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Some in Conservative Media Rebuke Trump; Russians View Trump- Putin Summit as a New Start; Hotel Asks for Protection from Lawsuits; U.K. Lawmaker: Facebook Data Accessed from Inside Russia; Veiled Swipe at Trump?; Trump Tries To Clarify Summit Remarks After Backlash; Trump Declares Full Faith In U.S. Intelligence; Russian Indicted Accused Of Acting As Foreign Agent; Japan, E.U. Agree Largest Bilateral Trade Deal Ever; Campaign Violations Trigger Calls For Men Referendum. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 18, 2018 - 01:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. Ahead this hour, Donald Trump goes on damage control but his spin on the Putin summit may have made things worse. Plus it's been called a message against protectionism. In an age of new trade barriers, the E.U. and Japan reached a major free trade deal. And Barack Obama speaks out against strongman politics. The former U.S. President doesn't name names, but leaves little doubt who he's talking about. Hello and welcome everyone. Thanks for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Facing some of the harshest criticism of his presidency, Donald Trump is playing clean up. He now says he misspoke during his news conference with Vladimir Putin about Russian interference in the U.S. election. But his explanation still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports from the White House.



JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump in full damage control mode tonight.

TRUMP: I realize there is need for clarification.

ZELENY: Insisting he misspoke in Helsinki accepting Vladimir Putin's denial of Russia's attack on American democracy.

TRUMP: I said the word "would" instead of "wouldn't" and the sentence should have been, and I thought I would be maybe a little bit unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video. The sentence should have been, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.

ZELENY: Yet that hardly cleans up the spectacle of the Putin summit which has become the most condemned and criticized moment of his presidency. Standing alongside Putin, he said this Monday. TRUMP: He just said it's not Russia. I will say this, I don't see

any reason why it would be.

ZELENY: But more than 24 hours later, his words don't erase what he said on the world stage that he accepted Putin's words over that of U.S. intelligence agencies.

TRUMP: I have full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies, always have. And I have felt very strongly that while Russia's actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying that. And I've said this many times, I accept our Intelligence Community's conclusion.

ZELENY: Yet the President continues to not fully embrace the detailed evidence his own government has produced leaving the door open to other bad actors beyond Russia and again insisting there was no collusion with his campaign which is still the subject of a special counsel investigation.

TRUMP: Let me be totally clear in saying that, and I've said this many times, I accept our Intelligence Community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place, could be other people also. There's a lot of people out there. There was no collusion.

ZELENY: Reading from scripted remarks today in the cabinet room of the White House, his words hardly taking away the damage at home or abroad for saying this in Helsinki.

TRUMP: I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial.

ZELENY: It's been the most sweeping rebuke of the President from his own party. On Capitol Hill today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed Moscow directly.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I think the Russians need to know that there are a lot of us who fully understand what happened in 2016, and it really better not happen again in 2018.

ZELENY: The White House shaken by the blowback, as the President awoke to headlines declaring treason. The Conservative Wall Street Journal's editorial page declaring the Helsinki performance a personal and national embarrassment, asserting the President had projected weakness. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci not mincing words.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE: Loyalty right now requires you to tell the truth and sit with him and explain to him the optics with the situation, why the optics are bad. The strategy in terms of trying to get along with Vladimir Putin and deploying a strategy of going against the intelligence agencies is very bad.

ZELENY: The criticism echoing across the GOP. REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: President Trump was wrong

yesterday in a major way and I think it was a very embarrassing press conference.

REP. RYAN COSTELLO (R), PENNSYLVANIA: You could say it's embarrassing, but I don't think that does sufficient justice. I think it undermines our moral authority.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The antics over the last 10 days have been damaging to our country.

ZELENY: It was clear the criticism particularly from inside the President's own administration and from loyal supporters need to be addressed. So Trump made the statement trying to undo the damage. But as he read from his remarks, this happened.

[01:05:02] TRUMP: I have a full faith in our intelligence agencies. Whoops, they just turned off the light, that must be the intelligence agency.

ZELENY: The controversy and clean-up is all over what President Trump said publicly in Helsinki. The looming question is what he said privately to Vladimir Putin behind closed doors when they met for nearly two hours. That's what U.S. officials are now wondering. Where any secrets given up? What exactly was discussed when Trump and Putin met one-on-one? Jeff Zeleny, CNN the White House.

