well, I really don't want to take a position on it until the CBO tells us how many people will be covered. They did that this afternoon. So I think it was -- actually a really important time to question. The fact that he snap, this health care bill nationally only has 18 percent support. I doubt it's much higher even in Montana.

So I wonder if he's feeling some heat about the Trump health care bill, which has the potential really hurt Republican candidates.

[20:30:43] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: All right, I want to thank everybody.

Coming up, a slew of arrests in connection with deadly Manchester bombing, the latest on the investigation and the new victims who've been identified. Next.


COOPER: Couple new developments in the investigation of the deadly bombing in Manchester, England, which we'll get to in a moment. But first we want to tell you what we know about more of the victim who were confirmed today by their schools and their families.

Martyn Hett was 29 years old. Photo on social media showed him playing with his nephew, laughing with friends and family.

Marcin and Angelika Klis, their daughter had posted an appeal on Facebook for information about her parents who have been missing since the concert. Her college released a statement confirming her parents had been killed in the attack.

Another school confirmed that one of its student was killed, Nell Jones was a teenager. The teacher said she was popular, always smiling, always positive.

Michelle Kiss was a mom of three. In a statement, her family says they hope to draw from the courage and strength she showed in life to get through this time.

Another mother of three, Jane Tweddle was named as one of the victims by the school where she was the receptionist.

We'll keep our focus on the lives that were taken too soon, but we also want to update you on the investigation. On the latest, there have been (inaudible) arrest including the brother of the 22 year old man, police identified as the bomber.

Also new tonight, these pictures published by the "New York Times" showing what could be the detonator, battery, fragments of a backpack used in the bombing. The photos have appeared to be taken by the British authorities. CNN asked the Manchester Police about the photographs. They had no comment. Our Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour is in Manchester for us and she joins us now. So the arrest today, what do we know about them Christiane?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this has been a very fast moving investigation, we've been getting information from the police authorities really very, very quickly. There have been now seven arrest total since the devastating terrorist attack late Monday night here in the Manchester area.

The latest one about 100 miles from where I am right now that, includes over the last 24, 48 hours, a couple of detonated explosions, controlled explosions going into the various residences in this area, to see what they can find out. And, of course, as we know the police council here had said that this is a network we're investigating, not a lone wolf, they're desperately trying to find out whether there any anybody else in this network, here in this region, and with the threat level of critical, they need to find out quickly because critical means an maybe attack likely.

[20:35:30] Now, at the same time we've had this extraordinary reporting from Libya itself with our CNN producers talking to friends or the family and other inside Tripoli, and we know that the father was briefly detained. He then released a statement saying that he son had essentially lied to the family and had told the family that he wanted to simply on a a pilgrimage to the Hajj in Mecca. Instead came back here, and as far as we can figure out, the explosion happened, the terrorist attack happened about three days after the bomber came back here.

And at the same time, one of the bombers brothers in Tripoli being arrested, again, all of this according to a militia working for the Libyan authorities, saying that they interrogated the brother and they say that he confess that both brothers belong to ISIS.

So this is what we're seeing right now. These are the pieces of the puzzle that are being put together. We have no confirmation from British authorities about the Libya connection, that's friends who have been talking to CNN and other reporters and militias there who have arrested the two who I mentioned, Anderson.

COOPER: Christiane, stay with us, because I want to bring in our intelligence and security analyst and Former CIA officer Bob Baer.

Bob, you've gone to training with the ATF on the improvised devices, how they're made, you saw those pictures of what are believed to be according to "New York Times" pieces of fragments from the device itself. What does that tell you about the level of sophistication or lack thereof?

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Well, Anderson, it's very sophisticated. It has circuit for a probably multiple detonators. Maybe a booster charged. It's very unlikely this 22-year-old made that bomb. He probably had some help, or an enormous amount of training.

These bombs are fairly simple. But this one looks sophisticated and also, the fact that he positioned himself right in the crowd, you know, they knew what they were doing, the packing, the shrapnel, the rest of it. It's -- this is a sophisticated bomb, as I said, and there's also the possibility that it could have had a safety switch, with the circuit board, and possibly somebody standing away with a radio device, just in case he changed his mind to blow him up. This happens all the time in the Islamic state. These people, they panic, they don't set the bomb off. And a second person will.

COOPER: Bob, you know, we've talked about this before in the past in other incidents that bomb makers usually have a signature, they know a certain way to make a device, and if you're aware, you know, if you have one on file, you can kind of investigate who made the actual device. The fact that they were able to get pieces of this device, that's very helpful for the investigation, in terms of trying to determined the signature and who the fall manufacturer of this may be?

