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U.K. Official: Manchester Attacker Known to Authorities; Former CIA Chief Testifies on Trump Campaign Contacts with Russia; Interview with Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired May 24, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The threat level increased from severe to critical.
[07:00:05] BISHOP DAVID WALKER, MANCHESTER: You cannot defeat us because love in the end is always stronger than hate.
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I was worried by a number of contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This thing isn't over, whether General Flynn agrees to testify or not.
SEN. MARK WARNER (R-VA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: A business does not have a right to take the Fifth.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The president visiting the pope during his international trip.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Historic moment at the Vatican.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. We are following several major stories this morning. President Trump meeting with Pope Francis in Vatican City. He's scheduled to leave Rome within the hour and head to Brussels to meet with NATO allies.
Here at home, the Russia investigation is heating up. The former director of the CIA testifying before Congress, saying contacts with Russian operatives and the Trump campaign were real and warrant investigation.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We are also following breaking news overseas. British authorities say the man behind the deadly terror attack in Manchester was known to authorities. The terror alert in the U.K. this morning is critical, meaning authorities believe another attack could be imminent.
Let's get the latest details from CNN's Clarissa Ward. She is live in Manchester for us with the details. What is the latest, Clarissa? CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning,
Well, the terror threat has not been at the level of critical in nearly a decade. The last time it happened was back in 2007 when a man tried to ram his flaming car into the doors of Scotland's Glasgow Airport. So this is a very serious situation here.
We're learning today that three more individuals have been arrested in conjunction with the attack on the Manchester Arena. That brings the total to four. And British security services saying they do not think that the suicide bomber acted alone. Take a look.
WARD (voice-over): New details emerging about suspected Manchester bomber Salman Abedi. British officials telling reporters it seems likely that Abedi did not act alone and that he was known to intelligence services.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sure we will find out more what level they knew about him in due course.
WARD: The 22-year-old, born in Britain to Libyan parents, had recently returned to the U.K. from Libya, according to British officials. He was a business student at the University of Salford but had stopped attending classes. A family friend described him as a lonely child, noticing that he recently appeared to become more devout, growing a beard and dressing IN long robes.
This information coming as England remains on high alert, raising its threat level to critical for the first time in a decade.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely but that a further attack may be imminent.
WARD: Experts noting that the sophistication of the bomb and its target could indicate influence from a larger terror cell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh.
WARD: ISIS taking responsibility, but so far British authorities have no evidence supporting that claim.
WALKER: You cannot defeat us because love in the end is always stronger than hate.
WARD: A moment of silence in Manchester. The city grief-stricken, but resilient, pausing to remember those lost, including 8-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos. Her teacher says she was "simply a beautiful girl, loved by everyone."
Georgina Callander was 18, a super fan who met Ariana Grande in 2015, tweeting how excited she was to see the pop singer the night before. Twenty-six-year-old John Atkinson was a college student who loved to
dance. His local dance studio calling him "an amazingly happy, gentle person and a real pleasure to teach."
And 15-year-old Olivia Campbell also lost in the attack.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was waiting for Ariana to come on, and she was so happy. And -- and she thanked me and said she loved me. And that was the last I heard from her.
WARD: Her mother making an emotional plea to CNN for help finding her daughter before confirming hours later that she was killed, posting this touching memorial online.
WARD: And you can see people are still gathering behind me. They're laying flowers, remembering the dead. There are so many horrifying stories that we're hearing here about what happened inside the Manchester Arena. The lives that were lost.
And I just want to bring our viewers up to speed, as well, with the latest casualties. Twenty-two people were killed. As we know, we're now hearing 64 victims are still in eight different hospitals. Twenty of them are in critical care -- Alisyn and Chris.
[07:05:07] CUOMO: Clarissa, that bomb threw off some really nasty shrapnel. Those injuries could be very severe. We'll have to stay on it, keep those people in our prayers. Clarissa, we'll check back with you. Thank you.
