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Interview With New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Interview With Maine Senator Angus King; Mueller Files First Charges in Russia Probe; A Trump Halloween In this Week's "State of the Cartoonion". Aired 9-10a ET

Aired October 29, 2017 - 09:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Charges filed.

The first charges have been approved in Mueller's Russia investigation, the same day President Trump says it's agreed that there was no collusion.

PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The president thinks that he has an ability and a right to interfere and meddle.

TAPPER: Former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara reacts next.

And under fire -- new Republican calls for special counsel Mueller to resign.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Someone with Bob Mueller's integrity will step aside, and -- and should.

TAPPER: Why take aim at Robert Mueller now? Governor Chris Christie is here to explain.

Plus: pointing fingers. Amid new revelations in the Russia investigation, the Trump administration blames a familiar foe.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If any collusion took place, it would be between the DNC and the Clintons.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They made up the whole Russia hoax.

TAPPER: What's the strategy behind these counterattacks? We will talk with Senator Angus King of the Intelligence Committee in minutes.


TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is watching and waiting.

In less than 24 hours, the first person could be taken into custody in the Russia investigation. On Friday, a Washington grand jury approved the first charges in the

probe into possible collusion with Russia by the Trump team, led by special counsel Robert Mueller. While the charges right now are still sealed, sources say anyone charged could be taken into custody as early as Monday.

We do not know at this point who might be facing charges or for what.

Mueller has issued grand jury subpoenas for documents and testimony related to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national Security Adviser General Michael Flynn.

The White House has not commented on the development, and the president has been silent on the general going since news of the charges broke.

But in a new interview conducted before Friday, White House lawyer Ty Cobb told "The New York Times" that the president is not worried that his associates have any damaging information about him.

Let's get right to Preet Bharara. He's a former U.S. attorney and CNN senior legal analyst.

Preet, try to explain for us what we know. I know that you don't know any insider information.


TAPPER: But the first charges have been filed in the Mueller investigation.

As a former U.S. attorney, which Trump associates do you think might likely find themselves in the most legal jeopardy at this point in the investigation?

BHARARA: Well, Jake, you know, I know very little.

I know just what you know. And if the reports are true, the only thing we know is that there have been charges approved by a grand jury, and those remain sealed.

We don't know how many people have been charged. We don't know what the extent of the charges are. We don't even know if it's charges against some of the people that you mentioned in the preview to this segment, Paul Manafort or Michael Flynn. It could be charges against somebody or more than one person that we don't know that might lead to charges against one of those people we mentioned, Manafort, Flynn or someone else.

So, at this point, it's hard to speculate about what is in the indictment and what is not.

TAPPER: So, sources tell CNN that anyone charged could be taken into custody as early as Monday.

How is this likely to unfold? How is this traditionally done? BHARARA: So, it can be done in various ways.

You know, generally speaking, in a white-collar matter, where there's not concern about the spoilation of evidence and risk of flight, and there have been conversations, as there might have been in this case, with the potential target in advance, sometimes, an arrangement is worked out to avoid, you know, the circus of the FBI showing up and cameras showing up from CNN and other outlets.

And somebody might be permitted to show up at the courthouse at an appointed hour to surrender in a sort of civil way.

I don't know if that's the arrangement that was reached here. It may not have been, but that -- that's my guess.

TAPPER: Sources tell CNN that Robert Mueller has warned former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort that they're working to charge him with possible tax crimes and possible financial crimes.

And this has raised the prospect that Mr. Mueller might offer Mr. Manafort leniency in exchange for any incriminating evidence about anyone else, including potentially President Trump.

White House lawyer Ty Cobb says that Trump's ex-aides don't have any evidence against him.

Can you shed some light about how this process works of offering leniency and how that might work in a case like this?


In any case where there might be criminal activity on the part of more than one person, prosecutors like those in my former office and those that work in Bob Mueller's office now try to see who they can bring charges against first, and see if they have information about someone else.

And, typically, you want to be pursuing people and pressuring people who have information of an incriminating nature above you in the food chain. And if that's so, you know, that's typically how it works.

It's also possible that they're charging a number of people at once, and they want to see, who's the first one through the door?

It's also, you know, a possibility that they made an attempt to try to get cooperation from the person that they charged on Friday, and that attempt failed, as sometimes happens, in my experience from before.


