Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with President Trump's Attorney Jay Sekulow. Aired 8- 8:30a ET

Aired July 12, 2017 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow. Counselor, good morning. Good to see you again.


CUOMO: Why would the president question the veracity of his own son's e-mails?

SEKULOW: He's not questioning the veracity of his own son's emails. Donald Trump Jr. put out the e-mails yesterday. He was transparent about putting them all out, the entire chain. And so let's focus on what the president was aware of -- nothing. He was not aware of the meeting, did not attend the meeting, and was only informed about the e-mails very recently by his counsel.

CUOMO: So he didn't have anything to do with the statement that Don Junior put out that was being worked on with his team?

SEKULOW: No, the statement that Don Junior put out -- you talking about yesterday's, Chris?

CUOMO: The one over the weekend --

SEKULOW: That was written -- no, no. That was written by Donald Trump Jr. and I'm sure in consultation with his lawyer.

CUOMO: Because "The New York Times" has reporting that the president OK-ed the statement.

SEKULOW: They're incorrect.

CUOMO: "The New York Times" is wrong?

SEKULOW: I know. Is that shocking that sometimes they make a mistake? I'm not trying to be disparaging.

CUOMO: A little bit you are. Go ahead.

SEKULOW: The president's coming back from the G-20. This situation has developed, the information about the meeting. And what happens? Donald Trump Jr. who had the meeting, which, by the way, is not a violation of the law, and you've had a lot of experts on CNN say that it's not a violation of the law, and he issues a statement. That statement -- by the way, I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the president. I'm assuming that was between Mr. Donald Trump Jr., between Don Jr. and his lawyer. I'm sure his lawyer was involved, that's how you do it. You know that. So to put this on the president I think is just absolutely incorrect.

CUOMO: Put what on the president?

SEKULOW: This idea that you just said the "The New York Times" is reporting that the president approved either wrote or approved the --

CUOMO: That is not an outlandish suggesting. I take the "The New York Times" reporting on its face, and why wouldn't a father who is president of the United States want to have a say in what his son was putting out that involves him and his presidency. Seems like a legitimate thing. That's why I asked.

SEKULOW: This is his 39-year-old son who is running the Trump Corporation and the Trump Organization, so he doesn't need to be looked over the shoulder by his father.

Here's what I think we need to really focus on, and obviously I appreciate you having me on. I need to be clear about three things here. Number one, as I said the president was not aware of the meeting, did not attend the meeting, and was only made aware of the e- mails very recently by counsel and not seen the e-mails. In fact, you know, I didn't see the e-mail until yesterday, and I'm one of the lawyers. So there you have it.

CUOMO: OK. So that's point one. What's point two?

SEKULOW: Point two is, no, the three points were. He was not aware, did not attend, and just found out about the e-mails or saw the e- mails yesterday.

CUOMO: Right. Let me ask you something, how can you see these e- mails as anything other than proof of Russian efforts to infiltrate the election?

SEKULOW: Well, look, first of all I just heard your last guest who basically said the entire thing was a put up, that none of this was true. That's number one. Number two --

CUOMO: I know he said that, but if you don't think that there are questions of credibility in this situation, whether it's Don Jr. who changed his story or the notion that this man, Mr. Goldstone, who obviously is going to have to come forward and clear this up at some point, can you imagine not firing a guy who made up a lie like this about you, counselor? Can you imagine if you had somebody working for you who said that you met with prosecutors and had sensitive information and that you wanted to help an election and then you don't fire the guy? That's pretty strange.

SEKULOW: Chris, give the lawyer a little bit of a break here, the guy that was on just a few moments ago. This has happened in 24 hours, OK? So it's in 24 hours. So what his client did, who he fired and did not fire frankly is not my concern. The lawyer, I'm sure they're dealing with. I don't know even know if he's the lawyer for that part of the transaction. So I want to disparage the co-counsel. I don't like doing that.

CUOMO: I'm not disparaging anybody. I'm saying that that's a legitimate question of fact. This guy spun some kind of tale, this guy Goldstone. If he's lying, boy, this is some kind of pathological lying.

SEKULOW: Wait a minute. What does that have to do with what's happening -- with what we're talking about?