CHURCH: Joining me now from Los Angeles to talk about all of this, Michael Genovese President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University and David Siders a Senior Reporter for Politico. Good to have you both with us. So Michael Genovese, to you first, how likely is it that President Trump's explanation that he misspoke going to cut it in the end or could the Helsinki summit threatened to cast a shadow over the rest of his term do you think?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT OF THE GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, it's hard to see that his act of contrition had the impact that he wanted. I don't know if it made it better or worse, probably worse. I think the President said he misspoke and said well, I really was going to -- I was going to give a double negative but that's the way people are describing his presidency at this point is a double negative. And the question is can he overcome this? There have been so many times when we've left him for dead saying you know, after the Access Hollywood tape etcetera, etcetera, kept on saying that's it for him. He has a way of reviving himself like Phoenix. But I think that in this case I think you know, more and more people now the Republicans especially are beginning to think maybe we're being shaved by a drunken barber and he may not be able to recover fully from this.

CHURCH: Well, David Siders to you now. Some critics have even suggested that the remarks Mr. Trump made at his summit with Putin amount to treason. How close did he come to that?

DAVID SIDERS, SENIOR REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, I think you saw that the critics either accused him of that outright or say that he's -- one columnist say he like walked up to that black water's edge. That's a line that you'll see critics try to use and I think with some effect now my question is what are we talking about a week from now? And I'm not sure that this has the legs that critics hope that it does at least for his broader political ambitions. I'm not sure that we're not talking about a Supreme Court nomination in a week.

CHURCH: Right, yes, we have seen that so many times as you point out. And Michael, President Trump now says he accepts the conclusion of U.S. intelligence that Russia did, in fact, meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election but then he contradicted himself by adding that it could be other people also. What did that comment signal to you?

GENOVESE: Well, I think it suggests his inability to really come to grips with it because I think he's so overly personalizes everything and sees any chink in the armor of his election as being a delegitimizing force. And I think he's so insecure about that, so sensitive about that that if he allows one little chink in the chain to collapse, I think he feels that the whole house of cards may come tumbling down. And so the President I think is overly sensitive about this and every time that we talk about anything going on with Russia, he keeps coming back to the same old mantra, no collusion, no collusion. Well, there are a lot of other things that went on and so the president I think does himself a disservice when he focuses on the narrow, no collusion at the expense of all of the other things going on.

CHURCH: Yes, David, let's talk about that because when the cameras were in that room with Mr. Trump Tuesday while he was clarifying his comments, they picked up some handwritten notes on his statement specifically saying there was no collusion. It's a message of course, as Michael pointed out he has been pushing for quite some time now. Why did he add that, handwrite it into that statement that presumably he had sat with his advisors and assessed what should be said there, he had written that in Tuesday, why do you think?

SIDERS: Well, I can't get into his head but I can say that the President has had his and written notes viewed publicly before so he's somebody who knows that if he walks into a room with handwritten notes on a piece of paper that they're liable to get picked up by the cameras and in this case what we're talking about right now is a big bold letter saying there was no collusion. So if you're the President trying to get out a message that yes you misspoke or you handled the Helsinki summit poorly, he can do that but then he can also reframe the narrative again for the entire evening and there it is on the screen again with people seeing there was no collusion and that's the message the President's trying to drive home.

CHURCH: Yes, then Michael some Republicans spoke out, Tuesday, although they didn't mention Mr. Trump by name and many said nothing, it has to be said. But what should they be doing in the wake of this crisis? Are they doing enough? Should they be speaking up more?

[01:10:10] GENOVESE: Well, up to this point, they've been pretty much scared of Donald Trump and the revenge of Trump because his base is you know, so loyal to him that they fear that either they'll get primary doubt or in the general election his folks won't come out. And so the Republicans have been very hesitant to take him on. This is a special case I think. There were a lot of Republicans have a long history of course of being very hard on Soviet Union, now Russia being tough on Putin, and they don't want to be put into the same boat as Donald Trump basically giving permission for Putin to do some of his dirty deeds.

And so I think the Republicans are on a very, very difficult position right now. They want to come out against Putin but that also means coming out against your president. And so that's going to be a tough choice that they have to make. On the President's side as David said, tomorrow, next week we'll be talking about the other shiny object, the new story, the next crisis. And the President's strength is that he can go and jump from crisis to crisis because we focus on the shiny object that's before us that day.

CHURCH: Yes, there are always many distractions of course. And David, how likely do you think it is that the U.S. Intelligence Community will keep some classified information from the President going forward in light of what he said at their summit?

SIDERS: I think the comments that we heard in the last hour from the Ambassador were interesting in this respect. He said that if the President asked intelligence officers they would have to respond accurately and that he thought they would. But that it could affect how briefings are done and how the Intelligence Community would bring information to the president so perhaps that on that the positive side of bringing information could be affected. Certainly the intelligence community has been unsettled by this and Trump's meeting in Helsinki has done nothing to calm I think unrest within that community.

