Return to Transcripts main page
Russian-American Lobbyist Accused of Being Soviet Counterintelligence Member; Democrats Want Kushner's Security Clearance Revoked; Health Care Reform Bill May Be an Uphill Battle for the White House; Lobbyist With Alleged Russian Intel Ties Says He Attended Trump Jr. Meeting; Cousins Charged In Grisly Murders Of Four Men. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired July 15, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, back from France and back into crisis control. President Trump is spending the day at the U.S. women's open in New Jersey, which is being held at his golf club in Bedminster, pictures there with his son, Eric.
But, all of this as the President attends the tournament and makes calls to senators in a make-or-break effort to save a new GOP health care bill.
The White House is trying to navigate a growing crisis, centered on his son's meetings, back in June of 2017 with a number of people tied to Russia.
Donald Trump Jr.'s account of his secret meeting during the campaign continues to change. First, the President's son claimed he met with a Russian lawyer along with his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then- campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Well today we know, at least, eight people were in the room including a Russian-American lobbyist. He was also a former soviet military officer.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is covering all of this for us near Bedminster, New Jersey. So, Boris, do we expect any response from the President or the White House in any capacity on the latest developments about the Trump tower meeting?
All right, it looks like we lost our Boris Sanchez. We'll try to reconnect with him. Meantime, we're also learning more about the people who were in that secret meeting at Trump tower.
One of the newly discovered attendees in that room, a Russian-American lobbyist, as I mentioned, who one senator has accused of being a soviet counterintelligence member.
CNN's national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has the story.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The June 2016 meeting at Trump tower with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort included more people beyond the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. A source familiar with the circumstances tells CNN.
Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin told several media outlets that he was also in the meeting. Akhmetshin told reporters for "The New York Times" and "Washington Post" that he's a veteran of the soviet army.
In a March letter to the justice department, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley described Akhmetshin as, quote, someone with ties to Russian intelligence. Someone alleged to have conducted political disinformation campaigns as part of a pro-Russian lobbying effort.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIF.: 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.
SCIUTTO: Akhmetshin denied any intelligence links to the "The Washington Post" saying, quote, at no time have I ever worked for the Russian government or any of its agencies. I was not an intelligence officer, never. He also told the post he was born in Russia and became a U.S. citizen in 2009.
Akhmetshin's lobbying effort, which he did on behalf of the Russian lawyer, Veselnitskaya, was aimed at repealing the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russians accused of human rights abuses.
A complaint filed against him with the department of justice claims that effort was on behalf of the Kremlin.
He has also been accused, according to court papers filed in New York in 2015, of hacking on behalf of one company into the computer systems of a rival company to steal confidential information in a business dispute.
The company, IMR, withdrew the accusation soon after without providing a reason. In an earlier related case he denied a similar accusation, saying in an affidavit, quote, I am not a computer specialist and I am not capable of hacking.
SCIUTTO: In addition to his lobbying work, Akhmetshin was well known in Washington for being connected to very powerful people in Russia, both in the business world there and in government.
And one more note, though he was born in Russia, then the Soviet Union, he emigrated to the U.S. and is now a U.S. citizen and as a U.S. citizen he can be subpoenaed to testify before the investigating committees on the Hill.
Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.
WHITFIELD: All right, let's get more now on the latest revelations about Donald Trump Jr.'s Russia meeting from our panel now. CNN political commentator David Swerdlick is assistant editor for "The Washington Post." CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer is a historian and professor at Princeton University and Michael Zeldin is a CNN legal analyst. He was Robert Mueller's former special assistant at the department of justice.
Good to see all of you.
All right, so, David, you first, David Swerdlick. So, how damaging is this constant drip of new details about this Russia meeting?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Fred, it's damaging on a couple of levels.
First, you have the fact that going back to a week ago, that Donald Trump Jr. acted as if he had told the public and the press everything that there was to know about this meeting.
It was him, Manafort, Veselnitskaya and Jared Kushner, that's it, nothing to see here, nothing happened.
