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Source: Trump Knew about Russia Contacts with Staff; GOP Bill Cuts Tax Rates & Popular Tax Breaks; Trump Meets Putin During Asia Trip; Michael Flynn Offered $15 Million to Remove Cleric?; Film Follows Trauma at Home for Iraqi War Vets. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired November 11, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: President Trump did not dismiss the idea of arranging a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Trump.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had nothing to do with Russia. No person that I deal with has.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sessions failed to tell Congress about the proposed Trump/Putin meeting during his confirmation hearing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His campaign was riddled with people with Russian connections. That's not normal.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He is peeling away the layers of this onion, and somebody is going to end up crying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is really about a DNC that lacked transparency.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you agree that it was rigged?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Yes.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're going to get this done. Why? Because the American people deserve this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The advertised effort on behalf of the middle class is simply not true.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, November 3, 6 a.m. here in New York. Chris is off this morning. John Berman joins me.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm here for you. CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.
BERMAN: I just want you to know that.
CAMEROTA: I'll need you, because we have a lot of news. Here's our starting line.
We begin with several developments in the Russia investigation. Despite repeated denials from President Trump and the White House, we now have concrete evidence that Mr. Trump was personally told about ties between one of his campaign advisers and Russia.
A former national security adviser, J.D. Gordon, says he was at this March 2016 meeting where George Papadopoulos made his pitch to set up a meeting between then-candidate Trump and Vladimir Putin. Gordon says Mr. Trump did not dismiss the idea.
Also, the president's son-in-law and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner turning over documents to Robert Mueller's investigators. Sources tell CNN that Mueller could be building a case for obstruction of justice against the president for firing FBI Director James Comey.
Also, serious new questions this morning about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his memory or lack thereof. This after campaign advisor Carter Page testified to a House panel that he told Sessions he was traveling to Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Remember, Sessions was also in the room with George Papadopoulos when he made his pitch. Yet, Sessions has said he was not aware of any conversations between the Trump campaign and Russia. Democrats say they want to know what's going on here. All of this happening as President Trump leaves in just hours for a high-stakes 12-day trip to Asia. And the fate of the Republican tax plan hangs in the balance.
We have it all covered for you. Let's begin with the Russian development. CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House. Good morning, Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
That trip by the president expected to be his longest trip during this administration so far. But the focus on foreign policy is likely to be overshadowed by the Russia investigation.
JOHNS (voice-over): The latest bombshell in the Russia probe: President Trump did not dismiss the idea of a campaign adviser arranging a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Trump during a campaign meeting in 2016, according to a person in the room. It's the first concrete evidence that Mr. Trump was personally told about ties between the campaign advisor and Russia, despite fierce denials.
TRUMP: I had nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does. JOHNS: Court documents reveal that, during this March 2016 national
security meeting, former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos pitched the idea of a meeting between Putin and Trump. Rump campaign advisor J.D. Gordon seen here with then-candidate Trump, Jeff Sessions and Papadopoulos. Gordon says Mr. Trump listened to his idea, and he heard him out. The White House denying the president had any recollection of this.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Papadopoulos suggesting that a meeting between then-candidate Trump and Vladimir Putin. Do you recall that?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No. I don't believe he does.
ACOSTA: Attorney General Sessions rejecting the idea of a meeting with Putin, according to the source. But Sessions never disclosed the conversation during multiple congressional hearings when he was asked directly about communications in the Trump campaign.
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: You don't believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians? Is that what you're saying?
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I did not, and I'm not aware of anyone else that did. And I don't believe it happened.
JOHNS: Now Senate Democrats want to question Sessions about those denials. The highly-anticipated testimony from former Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page fueling even more questions about what Sessions knew regarding ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
Testifying behind closed doors for more than six hours before a House panel, Page revealing that he told Sessions about a trip he was taking to Russia during the 2016 campaign. Though, Page said the trip was unconnected with the campaign. This is another conversation Sessions failed to mention during hearings.
FRANKEN: He seems to have problems telling the truth on this subject.
JOHNS: The attorney general forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after failing to disclose his own contacts with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.
SESSIONS: I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States.
JOHNS: In the wake of indictments of three Trump foreign policy advisers, the president continues to insist that Hillary Clinton should be the one investigated.