CUOMO: Is it fundamentally relevant because you are saying that the lawyer, your way of dismissing my premise is to say the lawyer just said none of its true. I'm saying, well, let's go to the veracity of that statement, and I'm saying for this kind of detailed information that this guy Goldstone put in about what he knew about the Agalarovs and about this meeting, for this to all be a lie, this guy say piece of work.

SEKULOW: Chris, what did the Russian lawyer say, Natalia? What did she say? It wasn't true.

CUOMO: As opposed to what? Saying yes, I worked for the Kremlin, and I was trying to pass along bad information so that --

SEKULOW: What statute -- a meeting take place between be Donald Trump Jr. and this lawyer, what criminal statute, what civil statute has been violated? None.

[08:05:04] CUOMO: Honestly, if you've been watching the show, which you say you have, you've never heard me say that this is clear indication of a crime.

SEKULOW: Right. I think -- I'm sorry.

CUOMO: What you've heard me say is, this is 100 percent inappropriate to take this meeting. He should have known better. Donald Junior has said as much. That's as far as I take the analysis. I'll leave the laws to the special counsel.

SEKULOW: Yes, but you just acknowledged and properly so that this is not a question of legal violation of the law.

CUOMO: I never said that.

SEKULOW: I understand that and I appreciate your honesty and integrity. And obviously that's the position that we're taking, but it's also the law. It's not a violation of the law here. But Donald Trump Jr. yesterday said, look, it was in the heat of the campaign, there's a lot of activity going on. There's a 20 minute meeting that did not produce anything, so there was no --

CUOMO: We don't know that.

SEKULOW: Donald Trump Jr. said that, the lawyer Natalia said it did not. So we've got --

CUOMO: You have such credibility issues here. You don't know that to be a fact is all I'm saying. You do not know that to be a fact.

SEKULOW: What do I not know to be a fact?

CUOMO: You do not know what was said in that meeting and what happened after it for a fact.

SEKULOW: Like any lawyer, Chris, you base it on the evidence you see. The woman --

CUOMO: You have no evidence.

SEKULOW: Hold it. Your network has aired interviews with Natalia saying it did not happen. You put it on the air.

CUOMO: There's no question that we've done it and we're probably do it a lot today. That doesn't mean it's true. I have a lot of people come on my show and say things, counselor, and they ain't true. Just because I put them on saying it doesn't mean they're telling the truth.

SEKULOW: Look, Chris, here's the interesting part of it. The way you are framing it, though -- I'm here talking to you about it.

CUOMO: Please. It's an important conversation, please.

SEKULOW: The way it's been framed, though, you're putting her on, and others, not you but the entire networks, all the networks are putting those statements on about her as a fact statement.

CUOMO: No. I'm putting her on that this is her say. She also said Don Jr. and Jared and Manafort all wanted dirt so badly. She said that also, which takes you back to the appropriateness argument for Donald Jr. and a disclosure argument for Jared Kushner who subsequently amended his disclosure statement and Paul Manafort who we haven't heard from.

SEKULOW: I don't represent Paul Manafort. But look, Jared Kushner, he amended his disclosure form, so and then Donald Trump Jr. put out the entire chain of e-mails. So here's what you have. The e-mails are out. The information about the meeting is out. It was discussed by two of the principals that were at the meeting. And what do we have? Not a violation of the law. And of course I'm a lawyer, and you understand that. I appreciate you having me on.

CUOMO: You have two other things.

SEKULOW: Go ahead.

CUOMO: One, you have obvious intent to participate in this situation by Donald Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, and that is at a minimum inappropriate. You also have demonstrable proof that this investigation into Russian efforts is not a witch hunt.

SEKULOW: What is the legal -- you're saying it's obviously inappropriate.

CUOMO: Obviously.

SEKULOW: OK. What is the legal standard where inappropriate, as you put it, obviously inappropriate, what legal standard is that?

CUOMO: No, no. You want to talk about the law.

SEKULOW: I'm a lawyer.

CUOMO: I'm not talking about this being illegal. You're doing a lot more about this being a legal counselor in these interviews, and I respect that. What I'm saying is, you don't take a meeting with someone who says they're working for the Russians and want to infiltrate an election. You don't do that. Why? Because it's unethical. Why? Because you don't let Russia interfere in American election. You don't do that. If he came to you, you would don't take the meeting. Donald Jr. has said as much. Republican supporters have said as much.