Then, over the course of the week, all this other information came out, both the email that he himself released and the revelation that now Akhmetshin and a translator and his name is Rob Goldstone, the intermediary, were all in this meeting as well.
It speaks to the fact that the administration and Donald Trump Jr., who's not in the administration, can't get their story straight on this issue.
The other problem is now you have conservatives breaking away from the President on this issue. People like Charles Krauthammer, a "Washington Post" columnist, a conservative stalwart, who's been a Trump skeptic but not willing to say that this was collusion, wrote yesterday, this is collusion. No matter whether it worked or anything came of it.
That is the danger for the Trump administration. Politically, legally, I think, it still has to play out.
WHITFIELD: And, still, also joining us is Michael Weiss, CNN investigative reporter for international affairs. Welcome to the panel.
So, Michael Zeldin, you know, Donald Trump Jr. said he released the emails about the meeting because he wanted to be, quoting now, totally transparent. Here's what he actually said during an interview with Sean Hannity on FOX news.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, THE SEAN HANNITY SHOW: So, as far as you know, as far as this incident is concerned, this is all of it?
DONALD TRUMP JR., EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION: This is everything. This is everything. (END VIDEOTAPE)
WHITFIELD: All right, now we know that was not all of it at the time. It was four people, now, apparently, there are eight.
We still don't know who the other two people were but we do know a little bit more about that one Russian-American lobbyist at the table.
So, is the President's son putting himself in more legal jeopardy by not revealing everything, just putting it all out there who was there, what in totality was talked about?
MICHAEL WEISS, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: I think, he put himself in legal jeopardy when in those emails it was disclosed that Mr. Goldstone said to him I'm bringing a Russian government attorney to meet you who possibly has opposition research on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Jr.'s response was, I love it.
But, in other words, Donald Trump Jr. was willing -- all too willing to conspire with the Russian government to trash the -- his father's opponent. That is -- demonstrates a willingness to commit collusion with the Russian government.
Rinat Akhmetshin, I've written about him at CNN before. He met a few months ago with republican representative Dana Rohrabacher in Berlin.
Dana Rohrabacher's known for being quite pro-Kremlin in his views. He thinks that the U.S. and Russia have a natural alliance relationship when it comes to counterterrorism and (INAUDIBLE) with other issues.
And Rinat Akhmetshin, at that meeting, according to witnesses of the meeting and according to representative Rohrabacher himself, was discussing the ending of U.S. sanctions against Russia.
He has been described in the press as a former GRU officer during the soviet period. The GRU, of course, is military intelligence. He denies having any current connection to the Russian government but I let -- leave it to viewers to decide whether or not that's accurate.
This is a guy who has spent years lobbying on behalf of Moscow in Washington, D.C. and Natalia Veselnitskaya, her modus operandi in the United States is very clear.
She is here or she has come here to campaign against the so-called Magnitsky act which is a landmark human rights bill aimed at sanctioning Russian officials and Russian citizens who had conspired to defraud the Russian taxpayer $230 million.
And then cover it up with a host of crimes, including possibly torture and murder of the whistle blowing attorney who uncovered it1.
This is not a woman who is, you know, acting as a freelance or some kind of rogue agent. If she's here in the United States, it is because she was sent here by the Russian government and indeed "The Wall Street Journal" reported yesterday that she has a relationship with Russia's prosecutor-general, Yury Chaika. That is a direct line between Ms. Veselnitskaya and the Kremlin.
WHITFIELD: All right, that's a lot.
So, Michael Zeldin, here, we're talking about different investigative and legal roads for son Donald Jr. and son-in-law, you know, Jared Kushner, both of them in the room.
You know, the camp has said, perhaps they were naive. They really didn't realize. They should've gone to higher authorities but that's a very tough explanation for anyone to digest.
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right but as you look at them, in legal terms, where might legal jeopardy lie with respect to each. You have to distinguish who is a government employee and under certain obligations and who is not.
So, Kushner is a government employee and he has an obligation to be truthful and all the submissions that he makes to the government with respect to his security clearances or otherwise.
