Return to Transcripts main page


Someone will be arrested as part of the special counsel investigation led by Bob Mueller; More than 30 members of the Houston Texans kneel in unison during the national anthem; President George H .W. Bush, facing allegations from at least three women who say he touched them inappropriately; President Trump making the case he is a good person; Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 29, 2017 - 19:00   ET



STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His wife of 13 years however was concerned. He sent her this picture while on the murky water to let her know he was all right.

CINDY RAMON, OFFICER RAMON'S WIFE: I was worried increasing-wise, didn't know how it would affect him, but at the same time, I knew there was no way I could hold him back.

ELAM: A man rescuing others from the brink while in a battle for his own life.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Houston.


[19:00:35] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: We are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Top of the hour. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with us.

This time tomorrow, the first person could be in custody in the Russia investigation, result of 5 months of work by special counsel, Robert Mueller. And while there is no official comment from the White House on these pending indictments, the President did have quite a few other things to say today.

He tweeted, all of this Russia talk right when the Republicans are making their big push for historic tax cuts and reform. Is this incidental? Not.

He also unleased a barrage of blistering attack from Hillary Clinton and the Democrats referencing a witch-hunt for collusion that doesn't exist. Following that, White House attorney Ty Cobb wanted to make clear that quote "contrary to what many have suggested, the President's comments today are unrelated to the activities of the special counsel with whom he continues to cooperate."

I want to get straight to my panel. CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz, CNN legal analyst and former New York prosecutor Paul Callan and Jennifer Rubin, the writer of the Right to turn blog for the "Washington Post."

Shimon, I will start with you. You have been working your sources. What are we to expect tomorrow?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Yes, Ana. All indications at this point are we should expect something tomorrow. Two things, there will be law enforcement action, either surrenders or arrests by the FBI or people surrendering to the FBI here in Washington, D.C. And then at some point later on in the day tomorrow, will have court activity. There will be an arraignment and presentment. And hopefully, we hope, indictments will be unsealed at that point.

But at all indications at least at this point to us, based on several people that we have talked to, it appears that something will happen tomorrow. Again, we don't know specifically what that is or who is going to be charged or what the charges are because the indictments remain sealed. But again, every indication that something will happen tomorrow.

CABRERA: Now former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara tells CNN Mueller is going to be paying very close attention how President Trump reacts to these charges. Listen.


PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: So I would look for a couple things. One, whether Donald Trump has reaction and talks in a way that could be used against him in the future because Bob Mueller would do that. And the second thing I would look at is to see if the President of the United States is sending some kind of message to the potential defendant or other witnesses. And that's in two categories. One, is he sending a message of intimidation in some way through himself or his cohorts suggesting people should not be talking and people should keep their mouths shut, which you know, happens in life from time-to-time. And the second thing is whether or not he sends a message of reassurance.


CABRERA: But Paul, I want to take your legal perspective on this. How important is it to watch how Trump reacts to this?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's very important because he says inappropriate things all the time. I mean, you wake up in the morning, there are three tweets from him usually. And you can be sure that once this arrest goes down he will probably say something relevant to it. And he is off-the-cuff a lot of times when he does these tweets. He is certainly not running it by a lawyer, you know, when he is doing it at 7:00 in the morning. So I think Preet's point is a good one. You have to look to that.

But you know, I also think there is something bizarre going on here from on the basis of Shimon's reporting. You know, usually, and I have done this - I have surrendered clients in very, very similar cases. And usually, when it's a voluntary surrender, you know, you take your client into the FBI office and you get him in real early in the morning so he can be fingerprinted and processed and in front of the magistrate, possibly in the morning or early afternoon so then you can get bail set and you get him out so he doesn't have to spend the night in jail.

Now, if it's Manafort or Flynn, you know, people who are represented by counsel, they would have worked this voluntary surrender out a while ago.

CABRERA: But what does it tell you?