SEKULOW: Don Jr. was very direct last night when he was on Sean Hannity's broadcast talking about that. But I want to ask you this question also, Chris, so just put it out there. You know political campaigns well. You come from a long heritage of families in political campaigns. You know what happens in the heat of a campaign. There's a lot of meetings. The Ukrainian government was giving information to the DNC and to Hillary Clinton's people on who, Donald Trump. So we're acting as if this doesn't happen.

CUOMO: Let's look at it very quickly. Ukraine is not Russia, OK? You can get -- you can get research from whomever you want. But if you solicit, if you solicit information from a foreign government, let alone a hostile one, you could be in trouble with the FEC. But again, I don't want to talk about legality. That's not my place. If you don't think it was inappropriate to take this meeting, not only are you disagreeing with Donald Jr., I think we have different ethical standards. I'll put you on Gorka's side. I'm on the other side.

SEKULOW: No, no, no. Donald Trump Jr. said in retrospect he would have handled things differently.

CUOMO: Which I think is the right thing to say and that point is there.

SEKULOW: I just want to finish up with this.

CUOMO: Please.

[08:10:00] SEKULOW: You just said that if it's the Ukrainians it's OK, if it's the Russians that's not. That's not the law.

CUOMO: No, no, no. I'm saying Ukraine is not Russia. I think they would be analyzed differently in terms of potential threat to the process, so hesitation is the legal key.

SEKULOW: We can agree to disagree.

CUOMO: Why did Don Jr., say it was inappropriate, counsel, why did he say it was inappropriate?

SEKULOW: What he said was in retrospect he would have looked at it differently.

CUOMO: Which means what, he would have done it at a different time or that he would have thought differently of this decision. He's been roundly criticized by people on both sides of the aisle, it's not a meeting you take. I don't know why you would fight that proposition.

SEKULOW: I'm not fighting it, and he took it. He had the meeting.

CUOMO: You're saying it was OK to take it, I think.

SEKULOW: I'm saying -- no. I'm talking about -- you asked --

CUOMO: I don't want to talk about the law. Appropriate is not a legal standard. It's an ethical and moral standard. Those things matter, too.

SEKULOW: I understand that.

CUOMO: If our political culture is only about what you can go to jail for, counselor, we've got a messed up democracy. It's got to be about doing what is right as well.

SEKULOW: But Chris, you just said if the Ukrainians did it, it's fine. If the Russians did it --

CUOMO: I did not ever say that. And I will send you the transcript. I never said it. What I said was --

SEKULOW: In your view is it OK for the Russia -- Chris. Is it OK in your view for the Ukrainians to give dossier information they got governmentally on then President Trump to the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign? Is that OK with you? Is that OK?

CUOMO: One, let's be honest.


CUOMO: One, not my call, special counsel. Two, is it illegal. No, because I think solicitation is what triggers election law standards. This is not about the law.

SEKULOW: But the Ukrainians came to the Clinton campaign, and supposedly this lawyer came to Donald Trump Jr.

CUOMO: Two observations. One, again, I think it depends who it is coming from in terms of appropriateness, not legality. Two, I want people to remember this moment. You and people who support the president and the president himself cannot say enough that the media can't forget the election. We keep dwelling on the election. And yet it is you, sir, that brings up Hillary Clinton as the excuse for dealing with this current situation.

SEKULOW: No, no, no. I use it as a legal example. CUOMO: You used Hillary Clinton because you guys can't leave the

election alone. We have moved past --

SEKULOW: No you haven't.

CUOMO: We have a new president. You are the one who brings up Hillary Clinton, not me.

SEKULOW: For what reason did I bring it up? Because you asked me and you just said again, Chris, with due respect, you just said, if Ukraine does it could be different than the Russians.

CUOMO: I think it would be a different analysis if a known hostile actor that was cited by our intelligence community for trying to interfere in our election, yes. Ukraine is not known for that.

SEKULOW: Do you think the meeting that Donald Trump Jr. took, you think that the meeting that Donald Trump Jr. took was the violation of the law?

CUOMO: I don't know. It's not for me to say. The standard is tight. Treason say very tight statute. The FEC laws are about solicitation.