And the absence of these meet -- this meeting and other meetings on his security application form, the SF-86 form, potentially, puts him in danger of being charged with being untruthful to a government agent and that's a five-year felony.
Trump Jr. is not a government employee and so he has no forms to fill out and therefore he has no underlying obligation to be truthful.
However, of course, in the end there will be an evaluation made as to whether or not this conduct, this meeting in particular, amounted to a conspiracy to violate the federal election laws.
It is illegal to solicit a foreign national to make a contribution and it doesn't even have to be accepted -- this solicitation doesn't have to be accepted to be a violation of this statute and, so, Trump Jr. and Kushner, in respect of this, could well be on the brink of being chargeable for conspiring to violate these laws.
We have facts that we still need to gather but that's the cusp on which they sit.
WHITFIELD: And, perhaps (INAUDIBLE) that's why we're hearing from one citizen and not the other government employee, thus far, about what really happened here.
So, Julian, earlier this week, you know, you called this revelation about the meeting and the emails, quote, the most damaging yet.
That was before we learned about the other people in the room. So, how does this broaden the scope, now, in your view?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well look, there's a two-track process.
One is the legal track which we're now talking about and then there's the political track and there the real question is how firm is republican support on Capitol Hill for the President and, equally important, conservative support in the world of media and the think tanks and, this was very damaging.
It really undermined part of the argument that there were no areas of proximity between officials connected to Russia and members of the campaign. It's hard to see the story and learn about the story and come away thinking that original claim was true and then they keep undermining their own credibility.
They say this is it and it wasn't it. There was more to the story and, so, I think, the credibility wears thin with more and more republicans even those defending him and we have seen cracks this week with commentators that we've discussed.
Who are more to the right, who are now openly criticizing the President, talking about some of the worst possibilities and backing away from the staunch defense?
It's not so fake after all, some of this and, I think, that's where this is having a political impact. Still we have to see if republicans on the hill start to think this is really going to be devastating politically or devastating in terms of principle. We don't know that yet.
WHITFIELD: And, David Swerdlick, your paper, "The Washington Post" reporting that President Trump has hired a new lawyer to manage the response to the Russian investigation.
Reportedly, attorney Ty Cobb will work inside the White House dealing with questions about Russia. What does that suggest?
SWERDLICK: Well, it's like suggests at a minimum that they're starting to really take this seriously in a way that, at least, outwardly we have not seen before.
You know, they've -- as Julian said, you know, they've been going along for the last several months with this idea that, look, hey, there's nothing to see here, this is a witch hunt, let's move on and now the administration, various people around the administration, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner are hunkering down with their own private independent counsel because they realize that there is legal jeopardy.
Can I just go to one point that Michael made, Fred, about legal jeopardy and that would be that even though, yes, Donald Trump Jr. did not have an obligation legally in the same way that someone in the administration did, you know, I think, a lot of people are starting to scratch their heads and look at this and say, but, didn't they have a moral obligation to be a patriot and, if in fact, what has been reported out in "The New York Times" and other sources about this whole series of events, including the email, you know, what does that say about how the campaign was being conducted?
Again, it may not have risen to the level of criminality but is this how you proceed if you want to lead the country? WHITFIELD: All right, David Swerdlick, Julian Zelizer --
ZELDIN: May I --
WHITFIELD: Oh, go ahead.
ZELDIN: May I add one something to that?
WHITFIELD: Yes, Michael.
ZELDIN: I was going to say, I don't disagree with that at all and what it portends potentially is difficulty down the road for these guys because, ultimately, the special counsel Mueller is going to have to make credibility evaluations of people as he decides who to believe and what charges may be brought and the lack of credibility in these witnesses will hurt them down the line.
So, it's moral and it's also legal.
Universally, most people believe Russia to be an adversary and perhaps the instinct would be to tell some authority if Russia were to reach out to them to say we want to, you know, help you out in this election but then to the defense, I guess, of Donald Trump Jr., he is also trying to imply that there's been a business relationship.
A longstanding relationship with Russia and therein by, why they may have been potentially very naive. Of course, we've got to hear the rest of the story in the versions (ph).
