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Russia Ready to Respond if Diplomatic Properties Nor Returned; Trump Leaves Paris Amid Russia Firestorm; Death Penalty Off the Table After Pennsylvania Suspect's Confession; Trump and Macron, The Evolution of a Handshake; Where is President Trump's Friend Jim?; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired July 14, 2017 - 10:30   ET



[10:30:23] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: A Russian spokesperson says Moscow is ready to respond if the U.S. doesn't give back the two compounds seized last year by the Obama administration. And now the Trump administration could be signaling a willingness to work with Russia on this point. Watch.


SEBASTIAN GORKA, DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: We want to give collaboration and cooperation a chance. The fact is, we may not share the same philosophy. We may not share the same type of statesmen view of the world, but the fact is, there are some issues of common concern.

If we can see acts of good faith come out of the Kremlin with regard to things such as a ceasefire, then perhaps there is a chance for what Rex Tillerson wants to see happened, which is an improvement in relations between our two capitals.


BROWN: Joining us now live from Moscow, CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance.

So what is Russia sort of threatening here, Matthew?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what the Russians are saying is that look, our patience is running out. We expected that there would be a return of these diplomatic compounds that were confiscated by the Obama administration back in December which of course the confiscation was made as punishment for Russia allegedly meddling in the U.S. election.

And also, they are saying that the United States side is hampering the issuing of visas to diplomats that are being sent by Russia to replace the 35 Russian diplomats who were expelled at the same time as those diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland being seized.

And basically, the Russians are saying our patience is running out. What the Russian Foreign Ministry is proposing is that they will, you know, kind of recommend that a similar number of U.S. diplomats in Russia are expelled in response and they are also saying that the overall numbers of diplomats from the United States in Russia could be reduced to the same number that are Russian diplomats that are in the United States.

So they are proposing some potentially quite big expulsions of U.S. diplomats. The final decision, though, comes down to the Kremlin. The Kremlin of course saying it's also losing its patience, but no decision has been made yet on what to do.

There's going to be a very important meeting, Pamela, on Monday between Thomas Shannon, the U.S. undersecretary of State, and the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov where this issue will be discussed and so I expect we'll see some development shortly after that meeting.

BROWN: Yes. A lot of eyes will be on that, for sure.

Matthew Chance, thank you.

And right now President Trump is heading back to the U.S. as this Russia firestorm grips Washington. He is sure to face more questions once he lands.

Joining me now is Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, and Bryan Lanza, a former communications director for President Trump's campaign.

Great to have you both on.



BROWN: So I want to start with you, Maria, on this, the Democrats calling for an immediate revoking of Jared Kushner's clearance. We heard Nancy Pelosi just last hour calling it, quote, "absolutely ridiculous" that he still has a clearance.

Is this too far too soon? If not, why?

CARDONA: No, I actually wish that they had called for the revocation of that clearance as soon as we found out that he was on the e-mail chain of this meeting, that he was invited to and he attended where there was an offer of collusion and the offer was readily accepted.

It is unconscionable that he still has a security clearance. It is unconscionable that the Republicans are standing by and supporting a president who has his kids in the White House who are clearly conflicts of interest and who is clearly -- they are blurring the line between protecting the interest of the Trump family, which is first and foremost for them, and protecting the interest of the American people.

I think that by the minimum standard, Jared Kushner's clearance should be already being reviewed and revoked until this investigation and the Special Counsel Robert Mueller come out with whatever the outcome of this investigation is.

Our security, our nation's security is at risk and we have seen that President Trump has absolutely no interest in really finding out how far Russia went into meddling into our elections. He wants to cozy up to Putin, somebody who we know wants to destroy our democracy and destroy our democratic institutions and it seems that President Trump is not just willing to play along, but actually willing to help him out in doing that.

BROWN: So, Bryan, she's making some strong allegations there that national security is at risk because of this. Your reaction?

[10:35:07] LANZA: Yes, my reaction is pretty simple. I mean, when Hillary Clinton was under investigation for actually leaking classified documents, nobody called for the -- nobody on the Democratic side called for the revocation of her national security clearance.

The bottom line is this is just partisan politics. This is drum up to create a lot of noise to distract from the agenda that the American people voted for. I mean, they had plenty of opportunity last year.

Maria, you had plenty of opportunity last year to say, you know, there's an investigation going on with Hillary. And you were dead silent when it came to the security clearances. So it's absolutely very hypocritical --

BROWN: She was a private citizen at that point.

CARDONA: She was cleared -- she was cleared in June.


LANZA: Yes. But the investigation had been going on for a very long time.

CARDONA: And she was not -- she was not a part of the government. She was not a part of the government at that point.

LANZA: But she still has security clearance. She still has security clearance.

CARDONA: And you know what, the --

LANZA: She still had access to it. She was receiving it. And for all we know, she was still leaking it.

