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Mueller Indicts 12 Russians Ahead Of Putin Summit; Trump's Plea to Russians over E-mails Were Answered; Roger Stone Now Says He Is Probably The Unnamed Person Mentioned In Indictment; Trump Attacks Europe On Trade. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired July 13, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Especially now. And someone lying a lot doesn't make their lying less of a lie. We should not apply a different standard to our president than we do to our kids. Could you imagine letting your 8-year-old getting away with lying about doing homework.
I have one at home. This is very fashionable and smart. o, we wouldn't do it. But it's OK when the president calls out the media and attacks any who try to call him out on a world stage. No, it isn't. Produce the tape, son, please.
If not, Sarah, get after it. All right. Make the truth known. This is a put up or shut up moment. All right. That's all I have. We're going to be live from Helsinki on Monday night for President Trump's big meeting with Vladimir Putin.
"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: What a week. Do you remember what we started with on Monday? Supreme Court.
LEMON: And then with the kids. Yes, the Supreme Court and then the kids were supposed to be reunited under five. I mean, what a week. And then we have him on this trip overseas. Now he's meeting with Vladimir Putin and with Theresa May. I mean, my goodness.
CUOMO: Plenty of things to cover.
LEMON: Plenty of things and now the indictment. So, lots to cover.
CUOMO: Happy Friday night.
LEMON: Yes. See you soon. This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
On the brink of the president's face to face meeting with Vladimir Putin, a huge development in the Mueller investigation to tell you about. The Justice Department today announcing indictments against a dozen
Russians and not just some shadowy hackers, all of them intelligence officers in Vladimir Putin's military. Accusing them of engaging in a sustained effort to hack Democrats' e-mails and computer networks during the 2016 campaign.
The indictment announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at almost exactly the moment that President Trump met Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle. And make no mistake, Robert Mueller was very much aware that the president's next meeting is his planned summit with Vladimir Putin himself, in just three days.
A meeting behind closed doors with only interpreters present. Well, Rod Rosenstein said today he briefed the president about the allegations earlier this week. But I want you to listen to what President Trump said just this morning, again calling the investigation a witch hunt when he knew what Mueller had.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that we're being hurt very badly by the -- I would call it the witch hunt, I would call it the rigged witch hunt that really hurts our country and it really hurts our relationship with Russia. I think that we would have a chance to have a very good relationship with Russia and a very good chance, a very good relationship with President Putin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A sustained effort to undermine the credibility of the Russia investigation. And that is the only example of Donald Trump's own words coming back to haunt him. Listen to what he said this is July 27th of 2017, just months before Election Day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That is candidate Trump publicly asking the Russians to get his opponent Hillary Clinton's e-mails and the Russians tried to do exactly that. From the 29-page indictment, quote, "On or about July 27th, 2016, the conspirators attempted after hours to spear phish for first time e-mail accounts at a domain hosted by a third party provider and used by Clinton's personal office."
Hat tip by the way to my colleague Jake Tapper who points out the Russians apparently took Trump seriously and literally. And we're learning tonight the U.S. intelligence caught some of the very same Russians named in today's indictment congratulating each other and celebrating the success of their operation during the campaign.
In the wake of all of this Senator John McCain saying, quote, "If President Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward."
Well, the White House insisting the summit with Putin will go ahead as planned.
This is a crucial moment. Will this president call Putin to account and make him answer for his crimes? Will he defend American democracy? That's what a strong leader does. But if President Trump fails to condemn Putin's hacking a deliberate and premeditated attack of our democracy in the strongest possible terms, you got to ask yourself why.
Let's bring in now CNN Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash, our Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger, Crime and Justice Reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, and National Security Analyst, Matthew Rosenberg.
Good evening. I can't believe I'm asking will the president of the United States defend the American democracy. What strange times we are living in right now. Shimon, you first. So break down because you have the investigation, break down what these indictments of these 12 Russian military officers lay out because of the mountain of evidence. It is really extraordinary.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: It certainly is, Don. There is quite a lot of evidence in this indictment and the people that this indictment has targeted are not just some folks in Russia. These are senior level military intelligence officials.
You have a commander, a major, a lieutenant colonel, sort of running this hacking operation on behalf of the Russian government and the indictment lists just about how they went about it.
[22:05:01] The hacking of the DNC, the hacking of the DCCC and then of course the spear phishing of people attached to the Hillary Clinton campaign and its chairman John Podesta.