TRUMP: The saddest thing is that, because I'm the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I'm not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I'm not supposed to be doing the kinds of things that I would love to be doing, and I am very frustrated by it.
JOHNS: And a couple Twitter developments this morning, the president jumped all over a report -- actually excerpts from a new book by former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile, alleging the primary process in the election last year was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton. The president essentially calling for an investigation, asking where is our Justice Department?
But the big social media development overnight was when the president's Twitter feed went down for a number of minutes. Apparently, a disgruntled employee on his or her way out the door the last day on the job. Twitter says it's investigating.
[06:05:15] John, back to you.
BERMAN: That's one of the not funniest funny story of the morning. Joe, we'll look into that in a little bit. Thanks so much. Joe Johns at the White House.
More big news this morning. Sources tell CNN that President Trump's son-in-law, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, has turned over documents to special counsel Robert Mueller. Investigators looking into what role he may have played into James Comey's firing. Is the special counsel building a case for obstruction of justice against President Trump or others in the White House.
Shimon Prokupecz, live in Washington with more. Shimon, talk to me about these documents.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Sources tell us Kushner voluntarily turned over these documents. And now these are documents from the campaign and the transition. And they are related to any contacts he had with Russia. These documents are similar to the ones Kushner gave to congressional investigators. And now this comes as investigators have been asking witnesses about Kushner's role in the firing of the former FBI director, James Comey, John.
CAMEROTA: OK. So, Shimon, why is the special counsel interested in the role of that firing?
PROKUPECZ: Well, we're told that investigators have asked witnesses about Kushner's role in that firing. And we've heard different accounts from different sources. And now some say Kushner was the driver of the president's decision.
And others have simply said he didn't oppose it and that it was something that the president had wanted to do on his own all along and had made his mind up about it. But that Kushner was not sort of against it. Now, the White House has said that, based on what they know -- and we don't know how they would know this -- that Kushner is not a target of the investigation.
But this is a sign that Mueller could be building a case for obstruction against the president and perhaps others for the firing of the former FBI director.
BERMAN: They say Kushner is not a target here. Consider the source there. Very important. Shimon, so overall, how significant is this?
PROKUPECZ: This points to the fact that Mueller's team is now asking questions about Kushner and others. And it's reaching into the president's inner circle. And this has extended, you know, the investigation has extended beyond the 2016 campaign to actions taken at the White House by high-level officials. The White House -- the White House officials say Mueller's team's questions about Kushner are not a surprise and that Kushner would be among the list of people who investigators naturally would be asking about. A lawyer for Kushner did not comment. And we should add that the White House declined to comment -- John, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Thank you very much for all of that reporting. So we have a lot to discuss.
Let's bring in our esteemed panel. We have CNN legal analyst and Robert Mueller's former special assistant at the Justice Department Michael Zeldin; and CNN political analysts John Avlon and David Gregory. Great to have all of you.
Michael, I want to just start with you, because we now have this court document that is public that we know more about this pivotal March 31 meeting, 2016 where George Papadopoulos apparently made the pitch to set up a meeting between candidate Trump and Vladimir Putin. So let me read this from court documents now.
On or about March 31, 2016, defendant Papadopoulos attended a 'national security meeting' in Washington, D.C., with then-candidate Trump and other foreign policy advisors for the campaign. When defendant Papadopoulos introduced himself to the group, he stated, in sum and substance, that he had connections and could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin. After his trip to Washington, D.C., defendant Papadopoulos worked with the professor" -- that's the Russian source -- "and the female Russian national to arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin. After his trip to Washington, D.C., defendant Papadopoulos worked with the professor and the female Russian national to arrange a meeting between the campaign and the Russian government, and took steps to advise the campaign of his progress."
There's the meeting. And this is the crux of the matter as to whether or not people in the campaign knew that there were efforts to arrange a meeting with Russians.
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's right. But I don't know what it gets you in the end legally. When people lie about it, when they say the meeting didn't happen or it wasn't there or this wasn't said or then has legal relevance. But for the president to have just sat in and heard this guy out doesn't much amount to anything. It really is...
CAMEROTA: Not even if they're lying about it? ZELDIN: Well, we're see whether they're lying about it. I think the
significance of it is not that it was heard out, but what was said about it after the fact. When Jeff Sessions answered Franken's question about whether or not he knew of any meetings, and Sessions says no.