And, sometimes, what it takes to have someone focus on their own future and the possibility of having -- of getting lenience for themselves is to actually see that the prosecutors are not bluffing, but are prepared to go to court and seek a charge, which is what it seems like happened in this case. TAPPER: You tweeted this morning that people should watch not only

what special counsel Mueller does, but also how President Trump responds in the coming week.

What did you mean by that?

BHARARA: So, we know from history in recent months that the president of the United States, you know, has strong reactions to public events, even events that have been caused by his own actions.

So, after he fired Jim Comey, he went on television with Lester Holt and said some things that I think people find incriminating in connection with an obstruction investigation. He said that he fired Jim Comey with being on his mind facts relating to the Russia investigation.

So, I would look for a couple of things, one, whether or not Donald Trump has some reaction and talks in a way that could be used against him in the future, because Bob Mueller would do that.

And the second thing I would look at is to see if the president of the United States is sending some kind of message to the potential defendant or other witnesses.

And that -- that's in two categories. One, is he sending a message of intimidation in some way, through himself or his cohorts, suggesting that people should not be talking and people should keep their mouths shut, which happens in life, from time to time?

And the second thing is whether or not he sends a message of reassurance. We also have, from the historical record in recent months, that Donald Trump will avoid going through the regular process for pardoning someone who's an ally. In this case, it was Joe Arpaio, the sheriff in Arizona.

And there has been much speculation about whether or not Donald Trump would hesitate to use his pardon power to get out of legal jeopardy and trouble any allies of his. And that's something I would watch very, very closely here.

TAPPER: "The Wall Street Journal"'s editorial board is calling on special counsel Mueller to resign.

Let me read you part of the editorial -- quote -- 'The Washington Post' revealed Tuesday that the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Convention jointly paid for that infamous dossier full of Russian disinformation against Donald Trump. Strip out the middlemen, and it appears that Democrats paid for Russians to compile wild allegations about a U.S. presidential candidate. Did someone say collusion?" -- unquote.

This argument that Mueller should resign, we're hearing more and more from the president's allies on Capitol Hill, from their obedient vassals in the media.

What's your take on it? BHARARA: Well, it's -- what a coincidence, right, Jake, that, as Bob

Mueller is getting his job done, and as he's getting closer to doing something that's real and filing charges, that political allies of the president are calling for his resignation.

That's a far cry from what we had heard before. I know that Governor Christie is going to be on the show a little bit. And I know that he knows Bob Mueller really well. He worked with him while he was the United States attorney in New Jersey, to my knowledge, has never said a bad thing about Bob Mueller over years and years, until now potentially.

Newt Gingrich, on the day -- on the very day that Bob Mueller was appointed, sent out a very, very positive tweet saying people should be calm now, Bob Mueller is a consummate professional.

And only after, you know, Bob Mueller was starting to make some progress have people like Newt Gingrich started to say, well, maybe he should resign or -- or cast aspersions on him.

That, to me, is noise and politics. The fact of the matter is, unless some extraordinary action is taken, which is another thing we should be watching for, extraordinary action in terms of trying to get Mueller to go away, fire him in some way, he's here to stay for a while.

You know, all the speculation about how long it was going to take for Mueller to file charges has now come to an end, because he's filed them, apparently, five months into his tenure as special counsel.

And now the question of how long it will take to do other things is -- is one question. But we will -- we know for a fact is that it's going to take time for this process with respect to whoever's charged on Friday to finish up.

And so, while that process is unfolding in court with hearings and a potential trial date, those guys in Bob Mueller's office are going to be working on other things as well.

TAPPER: All right, Preet Bharara, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up: A growing list of Republicans are now calling for the man now leading the Russian investigation, special counsel Mueller, to resign, as we just discussed. Why now?

Governor Chris Christie will talk about that next.



TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

As special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible 2016 Russian collusion and, of course, Russian meddling enters a new stage, President Trump is asserting that he is already in the clear. He tweeted Friday -- quote -- "It is now commonly agreed after many

months of costly looking that there was no collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with Hillary Clinton."9

That assertion, of course, is not -- quote -- "commonly agreed." The matter is still being investigated.

And the investigation, we should note, is not just about -- quote -- "Russia and Trump." It's about Russia and the Trump team.


TAPPER: And joining me now is one of President Trump's most enthusiastic supporters, the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie.

Governor Christie, good to see you, as always. Thanks for joining us.

CHRISTIE: Thank you for having me, Jake.

TAPPER: So, CNN broke the news this weekend that Bob Mueller's grand jury has approved its first charges.