And when then the indictment talks about how they went about distributing some of the e-mails that they were able to obtain, the information that they were able to obtain, creating two personas, Guccifer 2.0 and then of course, D.C. leaks which they used to distribute some of the material and then also, though not named in the indictment, WikiLeaks was used as well, according to the indictment.
And really the other thing here, Don, in the indictment they talk about how a member of the Trump campaign was in contact with Guccifer 2.0. And now we know based on some of the reporting and even Roger Stone on statements tonight, that he is likely the person who is in touch with Guccifer 2.0 about some of the material that the Russian intelligence was able to obtain through these hacks.
And then lastly, Don, I think another important point here, is that according to this indictment, the Russia intelligence, this GRU unit, hacked the web site of a state election board where they obtained some 500,000 -- information from 500,000 voters, its driver's license information and addresses and social security numbers, certainly and concerned that now all of this information is in the hands of the Russians, Don. LEMON: As you were going through that, Shimon, I mean, it's amazing.
Because it's really complicated, Dana. And it's a lot. And not only complicated, it's extremely serious and you have to wonder why the president may not be taking it seriously still calling it a witch hunt even after Rod Rosenstein, you know, briefed him.
We all remember that clip of Donald Trump from July of 2016, Russia if you're listening, right. And what we learned in this indictment is Russians were listening because on the exact same day they started the spear phishing attacks on the Clinton campaign. It's remarkable.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is remarkable. The exact day that you played the clip, you showed the quote from the indictment and they were -- it was public so you certainly can make the argument that it wasn't privately colluding. But they were paying attention, they, the Russians, in a big way.
And just to kind of answer the fundamental question that you're asking about why the president is still calling it a witch hunt, why he called that more than one time during this trip he is on even though Rod Rosenstein, his own deputy attorney general announced today that he briefed the president several days ago about this.
And the answer is and it bears repeating, we've said it many times over the past year and a half, the president when he hears Russia and he hears meddling, he hears my presidency is illegitimate. That's what the accusation is on me.
BASH: And it still is even to this day, even with the incredible detail that we see in this indictment about the lengths to which these Russian intelligence officials that Shimon said high-ranking officials went to built this elaborate highly technical scheme, very expensive scheme, in order to meddle in and disrupt an American election.
LEMON: Yes. Gloria, you can hear me, right?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
LEMON: Are you not having trouble with your earpiece?
LEMON: OK. Good. Because you are nodding your head there. The response from the White House, I mean, you would think like, there was great forensics, I want to thank our Justice Department and our investigators, they are topnotch.
BORGER: Right. You would think.
LEMON: But this is the response from the White House today. It says "Today's charges include no allegations of knowing involvement of anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election results. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along." Why do they even need to say that? Like why didn't they say Russia
attacked and hack our election and they will pay, they need to be stop. What's going on here?
BORGER: They declared war--
BORGER: -- on the United States of America. This will not stand as one former president said. This will not stand. Instead, what we got was an incredibly narcissistic statement from the White House which said this is about me, as Dana was saying, this is about the legitimacy of the Trump presidency--
LEMON: Is he derelict in his duties by responding this way?
BORGER: Look, I think when you are the president of the United States it's incumbent upon you to talk to the American people about the risk the democracy is at as a result of this Russian hacking. I mean, presidents are supposed to rise above.
BORGER: And they're supposed to tell the American people the truth. And tell the American people what is at stake here. And you know, it was very interesting to me today, Don, because I was listening to Rod Rosenstein very carefully and he went a little bit beyond, you know, just talking about the indictment, et cetera, et cetera.
[22:10:00] And said in a fact that politics should not get in the way here. And we should not judge this indictment by who was victimized. I.e., Hillary Clinton and the Hillary Clinton campaign. And I think that is, you know, that is the way Donald Trump judges it. Which is that Hillary Clinton was the victim here. He was the beneficiary.
If it had been reversed, he would be screaming about the Russians.
BORGER: But it isn't.
BORGER: And so this is the way he sees it and I think Rod Rosenstein was sending a very strong signal like, stop this.
BORGER: We -- not about politics.
BASH: Not just with what he said but with doing it today, right?
BASH: Doing it today on the eve of the summit.