And when the president is act, though the president is not under oath, was there any talk of meetings, and he says, "Not that I'm aware of."
Those things are legally relevant. And so if the president were to be put under oath and repeat that; and Mueller then had the evidence that you've just described, then you may have a material misstatement, and that would be problematic.
[06:10:12] BERMAN: And it would be problematic for -- for his lawyers to allow him to face questions because of just that reason, right?
ZELDIN: I think that if you're Ty Cobb and Dowd, what you want to do is, one, if you can, avoid having the president testify under oath. But if he has to testify under oath, Mueller can compel him to do so. Have it be at the 11th hour so you've heard everybody else's story, and you can compose a linear narrative that's truthful.
BERMAN: Can we just play the Al Franken exchange with Jeff Sessions again, just so we can put a finer point on this. Let's play it right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: You don't believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians? Is that what you're saying?
SESSIONS: I did not, and I'm not aware of anyone else that did. And I don't believe it happened.
FRANKEN: And you don't believe it happened now?
SESSIONS: I don't believe it happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: This was October 18. This was two weeks ago, David Gregory. We now know Carter Page told the House Intel Commission yesterday that he told Jeff Sessions that he was meeting with the Russians. We have the picture of George Papadopoulos sitting next to Jeff Sessions, telling that meeting, telling that group -- I guess three people down from Sessions, telling that meeting that he's been, you know, talking to the Russians right now. This is a real problem.
GREGORY: It is a problem. And Jeff Sessions's former colleagues in the Senate are very unhappy with him, want to get him back in front of that committee and try to reconcile with the facts that we now know and really push him on why he is forgetting or whether he's deliberately not telling the truth.
I think there's two ways to look at this. There are these meetings that happened. There's the likes of Carter Page. There's the likes of George Papadopoulos. And maybe they just didn't register on the radar screen to be memorable. Or what we're getting at is the very beginning of an understanding of how deep these Russian ties actually go.
Whether Papadopoulos, who may have been wearing a wire, who may have had conversations with others, maybe General Flynn, is something we learned more about in terms of what his knowledge was, what his interactions were, the level of coordination with the Russians.
We may just be at the beginning of it. Or maybe it stayed at a really low level. I mean, I think that's where we're constrained a little bit in making too much interpretation about this, making too much judgment.
AVLON: But what we know is that everyone in the campaign, including the president seems to have, knowing that Russia was interfering in the election at the point where they're asked these questions kept saying, no, there was no contact. There was no contact of any kind.
And then we keep finding out new meetings. We keep finding out that at best, Jeff Sessions's memory seems to be seriously flawed. At worst, it's been a willful effort to obscure the constant outreach by Russians to a presidential campaign which, by the way, is not usually on the menu of normal in presidential campaigns. There are not multiple Russian entities trying to influence policy and make personal contacts.
So, at some point it starts looking like what it is. And I think that's what's making a lot of folks around the president nervous today. And that's why the Mueller inquiry is going from the campaign to the White House. However inevitable that might be with the questions of obstruction of justice and Comey, that's why they should be paying more attention.
GREGORY: And I think that's the important point. And I think that if -- if it stops where it is, that may be one thing. But it seems to me what Mueller is building is that, you know, the conversations may have started low, but he's going to go high. Because clearly, these conversations didn't just end there. If you believe that there was some coordination or some collusion that would have gone higher.
BERMAN: Michelle Obama's speech, calling me right now. And Melania Trump.
CAMEROTA: But the president, President Trump says that he's quite frustrated about some elements of this. Here's the part that he's most frustrated by.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The saddest thing is that, because I'm the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I'm not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I'm not supposed to be doing the kinds of things that I would love to be doing, and I'm very frustrated by that. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Is that the saddest point, Michael Zeldin?
ZELDIN: Well, I think that he doesn't quite understand the role that he has to play here. He can be involved in the Justice Department and the FBI at a policy level. He can set national law enforcement policy, and nothing will interfere with that.
What he can't do is interfere with ongoing criminal investigations and especially those that impact him and his family. So there's a bit of a disconnect. He can do what he wants to do as long as it's policy related. He can't do what he wants -- what he can't do, because it's a criminal violation.
