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Trump Jr. Met Russian For Dirt On Clinton; Trump Backtracks On Cybersecurity Unit With Russia; Celebrations In Mosul; Ivanka Trump Briefly Takes Her Father's Seat At G20. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired July 10, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:45] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Back with us is one of the true fair brokers of political realities in Washington, Republican Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama.
Sir, pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you for staying for another block. Alisyn is with me now just to incentivize you to stay.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: He's letting --
REP. MO BROOKS (R-AL), MEMBER, ARMED SERVICES AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEES: That will work.
CAMEROTA: He's letting me share you, Congressman.
CUOMO: Mo is like that's enough Cuomo for me. I was like, wait, here's Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: I understand the feeling, Congressman. I have three hours of it.
But, Congressman, let's talk about what happened when the president went to the G20 and with Russia.
What do you think about President Trump first trying to hatch some sort of cyber security plan with Vladimir Putin which, as you know, some of your colleagues have basically called the fox guarding the hen house? And now him saying, no, sort of just kidding, I really don't think that can happen?
BROOKS: Well, I'm a little different in that regard than perhaps most people. I think it's always good to try to reach out to other countries, both our allies and our potential geopolitical foes.
To the extent the President of the United States and Vladimir Putin can reach some kind of accord, some kind of familiarity and knowledge of each other, I think that's a good thing, and I think the same with the respect to all of our world leaders. Should a crisis erupt, it's better to have some knowledge of your adversary or friend as a starting point when you try to address the nature of the crisis --
CAMEROTA: Sure, sure. I mean --
BROOKS: -- so I think that's what the G20 is really about.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but on cybersecurity in particular, do you think that Russia is an honest and fair partner?
BROOKS: That is yet to be seen with respect to cybersecurity. I don't have a problem with us reaching out to try to reach an accord with Russia on cybersecurity issues, but at the same time we must do so in a very, very, very wary way, because it's clear that over time a lot of the cyberattacks that have occurred around the globe originate in Russia.
Although, in fairness, it's not just Russia; there are probably a half dozen other countries that we could focus on that we're briefed on in Congress on a regular basis that are making cybersecurity attacks either as a nation or individuals in those --
BROOKS: -- nations are trying to get a hold of our financial assets, our military secrets.
BROOKS: Try to penetrate our infrastructure capabilities. You name it. If they can get to it, they try it.
CUOMO: That puts your -- the finger on it, though, Congressman, because one of the problems we're seeing here is one of simple politics. The president doesn't like the implications of Russian hacking on the election in 2016. He thinks it delegitimizes him, so he's pushed it to the side.
As recently as the day before the Putin meeting, he was saying what you're saying now, but to a different degree. He was saying, OK, maybe it was Russia, maybe it wasn't, nobody knows for sure.
He was then tasked with going into a meeting, looking the leader of Russia in the eye and saying we know what you did, don't do it again. It's hard to hold both of those positions. What do you make of the urgency of what Russia did during the election and what needs to be done about it?
BROOKS: Well, I'm one of those that -- I'm a prosecutor, having done so in Tuscaloosa and in Madison County -- Huntsville, Alabama, and I want to see the evidence. I'm anxious for the FBI to get the job done and to give us the reports so you and me, we don't have to speculate so much or infer from information. Rather, we can have it in front of us and know what transpired.
So the FBI has been working on this almost a year. By golly, this is a major issue. The public wants to know the answer. And I urge the FBI to get it done, get it done fast.
If you need more help from Congress, maybe financing so you have enough FBI agents to get this done quickly, then come to us and say that and we'll do what we can, but this issue needs to be resolved and the FBI is in a unique position to get it resolved. Get the job done, guys. It's holding us up on a lot of other issues in a lot of different ways.
CAMEROTA: But is there any doubt in your mind that the outcome will be that Russia definitively meddled in our election?
BROOKS: I think it's clear from the evidence I've seen -- and I don't have the FBI report -- that the -- Russia, either the government or individuals within Russia, tried to meddle in the American election.
Now, you get to the next question. How successful were they? And I've yet to hear of a single voter who says, oh, I was misled by what the Russians did into voting for a different person. And so you've got the effort --
[07:35:05] CUOMO: Right, but their effectiveness --
BROOKS: -- and you've got the effect, and I want the evidence on both.