LEMON: Very astute assessment there, Gloria. Matthew, let me bring you in. Because you know, I spoke to Dana about just how, you know, I was listening to Shimon and it's a lot to take in if you are thinking we cover it every single day and for the average person at home they're like Guccifer and 2.0 and you know, all of these folks who were involved is Roger Stone and what have you and you have to like put the names together and systems and spear phishing and what have you.
But the remarkable amount of detail, Mueller even knows how they paid for it with Bitcoin. What can you -- what do you learn -- what did we learn about the level of detail in this indictment?
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, the Bitcoin stuff is remarkable. Look, espionage is a cash business. You got to pay for it somehow some way. The Bitcoin allows one to kind of remotely pay for something anonymously.
This is also a situation they were able to figure out who made the what payments through the kind of Bitcoin register which might -- you know, if you are a future criminal or spy, maybe you'd be a little bit more cautious about which cryptocurrency you use. But I think--
LEMON: This is a new world we're living in by the way.
ROSENBERG: It really is. I think overall, though, you know, the level of detail here kind of built on a narrative. That we've known what brought those lines out since this January 2017 when the intelligence kind of -- the agencies released their assessment.
And what they said back then was that Russia, during the campaign, had developed a -- this is a quote, "developed a clear preference for Mr. Trump." And that's continued here. And that's -- when you look at those White House kind of statements and denials, Trump and his supporters said it about the assessment and they said it again today, saying, well, nobody said any votes were changed. And you know, that kind of misses -- it's a dodge in a lot of ways--
LEMON: But they did say that that wasn't their role as well.
ROSENBERG: That wasn't their role. The intelligence said today, that wasn't the role of the investigators here. We have no idea if votes were changed or not and that's another piece to look at in today's indictment. If the hacking of state voting machines, state election systems -- not voting machines. I misspoke there.
You know, that's a subject that remains kind of deeply shrouded in mystery and haven't been any kind of complete investigations of any of the states. So we know a little bit here and there but we actually don't know what went on in a number of states where electoral rolls -- and there were problems with voting registration. We simply we do not know if any of that was a result of hacking or not. We still don't know.
LEMON: It makes one wonder if the old-fashioned way where you go in and punch a ticket and everything is on paper instead of this whole electronic way, which one is better? You don't -- listen, any time you talk about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, you're over my head because my niece's boyfriend at Christmas tried to explain to me what cryptocurrency -- is it money or not? Like what do you -- is it cash? I have no idea. Otherwise I'm not getting it.
But I want you to stick around. Because -- all of you -- we're having this is an incredible conversation. We'll come back. More on today's indictments. The mysterious congressional candidate who allegedly asked Guccifer 2.0 for stolen documents and got them.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Rod Rosenstein briefed President Trump this week on the indictments against 12 Russians intelligence officers for election interference. Yet, at his news conference with Britain's prime minister before the charges were announced the president once again slammed the Mueller investigation as a rigged witch hunt. His words.
Back with me now, Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, Shimon Prokupecz and Matthew Rosenberg. Shimon, I'm going to start with you this time. You have details about how intelligence captured some of the defendants congratulating each other. What can you tell us?
PROKUPECZ: Yes, Don. This is pretty extraordinary. I mean, this just gives us the indications that the U.S. government, the FBI and certainly the intelligence folks were all over this group once they determined what they were up to and what they were doing. And they were able to collect essentially intelligence of -- that show how this group, these Russians, some of which are named in this indictment, were celebrating the success of the operation, that is the hacking operation, the way they got into the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign. They were celebrating.
And then also after Trump's victory, there was intelligence that indicated this group -- some of the people named here were celebrating his win. And all of this sort of has given the intelligence community and the FBI that feeling that these guys were behind some of this operation, the hacking, sort of the entrance to the DNC and the contact with certainly with the Guccifer 2.0.
Because what they found was sort of -- why would they be celebrating, why would these guys be so happy about some of the success and they used some of that to form their opinion and certainly in getting evidence and bringing this indictment?
LEMON: Dana Bash, another thing that we're learning in this indictment is a congressional candidate requesting stolen documents. So I just want to read some of this.
It says, "On or about August 15, 2016 the conspirators posing as Guccifer 2.0 received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress. The conspirators responded using the Guccifer 2.0 persona and sent the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate's opponent. Does that have a whiff of collusion?