As a former U.S. attorney general, do you think President Trump's associates should be worried about what might be allowed to unfold?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I think anybody who has been advised by the special counsel's office that they're a target of the investigation, which I'm sure he's done to those people who are, should be concerned.

And I will tell you what else we should be concerned about, the fact that CNN has this information. As you know, Jake, there are very, very strict laws on grand jury secrecy. And so depending upon who leaked this to CNN, that's a criminal violation potentially.

So, you know, I think for us to have confidence in this process, we have got to make sure that the grand jury process remains confidential, remains secret, so that the special counsel can work effectively to be able to get to the bottom of all that he's looking into.


I think the good news from the president's perspective is, he's not under investigation. And the fact is that, if something comes up this week, as CNN's reported, then we will move from there on the legal process.

TAPPER: How do you know that the president is not under investigation? There is, of course, still the charge that Mueller might be looking into a potential obstruction of justice, when President Trump fired James Comey.

CHRISTIE: Well, the last news that we have received, Jake, publicly is that the president was told he is not under investigation. We have heard nothing to the contrary. So, I'm making that statement off of the public information that we

have already been given.

TAPPER: One of the things we learned this week about the investigation into possible collusion, which remains yet unproven, is that President Trump's campaign data firm, Cambridge Analytica, reached out to WikiLeaks during the election to try to get access to Hillary Clinton's e-mails. Julian Assange of WikiLeaks says that he rejected that request.

But does that concern you that Cambridge Analytica, which worked for the Trump campaign, made that request?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I think, at that point, those -- those materials were ready to be made public, were going to be put on the Internet.

WikiLeaks had been saying that they were going to do that for quite some time. But, you know, listen, Jake, this is pulling away a veil on both sides, on the Clinton campaign and other campaigns as well, about the way some of politics is done today, which is not very tasteful.

And I think it should concern everybody that people are getting involved in that type of activity. And we have seen it, not only from both main campaigns, but we obviously saw it -- that was going on in the Republican primary as well.

So, it's something that we should all be concerned about. I don't think it implicates anything legally, but I do think it's something that we should all be concerned about in terms of the way campaigns are run right now.

TAPPER: Some of President Trump's allies in the media and on Capitol Hill are calling on Bob Mueller to step down as special counsel.

I'm not really sure where you stand on this issue. Have you seen any concrete evidence or concrete reason why Bob Mueller should step down?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I think that he has to be very, very careful about making sure that the public believes that he has no conflicts and that his integrity is unquestioned.

And I think that, you know, Director Mueller has to continue to review that with his own legal staff. And I have not yet seen anything that makes me think he must step down, that there's an absolutely indisputable conflict.

But I think he's got to be careful and be watching this all the time. He's been around law enforcement for a long time. I dealt with him when I was U.S. attorney and he was director of the FBI. He's got a lot of knowledge and been involved with a lot of folks over that period of time.

So I think it's incumbent upon him to hold himself to the highest possible standards, so that people in this country can have absolute confidence in whatever conclusions he comes to in this investigation.

TAPPER: I guess one of the things going on is -- and you know this as a former U.S. attorney who worked with both James Comey and Robert Mueller -- and I have only heard you say nice things about both men publicly and privately -- is that there is this effort by President Trump and his team and his allies in the media to do everything they can to destroy the Comey and Mueller -- their public reputations.

And I wonder if, as a former prosecutor, as somebody who has said nice things about both men, if that bothers you?

CHRISTIE: Well, a few things I will say.

First off, when you're in law enforcement, and you're investigating folks, you are going to have bad things said about you. You have to get used to it.

And the way you deal with it is to follow the facts wherever they lead, and then let those facts draw you to whatever legal conclusions, not have legal conclusions that you're looking for facts to support.

So, that's very important. And that's the way you push back against any type of public criticisms.

Now, listen, I don't think I have seen things from the White House that is trying to impugn Director Mueller in these recent weeks.

But what I will say is that Director Comey, who I -- again, I like and I respect, but I also know that a lot of what happened during the Hillary Clinton investigation, including his announcement of no charges against Hillary Clinton, putting aside the substance, Jake, that is unprecedented, for an FBI person, whether it's the director or special agent in charge of a local office, to make that type of announcement.

Those are the prosecutors' decisions.

TAPPER: Today, you're marking the five-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which hit New Jersey.

Seventy percent of the people of Puerto Rico, after the hurricane they suffered, the hurricanes they suffered, are still living without power.

