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Senate GOP 1 "No" Vote Away from Health Bill Failure; GOP Operative Looking for Clinton E-mails Committed Suicide; Adam Schiff Weighs in on Others Attending Trump Jr Russia Meeting; ISIS-affiliated Group Leader Killed in Afghanistan; 2 Suspects Charged in Disappearances of 4 Young Men. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired July 14, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] RICK NEWMAN, ECONOMIC ANALYST & COLUMNIST, YAHOO! FINANCE: That's the reason it's so kind of gerry-rigged is because this problem is so hard to solve.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: And you don't think that Obamacare is sufficient right now, do you? It has problems now.
NEWMAN: It leaves 30 million people uninsured still and it did cause some harm to people in what's called the individual insurance market, which the Cruz Amendment is trying to get to. That was only about six or seven million people. But when you heard those horror stories of people who were pretty happy with their insurance and, all of a sudden, they had to pay a lot more for extra insurance they didn't really want, that's where these people were at in the insurance market. It was this individual market. That's what Ted Cruz is trying to address. But if you let people off the hook there, you're causing a problem elsewhere in Obamacare, and the premiums just keep going up. And you can't sort of do one thing here without the effect happening over here.
CABRERA: So bottom line, we're not there yet.
NEWMAN: Well, as Trump said, it's complicated.
CABRERA: It is, indeed, to say the least.
Rick Newman, thank you very much.
CABRERA: Up next, a Republican operative who tried to get Hillary Clinton's missing e-mails during the campaign died just 10 days after speaking to the "Wall Street Journal." We are now learning about a note left behind. More on that next.
Plus, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, weighs in on the breaking news that more people attended that controversial meeting with President Trump's son, Don Jr. Stay with us.
[14:35:39] CABRERA: New details emerging right now in the death of a long-time GOP operative who admits spending part of the GOP campaign hunting for Hillary Clinton's deleted e-mails and reportedly tried to get them from Russian hackers. Peter Smith was 81 when he died in May. He died just 10 days after he revealed his efforts in an interview with the "Wall Street Journal." And now police say Smith committed suicide.
CNN's crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, is back with us with some new reporting on this.
What can you tell us, Shimon?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Ana, just, you know, weeks after they revealed this interview, the "Wall Street Journal" revealed that they interviewed him where they said, basically, he claims, Peter Smith claims -- claimed that he was trying to get ahold of what he believed were e-mails that were hacked by the Russians. These were on Hillary Clinton's server. Well, just today, we learned how he died.
You know, at first, we didn't give it much thought. He's 81 years old and he was ill, and when we did the story, you know, we just sort of assumed it was his illness. But today, we learned that he committed suicide. He had a placed a bag over his head and basically suffocated himself.
Interestingly, also, we learned from police that he left behind a suicide note where he explained why he was doing this, partially it's because he was ill, and also that he had a large life insurance policy and clearly wanted his family to get that money.
But you know, this all obviously comes as there's all these different conspiracies about people close to Russian -- the Russian investigations having died. And so certainly, this has some of the conspiracy theorists thinking that there's something else here. But we have no indication that that's the case. And police telling us that it does appear, unfortunately, that he killed himself.
CABRERA: All right, Shimon Prokupecz, thank you.
Back to our breaking news now. CNN learning more people attended a secret meeting at Trump Tower between top Trump campaign officials and a Kremlin-linked lawyer. Besides that Russian lawyer, a Russian lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, is telling the Associated Press he was there meeting with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort. This lobbyist is known to U.S. government officials.
I want to bring in Manu Raju, who just spoke with the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Manu, what did he tell you?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIOINAL REPORTER: He said that the House Intelligence Committee is, in fact, going to investigate whether or not this Russian-American lobbyist had any ties to Russian intelligence. That's something that Adam Schiff did not know, whether or not he does. But he does believe that is going to be central to the investigation going forward. In addition, wanting to call forward him and anybody else who was at that meeting with Donald Trump Jr and that Russian lawyer, as well as this Russian-American lobbyist.
