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New Reporting Indicates Donald Trump Jr. Communicated with WikiLeaks During and After Presidential Campaign; Interview with Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California; Interview with Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired November 14, 2017 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The announcement comes 10 days after President Trump tweeted that the Justice Department and FBI should look into Clinton.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The news also coming hours after a new report revealed Donald Trump Jr. corresponded with WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign at the same that the website was releasing hacked emails from Democratic officials. The president's son responded by releasing his direct message exchanges with WikiLeaks last night.
CAMEROTA: So joining us now is "The Atlantic" reporter who broke the Don Jr. story, Julia Ioffe. Good morning, Julia.
JULIA IOFFE, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": Hi, how are you.
CAMEROTA: I'm doing well. So this is a bombshell. Tell us what your reporting has revealed regarding Don Jr. and WikiLeaks and their interaction.
IOFFE: So what we found were basically screenshots that Donald Trump Jr.'s attorneys turned over to one of the congressional investigative committees looking into ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. And it showed a correspondence between WikiLeaks, the verified WikiLeaks Twitter account and the verified Donald J. Trump Jr. account stretching on for about 10 months going from September, 2016, kind of the heat of the -- the peak of the 2016 election, to as late as last summer, this past summer, July, 2017.
And not only did Donald Trump, Jr., reply and not send them packing, he also followed up on some of their requests, including asking about somebody that WikiLeaks wanted to know more about after presenting him with a hacked password to an anti-Trump account, and tweeting out a link, a very strange search function link to his followers to say basically, look, WikiLeaks has all of these documents, which were, by the way, stolen documents. If anybody has time to go through them, here's the link, which is WikiLeaks asked him to tweet out about two days prior.
CAMEROTA: Let's be specific with our viewers so that they understand the timeline. So on October 12th WikiLeaks asked Don Jr. to tweet out that link that you describe, OK, and Don Jr. does not respond directly to them. However about 15 minutes later --
IOFFE: No -- yes, yes, you are right.
CAMEROTA: Fifteen minutes later, Donald Trump Sr. tweets that link about WikiLeaks. And then on October 14th, two days later, Don Jr. tweets that link that WikiLeaks asked him to. Do we have that right?
IOFFE: No. Donald Trump, Sr., then the Republican nominee, tweeted about a different part. There was a long message from WikiLeaks, and it ended by saying, hey, by the way, part four of the Podesta e-mails is up, and 15 minutes later Donald Trump Sr. tweets about the emails, saying that they are not getting enough play in the mainstream media and that the system is rigged. Two days later Donald Trump Jr. tweets out the search function link that was sent to him by WikiLeaks in that same very long message.
CAMEROTA: So either way it's either this crazy coincidence that they tweet right after requests from WikiLeaks to tweet, or what can you conclude from this?
IOFFE: Or he's acting on the request of an organization that at that point, remember, a week before that, on October 7th, the Department of Homeland Security and the office of the Director of National Intelligence put out an unprecedented statement saying the hacks of the DNC and the DCCC, Democratic National Committee, were orchestrated by the Russians and were orchestrated at the very top of the Kremlin, of the Russian government. So at that point it's not a secret where these documents came from and what the connection between WikiLeaks and the Kremlin was, and the Trump family did not seem to have a problem with that as long as they were rowing in the same direction.
CAMEROTA: Julia, one more thing that I think is so important to point out from your reporting and from what has been disclosed today, and that is WikiLeaks, as you know, bills itself as this radical transparency organization, they are just are interested in transparency. They don't like state secrets. However there is this e-mail or whatever, a direct message to Don Jr. that suggests from WikiLeak if your father were to lose the election we suggest that he not concede, that he not recognize the election results.
IOFFE: It's stunning.
CAMEROTA: The idea of the constitutional crisis that that would have created, how can they square that logic?
IOFFE: I don't know that they can. But, you know, it is ironic that WikiLeaks is pretty upset at having their private messages all over the internet, which they have done to so many people, it's kind of ironic.
[08:05:03] But that was a jaw dropper, basically trying to stick a wrench in the most fundamental way process into the American electoral process. What does a radical transparency organization need to do that for? The other part, it was less kind of sinister but pretty comical was, yes, about a month after Donald Trump is elected president WikiLeaks gets in touch again and says, hey, by the way, Julian Assange is under a lot of pressure from the U.K. and Sweden and the U.S., why don't you put pressure on the Australian government to have Julian Assange named A.B. Stoddard, associate editor at "Real Clear Politics" and host of "No Labels" Radio on Sirius XM, from Australia to Washington. It's just like what does that have to do --
CAMEROTA: Right, this is not -- they are clearly an advocacy agency. They say we know it would never work, but it would be really helpful for our PR. Julia Ioffe, thank you very much for sharing all of your reporting with us this morning.
