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New Details About Eighth Person in Trump Jr. Russia Meeting; GOP Senators Meet with Trump to Discuss Bill; Officer Who Shot Bride- to-Be Refuses to Talk. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired July 19, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: CNN has learned that Ike Kaveladze was the eighth person in that meeting at Trump Tower last summer with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.
At first, we were only told that it was those three and the Russian lawyer but now this man's attorney has confirmed to us that he was there in the meeting. They that said he went to the meeting thinking he was going to be a translator for the Russian attorney who was meeting with Trump Jr. Now, that's the Russian attorney who Trump Jr. believed to be a Russian government lawyer who had incriminating information on Hillary Clinton. So now we've learned that this man was also in the meeting.
This is a person who -- former Senator Levin says was involved in a money laundering scheme back in the early 2000s, though he was never charged, was never accused of any wrong doing and says -- he didn't do anything wrong. He was under investigation for this at that time. So, that's what we've learned about him. This is a man who's a naturalized American citizen that worked for a Russian real estate company.
We've also learned that Special Counsel Bob Mueller is looking into this meeting and his investigators have reached out to this man through his attorney and said that they would like to meet with him. Now, his attorney has said that he is willing to cooperate with them.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Kaitlan Collins at the White House. Thank you very much.
Joining us now to discuss that and more, CNN military and diplomatic analyst, Rear Admiral John Kirby and CNN global affairs analyst, David Rohde.
And David, let's begin on that, Carl Levin, former lawmaker, posted about this on Facebook and he explained the context. That he and the Government Accountability Office have been fighting for some time, David, on trying to stop this from happening, people setting up all of these U.S. bank accounts and pushing money through United States accounts without any transparency on who those folks are and this man, now the eighth man in that meeting with Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. is known to have set up 2000 U.S. corporations and bank accounts to do exactly that -- to push, according to Carl Levin, $1.4 billion through those. Big deal? David, can you hear me?
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, I can, sorry.
HARLOW: Did you hear the question?
ROHDE: I did not, I'm sorry.
HARLOW: OK. Rear Admiral John Kirby on that, did you hear that?
JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yes, I did, Poppy. I'm not an expert on money laundering by any chance but yes, this is a potentially big deal and you know, when you have somebody with the prominence of Carl Levin coming out and putting context behind this man's activities. That says a lot. And I think Americans ought to pay attention to that.
Look, I think this whole thing if you take ten steps back and just look at the spade of information now has come out not about this meeting but about Russian activities in general. I mean, really demonstrates the degree to which the Russian government under Putin is really trying to undermine western liberal democracy, also trying to undermine our own system of government here in the United States and to reach this level of parity that he wants to reach globally and particularly in the west.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And Admiral, when you look at this meeting now, you know, money laundering is a serious issue but it's not really about money laundering now that these questions are being raised. It's the idea that there is a guy who may be an unsavory character at the table with the son of the future president of the United States and his entire senior campaign staff practically then you have this, you know, Russian-American lobbyist, then you have this Russian lawyer who you know, seems to be sent by someone with damaging information about Hillary Clinton. It's a very odd gathering.
KIRBY: It is, John. - You know, I mean, I'm less worried -- and I don't mean to make this sound light. I'm less worried about the unsavory character of some of these guys as I am the intent behind the meeting itself. -- We cannot forget that what motivated them to take this meeting was an idea that they were going to get dirt from the Russians to use against the Clinton camp and that is just unethical to an extreme. And that's the most bothering thing about this.
And I think - look, if you're going into a meeting like this and you know it's being pushed by the Russian government itself, you have to assume -- at least I hope you would assume -- that you're going to be meeting with some Russians that have a checkered past.
HARLOW: Well, I think you look into who are these people coming to Trump Tower to meet with, you know, even the chairman of the campaign at the time, Paul Manafort. David Rohde, we can hear you, I hear, very crisply now.
So, on top of the lack of transparency about that meeting, who was in it, what was discussed, all of that, a lack of transparency from the president and the White House about this second meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20, at dinner. Today, senior White House official tells CNN lasted for an hour. Concerning?
ROHDE: It is. Look, there's a poll out this morning that shows that 52 percent of registered American voters think the meeting in Trump Tower, Donald Jr. with the Russian lawyer was inappropriate. Then you have this, you know, this undisclosed meeting with Putin and Trump at the G20.
[10:05:02] I think it -- again, we don't want to trust polls. We know that from the 2016 election. But this drumbeat of a lack of disclosure, I think it does damage the president's credibility over time, not with his base but with independents and this is sort of a stretch but I think it's hurting him somewhat in Congress because it's so unpredictable. A new story every day and again, there is no clear evidence of collusion but if the White House would disclose these meetings openly, these would be much smaller stories.