BASH: Yes, I think it's more than a whiff. I think the stench is pretty thick. But we don't know who we're talking about here. It said U.S. candidate. It's unclear if that candidate won. Unclear what party that candidate is from. And certainly we and others are digging to find out.
I'm glad you brought it up because there is so much information in here just in terms of the -- what Shimon was talking about, all of the Russian attempts -- successful attempts to kind of, you know, so chaos in this election on a presidential level, the fact that there was a candidate for the U.S. Congress, who, according to the way the indictment reads, was proactive in reaching out to this -- what turned out to be the Russian intelligence officer and not the other way around.
[22:20:11] The other thing I just want to quickly say about this, is talking about Congress in particular, it's not just about 2016. I mean, we're looking at 2016 now. But talk to Republican and Democratic operatives and members of Congress as they did today, it's happening now.
BASH: There is evidence that it is happening now in a way that could affect -- and probably will effect this November's election. And the concern among Republicans on Capitol Hill is that what's their ultimate goal in Russia to keep things churning and to keep things chaotic. So how do you do that? You help along the Democrats to beat the Republicans in the House.
If you have a split government it's inherently more chaotic and that is something that by ignoring what happened in the past you're not able to deal what's happening -- with what's happening with Russia, what they are doing in the present.
LEMON: Gloria, you know, I heard a commenter -- someone commented on another network trying to downplay with Rod Rosenstein announced today, well, the Russians have been doing this forever, they've been, you know, interfering in our elections. That may be so.
But to disagree -- degree and with this sort of technology and looking at the means and the ways that they are doing it, this is unprecedented and this is huge and should be taken seriously. We shouldn't say -- we shouldn't try to downplay this?
BORGER: No. Of course not. I mean, look, what you're just saying is, in fact, what the president has said to some of his friends whom I've spoken with, he dismissed this as saying, look, we sy on them, they spy on us, this goes on all the time and what he doesn't want to do is admit to any way, shape or form that they -- that his election might be delegitimized.
And you know, this, today, says they were pushing on an open door here and they got a lot of response. I mean, the detail in this indictment to me is stunning. And maybe there is a lot of detail in this indictment because they know that these guys are never going to be brought to trial unless the president in some way gets them extradited, which he won't. Or if they go somewhere where we can get them, which they won't.
So, you know, the level of detail here should scare anybody.
BORGER: Of any party. About any election. Because they're invading our democracy. And it's nefarious and I don't see how any Republican or any Democrat cannot pay attention to this and dismiss it as business as usual because it is not business as usual. It's beyond that. Way beyond that.
LEMON: I wonder, Matthew, what Republicans, and I'm talking about the lawmakers in Washington, what they are so afraid of when it comes to this. Meaning, why won't they push back harder on the president to admit that Russia influenced, hacked, tried to sabotage the election and is still doing it.
But to this point Politico is reporting that House conservatives are preparing a new push to oust Rod Rosenstein. The House Freedom Caucus supposedly, the chairman, Mark Meadows had the impeachment document on the floor of the House when Rosenstein spoke to the press. What do you think this could mean for the Mueller investigation at large and what are they so afraid of?
ROSENBERG: I mean, I think there is a gamut here within that party on, you know, one side you've got people like Richard Burr, the senator who is leading the Senate investigation into Russian interference who has pushed back on things that have come out from the White House and has sort of leading to what looks to be so far credible investigation.
And then the other far end of the spectrum you got some of the House Republicans like Devin Nunes who ran the House investigation they shut down and has offered up some, you know, bizarre conspiracy theories at times and people like Meadows.
I mean, I think there are some people in the House who do genuinely believe this is a witch hunt. You know, there are elements in the Republican Party that do see overlap.
LEMON: I just--
ROSENSBERG: Some of the--
LEMON: I guess this one person sentence, we're talking about Van Der Zwaan guilty pleas from five people who popped up was Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Richard Pinedo, and Alex Van Der Zwaan. At least 35 defendants, 32 individuals, and companies.
BASH: But Don--
LEMON: And at least 191 charges. Let Matthew finish and then I'll let you go, Dana.
ROSENBERG: I mean, look, I'm certainly not -- don't see a witch hunt here. But I think you do have some people there who broadly see the kind of -- you know, the Trump message, I guess and that kind of nationalist world view.
ROSENBERG: And they see Putin as in line with that.
ROSENBERG: And you're seeing here their response to an investigation that threatens that.
LEMON: All right. Dana, go ahead.