BAER: Exactly. I have worked with Scotland Yard a couple of years ago with one of their detectives who was amazing and just took prepaid cell phone calls and the rest of it and they pieced together a suicide bombing, this was in Lebanon, but it's remarkable once they get into the metadata, get into the signature of the bomb, get into cctv coverage and the rest of it, I think within days they're going to able to piece this together how, who was behind it. And if in fact there was a master bomb maker, I think they'll probably be able to identify them.

COOPER: Christiane, what kind of an effect do you think is going to have domestically in Britain, politically and otherwise?

AMANPOUR: Well, politically, as you know, it has caused the suspension of the election campaign. Don't forget there's a general election on June 8 here, it's been suspended and the parties are not campaigning.

And, I must say, in terms of security and a little bit of a political shot across the bow, the Home Secretary here today expressed, "irritation at the leaks that were coming out from the Americans." The interesting to know from Bob how this happened, some of the, for instance, the name of the bomber, these pictures that you're reporting from the "New York Times" and others, a various different details apparently have come out from leaks by the United States officials there, and the Homeland Secretary said that can only complicate our efforts. So, I'm actually interest is now how that happens if Bob knows that.

But again, to reiterate what you've all been saying, I've been talking to one of the world's leading ISIS experts, Peter Neumann, and he too said that this bomb was so sophisticated in terms of its, you know, its composition and the way that it killed so many people and injured so many people that they had to be held, that it was a, you know, a well put together plan.

[20:40:10] COOPER: And, Bob, just to Christiane's question earlier, I mean the U.S. has very closely (inaudible) relationships with British Intelligence, with British Law Enforcement, even in some places like in New York City, often there was the police have very close relationships, assume with the FBI as well, to monitor the kind of technology, the kind of attacks that are happening?

BAER: They do have close cooperation and they give everything to our embassy in London, and this is very unfortunate this has leaked out, you know, a criminal investigation like this. We shouldn't be seeing these pictures. We shouldn't know the name of the bomber, simply because it undercuts the British investigation and arrest. Because the cell is watching this news as well and they're making plans appropriately as this stuff is being leaked. So, you know, I hope this doesn't break cooperation between Britain and the United States, because we depend upon them and their networks there in the United States, it's just -- you know, it's very unfortunate this happened.

COOPER: Bob Baer, Christiane Amanpour, thanks very much.

Just ahead more on the breaking news out of Montana, the Congressional candidate accuse of body slamming a reporter which we got a statement from the candidate. We'll bringing you that and talk about the subject that seems to have set him off, the new CBO score on the health care.


COOPER: We've been reporting on the violence on the eve of perhaps a key Congressional special election, the body slamming of a reporter for the Guardian, Ben Jacobs, by the Montana Republican House Candidate Greg Gianforte. Here is audio of the alleged assault.


BEN JACOBS, REPORTER: The CBO score, because you know, you're waiting to make a decision about health care until you saw the bill, and it just came out --

GREG GIANFORTE, (R) MONTANA'S HOUSE SEAT NOMINEE: We'll talk to you about that later.

JACOBS: Yeah, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious --

GIANFORTE: OK, Speak with Shane, please.

JACOBS: But, you got --

GIANFORTE: I'm sick and tired of you guys!

The last time you came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

JACOBS: Jesus!

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here! The last time did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?

JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last time did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You'd like me to get the hell out of here. I'd also like to call the police. Can I get you guys' names?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you got to leave.

JACOBS: he just body-slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to leave.


[20:45:00] COOPER: Just moments ago, the candidate spokesman issued a statement it reads, " "Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian's Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face, and began asking badgering questions." "Jacobs was asked to leave." The statement continued, "After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground." The statement concludes, "It's unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ."

The question Ben Jacobs was asking when things, well, things turns out like (inaudible) or sour was on today's Congressional Budget Office score., the House Republican Healthcare Bill, the CBO. You heard the CBO's scoring of it, and the White House slamming that scoring.

Theories are these are the cost and the impact estimates the Republicans did not wait for before passing a revised GOP bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Here's the upshot of the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, says the number of uninsured would increase by 23 million by 2026 compared to 24 million under the original GOP bill. The CBO also found the bill that the House passed would save less money, reducing deficit by $119 billion over 10 years versus $150 billion under the original bill.

The White House just released a statement saying, "History has proven the CBO to be totally incapable of accurately predicting how healthcare legislation will impact health insurance coverage." The Senate is in the -- as you know rewriting the House bill, the question is how will these numbers factor in if it all?

Joining me now is Robert Reich Former Labor Secretary and author of "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few," also CNN Senior Economics Analyst Steven Moore, a Former Senior Economic Advisor to the Trump campaign, I can guarantee, there will be no body slamming during this interview.

