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Donald Trump, Jr. to Appear On Tomorrow's Hearing And Has Been Said That This Will Be His Last Time To Attend The Hearing And Is Going To Move Forward; President Trump Still Doubts The Intelligence Community Conclusion Of A Russia Election Meddling And Sanction Bills Are On His Way For Approval; Will President Trump Veto New Russia Sanctions Bill?; Eight Bodies Found In Tractor-Trailer In San Antonio; Who Is The Russian Pop Star Behind Trump Jr. Meeting?; Diana's Life And Legacy Celebrated In New Documentary. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired July 23, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Happening now in the newsroom --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight people dead in the back of that trailer.
WHITFIELD: Tragedy in Texas. More than 30 people found packed in a sweltering tractor trailer in a Walmart parking lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at a human trafficking crime here.
WHITFIELD: Plus, congress agrees on new Russian sanctions and the bill could be hitting the president's desk very soon --
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: He hasn't made the decision yet to sign that bill one way or the other.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We support where the legislation is now.
WHITFIELD: -- and Jared Kushner's meeting with Russians.
SCARAMUCCI: My very close friend Jared Kushner is going to testify tomorrow. I predict that will be the last time Jared Kushner talks about the Russian.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: We have a lot of ground to cover, this is just going to be the first interview. There's a great many questions that we will have for Mr. Kushner.
WHITFIELD: "CNN NEWSROOM" starts now.
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WHITFIELD: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with some explosive revelations from the incoming White House communications director. In a remarkable interview --
WHITFIELD: -- on this morning's "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper right here on CNN, Anthony Scaramucci gave an aggressive defense of President Trump. He doubled down on the president's doubts of Russian meddling in the election.
Scaramucci also downplayed the Trump Tower meeting last summer with a Russian lawyer and vowed to stop the leaks coming from the White House. Scaramucci says the president is thinking of pardoning nobody. Here is a portion of that gripping exchange.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So you come to the White House at a time when President Trump has historically low approval ratings, he signed into law zero major pieces of legislation, health care is on life support, multiple investigations are underway. I guess the big question is, is President Trump facing a communications problem or is it a substance problem?
SCARAMUCCI: Did you leave anything out? I mean, you're doing pretty well there.
TAPPER: I gave you a short version.
SCARAMUCCI: OK. Listen, there's obviously a communications problem because there's a lot of things that we've done as it relates to executive orders, bills that have been signed, economic progress. I don't want to sight all the economic data but the economy is super strong. Business optimism is way up. And over the next six months, we're going to have phenomenal achievements with the president.
I still think we're going to get the health care situation done. One of my closest friend, the secretary of treasury, very confident on tax reform. If the president gets those two pillars done, which I predict he will over the next six months, you and I hopefully will sit down around Christmas time and be having a different conversation about the presidency, the communication coming out of the White House and our achievements.
And so, these things, they go up and down, Jake, as you know. The president is an experienced business person. He's a very effective politician. And I just think we need to deliver the messaging a little differently than we've been doing in the past. And my prediction is that this stuff is going to start to come to fruition quite quickly.
TAPPER: Well, as you know, one of the problems that Sean Spicer and others in the White House have faced is President Trump undermining his own message. You said on Friday that the nation needs to see more of the authentic Trump.
But just this week, President Trump setup an interview with the "New York Times" in which he attacked the deputy attorney general, the special counsel, the former FBI director, the acting-FBI director. He then went on a tweet storm Saturday that additionally distracted from his agenda.
I guess, another question is, is it more authenticity that President Trump needs or is it more restraint?
SCARAMUCCI: Listen, I don't want to be a career guiding counselor for those people that he's speaking about but let me give some advice to those people on your show, that's the president.
The president likes speaking from the heart. He likes telling you what he likes and dislikes. He's the type of coach that I work very well with in high school football. It's OK with me if the president doesn't like certain things that I'm doing. We're all on the same team. I would prefer the direct and immediate feedback as oppose to anything else.
What I don't like about Washington, if we say one syllable or one sentence, this guy said something bad about me, then all of a sudden, he has to be my mortal enemy. I don't think that's how it works in American business. I can sit across the table from somebody that worked with me in my company that I found and then say, here are five things that I don't like about what you're doing and we have fix it.
And by the way, tomorrow, I'm going to have a meeting with the communications staff and say, hey, I don't like these leaks. And so, we're going to stop the leaks. And if we don't stop the leaks, I'm going to stop you. It's just really that simple.
Let me just finish, Jake. So for me, I would tell people that that's the president. He's 71 years old. We're not going to change him. By the way, last time I checked he won the presidency quite handily. He's going to win it again in 2020. He's our guy. And so, learn how to work with and operate (00:05:00) with him.