Adam Schiff making his comments clear moments ago. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D), CALIFORNIA: Yet another disturbing set of facts. It's alleged that this additional person has a background in Russian intelligence and was involved in litigation in New York where there were allegations that he was involved in illegally hacking a rival company and publishing the results of that. I think whether this person has an intel background or not, the message was very clear from the Trump campaign. They welcomed the help of the Russian government. That message was certainly sent privately by Donald Trump Jr in those e-mails where he said he would love to get their help. But it was also sent very publicly by the president himself, speaking quite openly, saying, hey, Russians, if you're listening, hack Hillary Clinton's e-mails, you'll be richly rewarded. And, indeed, the Russians have been rewarded. But plainly, this Russian attorney, this other third party, if they were present, they were there to both deliver a message as well as to receive a message and plainly Moscow understood only too well that this is conduct that the Trump campaign would really appreciate.
RAJU: Do you know if this individual did, in fact, have ties to Russian intelligence.
SCHIFF: I don't know the answer to that. Certainly, that's something our committee's going to want to find out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:40:54] RAJU: And also Mr. Schiff making news on some other front as well, saying that Jared Kushner's security clearance should at least be suspended, this being in light of Mr. Kushner's failure to include some key information with meetings as part of a security clearance application. Kushner also was at that Trump Tower meeting, of course.
Also, Adam Schiff defending the pace of the House Intelligence Committee's investigation. Earlier today, I talked to Mike Connolly, the Republican leading that investigation. He said it's going frustratingly slow. Adam Schiff said, well, this is an investigation that is global in nature, it's taking some time to get documents back, talk to witnesses.
And one witness who they canceled testimony from is Roger Stone, who was supposed to testify later this month. The committee abruptly delayed that testimony. I asked Adam Schiff about that, and he said Roger Stone is still a person of interest to us he will still come forward. And very clearly, what's also interesting to them is this Trump Tower meeting. They want to talk to everybody who was involved in that meeting, including this lobbyist now at the center of this investigation -- Ana?
CABRERA: Manu Raju, reporting. Thank you.
We also know the Senate Intelligence Committee wants to talk to the different players in the meeting at Trump Tower.
Thank you, Manu, for that latest reporting.
More breaking news on a gruesome discovery at the bottom of a 12-foot grave. Two suspects have now been charged after the disappearances of four young men. Hear about a confession and the reported accomplice.
[14:45:15] CABRERA: We have this just in. The leader of an ISIS- affiliated group in Afghanistan has been killed in a raid conducted by U.S. forces.
I want to get straight to our Pentagon reporter, Ryan Browne.
And, Ryan, what can you tell us? Who is this leader?
RYAN BROWN, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, the leader's name is Abu Sayyid, he's the emir or leader of ISIS, the terror group's local Afghan affiliate. The U.S. has been engaged in a lengthy offensive against this terror group since March. Really going after it. It's based out there in eastern Afghanistan. They've really taken a direct role. There's been several U.S. casualties in this conflict against ISIS. And this is actually the third ISIS leader that they've killed in a year out there in Kunar Province in the country's east. This is kind of ISIS's power base right there on the remote part of the country, on the border with Pakistan, where they dropped that very large bomb several months ago, also where they've conducted several of these counter-terrorism raids. And he was elected after the last leader was killed in an April raid that cost the lives of two U.S. soldiers and killed several ISIS fighters. So the U.S. having some success in these raids against the ISIS leadership in that part of the country. But it still remains a threat. U.S. military commanders have pledged to eliminate this terror group by the end of 2017. But definitely a success in terms of counterterrorism targeting procedures for the U.S. in this case.
CABRERA: Again, that's in Afghanistan, but it does come on the heels of Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition helping to liberate Mosul from the grips of ISIS, as well earlier this week in Iraq.
