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Operations Underway to Raise Sunken Tour Boat; President FISA Releases Carter Page Surveillance Warrant Documents; Tweets Explosive Threat to Iran; Rescuing the Rescuers Called White Helmet. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired July 23, 2018 - 10:30   ET



[10:31:32] HARLOW: All right. Right now, Coast Guard divers are in the water beginning the difficult task of raising that duck boat that sank in Missouri last week. The remains of all 17 of the victims, those who perished have been removed from the wreckage. The wreckage, though, is about 80 feet under water.

Let's go to our Kaylee Hartung who's in Branson, Missouri, for us.

So I know they're doing this dive right behind you, Kaylee. And we're also learning more about the victims, who died in all of this. What can you tell us?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are, Poppy. Well, first to this salvage operation. What's so striking when you see that barge in these live pictures of the salvage operation is just how close the duck boat was to shore when it sank. First in 40 feet of water and remember this is an amphibious vehicle. It then landed on its wheels and rolled 40 more feet to a depth of 80 feet.

We believe those divers in the water now from the Missouri State Highway Patrol are in the process of bringing the cabling from that barge down to the boat. They'll then connect it and that crane on the barge will lift the boat up. First, they will lift it just a bit from the lake bed. And they'll perform what they call a float test to ensure the stability of that crane and the rigging before they pull it 80 feet up to the surface.

Once the boat is brought to the surface, that crane will lift it, they will then have to pump out water. They'll do that with three pumps from the barge. That process will take about 45 minutes. But divers cautioning us that this entire process could take several hours. You think for nearly four days this boat has been at the bottom of Table Rock Lake. And the sediment at the bottom that this boat could be sinking into.

Poppy, we'll be right here at this process continues. But you mentioned the victims. We are learning more about the 17 victims, nine of whom were from the same family. Two members of that Coleman family, those survived. Listen to Tia Coleman process her grief with us.


TIA COLEMAN, SURVIVOR, LOST NINE RELATIVES TO ACCIDENT: The captain did say something about life jackets. He said above you are your life jackets. There's three sizes. He said, I'm going to show you where they are. But you won't need them. So no need to worry. So we didn't grab them.


HARTUNG: None of the 31 passengers were wearing life jackets when that duck boat began to take on water. And Poppy, a source close to the investigation tells me none of the 17 victims were found wearing life jackets either.

HARLOW: Kaylee, thank you for the reporting. Unbelievable, nine family members died in that.

All right. The death tolling is rising this morning in Canada as police are investigating a mass shooting overnight. Two people were killed, 12 others wounded after a gunman opened fire in a busy neighborhood in Toronto. The gunman was also killed. And this morning police tell us, they are looking at a variety of motives, one of them being investigated is terrorism. One of the victims has been described as just a young girl. And at last check, she was in critical condition.

Up next, a secret document from a secret court now largely in the public. In the mind of President Trump, he thinks it is proof that the special counsel probe is a witch hunt. Well, we're going to lay out the facts next.



HARLOW: This morning President Trump is on the attack after the FBI released a redacted version of its FISA application to surveil Carter Page. Carter Page of course advised the president on foreign policy during the campaign. It reads in part, quote, "The FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government." Page for his part calls that ridiculous.

As for the president he is now calling once again for the Russia probe to be dropped because he claims that the FISA application relied only on information from the Steele dossier that was in part funded by Democrats. To be clear, there was other evidence presented by the FBI to get this -- to get the FISA court so sign off on the surveillance of Carter Page.

[10:40:08] Let's talk about the significance, what's fact, what's not. Shan Wu is here, CNN legal analyst and a former federal prosecutor. He also was formerly a member of Rick Gates' legal team, of course Rick Gates who worked with Paul Manafort, and James Gagliano, our CNN law enforcement analyst and retired FBI supervisory special agent.

Gentlemen, nice to have you here. So, Shan, when you look at how Republican lawmakers are responding to

all of this, Senator Marco Rubio yesterday on this network said, no, this is how it works, this is how you get judges to sign off on this ability to surveil an American citizen, which is not taken lightly. And it worked the way it should. It worked correctly. Lindsey Graham, another Republican senator, sees it differently. Listen.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: In my view that the warrant -- the FISA warrant process needs to be looked at closely by Congress. The main reason to issue the warrant was the dossier prepared by Mr. Steele The substance of the dossier to this day is a bunch of garbage.