IOFFE: Thanks for having me.
CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.
CUOMO: Let's bring in some analysts here. We've Jonathan Martin and Joshua Green. It's good to have both of you there. This development matters. It matters because at a minimum it's an ability to see where people are in terms of what they think about this investigation. Jonathan, we just had Corey Lewandowski on, and you got something, depending on what side of the ball you are on, people can have all their personal takes on the interview. But the substance matters.
The Russia investigation, yes, and we believe that it probably happened the way the intelligence community says. Wikileaks, I don't know what they really had to do with it. I'm not a cyber expert. Donald Trump, Jr., he's a private citizen. I think he should be celebrated for putting these out, otherwise I don't really know what it was about. That's how this is going to be played. What is your take on that?
JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: For the life of me, Chris, I can't understand from a PR point whether it was Don Jr. or anybody else who was part of the campaign last year why they wouldn't have just gotten everything connected to WikiLeaks, to Russia, anything tangentially connected to the current Mueller investigation as well as the congressional enquiries, and just gotten it out in December and January in one fell swoop so you have a rough couple of days, maybe you answer questions.
But to let this drip, drip, drip come out where they're e-mails between Don Jr. and Russian folks about a meeting, then there's Don Jr. DMs with WikiLeaks, why would you just keep letting folks get ahead of you on this and then having to play catch up and say nothing to see here, here's what actually transpired? It it's just seems to be puzzling unless, that is, there is something they are hiding. But just from a strict PR standpoint, I don't get why they would not have responded by dumping everything last December or January.
CAMEROTA: Josh, what jumps out at you?
JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: What jumps out at me is the haplessness and the ham-handedness of Don Jr. engaging with WikiLeaks in the heat of the campaign. Anybody with any kind of moral campus would have understood at the time that this was a bad thing to do. And yet as we've seen with Trump Jr.'s meetings with the Russian lawyer, he seemed interested, and although at times he ignored some of these e-mails, he did wind up tweeting out the link that the WikiLeaks account had asked him to tweet out.
CUOMO: And now, look, a legal defense, you have politics and you have law here. And there's going to be some crossover and then they are going to drift apart. And here the link was publicly accessible already. That's going to be very important for Trump Jr.'s lawyers in terms of showing whether he cooperated or coordinated with interference efforts because if it's already out there then what am I doing by sharing the link again? Now it's in the public domain.
But politically, Jonathan, the question remains, when I asked Corey, so you would have had that conversation? So you would have had it? First he deflected and then he said I probably would have gone to the attorney and seen if it was OK. That's right. That's what you are supposed to do when somebody who is an apparent agent for a hostile foreign actor comes to you trying to help your campaign. We didn't see enough of that here. We saw the opposite here. Carter Page wanted to do his dance, Papadopoulos wanted to do his dance and get information. The meeting that Don Jr., Manafort, Kushner went to, we know why they went there, what they got. What happened afterwards we don't know. That's the question, why were they open to these suggestions?
MARTIN: I think if you consider all the names, Chris, that you just mentioned with the exception of Paul Manafort, all those folks have something in common. They have never worked at a high level in American politics.
[08:10:00] And I think it's important to look back on the nature of this campaign. You have first-time candidate for any office running for the presidency of the United States, and he's surrounded by people who worked at lower levels in politics or a lot of them were total civilians politically. They had not been around this stuff. That's not to excuse their behavior, that's just to say if you had people that worked on campaigns, the kind of traditional a-list from either party that typically staffs campaigns every four years, I think they would have thought twice before engaging in this kind of behavior. But this was a MacGyver style campaign where you had folks making it up as they went.
CAMEROTA: There's a lot of gaffers tape. Josh, you're a Steve Bannon-ologist. Explain how this is OK for the Bannons of the world and obviously the platform that he has for a nationalist, as he calls himself, to be taking cues from WikiLeaks and be making nice with Russia, and all of that stuff that is now being revealed?
