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Mueller's Team Met with Russia Dossier Author; Vice President Pence to Visit Puerto Rico Today; All 58 People Killed in Last Vegas Shooting Now Identified; Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired October 6, 2017 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:32:06] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. A CNN exclusive, Robert Mueller's probe into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign now includes a former British spy. His name is Christopher Steele. He is the man who authored that headline-making dossier that President Trump has slammed as fabricated.
Crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz has all the details here -- Shimon.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, that's right. So investigators working with Special Counsel Bob Mueller met this summer with Christopher Steele. As you said, he's the former British Intelligence official, MI-6 officer, who put together what many now call the dossier which contains a series of memos detailing alleged Russian efforts to aid President Donald Trump's campaign.
Steele was hired by a Washington firm, paid first by anti-Trump Republicans, and then Democrats. The special counsel is now working to determine whether any of the series of contacts between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives broke U.S. law.
Now we don't know what information Steele may have provided to Mueller's team, but we know Steele previously provided the FBI information, some of the sources he used to put together his memos.
We've also been told that while the intelligence community hasn't verified some of the most salacious details in the dossier parts of it have been corroborated. The president has taken issue with the intelligence community and Steele over the dossier, calling it fake news and tweets but despite the president's words congressional investigators still want to take a -- still want to talk to Steele. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Though we have been incredibly enlightened at our ability to rebuild backwards the Steele dossier up to a certain day, getting past that point has been somewhat impossible.
(END VIDEO CLIP) PROKUPECZ: Yes. And part of that is because they really have not been able to talk to Steele. Yesterday they said that when Senator Burr did have that press conference earlier in the week he indicated that Burr somehow was not -- that Steele was somehow not cooperating with congressional investigators. But we're told Steele hasn't ruled out talking to the Senate intelligence committee, though there is no indication as to when that might take place -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Shimon Prokupecz, thanks so much.
Now here to discuss CNN legal and national analyst Asha Rangappa, she's also a former FBI special agent.
Asha, I find it fascinating that the day after we hear from Senate leaders that they can't talk to Christopher Steele, that they're dying to talk to this guy, they can't do it and it's holding them up, we magically learned that he has been interviewed by the special counsel, so what message is it fair to take from that?
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, I think that we have to understand that these are two parallel investigations that are going on, with different goals. Mueller's goal is to follow every lead that he can in order to build a potentially criminal case against people who may have broken the law.
[10:35:02] And to that extent, he needs to make sure that the people who are providing him the information, the people who might testify, you know, that they're not going to -- what they're going to say doesn't get leaked in some other way that could compromise other witnesses.
So there's just a little bit of attention there between those two investigations and I think right now, Mueller is essentially claiming kind of priority over this particular individual. It doesn't mean that maybe down the line he won't talk to congressional investigators.
BERMAN: So our reporting has been all along that the intelligence community believes that some of the information in the dossier was credible enough to determine further looks or merit, further looks, and has been corroborated. But the special counsel is going to have a different standard here by which to judge this. How will he be looking at this information?
RANGAPPA: Sure. So this is where we look at it from both a counterintelligence point of view and then a criminal point of view. So from a counterintelligence point of view it's important to remember that these so-called Steele dossier is actually raw intelligence. This is a former British spy who's basically talked to his sources, they've given him the information that they have, some of it may be true, some of it may not be true. It's raw intelligence.
But for Mueller's purposes it's a great source of leads that they can then try to corroborate or verify by other means. That way he can maybe through other intelligence reporting that we have through the FBI, CIA, NSA, determine how much of it is true.
Now on the criminal side, he has a little bit of a higher burden.
RANGAPPA: If he wants to eventually use any of this information in a case, he can't bring the dossier into a courtroom. It's hearsay. It's a bunch of statements from third parties. So he has to actually has to find those very sources and get the information straight from them. So what's significant about the fact that he's working directly with Christopher Steele and as Shimon reported may actually be getting some of the identities of those sources means that he may be getting directly to the source of the information that is contained in the Steele dossier.
BERMAN: You know, it's so interesting, Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste called it a road map, the dossier, a road map here, and based on what you're saying that's how the special counsel might use these interviews.
RANGAPPA: That's right. I mean if you're looking at a sprawling investigation and someone hands you, you know, a blueprint for how the crime was committed, any investigator would follow up on it. And if they found that it was a -- it led to a wall and nothing was true, so be it. But you follow every lead that you can and here there are a lot. Some will be corroborated, some may not be.
RANGAPPA: But Mueller's job is to figure out which ones those are.
BERMAN: And if you're Christopher Steele, you know, former MI6 British intelligence guy, who would you rather talk to here, the special counsel investigators or these congressional committees?
RANGAPPA: Well, I can't speak for Mr. Steele but if I were him, he is a former British spy. He was an MI6. I think that he has in that capacity worked with American intelligence before. He has undoubtedly worked with the CIA and potentially the FBI. So, you know, I think he knows that that is the -- Mueller's team is going to understand the intelligence intricacies and the need for sensitivity with regard to the information that he's provided.
I don't know that he might have the same confidence in a congressional committee that may have other interests, political, you know, agendas potentially to give that information to them as well.
BERMAN: Sure. Intelligence, you know, intelligence people, often politicians, frankly just scare them. It's not a world they're particularly comfortable in.