GREGORY: Why is he so frustrated? He fired the FBI director, because he didn't like how the Russia investigation was going. So why is he so frustrated? He has interfered with what the FBI is doing.
AVLON: He'd like to do so much more.
ZELDIN: That didn't work out so well for him, the firings.
BERMAN: Jared Kushner, how do you think he slept last night? John.
[06:15:11] AVLON: I -- I'm not sure I'm qualified to speak on the sleep number of Jared Kushner. But I will say that if he's been handing over documents and the Manafort part of what Mueller's been doing is focused on finances. I think there are a lot of things for Jared -- that should keep Jared Kushner up at night.
From investigations into financing of, you know, real-estate entities of which his family has done, to questions about the advice he gave in the White House, particularly around the Comey firing.
ZELDIN: May I just add one thing?
I don't disagree with that. I think especially we learned from the Manafort investigation and indictment that the financial dealings of these guys -- Trump, Cohen, Kushner -- they're all on Mueller's table. They're not -- there is no "New York Times" red line that personal financial dealings is off the table.
I don't know that there's much to be said about Kushner and his role in the firing of Comey. I think that, if Kushner is not sleeping soundly, it's financial and it's the data analytics relationship to the Facebook/social media thing. Because those things parallel one another. It could be completely coincidental or there could be a connection. And if there's a connection, that's not good for one's sleep.
BERMAN: He may have slept better last night knowing the president was off Twitter for 11 minutes. But that's a subject we will discuss, coming up. Meanwhile, guys, House Republicans are rolling out their tax plan. The question is who wins and who loses? We'll dig through the bill next.
[06:20:27] CAMEROTA: House Republicans rolling out their tax reform plan. President Trump wants a bill by the end of the year, calling the measure a big, beautiful Christmas present for the American people.
CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here to crunch the numbers. Who wins, who loses, Christine?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Merry Christmas, I guess. This tax reform package is branded as a tax cut for the middle class. So let's start there with what this means for average Americans. It's going to shrink all of these tax brackets from 7 down to 4.
Couples making up to $90,000 a juror or individuals making up to 45 grand will pay 12 percent rate, then 25 percent, 35 percent. And the plan keeps a top rate of 39.6 percent for families making more than a million bucks.
The bill also nearly doubles the standard deduction, $12,000 for single filers, 24 grand for couples. The idea: fewer people will itemize claiming fewer deductions. But it also eliminates personal exemptions.
That could hurt families, all of us here with three kids or more. There's some goodies for the middle class in this bill, by the way, aside from the lower tax rates. The plan would increase the child tax credit to $1,600. And there's also a $300 tax credit for dependents and each spouse. Hopefully, you have one spouse. And your spouse.
And 401(k) plans will be left alone. So who are the winners and who are the losers? Corporations are the big winners. The big winners here, this is about corporate tax cuts. It lowers the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent. The ultra-rich are also big winners. This bill repeals the estate tax by the year 2024 and doubles the exemption to about $10 million before that.
The bill also repeals the AMT. That's another plus for really upper middle class and wealthy taxpayers. Although not everyone who pays the AMT is super rich any more.
As for the losers, the people who live in high-tax states, no more state and local tax deductions for income or for sales tax. And they can only deduct property taxes up to 10 grand. And home builders, realtors, those stocks tanked yesterday. New home purchases, the mortgage interest deduction, you guys, is cut in half to 500 grand.
There are a lot of other changes to popular deductions that could help or hurt taxpayers. Bottom line, it depends where you live, how much you make, how many kids you have. And the administration says that, you guys, will boost growth.
BERMAN: Our chief business correspondent and chief "Big Love" correspondent, apparently. Christine Romans, thank you very, very much for that.
I want to bring back our panel, David Gregory and John Avlon. And I want to play some of how the president is describing this tax plan, because I think it's highly pertinent. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We will provide a tax cut for American families. We will make the tax code simpler and fair. I really believe we will have it done before Christmas. I consider that to be one of the great Christmas presents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: It's after Halloween so it is OK to talk about Christmas.
David Gregory, it's interesting. The administration, Republicans in Congress selling this as a tax plan for families and the middle class. But is it really what this plan is about?
