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Trump Says Nunes Memo "Totally Vindicates" Him in Russia Probe; Interview with Representative Mike Turner; Uma Thurman Breaks Her Silence on Harvey Weinstein; CIA Chief Met with Russian Spies; North Korea Earned $200 Million by Violating Sanctions. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired February 3, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:14] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with us.
Members of Congress, legal experts and law enforcement insiders all still debating Friday's bombshell news they've been bracing for for days. And tonight President Trump is now offering his own strong opinion on the impact of the Nunes memo, tweeting earlier, "This memo totally vindicates Trump in probe. But the Russian witch hunt goes on and on. There was no collusion or there was no obstruction. The word we now use because after one year of looking endlessly and finding nothing, collusion is dead. This is an American disgrace."
You may recall earlier this week CNN reported that the president had been calling friends and making similar claims. He told them the memo would reveal that top FBI and DOJ officials are biased against him.
I want to get straight to CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez in West Palm Beach where the president is spending another weekend.
Boris, the president's tweets appear to confirm CNN reporting that the president's motivation in releasing this memo was to undermine the Russia investigation, to show bias at the FBI.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Precisely, Ana. And we should note the president was, again, on Twitter just a few moments ago. I want to pull up the latest tweets from the president because he is, again, discussing that Nunes memo.
He writes, quote, "Great jobs numbers and finally after many years rising wages and nobody even talks about them. Only Russia, Russia, Russia, despite the fact that after the year of looking there is no collusion."
The president then goes on to apparently cite "The Wall Street Journal" saying that that four-page memo that was released Friday, reports of disturbing fact about how the FBI and FISA appeared to have been used to influence the 2016 election saying that there is an anti- Trump group of political actors that worked against the president during the campaign.
As you said, Ana, there is a disparity between what we're hearing from this president regarding the Nunes memo and what we've heard from officials within his own administration and other Republicans who have assured the public that the release of the memo has more to do with transparency than it does with the Russia investigation.
I want to play some sound for you now from House Speaker Paul Ryan making that point earlier this week. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: This memo is not indictment of the FBI, of the Department of Justice. It does not impugn the Mueller investigation or the deputy attorney general.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: The president clearly going his own direction on this swiftly through a series of tweets, negating everything that his allies have said and making it clear that he believes that this memo is evidence of bias against him by investigators at the Department of Justice and the FBI. And in his eyes lending credence to his claim that this is a witch hunt.
This isn't the only disparity in messaging that we've seen from the White House in just the past 48 hours. The president was asked yesterday about the future of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and whether the president had confidence in his deputy AG, who was mentioned in that memo that the president said people should be ashamed of themselves for when speaking about that memo, the president said that reporters should figure out for themselves whether or not he had confidence in Rosenstein.
Deputy press secretary Raj Shah was on CNN last night. Kind of walking back the president's statements. Listen to this sound bite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I'm saying it on behalf of the White House. And that's that, you know, no changes are going to be made at the Department of Justice. We fully expect Rod Rosenstein to continue on as the deputy attorney general.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Much more of an endorsement of Rod Rosenstein that we heard from the president. We should tell you that sources familiar with the president's thinking tell CNN that at this point there is no consideration of firing Rosenstein in part because the president fears that taking that step may prolong the Russia investigation. That is clearly not something that he wants. And of course we have to point out that we've heard many times from this administration before votes of confidence in several administration officials who are ultimately swiftly shown the door -- Ana.
CABRERA: Indeed. Boris Sanchez, thank you for that report.
I want to get straight to our panel. With us, CNN national security analyst, a former senior adviser to the National Security adviser under President Obama, Samantha Vinograd, CNN political analyst Ryan Lizza and constitutional law professor at Florida International University Elizabeth Foley.
So of course we know at question here is how the FBI intelligence investigators obtained the FISA warrant and what they used to apply for that to surveil Carter Page.
So, Elizabeth, how does the memo, A, vindicate the president and, B, prove the FBI actually tried to influence the election?
[20:05:04] ELIZABETH FOLEY, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Well, I think the most suspicious thing here is the timing of getting that FISA warrant. Sometime around mid- October of 2016, just on the eve of the presidential election because DOJ has a very longstanding policy that it doesn't pursue investigations of ongoing campaigns until after the election is over.
And the reason they have that policy is because if it leaks out, that that kind of investigation is ongoing on the eve of a campaign, it can have significant influence on the campaign. And, so, you have to say to yourself, well, why did the FBI sort of ignore its longstanding policy here, not only and seek that FISA warrant right before the election itself but also why did they leak it out at least a month ahead of time and go to the Hill in August and brief congressional members on both the Republican and the Democratic side about it?
So you say, well, yes, what was the emergency with Carter Page? If you look at that Steele dossier, and I went back and re-read it right before the show tonight. If you look at the July 19th memo, and I encourage everyone to look this up themselves, there is only one page that discusses Carter Page. And it only has two allegations in it. Both of which are based on hearsay, which means that somebody is saying they heard this, but they didn't directly hear it themselves. And --
CABRERA: Let me just stop you for a second because I don't want to get our viewers confused about the memo that we're talking about. You're talking about the Steele dossier, we're talking about the Nunes memo.