TAPPER: Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on sanctions to punish Russia for its election meddling and aggression towards its neighbors. Is President Trump going to sign the Russian sanction's bill?
SCARAMUCCI: We've got to ask President Trump that. It's my second or third day on the job. My guess is, is that, he's going to make that decision shortly. But there's a lot of questions out there, Jake, and this is another thing I don't like about the process.
This man, our president, he has phenomenal instincts. A lot of the stuff that people have said in the mainstream media that were supposedly true, turned out that it wasn't true. I think that was three or four weeks ago, there were 17 intelligence agencies that were saying something, then we realized that there's only four intelligence agencies. And I'm not saying four intelligence agencies that's insignificant, I'm just saying there's a lot of disinformation out there.
Somebody said to me yesterday, I will not tell you who, that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would've never seen it, you would've never had any evidence of them, meaning, that they're super confident than their deception skills and hacking.
My point is all of the information isn't on the table yet. But here's what I know about the president.
TAPPER: Wait, Anthony --
SCARAMUCCI: Let me finish. All right, go ahead.
TAPPER: You're making a lot of assertions here. I don't know who this anonymous person is that said that if the Russians had actually done it, we wouldn't have been able to detect it. But it is --
SCARAMUCCI: How about it was the president, Jake. I talked to him yesterday. He called me from Air Force One and he basically said to me, hey, maybe they did it, maybe they didn't do it. And I'm going to maintain for you --
SCARAMUCCI: Hold on a second.
TAPPER: This is exactly the issue here. We have experts. The U.S. Intelligence agencies, unanimous, both Obama appointees and Trump appointees, the director of National Intelligence, the head of the National Security Agency, the head of the FBI. I mean, all of these intelligence experts saying Russia hacked the election, they tried to interfere in the election. No votes were changed but there was this disinformation and misinformation campaign. President Trump is contradicting it and you're siding with President Trump.
SCARAMUCCI: Well, I didn't say that I was siding with President Trump. He hasn't made the decision yet to sign that bill one way or the other. And so, when he makes that decision, I will 100 percent side with him because I'm his communications director and I'm his advocate on a show like this.
Last time I checked, the way the founding fathers put the constitution together, they made one person the commander in chief, it happens to be President Donald J. Trump. He will make that decision when he makes it. And then, I will come back on the show and I will explain it to you and I will explain to you why he made the decision that way.
But what I'm saying to you and you may not want to agree with me and we can litigate this, there's a lot of disinformation out there, Jake. And so, one of the things I'm going to try to do is speak very transparently to you and the American people, get the president's message out there.
I have found in my life experience with President Trump, when he's out there himself and he's being his fresh authentic self, it's very appealing to the people of the United States. And we don't need to closet him up or coach him on certain things. What we need to do is allow him to be himself so that we can get these policies out there that are going to be very good for the American people.
TAPPER: But this is exactly the point because, here you have a bill, legislation that was passed 98 to two in the U.S. Senate. The house is about to pass it. It will probably also be an overwhelming vote to sanction Russia and President Trump told you that he still doesn't believe that Russia was trying to interfere in the election even though the overwhelming body of the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, and his own intelligence experts are telling him the opposite.
You're saying you're going to side with the president. Don't you owe a duty to the truth?
SCARAMUCCI: What about the conversation are you missing, Jake? There are checks and balances in the system for a reason, OK? The president will make that decision when he makes the decision. You're telling me that something is true that in fact could in fact be true. I don't have this information in front of me.
Once I've cleared my security clearances and I've looked at the stuff, if I think it's true, behind closed doors, I will turn to the president very directly and say, sir, I think this stuff is true. But I don't have it in front of me right now.
Here's what I know about the president. You may not like it, he's got phenomenal instincts. You may not like it, he's got great judgment on people. You may not like it but he's a phenomenal politician. He started two short years ago and he's already six months into his presidency.
How many people can do that, Jake? Be an American successful business person and television personality, hit a button on June 16th, 2015 and race his way to the presidency clearing out 18 people. You know a lot of people that can do that? I don't know a lot of people that can do that.
TAPPER: There's no question, it was a phenomenal victory. It was a huge surprise. It shocked the system. He proved all the pundits wrong. All of that is true. And it was true as of November (00:10:00) 8th.
My question right now is about the fact that a geopolitical foe of the United States, Russia, interfered in the U.S. election according to every intelligence experts both under the Obama administration and under the Trump administration. The one person in the government who says it's not true is President Trump.
SCARAMUCCI: Again, one of the reasons why he is upset about it, is that the mainstream media position on this that they interfered in the election, it actually, in his mind, what are you, guys, suggest, are you going to delegitimize his victory?
SCARAMUCCI: Is that going to make his victory illegitimate?