SEKULOW: You know it's not treason. Chris, you're a smart guy. You know this isn't treason.

CUOMO: It's not my call. By the way, Jay, like I feel about running down the road of Hillary Clinton every time something is brought up about the president, I feel the same way about legalities. Leave it to the special counsel. My concern in this situation is this, and I'd like your take on it -- forget about Donald Jr. God bless him. I hope everything is OK for him. However, this is proof of an alleged Russian agent trying to infiltrate the campaign, by the way, to the disadvantage and potential --

SEKULOW: You think she is a Russian agent?

CUOMO: I'm saying that that was the suggestion, that this information was coming from the Russian government. Why the president would insist on calling this a witch hunt instead of doing what you would think the responsibility of the president would be, which is to put your arms around this investigation and say, you see you see what the Russians tried to do to my son, we have to figure it out, all the different ways they did it and stop it, not on my watch. Why does he insist on calling it a witch hunt despite what he just saw in his son's own e-mails?

SEKULOW: Look at the basis upon which this investigation was triggered. James Comey leaks internal memos that he took of conversations with the president of the United States. He takes them in his meeting with the president. He puts them in his government computer, sticks them in his government desk, and creates a memo that he leaks when he gets fired to a friend of his to go to the press for the sole purpose he said under oath of obtaining a special counsel, which is then appointed. There's a special counsel appointed, and think about this, Chris, for a moment. He gets a special counsel is appointed based on what, illegally leaked evidence. I don't think that's OK, and if you were a lawyer in my situation --

CUOMO: I don't know that it's illegally leaked evidence. And it was appoint by Trump's guy at the DOJ.

SEKULOW: If an FBI agent --

CUOMO: Rosenstein.

[08:15:04] SEKULOW: Rosenstein didn't leak the information.

CUOMO: No, no, no. Rosenstein is responsible for the special counsel. That is someone that the president leaned very heavily on, said he was of the highest regard.

SEKULOW: What was the basis of the special counsel being appointed? The whole world knows it because James Comey testified under oath. He did the release and leaked the information that was to get the special counsel.

CUOMO: You have to ask -- you have to ask Mr. Rosenstein, but I would suggest that that's the only part of what went to his decision. He certainly didn't say he did it because Comey wanted it and you have Republicans stand up and say this was a great move.

SEKULOW: Yes, Chris, do you think that it's OK for James Comey, the FBI director, to take the notes of his conversations with the president and then release them? A conversation he had with the president of the United States on multiple times, you think that's OK?

CUOMO: I don't think it qualifies as a leak unless it's confidential information.


SEKULOW: That's not true. 18 USC 641 says that you take government property which is this. And, by the way, the government's take in the position that it's government property, contrary to what James Comey said and you distribute that, that's a violation.

CUOMO: How come -- how come the DOJ doesn't act on it?

SEKULOW: Well, how do we know they're not?

CUOMO: How do we know they are? We don't know is the answer.


CUOMO: I get what you're answer but at the end of the day. You still wind up where you are and what we just learned about we learned about a couple of different ways. One is from Donald Trump Jr. himself and the other is from what you would call leaks, I wouldn't. But from the White House --

SEKULOW: What would you call them? What would you call a conversation --

CUOMO: I see a leak -- I see a leak as something --


SEKULOW: -- that the president of the United States that he gave to a third party to the "The New York Times"? Why is that not a leak?

CUOMO: I just don't think it's material. If that's something that's separately investigative, that's fine. But as a journalist I look at the sum and substance of the actual information.

SEKULOW: But this was an FBI director having a conversation with the president of the United States.

CUOMO: I understand. It's immaterial to our current conversation.

SEKULOW: No, it's not. You know why it's not?


SEKULOW: You know this and I know this. Conversation between the FBI director and the president of the United States are protected by what. It's called the executive privilege.

CUOMO: Sure.

SEKULOW: Right. Well, James Comey ignored that and he shouldn't get away with that.

CUOMO: All right. That's your position. I accept it, but that does not mean that what Donald Jr. just put out in his e-mails and what came out from people in the White House around the president doesn't matter, and that's how we got to where we are right now with this chain. A chain that you're the president, our president still refers to as evidence of a witch hunt and I don't get it.

I don't get it. I don't understand how you can make that statement.

