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Trump & Putin Second Meeting; Bipartisan Former Governors Meet on Health Care; New Details on Trump Tower Russia Meeting. Declassified Returns on Saturday. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET
Aired July 19, 2017 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:31:22] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So it turns out President Trump met a second time with Russian President Vladimir Putin. There was no U.S. official with him and there was no record of what they discussed in this reportedly hour-long conversation at a G-20 dinner? Is that OK?
And what is the way forward on health care? Are the Democrats in control as President Trump suggests?
Let's discuss with Democratic senator and former governor of West Virginia, Joe Manchin. He is a member of the Senate Intel Committee.
Senator, always good to see you.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Good to be with you, Chris.
CUOMO: The second meeting with Putin, we didn't know about it for a number of days. Do you have any concerns about this meeting?
MANCHIN: Absolutely. It's very concerning and it's something that we should know about. (INAUDIBLE) for any (INAUDIBLE) from our side, from the American side, is extremely troubling. And, you know, it's a concern. It most certainly is.
But, you know, this process is going to continue. Robert Mueller is going to do his investigation on everything. And I think we all have a bipartisan respect for Robert Mueller and doing his job and we ought to see what his findings are.
CUOMO: Do you have a larger concern about transparency and the simple fact of unknown when it comes to either President Trump or the people around him and any potential conflicts of interests or financial obligations to Russian-sourced money?
MANCHIN: Well, let's talk about transparency first. Transparency in the public sector is much different than transparency in the private sector. When you're in the public sector, you have to gain the trust of the constituents and your people and everybody you represent. Those that are for you and those that are against you. They don't have to agree with you, but they have to respect how you come to your decision. And in a transparent way, it makes it easier to respect that. That's what you build up in the public trust. And that's what's
missing. And I think it's what we need to be working on. All of us have to be cognizant of that. And I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that everything that we do is in the open. And on intelligence committees, you - as you understand completely, Chris, there are certain things that we can't have open meetings because of people that we want to make sure that we protect.
CUOMO: Sure. Sure. And what do you make of the fact that the former head of government ethics says, you know, that Trump's lawyer didn't want him to sign his disclosure form certifying that it was accurate. And that we now know that people in this meeting with Don Jr., one of them was looked at by members of the Senate for moving money, over $1 billion, into different corporations. And they seemed, at a best read, to want to work Don Jr. about Putin's money being tied up in sanctions revolving around the Magnitsky Act. All of these circumstantial things, do they matter or is it just smoke?
MANCHIN: They matter. First of all, Carl Levin, former Senator Carl Levin from Michigan is one of the most honorable people you're ever going to meet. Respected by everybody in this institution who ever served one day with him. So Carl has been - when he was here, that was his thing and he was on it continuously. He dug into it. He had staff working on it. And he was concerned about an awful lot of this - this dark money moving around and who was responsibility and who was benefiting by it. So that is credible what Carl is telling you.
All this other stuff here, again, this is in Robert Mueller's court. I, looking forward, like every other Intel Committee member, of bringing all the people of interest before us so we know what's going on and we can hear from them. They have a right to tell their story also. And with that being said, our Intelligence Committee is working diligently, Chris, putting all the pieces of the puzzle together so we have a clear picture when they do come before us.
CUOMO: And to the simple proposition of, you've had a long time, you've found no collusion, cut it out, this is all politics.
[08:35:04] MANCHIN: Well, there's no - this is not a witch hunt. I - let me tell you, I've seen witch hunts. I saw the Benghazi witch hunt. I went over and sat into that hearing because you can get a different feeling if you're sitting in a room if people are trying to find answers or if they're just trying to accuse. I can tell you, every meeting I've been in, and intel and any other setting, whether it be Democrats, Republicans, or a combination of both of us in a bipartisan way, no one's accusing anybody. We just want the facts. They're not out there slinging mud. And that's not going to happen. But we will get to the facts. And the facts will give you the decisions that need to be made.
CUOMO: Another big policy consideration going on in Washington, D.C., healthcare, of course.