CHURCH: Yes, and Michael, how does the rest of the world view President Trump in the U.S. in the wake of this Helsinki summit and how might have changed the way Europe deals with America? It will still want to have that relationship obviously but would European leaders and others perhaps attempt to bypass the President, still have links to the military to the diplomats, is that possible?

GENOVESE: Well, I think you've seen a deal today between Japan and the E.U. on trade so I think to the extent that they can go around the United States, they may very well do this. But I think the last week was really the trifecta for the President. You had the disastrous NATO visit, you have the disastrous trip to the U.K. and now this multiple disaster with Putin. And I think you know, in some respects this might be his Katrina, in other respects you wonder is this it's going to be yet another bump in the road that he survives. Europe has chart has begun to chart its own course. They know for example, Angela Merkel is going to be attacked, Teresa May is going to be attacked. You can't rely on our president, you can't trust our president. And so I think they're going to do as much as they can alone but they need the United States. They need the defense umbrella. They can't go on without us.

CHURCH: And David, you get the final word. Do you agree on that?

SIDERS: I think Corker's statement is quite have been interesting today that he's critical of the president like a lot of Republicans are. There the critical of the president but when asked about the Kavanagh appointment says why would I cut off my nose despite my face I like that Supreme Court appointment. And I think a lot of Republicans will end up being in the same boat and the apology today may help them so they can say we don't agree with this President all the time. In fact, I think they're more than willing to say that President Trump is an imperfect animal. But they like things about him more than they're willing to dislike the other things whether it's the Access Hollywood tape or immigration policy or his posture against Russia. And so that that's my suspicion of where things land and of course I could be wrong because at some point maybe the President does have a Katrina moment and then you know, then all bets are off.

CHURCH: Yes, time will tell. We will see in 24 hours what we're all talking about. Michael Genovese, David Siders, thank you to you both for joining us. We appreciate it.

SIDERS: Thank you.

CHURCH: All right, return now to the case of a Russian woman who pursued her passion for gun rights and better relations between Washington and Moscow but according to U.S. federal prosecutors it may all have been a cover, one that allowed her to act as a foreign agent. Details now from CNN's Jim Sciutto.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The allegations against 29-year-old Russian Maria Butina further substantiate a sustained effort by Russia to infiltrate and influence U.S. political organizations and operatives, all this to shape U.S.- Russia relations.

[01:14:53] According to CNN and court filings, Butina's primary avenue of influence appears to be the National Rifle Association. She leveraged her relationship with the NRA's leadership to foster relationships with Republican Party leaders, American politicians, and business leaders. She even helped in an effort to establish a covert communications channel between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, an effort that was rebuffed.

In 2015, Butina publicly asked candidate Trump a question about sanctions at an event in Las Vegas.


MARIA BUTINA, FOUNDER, RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS: If you would be elected as the president, what will be your foreign politic, especially into the relationships with my country, and do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging both economies, or you have any other ideas?

TRUMP: OK, Obama just along with nobody. The whole world hates us. I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, and I mean where we have the strength. I don't think he'd need the sanctions.

SCIUTTO: She also spoke briefly with Donald Trump Junior at an NRA dinner. Trump Junior, said that he spoke for only a few minutes with her and did not talk about colluding with the Russian government. Leading up to the 2016 election, Butina sought to introduce Russians to Americans. And she proposed acting as a go-between herself, powerful Americans, and the Russian government.

Court documents for the first time revealed direct Twitter messages between a Russian official and Butina. The official reflected on his spy craft with Butina in 2016, writing, "It is not about winning today's fight, although we are striving for it, but to win the entire battle. This is the battle for the future, it cannot be lost."

Butina, responded, "True." In another message after the 2016 election, Butina wrote to the Russian official, "I am ready for further orders. Butina's attorney has denied the charges calling them overblown in a statement. And describing her as a bright recent graduate of American University in Washington.

Her attorney insisted she only wanted, "To promote a better relationship between the two nations."


SCIUTTO: Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee attempted to interview Butina, that request they say was refused by the Republican colleagues on the committee. Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee also attempted to subpoena documents in an interview from Butina. She refused that request citing Republican opposition to that request. Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: Global trade is about to get a huge boost. Japan and the European Union shake hands on what's billed as the largest bilateral trade deal ever.

We'll have a live report for you next on CNN NEWSROOM. And the latest complication to the U.K.'s Brexit fallout from accusations against the official campaign group. Back in a moment with that and more.


[01:20:32] CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. In the face of growing global protectionism, Japan, and the European Union just joined forces for free trade.

Their massive open trade deal cuts tariffs on nearly all goods. The agreement will remove tariffs on European exports such as cheese and wine, while Japanese automakers and electronics companies will face fewer barriers in the E.U.