So some stunning revelations from the former CIA chief on what he calls Russia's brazen interference in the U.S. presidential election. John Brennan giving the most detailed public account yet of Russian contacts with members of the Trump campaign. CNN's Joe Johns live in Washington with details -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Chris, this testimony is the most specific description that's been made public so far of how the investigation materialized into Russian interference in the last election. The former CIA chief acknowledging his concern about contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign; no knowledge of collusion. And it appears now that the CIA was the one that initially raised the red flag.
BRENNAN: I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign.
JOHNS (voice-over): The former head of the CIA, John Brennan, testifying for the first time he saw concerning evidence of Russian operatives attempting to recruit Trump aides during the campaign.
BRENNAN: It raised questions in my mind, again, whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.
JOHNS: Brennan conceding he did not see any proof of collusion before leaving office.
BRENNAN: These are contacts that might have been totally, totally innocent and benign.
JOHNS: While stressing there was enough evidence for an investigation.
BRENNAN: I know what the Russians try to do. They try to suborn individuals. And they try to get individuals, including U.S. persons, to act on their behalf, either wittingly or unwittingly. Frequently individuals who go along a treasonous path do not even realize they're along that path until it gets to be a bit too late.
JOHNS: The White House seizing on Brennan's comments, saying in a statement, "Despite a year of investigation, there is still no evidence of Russia-Trump campaign collusion."
Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee issuing two new subpoenas to businesses owned by President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn after Flynn pled the Fifth, refusing to comply with the previous request to turn over all documents related to the Russia investigation.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We disagree with General Flynn's lawyer's interpretation of taking the Fifth, clear -- it is even more clear that a business does not have a right to take the Fifth.
JOHNS: Committee leadership holding open the possibility of holding Flynn in contempt of Congress if he continues to ignore their request.
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: If, in fact, there is not a response, we'll seek additional counsel advice on how to proceed forward. At the end of that option is the contempt charge. And I've said that everything is on the table.
JOHNS: The White House now gearing up for a prolonged fight after initially dismissing the Russia probe as a witch hunt. The president hiring his longtime attorney Marc Kasowitz to represent him on matters relating to the investigation.
JOHNS: It's also our understanding this morning that the White House has essentially hit the reset button on the search for a new FBI director. The president had indicated last week he was close to naming a replacement for James Comey, but now he is apparently interested in expanding the pool of applicants -- Chris and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Joe. Thank you very much for that.
Let's bring in our panel. We have CNN political analysts David Gregory and Abby Phillip, along with CNN national security analyst and the former director of the CIA and NSA, General Michael Hayden.
General, let me start with you. Did Brennan's testimony yesterday that you watched move the needle for you? I mean, he talked about how he couldn't be certain of collusion. He did see contact and communication with Russian operatives.
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Alisyn, I think it's what you would classically expect your intelligence chief, your foreign intelligence chief to say.
We have massive evidence of Russian intervention in the election. We know that the Russians attempt to suborn people in those kinds of efforts. We have these unusual, yet unexplained contacts between Russians and members of the Trump campaign that look suspicious. We're now going to turn it over to law enforcement.
So I think it reinforces the cause of the investigation. It doesn't conclude it. It gives legitimacy to the effort that is currently under way and against which the White House continues to push back as being totally unwarranted.
CUOMO: Did you hear Brennan say, "I didn't hear of any proof. I don't know that there's any proof," or did you -- which was it? Did you hear him say, "There is no proof" or "I don't know if there's proof or not"?
HAYDEN: I think it's I don't know. Chris, it is really important to understand that -- that one element of the proof would be the contact between Trump officials and people in the Russian Federation. Now, they may turn out to be innocent, as John suggested, but they may turn out not to be.
[07:10:14] What he has actually may be the first thread of evidence that leads to something that's conclusive. What John was saying is, "I've got nothing conclusive within my field of view." But again, Chris, remember where I began. He's the foreign intelligence chief. He's now turned it over to the domestic law enforcement folks.
CAMEROTA: Abby, what changed in your mind yesterday, if anything?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he introduced this idea that people might have been involved in things they did not know they were involved in things. He made it very clear that the way that this works is that some people go down what he called a, quote, "treasonous path" without even knowing it. And I thought that was really extraordinary to say and also quite important as we -- we continue down this path.