Ryan Browne, thanks for that reporting.
More breaking news back here at home. The mysterious disappearance of four Pennsylvania men ending with a shocking confession. And now, two men have been charged in their deaths. Cosmo DiNardo, who apparently confessed to his role in the killings yesterday, according to his defense attorney, was to avoid the death penalty. And then there's another man just arrested we've learned, Sean Kratz. He'll be arraigned at any moment.
The young men who turned up missing one by one over a three-day period were found shot to death, their bodies dumped in a grave. Three of the victims were found buried deep beneath an old oil tanker. The suspects allegedly tried to burn the victims beyond recognition.
Just moments ago, the district attorney said he feels sadness but he wants justice for all four men.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT WINTRAUB, BUCKS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I am very, very relieved to say that we brought four young men one step closer to their loved once and so that they can rest in peace.
Dean Finocchiaro, Tom Meo, Mark Sturgis, and Jimi Patrick have all been positively identified. We've notified all their loved ones in a peaceful and respectful way as possible that we now have them in a safe place so they can soon be returned home.
Cosmo DiNardo has been charged with the murder of Mr. Finocchiaro, Mr. Sturgis and Mr. Patrick. Sean Kratz has been charged with the murders of Mr. Finocchiaro, Mr. Meo and Mr. Sturgis. They've also been charged with robbery, abuse of corpse, possession of instrument of crime, and conspiracy to commit all of those acts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to bring in CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI special agent, James Gagliano.
Still lots of unanswered questions, James. But we were talking. You say this was really incredible police work. What stands out?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: First of all, it's an unmitigated tragedy. I mean, early on in this investigation, the disappearance of four men that were kind of not really related, some of them had mild relations, we knew it probably wasn't going to end well.
Let's look at the crime scene. You're talking about 92 acres of rural, undulating terrain in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. That breaks down to about four million square feet of area that had to be searched. I believe that had a big part to do with the reason why these plea deals happened so quickly. I think they didn't want to lose the second suspect. They wanted to be able to apprehend him. And they couldn't do that until they could file the complaint that said he was involved. And I also believe -- I was struck by the youth. We're talking perpetrators and victims, 19 to 22 years old here. It's really incredible.
CABRERA: Motive is the big question. But again, looking at the numbers, the ages, and how this apparently played out, four different men kidnapped over the course of three days, all ending up dead. And we heard about how vicious their deaths were and what happened afterwards. What does that tell you about the psyche of these murderers or suspected murders, I should say?
[14:50:12] GAGLIANO: Ana, it sounds like the work of a sociopath or sociopaths. I'm not a psychiatrist, but I've seen many homicides. And the way that this thing played out, I was concerned early on that when the statement was given by DiNardo to detectives and investigators and agents, I was concerned that the fact that he had been committed, involuntarily committed before to a sanitarium, and folks were saying he was a schizophrenic, that might have been a difficult thing to stick, that statement, as long as he could claim he was mentally imbalanced. But I understand the attorney was brought on early and the attorney wanted to get him to plead this out early to make sure the death penalty was taken off the table, and that's clearly what happened.
CABRERA: James Gagliano, thanks.
GAGLIANO: You're welcome.
CABRERA: Nice to see you.
As President Trump landed back in the U.S. from his Paris trip just moments ago, in fact, a conservative icon calling the Trump team pathetic over the Don Jr meeting. Why he says this is absolutely collusion. We'll discuss.
[14:55:23] CABRERA: I want to bring you back here live. These are pictures of the president and his wife getting off Air Force One as they arrive home from Paris. And actually, now, we see this is just moments ago. It is rainy day in D.C. as they are returning to the White House.
Health care, of course, was a big thing on the agenda. He will be dealing in the next day, possibly weeks, as the Senate looks to vote on the revised GOP health care plan.
This is New Jersey. Of course, they'll be heading to D.C. here eventually as they continue their work at the White House on Monday.