The E.U. president is calling it the largest bilateral trade deal ever. Covering 600 million people and almost a third of the world's economy.


SHINZO ABE, PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN (through translator): There are currently rising concerns about protectionism globally. Within this context, I believe it is extremely meaningful that Japan and the E.U. are sending a message to the world about the importance of free and fair trade.

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Today's agreement goes far beyond our shores. Together we are making, by signing this agreement, a statement about the future of fair free and fair trade. We are showing that we are stronger and better off when we work together.


CHURCH: CNN's Will Ripley is following this story very closely, and joins us now from Hong Kong with more. Good to see you, Will.

So, it is a massive trade deal and comes as the U.S. is applying tariffs on friend and foe. So, what will this mean for consumers in Japan and the E.U. specifically?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, for the consumers, it means that they're going to have increased selection at lower prices. Because obviously, when you get rid of the tariffs in these free trade deals, it allows trade to flow more freely.

Globalization that President Obama championed for, and that President Trump is really fighting against. Accused of, kind of turning America towards much more protectionist policies. So this trade deal impacts about a third of the world economy, that's 600 million people, eliminating more than 99 percent of tariffs on nearly everything that Japan and the E.U. would trade. So, E.U. consumers will eventually be able to drive Japanese automobiles at a far cheaper price. Already, Japanese parts and electronics will be reduced in cost.

And then, for Japan, Japanese consumers who love things like European wine, and cheese, and pork, and handbags, and pharmaceuticals, those kinds of things will also be less expensive in Japan starting right away.

And you listen to the statements from those two leaders, Rosemary, they were saying this is a message to the world about free and fair trade, but you could easily substitute the world with President Trump.

Because that's really who they're -- who they're aiming this at here, they want the United States and the U.S. president to know that if he is going to put a trade barrier, they are going to continue to try to fill the economic void. The United States was once a global leader in free trade. Obviously, that is not the situation anymore.

CHURCH: Yes, and it begs the question, what impact will that have been ultimately on the U.S. and on those nations that the U.S. is trying to apply these massive tariffs. I mean, the scope and scale of this free trade pact between Japan and the E.U. is truly extraordinary.

RIPLEY: It truly is. And yes, discussions about this began during the end stages of the Obama administration. But sometimes a trade deal of this size could take a decade to hammer out. They did this very quickly after President Trump came to power because they are trying to send a message, and they are trying to scramble and find other alternatives.

I mean, what some analysts have said, is that this really signifies a shift in the global economic power balance, and a shift away from the United States. It's -- you know, the E.U. and Japan are two key U.S. trade partners, allies, and they are signaling that if the United States is not going to play ball anymore, then, they are going to look at other options.

And it does potentially cause the United States and President Trump to lose some of his leverage as he continues to threaten to slap more tariffs.

You know, the IMF just in recent days was estimating that if President Trump's trade war comes to full fruition, by just 2020, it could slash more than $400 billion, like $420 billion from the global GDP, cutting global economic growth by a half a percent.

And the IMF saying, the one economy that is most vulnerable to damage from that is the United States. Because you're seeing these other countries now looking for other trade options because they are trying to come up with a backup plan if they can't make things work.

And in Japan and the E.U. in particular, that's a significant shift in strategy. Japan for decades was focused primarily on trade with America, and here in Asia. And the E.U. in recent years, as well, focused on transatlantic trade primarily that's all starting to change now, Rosemary.

[01:25:01] CHURCH: It's going to be extraordinary to watch what sort of impact this has long-term for sure. Will Ripley, joining us live from Hong Kong, where it's nearly 1:25 in the afternoon, appreciate that.

Well, British Prime Minister Theresa May eked out a narrow victory on another Brexit vote. Pro-European Union lawmakers proposed an amendment that would have kept Britain in a customs union after Brexit if there were no other alternatives.

The lawmakers were furious over concessions made Monday to hard-line Brexit supporters. The amendment failed by just six votes. Many more objections are expected on future Brexit legislation.

Well, adding to the challenges this week, the British electoral commission's findings, it says the official pro-Brexit campaign group broke the law. Nina dos Santos shows us why that's triggering calls for another referendum on the issue altogether.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was the narrowest win and has become the most divisive of issues. Now, the body overseeing, U.K. voting has caused additional doubt on the legitimacy of Brexit. Ruling the official campaign for leading the E.U. Vote Leave broke the law by overspending, and teaming up with another campaign group. V. Leave, raising the prospects of criminal charges. Both groups deny any wrongdoing. CHUKA UMUNNA, MEMBER, PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Findings of the Electoral Commission are shocking and Vote Leave's actions are an affront to our democracy, and that fundamental British value of fair play.