[22:24:59] BASH: You know, yes, no, exactly. I was going to say exactly what you just heard. And that is what you presented there with that graphic are facts. And what a lot of the president's ardent supporters are hearing is an echo chamber, and frankly, I'm just going to say it, I mean, propaganda from him and from the media outlets that are symbiotic with this president.
And so they hear deep state, they hear witch hunt, and they hear this is not working. Rudy Giuliani and the rest of the president's team have been very effective in the absence of -- there was a big lag in these indictments and the first one was kind of like, sort of hard to understand.
And so the public opinion has been waning when it comes to this investigation. And so it hasn't been just the base. It's expanded and that is why you've actually seen -- and I've heard from Republicans who have said that they actually think that this Russia investigation is a political plus because people think, it is just the media and the deep state going after this president.
LEMON: Yes. Well, tell that to Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. Listen, I have to go because we're over but I enjoyed the conversation and I appreciate you joining us especially on a Friday night. Thank you. Have a great weekend, everyone. Thank you so much.
LEMON: When we come back, Rod Rosenstein says he briefed the president earlier this week on Robert Mueller's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers. So why does President Trump say this about Vladimir Putin?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He's not my enemy. And hopefully someday maybe he'll be a friend. It could happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:30:00] LEMON: The Kremlin slamming the indictment of 12 Russian military officers, claiming the sole purpose is to, quote, "spoil the atmosphere before Monday's summit between Trump and Putin."
Let's discuss now, Matthew Rojansky is the Director of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, and Kenneth Adelman is the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who is Arms Control Director under President Reagan, and he is the author of, as well, "Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War." So glad to have both of you on. Good evening. Matthew, you first.
KENNETH ADELMAN, ARMS CONTROL DIRECTOR UNDER PRESIDENT REAGAN: Good evening, Don.
LEMON: The Kremlin denies everything, and the indictment, but how will they really react to them? What will they do?
MATTHEW ROJANSKY, DIRECTOR, WILSON CENTER'S KENNAN INSTITUTE: I think the indictments in effect raise the political stakes for the summit. There is no question that there is more at stake for President Trump not only what he faced directly with the Mueller investigation, you know, what shoe is going to drop next, how much opposition he faces not just from the Democrats and the run-up to the election, but from his own party.
But, you know, the stakes are high for Putin as well. This could easily by the last summit that Putin gets in a Trump administration if Trump is seen to walk away from this summit with either extreme. Either with nothing, in a sense having been defeated, proven that Putin somehow out-negotiated him, or with the deal that maybe Trump thinks he is a good deal, maybe it's a good deal for the Russians.
But it is more than the structure will bear back in Washington. And Congress passes a law saying, you know, you can't deliver on this deal. Either one would be the sort of failure, that's actually going to be a big problem for the Kremlin as well. So I think it is high stakes for the Russians, too.
LEMON: Should this meeting, Kenneth, between Trump and Putin even happen? Should it be happening?
ADELMAN: I don't think it should be happening at all.
LEMON: Why not?
ADELMAN: Well, because we've just seen from the indictments that the Russians were very active in trying to interfere with our election. They wanted to delegitimize Hillary Clinton. They wanted to, in essence, help Donald Trump. And why do they want to do that? Well, they wanted to do that, and we can see from the last few days why they wanted to do that.
They got riches beyond anything they could imagine. What did Putin want? He wanted to separate the United States from its allies in Europe. Boy, Trump did that with spades over the last few days. He wants to delegitimize the Democratic process.
We now have a president who doesn't believe in real law enforcement, who doesn't believe in independent judiciary, who doesn't believe in independent intelligence apparatus, and who doesn't believe in truth in any sense, and third what Putin really wanted to do was to get someone who adored him and, boy, he got that in Trump.
Trump just absolutely adores him. So what the indictment shows is that there was a very vigorous Russian real move, and push to interfere with our elections, and to help Trump get the presidency. Now, I've heard of this program, and heard lots of time, that didn't move very many votes. You don't know that. We don't know that.
LEMON: They said that wasn't their charge. They said that wasn't their charge to figure that out, right?
ADELMAN: That wasn't their charge -- that is right. That wasn't their charge to figure that out. And we do know that lots of states were very close.
ADELMAN: And there are a lot of factors that go into something.
ADELMAN: And to delegitimize one of the candidates could be very powerful.