David Swerdlick, Julian Zelizer, Michael Weiss, Michael Zeldin, thanks so much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, as questions swirl around Russia, President Trump is turning his attention to health care. What the White House is doing today to push the embattled GOP bill across the finish line. Next.
WHITFIELD: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are alarmed by recent revelations of a meeting between the Trump team and a Russian lawyer during the 2016 Presidential campaign.
Jared Kushner was the only person in that meeting who now holds a government title and he didn't disclose that contact on his original security clearance application. Now democrats are calling for the President's son-in-law and top adviser to have his security clearance revoked.
CNN's Tom Foreman has details.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN COMMENTATOR: Inauguration week and the President's son-in-law files his first papers for a security clearance on January 18th.
Jared Kushner reveals no contact with any foreigners during the campaign or transition but the next day he says he hit that send button too soon and will amend that.
In May, according to his lawyer, the papers are updated to show Kushner had over 100 calls or meetings with representatives of more than 20 countries, most during the transition.
By mid-June, as they prepare for congressional testimony, Kushner's lawyers say they discovered the email from Donald Trump Jr., setting up that meeting last year with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, allegedly to get Russian government dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Kushner attended that meeting which Donald Jr. now says was a bust.
TRUMP JR.: It went nowhere and it was apparent that that wasn't what the meeting was actually about.
FOREMAN: Nonetheless, on June 21st, Kushner amended his security papers again to reflect his attendance at that meeting and according to a source close to Kushner, he said, he was going to tell President Trump. We don't know if he did.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nothing happened from the meetings, zero happened from the meeting.
FOREMAN: Yet, even as the President called the Russian lawyer meeting meaningless, he's also saying he learned of it not in June, but only days ago.
JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: He was not aware of the meeting, did not attend the meeting and was only informed about the emails, very recently by his counsel.
FOREMAN: Kushner's late admission of that meeting has spurred sharp interest in all his foreign contacts, not initially disclosed because, as an adviser, all meetings with foreigners must be listed.
MARK WARNER, VICE CHAIRMAN, SENATE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS: It seems strange to me that those meetings were, at least, conveniently forgotten, at least, by Mr. Kushner.
HANNITY: How long was the meeting?
TRUMP JR.: About 20 minutes or so.
HANNITY: About 20 minutes.
And, Jared left after five or ten?
TRUMP JR.: Yes.
FOREMAN: The Russian lawyer says neither Kushner nor then Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort played much of a role.
NATALIA VESELNITSKAYA, LAWYER (through translator): I don't know. He was the only one I was speaking to.
FOREMAN: But, amid all the late revelations, democrats are fuming that Kushner was given security clearance at all.
SCHIFF: Anybody else applying for a clearance out of these facts would be denied that clearance.
FOREMAN: Of the three representatives of Donald Trump we now know were in the room with that Russian lawyer, only Jared Kushner is now an official adviser to the President and that has put him squarely in the crosshairs of investigators trying to figure out if anyone did anything illegal.
Tom foreman, CNN, Washington.
WHITFIELD: Up next, President Trump and Vice President Pence are making calls to shore up support as the senate's health care bill hangs by a thread. We'll discuss, after the break.
WHITFIELD: All right, President Trump and Vice President Pence are making calls throughout the weekend on the GOP health care bill.
It's part of an aggressive push on Twitter by phone and behind the closed doors for the President to net a major legislative achievement ahead of the senate's August recess but as CNN's Ryan Nobles explains it may be an uphill battle for the White House.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senate leadership and the White House are currently engaged in a high-stakes campaign rallying to get the 50 votes they need to get this health care reform bill passed.
NOBLES: The White House and senate leaders are making an aggressive push to convince republican members to vote yes on their latest version of health care reform.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are very, very close to ending this health care nightmare. We are so close.
NOBLES: Fifty-two republican senators have now had more than 24 hours to digest the bill and as it stands right now, two members, Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky remain opposed to the plan.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R) MAINE: It does not make sense to do a major rewrite of a vital entitlement program without having any hearings or consideration of the implications.