SCARAMUCCI: Is that the point of it? Well, you know what, he legitimately won the presidency, right?
TAPPER: Yes, absolutely.
SCARAMUCCI: Do we both agree on that?
TAPPER: He legitimately won the president, absolutely.
SCARAMUCCI: OK. So, at the end of the day, let him make the decision. And as I said to you, once I've got a security clearance and I meet with those people myself, if I think it's true, I'm going to turn to the president very honestly, we have a great relation, say, sir, I think this is true.
TAPPER: Well, that's good that you will do that, Anthony. But the point is --
SCARAMUCCI: But I'm not going to do that right now on the show.
TAPPER: But it's almost irrelevant whether you think it's true and what President Trump says because it's unanimous consensus of the intelligence community that this happened and it is a threat to the United States because Russia is going to try to do it again. That is also the consensus.
SCARAMUCCI: I got all of that. But let me tell you something, a person that's going to be super, super tough on Russia is President Donald J. Trump. If he believes that we're --
TAPPER: But he doesn't, that's the problem. That's the problem.
SCARAMUCCI: You know what the problem is? You know what the problem is? Let him run the presidency the way he wants to run the presidency.
TAPPER: He is.
SCARAMUCCI: He's representing the American people. The people voted him in. And so, he will make the judgment, he will make the decision when the time is right. What I don't like about the whole direction of this stuff in the mainstream media and the whole narrative is that you're saying that that thing is 100 percent true. If in fact, he makes the decision that it's 100 percent true, he's going to be super tough on Russia.
But let him do it at his own time and pace. He's not hurting anybody by doing it at his own time and pace, Jake, not hurting anybody.
TAPPER: I think that the issue is that -- I didn't say it was 100 percent true, I said it's the consensus of the intelligence community that it is true. And the issue is that President Trump, as you raise the subject, is still worried, it seems, based on things that you've said and he said that people are trying to delegitimize his presidency based on what the intelligence community has said is a fact. He's so focused on that that he's not focused on protecting the United States from another hack. SCARAMUCCI: He's actually really not that focused on, he just happens
to not like it. He's super focused on his agenda, OK? He's super focused on getting the health care reform passed. He's super focused on working on tax reform. The two main pillars of what we're going to do this year.
He's super focused on cleaning out all the unnecessary regulation in the United States. He's super focused on manufacturing jobs, 50,000 new manufacturing jobs and getting people back to work in the United States. That's the stuff he's supper focused on.
TAPPER: But he's not tweeting about those things. He's tweeting about Russia and Hillary Clinton.
SCARAMUCCI: Because he doesn't feel that he's being effectively defended in the mainstream media with the nonsensical narratives that are out there and we're going to change that for him. We're going to defend him very, very aggressively when there's nonsensical stuff being said about him and he will probably dial back some of the tweets. That's the way it works.
TAPPER: President Trump asserted this weekend in a tweet that he has the complete power to pardon. This is what he wrote quote --
TEXT: "While all agree that the U.S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crimes so far is leaks against the U.S. Fake news."
TAPPER: Anthony, who is the president thinking about pardoning?
SCARAMUCCI: Read the tweet again. You want to go over the tweet one more time because I'm a pretty good proofreader. He's basically saying he doesn't have to pardon anybody.
TAPPER: So far.
SCARAMUCCI: That's what he's saying.
TAPPER: So far. He said --
SCARAMUCCI: No, no.
TAPPER: I will read the tweet again. Let's read it again.
SCARAMUCCI: Go read the tweet.
TAPPER: I will read it again.
SCARAMUCCI: Let's put the tweet back up there.
TAPPER: While all agree that the U.S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crimes so far, which is also an interesting phrase, only crimes so far is leaks against us, fake news. So, he's talking about pardoning. So who's he thinking of pardoning?
SCARAMUCCI: Jake, let's cut through it all, OK? You and I, right here, let's cut through it all.
TAPPER: Do it.
SCARAMUCCI: You're basically saying that that tweet is suggesting that the president is going to pardon himself and every one of his family members.
TAPPER: No. I ask you --
SCARAMUCCI: What are you suggesting? He's not going to do that.
TAPPER: No, no. Anthony, I am suggesting one thing. The president tweeted about pardons and I'm asking you who is he thinking about pardoning. That's all I'm suggesting.
TAPPER: So why raise it?
SCARAMUCCI: The president is thinking about pardoning nobody because it has been coming up a lot. There's an undercurrent of nonsensical stuff that he is --
TAPPER: Because he has asked advisers about it.
SCARAMUCCI: Come on, Jake. This is the (00:15:00) problem with the whole system, he's the president of the United States. If I turn to one of my staff members at SkyBridge, I ask them a question, they run out to the news media and tell everything I'm thinking about, is that fair to the president?