CALLAN: Yes. It says to me that maybe we are in for a surprise tomorrow. Maybe it will be some - maybe it is not Manafort and Flynn. Maybe it is somebody related to them. Maybe somebody involved in their businesses. I don't know. It is just - all I'm saying is something doesn't ring right here about this arrest process.

CABRERA: And the President would tell you what's not right is that it's the wrong person who is being indicted. In his mind, it should be an investigation into the actions of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, what he has been tweeting about all day.

And in fact the "Wall Street Journal" editorial board wrote this. I want to read it to you. Since the "Washington Post" revealed Tuesday that the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee jointly paid for the infamous dossier full of Russian disinformation against Donald Trump. Strip out the middlemen and it appears that Democrats paid for Russians to compile wide allegations about a U.S. Presidential candidate. Did someone say collusion?

Paul, give us the facts, any evidence of collusion that they are referring to there?

[19:05:25] CALLAN: No. And I don't see evidence of collusion there. I mean, I do see I think you can say that, you know, the Democrats have lost their high ground on this and so has Trump because they were both involved in dealing with the Russians and trying to buy opposition research to her, you know, opposition candidates.

CABRERA: But there is a difference between working with a private citizen, as Christopher Steel who apparently was the person who went out to collect information in the dossier. He is a British citizen.

CALLAN: Yes, he is.

CABRERA: Than it would be to work with somebody you know is part of the Russian government.

CALLAN: Yes. There is a difference, although Trump supporters will say, well, you know, Steel was a British spy. So that's a foreign country. You are working with a foreign country to influence an American election. Now admittedly, we haven't had a war with the British since 1812, you know. But nonetheless, that's how Trump supporters I think would characterize that. But the thing that gets me about Trump in all this nonsense is, you

know, if Trump wants Hillary Clinton investigated, guess who is the head nominally of the FBI? Trump. Guess who is the head of the justice department? All he has to do is pick up the phone, call Jeff Sessions and say, I order you to commence an investigation of Hillary Clinton. And you know what? He is the boss of the justice department.

CABRERA: So let me ask Jennifer then. What could be the political strategy behind all of these tweets and what we are also hearing from other Trump surrogate?


JENNIFER RUBIN, WRITER, TURN BLOG, WASHINGTON POST: Actually, the President shouldn't be picking up the phone and telling the justice department who to prosecute. That's been one of the problems as we saw his attempts to interfere with the prosecution of Michael Flynn and the pardon of Joe Arpaio. So that would not be appropriate for the President of the United States to do.

I think it's quite obvious what the President is doing. For whatever reason he feels under the gun, he feels the walls are closing in. And that statement by his lawyer that you read at the beginning of the show, Ana, it's sort of like saying, I'm not thinking about pink elephants. I'm not thinking about the possibility there may be indictments. So it's very hard to otherwise explain his comments today. And in fact his comments some of them obviously went directly to this issue.

So I think he is doing what he always does which is throw a lot of dirt in the air, hope people say, well, what about. And they are off to the races with Hillary Clinton.

In fact, nothing concerning Hillary Clinton is relevant any longer. She is not President of the United States although you wouldn't know it from watching another network. She is not in the presidency. And whatever she did or didn't do, frankly, most of it has been investigated and debunked, has nothing to do with this President. And we are looking at what he and his colleagues did during the election. And he can rant all he wants. But Bob Mueller is not going to be thrown off by his nonsense and his tweets.

CABRERA: Shimon, you talked to justice department officials regularly. Have they raised concerns that the President may try to fire more?

PROKUPECZ: Well, I mean, privately we talked to legal experts and other folks here in Washington, D.C. There is always that concern. But the justice department, at least the officials there, have stayed clear of the Bob Mueller investigation. The only person at this department who can even speak about it is the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein who is overseeing Bob Mueller and his team. You know, he was the one who appointed him as special council.