MANCHIN: Yes. Yes.
CUOMO: The president meeting with the Republicans today. He suggested yesterday that they should just let Obamacare fail on its own and then put it in your lap, the Democrats, to come to them and beg them to save it.
MANCHIN: Well, I don't think that's an answer that we agree on. It's something I don't subscribe to. I was sent here to do a job. I'm not blaming anybody how I got to where I got to or the things that have been handed to me. I've got to fix problems. As a former governor, that's what we did.
And there was a group of us met informally. Just a group of governors met informally, bipartisan, just to talk. That hasn't happened since this has been going on for how many months now. And we wanted to see if there's a pathway forward. We all agree there should be an orderly process. There should be regular order. We go through a process of committees. The committees have the hearings. Amendments are placed. We discuss the differences we have. We come to agreement and cohesion where we can. That process has never been allowed to happen up until now. Maybe with the votes and the defeat of the Republican's plan to just repeal, maybe now we can come together and move forward. That's what we're hoping for, Chris.
CUOMO: The president seems to be washing his hands of all of you down here. He just tweeted, I'm going to be having lunch at the White House today with Republican senators concerning health care. They must, all caps, keep their promise to America. What about the president's promise to America?
MANCHIN: Well, the only thing I would say, the promise to West Virginia, he won it by a tremendous amount, about 43 percent, he won the state of West Virginia. That was mostly Democrats voting for him. Democrats that were upset with the previous administration that felt that Washington left them behind, didn't care. I know exactly because, you know, coming from West Virginia, born and raised in West Virginia, and it's - these are the greatest people on earth. They'll do anything. They work hard. They'll give you all they have. But they just want government to be their partner. They thought government left them.
Well, now, every demographic of my state of West Virginia, Chris, and you know my state, they're hit, whether they're elderly, pre-existing conditions, the poor, the young, everybody. Opioid addiction, they are all be devastated by this piece of legislation that's repealing. So we're saying repair it.
CUOMO: And the ACA has changed the reality for a lot of lower income people getting health care in your state also. I mean that goes to the fact premise that the ACA is dying. It's in a death spiral. It will fail. The numbers don't support that. It's got trouble. You guys have to make fixes to it. But the idea that it's dying, that's disingenuous, is it not?
MANCHIN: Oh, most certainly. We know it's had problems. We've always identified that. I wasn't there. I was not there when they passed it in 2010.
CUOMO: Right. MANCHIN: I was head of the Governor's Association for a period of time. We were talking about this. And I said, listen, I think that mandate that you're saying for certain types of insurance, certain types of coverage, and you have to pay this or pay a fine, that's going to be a tough pill for West Virginians to swallow.
MANCHIN: We've got to be working on that. But they went ahead with it. They knew that needed - the private market needs to be saved, Chris, and no one's made that effort to save the private market.
On the other hand, we gave 20 million people, almost 180,000 West Virginians, the greatest wealth that they could have, which is a health care. And we never gave them one word of instruction of how to use it. I knows there's great savings, but just to be callous to say we're going to throw you off because we have to reduce the cost of this, well, first of all, don't give the taxes back right now until we stabilize the health care markets. And then make sure that people are earning their way to have a good health care, to live a quality of life. Give them a chance. Don't just throw them out. And that's all we've said. So we can come to I think some agreements here.
CUOMO: Well, we look forward to that. Let us know how we can report and promote the conversation among bipartisan lawmakers to make positive changes for the American people.
MANCHIN: We'll definitely keep you informed, Chris, and, thank you.
CUOMO: Senator, thank you.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, a tropical storm is making waves on Twitter. But it's not what you'd think. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains, next
[08:43:44] CAMEROTA: A tropical storm is brewing in the Caribbean and it's getting the attention of Americans hundreds of miles away. But it's not the heavy winds or the rain that's causing the frenzy, it's the name. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hold on to your hat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Tropical Storm Don.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's Tropical Storm Don.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is Tropical Storm Don. Pretty small.