NOBLES: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cannot lose any more votes if he hopes to get the bill through.
The President, who has let McConnell take the lead in the day-to-day negotiations, is stepping up his public push to get the bill passed.
He tweeted four times about health care Friday morning. Writing, quote, republican senators are working hard to get their failed Obamacare replacement approved. I will be at my desk, pen in hand. Vice President Mike Pence made a similar pitch in a speech to the nation's governors.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Donald Trump is going to lead this congress to rescue the American people from the collapsing policies of Obamacare.
NOBLES: Trump is also working behind the scenes, spending part of his time in Paris making phone calls to GOP senators, including Senator Rand Paul. Who's position has not changed.
Many rank-and-file republicans who remain undecided are waiting to hear from stakeholders back home before making up their minds.
SEN. THOM TILLIS, (R) NORTH CAROLINA: I hope that they wait and speak with their state leaders, as I will over the weekend.
I hope that they wait until they see the CBO score, which doesn't come out until next week.
NOBLES: Republicans from states with governors who expanded Medicaid are under a special kind of pressure because this bill rolls back federal funding for the expansion.
Rob Portman of Ohio and Dean Heller of Nevada are both dealing with GOP governors unhappy with the plan.
Nevada's Brian Sandoval met one-on-one with Pence but still has concerns.
NOBLES: And, even though the prospects for this bill do look dim right now. Most senators are still optimistic even though they remain undecided. Much will hinge on the score from the congressional budget office, which is due out on Monday.
Ryan Nobles, CNN, on Capitol Hill.
WHITFIELD: I want to bring in Congressman Rodney Davis. He is a republican from Illinois and a member of the moderate Tuesday Group caucus. Congressman, good to see you.
So, this latest version of the bill includes --
REP. RODNEY DAVIS (R), ILLINOIS: Nice to see you.
WHITFIELD: -- an option for insurers to offer cheaper, more bare bones policies as the amendment put up by Senator Ted Cruz which bolsters staunch conservatives but moderates don't like it and the bill does not address moderates' concerns about cuts to Medicaid, which would be slashed by $772 billion by 2026 and that would leave an estimated 15 million fewer people insured by the program.
But, again, we have yet to get the CBO score which comes out on Monday, possibly.
[11:30:03] So, you represent a state where nearly one in four are on Medicaid, do you support this latest version?
DAVIS: Well, before we start to talk about what bills we support and what we don't. Let's just go back to the House bill that we put forth. There's a House bill that we believe is going to make our Medicaid program stronger.
Even in states like Illinois where I see the Medicaid expansion program where we have 44 percent of all Medicaid expansion enrollees are able-bodied adults, ages 19-34. We've got to do what we can to get them off of Medicaid and to a job and get them better health care, cheaper health care.
Because this program that's scheduled to get 5 percent less reimbursement from the federal government in just a couple of years, is not going to be sustainable and those who are -- going to be affected the most are going to be the aged and disabled.
WHITFIELD: However do you those elements being folded into this Republican plan, Mitch McConnell's plan. Other, you know, versions that are competing with McConnell's plan?
DAVIS: Well, if it's anything like the negotiations we went through a few short months ago in the House, Fredricka, then what we're going to see is this bill change before it gets to a final vote. Before I can comment on what the final plans are, I want to see the final plans.
But I would urge those senators who have concerns with their state's Medicaid programs just like I did, to do what they can to make the changes that they see fit before they send the bill back to us in the House.
WHITFIELD: So what do you want to see in that plan?
DAVIS: I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you.
WHITFIELD: What would be appealing to you? What do you want to see in that plan?
DAVIS: Well, I'd like to see states like Illinois and others that have very low reimbursement rates get incentivized to implement things like a work requirement so that we can focus on job training, and get people who are on our Medicaid system get them out into a job.
Let's incentivize that a lit little bit more. I hope that the Senate would do a better job there. I would also like to see us actually put forth plans that are going to truly provide the access and the multiple layers of protections for preexisting condition coverage that the House bill has. And I would hope that the Senate would do the exact same thing as we did.