So they are not really permitted to talk about anything it has to do with this investigation or with Mueller, you know. We have done some stories where there has been come concern that the White House, the President is interfering in some investigations or perhaps putting pressure on the department of justice for some action or maybe making inquiries that he shouldn't. So that certainly has been a concern throughout, but nothing that people have openly expressed to us.

CABRERA: Jennifer, Trump ally Chris Christie had this warning for Mueller's target.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I think anybody who has been advised by the special counsel's office that they are a target in the investigation, which I'm sure he has done to those people who are, should be concerned.


CABRERA: So if these indictments, they aren't for key Trump associates, if therefore even smaller fish like an associate of a Trump associate, is that good for the President? Would it help support his assertion that this investigation is a witch hunt?

RUBIN: No. We are at the very beginning of this investigation in a way. It seems like we have been living with it for a long time. But in prosecutorial terms, this is a very short period of time. What is significant is that he is beginning to issue one or more indictments this early in the process. And the normal process is you go after the little fish. You see if you can cough up someone bigger. You bring those people. You see if they will cough up someone even bigger and work your way up the chain. So I think there is nothing good here for the White House. And you have seen their reaction which is near hysteria over the last 24, 48 hours.

[19:10:24] CABRERA: Paul, do you agree?

CALLAN: Yes, I do agree. And I think that as a matter of fact, there is really bad news for the President in this because when we look at the Manafort investigation, Manafort's business was being investigated. Things that Manafort did before he was even involved in the Trump campaign wound up being part of the investigation when they did the no-knock raid on his house. And I think what that suggests is the Trump business empire may eventually fall under the microscope of Mueller, as he starts looking at things that arise out of this investigation.

That's where I think Trump's Achilles heel is. I think it is going to be very difficult to make out this collusion charge with the Russians. Frankly, I don't think the - I think the Russians are too smart to collude with the Trump campaign, because they will think these people would leave fingerprints all over the evidence. I think the Russians just wouldn't do it. And Trump's real exposure may be with the Trump business empire.

CABRERA: But here is something I'm still trying to understand in terms of process because if you are a shoplifter, the police are called, they come, they arrest you right away. Right now, we are left speculating, we are left with all this suspense because we know that these charges were filed and somebody is going to be taken into custody a couple days ago, yet that hasn't happened yet. I mean, are they getting special treatment? You talked about the fact that it seems like there's a little bit of something that's not normal going on.

CALLAN: Yes. Because, you know, the way these usually work out in white collar investigations is, he has a lawyer, but Manafort if any event, the lawyers are dealing with special prosecutor all along. And they would call up -- the special prosecutor will call up and say, bring Manafort in. And Manafort would come in.

This is being handle like you handle a drug dealer who is on the run. And you are afraid that once the indictment is announced, he is going to flee the jurisdiction or maybe he is going to kill the witnesses against him. So you seal the indictment. And then you send the police out to arrest him and surprise him. That's how they are handling apparently this arrest if the cops are out looking, you know, to make an arrest. That's very unusual in a white collar criminal case. That's why I say, I don't know. You know, it just feels to me like we are going to be a little surprised by what happens.

CABRERA: Shimon, at this point, is it possible that anyone being charged may still not know it?

PROKUPECZ: Absolutely. And they may not know until the morning when the FBI comes knocking on their door perhaps at 6:00 a.m. That may be their first indication. So yes, absolutely.

CABRERA: And Jennifer, there have been called this week from some Republican lawmakers for Mueller to resign. What kind of impact would that have? What would the chain reaction be if the President were to take some kind of action to try to set that up?

RUBIN: I think it would be highly unwise for him to do that. There would be calls to begin impeachment. There would be a clear sign that he is using his powers as President to protect himself. Republicans would certainly be under the gun to take some very serious action. Democrats certainly would be.

And you know, frankly, I'm surprised you read the editorials from the "Wall Street Journal." I'm surprised that a legitimate paper like the "Wall Street Journal" would call for such a thing. Very bad idea. And in fact, I was trusting that Republicans to say that out loud to tell the President don't even think of doing this because you are not going to like the results.