SEKULOW: I'll answer the question, I'll say it again. The entire basis upon which this investigation was triggered and took place was what, leaked information by the FBI director.


CUOMO: Do you believe this is a witch hunt? Do you believe that there's no validity to the Russian interference investigation?

SEKULOW: I think the whole underlying matter this is started is wrong.

CUOMO: So, you don't think Russia interfered with the election.

SEKULOW: President Obama supposedly knew that the Russians were trying to interfere with the election? What did he do?

CUOMO: He went to Vladimir Putin and said stop it reportedly and he took a couple of their properties. SEKULOW: Yes, for a couple months. That's what he did. If he

thought it was that big of a deal. So, what happens?

CUOMO: Is that a no? Is that a no from you that you don't believe Russia interfered in the election? The I.C. made it up. The deep state or conspiracy of the left?

SEKULOW: I have no idea what the Russians did or -- look, I have no idea what Russia tried to do or didn't try to do.

CUOMO: So, you have no idea therefore you must reject what the intelligence community is saying.


CUOMO: Hold on, Jay, one step at a time.

If you have no idea what they did, you must necessarily therefore believe what the intelligence community said is a lie?



SEKULOW: The intelligence community said to President Obama from what we've seen and what you've reported and others have reported.

CUOMO: They put out a report that said it is incontrovertible. There is no question Russia interfered in the election in many different ways.

SEKULOW: They also said it didn't impact one single vote.

CUOMO: Which is -- which is different.

SEKULOW: Well, no.

CUOMO: No one is suggesting that it changed the election outcome.

SEKULOW: Who was the president -- no, Chris, who was the president of the United States when this was taking place?

CUOMO: This is a distraction.

SEKULOW: No, I'm answering your question. Who was the president of the United States?

CUOMO: Yes, they interfered, no they didn't interfere.

SEKULOW: Look, based on the information we've seen of the Russia's supposedly attempted. I haven't seen the data. You haven't either.

CUOMO: I'm a lawyer and I didn't even understand it. Did they do it or not do it? I'm not saying did they affect the outcome? I'm saying that --

SEKULOW: The Russians hacked it or not, I have no -- interfered with the election, I have no idea.

CUOMO: So, you don't believe the intelligence community?

SEKULOW: No -- look, the intelligence community has given inconsistency reports over 17 intelligence agencies said this all happened, then it was reported that it was four. So, I'm not looking at intelligence reports that anywhere different than what you would see in the public.

Here's what I know. President Obama --

CUOMO: Trump's own chiefs, his appointments have said yes, this is what happened. You're saying they're lying.

SEKULOW: No, I'm not. That's not correct. What I'm saying.

CUOMO: What's the other possibility? Either you believe them or you don't.

[08:20:00] SEKULOW: Have you seen internal intelligence reports on this?

CUOMO: Nope.

SEKULOW: No. Have I? No.

CUOMO: But I have no reason to disbelief these people who are trusted with serving the people of the United States and evidently you do.

SEKULOW: Oh, sure. Look, here's the great question, so President Obama knew this was going on, he did very little about it, and I -- you ask yourself that question. So, we have a special counsel investigating issues surrounding the Russian probe, right? That's what the special counsel's appointed for.

And the information about the Russian hacking and Russian attempts to interfere were already previously known. So, you tell me if you think it's right to have this kind of investigation. I don't think it is.

CUOMO: I don't understand the premises. Again --

SEKULOW: The premise is --

CUOMO: If Russia interfered in the election and you want to protect your democracy, you have to investigate how did they do it, what worked?

SEKULOW: The intelligence --

CUOMO: How do we stop it? Where are the holes?

SEKULOW: Sure. That's not a job of a special counsel.

CUOMO: No. He looks at different criminal aspects of that. Did people work with them? Was there criminality? If there's nothing there there's nothing there. SEKULOW: First of all, the special counsel can't handle the

counterintelligence investigation which is what you're talking about.

CUOMO: That's your opinion.

SEKULOW: No, no, they can't. Special counsel, that's not within their purview. A counterintelligence investigation is what Mueller is handling. That's not what --


CUOMO: He's doing the criminality around this. I asked you if the Russian interference investigation is worthwhile or if it's a witch hunt. One, you didn't want to answer whether it happened and now you're just going into whether Mueller should be looking at crimes.