WHITFIELD: So is it your hope that there would just simply be modifications made on the Affordable Care Act or are you proposing to completely revamp, a redesign before the Senate would be able to entertain a vote on it before making its way back to the House?
DAVIS: Well, I would like to see them do a fix and a replacement just like we did. One of the biggest misnomers we see in Washington is this talk of complete on repeal and replace. Any time you change a law, you fix it. Any time you move toward a positive change, a repeal of anything, you have to replace it with something.
Even in legislation it can be as simple as changing a period to a semi colon. That's a fix. What we did in the House is a fix. What they're doing in the Senate is a fix.
It's a fix to a broken system and a broken law that has left 29 million Americans right now without health coverage and 31 million more, the producer, the cameraman behind me, that can't afford to use the coverage that they have.
WHITFIELD: Right, but isn't it being argued that the House plan was not a complete fix, it was a repeal and replace it with this. The success rate has been one to brag about, which is why we are at this stage with the Senate and Mitch McConnell is trying to craft something completely different.
DAVIS: I don't agree with that assessment at all. I think our House bill was a bill that put layers upon layers of protections for preexisting condition coverage. We believe that this is the first step in a three-step process to really truly provide the families that I represent in Central Illinois.
That are part of those 31 million Americans that can't afford to use the coverage they have or they can't afford coverage so they're not buying it. We believe our plan is the first step in providing those alternatives. That's what we need.
And we have to take a step back from the rhetoric that we see in Washington, and really delve down into the policies and really what is frustrating, Fredricka, is that we got no Democrat support. No Democrat help in fixing a law that they actually gave the American people before I got to Washington.
WHITFIELD: But having the Democrats said that they're not interested in repealing it, but they would be willing to help fix the existing plan.
DAVIS: Well, again, that's exactly what we did in the House. There was a fix. When you repeal and replace something as simple as a letter or a word in a bill. That is a fix. We fixed it.
I'm not going to get into a rhetorical debate where Democrats who have shown no willingness to try and actually positively change, fix, repeal, replace, whatever you want it call it. They've done nothing to actually help us fix a law that has left 60 million Americans without coverage or coverage that they can't afford to use. That's an abdication of their responsibility, as an elected official.
And they have walked away and then they have stood up and just complained about a process that's being put in place, led by Republicans only and that's what needs to change, and that's what my voters and that's what Middle America wants to happen.
WHITFIELD: So Senate Republicans need 50 votes, how will Republicans bring both moderates and conservatives together, so that they would be able to get the votes needed to pass?
DAVIS: You know it's going to have to take place the same way it did in the House. Remember, our first attempt at passing a bill didn't even get called for a vote. The White House, they're engaged. They were engaged in the House version.
They sat down with President Trump, Vice President Pence, their administration, with all facets of the Republican majority in the House, and we came together and passed a plan that I believe is a good first step --
WHITFIELD: Do you see that happening here?
DAVIS: The Senate is going to have to do the same. I do, yes, I don't think there's anything different in what they're going through versus what we went through. You know, I heard a lot of armchair quarterbacking from the senators during our debates.
And I'm going -- I'm going to restrain myself from doing so. On the Senate side, but now they're the ones who are on the playing field. They wanted to serve in the U.S. Senate. They're in the big leagues now. They've got to sit down and determine what can change to get them to yes, and that's exactly what I hope they do.
WHITFIELD: So Congressman, I want to also ask you about the revelations involving the meeting of the Russia involvement in the campaign for Trump in 2016 and this Trump Tower meeting back in June of that year. We now know that there were eight people in that meeting including a lobbyist with alleged ties to Russian intelligence. What about this meeting most concerns you?
DAVIS: Well, it's a meeting that I don't think I would ever take. I'm concerned that, that there wasn't -- there wasn't a more concerted effort to actually disclose these revelations.
I'm glad that Mr. Kushner has amended his filings for a security clearance to disclose these. But what it's done is it made sure that he's probably going to have to answer questions, in one of the three investigations that are going on right now.