CABRERA: Jennifer Rubin, Shimon Prokupecz, Paul Callan, thank you all.

Coming up, questions swirling over who is facing charges in the Mueller probe. Sources say someone could be taken into custody as soon as tomorrow. We will talk to a member of the house committee looking into Russian meddling next. But, the first President Bush caught in a scandal as defenders say his

aids and his illness may have something to do with his questionable behavior toward women.


[19:18:19] CABRERA: So as Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling enters a new phase, the Republicans on Capitol Hill seem eager to finish the investigation that they have been doing. Richard Burr, the newly member of the senate intelligence committee says he expects to wrap things up by early next year.

And the Republican in-charge of the House intelligence committee says he has no interest in prolonging the prolonging the investigation one second longer than necessary.

Joining us now is a Democratic member of the House intel committee, Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois.

Congressman, thanks for spending time with us this weekend. You said the public would want you to go full throttle if they had seen what you had seen during the House investigation into Russia's interference in the election. We now know we have the indictment coming from the Mueller probe. Have you learned anything at the public would feel his worthy of an indictment?

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I believe that there is evidence of collusion. I believe that there are Trump associates who obviously, we know many that reached out to Russians, I mean Roger Stone, Alexander Nicks, the President's son. What was his expression, if that's what it is, I love it. Peter Miller, the list goes on. Mr. Kushner.

These are at least five examples, before, during and after the election, with Trump associates reaching out to the Russians to work on something obviously against Hillary Clinton. So I think I have seen enough for the investigation to move forward. It's obvious the Republicans don't like the investigation because it's embarrassing. It makes them look bad. And frankly, it puts many of the people in the Trump world at legal risk, as we are seeing tomorrow.

[19:20:03] CABRERA: As I mentioned, at the top of this segment, Republicans in both the House and the Senate have talked about a swift conclusion to their congressional investigation. Now, with this indictment, is that going to impact anything as far as your committee goes?

QUIGLEY: Look, I think our committee should continue the investigation no longer than it should take or no shorter. When people ask me, however, are you connecting the dots? The fact of the matter is, as we find more dots, more and more dots become evident, right. Once you interview one person it becomes obvious you should interview three others.

The Watergate investigation took over a year. And the Democrats were in control of the House and Senate. This is a far more complicated investigation than Watergate. Obviously, because it involves a foreign counterpart to it, but it is probably calculus to Watergate's algebra. This is something that strikes at the very heart of our democracy. Let's remember that boards of election were hacked into, the very core of the credibility of our elections is in danger. You can easily imagine if you are a hard core Republican, that the tables could have been turned, that the Russians could have been trying to target a Republican candidate to benefit a Democrat. If you believe in democracy it shouldn't matter who was targeted. The fact is the Democratic process was targeted. Get past the partisan part. This isn't Benghazi part two. This is something that we should all take a look at because it's so critical to our very core.

CABRERA: And you brought up the partisan nature of what appears to be the House Intel investigation. I mean, people have criticized your committee's politicizing of the Russian investigation. How confident should the public be or how can you expect the public to be confident with any conclusions that come from your committee?

QUIGLEY: Look, I think there's a core group of Democrats and Republicans trying to follow the facts to get to the truth wherever it may be. I think Mr. Conway from Texas is trying to do that from the Republican side. It isn't easy when the President has called it a witch hunt and denied the intelligence community's consensus that the Russians hacked into the process to help one candidate over another.

And by the way, shortly thereafter said that President Obama trumped -- wiretapped Trump tower, which is obviously an outright lie, something he read on Breitbart and talked about. That is just a beginning of a long series to attempts to distract the way. And eventually, I believe, evidence of obstruction, the fact that he directed Mr. Comey to not investigate General Flynn, that he fired him for that Russian thing. These aren't small matters. He is simply hoping that if there's a shiny enough object out there the American public will pay attention to his and help this 38 percent approval rating.