CARDONA: The fact that you guys -- the fact that you guys just absolutely automatically --

BROWN: Hold on. We need to ask Bryan --

CARDONA: -- go to the DNC and Hillary just speaks and reeks of your desperation here, Bryan. LANZA: The facts are what the facts are.

CARDONA: Very simple.

BROWN: Bryan --

LANZA: This has just turned into a partisan issue.

BROWN: OK. So what is the evidence to back up your claim that she was still receiving and leaking it?

LANZA: Well, my evidence is, once you have security clearance it has to be revocated for you not to have it anymore. And so she's had it. And so she had access to those e-mails. She had access to our information. We know that she had a history of sharing classified information via e-mails and there's no reason to believe that she stopped doing that.

CARDONA: And the president of the United States shared classified information with none other than the Russians and a Russian operative. Oh, my goodness. You guys are OK with that.

LANZA: His prerogative to.

CARDONA: And you are OK with his son-in-law going to a meeting where clearly there was collusion meant to happen. We don't know what happened at that meeting, but clearly there was an intent to collude and you guys are OK with him having the top clearance where national security is shared with him at every moment and you guys are OK with that? Wow.


BROWN: OK, I want to actually -- I want to go on because, Bryan, it's not just Democrats like Maria, it's also conservatives, some conservatives who have come out saying, you know, that President Trump and people defending him say this was just opposition research. It's really not. I mean look at conservative writer, Charles Krauthammer slamming that notion. He put it in this way in the "Washington Post" this morning.

He said, "This defense is pathetic for two reasons. First, have the Trumpites not been telling us for six months that no collusion ever happened. And now they say sure, it happened. So what? Everyone does it. What's left of your credibility when you make such a casual about-face? Second, no, not everyone does it."

Your response, Bryan.

LANZA: Listen, Charles was never a supporter of this campaign, was never a supporter of the administration. So it's no surprise that he's being critical now. The reality is this was a nothing meeting that took place, via from an acquaintance of Don Jr. They had it out, she did a switch and bait. She clearly changed the subject from what the original intent of the meeting was. And it was a nothing-burger for anybody to focus on. And the fact that we're now a week later still talking about something

where no crime is evident that took place, sure, you know, Don said in hindsight he'd probably do it differently. But at the end of the day, the measurement is no crime took place. And we're still talking about it. It's proof that the distraction here in Washington is in full effect.

CARDONA: So Bryan just kind of admitted that the reason that Don Jr. thought it was a nothing meeting was because he didn't get any of the information that was promised to him, any of the dirt about Hillary Clinton. That right there is proving that he went to that meeting on the intent of colluding with the Russian government because he knew that the Russian government and Russia was supporting his father's candidacy.

How clear can you get that there's a smoking gun here? I don't know. But Robert Mueller is going to show us and hopefully sooner rather than later.

BROWN: All right. I knew this would be a fiery debate.

Maria Cardona, Bryan Lanza, thank you for bringing it on this Friday morning.

LANZA: Thank you.

CARDONA: Thanks so much, Pam.

BROWN: All right. Turning to some other news, a stunning admission in the case of four missing Pennsylvania men. A 20-year-old suspect already behind bars reportedly confesses to his involvement in their murders.

We are live in this typically quaint town rocked by a chilling investigation.


[10:43:22] BROWN: An attorney says the death penalty is off the table for a Pennsylvania man after a stunning confession. The lawyer for Cosmo DiNardo says his client has admitted to involvement in the murders of four men who went missing last week.


PAUL LANG, ATTORNEY FOR COSMO DINARDO: He confessed to the participation of the commission of four murders.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When you say participation, does that suggest that anybody else was involved?

LANG: I'll leave that for you to determine.


BROWN: CNN's Brynn Gingras following these developments from New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Brynn, what else are we learning from the suspect's lawyer?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, right there, that was stunning. We do know, like you said, that now this death penalty is off the table. He spared his life with telling authorities not only that he was involved with the killing of these four men who disappeared from this suburban Philadelphia area last week, but also we are told by his attorneys that he's cooperating with authorities, telling them actually where the bodies of those four men are buried.

Now we've been here a week and we've seen authorities digging up a shallow -- rather, a 12-foot deep grave on the property of Cosmo DiNardo's family. And they've only confirmed to us the identity of one of those men who disappeared. But we do know other remains were found on that property.

So we're still waiting to get a lot more information but we do know that DiNardo is helping authorities at this point. And that is big. However, right now, we also know that he hasn't been charged with the murders, despite that confession. He is still in jail at this point. He's been held since Wednesday on $5 million bail for actually being accused of trying to sell the car of one of the men who disappeared.

[10:45:05] So right now no new charges just yet. But we're waiting to hear from the district attorney in this case who's been very vocal throughout this case, continuing to give us updates. And we've learned a news conference will be happening later today and we are told more information will be coming out of that.

BROWN: Yes. All kinds of questions. And more -- you know, people want to learn more about what the connection is between him and the four victims.

Brynn Gingras, thank you very much.

Well, a parade, dinner in the Eiffel Tower and friendly handshakes. Has President Trump's relationship with the French president changed?