CUOMO: Right, but their effectiveness is a secondary issue, right? I mean, like you --
BROOKS: It is.
CUOMO: -- we haven't had any proof of -- in fact, we hear the opposite from the intelligence communities, that the Russians were unsuccessful in actually altering any of the actual voting.
CAMEROTA: Although -- I mean, I just have to say, in terms of the propaganda campaign --
CAMEROTA: -- that we've heard that there were so many, you know, propaganda putting out fake news, I did hear during the election voters quoting that
CAMEROTA: -- not knowing that was fake news.
CUOMO: But I'm saying actual tabulation of votes --
CAMEROTA: Sure, it's possible.
CUOMO: -- getting into software, getting into the states.
CUOMO: We don't have any proof of that but it does have other implications. I mean, you know what we're dealing with this morning with this meeting that president's son had, and he's changed his story on now at least twice. What does that part of the investigation mean to you? How important
do you think it is that investigators get to the bottom of Russian efforts to work with members of the Trump campaign, to try to get in there, and how those efforts were received?
BROOKS: Well, you kind of tag-teamed me on a bunch of different things that you brought up. Let me address it this way --
CUOMO: Go ahead. Speak what you think matters.
BROOKS: First, did Russia meddle? That's the thing we have to emphasize and resolve and get the FBI report on. That's one thing where it's the United States versus Russia type of issue.
The second thing is did they change votes? By changing people's minds and how they cast that ballot, that gets to the legitimacy of Donald Trump being President of the United States.
And so they're separate but related issues. And I have yet to hear anything that delegitimizes how Americans chose to vote, although you've got a valid point. It's hard to calculate the impact of the information that was disseminated, which means we then need to know, well, was the information that was disseminated through the Russian meddling true or false? And if some of it was false, what was false?
And we need all of that resolved. And then you add into it the Trump campaign allegedly having met with someone who may have had information about Hillary Clinton as a part of opposition research.
And I'm familiar with opposition research. I'm in a campaign right now for the United States Senate in the state of Alabama as you're probably aware, and one of my opponents, they sent a team into my hometown trying to dig up whatever they could. We'll find out about it over the next five weeks.
CUOMO: Right, but if you -- if you were contacted and somebody said, hey, I know someone who 's connected to Russian authorities and they have information for you about your opponent, would you take the meeting?
BROOKS: It would depend on the time limitations that I have. But, by and large, if you're talking about at a presidential level, I would recommend that someone talk to everybody who says they have information that makes a particular candidate, an opponent, unworthy of serving in the office that they're seeking.
CAMEROTA: Even Russia?
BROOKS: Having said that, in my campaign, I'm not doing any opposition research --
BROOKS: -- on anybody in this situation.
CUOMO: No, we get you about that, but I'm saying -- BROOKS: I'm focusing on my own strength.
CUOMO: -- doesn't the source of the information matter --
BROOKS: Well, certainly.
CUOMO: -- legally if not ethically? If they say this person has -- you know, this is a Russian-connected person? And not ethnically Russian, but Kremlin-Russian connected person, and they may have information, wouldn't that be a red flag to you?
BROOKS: Well, absolutely that's a red flag. And with any kind of opposition research, you have to make sure of one thing, and that is that the information is accurate. And so if you're getting information from someone who may be leading you astray or have a motive to lead you astray, then that's got to be taken into account as you garner whatever information it is that they have that purportedly would render another -- a candidate unsuitable for the office that they hold.
So you have -- you have to consider all these different things --
BROOKS: -- as you're trying to evaluate how best to put forth your own campaign.
CAMEROTA: Congressman, we're going to let you go. But do you have an update for us on Congressman Steve Scalise, how he's doing?
BROOKS: Well, Steve Scalise's office has contacted my office and they prefer that that kind of information be consistent and come from either the Steve Scalise family or from the Steve Scalise office, and I'm going to respect that.
All I have right now that I can share are what you've already seen on the media. Steve's still in the hospital. I think our prayers need to be with him and his family. And, again, let's pray for a speedy recovery.