CABRERA: Now, John Podesta who we know was the head of the Clinton campaign and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz who was the leader of the DNC during the election, they both say they had no idea that the Clinton campaign and the DNC under their watch are funding that dossier looking into President Trump's connections to Russia. We learned that this week. But do you buy they had no idea about it?

QUIGLEY: I have no idea. I think what we knew from all along was what the original part of the dossier was paid for by a Republican think tank and Republican candidate. Apparently, that was taken over by democratic interests. The fact of the matter is --.

CABRERA: Just hold your thought for one second because we actually did confirm that Republican entity was the Washington "free beacon," and they are a conservative media outlet. They say they initially funded some research -- opposition research into then candidate Trump. So just wanted to get that out there because that is new information we got.

QUIGLEY: Sure. Shock and surprise, people do opposition research on their opponents. The fact of the matter is the crux of what came out of that dossier is what the intelligence community has reached a consensus on. And the dossier did it first, that the Russians attacked our democratic process to help the Trump campaign and to hurt the Hillary Clinton campaign. That's the most important thing to come out of it.

The bottom line is we are not investigating that as a committee, we are investigating four prongs of what took place. What did the Russians do? How did they do it? How do we prevent it from happening in the future? And what about the leaks that are taking place? It is not is the dossier correct or not. The fact of the matter is a large part of it is correct.

[19:25:05] CABRERA: And some of it still hasn't been corroborated. Intelligence officials have also said that it isn't just the dossier that has given some kind of evidence about Russia's involvement in the election. So that aside, you could eliminate the dossier. They would still be doing the investigation they say.

Congressman Mike Quigley, we are out of time. Thank you so much for joining us. We really do appreciate it.

QUIGLEY: Thank you. Anytime.

CABRERA: Coming up, former President George H. W. Bush set to make his first public appearance amid a groping scandal that prompted an apology. That story ahead live in the NEWSROOM.


[19:30:05] CABRERA: New tonight, more than 30 members of the Houston Texans kneel in unison during the national anthem. After a controversial comment by team owner, Bob McNair during a discussion about the recent anthem protest, McNair reportedly said the league quote "can't have inmates running a prison."

Now, the Texan owner has already issued to apology saying in part quote "I'm truly sorry to the players for how this impacted them and the perception that it has created of me which cannot be further from the truth."

Now later tonight, both former presidents Bush will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at game five for the World Series. It will be Bush 41's first public appearance since facing groping allegations.

CNN's Athena Jones has the story.


ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President George H .W. Bush, facing allegations from at least three women who say he touched them inappropriately. The accusers, one of whom asked to remain anonymous sharing remarkably similar stories about the President touching them during photo-ops. Actress, Jordana Grolnick met Bush last year during a theater in Maine. JORDANA GROLNICK, BUSH ACCUSER: There was a photo-op and he came back

to take a pictures with a group of girls. And he was in a wheelchair and he reached his hand around and said to the group, do you know who my favorite magician is? And we all said, no, who? And he said David Copperfield. And at that moment I felt him grab my behind.

JONES: In a now deleted post on Instagram, actress Heather Lind who (INAUDIBLE), Washington's spies, wrote that Bush touched her inappropriately a few years ago as they were posing for this photograph. And while Lind did not get into the specifics of the incident she referred to it as a sexual assault.

He didn't shake my hand, he touched me from behind his wheelchair with his wife, Barbara Bush by his side and told me a dirty joke. And then all the while being photographed touched me again.

A third woman who wished to be anonymous told CNN said she met Bush at a VIP event in Houston in 2015. She said he squeezed her behind a couple of times. It was unmistakable. It was not just a pat. It was a serious squeeze.

Spokesman, Jim McGrath, acknowledged the incidents referring CNN to a statement released Wednesday that cited the President's age and physical limitations.