HARLOW: To be clear, Shan, the dossier was part of it and other evidence from back in 2013, for example, was also part of the evidence the FBI put forward. Talk about the judges that not only authorized this the first time but three subsequent times and why that matters.

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Poppy. I think that's a very important point to note is that it's been reauthorized. And what we can draw from that is that it was probably a bountiful surveillance, it was yielding some results to allow them to reauthorize it. So it's really hard to understand how the senator draws the conclusion it's based solely on the Steele dossier. It obviously isn't if you've actually read the documents. And even though they are heavily redacted, it's obvious that there's a great deal of detail in there, including public sources. And the conclusions that were drawn are very damning towards Carter Page.

HARLOW: Let's listen to Carter Page and his back and forth with Jake Tapper yesterday.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Were you ever an agent of a foreign power? Did you ever advise the Kremlin or work with the Kremlin on anything?

CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: Look, Jake, I -- no. I have never been an agent of the foreign power in any -- by any stretch of the imagination.

TAPPER: But you did advise the Kremlin? I mean, I just want to make it clear, you did advise the Kremlin back in 2013 or 2012, somewhere in there?

PAGE: Jake, that's -- it's really spin. I mean, I -- I sat in on some meetings. But, you know, to call me an adviser, I think, is way over the -- over the top.


HARLOW: He sort of said two very different things there, I should note.

James, you worked in the FBI. I mean, what kind of evidence needs to be put forth for a judge, multiple judges to actually sign off on surveiling an American citizen?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure, Poppy. My argument all along is I believe the FBI agents, the federal prosecutors, and the four judges that had to renew this application. I believe they all acted in good faith. I have long maintained that there's an old saying that never attribute to malevolence what can be chocked up to incompetence. And I don't throw that term around lightly.

What I think happened here with the affidavit, and I went through all 400 pages of the document dump this past weekend. I understand a lot of it is redacted.


GAGLIANO: I understand there's portions that all of us have to parse through and try to fill in the blanks. And that's not truly fair to the agents and prosecutors that put this together.

HARLOW: Well, but on that point, James, isn't it the case? I mean, Shan has pointed out, previously, that if the president wanted less of this redacted, he could make it so.

GAGLIANO: He could. But he has to be concerned about sources and methods. A lot of counterintelligence experts have rightly put out there that to fully unredact this thing could possibly put people into harm's way. And I don't think that's a good thing. I don't think anybody wants that.

What I think the FBI and DOJ and maybe some of the senior executives involved in signing off in this fell prey to was confirmation bias. We all go into investigations, we try do it as impartially as possible. Direct to bias. But there is a circular logical fallacy that happens. And the Christopher Steele dossier is item number one in that.

How much of that was corroborated by the Michael Isikoff interview in Yahoo! News. And it's hard to tell. I went through as a former investigators with a quarter century experience, and I've reviewed documents like this. And it's difficult to tell with the redactions --

HARLOW: Well --

GAGLIANO: -- whether or not there was enough to support it.

HARLOW: And the FBI, you know, noted and you see when you read through these for -- you know, it adds up to about 400 pages, all four of these applications, that even after that information was leaked and used by Yahoo! News, by Izikoff, though they were concerned that it was leaked, and they leaked it, they still believed that the substance was verifiable enough for them to move forward with this FISA application.

Shan, let me ask you about something a little bit tangential but also related to this. And this is that over the weekend, we learned something new about what Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has said as it relates to the 1974 Supreme Court case of the U.S. versus Nixon which of course ruled that the White House had to turn over the Nixon tapes, had to turn over this documentation from the White House in the midst of Watergate.

[10:45:16] Here is what Kavanaugh has said regarding that. Quote, "Maybe Nixon was wrongly decided. Heresy though it is to say, Nixon took away the power of the president to control information in the executive branch by holding that the courts had power and jurisdiction to order the president to disclose information in response to a subpoena sought by a subordinate executive branch official."

He is saying maybe it was wrongly decided. And that's germane to the conversation that we're having right now.