DOS SANTOS: The move follows a similar ruling back in May against another prominent pro-Brexit campaign. This time funded by the Russia-linked businessman, Aaron Banks. The former V. Leave volunteer turned whistleblower whose evidence kicked started the investigation thinks that the findings make the results of the referendum void, amid growing calls for a second vote.

SHAHMIR SANNI, BREXIT WHISTLEBLOWER: We need to have a referendum that isn't based on the breaking of the law. There is no alternative. Otherwise, we go down this path and I find it surreal. I find it absolutely surreal that there are MPs out there having the audacity to say that I still believe in the referendum result. That's like saying, OK, let's let the bank robber keep his money.

DOS SANTOS: Theresa May has always rejected that idea. And even some pro-E.U. MPs have poured cold water on it.

STEPHEN KINNOCK, MEMBER, PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: The facts got to happen before 29th to March 2019, which is our exit day, many things have to move very quickly. The question about reforming our democratic institutions, processes, and systems is a different one. In many ways I would say that's bigger than Brexit. And I think that's about getting hold of the cheats and holding those cheats to account.

DOS SANTOS: The findings rejected by Vote Leave shine the spotlight on key members of Theresa May's government, who served on the campaign's committee. Including her very own newly appointed Brexit secretary.

All this just as the prime minister tries to get her Brexit plan to parliament in an increasingly tumultuous political climate.

May's (INAUDIBLE) deal lies in tatters after a series of high profile resignations. She's already accepted Euro's skeptic amendments to the bill, and with the clock ticking to the official Brexit date in March 2019, May is struggling to quell the fires from both sides of her party. Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


CHURCH: The boys from the Thai football team, whose dramatic cave rescue captured the world's attention will be released from the hospital in the coming hours. The boys and their families will then talk to the media for the first time since their harrowing ordeal.

It has been more than a week since the boys and their coach were rescued from the cave complex in Northern Thailand. The group found themselves stuck in the cave on June 23rd. They were stranded for nearly three weeks until an international team of rescuers pulled them out. Well, the Trump-Putin summit hasn't received the best reviews in the United States. Still, to come, we will see how the meeting is playing in Moscow. Back in a moment with that.


[01:31:44] CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Rosemary Church.

Let's check the headlines for you this hour.

Donald Trump is in damage control mode after the sharp criticism of his comments about Russia's election interference. He now says he misspoke during his news conference with Vladimir Putin and that he doesn't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia who meddled in the 2016 vote.

Japan and the European Union have signed a massive open trade deal. It will cut tariffs on nearly all goods. The E.U. president calls it the largest bilateral trade deal, ever. It covers 600 million people and almost a third of the world's economy.

A narrow Brexit victory for British Prime Minister Theresa May -- parliament rejected an amendment that would keep Britain in the Customs Union after Brexit if no other arrangements could be made. E.U. supporting members of her conservative party proposed the amendment, angry over Monday's concessions to Brexit supporters.

Well, Fox News is the network where Donald Trump usually finds praise and affirmation. But his remarks at the Helsinki summit did not get the reaction from conservative media that the President was hoping for.

CNN's Tom Foreman reports.


TRISH REGAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK HOST: don't go to Helsinki if you can't look the guy in the eye and tell him what's what.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): President Trump gets lots of praise on Fox News but his performance with Putin --

ABBY HUNTSMAN, FOX NEWS HOST: He has not come down strong enough yet on meddling in this election.

FOREMAN: --: made even "Fox and Friends" not so friendly.

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS HOST: All he had to say was Mr. Putin says he didn't meddle. But I don't believe him.


FOREMAN: The "Wall Street Journal" editorial board said Trump showed weakness. The Drudge Report howled, "Putin dominates". The "Weekly Standard" is calling for his censure saying "It is a punishable disgrace." Newt Gingrich tweeted, "It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected immediately."

And on it went as the conservative media raged with even normally reliable supporters, many that stood by him amid uproars over the violence in Charlottesville, his hammering of other Republicans and his personal scandals, now crackling with disbelief and dismay.

To be sure some are presenting the harshest reviews as the work of liberals and the mainstream media and some of the President's most ardent supporters are holding firm.

JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: Come on. Snap out of it, everybody.


PIRRO: What was he supposed to do -- take a gun out and shoot Putin?


FOREMAN: In Fox's primetime it was pretty much business as usual.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: May I give this to you to look at, sir?

FOREMAN: Sure, Vladimir Putin squirmed as Chris Wallace tried to hand him the indictment against 12 Russians for meddling in the election but Trump --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will tell you, it's driven a wedge between us and Russia, you know.

