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Trump and Sessions Denied Russia Ties; Kushner Turns over Documents; October Jobs Report; Papadopoulos Putin Pitch; Trump Heads to Asia. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 3, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Harder for me to believe that Jeff Sessions forgot that he had a sit- down with Sergey Kislyak, the then Russian ambassador, in his Senate office basically saying, well, I didn't mention that when I was under oath and people asked if I had any contacts because that was in my official capacity as a senator, not as a surrogate for Donald Trump. You're slicing the onion very thinly there. And I just -- I think Sessions is who we should pay attention to here because there's a lot of smoke around a lot of different people here, as Asha mentioned. It seems to me there's more and more growing around Sessions.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Chris Cillizza says focus on Sessions.

A.B., Jared Kushner also turning over documents over the last 24 hours. Our reporting is that he's being asked questions about the firing of James Comey, you know, questions about possible obstruction of justice. Is it just Sessions or is Kushner now in the spotlight?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Well, you know, we throw around these terms like "target" or "focus" or "subject" or whatever. The point is, they're asking him a lot of questions. And he -- we all know because we've been talking about this for all year, that he left off foreign contacts, almost 100 of them I believe, on his SF-86 security clearance form.

He snuck the Russian ambassador up the back elevator to Trump Tower to elude the press during the transition. He was trying to set up a secret back channel of communications to evade our own security apparatus during the transition. So there will be questions of Jared Kushner.

There's some conflicting reporting about how much he had to do with the Comey firing. But he certainly obviously is someone that they need to learn about. And we have no idea where this is going. I mean to speculate about how intensely he is under the spotlight is really hard to do, but he -- there's too many anecdotes about him hiding things and we learn them later for him not to be a subject of a lot of information, at least, in the investigation.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thank you all panel. Great to talk to you. Have a good weekend.

Meanwhile, we do have some breaking news for you right now because the October jobs report is out. We'll bring you the numbers and what it means for you, next.


[08:36:27] CAMEROTA: OK, we have some breaking news. This just in. The Labor Department releasing the October jobs report moments ago. Christine Romans is still crunching the numbers for us.


CAMEROTA: She's in the CNN Money Now Center.

ROMANS: Guys, it's a bounce-back from those hurricanes. And, remember, we thought we had a job loss in September. Now it looks like 18,000 jobs created in September and then a net new jobs of 261,000 in October.

That's the strongest job creation in almost a year. So that's a good number. It shows you companies are hiring. We know layoffs are down and companies are hiring.

Let me show you the unemployment rate because this ticked down to 4.1 percent. That is the lowest again since late 2000.

This is a strong job market. This is a job market where someone who wants a job and has the skills for a job is getting a job.

Where are they getting a job? In these sectors, Food. Bars and restaurants. That's that bounce-back after Hurricanes Irma and Harvey in those big, big population centers of Texas and Florida. People are coming back and getting hired.

Business services. These are office jobs. These are lawyers. These are consultants. These are jobs that tend to pay a little bit more. And even in manufacturing, we saw 24,000 net new jobs in manufacturing.

Also we saw job creation in health care. That has been a consistent, steady performer. We're talking about 85 months now overall of job gains.

So I would call this a strong jobs report. It shows you what we've been saying for many months now, there are about 6 million, 6.5 million people out of work looking for work. There are about 6 million open jobs in America. That's a pretty tight labor market.

Now we need to be starting talking about how to raising wages. Wages only 2.4 percent wage growth. That's not enough here. We need to start talking about how we're going to raise wages and how we're going to put those people who have a -- who want a job with those jobs that are open, you guys.

CAMEROTA: It's going to be hard for us to talk about that, I can tell, from the raised wages problem.

ROMANS: Raised Wages. Really raise wages. Happy Friday.

BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans, thank you very, very much. President Trump willing to hear out a campaign advisor linked to Russia. Is that evidence of collusion? We're going to speak with author Bill Browder, who went from investing in Russia to crusading against corruption there, next.


[08:42:17] BERMAN: Major developments in the Russian investigation. A campaign advisor who attended a campaign meeting last year, where George Papadopoulos pinched a Trump-Putin meeting, tells CNN that then candidate Trump listened and did not dismiss the notion. Jeff Sessions was in that meeting too, but the attorney general testified as recently as last month that he did not know of any campaign workers communicating with Russia.

Joining me now is someone really at the center of this Russian discussion, Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and the author of "Red Notice."

Bill, thanks so much for being with us.

For people who don't know you and don't know your role sort of in the back and forth with Russia over the last year, Bill's been -- you know, was the main proponent of what ended up being the Magnitsky Act. Something that really upset Vladimir Putin like nothing else. It was your lawyer who ultimately died at the hands of Russia. So that's just some context for people here.

Asha Rangappa, who worked for the FBI, was just on with us. She said there was a statistically improbable level of contact between various Russians and various people in the Trump campaign. Does that seem like an apt statement to you, sir?