MOOS: Small? Small and not organized? Forecast to degenerate? Is that any way to talk about Don? People have been reading a lot into the Caribbean storm that shares
the president's name. The actual storm has unleashed a tweet storm. "National Weather Service releases first picture of Tropical Storm Don." "Warning, Tropical Storm Don has just turned into a category one covfefe." "When you're a tropical storm, they let you do whatever you want."
MOOS (on camera): Of course Don, the storm, has no connection to Donald, the president. It's all coincidental.
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, the World Meteorological Organization comes up with the names. And these are decided years and years before these storms actually happen.
MOOS: But when this Don coincided with this Donald, Trump critics flipped their wigs. "Tropical Storm Don is expected to be the first storm in U.S. history to cause widespread damage in every state of the union."
[08:45:09] Actually, the storm's prognosis is poor.
"Will dissipate within 72 hours, low energy, sad."
But there's an even freakier coincidence in the forecast.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Tropical Storm Hillary. Hillary and Don.
MOOS: We kid you not. While Tropical Storm Don is weakening in the Atlantic.
GRAY: Hillary is actually gaining a little bit of momentum in the Pacific.
MOOS: The name is officially bestowed once the tropical depression becomes a tropical storm. Hillary was simply next on the official list of Pacific storms. Tweeted one critic, "well, the good news is that Tropical Storm Hillary has no chance of hitting the White House."
Who could have imagined these two would coincide, two forces of nature, and a forecast of cloudy with a chance of collusion.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CAMEROTA: The depression is changing into a storm. The five stages of grief of Hillary. Her depression is changing into a storm now.
CUOMO: It was interesting. There was this pushback that, hey, you know, you skipped letters to make this happen. And then we had to all learn that the nomenclature from the east part is different than the nomenclature for the west part and the Caribbean.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but I didn't know it was years in advance that they named the storms. CUOMO: Yes. Yes, this is what it is and it just keeps rotating. We just got lucky this time.
All right, so we're learning new details about the eighth person in the meeting with Donald Trump Jr. And what we're learning isn't good. We're going to talk to a former member of the House Intel Committee about why that is, next.
[08:50:23] CAMEROTA: Well, the thought of Russia continues to grip the Trump administration. The White House failed to disclose a second meeting that President Trump had with Russian President Vladimir Putin without any U.S. aides or U.S. officials or any record of what these two men discussed.
Joining us now is CNN national security commentator and former Republican Congressman Mike Rogers. He was the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
Good morning, Mike.
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Good morning. How are you guys?
CAMEROTA: We're doing well.
Help us understand, should President Trump have had this meeting? It was in public at the G-20. It was a dinner hosted by Angela Merkel. But there was no U.S. translator. The Russian translator did it in between President Putin and Trump. So, therefore, no official document for the U.S. side of what they discussed in this reportedly hour meeting.
ROGERS: Yes, well, it's certainly unconventional. Now, unconventional doesn't mean it's wrong or criminal or anything like that. The president can do this if he wants.
I - you know, my caution to the president would be, I wouldn't go into this meeting lightly. A, you've got a translator that is not American, doesn't have American loyalties or loyalties to the president, number one. And, number two, you want to have some record of any follow-up that may come out of this conversation or things that the, you know, President Putin might say that might be valuable to decisions that the United States, either government or maybe even intelligence services may want to look into later. All of that got - it was a missed opportunity to me. And then to do it when - with all of the scrutiny and all of this - everybody running around looking for any Russian connection at all, just seems like a poor choice to me.
CUOMO: Well, you don't got to look too far, though, right? I mean in the context of the unknown and what's being learned about this Don Jr. meeting, which has just been, you know, a set of nondisclosure after nondisclosure. Now we learned that someone else who was at this Don Jr. meeting, which wasn't disclosed, is a guy that's known pretty well to you guys in the intel community. Former Senator Carl Levin says, oh, that eighth guy who was at that party, at that meeting, oh, we looked at him. He started like 2,000 shell corporations for Russians, moved over a billion dollars.