BERMAN: You know, Admiral Kirby, you know more than a little about diplomatic protocol here and you have particular concerns about the fact that there was no U.S. translator involved or any other U.S. person involved in this second meeting. What are you specific concerns?
KIRBY: Number one, there was nobody there to help support the president or back him up on whatever was discussed. Number two, we'll never know what was discussed because the only transcript of it is going to be a Russian transcript because they had a translator there, who I guarantee you, was taking copious notes as he or she translated the language. Number three, because it was only a Russian translator and we didn't have a U.S. translator, we don't know what Trump said to Putin.
And more importantly, John, we don't know what Putin heard because we don't know what was translated. The translation from English to Russian is difficult. Russian is a very difficult language, nuance matters a lot in this. Not that I'm a linguist but it matters a lot and we'll have no record now, not only what was said on our end but how it was received on Putin's end.
HARLOW: So, if you were some of the top national security advisers, David Rohde, sitting around the president right now. What are you saying?
ROHDE: Disclose. I mean, it's a -- this is a distraction. He's got huge domestic issues. There were just new sanctions against Iran that they announced earlier this week. So, this is a distraction for the national security staff and his political advisers are going to be saying the same thing. These are - again, there could be no collusion here and these are self-inflicted wounds going all the way back to firing James Comey. This Russia story continues because they are not making clear what communications are happening or have happened in the past with Russians.
BERMAN: You know let's just note that Rupert Murdoch owned "Wall Street Journal" which I don't think believes there was any collusion is calling for complete and utter and full transparency right down to the president's tax returns in some cases now. So, even defenders of the president would like to see more. David Rohde, Admiral John Kirby, thank you so much for being with us.
HARLOW: So, now to the health care fight. Today, all the Republican senators are invited to the White House for lunch and this is no party. This is a last-ditch effort -- it looks like, to try to get those outstanding members on board, try to switch them to a yes vote on a full repeal of Obamacare without a replacement.
BERMAN: I want to get to CNN reporter, MJ Lee. She is live on Capitol. MJ, you know, is this thing dead or what and has anyone told the president?
MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, you know, thanks to Twitter, John. We often get some insight into President Trump's mood these days and it's clear that he is definitely frustrated. Keep in mind that this is a president who believed that repealing Obamacare would be quick. He believed that repealing Obamacare would be easy and now, six months into his presidency he is seeing potentially his big campaign promise beginning to slip away.
Now, keep in mind that the latest strategy in the Senate right now is to try to have a vote on the repeal and delay bill from 2015. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader announced this last night and he made it clear that this was at the request of the president. That this is something that the president wanted that he is not willing to let this go yet and he wants to see a vote happen early next week.
Now, this is obviously why we are seeing Senate Republicans go to the White House for a lunch meeting with the president. The president will likely try to sit them down and try to win them over. Of course, McConnell does not have the votes yet on this new strategy.
And Trump tweed about this meeting earlier this morning. He said "I will be having lunch at the White House today with Republican senators concerning health care. They must keep their promise to America!"
Now, I'll tell you that right now there is plenty of skepticism that enough can happen in the next couple days to win over enough Senate Republicans to try to save this last-ditch effort from Senator McConnell and from President Trump. I asked Senator John Cornyn yesterday, what needs to happen in the next couple of days and the only thing he would say is, a little passage of time. So, we'll see if time is what the Republicans need to get this bill moving forward. John and Poppy?
BERMAN: All right. MJ Lee, stay tuned for that lunch coming up. Thanks so much.
In the meantime, a new Trump in the investigative spotlight. House Democrats questioning Ivanka Trump's security clearance. Why? We'll speak to a key Democratic lawmaker next.
HARLOW: Plus, after more than eight years behind bars, O. J. Simpson could walk free this week. We're on it. And Governor Chris Christie strikes out with fans during a Mets game.
[10:14:03] HARLOW: So, President Trump under scrutiny again over an undisclosed -- previously undisclosed meeting that he had with Vladimir Putin. It happened on the sidelines of the G20. It lasted about an hour.
BERMAN: President Trump is already trying to downplay the conversation. This is what he said in a statement "Fake news story of secret dinner with Putin is sick. All G20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!"
And by the way, no one is saying that we didn't know he was at dinner. Everyone did know he was at a dinner. No one knew that he had a nearly hour-long meeting with Vladimir Putin at said dinner. Let's discuss with CNN political commentators. Errol Louis, Margaret Hoover, Hilary Rosen.