What lessons did you learn from Sandy that Puerto Rico might be able to learn from?

CHRISTIE: Well, the good news is, I have been talking regularly to Governor Rossello of Puerto Rico to relay some of those things to him and to Tom Bossert, the homeland security adviser at the White House, who is kind of quarterbacking this, from their perspective, to share those lessons.

But what I would tell you is that restoring power is the single most important thing you can do, along with rebuilding roads. Those two things are the most important things you can do to restore normalcy. The problem in Puerto Rico has been that that infrastructure was so

badly degraded prior to the storm, because of the island's problems financially and the bankruptcy that they have been going through, that when that storm came through, the destruction made it even worse.


I have heard we have sent more folks, Jake, down to Puerto Rico than any other state, over 1,100 National Guards people and state police.

And as they have begun to cycle back, what I have heard from them is that the problem in getting supplies around the country -- around the territory, rather -- and making sure that people are getting help is that the roads are destroyed everywhere outside of San Juan.


CHRISTIE: And that now they're having to rebuild those.

Now, you can airlift. And they're doing those things. But those are the big problems that I see right now. And we're going to have to get very, very aggressive. I think the administration has been aggressive in terms of getting the supplies there.

Now we're going to have to start rebuilding those roads and that infrastructure for them, so that people can return to normalcy. That's a different job than what we had in Sandy, because our infrastructure was in much better shape, but it is significant and serious.

TAPPER: All right, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, thanks so much for joining us.

CHRISTIE: Jake, thanks for having me. Appreciate it.


TAPPER: Questions swirling over who might be facing charges in this Mueller probe, sources telling CNN that someone could be taken into custody as soon as tomorrow.

We are going to ask a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee looking into Russian meddling about that next.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

As soon as tomorrow, the first person might be taken into custody as part of Robert Mueller's investigation.

But while that investigation moves into this new phase, Republicans on Capitol Hill seem eager to get their congressional investigations over with.

Richard Burr, the leading member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he expects his investigation to finish by early next year. And the Republican in charge of the House committee says he has no interest in prolonging the investigation -- quote -- "one second longer than necessary."

Here to discuss is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Angus King. He's an independent senator of Maine who caucuses with the Democrats.

Senator, good to see you, as always.

So, the first charges have been filed in the Mueller investigation. The charges are still sealed under orders from a federal judge.

As someone who sits on the Intelligence Committee who knows this case well, I wanted to get your sense about which Trump associates you might be watching over the next couple of days. Who might be -- find themselves in legal jeopardy?

SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: Well, I can't really speculate.

I don't know any more than you or your prior guests about what those indictments are going to look like, who they're going to be, how many they're going to be. I think we're just going to have to wait and see.

I think it's important, Jake, to distinguish between what we're doing on the Senate Intelligence Committee and -- and Director Mueller's investigation.

Director Mueller is looking at criminal violations. He's -- he's -- that's his job. He's a federal prosecutor.

In our case, we're looking at the facts. What did the Russians do? How did they do it? How do we prevent it next time? And, also, was there some relationship between the Russians and the Trump campaign?

It's a -- they are different kind of investigations. So, we're on parallel tracks, but not the same track. So, like everyone else in Washington, I will be watching tomorrow to see -- to see what comes out of the Mueller investigation.

But I think it's important to emphasize that this, whatever it is, is really just the beginning. And I'm sure there will be additional evidence, assuming Director Mueller uncovers additional evidence. He's going to -- he's the pro. He's going to follow the facts where they lead.

TAPPER: Well, you mentioned the investigation by your committee into whether or not there was any collusion between members of the Trump team and any agents of the Russian government.

Have you found any evidence that there was?

KING: Well, that's another question I'm not going to answer, because we're in the middle of the investigation.

I can tell you that our staff and our members have interviewed something like a hundred witnesses, hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. We're still in the middle of that. And so I'm not going to comment on where we are.

What we're not in the middle of. And I think what's really being sort of lost, Jake, in the -- in all the noise about, was there collusion in Mueller and all of that, the Russians egregiously meddled in our democracy in 2016, and they're still doing it, and they're going to do it again.

And they're set up in Spain now, and they're setting up in Scotland. They have discovered a way to turn the strengths of our country and the West against ourselves. I call it geopolitical jujitsu, where they're taking advantage of our free press and our open society and driving divisions.