To try to put people at ease, the President routinely tells the same joke. And on occasion, he has patted women's rears in what he intended to be a good natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent, others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.

McGrath confirmed he was referring to the David Copperfield joke mentioned by all three women when he wrote the statement. Reaction to the story has been mixed with some coming to the President's defense including NBC's Andrea Mitchell who tweeted, Mrs. Bush was at his side. He is in a wheelchair with Parkinson's syndrome. Really? Someone should be ashamed and it isn't 41.

Doctor Daniel Amen, a neuroscientist and brain imaging expert who does not treat Bush said illnesses like his can lead to unusual behavior. Amen said it's not worthy the alleged incidents occurred late in his life.

DR. DANIEL AMEN, NEUROSCIENTIST AND BRAIN IMAGING EXPERT: It can also affect the front part of your brain, things like judgment, forethought and impulse control and people who have never acted badly or inappropriately their whole life, all of a sudden, they start to do things that are out of character.

JONES: Jordana Grolnick thinks that's an excuse.

Do you think his age, his medical condition excuse or explain his action?

GROLNICK: No. I don't think it excuses it. And I don't think it explains it. In order for us to have progress and to further reach the true equality that we deserve to have I think we need to stop making excuses and letting that be, you know, OK.

JONES: Athena Jones, CNN, New York.


CABRERA: Still ahead in the NEWSROOM, President Trump says the media is not giving him a very fair shake. Hear him make his own case next.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, people don't understand. I went to an Ivy League college. I was a nice student. I did very well. I'm a very intelligent person.




[19:38:36] TRUMP: I think the press makes me more uncivil than I am, you know. People don't understand. I went to an Ivy League college. I was a nice student. I did very well. I'm a very intelligent person. And you know, the fact is, I think I really believe -- I think the press creates a different image of Donald Trump than the real person.


CABRERA: President Trump making the case he is a good person. And that we in the media are creating a less than flattering image of him. Well, you make the call. Here's a look back at some of the President's most civil moments.


TRUMP: Little Marco, they hate him in Florida.

We call him lying Ted.

Elizabeth Warren is terrible. In the Senate everybody hates it. You can have Pocahontas.

I love the old days, you know what they would do to a guy like that when they were in a place this? They would be carried out on a stretcher folks.

I like to punch him in the face, I will tell you.

You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It is a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you are a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do whatever you want.

TRUMP: Grab them by the (bleep). UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do anything.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, AC 360: Sir, with all due respect, that's the argument of a 5-year-old.

TRUMP: I didn't start it.

COOPER: He started it.

TRUMP: You would say that.


[19:40:00] CABRERA: Joining us now, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," is Brian Stelter.

So that was a walk down memory lane there, Brian. Is the media creating a more bombastic version of Trump or reflecting him?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, as the White House press office likes to say, the President's tweet speaks for themselves, you know. You have to look no further that his twitter feeds for some of his uncivil comments even against Michael More this weekend.

Buy hey, his supporters did not vote for civility. So I don't think he is being judged by that standard necessarily. I think it's worth remembering some of those comments once in a-while though. I sometimes forget something what happened on the campaign trail and even earlier this year at various rallies.

But I think the best thing to do whether you are a Trump supporter or Trump detractor is to watch his full speeches once in a while and to watch his full interviews once in a-while so you are not just getting the sound bites. That way, you can be sure he is not being taken out of context.

I thought his interview recently, I don't know if I would call it an interview, his conversation recently with Lou Dobbs of Fox News, one of his biggest fan, was really revealing. I think it made Trump fans like him even more. It made Trump detractors even more critical of him. But it is useful watching him in his own words.

CABRERA: And we actually have sound bites from that interview where he talked about fake news and actually bragged about creating fake news. Watch.


TRUMP: I truly started this whole fake news thing. Now they turned it around and then now they are calling, you know, stories put out by Facebook fake. And they are fake. What could be more fake than CBS and NBC and ABC and CNN, when you look at some of these stories, you look at the level of approval of media of general media, if you look at it from the day I started running to now, I'm so proud that I have been able to convince people how fake it is because it has taken a nosedive.