SEKULOW: No. You asked me about the --


CUOMO: The Republicans think that they should be looking at it. They thought it was a great idea.

SEKULOW: Chris, to be clear, you asked me about the president's statement about witch hunts. I told you that the whole basis upon which and I could say it again, but I don't have to bore you with it again.

CUOMO: Right.

SEKULOW: -- it's the same statement and that is the basis upon which the special counsel was appointed was based on leaked information by the former director of the FBI based on conversations he had with the president of the United States.

CUOMO: But that's not completely accurate because we know the DOJ was looking at it before Comey did that.

SEKULOW: Yes, but that's the counterintelligence community is investigating and looking into the Russia situation. That's different than the special counsel's job. I want to be clear on that.

CUOMO: No, of course, they're different jobs. But, look, even on the face of it, we've been hearing nothing from the people around the president, except we never met with any Russians. We never think about meeting with the Russians. We would never do anything like that.

Time and time again that has proven to be not true. Most recently with Donald Trump Jr., who if nothing else showed a willingness to meet with somebody under exactly those circumstances.


CUOMO: So clearly there are questions to pursue. Will they bear fruit? Who knows? SEKULOW: What would the fruit they would bear?


CUOMO: There's no -- the proof -- I'm not saying that there is.


CUOMO: I'm saying there is a reason to look, because if these people keep changing their stories and there were lots meeting connected to the Kremlin, it is worth looking at. The financial relationships that we still don't know about because of the lack of transparency from the president of the United States and the people around him and these meetings, if anybody was compromised by the Russians in their efforts to infiltrate the election. It's worth looking at for the sake of the democracy.

SEKULOW: Donald Trump Jr. had a 20 minute with a Russian lawyer that produces nothing and everybody has acknowledged, at least the witnesses have acknowledged that it produced nothing.

CUOMO: I mean, you're banking on that in a way that I don't think --

SEKULOW: I'm just saying --

CUOMO: I don't think that's a guarantee.

SEKULOW: Look, Donald Trump Jr. said what happened that nothing happened. Natalia, the lawyer said --

CUOMO: Donald Trump said the meeting was about one thing and another thing.

SEKULOW: No, no, he was correct. The meeting -- she said it. The meeting was about the Magnitsky --

CUOMO: I don't know that that's true. And, by the way, talking about the Magnitsky Act is also talking about sanctions, which also gets you in the same basket of inappropriate conversations, because if she's working on behalf of Russia to get rid of sanctions, that's a similar sensitive issue especially if she's offering to give you something good in exchange for that information.

SEKULOW: Bu that's -- OK. But you're reading into a conversation that you have no evidence of nor knowledge of.

CUOMO: And you're doing the same thing. I'm saying I'm raising questions, you're making conclusions on the basis of the unknown.

SEKULOW: I'm looking at the evidence that you put -- you all -- every network has carried, it's not you in particular, it's not CNN -- it's every networks the conversation that the lawyer from Moscow said, none of that was it. I don't know how that happened.

CUOMO: The idea that the person who is alleged to be an agent of the Kremlin saying, no, I'm not and you banking on that is a little absurd.

SEKULOW: I'm not banking on anything. Look, here's what I look at. I look at the law. Was there any illegality? Was there any legal difficulty, legal problem with this issue and it's not a legal issue. Donald Trump Jr. said yesterday and you said it correctly --

CUOMO: It doesn't have to be illegal to be wrong.

SEKULOW: Look, he said yesterday and you reported it and you reported it correctly, he said yesterday last night on Sean Hannity's broadcast, that if he was doing it again it was the heat of the campaign, he would have done it differently.

[08:25:07] CUOMO: Yes.

SEKULOW: You know what? He's allowed to say that because that's how he feels. And then we're now speculating on what facts may or may not exist.

CUOMO: No, no, I'm not. I'm asking questions about what we still don't know and you're saying, oh, we do know because don junior said nothing else happened even though he's changed his story several times and the lawyer who is allegedly working for the Kremlin, she says nothing happened. I don't think the rest of us can be satisfied with that standard.


SEKULOW: Look what you just said. I mean, the lawyer who's allegedly working for the Kremlin because who knows, right? I mean, she says she's not, the Russian government says he's not.