GREGORY: You know, this -- there's going to be a rush that's already begun on Capitol Hill for people who are both trying to define what this is and what it isn't. But also trying to change the ultimate form. There are elements of simplicity to this. As Christine was just saying, there are aspects of this that are helpful to the middle class in terms of simplicity. More of an individual deduction.
But you can also be hurt in other ways because of the effect on your ability to deduct mortgage interest. Even if you have a lot of health care costs, you can't deduct the payments on a medical device, for example. It could hurt you if you have a lot of health care costs.
Very good for big business. On the individual side, it's messier. This right now is classic big tax legislation. There is going to be a rush to define what it is and what it isn't.
There should be an advantage here for Republicans who would likely be able to hold their ranks on a bill like this. We know there will be tremendous pressure from leadership and the White House to get this done.
CAMEROTA: Do any Democrats get on board?
AVLON: I could see some red state Democrats getting on board, particularly if it's -- you know, the loss of the state and local deduction is going to be very bad for folks from California, from New York, from high-taxed, traditionally Democrat leaning coastal states. That could be -- really offset whatever gains families get.
But the fact that this does simplify, which is something we need in the tax code, Families making of a million dollars are seeing the top rate in tax. I think that's a step towards not simply making it a gift to the rich.
[06:25:04] But the elimination, the proposed elimination of the estate tax after six years, this is an optic problem for the president in particular. Because it looks like a giant gift to people in his unusual billionaire bracket.
GREGORY: It is.
AVLON: It will exacerbate income inequality. I have no problem with doubling, by the way, the threshold. I think that's probably a good idea. But eliminating it after six years, that's a political optic problem, and it's unclear.
BERMAN: You can argue the moral justification of the estate tax. You cannot argue that it primarily benefits the rich. There are 80 small farms and businesses that are affected by it. That's what Republicans typically use to sell it as. But it is mostly the wealthy who will benefit from it.
And David Gregory, I think that what's interesting about it here, you talk about how complicated it is. It's extremely complicated. It's top level, but it's a big tax cut for corporations, which may be necessary. Which a lot of people will argue is necessary.
But that's mostly what's going on here. That's the easiest thing to say. Everything else is murky. You win some, you lose some here. And as to the blue states, if you're in California, in New Jersey, and New York, I don't think it's intentional that these states, blue states are targeted but it might make it an easier sell in Congress. That it's not red states suffering for some change.
GREGORY: Right. And they had to get to a certain number where they had to eliminate some of the perks in the tax code to offset the fact that they're losing revenue in other places. They left alone one's ability to invest in a 401(k) and have that be tax deferred, which was important to a lot of people, including the president.
But the business aspect of this is really important, because I go back to how ultimately this is going to get sold. In order to deal with the deficit-busting, the deficit-growing parts of losing all of this revenue through the tax cut, the argument is there's going to be more economic growth. And it's true that taking on some of this money that's -- that is not repatriated that corporations keep offshore to avoid taxes, I do think is important. It would provide businesses an opportunity to use that capital, perhaps spend more of it, job creation, growing the businesses. All of that could have an impact on growth. And that's going to be a big part of how they sell the plan.
AVLON: If -- if that money actually goes back into the economy. And that's a significant "if." You know, one of the things that has been discussed was the repatriation money, some portion of it will go to fund infrastructure reform, right? That isn't being done. The other cheap thing is America on the surface has a corporate tax rate. The effective rate is much, much lower.
So are any of the loopholes going to be changed that have been baked into the cake by lobbyists over a period of decades, or not? And if not, then this really does look like simply -- simply a giveaway.
GREGORY: And the corporations have done so well. Right? So do they deserve this kind of gift? I will say, let's remember that the Obama administration was looking at some relief here, as well. And it just wasn't able to come back.
AVLON: The deficit and the debt also balloons under this plan. So Republicans giving away fiscal conservative credentials, at least when it comes to deficit and debt.
CAMEROTA: Let's very quickly talk about the president's big trip. Starts today. Going to Asia. We'll put up the map, all the places that he's going and the days. So you can see Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Manila. What are you expecting, David Gregory?
GREGORY: Look, this is the president on the world stage in an incredibly important region. We are in a moment of crisis in Asia, both in our relationship with China in terms of any leverage they have with North Korea and of course, North Korea itself.