But I do want to also bring attention to the fact the president's coming home amid this cloud in the Russia investigation that has now enveloped a member of his own family, Don Jr, in the meeting with this Russian lawyer, which we continue to learn more developments. Much more on the breaking news we're learning this hour here straight ahead.
But first, a moment to recognize an officer who has gone "Beyond the Call of Duty." Officer Brandon Shepherd responded to a 911 call, he didn't expect to gain a son. But when he encountered a troubled teen, he felt compelled to reach out to him. And now Officer Shepherd says he can't imagine his family without Anthony.
Here's how he went "Beyond the Call of Duty." (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BRANDON SHEPARD, POLICE OFFICER: There's officers who do this every single day. Other officers who do it all the time.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Officer Brandon gives new meaning to the term first responder.
SHEPARD: It's my turn.
SIMON: He was the first to truly notice a struggling teen, opening his doors to the high schooler he randomly met on patrol.
SHEPARD: I view him as just another one of our kids. It's kind of odd when he's not around.
SIMON: How has he made the biggest difference in your life?
ANTHONY SCHULTZ, TEEN HELPED BY OFFICER BRANDON: He's taught me everything I need to know, stuff I didn't know before.
SIMON: How this stranger became a part of the family is a testament to the officer's character and compassion. Cops are accustomed to seeing disturbing things but the officer knew he had to intervene when he later responded to a call at Anthony's cramped apartment.
SHEPARD: Tension's high, tempers were high.
SIMON: There was a call to 911 and a fight between family members involving alcohol. When the officer pulled the young man aside --
SHEPARD: It really bothered me because usually when I talk to kids and people, I have an ability, I feel, to get through to them. For some reason, it just ate me up inside.
SIMON: So much so that the officer started making frequent trips back to the apartment. He's coming by every day.
(on camera): He's coming by every day.
SHULTZ: Yeah, checking on me.
SHEPARD: I think he had a rough go. I think there was a lot of emotions. He didn't have his dad in the picture. I don't think he had a solid male role model ever.
SIMON (voice-over): Officer Shepard began fulfilling that role. And when Anthony's home life got even worse, the officer didn't hesitate. Call it an informal adoption.
SHULTZ: I don't know how to explain it, but if you were looking in my sophomore year compared to, like, today, you would see a totally different kid. I think I've matured in every aspect of life.
SIMON: Nearly three years later, the family beaming --
SIMON -- as the one-time failing student graduates from high school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anthony Michael Schultz.
SIMON: This summer, he plans to enlist in the military.
Officer Shepard knows that some may think he crossed a line with Anthony, but he doesn't care. The teenager, he says, has become the third child he and his wife never planned on having.
SHEPARD: I can't imagine my life without him around. And I don't think anybody else can either.
SIMON: Dan Simon, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CABRERA: Hello. I'm Ana Cabrera. Thanks for being with us on a Friday.
We begin with another major revelation about who else was inside that meeting room as President Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr, and top aides attempted to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. It wasn't just the Russian lawyer in the room. It turns out a Russian lobbyist was also there. The U.S. believe Rinat Akhmetshin was a former Soviet counterintelligence officer, some he denies. Although, he does admit he was at that controversial meeting, taking place at Trump Tower in June of last year, just days after then-Candidate Donald Trump clinched the GOP nomination. CNN now confirming a total of eight people were present at that meeting, including Jared Kushner and then- campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
A reminder here, this revelation coming just three days after Don Jr himself declared complete transparency and that there was nothing else to see here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST, HANNITY: So as far as you know, as far as this incident concerned, this is all of it?
DONALD TRUMP JR, SON OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This is everything. This is everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Let's go live to CNN's Jessica Schneider at the White House. Jessica, what more are you learning about this meeting.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, we've learned that that Russian-American lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, he has confirmed to multiple news outlets that, yes, he was, in fact, at this --