And there's no question that they did that in 2016 in a big way. And we're going to talk about that this week at the committee with Facebook and Twitter.

And this is a really serious problem. And the -- all the excitement about the collusion issue, which is really important, has obscured what I believe is the larger issue, which is that our country was, is, and will be under attack.

TAPPER: President Trump is working hard to discredit all the investigations, House, Senate, and Mueller.

On Friday he tweeted -- quote -- "It is now commonly agreed after many months of costly looking that there was no collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with Hillary Clinton."

So, is that accurate, that there -- it's widely agreed, commonly agreed that there was no collusion?

KING: No, I don't think so.

It's certainly not commonly agreed in our committee, and we're the ones that are doing the investigation. I don't think there's any -- I don't think there's any basis for -- for that statement.

We may end up -- it's entirely possible we will end up with the investigation at the end finding that there wasn't. But the contrary could also be true.

Right now, as Chairman Burr said, we're not talking about winding up for some six months. So, there's a lot of work to be done, a lot of leads to be followed, a lot of witnesses to be interviewed. And it's way premature to say that some kind of conclusion has been reached.


TAPPER: Some Republican lawmakers are suggesting that Bob Mueller should step down, that he has a conflict of interests. What do you think about that?

KING: Well, I agree exactly with Governor Christie, who you spoke to just a few minutes ago, who said, number one, Bob Mueller is a guy of impeccable reputation. He's a professional prosecutor, 30 years in law enforcement.

And he will be the one that decides if there is some kind of conflict.

I haven't seen it. He's -- like I say, when he was appointed, everyone from Newt Gingrich all across the spectrum said, oh, this is a brilliant appointment, he will follow the facts where they lead.

And that's exactly what he's doing. He's keeping his head down, and assembled a strong team, and he's going to follow.

And it's really important, Jake, because the public ultimately has to have confidence in the result, both of what he's doing and what we're doing.

And that means you have got to turn over the leads. You have got to go to the end and say, either something happened or something didn't happen. And that's got to have credibility.

I don't see any reason why he should recuse himself or be fired or anything else. The fact that these charges are suddenly coming in a kind of crescendo at the very time it appears there are also indictments to be forthcoming, you know, there is a kind of coincidence there that I don't think you can miss.

TAPPER: Senator, stick around. We have a lot more to talk about, including one prominent Republican who says Democrats will go -- are going to try to impeach President Trump if they win the House majority in 2008. Is that part of the Democratic plan?

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. We're joined again by Senator Angus King, independent senator of Maine. He's on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Senator, the White House and its allies on Capitol Hill and in the media have been eager to refocus attention from the Mueller probe and the Senate and House Intelligence Committee probes to instead talk about questions about the actions of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

One of the issues is the Obama administration approval in 2010 of the sale of a majority stake in a Canadian -- a Canadian uranium mining company to a Russian company.

Take a listen to what President Trump had to say about this, this week. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think the uranium sale to Russia and the way it was done, so underhanded, with tremendous amount of money being passed, I actually think that's Watergate modern age.


TAPPER: Senator King, what's your response? And do you think Congress should investigate the deal or the FBI informant whose lawyer says he has information about Russian efforts to influence the Clintons to win support for the deal?

KING: Well, I think the House -- one of the House committees has already begun an Oversight Committee hearing.

I always think oversight hearings are appropriate. I have been trying to understand this deal. I think the important thing that I learned in reading the background is, the company changed hands, but the uranium that's mined in the United States cannot leave the United States.

So, it wasn't really the sale of uranium. It was the sale of a mining and manufacturing company.

But there -- there are questions about it. And I think, you know, we need to get to the bottom of them. I don't -- I don't think that there's -- you know, you have to try to find out the facts if there are questions raised. And I think, as I say, the House has already got something under way on that question. Hopefully, we can get it resolved and keep moving forward.

TAPPER: We also learned this week that a lawyer for the Clinton campaign and the DNC at least partially funded that opposition research dossier into then candidate Trump.

John Podesta and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was the head of the DNC at the time, they both said they had no idea that they were funding the dossier looking into President Trump's connections to Russia.

Do you believe them?

KING: Well, what I have been hearing for months, and not -- not in -- just in the last few days, is that this thing was originally opposition research begun by Republicans during the primary period.

And I think that's been confirmed in the last few days. And then, after the primaries were over, in effect, the opposition research was turned over to the Democrats.

And, you know, I don't know who funded it or how it was funded, but it wasn't a surprise to me, because that was what I understood had happened.