LEMON: Let me read this to you and get your response. This is an article by Susan Glasser from -- for the New Yorker, and she also is a contributor here on CNN. You were asked about the worst case scenario for the summit outcome, and you said Putin's flattery prompts Trump's swooning, policy shoved aside, lost among all gushes of great, great, truly great personal relationship Trump unlike any previous presidents miraculously established. Talk to us about that.
ADELMAN: Well the fact is we saw the Trump summit with, you know, the North Korean President Kim Jong-un. And Trump gave up lots of things. He got absolutely nothing from the North Koreans except one thing, which is the only thing he wanted, enormous flattery. Enormous, you know, good --
LEMON: A photo-op. ADELMAN: Everything like that. Listen, I was with President Reagan
during his summits, all right? He had a clear agenda what he wanted to accomplish for America. It was not for Ronald Reagan. He was not there to have someone say, you are the greatest human being that ever walked on earth since Chester Arthur, or anybody else.
He was there for what was good for America, and in the record of that summit that I've written a book about, and thank you for mentioning it, it was on Sunday afternoon, the last moment of the summit, Reagan leaves the room, and he comes back, and he asked a group of us with his final offer in his hand, he goes around individually to us, and said, is this good for America?
[22:35:03] And, you know, we all said, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And he said thank you, and then he left. He knew at that big moment that what he really wanted was good for America. It was not good for himself.
ADELMAN: And to have a president now who just wants flattery, and just to get, you know, a person -- and I think Putin will be wonderful at this, to say, oh, my god, we have such a great rapport, and we just get along so well. That is all Trump really wants.
LEMON: Different times now. Matthew, listen, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein --
ADELMAN: It was a different president. That's right.
LEMON: Yes. He briefed President Trump earlier this week on the indictment this week, and we're not sure exactly when. But I want you to listen to all of the things Trump said about Russia while he's been overseas this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope that we're going to be able to get along with Russia. I think that we probably will be able to. And frankly, maybe everybody is going to have a good relationship with Russia.
Just a loose meeting, it is not going to be big schedule. I don't think it should take a very long period of time. He's not my enemy. Is he a friend? No, I don't know him well enough. But the couple of times that I've gotten to meet him, we get along very well.
You saw that. I hope we get along well. I think we get along well. He's not my enemy. And hopefully some day maybe he'll be a friend. It could happen. I hope that we'll be able to get along. I think getting along with Russia also would be a very good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It is -- it is mind-boggling. But listen, Matthew, he also tweeted two days ago calling the Russia investigation a witch hunt. Why would he make all of these comments knowing the indictment would be handed down?
ROJANSKY: This is the problem that we face now in doing something that is fundamental for U.S. National Security, which is managing relations with the world's other major nuclear power. It is a relationship that we have to manage.
It is not one that we can turn off in a peak of anger because they messed with our democracy, because, you know, if you are a Democrat they supported maybe a candidate on the other side, or because if you are a Republican, you know, they try to do, you know, other things that upset you.
This can't be a partisan issue for the United States. Unfortunately, both sides are making it one. It was an attack on the United States. A president of any party needs to go, and push back very hard against the Russians. He needs to be crystal clear about what the consequences for doing this again in the run-up to November, and all of the evidences that they are still doing it, and in any future election.
But another point here is another important point here, which is that there is value. There are things that an ambassador, (Inaudible), would be good for America that can be achieved through dialogue with Russia. Here is the challenge.
It is probably the case that this president in this summit meeting given all of the political context can't achieve those things right now. There are a lot of reasons why that is going to be difficult for him, domestic politics is reason number one.
But the thing about meetings at the presidential level is if you don't do them, it becomes very difficult for government officials at lower levels to get work done.
That is a principle that this administration recognizes as well, and I think that is part of why they are setting up the summit meeting. It maybe very short on substance, on a certain level, I hope it's short on substance. It just sends a signal to the Russian government, and the American government. Now, it is OK to talk, and that doesn't mean we make concessions.
ROJANSKY: It means we negotiate the hard issues where we need the Russians to come along.
LEMON: I got to run. Hey, Mr. Rojansky, we have you on often, so thank you very much. Mr. Adelman, I think it is your first time here, and I appreciate having you on. Will you come back? I would like to talk longer about the difference between now, and the Reagan era when, you know, especially --
ADELMAN: I will talk longer if you give me longer.
