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The New York Times" Reporting This Hour That Donald Trump Junior Met With A Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Hillary Clinton; Original Series "The '90s" Takes Off. Aired 7:00-8:00p ET
Aired July 9, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:18] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
We begin with this breaking news. "The New York Times" reporting this hour that Donald Trump junior met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton. This is the first public indication that at least some in the Trump campaign were willing to accept Russian help. Donald Trump junior has provided CNN with the following statement.
I quote "I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I Knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign. I was not told her name prior to the meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to attend. Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort. But told them nothing of the substance. We had a meeting in June 2016. And after pleasantries were exchanged the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Miss Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information. She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky act. It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that that plaintiff potentially helpful information were a pretext to the meeting. I interrupted and advised her that my father was not an elected official, but rather a private citizen and her comments were better addressed if and when he held public office. The meeting lasted approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As it ended my acquaintance apologized for taking up our time. That was the end of it and there was no further contact or follow-up of any kind. My father knew nothing of these meetings or these events."
Now, a member of President Trump outside legal team tells CNN the President was not aware of this meeting and did not attend.
Let's get out to our reporter, CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott and CNN crime and justice producer Shimon Prokupecz. They are joining us from Washington.
Elise, help us understand the significant of this. ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, it seems
to be an early indication that the Russian were seeking out members of the Trump campaign. Now, Donald Trump Junior said he didn't know who he was meeting with. This was an introduction from an acquaintance at the Miss Universe pageant. What he doesn't say is that Miss Universe pageant was held in 2013 in a suburb of Moscow.
So in essence, a contact, Trump Junior made through that pageant was trying to set him up with someone who had info that could help the campaign. And if as Donald Trump Junior suggests, that person ended up being a Russian attorney trying to talk about policy. The question is why didn't he report it especially given the questions that have followed about Russia trying to interfere in U.S. democracy? This meeting did happen about a year ago as we said when Donald Trump first clinched the nomination.
CABRERA: And we are learning the name of that Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Elise, what do we know about her?
LABOTT: Well, the lawyer at that meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, founded a group purporting to seek the removal of that adoption ban on Russian children at Mr. Trump's mansion. It is important to know why this program was ended.
Now, the Russians put the ban in place years ago as a retaliation for an American law passed in 2012, also mentioned by Mr. Trump Junior, known as the Magnitsky act which impose sanctions over Russian officials and oligarchs thought to have violated human rights. And Ms. Veselnitskaya has sought the repeal of that Magnitsky act.
Now, we haven't been able to reach here, but she did tell "The New York Times" she was not asking on behalf of the Russian government and never discussed these matters with any government representatives. But again, she is known as someone who tried to work to repeal this U.S. legislation damaging to Russian officials and the adoption ban. So you have again, a Russian national thinking to reach out to the Trump campaign before he was even in the White House. Why that's something we still don't know, Ana.
CABRERA: And Shimon, we know there are multiple investigations, at least a handful in Congress both in the House and the Senate investigating the Russia meddling in the election and then we have the special prosecutor who is looking into whether there was collusion on behalf of the Trump campaign working with Russians and their meddling of the election. How does this new information impact the ongoing FBI investigation in particular?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Right. So the FBI, you know, they started their investigation of the Trump campaign after this meeting, you know. When Comey testified before the hill, he said the investigation started in July of 2016. So this meeting happens before. And we have been told, you know, our team here at CNN that has been working this investigation has been told that it was a different issue that started this investigation that caused the FBI to start looking at this.
Now, you know, we are a year into this. It could be that the FBI may have gone back and have looked at this and may have made some decisions about it. What's interesting is that, you know, this doesn't come to light until Jared Kushner has to refile his sf-86. This is a security clearance form where he goes back and he has to tell the government all his foreign contacts. And this is where this comes up. And he so admits that he has this other meeting with a potential person from the Russian government.
You know, she, this lawyer, has been on the FBI's radar previously. The key issue here probably for the FBI will be, you know, was she there on behalf of the Russian government? Was she sent there on behalf of Vladimir Putin? And we just don't know that. And as part of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation, you know, they would want to know that.
