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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Manafort Has 3 Passports, Phone Registered With Fake Name; Lawmakers Hammer Social Media Giants Over Russian Meddling; Facebook: 150 Million May Have Been Exposed To Russia Info. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired November 1, 2017 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: But we are also told that he was radicalized here in the United States.
MIKE ROGERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, completely so.
And, interesting, early on in the airstrike campaign in the early part of 2000s, Uzbeks had the highest body count in these airstrikes, mainly because they were great fighters. They merged into places like Afghanistan, even along the Pakistan border, and were eager to get into that fight.
And what was fascinating was that the groups around there, some of the local tribes, did not really care for the Uzbeks being down there. They actually looked at them as foreigners, and lots of information was passed along. And I think that's why they ended getting targeted more than the other ones.
But they are used effectively on the battlefield still all around the world. This individual apparently either may have had some connection back there. We don't know yet. I would leave that as an open chapter quite yet, but also seemed to get here, try to fit in.
Something happened in all of those travels. And I'm going to guess that somebody gave him permission to do what he did in a spiritual way that allowed him to continue on.
We see this in case after case after case, even in lone wolves. It's a simple e-mail, it's a simple communication. That's what really investigators are going to need to find out. Where was that spiritual guidance? Where was that individual that said it's OK for you to do this and take those lives?
That always happens in these cases. Now we just have to find out where that happened in the United States. And, candidly, if he had those moves around like that, he's a perfect profile for recruiting of somebody to push him into this radicalization phase.
Couldn't quite fit in. Couldn't quite fit in. He's exactly the kind of person that these folks are going to look for and try to reach out and touch.
And, again, doesn't mean it was a heavy hand. It doesn't mean it was intense. It doesn't mean that ISIS was meeting with him every day. Probably none of those things happened, but somebody along the way helped him get that switch flipped that allowed him to believe that this was his duty under his faith.
TAPPER: All right.
Phil, Chairman, Juliette, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.
The details sound shadier than a palm tree. Why did President Trump's now indicted former campaign chairman have three passports and a cell phone under a fake name? That's next.
TAPPER: We're back with our politics lead now.
The probe into possible collusion by the Trump team to work with the Russians to impact the 2016 election and new details about the reaction in the room with then candidate Trump and his national security team when that adviser George Papadopoulos raised the suggestion of a meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It happened in the March meeting pictured in this photograph the president or then candidate Trump tweeted out at the time. And a person in the room tells CNN that then candidate Trump didn't say yes to the idea and didn't say no, but Jeff Sessions, pictured at the other end of the table, did shut down the idea.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said today she does not believe the president remembers that suggestion.
Papadopoulos on Monday, of course, this week pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his myriad of contacts with individuals who have Kremlin ties, including one professor who told him that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
This all comes as we learn more about the activities of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who we know now had three U.S. passports and traveled extensively using a phone and e-mail registered under a fake name.
CNN's Jessica Schneider is here with me.
And, Jessica, of course, we have to point out it's not illegal to have three passports, but it's unusual.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. It's raising some eyebrows.
Those multiple passports, like you said, while often approved for U.S. citizens, combined with Manafort's extensive travel around the globe in the past year, it led prosecutors to argue he was a flight risk and the judge to order house arrest.
And now while Manafort and Gates have both surrendered their passports, prosecutors say there are still looming questions about their financial dealings.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): A secret side of Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, tales of three passports, a fake name and dozens of bank accounts, all laid bare in court documents in what special counsel Robert Mueller calls a history of deceptive and misleading conduct on the part of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.
The two are under house arrest after a federal court judge agreed with the government that the two are flight risks. Manafort currently has three U.S. passports, each of them under a different number. This alone, however, is not illegal.
The prosecutor said he has submitted 10 passport applications in roughly the last 10 years. This year, Manafort has traveled to Mexico, Ecuador and China, with a phone and e-mail account registered under a fake name. Also, over the past year, he traveled to Tokyo, Shanghai, Dubai, Madrid, Havana, Grand Cayman Island, Cancun and Panama City.
And both Manafort and Gates were frequent travelers to Cyprus. Manafort wrote in financial documents that his assets were worth between $19 million in April 2012 and $136 million in May 2016. But in some months, like when he was serving as Trump's national campaign chairman in August 2016, Manafort said his assets were worth $28 million, but then wrote he had $63 million in assets on a different application.
Meanwhile, Gates frequently changed banks and opened and closed bank accounts, prosecutors said. In all, Gates had 55 accounts with 13 different financial institutions. Some accounts were in England and Cyprus, where he held more than $10 million from 2010 to 2015.
QUESTION: Mr. Manafort, when was the last time you spoke to the president?
SCHNEIDER: CNN spotted Manafort coming back home to his Alexandria, Virginia, condo yesterday.