TAPPER: If you turn to one of your partners at SkyBridge and say, hey, do you have the 100-grand for bail money in case I need it?
TAPPER: Then people are going to say why is he talking about bail money?
SCARAMUCCI: Jake, that's a super ridiculous hypothetical and I appreciate you're on the fly trying to think of them but the truth of the matter is, is that, the president is not going to have to pardon anybody because the Russia thing is a nonsensical thing.
I was there early on in the campaign. I didn't have any interactivity with the Russians. I didn't see anybody have any interactivity with Russians. It is a complete bogus and nonsensical thing. And this is the stuff that happens in Washington that I honestly don't like, its scandals incorporated.
You guys have to manufacture these scandals to take the president off of his agenda. We're going to put the president right back on his agenda and we're going to present him the way he needs to be presented to the American people.
TAPPER: There is an FBI investigation, there is a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation, Republicans control the senate, there is a House Intelligence Committee investigation, Republicans control the house, none of that is manufactured.
SCARAMUCCI: Jake, have they found any evidence that the president or anybody in the campaign has colluded with the Russians, Jake?
TAPPER: I don't know.
SCARAMUCCI: OK. Well, you know what, a lot of people have said that like you're saying with 100 percent certainty that they've affected the election or turned over the e-mails. There's a lot of people that are saying with 100 percent certainty that there was not one person in the Trump campaign that colluded with the Russians.
Paul Manafort is going to testify this week. My very close friend Jared Kushner is going to testify tomorrow. I predict that will be the last time Jared Kushner talks about the Russians. He's a very honest guy, Jake.
TAPPER: I have no reason to think Jared is not honest.
SCARAMUCCI: Yes, he's very honest. So, he will be done testifying. There's nothing to the story and we will be moving on.
TAPPER: You said just a few minutes ago that nobody in the campaign met with anybody with any Russians.
SCARAMUCCI: That I saw, sir, that I saw. I didn't attend every single meeting.
TAPPER: Right. And you didn't attend the one --
SCARAMUCCI: I was very early in the campaign.
TAPPER: Did you know about the meeting that Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort had with a number of Russians including that woman, Natalia Veselnitskaya?
SCARAMUCCI: I didn't know about the meeting but what I don't like about the way the thing was handled from a communications and strategy perspective, I think Donald Trump, Jr. got bad advice; they told him to put out a small statement.
Donald Trump, Jr. is a very honest, very high integrity person, I've known him for a long time. I have an enormous amount of respect for him. On other shows, there were guys on Wall Street, people said were criminals are bad guys and everyone in the cabal said that they were, I went out there, Jake, and said that they weren't and I was proven right.
And I'm telling you, Donald J. Trump Jr. is a great guy who didn't do anything wrong. I just think the mistake was in the way it was communicated. We started with one person and now we have an auditorium of Russians that he was speaking to or whatever the hell it was and it's ridiculous.
TAPPER: Well, Anthony --
SCARAMUCCI: Let me finish, Jake. It was a nonevent meeting and he's a political neophyte in June of 2016. Someone from the Clinton organization would probably put an Arkansas lawyer in that meeting. But if you're trying to suggest and tell me that people on the other side wouldn't have taken a meeting like that, that's ridiculous.
TAPPER: I don't know, It's hypothetical. But I can tell you there are a lot of Republicans -- a lot of Republicans that I have asked, if you, like Donald Trump, Jr., were told that a Russian government attorney wants to meet with you to provide incriminating evidence about your political opponent directly coming from the Russian government to help you and hurt your opponent, would you take that meeting?
I have asked Republican after Republican and every single one of them says absolutely no. So, when you say Donald Trump, Jr. didn't do anything wrong --
SCARAMUCCI: Time out, time out, time out.
TAPPER: -- when you say he didn't do anything wrong, a lot of people (INAUDIBLE) what he did wrong.
SCARAMUCCI: Jake, I got to stop you, OK. You're talking to Republican-experienced political people, politicians and political operatives, OK? And I'm sure --
TAPPER: I'm talking to people who know that the Russians are a geopolitical foe of the United States and you don't take dirt from your foreign government intelligence service on your political opponent.
SCARAMUCCI: Jake, I stand by the president's tweet which your production will find that a lot of people would've taken that meeting. Donald J. Trump Jr. loves his father, he was an unbelievable campaigner. You can ask David Urban, he's one of your friends, he's one of the reasons why he won the state of Pennsylvania. This guy, my friend Donald J. Trump, Jr. And I, we traveled all over the state of Pennsylvania. It's the first time the Republicans won it in 32 years.
TAPPER: Big win.