We have not hear back from the FBI if this was part of the investigation, you know. And it would be fair to speculate, but certainly this raises some additional questions about what was going on here during the campaign.
And you know, Ana, it's important also, you know, how much vetting was the Trump campaign doing before meetings with Folks? We know that even after he won the election there were -- there's been a lot of questions raised about who his folks attached to his campaign and some of the people close to him had met with. So it's no surprise that perhaps maybe the vetting here wasn't so good and they may not have known exactly who they were meeting with. But there are obviously, these are all questions that the FBI will probably look to answer and may have already answered and we just don't know.
[19:06:52] Shimon Prokupecz, Elise Labott. Thank you.
I want to bring in our panel. CNN senior political analyst and former advisor to four U.S. presidents David Gergen, Washington bureau chief for the 'Chicago Sun time" Lynn Sweet, former CIA operative Bob Baer, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin. Also with is, he is a CNN intelligence and security analyst and former CIA operative. Michael Zeldin is with us, too, former federal prosecutor.
So I want to start with you, Michael Zeldin and ask you the question about the significance as you see it with this latest development?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Potentially, this has a lot of significance. Potentially it's a red herring and turns out to be nothing. On the significance, positive side of it, you have Jared Kushner meeting with Russians who have information, presumably data about Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Jared Kushner's role in the campaign is data analytics at this point. Remember, he is in-charge of their data operation who used targeted date at to push out information positive about their candidate and negative about their opponent.
We also know that a few weeks after this, July 22, I believe, WikiLeaks drops its first dump of data from the DNC. You have this coalescing of events that could be causal or could be coincidental of a meeting with a person who has data with respect to Hillary Rodman Clinton. Then you have the person who is in-charge of data for their Trump campaign. Then you have the WikiLeaks all occurring within a few weeks of one another. So potentially, there's significance there in that the FBI and special counsel Mueller will want to look at it. On the other hand, potentially, and just, you know, coincidence and it is not much of anything.
CABRERA: I apologize for stepping on you there.
ZELDIN: OK. I'm sorry.
CABRERA: Let me bring in Lynn Sweet. And earlier this year going back to sort of the time line and this information that's coming out in drips and drab, Lynn, President Trump remember had said no one on his campaign met with Russia. Last night his son admit that he and others did meet with the Russian lawyer but that it was about adoption. And now, today, his son admits the original purpose of this meeting wasn't about adoption, but about information that would be helpful to his dad's campaign and perhaps damaging to Hillary Clinton. What do you make of that?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN TIME: Well, I make of it that this - first of all, this is very sloppy on the part of the Trump operation. Sloppy on Jared Kushner's part not just to get these disclosures. But let's put that aside. I have a little different point I want to make here and it's important in this unfolding story.
Just in the last few minutes "the Washington Post" has put the name of the go-between out, Rob Goldstein. That's the Miss Universe emissary who is the go-between who arranged the meeting. He is also the manager for a big, Russian pop star.
But here is what we don't know. He did this on behalf of a client who is unnamed. So this could be that the lawyer who happens to be Russian and don't mistake that for representing the Russian government, might have been brought in there to have a meeting that now dealt with someone else's interest. It might have been that they are feeling their way in. What might be useful for later on. Someone should have known they didn't have any information about Hillary Clinton that was worth giving up because they never did.
If this information, by the way, was really useful, there are many other ways of injecting in to the political system information rather than taking it to the Trump headquarters which is why I also think as the story unfolds in four congressional committees and these special prosecutors' investigation that this is an important component that needs a lot more context, but could be an importance piece of the ongoing puzzle of all the Russians were interested in helping Trump get elect President.
[19:11:01] CABRERA: I should point out, CNN has not yet confirmed name of that acquaintance Donald Trump Junior has referenced who set up the meeting between some of the Trump family members, Donald trump Junior, Jared Kushner and as well as the Trump campaign manager at that time, Paul Manafort. Bob, you are a former CIA operative. You know how Russians work.
Does Donald Trump Junior's story seem plausible about why he had this meeting?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: No, not at all. If you look at "the New York Times" story it said that he agreed to the meeting with the Russian lawyer because he thought the Russian lawyer had damaging information about Hillary Clinton. And that sort of key to the story. So in other words, the Trump campaign was going out, reaching out to foreigners and an adversary like Russia looking for information. And at that point, you know, whatever the nature of the conversation occurred, there is only one thing to do and that is go to the FBI.