CAMEROTA: Yes, and they are.
Congressman Mo Brooks, thanks so much for spending so much time with us. Nice to talk with you.
BROOKS: My pleasure. You all have a good one.
CUOMO: And appreciate your dedication to the people, Congressman.
BROOKS: Thank you.
CUOMO: You're soldiering on and we appreciate it. You're always welcome here.
BROOKS: You all have a good day.
CAMEROTA: You, too.
CUOMO: You, too.
CAMEROTA: So up next, there's been a major victory in the fight against ISIS as people dance in the streets of Mosul. The city set to be liberated but there are many challenges ahead. We have the only Western journalist there. That live report, next.
[07:43:30] CAMEROTA: Iraq's prime minister proclaiming Mosul liberated from ISIS, crowds cheering him as he walked the streets. Yet, he says pockets of ISIS are still putting up a fight.
CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is the only Western journalist in Mosul. Here he is with more.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maybe 100 yards until they hit the symbolic river that runs through the heart of Mosul.
What was once the capital in Iraq of ISIS' caliphate, now reduced to a tiny number of buildings simply, and snipers picking off the tiny remnants of ISIS. Many of them have been emerging from the rubble, seemingly wanting to give themselves up.
These forces, led by Brigadier General al-Saadi from the Iraqi special forces, American-trained, American equipment, and we've seen ourselves with a vast amount of airstrikes that have come in here to support this advance.
Startling to see the rubble around us here, the devastation of this city but they are so close to their final goal here. Talk of political announcements being made, possibly from this particular area. But minute-by-minute, ISIS appear to be running out of ammunition, handing themselves in.
There are still potentially human shields trapped inside there. The occasional sniper round fired at them here, but the territories are small now until they hit the river and that is the point in which they declare their victory.
[07:45:00] Nick Paton Walsh, about 100 yards from the Tigris River in the old city of Mosul, Iraq.
CUOMO: All right. Thanks to Nick Paton Walsh for the bravery to be on the ground there right now. Even if the worst is over, what comes next matters just as much. We'll stay on that story.
All right. So the president's family is creating controversy. Are their roles in the government appropriate? That's next.
CUOMO: Donald Trump Jr. now admitting he did meet with a Russian attorney during the 2016 campaign. "The New York Times" reporting that that attorney said she had damaging information about Hillary Clinton. And be clear, this isn't about just being a Russian by ethnicity, it's about being connected to the Kremlin.
Now, it also matters because earlier, Donald Trump Jr. said he had not met with any Russians. Called those types of suggestions fake news. Now he's changing his story.
Joining us, the executive editor of "Bloomberg View" and author of "TrumpNation," Tim O'Brien. And, author of "The Truth About Trump," Michael D'Antonio.
All right, what does this raise? This raises the question of what role the kids should have -- and, of course, they're all adults -- within this administration, official/unofficial.
Tim O'Brien, what do you believe the issues are?
TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW, AUTHOR, "TRUMPNATION: THE ART OF BEING THE DONALD": Well, I think, first and foremost, it gets back to this whole collusion issue. You know, the argument has been raised that when Donald Jr. met with a lawyer who was connected to the Kremlin that it was simply oppo research. That any campaign would have taken this meeting and that it made good sense to do so because you were gathering information during a campaign.
[07:50:00] The issue, however, is that if that operative, or that person, or any foreign national is being paid or using money to influence a U.S. election, if a U.S. national meets with that individual in the course of those events it's collusion and it's a criminal act. It's not merely oppo research.
CUOMO: Well, it would get complicated legally but you're right, there are issues that are raised.
Mr. D'Antonio, having you here, your knowledge of Donald Jr., is he the kind of person who would take meeting with somebody either a) that he knows nothing about -- which is the initial suggestion from Donald Jr. -- I had no idea who I was meeting with, it was on a recommendation from a friend -- or, b) that he would take this type of oppo research meeting even if the person had connections to the Kremlin?
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": I think I would choose both of the above. He's a guy who readily meets with almost anybody who calls him, but I also think that he has this huge sense of self-confidence that's based on the fact that I am Donald Trump Jr. And so, he imagines that whatever encounter he has, he's going to come out of it doing well and having performed well.