The House Intelligence Committee in a bipartisan way, Senate Intelligence Committee in a bipartisan way, and also, one directed by former Director Mueller, who used to run the FBI. So he's going to have questioned. I'm sure Donald Trump Jr. is going to be questioned. Any Democrat who wants to go work in the White House later ought to be starting to put a file together of every single meeting they've ever had in their lifetime with, any foreign agent or anybody in any foreign country, otherwise this is going to continue to paralyze every single administration from now until the end of the future.
WHITFIELD: Jared Kushner is a senior adviser to the president. Do you believe the president needs to revoke his security clearance, given he did not reveal this meeting?
DAVIS: You know, let's take a step back and let's let these investigations play out. I'm sure Mr. Kushner is probably going to have to testify now because --
WHITFIELD: Right, but he should have revealed that in his application for security clearance, but that's what I'm asking you about. He should have revealed that in the application for security clearance, he didn't. Should -- the president has the power to revoke his security clearance, do you believe he should?
DAVIS: Well, that's going to be a decision left to the president and those who actually look at those disclosures and offer that security clearance. I don't do that.
WHITFIELD: Well, I know it's his decision -- but do you think --
DAVIS: It's one more lesson learned for everybody who governs.
WHITFIELD: Do you think the president should? We know it's the president's decision, but what's your opinion on it?
DAVIS: You know again, I don't have enough information about security clearances. I can tell you, you know, I get top-secret security clearance. I don't get that just by being a member of Congress.
And those are the types of issues that we always have to face when we're sitting in rooms, getting classified information and we've got to make sure that we treat that classified information with the upmost respect for our nation's own national security.
I trust our security advisers are going to be able to determine who deserves that clearance and who doesn't. A simple mistake, maybe forgetting a meeting? It's going to cost Mr. Kushner some consequences of testifying. But whether or not that rises to the level of revoking a security clearance? I'm going to leave to the experts.
WHITFIELD: All right, Congressman Rodney Davis, thanks so much for your time.
All right, after the break, a new chilling details are emerging behind four Pennsylvania murders that left four dead and two cousins behind bars.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. New chilling details in a bizarre murder case out of Pennsylvania. Two cousins have been charged with killing four young men after allegedly luring them into a rural area under the pretense of a drug deal.
A massive search for the missing men ended when one of the suspects, Cosmo Dinardo started cooperating, telling investigators where to find the bodies. He and his cousin, both 20 years old, are facing murder and robbery charges.
Let me bring in now CNN national correspondent, Brynn Gingras. So Brynn, what can you tell us about these two cousins?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, those two cousins, Fred, both 20 years old, Cosmo Dinardo and Sean Kratz, are behind bars right now as you said on no bond. The judge entered not guilty pleas for them and they've got these murder charges.
But more than a dozen other charges for each of them in this case. As you mentioned, related to the case of four men who disappeared from this area in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, just last week.
And like you said, a stunning confession, really from both of those men. In court documents we learned that Dinardo says he lured one of the men back to his family property, not far from where we are, with an intent to sell him drugs.
[11:45:00]Instead he shot and killed the man and buried the body on his family's property. According to those documents, two days later he came back with his cousin, lured three more of the men to his family's property and shot and killed them with his cousin, according to the papers, buried them in a second grave and then even tried to conceal their bodies, by burning them.
I mean, just horrific details and stunning confession. And once this was all said and done, the district attorney says they were able to find all four bodies, they were able to recover evidence from the scene and I want you to listen to what he said after this case was apparently closed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW WEINTRAUB, BUCKS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We're here to accomplish two goals and that was to bring these young men home to their loved ones who have done nothing wrong. Have done nothing to deserve this horrible, unspeakable tragedy that has been beset upon them. We're here to seek justice for them and that's our commitment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRAS: And you can tell it was personal for him. I want to mention Dinardo struck a deal with that D.A., he will not face the death penalty in this case, however the D.A. told us that is not the case for Kratz. It's possible he could still face the death penalty -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Brynn Gingras, thanks so much.