GREEN: I don't think it is OK. I am not sure that Bannon has responded to this latest report from "The Atlantic," but as far as I know this is the first time also that Bannon has been implicated in any of this stuff, implicated in the sense that according to "The Atlantic" report Don Jr. forwarded these e-mails to Bannon, to Jared Kushner, I think to Hope Hicks and the other senior officials in the campaign, so presumably they were aware of what was going on. But I don't think there's any way in which this is appropriate, not just for a nationalist Trump campaign, but for any campaign at all for the reasons that we just laid out. It is inappropriate, unethical, and borderline treasonous to be colluding with a foreign power if in fact that was what was going on here in the relationship between WikiLeaks, Russia, and the Trump campaign.
CUOMO: What had been dismissed as a distraction may have some new life breathed into it by this November 13th letter from the U.S. Department of Justice to Bob Goodlatte. If they are looking into things that are somehow Clinton related, Corey Lewandowski, and he's not the author of this but he was certainly a proponent of it today, the idea that, yes, Russian interference is a real concern and you have to look at the Clinton campaign because of what they did with Fusion GPS. Do you think that something that has been dismissed as a distraction may wind up getting some new life in some type of federal probe?
GREEN: If you are asking me, that certainly seems to be the sign today. And here again, just to throw out another Bannon angle, the way that this story came into being originally was that it was the basis or part of the basis for a book called "Clinton Cash" that was published by one of Bannon's organizations in 2015 just as Hillary Clinton was getting ready to run for president.
The point of the book then was to smear Clinton, basically, and it did, but it was not meant to be I think the basis for any kind of legal action. So the fact that the Justice Department seems to be responded to Trump's publicly stated desires to see Clinton punished for this I think it is a worrisome sign that the government is listening to Trump and might move forward on this.
MARTIN: And let me just jump in here real fast. It's also not unrelated that Jeff Sessions wants to keep his job, we think, as the attorney general, and this president has been subtle about his displeasure with the general. In fact I think this summer he went on a five-day twitter taunting spree where he was basically trolling his own A.G. And I think this is the DOJ, if not Sessions himself trying to show Trump, hey, we hear you, and Sessions wants to keep his job.
We have a story today in the paper about how there are folks in both the White House and on Capitol Hill who see a possible fix to the Roy Moore mess, and that is trying to get Jeff Sessions back to his old seat in the Senate in Alabama. Keep in mind, this the Roy Moore campaign is for the seat that was vacated by Jeff Sessions, and there is some thought, and this is obviously desperate straits here, but there is some thought that hey, maybe Trump could get Sessions out of the administration and Mitch McConnell can get Sessions back into that seat and we will run him as a write-in candidate in Alabama for this seat.
CAMEROTA: What a tangled web we weave. Gentlemen, Jonathan Martin, Josh Green, thank you very much.
CUOMO: The logic there made my hair curl.
CAMEROTA: I can see that.
CUOMO: As we've mentioned, President Trump's son acknowledges that he did have direct contact with WikiLeaks during the campaign. So what does Congress want on this topic from Donald Trump Jr.? A member of the House Intel Committee joins us next.
CAMEROTA: And when you are in the car, you can still keep up with NEW DAY on Sirius XM, channel 116. It's free for a limited time. Tune in now.
[08:18:26] CAMEROTA: President Trump often praised WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign and now we learned his son, Don Jr., had direct contact with WikiLeaks.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski says Don Jr. has the privilege to communicate with WikiLeaks. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think Don Jr. is a private citizen and can tweet or retweet anything he wants to and doesn't have a material effect on the outcome of the campaign and he has the privilege to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK. So, let's bring in Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier. She's a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Good morning, Congresswoman.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Good morning, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: What do you think about the new reporting from "The Atlantic" and Julia Ioffe that finds that Don Jr. was in contact with WikiLeaks through a series of direct messages?
SPEIER: Well, we know that WikiLeaks turned out to be a cutout for the Russians during the campaign, and we also know that there were a number of interactions between WikiLeaks and persons within the campaign and now we know that Don Jr., who was an integral part of that campaign, was not only in communication with WikiLeaks but actually taking some direction from WikiLeaks.
And I would say since we know that WikiLeaks has been defined by Mike Pompeo, the CIA director under President Trump has a non-state hostile intelligence service, we've got a problem here.
CAMEROTA: Taking direction, you just said, from WikiLeaks. Is that the same as coordination?
SPEIER: I think it is the same as coordination. I think at some point, it could be conspiracy.
CAMEROTA: And if it's conspiracy, that means what people have been referring to as collusion?
[08:20:03] SPEIER: You know, collusion is a word that is hard to define, but certainly coordination and conspiracy are not. And I think in the end what we're going to find is the election was rigged. President Trump during the campaign kept calling it a rigged campaign, a rigged election. Yes, I think it was rigged and it was rigged on his behalf.