We don't know what happened here, but he introduced to me, introduced the possibility that people might not have known what they were doing, which helps explain -- which could help explain why there's so much vehement opposition to the very idea that this probe is valid. It also helps explain why these agencies are looking down the path and seeing a lot of things out there and recognize people may not have known the path they were on and it is enough information to justify this investigation going forward. CUOMO: Here's the former chief in his own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: Frequently individuals who go along a treasonous path do not even realize they're along that path until it gets to be a bit too late. And that's why, again, my radar goes up early when I see certain things that I know what the Russians are trying to do, and I don't know whether or not the targets of their efforts are as mindful of the Russian intentions as they need to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Really fascinating, right? That you unwittingly become a stooge, and he's seen it before.
CUOMO: Right. It won't be the most compelling thing for a lot of people who don't want to believe there's any collusion, though. Because it fights common sense. Common sense, as you'll know...
CAMEROTA: Means there's intention.
CUOMO: Right. You'd know if I was trying to help -- get you to help me.
CAMEROTA: Right. But he's saying maybe not.
CUOMO: But David, you know, what I thought was the big headline from yesterday is, unless there is an actual criminal charge here, and that would be a really high bar, given what we know right now. Trey Gowdy is the face of the opposition and the political reality that this is ultimately going to be a political question. And you know, just judging by Gowdy, they're never going to be satisfied that anything wrong happened here, anything they need to do anything about. What was your take?
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, talking about Trey Gowdy, the Congressman from South Carolina, who's a former assistant attorney. He knows well that when you have somebody who is seeking to shut down an investigation, that that's potential obstruction of justice.
If you want to put it in the political context, we can do that, too. President of the United States firing the FBI director leading his investigation; going to other intelligence chiefs and trying to slow it down. Why? It doesn't make sense, even if there is nothing there.
There's a piece of this that I think there is something worth mentioning. Because it becomes a political argument, unless we know something more, and we don't know it yet.
There was an attitude within the Trump campaign, exemplified by the candidate himself. How cavalier he was about how he could be compromised and those around him could be compromised by a foreign power seeking to interfere in the election. And even now with his brazen sharing of intelligence improperly with Russian officials. He seems to just think, you know, he can do whatever he likes with the Russians.
I always like to quote "The Godfather," right, for real-life situations. And when Michael is told that your father did business with Hyman Roth, but he never trusted Hyman Roth. And here, I don't think Trump is showing enough appropriate distrust of the Russians, particularly given what they tried to do, in his dealings. And I think that's a real breakdown in their judgment.
CAMEROTA: I'm glad that you're fastening on that, David, because General, there was a moment in Brennan's testimony that I think it really helped clarify something. Ever since President Trump basically confirmed that he'd divulged sensitive classified information to the Russians, he had said, "But presidents can do that." And everybody said, "Well, it's legal. Presidents can do that."
Actually, Brennan, yesterday, said yes, they can do it, but there's a protocol. A process by which you are supposed to share classified information. And it is not blurting it out in the Oval Office. That is not the process.
In fact, you have to check back with the original -- you know, original source to make sure that you can share this information. So let me play this moment for you where Brennan talked about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: Secondly, before sharing any classified intelligence with foreign partners, it needs to go back to the originating agency to make sure that the language in it is not, even just providing the substance, going to reveal sources and methods and compromise the future collection capability.
[07:15:10] So it appears as though, at least from the press reports, that neither did it go in the proper channels nor did the originating agency had the opportunity to clear language for it. So that is a problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: General, do you agree that breaking protocol in that way is a problem?
HAYDEN: Absolutely. Two unforced errors there. No. 1, doing it without consulting with the originator of the information.
And secondly, doing it on the fly so that your language is not carefully crafted to make sure you're not revealing anything more than you intend to reveal to the new partner, to the Russians in this case.