You have a foreign government, soon to be foreign using a proxy. It's what the KGB does and he didn't do it. And this is coming out a year later and the Trump administration has been saying we had no contact which is patently false. And this is what disturbs me. This is until we come clean on this Russian connection and the possible collusion, we are going to be tied up in this, you know. Watergate is starting to look simple.
CABRERA: David, you have advised Presidents. If you are campaigning and someone says they have damaging info on your opponent, wouldn't you meet with them?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think you do it very, very carefully especially if you are an international person. But I agree with much of what has been said already here tonight. I don't think we know the legal significance of this and that's what investigations are all about. We will have to wait and see. But this does have political significance.
First of all, it's one more example of the double talk (ph) that has come out in the Trump team. That contains to plague them and the presidency because they don't play straight with the facts. I mean, just yesterday Donald Trump Junior put out a statement that is basically said I met with this person because we wanted on - they were meeting about adoption of Russian children. It said nothing about Hillary Clinton (INAUDIBLE).
And today, they are forced to come clean with a different statement. But you know, why didn't they tell us the truth to start with? And it happens again and again that the President coming out this G-20 in Europe. You know, at first, it looks like he had a really successful meeting with Putin. But now, it's developed and controversy because we are not getting a straight story about what was really said in there and what the President believes. And I think that just fuels the political suspicion that is wounding the Trump team again and again.
And beyond that, I want to make the point that this is extremely abnormal for a campaign to have as many contacts with any foreign nation, but especially with the Russians. This is not the way campaigns work. You know, they are basically internal affairs. And if somebody comes and tells your campaign manager, hey, we have a Russian who has may as much stuff on Hillary, you are damn careful before you sit down with that person because you don't know what you are getting yourself into. And normally, you have some lower level person do it to start where to figure it out and not bring in the top guns of the campaign.
CABRERA: I have more questions for you all, but standby. We have to squeeze a quick break. We will stay on top of this developing story. The breaking news from "The New York Times," now reporting that there was a meeting that happened last June involving Donald Trump Junior, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort meeting with a Russian lawyer. The impetus of this meeting was because Jared -- or Donald Trump Junior rather was told that whoever he was going to be meeting with had damaging about Hillary Clinton. He now know it was a Russian lawyer who handed a meeting with.
Much more on this breaking story when we come back.
[19:19:12] CABRERA: Our breaking news, "the New York Times" reporting Donald Trump Junior met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton. This was in June of last year, just after Trump had clinched the Republican nomination.
In a statement to CNN Donald Trump Junior does not deny this meeting happened. And a member of President Trump's outside legal team also tells CNN the President was not aware of this meeting and did not attend.
I want you to listen now to vice President Mike Pence. This is on January 15th when Chris Wallace of FOX News Sunday asked Pence directly if there was ever contact between Trump and the kremlin. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Was there any contact in any way between Trump or his associates and the kremlin or cutouts they had?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I joined to this campaign in the summer and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and the associates was with the American people. We were fully engaged with taking his message to make America great again all across this country.
[19:20:14] WALLACE: Did you ever ask Mr. Trump if there were any contacts, sir? I'm trying to get an answer.
PENCE: Of course, not. Why would there be any contacts with the campaign? Chris, this is all a distraction and it is all a part of a narrative to delegitimize of the election and to question the legitimacy of this presidency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to talk more about this with David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst and a former Presidential aide to Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. Also with us CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin.
Welcome back, guys. Thanks for sticking around.
David, to you first. You have worked again for four Presidents, how significant is this report to you?
GERGEN: It's significant, but it is a piece of a bigger puzzle, you know. The more we learn the more the puzzle begins to make sense and that is that there was an abnormal set of relationships with the Russians that people associate with Trump or have had over a period of time. We don't know whether there were violations of the law. We don't know, you know, there's a lot -- the legal significance is still to be determined.