Secretary Reich, this new CBO score, how much does it actually move the needle here do you think?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: I think it does move the needle, in fact, quite a bit, because remember that 24 million people losing health insurance, that first CBO estimate, having to do with the first time that the House tried to put its version of a repeal of Affordable Care Act, that was enough to basically scuttle that version all together. It didn't even go to a vote.

And the House then came up with its second version, without hearing from the Congressional Budget Office, now the Senate hears from the Congressional Budget Office, instead of 24 million people losing their health insurance, it's 23 million, this is not a big improvement. This put the Senate in a very, very difficult position.

Senate Republicans are going to be scrambling. Either they're going to have to, what, repudiate their own Congressional Budget Office whose director is appointed by Republicans, by the way. Or they're going to have to say, what, it's coming apart anyway, the Affordable Care Act, and so, well if 23 million people lose their health insurance, big deal. That's a very untenable position.

And I tell you, so most of those losses are in Medicaid, and it's going to be even worse because of the Trump budget that even cuts Medicaid further.

COOPER: Republicans are, as you say, criticizing the CBO as you just heard in that White House statement. Steve, I mean a fewer people 23 million people are going to be uninsured were under Obamacare, also you have a smaller impact on the deficit. Is this a mixed bag for House Republicans?

STEVE MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: Well, with all due respect, I think you and Robert Reich are burying a lead story here on heath care, I mean there's actually a much bigger story than the Congressional Budget Office report, Anderson. And that is the -- that in recent hours, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, one of our biggest health insurance companies is basically said that they're pulling out of Kansas and Missouri.

This is, you know, I think we can now officially declare Obamacare in the intensive care unit. I mean you've now got one of the biggest insurance companies in the country, Anderson, that's basically saying we're out of Obamacare in several states. Now you've got more and more areas of the country, Robert Reich, that have no insurance company at all. And I predict if we were to stay in Obamacare, you wouldn't have 23 million people losing their health care, you would have tens of millions losing their health care.


COOPER: -- Sec. Reich.

REICH: Well, I just wanted two points to say, Steve knows as well as I do and you do, Anderson, everybody else, that the Trump administration has done everything they possibly can to undermine the Affordable Care Act.

MOORE: Oh come on.

REICH: Wait a minute, before you laugh, let me explain, because the insurance companies wanted some sureness, they wanted some certainty about what was going to happen, the Trump administration has not only failed to give them information, it's been telling the federal courts to hold off on any decision as to whether the insurance is going to be available, they've been pulling -- they've been hinting that they're not going to fund the insurance. So, obviously, insurance companies are going to start pulling out because the Trump administration is so --


[20:50:00] MOORE: I knew you were going to say that. And the truth is, I looked at the numbers. The reason the Blue Cross and Blue Shield is pulling out of the market is because of $100 million of losses they had in the last two years. Not because of what's happening now. You can't -- you can blame a lot of things on Donald Trump, but you can't blame the collapse of Obamacare on Donald Trump. I mean that's --

COOPER: I understand your focus. And you talked about it on the CBO score though, I mean --

MOORE: Yeah.

COOPER: -- I know Republicans attacked the CBO, clearly --


COOPER: -- don't want to discuss the CBO.

MOORE: -- right.

COOPER: How damaging is this? Because, if the idea is to have people covered, and have people covered well, it doesn't seem to work on either of those score.

MOORE: So, an answer to that question, Anderson, I think what it means is the Senate is going to have to rewrite the House bill. And that's what something that the senators have been saying really from almost the day that the House finished its bill. It's been thrown over to the Senate. There's, you know, there's only 52 Republicans in the Senate. So they're going to have to have something they can all agree on and I think it's going to -- the final bill is going to look a lot more like a bill that covers a lot more people than this.

But, look, the main point I'm making is, what people are saying is, all these people are going to lose their health insurance under the Republican plan. Everybody is going to lose health insurance under Obamacare unless --


MOORE: -- throw them all into Medicaid.

COOPER: That's a little bit of a speech's argument.


REICH: A little bit of a speech's argument, that is a total --


COOPER: -- go ahead Sec. Reich.

REICH: Well, because, the Affordable Care Act, what's going to happen in the Senate in order to get the votes they need and also to avoid the possibility of the 23 million people are going to lose their health insurance. They're going to come up with a bill that looks remarkably like the Affordable Care Act. Maybe it's better funded, so some of these insurance companies can actually make some money. But it's going to -- the structure of the Affordable Care Act has to be there. Mathematically, logically, it's got to be there.


REICH: The only way you cover people with pre-existing conditions is you have healthy people that have to pay in that are part of the insurance pool. You got to actually have rich people pay taxes to support 80 percent of the people in the insurance pools who are poor and won't be able to afford it. So, what are you going to Steve? I mean what's your plan?