And can I use this to reinforce a point that David just made? You know where this all might end up? Is in a place where the campaign bears responsibility for doing things that colluded, but falling well short of guilt for having done those things. This may be a certain sense of ignorance, lack of care, chaos that allowed the Russians to do some things for which they should feel responsible, about which they cannot be held guilty. CUOMO: Michael, let me ask you something. When you were the at the
NSA, if the president came to you and said, "Do me a favor. I don't buy what's going on with this Russia thing. Will you go public and say that there is no proof? What would you have done with that request?
HAYDEN: I think I'd have done the same that Mike Rogers did, to politely decline that as being inappropriate. I would phrase it as, "Mr. President, let me tell you the reasons you don't want me to do that on your behalf."
And Chris, I've got to add, I never got a phone call directly from President Bush, even though I thought I had a very good relationship with him. So the fact of that call would have set off all sorts of concerns in my mind.
CUOMO: Is there a duty to tell anyone?
HAYDEN: Well, I actually -- that call, the fact of that call I don't think enjoys any classification protection. It may -- it may enjoy some protocol protection, some privacy, even some executive privilege. But I've been struck that neither DNI Coats nor NSA Director Rogers, or their institutions, have denied the fact of the call. They've just avoided opportunities to confirm it. So in my judgment, they did, indeed, take place.
And I do believe when they're in front of the committee of jurisdiction, which is the Intelligence Committees in the House and the Senate, when they're specifically asked that, I do think they will say what exactly happened.
CAMEROTA: Panel, we have to leave it there. Abby, we owe you one. Thank you very much for all of the insights.
So we have other news to get to and that's that the White House has released its budget plan and the proposed cuts are alarming to many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. So Senator Tim Kaine is going to be here to tell us what concerns him most, next.
[07:21:56] CAMEROTA: President Trump reportedly hiring a private attorney to represent him on the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. In the hearing yesterday, the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, refused to tell the Senate committee whether President Trump tried to get him to publicly deny claims of collusion between team Trump and Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I have always believed that, given the nature of my position and the information with which we share, it's not appropriate for me to comment publicly on any of that. And so on this topic, as well as other topics, I don't feel it's appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right. Let's bring in Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. He's a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which held that hearing. Good morning, Senator.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Hey, Alisyn. Good to be with you.
CAMEROTA: Should Dan Coats have answered that question?
KAINE: You know, Alisyn, I don't think he should have answered it directly, but there was a follow-up question that was asked by Jack Reed, the lead Democrat on the committee, that said, "Don't talk about your conversations. Would it be appropriate for a president to make such a request?"
And he answered very plainly. He said it would be inappropriate to shape intelligence in any way. And he went on to say, "And that's my position, and I've made that position plain to the administration."
So he didn't want to reveal his direct conversations with the president...
CAMEROTA: Right, but...
KAINE: ... but he did tell us what he thought was appropriate and not appropriate. And that tells me that "The Washington Post" reporting on this matter, and the other articles, is likely correct.
CAMEROTA: But isn't it in the public interest to find out if the president of the United States was trying to pressure the director of national intelligence to say something?
KAINE: Yes. Absolutely. And I think there is a forum to find that out, largely probably through the special prosecutor or through the intel committee's investigation.
But there is a degree to which a president ought to be able to have conversations with his director of national intelligence without that necessarily being revealed first in an open hearing. But because of the follow-up question that Senator Reed asked, I think it was pretty clear what DNI Coats' position was.
CAMEROTA: OK, what did you think of John Brennan's testimony? Did you think that he was confirming that there was no collusion between Russia and Team Trump? Or did you think he was just -- I mean, he basically said, "I saw contact and communication," but he couldn't go that extra step. So where does that leave you?
KAINE: Yes, well, he certainly was not saying there was no collusion or cooperation. He was saying he saw contact that caused him great concern. He even used the phrase "going down a treasonous path" to describe his concerns when he saw some of this contact.
And what he said is he turned the evidence of this over to the FBI before he left the CIA. At this point, it's up to the investigation to determine whether there's collusion or cooperation. But he definitely did not say that there was no collusion or cooperation. In fact, he used very grave words to describe the level of his concern.