But there's no doubt that this is deeply troubling and that in the minds of Americans it connects directly to the kind of relationship that the President is developing with Vladimir Putin. And it continues to be an odd relationship and one in which we don't seem to be getting the full story about what was said in this very, very important meeting. I mean, just, you know, just in the last 48 hours, the chief of staff of the White House has said there was never any talk with Putin about sanctions which are a very important issue and yet Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state said coming out of the meeting said there was talk about sanctions.
I don't know why they have so much trouble getting their story straight, but it just fuels suspicion that I think is terribly damaging to the President and to his capacity to govern. And frankly, is disparaging for a lot of Americans.
CABRERA: Michael, we, according to "The New York Times" report, they are saying it is still unclear whether the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya actually produces the promise compromising information about Mrs. Clinton.
But you talked about the timeline here. And what we are learning is this meeting happened on June 9th according to the "New York Times" report and confirmed that it was in June by Donald Trump Junior, that note if it was June 9th, that's roughly one week after the final hacked emails were collected from the DNC and one week before the hack was actually announced. Does the time line there raise red flags to you?
ZELDIN: Well, this is what we talked about just a minute ago. This is possibly a piece of a puzzle that's now been put together which is information seized illegally from the DNC, a cutout and you have to watch bridge of spies to see whether it is a cutout on behalf of the government on the soviet union of Russia or not. It seems most likely that it was. And then you have Kushner who was at the meeting at the behest of Trump Junior. He is the data analytics guy for the campaign. And then the next thing we know there is the WikiLeaks leak. And those things to me are not easily understood as coincidences. And so I think that that's something that Mueller will look at carefully. The other thing I think that is important, and David has made the
point well in political terms. In legal terms when you have a circumstantial case which is what this is where people are going to say different things and you have to evaluate the credibility of witnesses to make determinations as to who is being truthful and who is not, these evolving stories, this drip, drip, drip of the truth just doesn't seem to be in any way helpful to their legal position which will be down the line evaluated by Mueller. So not only does it not make political sense to David, it doesn't make legal sense to me why at this point in -- in the life of this investigation would you dare have evolving truth in the course of two days as was the case with Donald Trump Junior. It's just unfathomable to me from a legal point of view.
CABRERA: David, this meeting happened in Trump tower, we have learned. Trump's son, son-in-law, his campaign manager, Paul Manafort at the time, they were all there, but apparently then-candidate Trump was never aware of it. Do you buy that?
[19:25:03] GERGEN: I don't know. You know, one is awfully suspicious. And Donald Trump is such a major force in himself, you know. He is just a very strong person who wants to know things. And you know, he would be very unhappy not to be told, I think. So one has to assume he probably was told. But I don't think -- again, I think that is going to be something Mueller has to sort out.
I totally agree with the arguments of analyst about the legal aspect to this, too. I do think - I think inevitably, when the Mueller team weighs what they have got and what some of the members of the Senate weigh what they have got, they are going to be deeply troubled by the pattern of statements that -- that just don't add up, and when I -- I just never -- I just can't remember a time when a White House has been so unable and a legal team has been so unable to get their story straight and to come forward with straight facts and defend themselves. I mean, it's just the incompetence that goes into this is also quite stunning.
CABRERA: So I want to the make sure I get it, what Donald Trump Junior has said, guys, again, initially he admitted there was a meeting between himself, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort and this Russian lawyer. He confirmed that to us, Jared Kushner's lawyer also confirmed that to us here at CNN, and before this most recent part of "The New York Times" reporting that it was because Donald Trump Junior was promised some damaging information about Hillary Clinton that could be useful to their campaign.
We had this statement from Jared Kushner's lawyer regarding this meeting that said, admitting he did not disclose this meeting initially on a security clearance form.
Quote "he has since submitted this information including that during the campaign and transition he had over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most of which were during transition. Mr. Kushner has submitted additional updates and included out of an abundance of caution this meeting with the Russian person which he briefly attended at the request of his brother-in-law, Donald Trump Junior, as Mr. Kushner has consistently stated he is eager to cooperate and share what he knows.
Michael Zeldin, does that statement change your calculus about how you are looking at this meeting?
ZELDIN: Well, Jamie Garell (ph) is a terrific lawyer. And I think he is doing a very good job in representing Jared Kushner. And Jared Kushner's statements seem to always be I want to do the right thing. I'm trying to do the right thing. I have made a mistake in the past. I have corrected it going forward. And it may well be the truth.