CABRERA: The President said he created that term, "fake news."


CABRERA: But you say he has it backwards.

STELTER: He does. The term "fake news" was originally used a couple years ago prior to Election Day to describe stories and it really truly designed to deceive you. Totally made up, bogus stories.

CABRERA: So that was a fake comment.

STELTER: You could say it was a fake comment, yes. You know, I think a responsible President in our history in the country would try to support media literacy and encourage accurate information and discourage misinformation. But that's not President Trump's style.

CABRERA: On Friday night when CNN broke the news that the first charges have been filed in the special counsel investigation, almost every other news organization was really quick to follow with the news. But how they handle the news really did vary? In fact, it goes to show where you get the news does matter.

And here's an example. That same night, FOX's Sean Hannity tweeted quote "when will Hillary Clinton be indicted?" And then last night, judge Jeanine Pirro reached media to segment in which she said, lock her up. That's what I said, I actually said it, lock her up.

So Brian, have Trump allies in media successfully watered the -- mudded the water?

STELTER: Yes. To some degree, there's a fog that has been created by the Sean Hannitys of the world. Judge Jeanine Pirro was talking all about Hillary Clinton trying to link her to an old deal involving uranium, trying to link her to the dossier involving Trump and Russia. There's been an attempt to change the subject by Trump media allies. And I think we are going to see that even more tomorrow if indeed there are indictments or other moves on the Robert Mueller investigation. We are going to see these attempts to confuse the issue and suggest it's really the Dems that need to be investigated not the Republicans.

President Trump is hearing that from FOX News. He is repeating it on twitter. But this is why there's checks and balances, the Senate, the media, the courts, Robert Mueller. This is why there are others checks and balances in place in order to try to erase the fog and un- muddy the water.

CABRERA: That's right.

Brian Stelter, thank you. \

STELTER: Thanks. CABRERA: You will be back with me next hour.

Coming up, Facebook, Twitter and Google all set for grilling on Capitol Hill over Russian bought ads during the election. New policy changes being rolled out and what it means for when you log-on in the future.


[19:48:23] CABRERA: This week (INAUDIBLE) from tech giants Facebook, Google, twitter will testify on Capitol Hill on how Russia infiltrated social media to influence the 2016 elections. Now, ahead of this testimony, both Facebook and Twitter, have pledged greater transparency when it comes to political advertising with plans to mark the ads with special labels like you see here.

And in addition the social media sites are creating catalogs that will let users see all the active ad campaigns on their services. Now, the policy change comes after Facebook, Twitter and Google all uncovered examples of Russian operatives buying political ads to saw division up to the election.

Joining us now are two congressmen who have signed onto a bipartisan bill called the honest ads act. Republican congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado and Democratic congressman Derek Kilmer of Washington.

Congressmen, thank you both for being here.

I will start with you, Congressman Coffman. Tell us about this bill and why you think it will help to combat interfering in our election.

REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R), COLORADO: Well, this is really just common sense legislation. It already exists. These rules already - disclosure rules already exist for TV, for radio. Our laws have just never been updated to reflect the internet and the political ads on the internet. So it is just so critical to do this. And I believe that Russia playing in our 2016 election is a catalyst for this. But this should occur irrespective of Russia's involvement.

CABRERA: Congressman Kilmer, it sounds like a no brainer. What kind of support are you getting for this bill?

REP. DEREK KILMER (D), WASHINGTON: Well, I think it is good news that this is a bipartisan bill and that is a bicameral bill because at the end of the day, this is about the American people's right to know who is trying to influence elections and it's about trying to keep more money out of our campaigns.

[19:50:04] CABRERA: Congressman Coffman, have you heard from the White House on this?