[07:25:03] CAMEROTA: So help us understand where the investigation is today. What changed yesterday, if anything? Give us a status report.
KAINE: Well, the status report is you've got two investigations. Senate Intelligence moving forward with Director Comey, supposed to come in after Memorial Day, and now a special prosecutor who can give the American public confidence that this will be done independently.
And I think what they're looking at is a pattern. The president is talking to Director Comey about whether or not he keeps his job. He asks him, "Will you be loyal to me?" He then asks him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn. Director Comey not only does not do that, but he publicly talks about the investigation to Congress. He asks for more resources for the investigation. He then gets fired, and the president tells folks, including the Russians, "Hey, look, this is going to help take the pressure off of the Russia investigation."
So there's quite a pattern emerging. And most of the pattern is words coming out of the president's own mouth in terms of his effort to undermine the investigation and undermine it because he was concerned specifically about the FBI director getting too close on the Russia question.
CAMEROTA: In terms of getting the information, are you getting all of the information you need? Because there's a report out this morning that Senate Democrats -- of which you are one, but I don't know if you sent this letter -- have sent a letter to the president saying the federal agencies are basically stonewalling them. They're asking for documents, they're asking for more information, and Senate Democrats believe that they have been instructed not to share information with Senate Democrats.
KAINE: Alisyn, that letter troubles me. I'm not part of the letter. And that has not been my experience thus far in dealing with the administration. Then again, I'm not on either of the committees that are doing the Russia investigation -- Intel and Judiciary.
I am on two committees that are sort of using the information, Armed Services and Foreign Relations, because we have to make important decisions about strategy and budget taking into account what the nation -- what the chief nation state adversary, Russia, is doing. So I'm sort of a consumer of the intel, but not on the investigative committees.
I was not part of that letter, but of course I'm troubled if my colleagues feel like they're not getting their questions answered.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the budget. The president has just released his view of what the budget should look like. What did you see in there?
KAINE: Well, look, the main thing that jumped out at me big time was broken promises. This was a president who, on the campaign trail, said very plainly, "Unlike every other Republican, I'm not going to cut Medicaid' I'm not going to cut Medicare; I'm not going to cut Social Security."
This budget, when you combine it with the AHCA, the healthcare bill, cuts Medicaid over ten years by $1.5 trillion and cuts Social Security disability by about $75 billion. This from a president who promised he wouldn't do it. That really jumps out at me, and it makes me think that when we see the CBO score later today about the healthcare bill, it's also going to break President Trump's promises: Nobody pays more. Nobody loses coverage. Nobody gets kicked around if they have a pre- existing condition.
I'm expecting to see more broken promises today.
CAMEROTA: Some economists have looked at the numbers and said that basically, it hurts poor people. It takes money away from Food Stamps; it takes money away from student loans and the ability to pay them back.
However, the director of OMB, Mick Mulvaney, is suggesting that it's time to get people off of these programs and that this budget will help that. Let me play for you what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: We're no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off of those programs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Your reaction, Senator?
KAINE: I think he's looking at numbers on a page, and he's not looking at people. This isn't about programs; it's about people. And Director Mulvaney has sent over a budget for the president that isn't at all about people.
When you cut Medicaid -- in Virginia, about 1 million people get Medicaid; 500,000 of them are kids, 112,000 of them are elderly people, 186,000 of them are folks with disabilities. That's who gets hurt when you cut Medicaid. It's poor, vulnerable people and children. That's who they' re hurting.
They're looking at numbers on a page, but in the Senate, what we're going to do is we're going to look at people. Because that's what this budget is really about. It's about people. And we're not going to let them make these draconian cuts.
CAMEROTA: Senator Tim Kaine, nice talking to you. Thanks for being on NEW DAY.
KAINE: Thanks, Alisyn. You bet.
CUOMO: Former national security adviser Michael Flynn defying Congress, saying he will not give them what they want and that he's going to use his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. But members still want information from him. We have Congressman Elijah Cummings next. How does he think he can get more information out of Flynn?