Errol Louis, to you, is this much ado about nothing or some ado about something? --
ERROR LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's some ado about something. And it might be a lot actually. I mean, because the way that it was done, by all account, is that there was no American there. There was no national security aide. There was no Secretary of State. There was not even a translator there. So we don't have U.S. notes about what transpired in that conversation.
[10:15:00] We also have a history of Donald Trump in the Oval Office and other occasions, sort of talking a little too freely about national security matters in ways that sort of damage or sort of alter the posture of the United States with regard to other countries, including our adversaries. So, people have reason to be worried and when the president reacts with sort of scorn and sort of a half- truthful statement about how, you know, well, everybody knew I was there. That's not even the issue, of course. It makes you wonder and people have very good reason to worry, I think.
HARLOW: So, Margaret, what is the president trying to do here? Because Errol is right, his statement, his response blaming the media, et cetera, was totally off point. I mean, that's not the point that was being made about the concern. What's he trying to do here?
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's defensive in a way they go about doing it actually just adds to the drip, drip, drip. I mean, the criticisms of the Clintons in all things was that they weren't forthcoming, they weren't transparent about the information which actually fed the narrative that maybe there was things to hide. That's what the sense of reinforcing. I mean, against the backdrop of the context to the Russia investigation here, the revelations about his son's e-mails to then not reveal that you had an hour long conversation after -
HARLOW: An hour. HOOVER: -- a tense two-hour summit with Tillerson. It brings more questions than it does answers.
BERMAN: When was the last time you had an hour conversation with anybody?
HARLOW: You this morning.
BERMAN: Besides me, someone you wanted to talk to. You know, in that case. You know, it doesn't happen very often.
Hilary Rosen, I want to talk about sort of a separate subject on Russia. We're going to get into it much more and little deep but Democratic lawmakers now, writing this letter, asking to know whether Ivanka Trump's security clearance is valid at this point and whether she filled out the forms correctly. Do you think this is overreach? Just going down a list of Trump family members here in trying to probe every which one?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I do think that this question of can this White House, can these people be trusted with the secrets of the nation is a legitimate question to ask. You know, I would focus more on Jared and on the president and others who were, you know, known to be in these meetings with Russians. So I'm less concerned about this. There are other issues with Ivanka Trump.
But I find the problem here really is a bigger picture problem which is that this president doesn't feel accountable to the American people. You know, in the most astounding ways. So, the fact that he doesn't even wants to discuss why he might have had a conversation with Vladimir Putin for an additional hour. That he doesn't think anyone is entitled to know. That's I think the more troubling thing.
The security clearances follow that, the fact that Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. didn't disclose these meetings because they just don't really think that we're entitled to know anything about what they do and how they operate. And I think that over the long term is the most troubling.
And when you contrast that with Barack Obama's transparency over the last several years and his successes like just this week, it's gotten no attention, but Donald Trump actually, for a year attacked that the Iran nuclear agreement as the worst agreement ever. He couldn't wait to tear it up. And what did he do this week? He validated it. He said, oh, yes, actually Iran is keeping its word. And so, we're going to keep going there. So, I mean, there's just no rationale here for why Donald Trump acts this is way with the American people.
HARLOW: Because they're mandated to do that under the agreement every 90 days by Congress. I don't think he would just have offered it up but I hear your point and point taken. It's an interesting one.
And to you, Margaret, you can run a private organization that is not public like the Trump organization just that way, no one has to know, you don't have to answer to anyone, maybe your board, not your shareholders because you don't have them. Is this, this president thinking it is the same when it's so drastically different?
HOOVER: It certainly seems that way. Look, to be very successful in New York real estate you don't have to know lots about world affairs, you don't have to know lots about corporations or governments or how they work. You have to have a lot of capital and a lot of cunning and Donald Trump has both of those things but no experience with transparency or frankly, communicating with shareholders, even, right? His shareholders are his family members. So, this is the last time I want to hear about how a private businessman is going to be better in government, period.
BERMAN: Nice segue. Because there's a big luncheon at the White House today where the president will be dining with 52 Republican senators right now and I'm not sure how happy they all are with each other, Errol Louis. And the president, you know, in a tweet this morning said that the Senate health care bill, the Republican health care bill is going to get better at lunch. This was a bill that I thought was dead. I mean, I thought the repeal and replace effort was dead. I thought the repeal only effort was dead. The president said it's going to get better at lunch today. Does he know what's going on there or is it you know trying to hope?
[10:20:00] LOUIS: Well, as has been famously written the power of the presidency, politically speaking, is the power to persuade. And so, he's going to persuade but he can't do much more than that.
Congress has their own dynamic. The senators have their own differences. Those differences might have been sharpened. There may be some score settling or some infighting that maybe going on. There's a whole election cycle that a third of the members have to worry about coming up next year. So, I don't know if the president is going to sort of give them a pep talk and come out of there with a compromise that they were unable to get on their own over the last few weeks.