Why were these people seeking out Donald Jr.? And why would so many top members of his campaign meet with those kinds of people, Mike?
ROGERS: Yes, and I'm not sure that they properly vetted them before they walked in the meeting. But there should have been red flags. I think that's pretty well established. There should have been red flags even at the e-mail that said, hey, a foreign government wants to provide information. It didn't say foreign individual or foreign company, it said a foreign government. You know, that raises to a different standard. That should have been the first flag that went off and said, whoa, maybe that's - that's probably not something we should engage in.
But once it happened -
CUOMO: The president says all you guys would have taken that meeting.
ROGERS: Well, you can - you should not normalize any notion that if any foreign government - I don't care if it's an ally foreign government or an adversarial government wants to provide you information specifically to help you do x, it's - it is - it's time that you stop for a minute and let that flag go up and say, maybe I need to talk to the FBI and see if all this is copasetic. And so we should never normalize a foreign government engaging in providing information.
And, you know, an allied government, maybe it could be OK. But I'm telling you, when you have an adversarial relationship with a nation that has a hostile intelligent service, which Russia does, then you need to be extremely cautious. And some of the folks had done business in Ukraine and other places should have known that before they walked into the meeting.
I will tell you where investigators are going, though, in my estimation, as a former FBI guy. They're not necessarily saying it was criminal to do the meeting. It was not. They were certainly not out of bounds to take the meeting. But what happened next? That's going to be the next question. And I'm going to guess that that's where the special counsel is going to find out, did they suggest a follow-up meeting, the Russians who were in the room? Did they say, hey, you need to meet this other American that we know and he can have further discussions on certain activities?
Because what this likely was is somebody in that room was spotting and assessing everybody in that room to see, is that somebody that we might be able to turn? Might be able to get information out of? Even unwittingly. You know, maybe I can snooker somebody into giving us information that might be valuable to Russian intelligence services. There's no - when you look at this collection of individuals, all of their activities, I'm talking about the Russians now, I'm sure that's what the special counsel is looking at. Were the Russians making this kind of an active measure to spot and assess somebody to do something - to recruit somebody later on. I imagine that they're - all of that is fair game for the special counsel.
[08:55:04] CAMEROTA: Well, it will be very interesting to hear what Don Jr. and Paul Manafort have to say in an open hearing to Congress. We understand that Robert Mueller has given the green light or said that he's OK with it being an open hearing. So that will be fascinating.
Let's talk about season two of "Declassified," your show on CNN.
CAMEROTA: The season premier is this Saturday. What do we need to know about it?
ROGERS: It's going to be exciting. I'll tell you, the first episode - I'd like to tell you I was precedent in all of this, is about Russian illegals coming who came to the United States, took on American sounding names and soul purpose was to recruit Americans, spy on the United States and infiltrate government agencies to steal secrets of the United States. And it's really a fascinating - it's just like out of a thriller. You're going to love it.
And here's the cool part, it could be a spy next door and you don't know it. And that's what's neat about this first episode. It kind of lays out the tactics and techniques of what the Russians are still up to and were up to when this big case broke by the FBI.
CUOMO: Wow, so you checked three boxes there, American paranoia of the unknown in general, Russia, and fear of immigration.
CAMEROTA: And it's timely.
ROGERS: I'm not sure it's all of that, but it is a - it's - if you like a good spy story, this is a great spy story. You're going to love it. Even if you're saying, I don't know, I can't take any more Russia stuff, this is really about a -
CUOMO: Never say that.
ROGERS: Yes. It's - well, this is really about Russian spy tactics and techniques and the agents that we're able to catch, a pretty sophisticated Russian operation happening on U.S. soil.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Oh, can't wait to watch it.
ROGERS: Yes, it's going to be great.
CAMEROTA: Be sure to catch Mike Rogers, CNN series "Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies," and it returns on Saturday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
CUOMO: All right, CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman is going to pick up right after the break. Stay with CNN.