To David's point, though, of the White House being unable to get its act together. As a lawyer, I think of it in terms of as an unwillingness to get its act together. So David thinks of it in political terms and says I can't understand why they are unable to get this together. I think in legal terms why are they unwilling to get it together and why I say it in those terms is that it implies that there is something that they are trying to hide. That there's a truth that they don't want revealed and that's why the story comes out as it comes out. And once forced to tell the truth or evolve the truth then they evolve the truth.
So with respect to Kushner, it remains to be seen. With respect to others, I don't believe that they are helping themselves, helping the President's legal case or helping their own personal jeopardy by being untruthful until required to be truthful.
CABRERA: Michael Zeldin and David Gergen -- I've got to get a quick break. Go ahead.
GERGEN: Michael is absolutely right.
CABRERA: All right. That was quick.
ZELDIN: I'll take that.
CABRERA: We always appreciate you being a part of our show. Thank you both for your time tonight.
A quick break. We are back after this.
[19:33:18] CABRERA: Our breaking news, Donald Trump's oldest son has told CNN he, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager chairman Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer last year, the first known meeting of the several of the senior most members of Trump's team and a Russian national during the campaign.
"The New York Times" which first reported that previously undisclosed meeting says it occurred in Trump tower on June 9th, 2016. Keep in mind, this is two weeks after Trump clinched the Republican Presidential nomination.
In a statement to CNN Donald Trump junior does not deny the meeting happened, a member of President Trump's outside legal team tells CNN the President was not aware of this meeting and he did not attend. I want to bring in former ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush White
House Richard Painter joining us now.
Richard, I want to read a tweet from you today. You write, this is treason. He must have known that the only way Russia would get such information was by spying.
That's a strong statement. Explain to our viewers why you are calling this treason.
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Well, one version of the story, if true, would be treason, and that version is the report that he knew that he would be given damaging information on Clinton at this meeting or that that was suggested that he might get such information on Clinton at the meeting. And if he intended to receive information on Clinton from the Russians at a time that the Russians were known to be engaged in computer hacking in the United States and had been doing it for quite some time and also to have animosity toward Hillary Clinton then he is in a situation where he is going to the Russian agent for the purpose of receiving stolen information on Hillary Clinton.
This is illegal. And I think this is treason if he knew that he was assisting the Russians in carrying out an attack on the United States election. And the only way such an attacked and be successful would be for the Russians to obtained the information through computer hacking and pass it on to the opposing campaign which was of course the Trump campaign. That's a critical link for this attack on the United States to be successful. And if he went to that meeting intending to provide that critical link by obtaining the information on Hillary Clinton, then he would be guilty of treason.
Now this is based on, you know, some reports. We don't know what happened. But if that version of the facts is true, that is criminal conduct and is assisting an adversary in the attack on the United States. That's treason.
CABRERA: Now, before you go all of the way there, what about this scenario according to Donald Trump junior and the statement he gave to CNN, he was -- he was set up to have this meeting with an acquaintance, somebody that he met he said during the Miss Universe pageant in 2013 which we know was in Moscow. But he said he did not know the name of the person he was going to meet. What if he didn't know that person was from Russia?
PAINTER: If he did not know that he was going to meet someone from Russia, he did not go to seek to obtain information obtained through espionage about Hillary Clinton, there are plenty of other explanations for what happened. And my point is that the version of the facts which has been reported in the press that he went there to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russians who are known to be conducting espionage, if that is true, it is treason.
There are plenty of other explanations. But I want to emphasize that you do not go to the Russians to get opposition research on your political opponents. That's like going to a fence to buy a TV set and then say that you didn't know you were buying stolen goods.
This is a situation that requires additional questioning of Mr. Trump and Mr. Manafort, and Mr. Kushner and everyone else who was at that meeting to find out what happened, what they expected to get from that meeting and we need to get to the bottom of this. Did anyone in the Trump campaign seek to get stolen information from the Russians about Hillary Clinton or about anybody else?
CABRERA: On top of it, Richard, this, of course, is coming -- this report is coming with the backdrop following the President's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. And the President today suggesting it's time to move forward than re-litigating the past.