BILL BROWDER, AUTHOR, "RED NOTICE": Well, I don't have all the evidence that's available to all these people. But what we can see is that Vladimir Putin absolutely wanted to get rid of sanctions, the Magnitsky sanctions in particular. What we can see is that there was a meeting at Trump Tower between a representative of Vladimir Putin. And then we can see all sorts of different people popping up doing different things. There was Carter Page. There was this guy Papadopoulos, et cetera, who were all effectively sort of doing various things for the Russians.

Now, we still don't know whether these people, like Papadopoulos and Carter Page, were sort of instrumental members of the Trump campaign or whether they were sometime -- sort of guys trying to do -- make themselves known. And so there's still a lot of work that needs to be done. But this does start to solidify a picture, which has been sort of hanging out there for a while.

BERMAN: What we also know is that George Papadopoulos was offered stuff. You know, these Russians that he was speaking with offered him dirt and apparently e-mails from Hillary Clinton. We know that Donald Trump Jr. was offered stuff, dirt on Hillary Clinton before that meeting where the Magnitsky Act was also discussed. Based on what you know of how Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence works, these offers, what do you see in them?

BROWDER: Well, so Vladimir Putin had an objective. His objective was to get rid of the Magnitsky Act. He wanted to get rid of the Magnitsky Act because it sanctions Russians and potentially him for his ill- gotten gains. And to ask for that, he has to offer something in return. And what seemed to be offered in return is information that would help

Donald Trump get elected.

[08:45:09] Now, we don't know whether this was just a low level reach- out that they got through these people, or whether it actually generated real sort of engagement between the two campaigns. That has yet to be proven. But we know for sure what Russia's intentions were and we're starting to see little bits and bites of information to suggest that that -- those offers were either warmly received or possibly even openly accepted.

BERMAN: You say the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is, quote, working perfectly. Explain.

BROWDER: Well, so what we have going here is a situation where there is -- there was worry or reason to believe that there might be collusion. And so, as a result, a special investigator was appointed. And as a result of his appointment, we now have people being -- all throughout this process being interviewed. And some of those interviews are generating now legal results.

I mean the fact that Papadopoulos has pled guilty, I don't think we've seen the end of this Papadopoulos story. I think that we'll hear his testimony in due course.

And as this thing materializes, we'll get to -- eventually we will get to the end of whether there was collusion or whether there was not collusion.

BERMAN: Right.

BROWDER: And the thing about it is, that Mueller is an absolutely talented law enforcement officer and he's got more -- a couple dozen people below him who are equally talented. And the answer will come. There will be -- we won't be left in the dark by the time this is all over.

BERMAN: You made Kremlin accountability a crusade over the last few years. We're learning just how involved Russia was on social media during the campaign, 146 million people seen Russian linked content on FaceBook alone. What do you think the U.S. government needs to do to protect itself going forward?

BROWDER: Well, what's absolutely clear is that technology has advanced faster than regulation of that technology. And both Twitter, FaceBook, Wikipedia, Google, all these organizations are being abused by Russia and there aren't any safeguards in place. And so this is an area that can't be just left to the chaotic elements of the masses. This has to be something that -- where there is clear regulation so that Russians can't come into our country and basically manipulate public opinion as if it's American public opinion. It just can't happen -- happen here.

BERMAN: A quick, final question. One of the bizarre, you know, topsy- turvy natures of the whole Russia thing is that Fusion GPS, which was involved with the Russian dossier obviously, at some point also now hired to talk about you and research you in a not necessarily completely flattering way. What do you make of that?

BROWDER: So at the exact same time as Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS were working on the Trump dossier, they were working for Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was working for Vladimir Putin, to basically cover up the real facts of the murder of Sergei Magnitsky in Washington with journalists. And I find it astounding that -- I mean basically anybody who's effectively working for Putin, to try to cover up a murder, it doesn't -- it doesn't rank very high in my books.

BERMAN: All right, Bill Browder, thanks so much for being with us. Unusual insight you have into what's going on around the world right now. We really appreciate it.

BROWDER: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, John, here's some exciting news. CNN is proud to announce the top ten CNN Heroes of 2017. And you can decide who will be named CNN's Hero of the Year. So here's Anderson Cooper to show you how.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC 360": Now that we've announced the top ten CNN Heroes of 2017, it's time to show you how you can help decide who should be CNN Hero of the Year and receive $100,000 to help them continue their work.

Just go to, where you can learn more about each hero. And when you're ready, just click on vote.

Log in using your e-mail address or FaceBook account and choose your favorite. Then confirm your selection and you're all set.

And this year you can vote through FaceBook Messenger.

You can vote up to ten times a day per method, every day, through December 12th. Then rally your friends by sharing your vote on social media.

My friend and co-host, Kelly Ripa, joins me to reveal the 2017 Hero of the Year live during our 11th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute Sunday, December 17th.


CAMEROTA: OK. And you can meet all of this year's top ten heroes at And vote every single day. Also, a reminder, that all ten will be honored at the 11th Annual CNN Heroes. It's an all-star tribute. That will be live on December 17th.