LEMON: That is great. But we have to go. Thank you so much. We'll be right back.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The indictments filed today by Special Counsel Robert Mueller don't mention any Americans by name, but one individual with ties to the Trump campaign is acknowledging tonight the document probably refers to him.
So I want to bring in now CNN Legal Analyst Laura Coates, a former deferral prosecutor, and Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general. Good evening to both of you. Laura, you first. Let's talk about some of the people who could be facing some trouble here as a result of this indictment.
First Roger Stone, after initially denying that the person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, that is how it was written in the indictment, while communicating with Guccifer 2.0 was him. A short while ago, Roger Stone said, finally -- he finally admitted to Chris Cuomo how much that it was him he believes. And how much trouble could he be in?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well so far, according to Mueller, and the absence of an indictment for anyone really named as an American, it doesn't seem as though he's facing a great deal of legal peril at this point in time.
However, just because somebody has not been named in the indictment does not immunize them in some way from future litigation, or future prosecution. What is likely here is the missing element of intent. These people actually knew, including Roger Stone, and who he was engaging with was perhaps a Russian operative, or somebody who had that nefarious intent.
Now, clearly, he knew they were up to no good, but probably that missing link is not there, and until they have it, it is hard to really evaluate how much legal jeopardy he's in. But his name, Don, keeps coming up again, and again, and there must be a reason for it.
LEMON: Harry, I thought -- you know, you had a great observation on Twitter earlier, and here is -- here is what you wrote, you said remember these choice tweets of Stone. Trust me, it will soon be Podesta's time in the barrel. Wednesday, Hillary Clinton is done. Assange will educate the people. Lock her up. Think there might have possibly been some coordination? I mean, Could those be a big problem for Roger Stone?
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: A huge problem. Look, this indictment specifically was on the Russia side. But we've now built a bridge that is, you know, within inches of the U.S. campaign. And by the way, Stone himself said oh, I was in fact in regular contact, not with officials, but with Trump himself.
[22:45:08] And of course these -- his knowing in advance, his continually predicting certainly suggests knowledge, and not that far from intent. It's this -- this indictment specifically does not go to those charges. But I think Mueller is loaded for bear, and as I have said, I think Stone has to get his affairs in order. I think he'll be indicted shortly.
LEMON: Laura, the indictment identifies a candidate for Congress who sought and received information from Guccifer 2.0. Is that illegal? I mean, what kind of trouble could that person be in?
COATES: Well, if they are trying to collude, and trying to use a foreign agency of some type to interfere with the elections, well, they are aware that that is an illegal act, and certainly vying for Congress, or vying for a candidacy on Congress, or even being an incumbent for Congress, they will be aware of that particular law, trying to be a part of a legislative branch.
So there is a violation. That is there. I'm curious as to why Mueller has chosen not to name that particular candidate. It maybe because it would obviously allow people to insinuate, and infer that there was absolute evidence beyond a reasonable doubt at some point to connect that person to a crime.
And it may just be they don't have enough evidence built up before a grand jury to present an indictment. So we're all kind of waiting to see what is going to happen there. But certainly trying to definitely do that is a crime.
LEMON: All right. Harry, I mean, after the indictment was announced today, Trump's lawyer Rudy Guiliani, here is what he tweeted out. He said, the indictment of Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans, the Russians are nailed, and no Americans are involved, and time for Mueller to end the pursuit, this pursuit of the president, and say President Trump is completely innocent. Is that what this indictment means?
LITMAN: Stunning. And, you know, just one more step in the complete demolition of the former reputation of Giuliani. First of all, the indictment says expressly in paragraph 44 that Americans were involved, and then as he should know better than anybody, what it doesn't say -- it doesn't -- mean it doesn't that it wasn't, and it means it is for another indictment.
That indictment I think is coming. But for him to suggest now that we're at the threshold that it is time to abandon the whole effort, I mean, we're talking about a really serious attack by Russia military against free and fair elections. And to just say, let's close up shop now, and not think about what happened on the American side, it is irresponsible.
LEMON: Thank you both. Have a great weekend.
COATES: Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: From complaining about free trade to attacking immigrants, and to leaders who welcomed them, Donald Trump sounded a whole lot like his old ally Steve Bannon this week. One of Breitbart's chief, and far right icon, maybe out of the White House, but he's still in power, maybe still occupying some space up there in the president's end.