All of these relationships are so important. What the president says, what he does is going to matter a great deal. Not just in terms of what the North ends up doing with the nuclear program but how South Korea and Japan respond. The question of the nuclear umbrella, whether it will hold, whether they want to develop nukes on their own. And the role of China and negotiating all this, this is so important. Not just right now but for a long time.
AVLON: Yes. It just -- this is about a coalition to try to contain North Korea, also contain China simultaneously. This is a diplomatic high-wire act. We'll see what the president says.
CAMEROTA: John Avlon, David Gregory, thank you both very much.
So ISIS claiming responsibility for that terror attack here in New York City. We have the latest on the investigation and the city' plan to keep pedestrians safe.
[06:31:45] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So glad are you with us, I am Christie Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Saturday to you. More on the breaking news this morning.
President Trump is in Hanoi right now getting ready for dinner with Vietnam's president.
PAUL: Earlier he spoke to President Vladimir Putin about Russia meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Now the president said Mr. Putin denied the allegations and the president says he believes him.
BLACKWELL: All right. CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is in Hanoi. We're learning more about the president's thoughts about the denial from Vladimir Putin.
What are you learning?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, we are getting this from this conversation that President Trump had with journalists on board his plan as he was coming into Hanoi here. He said that he had two or three very short conversations with Vladimir Putin. Recall that the White House said they were not going to have a formal bilateral meeting with the Russians because it didn't fit into their scheduling.
And he was pressed, President Trump, by journalists, by the press about the allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and he repeated that he says that Putin vehemently denied it.
Let's read another quote from President Trump saying, quote, "Every time he sees me, he says, I didn't do that. And I believe. I really believes what he tells me he means it. But he says I didn't do that." So in this case President Trump once again hearing denials from President Putin. Recall that they did meet in Germany previously and did discuss this. And he is siding with the Russian president, with the Kremlin when it comes to the charges that Russia meddled in the U.S. election.
And when the other issues were raised, the fact that former intelligence chiefs have gone on the record saying that there was meddling in the U.S. election, President Trump, in this latest interaction with journalists, said he called those people effectively political hacks. He's making the case that he can do work -- he can work with Russia on a number of areas, in Syria and in Ukraine, and arguing that if he can get a better relationship with Moscow that he can make progress with North Korea like he's making progress with China right now and that these political problems, these accusations of meddling in the election are getting in the way of that -- Christie and victor.
BLACKWELL: All right, Ivan Watson for us there. Ivan, thanks so much.
PAUL: So up next, Robert Mueller is investigating a new angle to his Russia probe. Whether a former Trump official was offered by a foreign entity millions of dollars to forcefully take a man out of the U.S.
[06:34:01] PAUL: All right, I want to talk about this, this incredible report. It almost seems like it's a movie script.
PAUL: That we should not be reading this as news.
BLACKWELL: Yes. It's at the "Wall Street Journal." A former National Security adviser Michael Flynn and his son may have been offered millions of dollars. The plan, though, to forcibly remove an exile cleric from the U.S. and fly him to Turkey.
Here's diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinski.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Well, this gets murkier and it's not just Russia. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is now probing allegations that former National Security adviser Michael Flynn and his son were involved in an alleged plan with Turkey to remove a cleric by force from the U.S. and outside the U.S. legal system in exchange for millions of dollars.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): After Michael Flynn had been named National Security adviser weeks before the inauguration, "Wall Street Journal" now reports he met with representatives of Turkey at New York's 21 Club.
[06:40:02] Flynn and his son were allegedly offered as much as $15 million to forcibly get a Turkish cleric named Fetullah Gulen out of the United States. The Turkish government blames Gulen for the coup attempts there last year and he's been fixated on pressuring the U.S. to extradite him, which so far hasn't worked.
This plan, according to "The Journal's" report, was to remove Gulen, who's been living on a green card in Pennsylvania and denies involvement in the coup, get him on private plane and send him to a Turkish prison island.
JAMES GRIMALDI, REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: There would be actually cash payments involved with his removal. With someone who at the time was working for the transition, had been nominated, then became the National Security adviser before he was then fired by the president. So, yes, it's a pretty remarkable allegation that's being investigated by the FBI and being investigated rather seriously.