COFFMAN: You know, no, I really haven't. I think that -- I think we have seen - I have seen some comments about Facebook in the press not being supportive of the legislation. But I think, again, this disclosure, transparency, is just the essence of campaign finance reform. And so, this, this law is just so necessary. Again, never been updated to reflect the internet.

CABRERA: I'm kind of curious how you view this differently maybe than some other issues because I know in general, Republicans largely aren't supportive of more regulations or more government in interference you could say or control over, over the public. Why might this particular issue be different?

COFFMAN: Transparency is different. I'm sorry, go ahead.

CABRERA: Go ahead, Congressman Coffman, and then we will come to you. Sorry, go ahead.

COFFMAN: OK. OK. I'm sorry. I just think -- I think Republicans have always been supportive of transparency. And so, and this is, I think the essence of transparency. And I certainly hope my colleagues are supportive of this on my side of the aisle. And some of them I think might be concerned about Russia investigation and the partisanship and the polarization involved in that. But I hope that they see this as just something that really needs to be done irrespective of Russia, in that we have laws on the books right now that require this same reporting for TV and for radio. So I think for political advertising. And so, you know, why not the internet?

CABRERA: Congressman Kilmer, what do you think about the actions Facebook and Twitter announced this week?

KILMER: Well, I think any time you have the technology companies trying to do things that provide more transparency, that's a good thing. That's progress. But I think the real litmus test here is does it actually take the actions that are called for under the (INAUDIBLE)? Having an online, searchable data base where the information is available about the ads. Where the content of the ad is made available, where the amount that's being spent is made available. And I think we will see whether the technology companies provide all of that information.

CABRERA: And Representative Coffman, what are the biggest questions you want answered when social media companies address congressional investigators this week?

COFFMAN: Well, I think -- certainly what Congressman Kilmer said is that I think that they are going to kind of say well, we are really sort of doing this -- well, they need to do all of this prescribed and this legislation, I think is so critical. We should not have one standard to get for radio and TV and another standard for the internet when it comes to political advertising.

The American people have a right to know who is buying these ads and how big these buys are. And so I think it's too bad that it wasn't in place before the 2016 election. But we can have it in place now because of the 2018 election.

CABRERA: And Congressman Kilmer, there's a new poll out this week showing a growing partisan gap between Democrats and Republicans. Nearly three quarters of Americans believes the country's politics have reached a dangerous low point. You guys are an example here of a bipartisan effort. Why do you think

we are not seeing more of this?

KILMER: Well, you know, I share the American people's disappointment with how Congress is failing to function. Listen, when I'm back home with my constituents they want to see the government moving forward too. I think we have seen way too much partisan bickering, not enough focus on making progress on behalf of the American people.

And I commend Mike for working with me on this bill. I mean, this is as you put it earlier, this is a no-brainer. This is about giving people the right to know who is trying to influence campaigns and influence electoral outcomes.

And importantly, listen, I'm not outraged about Russian involvement in the last election as a Democrat. I'm outraged about it as an American. I believe it's important to the integrity of our election system that we keep foreign money out of our political system. And whether it be on this issue or others that move things forward for getting our economy on track and getting our government on track. I think there's opportunities like this for Democrats and Republicans to work together. I hope you see more of that.

CABRERA: Congressman, Mike Coffman and Derek Kilmer, thank you both.

Coming up, tonight's brand new episode of "THIS IS LIFE." Lisa Ling goes beyond bars to finds out why so many American prisons are converting to Islam. Here's a sneak peek.


[19:55:13] LISA LING, CNN HOST, THIS IS LIFE (voice-over): Something radical is happening inside U.S. prisons. How many of you all converted to Islam inside prison?


LING: What was it about Islam that resonated with these men?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Islam transforms hard. It changes the person totally.


CABRERA: "THIS IS LIFE" airs tonight at 10:00 eastern right here on CNN.

We are back after this.


[19:20:04] CABRERA: We are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being here. Thanks for rolling with me this evening. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.