BERMAN: Can't wait for that. That will be wonderful.

President Trump about to embark on a high stakes trip to Asia. Will he meet with Vladimir Putin during a key summit? CNN's Christiane Amanpour previews the 12 day trip. That's next.


[08:54:22] CAMEROTA: We are moments away from President Trump heading to Asia for the most consequential trip of his presidency thus far. The president will visit five nations, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines on this 12 day trip. This, of course, amid escalating tensions with North Korea.

So joining us now is CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

Christiane, great to have you here with us.

What are you watching for this trip?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is an important trip, obviously, and it's a long trip. One of the longest, if not the longest that the president has taken.

And, obviously, the big sort of, you know, geo strategic challenge will be North Korea. And they quote haven't figured out, neither the U.S. or the allies, how to keep Kim Jong-un from using and threatening his nuclear capabilities. So that's going to be a big, big issue.

[08:55:10] And I've been talking to the highest ranking North Korean defector in about two decades. His name is Thae Yong-Ho. He was the deputy ambassador here in the U.K. And I asked him about the, you know, the very heated language that President Trump and Kim Jong-un have been, you know, hurling at each other through Twitter and through the atmosphere. And he said, to an extent, it worked, particularly forcing Kim Jong-un not to come through with threats to target places bike Guam and test missiles in that direction.

Listen to what he said.


THAE YONG-HO, DEFECTED NORTH KOREAN DIPLOMAT: The unpredictability of President Trump worked to some extent. And -- but now I think that kind of exchange of rhetoric, warnings or whatever, are not necessary. And the most important thing is to deliver the policy messages towards North Korea.


AMANPOUR: So that is the big deal, deliver the message that the west, the allies will not tolerate North Korean adventurism with its nukes.

They have the nuclear devices. They are perfecting their intercontinental ballistic capability. And this defector, like South Korean intelligence, believes that there could be another provocation by North Korea, but says we must keep the international sanctions regime, keep up the pressure, but also try to engage to reduce this danger on the Korean peninsula.

BERMAN: You know, on the subject of the rhetoric, this is something that the White House has been asked repeatedly. And the national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, was asked directly about this yesterday, you know, will the president tone it down? Will he watch what he's saying? This is what he said.


H. R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The president will use whatever language he wants to use, obviously. And what the president has done is clarified in all of his discussions, his statements on North Korea our determination to insure that North Korea is unable to threaten our allies and our partners and certainly the United States.


BERMAN: So on that front, Christiane, he's going to keep on talking like he has been talking. That seems clear.

If I can, though, I want to shift gears to Vladimir Putin, because the Russian leader will be at the APEX Summit that the president will be at also. And there's a question bout whether the two leaders will meet. The White House says they don't know yet. How do you read that?

AMANPOUR: Well, it's likely that they will in some form of fashion because that's going to be in the Vietnam leg of the trip. And Vladimir Putin has tended to be at those meetings. And, yes, has meetings with all the major leaders.

So it's likely. I mean, we don't know, but it's likely that they will engage in some form or fashion. Of course, that also comes at, obviously, the crucial time that you've all been talking about and we're all watching with the increasing revelations of the closeness of Russia and interfering with the election and the links with Trump campaign officials. So it will be another one of those touchy times, very sensitive times for a meeting between the two leaders.

But beyond that, there are huge areas that they have to talk about. For instance, North Korea. And, of course, then, the other big issues are going to be trade. President Trump, you know, used the idea of limiting the notion of trade on China's terms, as he said it. The idea of free trade. He's pulled out of the TPP. He's going to be discussing with President Xi, he's going to be talking with president -- or rather Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. And he's going to be listening to many of the leaders on climate as well.

So there are a lot of issues there with North Korea being the most dangerous one.

CAMEROTA: And, Christiane, how about international lightning rod, Duterte, president of the Philippines, how is that interaction going to go?

AMANPOUR: Yes. Well, look, you know, you remember President Obama did not meet with him. Duterte was using very vulgar language in public. He was not only having a massive crackdown at home, which involved the killings of thousands of civilians in the so-call war against drugs, but he also was using very, very ugly language towards President Obama himself. And so the American president hasn't met Duterte since he has been elected.

It will be, you know, it will be yet another development. We'll see what comes of that meeting. That will be in the Philippines where the ASEAN meeting, the summit, the annual summit of Southeast Asian allies will take place. And we don't know. And H.R. McMaster was asked about this, will President Trump, as the leader of the country that espouses the most democratic values, the most human rights values, the most values of freedom around the world, will he, you know, impress those -- that necessity on people like authoritarians such as President Duterte, President Putin, President Xi. Let's not face it -- let's not forget, he's going to be meeting with President Xi as well. Don't know whether he's going to do that.

CAMEROTA: OK, Christiane Amanpour, thank you very much for all of the insight and what to watch.

BERMAN: And, again, the president departs any minute from the White House. We're watching that very carefully. He's been speaking to cameras on the way out. We're going to have our cameras there waiting.

[09:00:05] Time now for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow, all alone today.