SCARAMUCCI: We should be talking about that and we should be talking about the president's agenda. The kid took a nothing meeting. I think Reince Priebus called it a nothing burger.
TAPPER: Would you take that meeting?
SCARAMUCCI: Would I have taken that meeting? I'm not sure. How's that? I'm going to answer it honestly and tell you that I'm not sure. Since I went to Harvard Law School, I probably would've asked a few people, (00:20:00) and somebody probably would've said to me, get a cutout to go take the meeting and see if there's any legitimacy to it.
Once they realized it was no legitimacy to it, people were walking out or they were on their iPhones; it was a nonevent, Jake. We want to make that into a two-week, a four-week news cycle, that's fine, but it was a nonevent that had no impact on the campaign.
TAPPER: The only reason I brought it up is because you said nobody from the campaign met with anybody from Russia. Let me ask you this question about the pardon, let's move on.
SCARAMUCCI: OK, time out a second. Let me restate that. I said I didn't see anybody do that and nobody in my knowledge for the last year.
TAPPER: But my point is, just because you didn't see it, doesn't mean it didn't happen. You didn't see that one and that one happened.
SCARAMUCCI: I agree with that. But that was a ridiculous nothing meeting.
TAPPER: OK. Does the White House believe that the president has the power to pardon himself?
SCARAMUCCI: I don't know. We haven't really looked into that, I don't know. I've talked to Jay Sekulow about that because he's a scholar. I took constitutional law from Larry Tribe and if Professor Tribe is listening, I know he doesn't like the president but he did get an A- in your course, I'm not sure if he has the right to power himself or not.
But it doesn't matter anyway because that's another one of those stupid hypotheticals. He's not going to have to pardon himself because he's done absolutely nothing wrong. So we don't even have to worry about it. Let's hope the next president answer that question for you. I don't think we even need to be discussing it.
WHITFIELD: All right. We will get reaction from our panel right after a quick break. And the latest new developments --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: -- out of San Antonio, Texas where authorities discovered at least eight bodies in a tractor trailer parked outside a Walmart, stay with us.
WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. We're breaking down this morning's fiery interview with the newly-named White House communications director --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: -- Anthony Scaramucci, says the president still does not accept the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia meddled in the election. Scaramucci also said despite Trump's recent tweets, the president is not planning to pardon anyone. The new White House communication's director also vowed to take drastic action to stop the deluge of White House leaks to the press. Joining me now to talk through all of these topics --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: -- CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer, he's a historian and professor at Princeton University; CNN Political commentator David Swerdlick, assistant editor of the "Washington Post" and CNN legal analyst Page Pate, a constitutional attorney. Good to see all of you.
All right. So, Julian, you first. Scaramucci is an intense defender of the president and has an unconventional business background. So do you think that he was hired to improve the relationship with the media or to fortify the defense strategy against the media?
JULIAN ZELIZER, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, based on what we've saw, I think he's going to fortify the same strategy. The interview today was about attacking the entire story of the Russian intervention to raise questions about the news and why the news covers this story and to staunchly defend the president saying that nothing wrong has been done.
So that's not really a change from what we've seen. I think he's just more of an aggressive attacker in many ways than Sean Spicer was. And we're just going to see an extension of the tweets through the spokesperson.
WHITFIELD: And Page, Trump tweeted yesterday that, "All agree the U.S. President has the complete power to pardon" --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: -- but here's what his private counsel, Jay Sekulow, said this morning.
JAY SEKULOW, CHIEF COUNSEL, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW & JUSTICE: Well, the president in that tweet stated something that's rather unremarkable and that is that under the constitution under Article II Section 2, the president has the authority to pardon. But I want to be clear on this, George, we have not and continue to not have conversations with the president of the United States regarding pardons. Pardons have not been discussed and pardons are not on the table.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST: You're a constitutional lawyer. Do you believe the president can pardon himself?
SEKULOW: Yes. I don't think that you can -- first of all, it's never been adjudicated on whether a president could pardon himself because it's not happened but clearly the constitution does vest a plenary pardon power within the presidency.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: All right. So, Page, the power to pardon, what do you agree with Sekulow and then, is it within the scope of the president to preemptively pardon aides, family members, et cetera, even though they have not been in the offenses or charges that we know of.
PAGE PATE, CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEY: Well, I think Jay is right. First of all, the power to grant a pardon is incredibly broad, no limitations, really, in the text of the contusion expect for impeachment process. President can't undo an impeachment, he can't prevent impeachment.
He can certainly pardon people that work with him, he can pardon family members. But it is not a clear question that's been answered as to whether or not he can pardon himself. My opinion on that, really, doesn't matter, Jay's opinion doesn't matter. What matters is what the supreme court would say.