MOORE: -- for everybody and that's -- Medicaid is the worst insurance system in the world.

REICH: Don't, don't, don't, don't, don't, don't answer my question with something else.


REICH: What do you propose?

(CROSSTALK) REICH: Steve Moore, what do you propose? What do you propose to Senate?

MOORE: Allow people to buy insurance across statse lines so we have multiple, multiple choices.


REICH: That is -- yes, of course, we both agree with that. That is not --


REICH: -- going to change the insurance market. That's not going to bring 23 million people insurance. What are you going to do about 23 million people --

MOORE: We're going to allow people higher deductible plans. We're going to do medical malpractice reform. So a lot of things you can do to fix the healthcare system.

COOPER: All right, we got to leave it there.

REICH: -- it's going to look a lot like the Affordable Care Act.

COOPER: Steven Moore, thank you --

MOORE: You can't blame the Obamacare collapsing --

COOPER: Robert Reich. Thank you guys, appreciate it.

Just ahead, how a tragedy turned into a conspiracy theory, it's been pushed by right wing pundits the former speaker of the House and current member of Congress, just today. How the whole thing got started and how all of it is compounding the grief of one family.


[20:55:55] COOPER: Back now with the Russia probe and a development we touched on briefly at the top of the program. As we said, the "New York Times" is reporting that senior Russian officials discussed last summer how to use Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort to influence Mr. Trump. This new details expands on a story that CNN broke last week. It comes on the heels of Former CIA Director John Brennan's testimony yesterday about multiple contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians and the concerns they raised for him.

Now the backdrop for all of this, obviously, is the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Whether collusion occurred that is an open question.

Just to be clear, there's no dispute among the intelligence community that Russia was behind the election hacking. (Inaudible) said so under oath at a recent Senate hearing. But despite the certainty of the nation's top intelligence chiefs, conspiracy theorists are working hard to pin the blame on a young DNC staffer who is murdered last July.

Now there is zero evidence, but that has not stopped them, during the last 48 hours one of the conspiracies most high profile and local proponent has back off, at least for now. Tom Foreman reports on the anatomy of the conspiracy theory.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard two gunshots the other night.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: D.C Police have spent months investigating the murder of 27-year-old Seth Rich. And they believe it was a botched robbery that happened as he walked home late at night. The unsuccessful hunt for his killer, a frustration for them and the victim's family.

MARY RICH, MOTHER OF SETH RICH: We will find his murdered.

FOREMAN: The Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich claimed over the weekend with no evidence that the case may be about something more sinister.

NEWT GINGRICH, (I) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: This young man who worked for the Democratic National Committee who apparently was assassinated at 4:00 in the morning having given Wikileaks something like 23,000 -- I'm sorry, 53,000 e-mails.

FOREMAN: It was an explosive charge, a conspiracy involving Wikileaks, the Democratic National Committee and assassination. One big problem though. It's not true. In fact, the whole crazy theory had already been debunked by CNN and other news organizations when Gingrich made the claim. But Gingrich wasn't alone. He'd only joined a flood of right wing conspiracy theorists pushing the notion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a possibility this is a guy who provided to Wikileaks all those DNC e-mail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then he was shot in the back.

FOREMAN: And was no proof they even suggested the young murder victim may be to blame. Claiming he was so angry at his own party for some reason that he handed over the e-mails to get even.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST, HANNITY: If it was true, that Seth Rich gave Wikileaks the e-mails, wouldn't that blow the whole Russia collusion narrative that the media has been pushing out of the water?

FOREMAN: Where did these wild theories come from? From veiled hints from fugitive Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, from a story citing an unnamed alleged federal source and from this private detective who says he has never seen the e-mails, never seen Rich's computer, yet --

ROD WHEELER, PRIVATE DETECTIVE: It's very consistent for a person with my experience to begin to think, well, perhaps there were some e- mail communications between Seth and Wikileaks. KIM DOTCOM, HACKER: The U.S. government invests a lot of money in spy clouds.

FOREMAN: In, yet, another bizarre twist, the notorious hacker known as Kim Dotcom seen here in an interview with Russian state TV claims he has the evidence. Why won't he produce it? He's fighting extradition to the U.S. for conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering. But in a statement on his website said, if my evidence is required to be given, I would need a guarantee from Special Counsel Mueller on behalf of the United States of safe passage from New Zealand to the United States and back.

Seth Rich's family sent a cease and desist letter to the private detective and yesterday pleaded in a statement to Sean Hannity that read in part, "It is a travesty you would prompt false conspiracy theories and other people's agendas rather than work with the family to learn the truth." With that, the story seemed to finally lose one of its biggest champions.

HANNITY: Out of respect for the family's wishes for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time.

FOREMAN: Even so today, the story lives on.