CABRERA: And to your point about the timing of the surveillance of Carter Page, it's also worth noting that when they decided to surveil Carter Page and apply for that FISA warning, it was after he was no longer a member of the Trump campaign.
FOLEY: That's right.
CABRERA: And the Nunes memo also points out that it wasn't the Steele dossier that opened the investigation into Russia election meddling into some kind of counterterrorism investigation to begin with because -- or counterintelligence investigation, rather, to begin with because they say in the memo it was actually some information given to the FBI or to international members, in Australia apparently, about what Papadopoulos was telling that Australian diplomat.
FOLEY: No, no. CABRERA: So -- it wasn't.
CABRERA: That they were looking into the campaign because of some kind of opposition research.
FOLEY: If you would let me finish, look, first of all Papadopoulos has nothing to do with it. You can't establish probable cause on Carter Page to spy on him based on Papadopoulos unless you have some connection between the two. And there is no connection between the two.
CABRERA: It's cited in the Nunes memo.
FOLEY: When it comes to Carter Page --
CABRERA: The Nunes memo says that that is part of the intelligence packet that was put together to get the surveillance on Carter Page. But we don't know, Elizabeth. We don't know what other documents or intel there was.
FOLEY: What we do know --
CABRERA: Because we don't have the classified information that was part of that FISA warrant application.
FOLEY: What we do know is what's in the Steele dossier. And the Steele dossier according to the memo was a significant part of getting the warrant to spy on Carter Page. If you read the Steele dossier, it has two allegations. One, in July 2016 when he went to Moscow to give a public speech about economics, he was approached by a guy who was an oil company executive who said he was hoping that if Trump became president there would be a lessening of sanctions. There is nothing illegal about that. And the Steele dossier says, and I'll quote to you, that Page was noncommittal in response.
Second allegation in Steele dossier was someone else approached Carter Page during the same trip and said they had kompromat on both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Again, nothing illegal about that. Neither one of those two things combined together creates probable cause that Carter Page was an agent of Russia.
CABRERA: Right. Right.
FOLEY: And one more thing, there was an investigation in 2015 where Carter Page cooperated with the FBI to try to get a Russian agent out of the country. They approached him. They called him an idiot. They told him to go F himself. This is all in court filings. He cooperated extensively and helped get the Russian out of the country. So the FBI's prior history with Carter Page was quite favorable and did not suggest in any way that he was a Russian agent.
CABRERA: We do know that the FBI was looking into his connections to the Russians as far back as 2013, Elizabeth. And we don't know what they used in that dossier to get the FISA warrant or if the dossier actually was something that was a big part of the intelligence.
FOLEY: Which is exactly why we need to see it. Which is exactly why we need to see it --
CABRERA: OK. So let me bring in Samantha just in terms of your thoughts when you look at this memo. What's your take on it?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Yes. I mean, my thoughts from the memo and some of this conversation, Ana, that we need to let the FBI do their job. We're having a discussion here and dissecting every single line in a memo that is a snapshot of information that was provided to a FISA court when the FBI inspector general should investigate any allegations of wrongdoing. And the bottom line from all this is that Vladimir Putin is doing a victory lap right now.
[20:10:04] He's probably taking the weekend off, admiring his handy work, and thinking, wow, with a couple of bots and trolls, and amplifying some, you know, retweets about release the memo, he has the entire country captivated by a three and a half page memo instead of talking about, for example, how we're going to secure our state level election infrastructure. That's a massive risk going forward.
CABRERA: Ryan, after you saw this memo, it clearly has been a huge deal to the president. Do you see it that way or do you understand why some people around the president were cautioning him that this might not be worth crossing his FBI director about?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We didn't really learn anything new about the memo, though it confirmed a lot of reporting that's been out there. I think the most important thing we learned is that the reporting that the investigation into Russia's influence and ties to the Trump campaign happened in July of 2016, or excuse me, started in July of 2016. And therefore the dossier from Steele had nothing to do with the origins of this investigation.
I think there is an interesting question, I suppose, about whether Carter Page, the application to Carter -- to surveil Carter Page was legitimate. This memo doesn't really help us get to that place and answer that question. To do that we'd actually have to see the entire application. But, remember, the surveillance had to be renewed every 90 days. It was renewed three times. And my understanding of how you get those renewals is you have to go back to the judge and you have to show that the surveillance is actually fruitful.
LIZZA: So that's important. I think one of the important things here is, are any of the judges -- and I'm pretty sure it's more than one judge that allowed this surveillance to happen the first time and through renewals. Will any of those judges come forward and say, well, we don't like what the FBI did here? Will any of them be as outraged as some of the Republicans are?
And, you know, if we want to know the full story, we have to see the original application. But my view of the memo is, it's sort of interesting. It's interesting to learn about the FISA process because that's a very secretive process. But it tells you very, very little about the Mueller investigation and it certainly doesn't undermine it in the way that the White House I think hoped it did.