And, as Governor Christie said, unfortunately, in this day and age, opposition research is part of the political process, and it's -- it goes on, you know, all the time amongst both parties.

And, in fact, in this case, it was an opposition research product that was partially funded by the Republicans at the beginning, and then at the end was funded by the Democrats.

TAPPER: Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is urging his fellow Democrats to work with President Trump on a plan to cut taxes for working families.

You're on the Senate Budget Committee. Where do you come down on the issue? Do you think a deal is possible with President Trump on the tax issue?

KING: Well, I think a deal is possible.

One of the odd things about the process that we're undertaking now is, it's just like health care. It's all being done entirely behind closed doors by Republicans, only by Republicans.

I can tell you, I'm not a Democrat. I'm an independent, but I do meet with the Democrats. And there's a majority of the Democratic Caucus that wants to do tax cuts. It's just a question of how are they funded, how are they directed, who will get the benefits.

So I think there is a deal there. And, hopefully, that's the direction we will go in, instead of trying to jam down some massive unfunded tax cut that will only add to our kids' deficits.


TAPPER: Your colleague Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said on Friday that, if the Republican Party doesn't pass tax reform, Democrats will win back the House and then they will attempt to impeach President Trump.

Take a listen.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, I think all of us realize that, if we fail on taxes, that's the end of the Republican Party's governing majority in 2018.

I can't imagine how he could be successful with Nancy Pelosi running the House. They would try to impeach him pretty quick.


TAPPER: Is Senator Graham right about this?


KING: Again, I'm not a Democrat.

TAPPER: I know.

KING: I haven't heard any talk to that effect. I don't know what -- I don't know where that goes.

I think President Trump is transactional. He likes to do deals. I mean, that's his whole career. And, again, on taxes, I think there's a deal there to be had.

It may not be massive and the biggest in history, but I don't -- I wish we could skip this jam-down phase and move to the bipartisan discussion phase, and I think we could get something done, and he could claim success.

TAPPER: Senator Angus King, independent of Maine, thank you so much for your time. Always good to see you, sir.

KING: Yes, sir. Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: President Trump still focused on Hillary Clinton and her e- mails, now making it clear to the state department that he wants any remaining Clinton e-mails released and quickly.

That's next.



SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that our position hasn't changed since day one and I think we are seeing now that if there was any collusion with Russia, it was between the DNC and the Clintons and certainly not our campaign.


TAPPER: We're back with our panel.

Let's start with you, Charlie Sykes, the author of a brand-new book called "How The Right Lost Its Mind." Congratulations on the new book.

There has been a big effort by the White House this week --



TAPPER: -- to try to change the subject from Mueller and try to refocus attention on the Clintons. What do you think?

SYKES: Well, you know, this is the -- we've seen this before. You know, deflection, distraction, you know, turn it around into something else.

You know, Donald Trump is still, obviously, obsessed with playing the Clinton card, running against Hillary Clinton. But I do think, you know, we're going to see a change tomorrow. It's going to move from the -- if, in fact, these charges do come down, we're going to see this move from the realm of politics and tweeting and speculation to the law and facts.

So I think you're going to see an extraordinary day tomorrow. And I think it's really a maximum peril, when you think about it. Because as you point out, as you've been pointing out all morning, I think that you saw Trump, the Trump White House and the Trump media really prepping the battlefield to discredit this investigation, and possibly even laying groundwork to fire Bob Mueller. And that is going to be a real test for Republicans, who claim to believe in the rule of law.

TAPPER: Do you think it's possible, Senator, that he might -- that President Trump might fire Bob Mueller? And if so, what would be -- the response would be, do you think?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think it's possible at least at this point that he's going to fire him -- particularly now that you have a -- the charge coming forward, and obviously, the grand jury was able to provide an indictment. I think it's going to be very perilous for the president to do something like that.

But I don't think they're going to stop the narrative, nor is Congress doing to stop the narrative that there are other things for Bob Mueller to be looking at with respect to the Clintons and the DNC and all the things that were going on there that seem to be much more evidence of cooperation with Russia than what we've seen so far from the Trump administration.

TAPPER: Governor?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's just so ridiculous. Yes, she colluded with Russia to lose the election? I mean, it's just so stupid.

When I was a federal prosecutor, Jake, and attorney general, and we brought cases, we would look for direct evidence and we would look for someone's mental state, as well. And if someone was doing consistently things to throw people off the trail, if they were attacking, of course, the investigator, it's all evidence of a state of mind. A guilty state of mind.