And at this point, as they look at the issue, they would look at the language of the constitution which does not limit the presidential power but they would also look back at history. What did the people say when they were drafting the constitution? People like Alexander Hamilton who talked about the reason we're going to allow the president to have this pardon power is for the benefit of the country, not for the benefit of the president.
So I think, if a court ever looks at this issue, they would decide that a president cannot pardon himself.
WHITFIELD: OK. And then Julian, this Tuesday, congress will vote on a bill that would impose new sanctions on Russia. When asked about that, Anthony Scaramucci, the new communication's director said that the president had not decided but then listen to how press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders respond to that same notion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: The administration is supportive of being tough on Russia, particularly in putting these sanctions in place and we support where the legislation is now. We will continue working with the house and senate to put those tough sanctions in place on Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:30:12] WHITFIELD: So Julian, are there conflicting messages?
ZELIZER: Well, yes. And there's an easy way to solve this, sign the legislation. And I think this is the kind of test people have been watching the president says sometimes the spokes people say as well, they are concerned about the Russian intervention.
Here is a legislative response and while we have conflicting messages, what the president actually does in terms of signing, vetoing or not taking action, that determines where the president is. So, we will see in the coming week.
WHITFIELD: And David if, according to Anthony Scaramucci, the president continues to deny the meddling then, why wouldn't he back the premise of the latest proposal?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he under a tremendous amount of pressure from members of Congress including in his own party. What in my view Sarah Huckabee Sanders said is just wrong. The president is not tough on Russia. He's soft on Russia, Fred.
His rhetoric over the last two years has been incredibly solicitous of Russia. He's boxed so far as doing and saying that signing this bill maybe he will sign it. He granted more time to Vladimir Putin face to face than our staunchest allies in his most recent trip to Europe.
That may change. That doesn't mean he's done anything nefarious with regard to Russia, but his posture has not been in any way hard on Russia or suggested that he will be hard on Russia in the future.
That has been as much of a problem for the administration as any of these other issues swirling around, the involvement of Russia potentially in our elections.
WHITFIELD: So there are a lot of potentially pivotal moments to come this week. Page, we know now that Jared Kushner will not be under oath when he meets with the Senate Intel Committee tomorrow, but he will be sworn in when he interviews with the House Intel Committee.
PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes.
WHITFIELD: Why do you have that kind of, you know, discrepancy or difference of being sworn in on one occasion and simply being interviewed on another?
PATE: I don't understand all of the deal making. Congress has the subpoena power. They can call these folks in. They can require them to take an oath and require them to testify in a public hearing. I don't understand the reason for the deal making.
It's not as if Kushner and Trump Jr. and Manafort can simple say I'm not coming. If they were properly served with a subpoena, they would have to show up. So I think if you really want to get to the truth here, if you want to have an effective investigation, issue subpoenas, require them to come in in, take an oath, swear to tell the truth and then answer questions in front of the public. I don't understand the reason for the backroom deals.
WHITFIELD: And Julian, the scope is very vast in terms of the things that these lawmakers might want to talk to Jared Kushner about, not just that June meeting in 2016 in which he was in attendance, but there have been other meetings that he may have had with Russians in various capacities, bankers included.
ZELIZER: Sure. With Jared Kushner we've seen the meeting is only one of many subjects. We've seen his financial world and the financial world of the president and the connection with Russia as another. We've seen discussions and reports of the analytics of the Trump campaign used to gauge where voters were as another potential story. So, I don't know where Congress intends to aim the conversation, but he really is a point person. He's really at the center of the campaign, of the family, and right now the administration. And he opens many doors for the investigator to really try to understand what the connections, if any, are.
WHITFIELD: And David, if not meetings, then interactions and interests, there's a lot.
SWERDLICK: Yes, Fred, I just wanted to add one thing to what everyone else said, which is that at an earlier stage when Jared Kushner was being represented by (inaudible)m she made statements to the effect that he was anxious and almost eager to come out and testify and tell his side of the story.
That has changed in recent weeks. And I think that goes to Page's point about Congress needing to come together and just say, look, we want you to come before us and testify, and tell us why there were so many inconsistencies in terms of what he put on his SF-86, when he got his security clearance and why meetings were left out, and you know, what the story is behind all that.
WHITFIELD: All right, David Swerdlick, Page Pate, Julian Zelizer, see you again soon. Thanks so much.
All right, up next, tragedy in Texas, eight bodies discovered in a sweltering tractor trailer parked outside a Walmart. Dozens more have been hospitalized. Details on the suspected human smuggling case after this.
WHITFIELD: A horrifying discovery outside a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas. Eight bodies were found in the back of a sweltering tractor trailer. Thirty other people who were trapped inside the parked truck were severely injured.