FOREMAN: -- in a chat with Sean Hannity, there was not a hint he had failed in any way as Trump once again said the real problem is special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, which the President says brought sympathy even from Putin.

TRUMP: He said what a shame. He felt it was very hard for me to make a deal because of, you know, all of this nonsense.

It's just a sad thing. It's a very sad thing for our country to see this.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Mr. President -- thank you so much for your time.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

[01:34:59] FOREMAN (on camera): Many conservative outlets are now moving away from this story fast. But the fact that they called President Trump to task at all is highly unusual, and in political terms, a sure sign of how badly he misplayed this meeting with Putin.

Tom Foreman, CNN -- Washington.


CHURCH: And while Mr. Trump's performance with President Putin is getting almost universally-panned in the United States and abroad, in Moscow, they're loving it. Russians see the meeting as the start of a reborn relationship.

CNN'S Fred Pleitgen explains.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Facing a barrage of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans after his meeting with Vladimir Putin for siding with the Russian leader over his own intelligence agencies --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see what happened yesterday was shocking and beyond that.

SENATOR MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: This was such a pitiful performance and such a degrading effort by this president.

PLEITGEN: President Trump defending the meeting.

TRUMP: The press covered it quite inaccurately.

PLEITGEN: But there are media outlets that fully support President Trump's assessment -- in Russia. Analysts on state-run TV saying it's now up to Moscow to support Trump and his Russia-friendly course.

DMITRY, POLITICAL ANALYST (through translator): If all these agreements will work out, at least on ministerial level, that is a big breakthrough and benefit for us. But we have to understand that we can't set Trump up once again now. Our job now is to help him with good arguments and he himself will go to change the U.S. domestic agenda.

OLGA SKOBEEVA, HOST, "60 MINUTES" (through translator): And then you say Trump is not ours? We need to help him. Guide him. Support him.

PLEITGEN: The host also taking note of the issues President Trump didn't bring up in Helsinki.

SKOBEEVA: Trump could have mentioned the traditional aggression and annexation. But he didn't do it. He didn't forget it, but purposely didn't mention it.

PLEITGEN: While America's allies especially in Europe seem shocked by President Trump's posture towards Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader praising Trump after the meeting.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): He's a very skilled person. He's in the know. He listens. He accepts the arguments. On some issues, he remains in his opinion.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. PLEITGEN: And while President Trump's performance at the meeting with

Vladimir Putin is causing anger and disbelief in Washington, Moscow is celebrating a major victory on the international stage.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN -- Helsinki, Finland.


CHURCH: And coming up next here on CNN NEWSROOM -- victims of the Las Vegas massacre are named in a new lawsuit filed by the hotel that a gunman used to commit mass murder. We'll have that when we come back.


CHURCH: Now to the scenes of panic off Hawaii where the U.S. Coast Guard has extended the safety zone surrounding active lava flows. Officials took the action after a volcanic explosion hurled lava bombs at a tour boat.

And we do want to warn you it is disturbing.

Twenty-three people aboard this boat were injured. One witness says some people had burns and gashes on their legs as they evacuated the vessel. The Kilauea Volcano has been has been erupting since early May. It has been disrupting the lives, emitting ash and gases into the air and forcing people to evacuate their homes.

Well, there is a new lawsuit over that mass shooting in Las Vegas. Lawyers for the Mandalay Bay are suing the victims -- yes, the victims. They say the hotel and its owner MGM bear no liability for the massacre that saw 58 people killed.

Melissa Raney has more.


MELISSA RANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Survivors of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history are being sued by MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. The company filed two lawsuits in federal court asking a judge to declare it has no liability of any kind for the massacre last year. MGM wants protection against more than 2,500 people who are suing or threatening to sue the company.

In October, a gunman opened fire on concert goers from a suite in the Mandalay Bay Resort. Fifty-eight people were killed. MGM Resorts International is the parent company of the corporation that owns the Mandalay Bay and the Las Vegas Village where the music festival was held.

The company called the shooting quote, "the despicable act of one evil individual". One attorney representing several victims from Texas had this to say.

CRAIG EILAND, ATTORNEY FOR LAS VEGAS SHOOTING VICTIMS: The MGM is trying to beat these people to the courthouse and declare that they have no rights. RANEY: MGM hired a security vendor for the event, which the company

claims protects it from legal responsibility under The Safety Act.

I'm Melissa Raney, reporting.


CHURCH: Joining me now from Los Angeles, attorney Brian Claypool. He represents 75 survivors and family members of the victims. He also survived the October 1st shooting in Las Vegas.

Brian -- thank you so much for being with us. And of course, you have a unique understanding of how the survivors of this deadly shooting are feeling right now. What do they make of this move by MGM to sue them back?