BERMAN: Is this like giving the Falcons a pep talk after the Super Bowl though? I mean, I'm not quite sure I understand -
HOOVER: Remember, health care was dead in the House of Representatives, guys. Health care was dead in the House of Representatives. -- And then they said OK, we're going to put it on the back burner and what happened? They came back, what, three to six weeks later and passed it. You know, Donald Trump is, again, new to government.
ROSEN: They ran away from it.
HOOVER: But then they ended up passing it. And so, who's to say that they're not able to resurrect Lazarus.
ROSEN: But that's an important point, Margaret, which is that the senators see that Donald Trump called all those House members mean. You don't think that's going to be in, you know, ads for the next two years after they passed that bill. -
HARLOW: So, those House members also knew that this is going to change dramatically in the Senate and they were banking on it. Going back to them, I mean, Hilary as a Democrat you have got Joe Manchin, a Democrat more moderate, could be helpful to this president making calls around. Is this time for Democrats to see this as an opportunity to jump in more, to do more?
ROSEN: Look, you saw the Democratic leadership yesterday, saying now it's time to scrap your ideological and partisan approach to this and try and work together to save this. I was disappointed to see the president say, our choice now is to let Obamacare fail and let the Democrats clean it up. But when you say let's let a health care program that is ensuring millions and millions of people, that is giving people actually access to doctors and say let it fail. It seems the height of irresponsibility.
So, it is possible that Republicans and Democrats will start to work behind the scenes to shore up the exchanges and to do the things that need to be done. On the other hand, that's going to require leadership.
BERMAN: Hillary, your friend Senator Chuck Schumer right now, I believe, is speaking about this very thing on the Senate floor. Let's listen.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: We proposed a bill by Senator Shaheen that would guarantee the premium reduction payments that insurers say is the number-one thing we could do right now to stabilize the individual marketplace. Second, we've proposed a bill by senators, Carper and Tim Kaine that would create a reinsurance program for the individual health insurance market, again, aimed at stabilizing the marketplaces. And, third, we've proposed a bill by Senator McCaskill that would enable any American living in a -- bare county, a county that lacks health insurers, to purchase the same insurance we get here in Congress.
All three of these would stabilize the markets and help to prevent premiums from going up further and coverage from decreasing. They address the actual issues in our health care system. And so, I've mentioned, they're non-ideological and exactly the kind of legislation we could work on together.
If our intent is to make things better, this is something we can come together on, all three of these proposals. They address the actual issues that we have and should be an immediate thing that we can do together. The Republican approach decimating Medicaid to give a tax break to the wealthy doesn't solve any of the problems Republicans claim to be so worried about.
BERMAN: All right, Democratic leader Senator Chuck Schumer there talking about now, what he calls Democratic efforts to fix Obamacare with some outreach. He says, Republicans. We'll see how far that actually goes and whether he really means it. Hilary Rosen, Margaret Hoover, Errol Louis, thank you all so much for joining us and watching this alongside us.
HARLOW: So also, you know, this story we've been following, this tragic story out of Minneapolis. We're learning more about the moments just before a police officer there shot and killed this bride to be after she called the police for help. The very latest in a live report from Minneapolis, next.
[10:28:28] BERMAN: We're now learning that a loud noise may have triggered the police shooting in Minnesota that left an Australian woman dead. The officer who was behind the wheel says something near the cruiser startled him.
HARLOW: We still haven't heard from the other officer, the one who fired the shot that killed this woman, Justine Ruszczyk. He's at this point refusing to speak to state investigators. But chilling new audio is revealing more about that deadly encounter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Female screaming behind the building. Shots fired. Can we get EMS code 3 Washburn and 51st Street? We got one down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Our Scott McClain is in Minneapolis following all of the developments. So, this officer is not saying anything.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right, Poppy. We are starting to get more of a picture of what happened to Justine Ruszczyk in this alley but it is far from a complete picture. The problem here is there's no dash cam or video. There's no body cam or video.
And as you say, the officer who pulled the trigger, Mohamed Noor, is refusing to tell his side of the story. But we are hearing from his partner, Michael Harrity, says the two were driving down this alleyway late Saturday night with their squad car lights off when suddenly he heard a loud noise. The next thing you know, Justine Ruszczyk is at the driver's side window, that's when Mohamed Noor shot her in the abdomen from the passenger side. The two attempted CPR to resuscitate her but ultimately, that was, of course, unsuccessful.
Now, why was that shot fired? Well Mohamed Noor's lawyer -- hasn't given any indication as to whether his client will ever say that publicly or whether will ever do an interview with investigators.