Authorities are calling the incident a human trafficking crime and have arrested the driver. The acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement saying in part, "By any standard the horrific crime uncovered last night ranks as a stark reminder of why human smuggling networks must be pursued, caught and punished," end quote.
Let's get to CNN's Ed Lavandera who is in San Antonio. So Ed, what's the latest?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. Well, investigators calling this a ruthless display that has been carried out against these undocumented migrants that were found here in this parking lot of this Walmart just after midnight last night.
And what investigators are really now working toward is unraveling the human smuggling connection through all of this, the point of transfer, where all of these people were picked up and how they were moved to this particular location.
As to a lot of that is done and all of this unfolded just after midnight when a store manager here at the Walmart was approached by someone in the parking lot asking for water. And that led them back to 18-wheeler and the truck trailer there. When they opened up the back door, what they found was a horrifying scene.
[14:40:08] You can listen to a little bit from the officials that were here last night at that scene when all of this was unfolding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES HOOD, SAN ANTONIO FIRE DEPARTMENT CHIEF: Our paramedics and firefighters found that each one of them have heart rates of over 130 beats per minute, which again, they were hot to the touch. So, these people who were in that trailer without any signs of any type of water so you are looking at a lot of heat stroke and dehydration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: So Fredricka, you can imagine just before sundown last night, temperatures here in this part of South Texas reaching over 100 degrees. So, you can imagine how horrifying and awful it must have been inside of that truck in the kind of conditions these folks were dealing with.
Two of the victims that are being treated are 15 years old. So, this kind of running the range of just who was inside all of this. Authorities working on identifying all of the people inside the truck as well as working in trying to identify the smuggling ring and how all of this operated.
Of course, this kind of traffic, this kind of movement of undocumented migrants rather common in this part of South Texas from -- we are about 150 miles away from the border here. Laredo, Texas is just down Interstate 35 where we presumed the truck was making its way north.
And you go from here all the way down to the Rio Grande Valley in Brownsville, Texas, this portion of the southwest border has historically made up some of the largest smuggling and illegal immigration routes into the country. This is an area that sees a Great deal of this traffic and these kinds of issues for quite some time -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Ed Lavandera, keep us posted there from San Antonio.
All right, he is the Russian pop star who helped arrange the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer. CNN caught up with him and asked him why he set up that meeting. We'll hear what he had to say next.
[14:46:14] WHITFIELD: For the first time since the story emerged, CNN is hearing from the man who helped set up the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer who claimed she had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Emin Agalarov, is a well-known pop star in Russia and parts of Eastern Europe, his representative was the eighth person at the Trump Jr. meeting. CNN's Matthew Chance caught up with Agalarov and he joins us now from Jurmala, Latvia.
So Matthew, tell us about this encounter you had with him.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look. I mean, it's really difficult, Fred, to get anything of substance out of Emin Agalarov when it comes to the issue of why he set up this meeting between the Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower last June.
That meeting has become so controversial now. He's refused to go on the record stating why he set that meeting up. His lawyer, we've spoken to his lawyer in New York on a number of occasions and they flatly rejected any of our attempts to sort of get a proper statement.
So we took this opportunity here in Latvia to track down Emin on the streets of Jurmala, which where we are now and to put to him some of the questions that we want to get those answer to. Take a listen.
CHANCE: Why did you arrange hat meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer?
EMIN AGALAROV, ARRANGED DONALD TRUMP JR. MEETING: Come join me for the show tonight.
CHANCE: Any comments --
AGALAROV: Excellent --
CHANCE: It's an important question that the American public want to know.
AGALAROV: Can I have a drink without your presence? Thank you very much.
CHANCE: Can I just ask you, did the Russian authorities give your family information to pass on to the Trump administration?
AGALAROV: Talk to my lawyer.
CHANCE: I've already talked to him and he said you wouldn't comment.
AGALAROV: So I wouldn't comment.
CHANCE: Come on. These are questions you're not going to be about to comment on. You're going to have to answer. AGALAROV: I'm here to perform, to enjoy the show and I'm not going to answer any questions.
CHANCE: Why did your publicist --
AGALAROV: I'm not going to answer any questions. You're not going to get a comment. Am I clear? You're not going to get a comment.
CHANCE: Emin Agalarov really adamant he wasn't going to address that issue, but the fact is that these allegations of collusion and of course, his involvement in it allegedly are not going to go away.
In fact, we understand that Trump Jr. himself is going to be speaking to Congress about this very issue in the coming days potentially. This is all eventually, we expect, going to come out.
WHITFIELD: Right. And there are going to be questions asked on Capitol Hill to Jared Kushner as well who was part of that June 2016 meeting that was set up that you were speaking to the entertainer about.
So overall how does the kremlin view these mounting allegations over, you know, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign? What's their latest word on this?