KOSINSKI: Attorneys for Flynn responded in a statement. "Out of respect for the process of the various investigations regarding the 2016 campaign, we've intentionally avoided responding to every rumor or allegation raised in the media, but today's news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn, ranging from kidnapping to bribery that are so outrageous and prejudicial that we're making an exception to our usual rule. They are false."
A lawyer for Flynn Jr. declined to comment.
It's unclear if any agreement was reached on the plan or if any money changed hands, but former CIA director James Woolsey had previously told CNN about another meeting with Turks that he heard part of a month earlier in September 2016, again, to discuss how to remove Gulen outside the U.S. legal system, a conversation he calls deeply concerning.
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: But it looks as if there was at least some strong suggestion by the Americans present at the meeting to the Turks that we would be able -- the United States would be able through them to get hold of Gulen. KOSINSKI: At the time, Flynn's spokesman vehemently denied that any
such decision happened.
Flynn and son are also under investigation for not disclosing lobbying work they did for Turkey during the campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Election Day. I'm excited.
KOSINSKI: On Election Day, Flynn Sr. wrote an op-ed in "The Hill," making a case for extraditing Gulen, calling him shady.
"The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gulen who's running a scam."
KOSINSKI: So what's being alleged right now are discussions. At least two of them. But involvement in a plan like this, according to experts, could constitute a serious crime for a number of reasons. So another good question, of course, would be who else might have known about these discussions or have been involved with them and why.
Not long ago CNN's Fareed Zakaria sat down with the Turkish prime minister who denied that Flynn had made any kind of assurances about removing Gulen or even that the Turks were working on this with Flynn.
Michelle Kosinski, CNN, Washington.
BLACKWELL: Michelle, thank you so much.
This Veterans Day, a new film entitled "Thank You For Your Service." We'll see how soldiers returning from Iraq struggle with civilian life back at home. A retired Army Sergeant the movie is based on talks with CNN about his experience and how he hopes the movie will help vets.
[06:47:46] BLACKWELL: You know, when service members come back to their communities, often they don't talk about their experiences during war. But this Veterans Day, there is a movie, the title is "Thank You For Your Service" that gives them a voice.
PAUL: Yes. This is based on the true story, we should point, retired Army Sergeant Adam Schuman. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder on his deployment to Iraq. That was back in 2007.
Well, CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota spoke with Sergeant Schuman and the film's director as well, Jason Hall. Listen to this.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The ambush in Niger that claimed the lives of four U.S. soldiers is reminding Americans about the incredible sacrifices that military service members and their families make every day. A new movie out in theaters called "Thank You For Your Service" focuses on the emotional journey of Sergeant Adam Schuman and his fellow soldiers upon their return home from Iraq. Here's a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think these guys can wait that long?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said how many of these guys in this room do you think will make it six to nine months?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, if you are finished --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not finished, man. Look, we need to see somebody. OK. Your feeling is -- my boy here fought his ass off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. He did his job. Now do yours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: The film's director Jason Hall and the real retired Sergeant Adam Schuman joins us now.
Great to have both of you here in studio.
JASON HALL, DIRECTOR, "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE": Thank you.
CAMEROTA: So, Sergeant, what's it like to see your story depicted on the big screen?
SGT. ADAM SCHUMAN, RETIRED U.S. ARMY: Pretty amazing. It's pretty therapeutic. I got a good -- I can look back and see my success for the last 10 years and now we have this permanent film etched in time and it's beautiful. I love it.
CAMEROTA: That is really special. So tell us about your story. What was your experience like with PTSD?
SCHUMAN: Well, it was pretty intense. You know, when I got back, was just this constant journey and struggle to try and get back to myself and feel normal again. It was a long road. But I went down a lot of different avenues and found different methods of therapy and different people along the way that really brought me to where I'm at right now.
CAMEROTA: And describe that for us. What didn't feel normal when you got back?
SCHUMAN: Everything. Nothing felt normal. Nothing.
[06:50:04] It was -- you know, it was like being dropped in an alien planet. And, you know, stuff looks familiar but it's not the same.
CAMEROTA: I mean, that is so -- we hear that all the time but people who haven't been through it, it's so striking.
CAMEROTA: To hear about who you can't get back to regular life, and did that surprise you?
SCHUMAN: Yes, because the whole time all you think about is all those people waiting for you at home and the things you used to love to do and the food you used to love to eat, and you get home, and it's really not the same.