He tweeted today, I strongly pressed President Putin twice about the election. He vehemently denied it. I have already given my opinion. We negotiated a ceasefire in parts of Syria which will save lives. Now, it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia. Putin and I discussed facing an impenetrable cybersecurity unit so that election hacking and many other negative things would be guarded.
We also know what is happening in Capitol Hill, the Senate voting to pass some Russian sanctions, making sure that Congress would be involved in any move by the administration to roll back sanctions, essentially tying the President's hand in negotiations with Putin. And the White House wants to stop this bill from moving forward. It is currently in the House.
Combined, all of this combined, what does that tell you? How significant is this report now for the President regardless if he was at this meeting or knew about it?
PAINTER: It's clear he doesn't know how to run the country, at a minimum. He is suggesting that we collaborate with the Russians to address the problem of computer hacking and cybersecurity when it is the Russians who have been engaging in computer hacking. This is like trusting our nuclear arsenal to Iran to help protect the security of Israel.
It makes no sense this type of policy. The Russians engage in a hostile act with the United States. We need to defend ourselves against such hostile acts whether they come from the Russians or anybody else. And the last thing that we need to do is collaborate with the Russians with respect to our cybersecurity.
Now, I see increasing evidence that the Trump camp has been collaborating with the Russians on cybersecurity issues over a number of month, if not a year, but this has got to stop. This is not the way to protect the United States and our interests. And we are very vulnerable to computer hacking, much more vulnerable than we thought. And the President needs to take the issue seriously and that's not what he is doing.
[19:40:11] CABRERA: Richard Painter, thanks so much for joining us tonight.
PAINTER: Thank you. CABRERA: We are back in a moment.
[19:44:22] CABRERA: We are staying on top of our breaking news tonight. "The New York Times" reporting Donald Trump Junior met with a Russian lawyer last year after being told she had damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Joining us, former CIA operative Bob Baer.
Bob, you were in the CIA for more than two decades. Does it surprise you that Russian nationals would be approaching the campaign and offering information?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, in fact, no. A year before this meeting, this 9th June meeting, 2016, I know for a fact that the department of justice and the FBI were looking into the possibility that Russian, the FSB, KGB was shopping around dirt on both Hillary Clinton and Hunter Biden, the son of the vice President. They wanted to get into this election, but the FBI did not have the details to open up a full investigation. They were looking at it.
Now, if Donald Trump Junior had gone to the FBI and told them about this approach with damaging information it would very much have helped their case. So the Russians had wanted to get in our elections since the mid-'90s. I have seen it. And it's something that we should have been more attentive about. And certainly the Trump campaign would have been aware of this and they tried this with Bill Clinton and Bill Clinton refused the money in the '90s. So you know, come on. This shouldn't be a surprise to anybody.
[19:45:46] CABRERA: So if Donald Trump Junior reportedly met with this Russian national who claimed to have the damaging information on Clinton, is it possible he could have met with another? Does the Kremlin give up?
BAER: No. They don't give up. I mean, was there a full-on program with the KGB to go after the American elections. You know, if this didn't meet then they went to somebody else and there were multiple meetings with terrorism aides and email contact. And you know, context with metadata, it's all over the place. It's not just one meeting.
Roger Stone, the advisor, meeting - you know, talking to hackers on email. And it could go on and on, meetings (INAUDIBLE), clearly, something went - was going on. And it wasn't another countries involved. It was just Russia. The Russians determine to affect this election. They did. And you know, and frankly, I agreed with the last guy on, anybody who withholds information or impedes the investigation is flat-out treason.
CABRERA: We know Jared Kushner was in this meeting that wasn't originally disclosed on his security clearance form. We also know Kushner tried to set up that secret channel to the Kremlin on previous reporting. Does Kushner's security clearance need to be revoked?
BAER: Look, if he worked for the FBI and CIA he would have zero clearances. Not even confidential. It would be taken away from him the same day this was made known. And it should be now. He should have no clearance.
CABRERA: Bob Baer, thanks very much for joining us tonight.
We will be right back.