Every time he tweets about e-mails, about uranium, about Hillary Clinton, it's all further evidence, if you were innocent, you would say to Robert Mueller, come on in. I don't want anybody who has colluded with Russia in my administration. I want them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Instead, he's doing everything possible to distract, to divert, and now this undercurrent to get rid of the prosecutor.

TAPPER: Nina Turner, distraction though it may be, it's also one of the reasons this ideas that during in the middle of this deal, and we should point out it was a nine-agency panel that okayed the Uranium One deal, not just the state department, although that was one of them.

But during that period, President Bill Clinton did go to Russia and give a speech for half a million. People who invested in the program, Uranium One, had been given -- giving millions of dollars literally to the Clinton Foundation since 2009.

This is one of the things, one of the reasons why Sanders supporters didn't trust Hillary Clinton.

NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, the perception is heavy. But as you pointed out, Jake, the Committee on Foreign Investments looked at this. The Treasury Department manages this inner agency process.

I think the bigger question -- and the State Department could not make the decision just alone. The question becomes, would Secretary Condoleezza Rice have done the same thing, you know? Or Secretary Kerry, would he have done the same thing in terms of being somebody that weighed in on this?

But Secretary Clinton did not weigh in on this. That's what the evidence shows. And the point -- I think the larger point is, other agencies, led by the Treasury Department, it's important that our viewers understand this. But to me the biggest question is, why didn't anybody say anything about this?

I mean, the fact that a Russian company now owns 20 percent -- or controls 20 percent of our --

TAPPER: Controls, yes.

TURNER: -- uranium extraction, and has de facto and de jure exercise. They can control whether or not it's put -- you know, extracted or not extracted.

TAPPER: They own the rights to it.

TURNER: To me, that's the bigger question. Not one agency.

SYKES: But you can believe two things. You can believe this was a very, very disturbing deal, that we ought to look into.

TURNER: We should.

SYKES: And also think that it's completely irrelevant to what's going on right now. That you can be disturbed by that, but also recognize that there's really no new developments in that story. And why would this have, you know, become a big story the week before the first indictments would come down?

TURNER: Right.

SYKES: So, again, you know, you don't have to say there's nothing here. But you can also say, this has -- this is a complete distraction from this real story of the Russian interference in the election.

TURNER: Right. Right.

GRANHOLM: In fact, this was raised during the election. And it was investigated.

SYKES: It was.

GRANHOLM: And fact checkers have said, there is nothing to Hillary Clinton -- Hillary Clinton did not even sit on the committee.

TURNER: No, she didn't.


GRANHOLM: It was --


TURNER: And the Pentagon -- and the Pentagon didn't object, Jake, and neither did the Department of Homeland Security.


GRANHOLM: And said that she had nothing --


TAPPER: So let us -- so let us -- OK, with three of you saying this is a distraction, let's turn to what we are expecting tomorrow, which we are expecting if not an arrest, somebody to go willingly into federal custody.


And this has got to be something that's concerning for people who support President Trump, because whether or not it proves collusion, whether or not it proves -- and President Trump might have no knowledge of anything that's going on it's still something of a black eye for those saying that there was nothing there.

SANTORUM: Well, maybe. I mean, again -- I mean, we still -- we still don't have any evidence of collusion. I mean, there's all this -- there's been a lot of smoke but really no fire with respect to that, and I suspect that, although I have no idea who's going to be indicted I suspect it's probably going to be someone down the food chain that they're trying to then leverage to get more information to try to indict farther up.

But I don't see anything that approaches getting close to Trump. I agree with Jennifer that all of the reaction of the president, you know, it would be a typical reaction if someone's guilty but I don't think Donald Trump is typical. I think Donald Trump just reacts to anybody who goes after him.

So I don't necessarily agree with Jennifer that that's some indication of guilt. I think it's an indication of a president who doesn't like to have anybody say anything bad about him and he's responding.

SYKES: I think there's a whiff of panic -- there's a whiff of panic from the Trump world. GRANHOLM (ph): There is definitely.

SANTORUM: I disagree with that. Look, I mean, I'm in Trump world. I mean, I interact with those people.

I don't feel that panic whatsoever because I don't think anybody feels there's any evidence or any reality that this occurred.

TAPPER: There were some people who were in the Trump world, not in the respectable Trump world that you're in but the Roger Stone side of the Trump world that were clearly -- took to Twitter and were showing some sort of signs of something going on.