CAMEROTA: So what was most effective in helping you get back there?
SCHUMAN: I went to the Pathway Home. Lots of trauma therapy and I met some really great people that kind of gave me some hope that there's everybody that -- you've got to find help and these people are willing to help me and I really owe my life to quite a few people along this way so I can't thank them enough. I know they're watching so thank you.
CAMEROTA: So, Jason, tells about why want to make this film.
HALL: I just think we've forgotten what these go through and maybe we never knew what they go through over there and the -- you know, the conflicts that we wage have to have a cost. And they're so easily forgotten to us now that I don't think that we remember you guys who are even over there now. You know, this Niger thing that you -- who knew they were there? But we sent them over in 2013 and '14, right?
So it's up to us to remind everybody we have -- there is a cost to this. These are all of our men and women that we're sending over there. If we're going to enter into conflicts, we need to make sure that those conflicts are equally us as honorable as the men and women we're sending.
CAMEROTA: Let's watch a little bit more of the film right now for everybody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to take my place to the treatment facility.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all this is. What about you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't worry about me. First bed opens up, I'm going to get out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't leave me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're getting on this bus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I go and get better, while you sit here broken.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll figure it out. Don't worry about me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HALL: This is a moment where he's giving up his spot at the treatment facility for the other character. And, you know, this is a movie about brotherhood. It's a movie about these guys and their relationships over there so, so strong. And when they got off that plane, they're separated. He talked about stepping into an alien environment. Everything looks different.
They're also giving up the two -- they did their job well, they're giving up their uniform, that's their identity. And they're separated from their brothers most of the time. So this is a movie about brotherhood. It's about those bonds. It's about sacrifice and ultimately it's about hope.
CAMEROTA: You know that veterans and active duty service members can see the film at AMC Theaters for free. And one of our producers went to see it. He said that it was really emotional obviously. Not on the film but the reaction. The response to it. So tell us what your life is like now.
SCHUMAN: I keep it simple, take care of my kids, so I'm a full-time dad, one week at a time. Week on, week off. Then the weeks I'm off I spend a lot of time with my dog out in the field hunting, lots of fishing. Pick up some work here and there and I was really -- these guys kind of put me work on this and -- yes, it's been -- I just keep it nice and simple.
CAMEROTA: That makes perfect sense.
SCHUMAN: Yes, absolutely.
HALL: He's also in the film. He's on the tarmac and he welcomes himself home.
CAMEROTA: Oh my --
HALL: He says, "Welcome home, Sergeant Schuman."
CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, that's really poignant. First of all the welcoming yourself home, welcome -- that's really emotional.
SCHUMAN: Jason did that. I -- yes, it was cool.
CAMEROTA: Wow. Thank you for your service.
SCHUMAN: My pleasure.
CAMEROTA: Thank you for being here and telling your story.
Jason, thanks so much for sharing the movie with us. Great to talk to both of you.
So you can watch "Thank You For Your Service" in theaters now.
[06:58:41] PAUL: Well, after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, people and organizations across the country were looking for ways that they could help.
BLACKWELL: Yes. For Army Football the source of their contributions came from pretty unique perspective.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think when the guys are traveling they have one thing on their minds. It's very business oriented situation. When a mom travel, she's thinking about all of the other stuff. She's thinking all of the other stuff. She's thinking about the things that she would do at home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife was on the trip and she said, what do you do with all the extra food?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he's like, what, I think they just throw it away. Let me go find out. I don't know. He came back to me, he goes, they throw it all away. I was shocked by that so we thought there's got to be something we can do with it. Share it to Houston. So that's when we said, you know, we need to donate it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we bagged it all up and we had several large bags of food. And then it was water, Powerade and chips and cookies and you name it. The most memorable response was from Jeff Ejekam who's from the city of Houston. His family was there. And he came up and thanked us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I immediately went up to Coach Monken and told him how grateful I was and I thank him they did that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I almost feel guilty that we haven't done that every single time we've traveled.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're hoping that this is going to be something that's going to spread throughout the football community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, there's 130 teams that play football in our level which means half of them are traveling every week. It's a lot of food that we can probably provide people that need it rather than throw them in the trash can.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It teaches you serve and leadership which is what we're here for so while can't be in academy we're here to serve the --