CHANCE: Well, I mean, I think their word has really, really changed -- hasn't really evolved that much except I think there's a growing sense of frustration in the kremlin. They thought Donald Trump was going to be the president that turned around the relationship between Washington and Moscow.
He promised to do that, of course, remember, in his campaign. But because of how toxic the Russia issue has become in the U.S., the domestic politics where you are, that's not been possible and the kremlin is frustrated by this and they want the situation to be stabilized -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Matthew Chance, thanks so much for being that us to from Latvia.
Next, Prince William and Prince Harry open up in a rare interview about the life of their mother, Princess Diana, her legacy and their lasting love for her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE WILLIAM: We felt incredibly loved and I'm very grateful that love still feels there.
[14:50:08] PRINCE HARRY: It was that love that even if she was on the other side of the room, as a son you could feel it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Britain's Prince George marked his fourth birthday this week with a new official portrait. He is so cute.
In the meantime, we have been hearing more from the royal family in recent months and now in an extraordinary new documentary, Prince William and Prince Harry open up about the life and tragic death of their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. They shared intimate family stories including vivid memories of their times together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:55:02] PRINCE HARRY: Our mother was a total kid through and through. When everybody says to me, so she was fun, give us an example, all I can hear is her laugh in my head. And that sort of crazy laugh of where there is just pure happiness shown on her face.
One of her (inaudible) to me was you can be as naughty as you want, just don't get caught. She was one of the naughtiest parent. Would come watch us play football and smuggle sweets into our socks. Literally walking back from the football match and having five pockets of Starburst.
PRINCE WILLIAM: There's a couple of memories that I have that are particularly funny just outside this room where we are now. She organized when I came home from school to have Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington waiting at the top of the stairs.
I was 14 years old, had posters of them. I went bright red and pretty much fell on the stairs on the way up. That was a funny memory that's lived on with me forever, by her loving me, embarrassing me, being the joker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Some beautiful memories. Something tells me you better have a handkerchief. I know I will because this looks like it's going to be a huge tear jerker.
CNN royal historian, Kate Williams, joins me now live from London. Good to see you, Kate. Wow, so remarkable to hear the two sons talk about their mom in such a candid way. How did they get to this place where they now feel comfortable doing this?
KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Well, as you say, it's extraordinary, very remarkable. We haven't seen much talk about Diana ever since she died from the two young princes. Earlier this year, Prince Harry said how difficult it was to come to terms with her death, he had been seeking counseling to discuss it.
But this is both Harry and William talking very openly, candidly about their memories, how she would be a grandmother, a marvelous fun-loving grandmother. And what's interesting, it seems very clear this is the anniversary of her death.
The anniversary will occur at the end of August and they've said that they're talking about her now, but really they don't want to talk about her again. This is their last chance to put their vision of Diana on the television to discuss her and then after that for it to be kept completely private.
WHITFIELD: Wow, understandably. So you know, Prince William and Prince Harry, you know, also shared their story of the last time they spoke with their mother. What was that conversation like?
WILLIAMS: Well, this is exactly about what you were saying about the handkerchief. This is incredible and what they are saying is they were (inaudible), with their cousins, having a marvelous time, and she called up to speak to them and they were really like children.
They were just busy doing their own thing and they didn't really spend that much time on the conversation. So, William said that he didn't realize, if I had -- I was so blase and Harry has really gone quite far and he said, if I had known how much it could -- I've really been haunted.
The regrets I had that I didn't talk to her longer. So, their conversation was incredibly brief, which of course, to her as a mother, all you want is your children to be happy and enjoying themselves. But they have expressed their heartbreak that it was their last conversation and they wanted to dash out and play.
WHITFIELD: And you know also revealing just the images. I mean, she exuded happiness when she was with her boys and that just comes across so thoroughly without any words.
WILLIAMS: Well, she is -- absolutely. She was a devoted mother. She adored the princes. There was nothing she wouldn't do for them. She saw her great role as being a mother. And I think it was very touching when William is talking about George and Charlotte reminding themselves that they have another grandmother, they don't know her, they can't remember her.
They'll never know her. But she's a very strong feature in their lives and Diana was the most wonderful mother, devoted to those boys, which makes it more heartbreaking that she was taken from them when she was so young and they were so very young as well.
WHITFIELD: Those grandkids will be getting to know their late grandmother through these incredible stories that William and Harry are able to share, and extraordinary pictures.
All right, Kate Williams, thanks so much.
WHITFIELD: We've got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM and it all starts right now.
Hello, again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
All right, we begin with this hour with a horrifying discovery outside a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas. Eight bodies found in the back of a sweltering tractor trailer. Thirty other people who were trapped inside the parked truck were severely injured. Authorities are calling the incident a --