Being under house arrest means that Manafort and Gates can only leave their homes to meet with lawyers, appear in court, or for medical or religious reasons, and they must check in with authorities every day.
But the new details are prompting some to question if Trump's campaign properly vetted Manafort in the first place.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Paul Manafort has a long reputation working on campaigns, on presidential campaigns. But the fact that he has is an outlaw to the extent that has been disclosed so far is deeply concerning, I think, to all of us. And I'm beginning to wonder if he wasn't an agent of Russia.
SCHNEIDER: Manafort's attorney told reporters on Monday his client has not guilty. Gates has also pleaded not guilty.
KEVIN DOWNING, ATTORNEY FOR PAUL MANAFORT: There is no evidence that Mr. Manafort or the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.
SCHNEIDER: And more of the details surrounding Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, it could come out when they appear in court tomorrow.
Of course, Jake, both men face sentences of up to 10 years if they're convicted on all of these counts.
TAPPER: Jessica Schneider, thank you so much.
We have a lot more to talk about, such as, why did the president need -- why did the president's ex-campaign chairman need an alias?
[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: We're back with our "POLITICS LEAD" and my panel. Let's start about the Russia investigation. We have former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort has three passports, applied for ten passports over the past ten years. Jen, you're a former Spokesperson for the State Department. That's not illegal but it's unusual.
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. No doubt about it. There are people who have several passports, including people who work for the federal government. When I worked there, I had several because we were traveling so much and because there are certain countries that may hesitate to let you in if you have a stamp from another country.
TAPPER: Like if you have a stamp from Israel, you can't get into any number of Arab countries.
PSAKI: Exactly. It can be very difficult. So for that reason, people do. However, this is with the context of it very unusual, with all of the false information, false phone records, false names, and that's something that certainly is a big red flag.
TAPPER: And Amanda, this year he traveled to Mexico, China and Ecuador and we're told that it was with a phone and e-mail account registered under a fake name. Meanwhile, Rick Gates has 55 different bank accounts opening and closing around the world. I mean, I don't know anybody like that.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. Listen, it gets down to the question, did the Trump Campaign bother to vet Paul Manafort or did they not care? Did they know this information and not care? The biggest question for Paul Manafort is that he doesn't tell the truth. This all is just background information to what I think the bigger deal is, is how many times he went before the public and said there were no contacts with Russians. This is something that gets to everyone else in Trump universe. Did it looked at a tally of its -- past two years, there are at least 20 occasions where people in Trump universe said there is no contacts with the Russians. He did an interview with you where he talked about a fake attack on a NATO airbase in Turkey that never happened. The only place that that came up ---
TAPPER: It was part of Russian propaganda.
CARPENTER: It was straight Russian propaganda. And so yes, all of these things about his questionable past are relevant, but even more relevant is his straight denials of things, contacts with the Russians and who he was representing and who he was really working for, we don't know.
TAPPER: And he was representing his firm was notorious years ago for representing bad guys, for representing dictators. For -- there's a piece in the Washington Post, a first-person account of somebody who used to work for him or they're trying to -- they send -- they send this person and a colleague to Africa to try to convince a warlord, hey, you have really bad press. You need to give us $1 million, sign this contract. And she says, you know, he's a bad guy. He says something like, yes, but we need to make him our bad guy.
PSAKI: Yes, I mean, he's like a character out of a spy novel. So the question is who were his -- who is he loyal to? And Amanda I think raised some really interesting points. One of the things we don't know yet from this process is why on earth did he take this job and what it was he getting out of it? He wasn't getting paid, which we know. What was the quid pro quo? If there was one, we don't know but there are significant questions there given his past.
TAPPER: And the White House made it out to be that this indictment for financial crimes shows that this has nothing to do with them or the campaign. I'm not necessarily sure that's accurate.
CARPENTER: Well, I mean, some of the things that he's being indicted for do go back to a period of time.
CARPENTER: But it gets into who was he representing, like you previously mentioned. But like with the person who pled guilty, the White House came before the public and said, well, that had to do -- nothing to do with the campaign. Well, what he lied about to federal investigators were his activities on the campaign. And so this just gets down to the fact that when it comes to this Russia investigation, you cannot take at face value anything that anyone in the Trump administration or Trump world says because it's born to be false again and again and again.
TAPPER: Wow. Tell us what you really think. Everyone, stick around. Lawmakers hammering social media giants for Russian meddling in 2016. One Senator even telling Facebook, your power scares me. That's next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:50:00] TAPPER: Welcome back. We're getting our first look at some of the Russian ads that were released on Facebook during the 2016 election. I guess we knew that we'd seen them before, we just didn't know they were Russian before. Attorneys for Facebook, Twitter and Google testified on Capitol Hill today and answered questions about ads produced by Russians that were designed to influence the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. The House Intelligence Committee has released some of the ads circulated on Facebook. Many of them have anti- Hillary Clinton or pro-Bernie Sanders messages. Here's one that shows Satan and Jesus arm wrestling. Here's a cartoon of Bernie Sanders looking rather muscular, a photograph of a dignified transfer paired with a quote by Hillary Clinton, depicting her as rather callous. My panel is back with me for more. I think I recognize some of those. What do you make of them?