[19:51:35] CABRERA: CNN is taking us back to the '90s tonight ahead of our kickoff of the series, the original series, "the '90s." I want to get out to CNN's Brooke Baldwin in Sta. Monica tonight with a little preview of our CNN series -- Brooke.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: What, the '90s are calling, Ana, the '90s are calling and they are here.
CABRERA: That is a giant phone, my, we have come a long way since then.
BALDWIN: We have been in the sun and at the beach for a few hours now, but this is so fun. Actually, let me tell you what's happening over my shoulders. We have this great crowd actually watching the episode that all of you will get to watch at 9:00 eastern, 6:00 pacific, which is the debut episode. It's the special two hour episode just on TV.
And I was just watching it, just getting into the Simpson's getting into our studio hall, getting into Seinfeld. In fact, they had the writer from Seinfeld talking about how they had only signed on, initially, the network signed on for four episodes, this whole concept of talking about nothing, people were kind of like, what? As we well know, it worked pretty well.
So we are still going to be down here at the pier for a while longer. So if you are in L.A., you want to swing by and say hello and rock out your '90s jam boxes, you totally can.
We have been talking to all kinds of '90s, you know, sitcom actors, actresses, and I talked earlier this week, Ana, to Jaleel White who was Steve Urkle or later (INAUDIBLE). And we remember him as Sefan (ph). And I talked to him about when he first auditioned for the role, I didn't realize as someone who watched family matters religiously in the '90s that he actually wasn't written into the show, but they needed a little something, they decided, early on in season one. And so, here is how he told me he auditioned and when he realized it was something really special.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Tell me about your audition, do you remember? Your dad's glasses. JALEEL WHITE, ACTOR, PLAYED STEVE URKEL, FAMILY MATTERS: Yes, I
remember it very well. My dad was running late, as usual, and I wanted the glasses with the tape in the middle. And he handed me the glasses that he uses at his dental practice to keep particles from flying into his eyes --
BALDWIN: No way.
WHITE: And it was supposed to be a one shot deal. And may he rest in peace, the Robin Williams effect took place and I ended up sticking around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Dennis glasses with tape on the middle. Ana Cabrera, I don't know if you knew that story, I certainly didn't, but I love that show. You know, "Family Matters" we were talking to Jodie Suiten who played Stephanie Tanner on "Full House" earlier as well tonight. And it was so - I mean, we are of the same sort of age. What were your favorites in the '90s?
CABRERA: The ones that you just - "Family Matters, Full House." I was a big fresh Prince of Bell Air fan.
BALDWIN: Oh my God.
CABRERA: Saved by the bell. I could go on and on.
BALDWIN: I was geeking out, we were covering the DNC last year and D.J. appropriately was in Philadelphia. And so I interviewed him. And to meet him, you know, to think back of, you know, I bet you can still remember, like every single word of that intro song, you know, Freshman Prince, they were just playing it on the screen behind me. We talked to Wilson Cruz, my so-called life, there's just so much. If you could, last question, if you could bring any fashion fad back from the '90s, Ana, what would it be?
CABRERA: Oh God, you had to ask me, I have never been a fashionista myself. So I think --
BALDWIN: Tight roll jeans?
CABRERA: The snap bracelets, maybe, remember those?
[19:55:02] BALDWIN: What, like --
CABRERA: The snap on. Are you wearing one right now?
[19:55:02] BALDWIN: Hold on. Check this out. Stand by. I will have one sent to New York just for you. '90s CNN snap bracelet coming your way, Ana Cabrera.
CABRERA: So let me ask back at you. What was the fashion, what was the fashion thing in your world?
BALDWIN: OK. So I would say, I would say like do you remember the tight, tight rolled jeans which was a thing which I think is maybe starting to come back.
CABRERA: Yes, the tight like jeans. Was that '90s?
BALDWIN: Tritons (ph). We are going to call it '90s, and then Ambro shorts, shams, maybe that was kind of '80s.
CABRERA: I thought those were so cool now.
BALDWIN: I think they like the mom jeans coming back. Anyway.
CABRERA: Brooke, we will have to rehash during the break and continue our conversation. Throwback '90s.
Brooke Baldwin, thanks so much.
You can relive the '90s right here on CNN. The show premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific. We will be back in a moment.