Asha Rangappa, great to have you with us. Interesting insight. Appreciate it.
RANGAPPA: Thank you so much, John.
BERMAN: All right. Very shortly Vice President Pence, he is going to be in the American Virgin Islands, so badly hit by Hurricane Maria. One Puerto Rican woman wants him to ignore the photo ops and go directly where the damage is.
[10:43:19] BERMAN: Very shortly Vice President Pence will see the American islands devastated by Hurricane Maria up close. He left Florida for St. Croix and the U.S. Virgin Islands just a short time ago. He will tour the damage there first before he heads to Puerto Rico and meets with the governor there. This as the death toll in Puerto Rico just rose to 36.
CNN's Leyla Santiago joins us now live in San Juan.
You know, Leyla, what's the latest from Puerto Rico?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you just mentioned, John, the death toll now at 36. And that death toll includes people who have died from suicide, people who have died from lack of oxygen because they don't have the power to run oxygen tanks. And just today they reported those additional deaths, which include someone who was found under the remains of a home, so still a lot of challenges. Even as we were out with FEMA just in the last 24 hours as we choppered in on a Blackhawk as they were making their way into remote areas people telling us they still need water.
Water was a big request from the area that we went to yesterday in Lares, that's on the western part of the island. And certainly a lot of people wanted to be known what is happening outside of where we are right now. The capital San Juan. Those outer lying areas that are desperate for help.
I want you to listen to a plea from a woman in Florida. She is from Naranjito, a small municipality here, and I want you to listen to what her message is for Vice President Pence as he makes his way to Puerto Rico today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't go to San Juan. Go inside the country like where I live. I live in Naranjito. That's inside the country.
[10:45:03] You're not going to see nothing outside of the country. But now inside the country is where you're going to see the disaster, where you can't -- there's towns you can't go in.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't know the people that have been there because they don't know, they don't have no communication.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANTIAGO: And John, you know, I have been here since Hurricane Irma. I have seen the challenges people without power even before Hurricane Maria, but I got to tell you, I certainly understand the challenges in the logistics and in reaching some of these places. Yesterday, our crew, our crew, even got stuck in an area just outside of there when we went in by road. But I also have to tell you something else I've noticed and that is more aid making it to the area. It is not enough yet to make it to everyone but we're certainly seeing more choppers, more helicopters, more National Guard and more relief making it to areas outside of San Juan.
BERMAN: Some positive signs, Leyla, but positive signs that need to keep on going. Cannot stop now.
Leyla Santiago for us in San Juan, thanks so much.
That, of course, you know, Puerto Rico dealing with Irma and then Maria, now there's Tropical Storm Nate headed directly for the Gulf Coast. We're going to get a forecast update just minutes from now. You have to pay attention to this. This storm is moving very, very quickly.
[10:50:55] BERMAN: All right. New this morning, we now know the names of all 58 people killed in the shootings in Las Vegas. One of them was 34-year-old Charleston Hartfield. Thousands gathered last night for a vigil in his memory. The off-duty Las Vegas police officer and father of two went to the concert with his wife.
So many more who were injured at the concert still fighting for their lives in the hospital.
CNN's Scott McLean has been spending time with them and joins us now.
Scott, you know, again, they will be fighting for some time.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely. And I should point out right off the bat, John, that we now know the identities of all 58 victims who were killed in this attack. They range in age from 20 years old to 67 as you mentioned, one of them was an off-duty police officer Charleston Hartfield. He was a father of two, he was a husband, he was a National Guardsman. He was an all-around patriot according to his colleagues. He was remembered last night in a vigil as you said.
There are also plenty of people fighting for their lives right now. 29 people in critical condition across two hospitals. One woman in the hospital, her name is Rosemary Melanson, her daughters actually convinced her to come to the concert on Sunday night because it was something that they wanted to do and she ended up getting hit with a bullet. She was hit in the stomach and the lung.
Her husband Steve talked about the support that the family is getting inside the hospital from the families of other victims who find themselves in similar situations. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE MELANSON, WIFE AND DAUGHTER WOUNDED IN SHOOTING: Other family members there and I'll remember that there was another woman that was there and we talked and she cried, I told her about my wife, she cried, held me. I cried, I held her. I asked her about her loved one. And she told me that her husband was shot in the head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: There are also so, so, so many heroes to talk about. People who put their own lives on the line to save others. One of them is Raymond Page. He was actually shooting video while he was herding people into his pick-up truck, into the cab and into the back of his truck as well to take them to area hospitals. These were people who all had gunshot wounds. Many of them needed immediate attention. Here's what he told Erin Burnett about that experience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAYMOND PAGE, HELPED OTHERS ESCAPE SHOOTING: At the time I was just thinking just to get as many people as I could that were in the area and as quickly as possible and I knew they were shooting from -- well, I say they, I thought at the time two shooters but I thought the gunfire was coming from the Mandalay Bay so my truck was facing that direction so I wanted to get turned around and out of there as quick as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: And John, yesterday a man from Illinois placed 58 small white wooden crosses underneath the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, that famous sign. He's also done that for similar tragedies in this country -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Scott McLean for us in Las Vegas.
Again we now know the names of all 58 people killed in this massacre. They were mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends to so many, and these names will not be forgotten.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, on this Friday. I'm Ana Cabrera in for Kate Bolduan. And we begin with more breaking news. After a very busy news week another major American city in the --