All right, straight ahead, history was on the line today for Venus Williams, but the American tennis star came up just short in Wimbledon in the singles final. We're live in London right after this.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. A disappointing loss for 37-year-old Venus Williams trying to make history to win her sixth Wimbledon singles title but fell just short.
Let's go live now to London and bring in CNN tennis contributor, Pat Cash, who is also a 1987 Wimbledon champ of his own right. Pat, good to see you. So Garbine Muguruza beats Venus Williams in this final.
And then it was Muguraza who actually praised Venus for being such an inspiration, yet it was a big defeat, but it is also quite the accomplishment for Williams because she has been enduring a lot at 37.
PAT CASH, CNN TENNIS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. She is a terrific player, Venus, how she is managing her career with the Sjogren's disease is just beyond belief, but she came up against a very, very good opponent today, Gabrine Muguruza from Spain.
Played almost faultless tennis the whole way through. The first set was just absolutely nip and tucked. There was nothing in it. Certainly, Venus had plenty of chances to win that set.
Didn't get it and then Muguruza just piled the pressure on early in the set while Venus was having a little bit of a letdown and before you knew it, it was 5-0 and 6-0. You're going to say that Muguruza played some brilliant tennis under pressure where Venus and Serena have been the queens for so many years.
WHITFIELD: Wow. And you know, Venus Williams, you know, at least on the court just following, you know, the match said still there were a lot of beautiful moments along the way. So she really did have a very sunny, you know, view of the journey even though, you know, she is the runner-up but still not bad.
CASH: Well, exactly. She is in the twilight for her career and she understands that it's, you know, almost at the end. For her to be in the Wimbledon final and the Australian Open final earlier in the year, I mean, this is an amazing performance.
And she is moving extremely well. I think it was just mainly the focus. She doesn't play as much tennis as Muguruza does. These girls are match toughened. It is tough to expect Venus to compete all the time. For her to be in the final, it is a fantastic story.
WHITFIELD: Really extraordinary. OK, so U.S. Open is next. You see both of them journeying toward towards the U.S. Open, maybe another matchup?
CASH: Well, Muguruza has already won the French Open. She expected to continue to play well after she won the French Open last year. She didn't win many matches until now so that was a bit of a surprise, but she is a very good athlete.
The thing in the women's circuit, they realize that there is every single opportunity for every player to win. Serena is out having a baby, so, really, any of the girls in the top 20 almost you could say would expect to be in the semifinals or finals and be very competitive.
WHITFIELD: Right. And Serena's baby is due somewhere in August we understand. Let's talk quickly about men's tennis, Roger Federer, he is a bet at 35. He will be in the final two. What's it looking like?
CASH: Well, you would expect Roger to get through this one. It's -- he's played (inaudible). Merrit (ph) (inaudible) from Croatia who has had a real tough run all the way through. He's played a couple of five-set matches, and four-set matches well in the semifinal.
I think he is going to be a little bit fatigued. The last person you want to play against when you are fatigued is Roger Federer. I expect him to come through in three or four sets. We will see how it goes.
(Inaudible) has the ingredients to make things really tough for Federer, but I think the experience and the freshness of Roger Federer will get through in the end.
WHITFIELD: Yes, Federer, a player of precision indeed. All right, Pat Cash, as you are and will always be. Pat Cash, good talking to you. Enjoy.
All right, we've got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. But first, in Los Angeles, hundreds of at-risk youth look to one man to help them find the right path. They come from juvenile detention centers and from foster care and many are high school dropouts.
[11:55:05]The man they connect with can relate. Growing up, he spent five years on juvenile probation. His name is Harry Grammar. He is this week's "CNN Hero."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bottom line is everybody in this room including myself have a story to tell. You're going to tell the world about who you are. I want to see what you have inside of you that wants to come out.
Listen to our young people. We need to find out what it is that they are longing for, what they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, to find out how Harry transforms the lives of these young people, you can watch his story right now at cnnheroes.com. While you're there nominate someone you think should be a 2010 CNN Hero.