CUOMO: But the guy, Goldstone, whose apparently the biggest liar in the world says so. This guy who's an entertainment publicist decides to spin one of the most fantastical stories I've ever seen and, by the way, 24 hours later, still isn't fired for it even though just threw his employer under the bus.

SEKULOW: I know what you're thinking because you're a lawyer. The guy -- give the lawyer a break.

CUOMO: I have this thing in my chest that goes boom, boom, boom. It's called a heart. It makes me human and this defies common sense.

SEKULOW: I mean, the guy had 24 hours. He's been dealing with this --

CUOMO: How long would it take you to fire someone who spun a tale about you being a Russian agent and trying to infiltrate the election.

SEKULOW: Yes, right, quickly.

CUOMO: Right? OK.

SEKULOW: Here's the differential. I don't know your other guests that you had on the previous segment. I'm not trying to disparage his legal capabilities at all. I don't know who he represented and what context. I don't like hitting the lawyers in that regard. It's like I said, it happened in 24 hours.

CUOMO: I hear you. I just want to clear up one other point because I think it's relevant. There's a lot of unknown around the meeting. There's no question about it. We've been parsing it this morning. There will need to be more understanding of it -- legality, morality, ethics, all of it.

But on this bigger issue of why it should not be called a witch hunt, you had the CIA director, Mike Pompeo, OK, they're loving him inside the agency, the president wanted him in there, he said there is no questions, the Russians interfered in the election. Questioning that premise seems to do a disservice to the service of this country and I don't know why you play with that conclusion.

SEKULOW: I think it's a disconnect. The president is talking about the entire process of this whole special counsel proceeding that's going on, not the counterintelligence determination of who's trying to interfere with out elections. You got to look at those.

CUOMO: He never has said in full throated fashion, those Russians are on notice. They interfered in our election and they're not doing it on my watch.

SEKULOW: He brought --

CUOMO: Maybe they did. Maybe it was somebody else.

SEKULOW: He brought it up. The president said he brought it up multiple times with Vladimir Putin during their G20 and your -- don't conflate, I don't think it's right to conflate a counterintelligence investigation that Mike Pompeo is doing.

CUOMO: That's true. You should keep them separate.

SEKULOW: Don't conflate.

CUOMO: You should keep them treated separately.

SEKULOW: And the president is talking about this whole way --

CUOMO: He is at a minimum unclear about that. He watches the show. I'm sure he's watching you right now and feeling good about things. He should feel free to tweet, Russia interfered in the election, they're not going to do it again. Going after my people for helping them is wrong.

That would seem to be what your describing, but, Jay, I can't keep you any longer.

SEKULOW: No, no, I'm saying the counterintelligence -- look, the counterintelligence investigation going by intelligence agencies with regard to Russia or anybody else, trying to interfere with our elections, that is a completely different process, and what the president's talking about which is the way this entire special counsel process is about.

CUOMO: He should be clear because it matters a lot and it undermines the confidence and gets a lot of people in this country thinking the same way which is not a way to protect democracy.

Jay Sekulow --

SEKULOW: He asked Vladimir Putin multiple times about it. At the end of the day, I don't think it's fair to conflate those two, but I do appreciate you having me on, as always, Chris.

CUOMO: Always. You are always welcome on NEW DAY to discuss what matters. Always.

Jay Sekulow, thank you.

SEKULOW: Thanks so much.

CUOMO: Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Chris, let's discuss everything that you just discussed with Jay Sekulow and see all the things that he said, along with all the latest Russian revelations. We want to bring in our panel.

We have senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, Washington bureau chief for "The Associated Press", Julie Pace, and CNN counterterrorism Phil Mudd.

Great to see you all of you. I know that you've been listening along, as we all have with that interview.

So, Phil, let me start with you. There was a lot of between Chris and Mr. Sekulow about the intel community as Chris pointed out, Donald Trump's own intel chiefs including the CIA director, this is, of course, your wheelhouse, have concluded, they say definitely, that Russia meddled. What did you hear there?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I heard a couple things. First, one thing we'll put aside for a moment. There was a referral to this as a heat of the moment decision. We should get back to that, Alisyn. The president's son has had 13 months to think about this, and he never actually bothered to review his e-mails to determine if the word Russia was in a subject line.