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, ATTORNEY: This is outrageous. It's shocking. And in my opinion, it amounts to bullying and intimidation by the MGM and Mandalay Bay. I mean how deep in the swamp do they want to get and jump to try to save face in the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States?

I mean what they are doing is re-traumatizing and re-victimizing everybody who survived that shooting, Rosemary, including myself, my clients, everybody else who was there, and family members of those who have died. They have actually sued now the decedents, people who have died -- family members of those as well.

And in my opinion, that is reprehensible. They don't need to do this. If they want to seek protection under this nebulous Safety Act law that was put into place by our federal government in 2002, make no mistake about it Rosemary, they didn't need to sue 2,500 people.

All they had to do was go after one individual, one victim, and then ask for a court order on that one victim and then that would equally apply to everybody else in the case. But no, they wanted to pound their chest, they wanted to be tough. They wanted to go out there with their public relations stunt and say, look at us, we are going to get protection.

And I've got to tell you, and I'm going to predict right now, this is going to backfire in the court of public opinion when we beat them on this attempt to escape liability.

CHURCH: Well, Brian -- I mean looking at it, you have to ask why they are doing it this way? What is the strength in their legal argument here? And one can only assume that most people would be appalled looking at this as a legal argument coming from MGM. Surely this can't help them in any way in the end.

[01:45:02] CLAYPOOL: Right. Well, there's two issues here.

One is legally do they have anything to stand on with this argument to immunize themselves from liability? Then the second issue is, how does this look to the community in what they're doing? Let's talk about the first issue real quick. I mean the first thing they have to prove, Rosemary, is that these claims that are going to be filed against MGM arose from a terroristic act. The problem they are going to have with that is there was so much media attention by the sheriff in Las Vegas especially, and law enforcement where they declared from day one this is not terrorism.

Remember all that? This is just the act of one person. Has nothing to do with terrorism. So if they lose on the terrorism issue, then case over for them on this issue.

But let's say a judge somehow says this is terrorism. They still haven't won. They still have to prove that this security company -- I believe they are called CSC -- who they hired to help with the concert was effective and added social utility. Those are the exact words in the law.

So they can't just say, oh, we hired a company, they were certified with the Department of Homeland Security. It has to have been effective security. We are obviously going to make the argument 58 people died, hundreds others injured, and clearly that was not effective security.

CHURCH: But, Brian -- when you look at a situation like this the gunman was the one who perpetrated this abhorrent crime upon the victims, including yourself. Who else can be held responsible in a situation like this?

I mean, you mentioned the contractors, the security team that was brought in, and presumably MGM will try to put them in the line of fire. But in a situation like this, and as you say, too, it wasn't terrorism, it wasn't ever classified as terrorism in this instance. So it is just an abhorrent act that has happened.

Is it possible to sue anyone in a situation like this in reality when you look at the facts?

CLAYPOOL: Well, absolutely. Let's make one other point clear. We don't even agree that this Safety Act affords the MGM protection. At best, it might afford the security company the immunity that MGM is talking about. So the law is not 100 percent clear on that.

But putting that aside for a moment -- absolutely as a survivor of this shooting, I will tell you that in the middle of that first round of shots, when I was ducking down covering my face, my head, the side of my head thinking that a bullet is going to hit me in the head, and I was convinced I was going to die, once I made it through that first round, and I thought I would never get home to my little girl.

During the second round of shooting Rosemary, I said to myself this. I'm going to find out what happened because this should not be happening. And I'm going to hold whoever is responsible for this accountable.

So guess what? There was hapless security at the Mandalay Bay. I stayed there. I was on the 26th floor of this hotel, six floors below Paddock. And I'll tell you that there was absolutely zero effective security at that hotel, casino.

And that in our opinion is the cause of this mass shooting. And we intend on proving that eventually one day in court. MGM, Rosemary, they don't want the world to see the truth about how bad their security is, so what they are doing is throwing out this Hail Mary -- a desperate measure to try to preempt liability with this nebulous law to try to strip victims like myself and others from what we believe is a viable lawsuit.

CHURCH: Brian Claypool -- thank you so much for talking with us. We will watch to see the outcome of this case.

CLAYPOOL: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Thank you.

Well, startling new details are emerging regarding Cambridge Analytica. That's the company that received information of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge. Now, CNN has learned that data was accessed from within Russia according to a U.K. lawmaker.

More now from our Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was marketed as a breakthrough in how to motivate, change people's minds, and manipulate them to vote or not vote in an election. Using the personal Facebook data of tens of millions of Americans, Cambridge Analytica developed a voter-targeting technique aimed at specifically targeting individual voters who would receive messages on their Facebook feeds, group chats and even personal communications.