BROWN: Well, it's the evolution of a handshake and possibly a diplomatic relationship. President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron sharing an icy grip in the beginning, and then a handshake that, well, never seemed to end this morning in Paris.

Joining us live from Paris, CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson.

Hi there, Nic. You know, it's really interesting this relationship between Trump and Macron was once a little frosty, and then came dinner in the Eiffel Tower, a tour of Napoleon's tomb, and being the guest of honor in a Bastille Day parade.

[10:50:08] Is this one of the blueprint for foreign leaders dealing with our president? NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It certainly

seems to be. The Saudis carried out these similar sort of tactics that were rolling out the red carpet. And President Trump reveled in that. He talked about it on the rest of his first sort of world tour a month or so back.

And yes, here, I mean, everyone was talking about the handshake, the handshake that had happened at NATO about a month or so ago between President Macron and President Trump. And you know, it was a real tussle of a handshake. They're still talking about the handshake but in such a different way, a warmer, more hospitable handshake. So many handshakes, so many pats on the back.

President Macron in his statement here just yesterday talked about, you know, we live in an age of 24-hour news but we also live in countries that have roots that are so much deeper than ourselves, really talking about a sense of unity between the two countries, about what the two men could do if they could get past their differences. The handshake was a symbolism of it. But President Macron also spoke about it. And this is what he said.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): We have found within ourselves this love of the homeland which has saved us, this energy to unite us around those ideals.

We have also found reliable allies, friends who have come to our assistance. The United States of America are among them. And that is why nothing will ever separate us.


ROBERTSON: You know, in the past few hours, as well, President Trump reciprocated, a real sign that this -- that the handshake, there's more than just a visual display of friendship. That it means something to both. And President Trump has said, as well, that, you know, he hopes there'll be many more centrist cooperation between the countries that nothing will shape the historic bond between them -- Pamela.

BROWN: And of course the big question, as he heads back to the U.S., is what will come after this trip? Could the president reconsider the Paris climate agreement as he sort of alluded to, perhaps during that press conference yesterday?

ROBERTSON: Sure. I mean, we've talked about this visit as, you know, President Macron having political capital to spare, investing it in trying to -- and to sort of reframe the relationship with President Trump, with the United States. He seems to have succeed. That, you know, I think we can take as part of it.

You know, President Macron hasn't really had to give up anything. Has he? It was President Trump that came out of that meeting on the issue, talking about issue of climate change that came up, and saying he was the one that could change, that there could be a change of opinion. President Macron didn't have to say, well, we might change this or might change that, to fit in with President Trump's view.

It only went the other way. So yes, President Trump has left that an open possibility. And was it because of something that got said behind closed doors? We don't know. But that's the way Macron was hoping to reframe all of this.

BROWN: Right. That's a really interesting point that you made there.

Nic Robertson, thank you very much.

So who inside the White House knew about the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer and when did they know it? New questions this morning. And we are following it all.


[10:57:46] BROWN: President Trump has friends in high places and he's also got some friends that don't seem to exist.

Jeanne Moos is on the lookout for Jim in Paris.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump got the royal treatment, but whether he was ringing the hand of the first lady of France or complimenting her physique.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're in such good shape. Beautiful.

MOOS: Or getting chummy with her husband, the president, somebody was missing. Jim.

TRUMP: A friend of mine, he's a very, very substantial guy. He loves the city of lights. He's told me for years, Paris, Paris. Jim, let me ask you a question, how is Paris doing? Paris? I don't go there anymore. Paris is no longer Paris. France is no longer France.

MOOS: He talked about Jim so often, trying to make the point that France had succumbed to terrorism, that the "New Yorker" started hunting for Jim in vain. He inspired memes and tweets like, "Just hanging out with hash tag Jim."

But when the White House refused to say whether Jim actually exists, thus was born Jim, the president's imaginary friend. With his own Twitter account, insisting, "I exist," "The View" dedicated a photo album to Jim. A French reporter brought him up at the joint press conference.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You've mentioned a friend, Jim, who told you that Paris is no longer Paris.

TRUMP: That's a beauty. You know what? It's going to be just fine because you have a great president.

MOOS (on camera): If Jim were imaginary, it wouldn't be the first time that an invisible character has entered the political fray, would it?

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: What do you mean shut up?

MOOS (voice-over): Clint Eastwood wowed the Republican convention, riffing with an imaginary Barack Obama.

EASTWOOD: What do you want me to tell Romney? I can't tell him to do that. Can't do that to himself.

MOOS: Judging from their body language, Donald Trump's imaginary friend didn't get between the two presidents.

TRUMP: I'm coming back.

MACRON: And you're always welcome.

MOOS: But what about Jim? They're making him jealous.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

TRUMP: France is no longer France.

MOOS: New York.

TRUMP: They won't like me for saying that.


BROWN: The mystery continues. Thanks for joining me today. I'm Pam Brown. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts now.