CAMEROTA: So, just follow that train of thought for me. So, if you say it can be proven, if you believe at some point there was conspiracy, that means, what?
SPEIER: Well, from a congressional perspective, it means that we've got to double down in making sure that our election system is not hackable, that we can make sure that moving forward we can count votes and know that they have not been tampered with. We've got to be vigilant in making sure that the social media sites are not being infiltrated by our adversary. This was a cyber war that went on, and it was an attempt to undermine our democracy by the Russians and they were very successful.
CAMEROTA: Right. But what does it mean -- what does this might be proven as a conspiracy mean to who goes to jail?
SPEIER: Well, good question. That's not something the House committees are under the authority to look at. That's something that would be done by Mr. Mueller, special counsel, and the Department of Justice.
CAMEROTA: And do you feel that your House Intel Committee is getting close to conclusions?
SPEIER: I don't think we're anywhere near being completed in terms of enter interviews. I know that the majority would like to bring this to an end because they want it behind them, but there are probably another 30 to 50 witnesses that the minority would like to see brought in to be questioned.
CAMEROTA: OK. So, now, as you know, Jeff Sessions, attorney general, says that he is considering appointing a special counsel to investigate the Clinton Foundation and the uranium one deal.
Are you comfortable with that?
SPEIER: They are in the majority, so we don't have a lot to say about that. I would say that it is a direction from the president. He's been pounding on us. It was an issue that he tried to raise during the campaign.
We all know that Uranium One as a deal has been investigated thoroughly, and that it was a deal in which the owner that contributed to the Clinton foundation actually sold his interest back in 2008. It is uranium that must stay in the United States. It's not being sold anywhere else. Russia is a minority interest holder.
But let's look at all the Trump Towers and how many interests there are in Trump Towers around the country.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the me-too movement that has been sweeping the country. It's with people, mostly women, but some men as well coming out and telling their stories of sexual harassment, even sexual assault.
And so, we were stunned to learn last week just how widespread I think is a fair word to say, and it's even in Congress and with women who had this experience in the halls of Congress, and about the about the laws or rules inside Congress that make it really challenging for people to come forward.
You are trying to change that. Tell us about your new legislation?
SPEIER: Well, it's a combination of two bills. One would require mandatory sexual harassment training for members and staff, and then beyond that, the second bill would reform the Office of Compliance.
Right now, somebody wants to file a complaint, they have got to go through a month of legal counseling and then have to sign a nondisclosure agreement that is in perpetuity, and then they go through mediation and then they have to have a one month cooling-off period, all the while they are still required to work in that office that was a hostile work environment, so three months. By the way, the attorney in mediation is representing the harasser, the general counsel of the House is representing the harasser, and the victim has no counsel, no support.
CAMEROTA: It is remarkable to hear about that, how long it's been going on and how the decks have been stacked against anybody wanting to go come forward with their story.
So, Congresswoman Speier, thank you very much for explaining it all to us. We'll be watching obviously the process.
SPEIER: Thank you.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So, this latest Donald Trump Jr. revelation will likely lead to new questions for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He is going to face the House Judiciary Committee today. One Republican on that committee joins us live. What questions does he have? Next.
[08:29:05] CUOMO: In less than two hours, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is going to face the House Judiciary Committee. He'll no doubt face questions about contacts between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks, as well as why he might be considering a new special counsel to look into the Clinton Foundation.
Let's bring in Congressman Jim Jordan, Republican on the Judiciary Committee. He'll be at today's hearing.
Always a pleasure to have you on the show, sir.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Good to be with you, Chris.
CUOMO: What questions do you have for the A.G.?
JORDAN: Is he going to appoint a special counsel? You know, we did an op-ed yesterday. Last night, "The Washington Post" reporting he's now considering a special counsel. So, that's news that at least they're moving in the right direction. We called for it 3-1/2 months ago and had not heard a darn thing from the Justice Department.
And now we do an op-ed and he's coming today to testify and suddenly, he had a kind of a, it seems to me, a come to Jesus moment and they're now looking to actually appoint one, which is exactly what should happen.
CUOMO: Well, Jim, you saw the letter, right, the November 13th letter from yesterday?
CUOMO: And I wonder if and we have been reporting it the same way, so I am hitting both of us with the same stick right now. Do you think we are getting ahead of ourselves in terms of what his intentions are? I mean, I know you'll ask him today and we'll get it.