Critics would label the technique as the political weaponization of data. And it turns out the Russians were paying attention.

[01:50:00] DAMIAN COLLINS, BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE CHAIR: The information commission in the U.K. is saying that she believes that the Cambridge Analytica Facebook data was accessed by people in Russia. And we don't yet know --

GRIFFIN (on camera): In Russia.

COLLINS: In Russia.


GRIFFIN: -- persons in Russia.

COLLINS: In Russia.

We don't yet know who they were and what they accessed and whether they took that data or what they did with it. But that link has been established with the ICO's (ph) investigation. So clearly it will be really important to understand exactly what the level of access was of people in Russia to this Facebook data and what they did with it. GRIFFIN (voice over): Damian Collins is a British member of

Parliament for the conservative party whose committee is running an almost identical investigation as its U.S. counterparts looking at Russian meddling in the 2016 Brexit referendum. It has focused largely on controversial Facebook user data, the data analytics firm of Cambridge Analytica and a data scientist named Aleksandr Kogan.

COLLINS: He's become well-known for the man who created the tools and the apps that allowed Cambridge Analytic to receive a large amount of Facebook user data.

GRIFFIN: Aleksandr Kogan delivered the data to Cambridge Analytica. And now CNN has learned he may have perhaps unwittingly allowed access to that same Facebook data to Russian actors although it's unclear what kind of information could have been accessed.

Kogan began working four years ago on a joint project at Russia's St. Petersburg University, sponsored by the Russian government. Kogan who was a U.S. citizen did not want to do an on-camera interview but told CNN "On my side, I'm not aware of any Russian entity with access to my data."

He questioned anyone's conclusion that someone accessing his data in Russia means actual Russian agents were involved. "It could have nothing to do with the Russian authorities," he told us. "It could just be someone checking their mailbox."

To British investigators, it's just one more unexplained link between the Russians, Cambridge Analytica, and the targeting of voters by Russians in both the U.S. and the U.K.

COLLINS: So is it possible indirectly that the Russians learned from Cambridge Analytica and used that knowledge to run ads in America during the presidential election as well? That is something clearly that will be of huge interest -- and but it's still the subject of ongoing investigation.

GRIFFIN (voice over): Facebook is also interested in this British investigation. The social media giant has asked the ICO what proof there is that its Facebook data was being accessed in Russia. The social media giant has largely been shut out of that information as British authorities continue to investigate Cambridge Analytica and Russian meddling in Britain.

Drew Griffin, CNN -- New York.


CHURCH: We'll take a short break here on CNN NEWSROOM.

Still to come, former president Barack Obama has a message for Donald Trump; and the current commander in chief might not like it.

Back with that in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

A former U.S. President took a thinly-veiled shot at the man currently occupying the Oval Office. Barack Obama during a speech in Johannesburg Tuesday had something to say about the state of world affairs in general and what he called strongman politics in particular.

CNN David McKenzie has more.


[01:54:51] DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): In one of his first major addresses since leaving office, former president Barack Obama didn't name President Donald Trump, but he did repudiate the politics of fear and resentment and pointed to the extraordinary times we are living in.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Given the strange and uncertain times that we are in -- and they are strange, and they are uncertain -- with each day's news cycles bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines.

MCKENZIE: Obama also criticized it seems some of the key platforms of Donald Trump's policies including protectionism, pulling out of the Paris accords on climate change and closed borders. He also made pointed remarks about politicians' relationship with the truth.

OBAMA: We see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they are caught in a lie, and they just double down and they lie some more.

Look, let me say, politicians have always lied. But it used to be if you caught them lying, they would be like, oh, man. Now they just keep on lying. They just --

MCKENZIE: Obama is in South Africa after a brief swing through Kenya. On Wednesday he'll have a town hall with young African leaders where he's bound to ask them to emulate the leadership choices of Nelson Mandela.

David McKenzie, CNN -- Johannesburg.


CHURCH: Well, earlier in Kenya the former U.S. President thrilled a large crowd at the opening of a youth center. Barack Obama spontaneously got up and started dancing much to the delight of the audience. But he kept it short, and took a seat after just a few seconds.

And you are watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Rosemary Church. The news continues here on CNN right after this short break.


CHURCH: What he meant to say was the opposite of what he actually said -- an attempt at clarification from Donald Trump on his explosive comment on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Japan and the European Union join forces to boost their economies signing what's being called the largest ever bilateral trade deal.

[02:00:00] Plus, Barack Obama's biggest speech since leaving office -- his message about political strongmen and their trouble with the truth.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world.

I'm Rosemary Church.

And this is CNN NEWSROOM.