PSAKI: They're quite good at this and I think we underestimated them and the impact of propaganda no doubt through the course of the election, but even for months afterwards. I think the troubling piece that we should focus a little bit more on here is that we're -- you know, Twitter and Facebook, they were pretty slow out of the gate after the election and their responses immediately after were denial of them having involvement, which I think everyone will look back and think was not the right approach.
TAPPER: Every week they have a new story.
PSAKI: Right, they -- and they'd be in a better spot now had they responded differently. However, they have an opportunity to be somewhat of a force for good now because this is not done, it's ongoing, not just here, in countries around the world, maybe with businesses. We don't even know the scope of what Russia is capable of and they're not stopping. So we're not focusing nearly enough on that and certainly, I hope we do in the months ahead.
[16:55:20] TAPPER: Amanda, take a listen to what Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said to the company's lawyers today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I must say, I don't think you get it. What we're talking about is a cataclysmic change. What we're talking about is the beginning of cyber warfare. You bear this responsibility. You've created these platforms. And now they are being misused.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And she went on to say that they need to do something about this and if they don't, Congress will. I know that there are first amendment advocates that are very concerned about what Congress might do in this platform of social media, Facebook and Twitter.
CARPENTER: Yes, and I find it interesting, number one, that these social media executives sent their lawyers to Capitol Hill. The CEOs wouldn't go and face that questioning but it is a question of whether they're going to allow their platforms to be used to cyber warfare. That is spot-on. And I think they have their heads in the sand if they think this is only limited to election issues. There no reason the Russians can't spread misinformation about health care, medicine, crime, this is unlimited. And to think that is limited to politics is foolish. And so it does go to a question of corporate media responsibility and I don't see any recognition from the social media execs that they care about having platforms that uphold integrity. They're just chasing the dollars, they're accepting rubles for goodness sake. And if they're not willing to at least disclose where the information is coming from to their users then Congress has every right to take action.
TAPPER: And yes, I do wonder Jen, what would the appetite of Congress be, especially a Republican House and Republican Senate at more government regulation, more government rules. I know that there are a lot of hawks in the Republican Party, but by the same token, there are a lot of people who are very worried about telling people what they can or cannot write on Facebook.
PSAKI: That's right. And Facebook and other platforms make the argument that there could be standards in the United States that other countries are aren't going to set. So how do they deal with that? So there are some interesting arguments on the flip side. Now, there are things like disclosure that they're certainly could be a lot more --
TAPPER: For ads.
PSAKI: Exactly -- that is required of other media platform platforms. That's something some of them have come around to, all of them have not. But I think the other issue here is that, you know, some of these companies, if they were eliminated, Facebook and Twitter, would Russia still be going after our systems and would they still be trying to get into companies and the government?
CARPENTER: That's right.
PSAKI: And they would. So we need to deal with all of these pieces at the same time.
CARPENTER: And these executives like to -- like to pretend as though they're only in the data business. No, they are into media distribution. And a newspaper, for example, would not -- should not accept a letter to the editor, say from an anonymous source. A responsible newspaper would call and make sure that it is a real person with a real address. Facebook and Twitter, if they want to be involved in the media distribution, they need those kinds of same internal standards.
TAPPER: And I want to play the sound from Al Franken that you kind of referred to just a second ago. Let's play that sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: Electoral ads paid for in rubles were coming from Russia. Those are two data points, American political ads, and Russian money, rubles. How could you not connect those two dots? (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: We should point out, Facebook, again, raised a number of people who saw content from a specific Russian troll farm. Now they're saying it's 150 million people. They've raised it almost 25 million people just this week. Not exactly confidence-building, Amanda?
CARPENTER: No, it's incredible what transpired on those platforms. And I don't see anything that they're really willing to do to stop it because all of these social media platforms are still interested in chasing the clicks. We see this on online Web sites as well that the clicks and the money matter more than the content and that's a very dangerous thing, even though I believe in free some people 100 percent.
TAPPER: They like the rubles.
TAPPER: They enjoy the rubles. Jennifer Psaki, Amanda Carpenter, thanks to both of you. I really appreciate it. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter -- now that feels strange saying that -- @JAKETAPPER or tweet the show @THELEADCNN. That's it for THE LEAD today. I'm Jake Tapper, turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, allegiance to ISIS. Police say the suspect in the New York truck attack was influenced by ISIS, followed the ISIS playbook and left a note in Arabic praising the terror group.