The thing that I think people may be getting wrong is the idea that his father, now the president but then the candidate, would have been unaware of this. Donald Trump's stock in trade is gossip. He loves information. He lives for this inside baseball stuff.
So I actually think that the president would have known before the meeting, probably. And I think he definitely would have heard of what happened at this meeting. So, it's --
CUOMO: All right, but let's go -- we go with what we know and the word from the White House --
CUOMO: -- the word from the son is the president wasn't informed. The president did not know. That doesn't remove all the issues.
And, for the record, Donald Jr., if he wants to meet with anybody who asked him, allowed this to be an invitation. We would much rather talk to him about this than about him.
But it raises the issue, Tim, about the role of the children within the administration. Donald Jr. is not part of the administration.
His sister is part of the administration but she is not in a role that would have suggested she would take the seat of the President of the United States representing the American people at a G20 summit, but she did do that.
The president tweeted this morning, I was just -- "When I left the conference room for short meetings with Japan, I asked Ivanka to hold seat. Very standard. Angela M." -- I guess Merkel -- "agrees."
I didn't know that you have to save your seat at the G20 like at a movie theater or something like that. Maybe somebody would have sat in it and then owned the U.S.' position on these issues. What do you make of this?
O'BRIEN: Well, I think it's -- it gets back again to this sort of lack of boundaries in the Trump family between their business roles, their public service roles. The president's own sort of facility with moving his children in and out of meetings or settings that are appropriate or inappropriate.
I don't think they care. I think their view of this as a family is they're all suitable to play any role that their father wants them to play, and I think the G20 summit was an example of that.
CUOMO: And look, this is one of those -- I'm not a big fan of whataboutism. I think you have to deal with each case as it stands.
But politically, if you had had Clinton in the White House and Chelsea Clinton popped into the seat just for a little while, just to hold it, imagine what the implications would have been. And yet, right now, silence from anybody around the president or any elected leader within his party. What do you make of that, Michael?
D'ANTONIO: Well, I would have turned to the president, were I in her position, and said are you sure? I mean, this is the kind of duty that I'm confident there were officials right on hand and ready to occupy that seat. It has happened before. It's -- even just the image of the president's daughter sitting down there seems provocative to me.
But again, as Tim said, there's an assumption within the family that any Trump can be slotted into any role and virtue of their Trumpiness --
D'ANTONIO: -- they can handle it.
CUOMO: Well --
D'ANTONIO: And I think there has to be an eye toward the American public, toward the interests of the United States beyond just service to the president.
CUOMO: And that's why I wanted to do this segment. This isn't simply about -- look, nobody has more sensitivity to family members of an elected than I do and Iunderstand that loyalty to family, and I believe in family, and I get why the president leans on his kids, especially Ivanka. She is known to be -- the son-in-law's known to be competent, smart, and he trusts them. That's good to have, especially in politics.
But Tim, the reason we bring it up is we've moved away from the potential problems of conflicts. The hotel there in D.C. has become like a salon effect for the president. It is a meeting center of influentials in a way it never was before --
[07:55:00] O'BRIEN: It's called (INAUDIBLE).
CUOMO: -- and it's not a coincidence. The golf courses, the hotel -- people want to do business with the president. Those conflicts are very real and present and going unexamined.
O'BRIEN: And the family's profiting from these relationships and from these ongoing businesses, and they've done nothing to create a real firewall that should make people think twice about whether their decisions are coming from a public policy standpoint or financial interest.
CUOMO: Those issues are real, we're going to stay on them.
Tim, Michael, thank you -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Chris. How big are all of these new Russia revelations for the Trump White House? We'll ask the president's counselor, Kellyanne Conway, when she joins us next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wasn't just anybody. This was an advocate and a voice for Vladimir Putin.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We're going to want to question everyone that was at that meeting.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: When it comes to Russia I am dumbfounded, I am disappointed, and at the end of the day he's hurting his presidency.
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The president absolutely did not believe the denial of President Putin.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: From a cyber standpoint we need to get together with Russia. We need to tell them what we think should happen and shouldn't happen.
SCHIFF: We might as well just mail our ballot boxes to Moscow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, July 10th, 8:00 in the East.