WU: Yes, I think that the Trump vetters are probably very happy when they found that. And that's probably a big part of why he's an attractive candidate. That's a rather unusual position to hold on that opinion, which is widely touted as a good example of the independent federal judiciary. I think Kavanaugh probably contradicted himself on that. I think previously he had -- you know, thought that was a very important decision to uphold that independence.

It certainly is a disturbing message for him to be saying that because obviously he could rule in favor of President Trump exerting some type of executive privilege against subpoena s.

HARLOW: But the point is there, he is saying the authority of the executive branch should have superseded this, right?

WU: Very much so. I mean, he obviously is a very strong supporter of almost an unfettered power of the executive branch. And I think that certainly should raise some questions during his hearings.

HARLOW: I think people will ask him questions about that during the confirmation process. No question about that.

Thank you both, Shan Wu, James Gagliano. Nice to have you both.

GAGLIANO: Good to see you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Still ahead, help us, we are still in danger. Those words coming from a rescue group best known for saving innocent lives in Syria. The White Helmets are now pleading for hundreds of their own members to be rescued.


[10:51:32] HARLOW: This morning, a group of rescue workers who risk their lives to help people trapped in the middle of Syria's violent civil war are themselves in need of rescue. Israeli forces have evacuated hundreds of the White Helmets. Still, though, more than 300 are trapped inside of Syria.

This is the heroic work, look at this. This is them. This is the heroic work that these men and women do every single day, rescuing children among others from the rubble. Take a look at this rescue that happened in 2016.

The group says it has saved more than 100,000 people over the past four years.

Our Jomana Karadsheh is here with me to break this down for us. I mean, we have seen -- there was this the amazing documentary made about the work that the White Helmets do. We've all seen the lives that they save. They are now trapped. Hundreds of them. Do they fear their lives are in danger?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is what we're hearing, Poppy, from those who remain trapped inside Syria. While you have this unprecedented international cooperation, this mission that included several countries, including Israel. The Israeli military, while they succeeded in evacuating hundreds, about 300 more remain trapped inside Syria. And one of those volunteers told us today that they were notified by their organization that there are no plans at this point to get them out of Syria.

And they are absolutely terrified of what is to come. But right now the international reaction has really been focused on the good news and what has been accomplished over the weekend.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): At the height of the Syrian Civil War, often, it was the White Helmets who were the first on the scene. With no local police or emergency services, residents in rebel-held areas turned to these Syrian volunteers recognized by their iconic protective gear.

JAMES LE MESURIER, FOUNDER, MAYDAY RESCUE: They have all chosen to risk their lives to save others, and that makes every single one of them a hero.

KARADSHEH: The group rescued tens of thousands of people caught up in a conflict, often saving the war's most vulnerable. Like this baby girl. After 12 hours of digging and drilling, volunteers finally reached this 2-week-old baby trapped under the rubble.

But now it's the White Helmets themselves who are being rescued. A town after town in southern Syria is reclaimed by the government, there's been increasing concern over the fate of the White Helmets. The regime and their Russian allies have long labeled the group as terrorists accusing them of staging chemical attacks and faking rescues.

In an internationally coordinated mission and an unprecedented move, hundreds of Syrians including White Helmet volunteers and their family members have been evacuated out of the country via Israel into Jordan. The group will stay there before being resettled in Germany, Britain,

and Canada, the three countries, Jordan says, have pledged to take them in.

Canada has praised the work of the White Helmets saying, quote, "We feel a deep moral responsibility towards these brave and selfless people." The U.K.'s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has described the rescue as, quote, "fantastic news," and has thanked Israel and Jordan for acting so quickly on the request. He says the White Helmets are the bravest of the brave, adding that, "In a desperate situation, this is at least one ray of hope."

[10:55:01] A moment of international action in a conflict where that has rarely brought any good. This time, it may have saved hundreds of lives.


KARADSHEH: And Poppy, no surprise when it comes to the Syrian government's reaction, describing this operation, this evacuation as a criminal operation, and describing the White Helmets again as terrorists and even collaborators with Israel.

HARLOW: Jomana, thank you so much for bringing us that report. And please keep us posted again. Those at least 300 white helmets still trapped inside of Syria.

And thank you all for being with me today. I'm Poppy Harlow In New York. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" is next. She will pick it up as President Trump has a new and explosive warning to Iran threatening the U.S. of dire consequences. More of that ahead.