Joining me now, CNN's Political Analyst, April Ryan and Political Analyst, Joshua Green, the author of "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency." So, I guess you might know some stuff about Steve Bannon, wouldn't you, Josh Green? Good evening to both of you by the way.
JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be with you, Don and April.
GREEN: I know that Steve Bannon is over in London, even though, you know, he's no longer formally a Trump functionary over there, you know, encouraging Trump's visit, talking to British media, striking a lot of the same notes that he struck during the presidential campaign, and as we can hear from what Trump said in that press conference, what he said in some of interviews over there --
LEMON: Let's play it first, Josh.
LEMON: And then you can respond. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I just think it's changing the culture, I think it's a very negative thing for Europe. I think it's very negative. I think having Germany, and I have a great relationship with Angela Merkel, great relationship with Germany.
But I think it's very much our Germany. I think it's very much other parts of Europe. And I know it's politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I'll say it, and I'll say it loud. And I think they better watch themselves because you are changing culture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Not just refugees or undocumented immigrants, but all immigrants changing the culture.
GREEN: Yes. And to be begin with, he's talking about immigrants, he's talking about the wave of immigrants into Europe and Germany in particular, and essentially saying that it is the culture, which is kind of code word for the racial composition, and what the country stands for in the way that Trump is clearly implying is negative. That's very much the same argument he makes when he belittles Mexicans --
GREEN: -- in the U.S.
LEMON: I think it's pretty -- I don't think it's even in codes, it's not even a dog whistle. It's pretty obvious. GREEN: Well, he didn't call them rapist and drug dealers like he does
when he in on U.S. soil.
GREEN: But I think the message is pretty similar.
LEMON: April, remember in the aftermath of Charlottesville --
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
LEMON: -- President Trump defended confederate monuments in the similar way. He said it's sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. I mean, that is a profound way, and ignorant statement. But what does Donald Trump means when he uses the term culture?
RYAN: You know what he means, Don, the culture for certain America. This is a president who says he's for all America, but he comes out saying things that stands for that group, the unforgotten -- well, the forgotten man -- the forgotten white man. And this president has stirred the pot when it comes to racial tensions.
You know, there are people who call him the divider and chief now. And, you know, he again -- you know, going back to the statement -- the question that you asked about Steve Bannon, he's indirectly getting words from Steve Bannon again. And Steve Bannon is part of the problem with this division issue.
You know, because when Steve Bannon left, you know, there were some people in the White House, I will say that the president's children were saying, you know, hey, Steve Bannon is gone now, we're going to get everything backing together, and this will be more inclusive. Well, Steve Bannon is back indirectly through people like Rebecca Mercer, you know, who are talking to the president, giving Steve Bannon's words to the President, and he's listening again.
LEMON: Josh, Steve Bannon is over there in Europe. He is promoting nationalism in various countries. Is this the Bannon influence, or do they just align on this issue?
[22:55:00] GREEN: Well, you know, I do think they align on this issue. And I think it's wrong to hang all of these on Steve Bannon. I mean, Trump is perfectly capable of, you know, racial dog whistling, and everything else he is doing there all by himself. And the Trump children don't seem to be doing anything to sand the rough edges off of that.
I do think though that Bannon was one of the people early on who helped Trump to understand that he could forge a connection with a very loyal base of unhappy, largely white men who feel as though they've been displaced in American culture by other people, who feel threatened by the rise of immigrants, by gay people, all the people that tend to gravitate toward the Democratic coalition. But, Trump, by signaling them continuously as he has since the moment
he came down to the elevator to announce his candidacy, can win their undying loyalty. And If you talk to people in the White House, not just Steve Bannon, but people around him, Trump is absolutely consumed with keeping that connection with his base, into his voters.
He does that when he is in the U.S., he does it overseas, this isn't about foreign policy. It's about signaling to his voters that he is politically incorrect, he's the same guy he's always been, and he's not going to let these tricky European leaders, you know, sweet talk him into doing something that would cause him to break with his base.
LEMON: I've got to run. Thank you.
RYAN: To the detriment of what nation.
LEMON: I got to go.
RYAN: Thank you.
LEMON: But I got to say, Thank you, April, wherever you're going tonight have fun. Michelle Obama (Inaudible), April has got the guns out tonight.
RYAN: I will.
LEMON: Have a great weekend. We'll be right back.