Roger Stone was attacking so many members of CNN in such a threatening fashion he was actually kicked off Twitter apparently permanently. It does seem -- you heard Preet Bharara say, watch President Trump, see what he does.

Is that something he's going to be doing this week?

TURNER: Yes. Tomorrow is going to be exciting coming from President Trump's Twitter world if it can go -- get any more --


TURNER: Yes, epic is the world. It will be epic tomorrow.

GRANHOLM: Although -- although I will say -- I mean, he hasn't really tweeted this weekend about the Mueller investigation which is interesting. And his attorney, Ty Cobb, was -- did an interview on "The New York Times'" podcast and he was actually really good.

He was the way Trump should be, which is come on in, everybody should look at whatever there is. I mean, if he's saying that and he's got Trump's ear, then maybe things calm down.


GRANHOLM: But I think that the president has no ability to do that and I would say this about his supporters as well. I mean, the supporters should look at what Ty Cobb is saying rather than going off on all of this crazy stuff about, you know, Hillary Clinton and e- mails again and we're going to start now another investigation into her e-mails when you've got 70 percent of people in Puerto Rico without power. You've got 9 million children who now don't have health insurance because of the S-Chip.

I mean, really, you're going to do this again? Tell me, they've got to behave.

SANTORUM: Look, the president's focused on trying to get a tax bill. I think that's been his principle focus now for the past several weeks. The idea that one House committee is going to do an investigation is somehow not going to take care of the problem in Puerto Rico is sort of ridiculous.


SANTORUM: The bottom line is that Donald Trump is going to -- is going to weather through this and things are going to turn around if he can pass the tax bill. It's going to turn around if we can pass the health care bill come the first of next year and all of these other issues about Donald Trump and his tweeting and Donald Trump and his -- and his -- his, you know, character are going to fall by the wayside once the issue -- once the issue shows that --


SYKES: I'm old enough to remember when Rick Santorum cared about character.

SANTORUM: I didn't say --

SYKES: You said character matters.


SANTORUM: Character does matter. I'm not -- I don't understand -- I'm not suggesting that it doesn't matter. I'm suggesting what's going to happen if he succeed.


SYKES: Conservatives support his agenda (INAUDIBLE). What I don't understand is how conservative Republicans feel the need to rationalize and enable the possible hacking of our election by Russia.

TAPPER: That's the end of that. Thanks one and all for being here.

Coming up, sure there's always Batman or Disney princess but for some kids the costume of the year is president of the United States, Donald Trump, but which one, which Trump?

That's the subject of this week's state of the cartoon.



TAPPER: Welcome back. It's the place to be for Halloween in Washington D.C., the White House, and as the president and first lady welcome trick or treaters this year, President Trump might see some familiar faces mixed in with the ghosts and goblins and that's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonion."


TAPPER (voice-over): It seems likely that you're going to see a lot of Halloween costumes of President Trump this Tuesday, whether from the children of Trump supporters --

TRUMP: Usa. Usa.

TAPPER: -- or the children of Trump opponents. But maybe we should try a little creativity, people. How about Ivy League Trump?

TRUMP: I went to an Ivy League college. I'm a very intelligent person.

TAPPER: How about golf Trump?

TRUMP: It's great to play golf, but play golf with heads of countries.

TAPPER: How about staring directly at the eclipse Trump?

We interrupt this cartoon to tell you that the Trump campaign has been trying to get into the act itself with a special seasonal $45.00 make America great again hat, just sold out.

How about civil war re-enactor Trump?

TRUMP: They are trying to take away our history and our heritage.

TAPPER: How about FOX News contributor Trump?

TRUMP: "Fox & Friends" in the morning is the best show.

TAPPER: Or bone spur deferment Trump?

TRUMP: I always wanted to get the purple heart.

TAPPER: One of my favorites is evangelical Trump.

TRUMP: II Corinthians, 3:17, that's the whole ball game. Is that the one you like?

TAPPER: The president says that we in the media have been painting an unfair picture of him as uncivil. He's the costume of that Trump.

TRUMP: I'd like to punch him in the face.

TAPPER: How does that compare with the actual President Trump?

TRUMP: I would bomb the (EXPLETIVE) out of them.


TAPPER: Trick or treat, Mr. President.


TAPPER: Thank you for spending your Sunday morning with us. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington.

"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" starts right now.