CABRERA: To Ryan's point about the renewal of those FISA applications, James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, also made the point that he says that in this case I understand the instant issue was the extension of a FISA authorization, which would indicate that the original FISA order was producing something, an information of value. So the court, this is not a casual thing. I'm quote here.
"There has to be layers of approval, corroborating evidence and the court, more importantly, has to approve it."
So, Samantha, do you think we'll actually get a chance to see the FISA warrant? Would they be able to declassify that?
VINOGRAD: I think it'd be very difficult. And I think that we have to walk a fine line here between transparency and the inspector general, for example, of the FBI doing their job and investigating any allegations of wrongdoing. Again, if there are allegations of wrongdoing, they should be investigated. But there is a reason that the FISA process is classified. And I actually disagree with calls for all the sources for the warrant and for the renewals to be made public.
Information is classified because there is a conclusion that making it available to the public would be a national security risk.
VINOGRAD: That could be, for example, if it's from a foreign intelligence course or could put sources and methods at risk. So I think we need to be less cavalier about saying, let's look at all the information involved in this file and let people the appropriate clearances with the appropriate oversight responsibilities do their jobs.
CABRERA: Elizabeth, we do know that there was another memo that hasn't been made public yet, and that was from the Democrats that wanted to counter what they saw as some misleading points that were within this memo that was, again, written by, released by and compiled by Republicans. It was declassified by a Republican president as well.
What do you think about the fact that they didn't release those two memos at the same time, with the Democrats and the Republicans?
FOLEY: Well, I think the reason they didn't is because the Democratic process was further behind in terms of timeline. It has to go through a process. The Republican process was further along. I'm confident that it will be released. I think that's a really good thing. I think more sunlight on this is better all around. And there are ways that you can reveal the FISA application and perhaps even the transcript and the ex parte meeting with the judge and redact the sources and methods.
I mean, look, we heard that the sky was going to fall and that there were sources and methods that were going to be revealed in this Nunes memo and that just didn't turn out to be true.
[20:15:02] So I think what we need to do as Americans, if we're concerned about civil liberty, we need to have the full sunshine on this. And just ask yourself if you were the person who was surveilled and had this warrant obtained against you, would you want -- would you think that it was appropriate to be surveilled on such a slim read of evidence as far as we know because all we know from the Nunes memo what that it was the Steele dossier plus the Michael Isikoff Yahoo! news story that provided the primary basis for getting this warrant. If there is more, I'd love to know about it as much as anyone else, and I think the American people need to know what it was.
CABRERA: It is important that Christopher Wray, the president's handpicked FBI director, has said he had grave concerns about this memo being released because he said omissions made it inaccurate, Ryan.
LIZZA: That's right. And look, you know, I was always in favor of this memo is not going to be the end of the world, you know, journalist. Was there a secret memo out there? I want to see it. So I was always a little bit skeptical of -- you know, of official government position on this being so secretive that, you know, sources and methods were going to lead to some kind of, you know, the sky is falling scenario.
On the other hand, I find this argument that Republicans are doing this because they care about the civil liberties and they care about FISA reform. I find it really disingenuous. I mean, you know, the Patriot Act and FISA has been debated recently in Congress. There were a lot of civil libertarians out there saying if you want to reform FISA, well, the first thing you do is have an independent advocate who works on behalf of the targeted person who can go against the government when they go before that judge.
That doesn't really exist right now. There are all sorts of reforms if you want to reform this very powerful FISA court. But let's be honest. That's not what this debate is about. This debate is about a partisan -- some partisan actors trying to come up with reasons. And they haven't been very successful in my view so far of undermining a really serious investigation into the president of the United States.
And, so I really don't buy this civil libertarian argument that everyone is crying for Carter Page's civil liberties. If Republicans, especially Nunes and some of these guys on the Intelligence Committee, if they really cared about that, they would put some proposals forward on that committee to reform the FISA process. And that's not what this is about.
CABRERA: Ryan Lizza, Samantha Vinograd and Elizabeth Foley, thank you all for your perspective.
Coming up, so how are Republicans on the Intel Committee reacting to the release of this memo? Do they agree with the president's view that this clears him in the Russia investigation?
I ask a Republican on that committee next.
[20:21:59] CABRERA: The Nunes memo, now is out for all to read. President Trump says it vindicates him in the investigation of possible Russian collusion.
A short time ago I spoke to Republican Congressman Mike Turner, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, who wanted this memo to go public. He told me the core of the memo, that improper protocol was used to authorize a Trump aide's wiretap is what the American people need to see.
REP. MIKE TURNER (R), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: There is nothing at all that is going to contradict that Hillary Clinton campaign funded material were used as evidence in a court case, nothing. Now all the other information that the Democrat Party and their memorandum and the FBI might want to become public should become public and should be part of the discussion.
But I believe, and I think even you and everyone who looks at this, will say Republican, Democrat, whether it's Hillary Clinton or Trump or whether it's Obama and Romney, no administration, no administration should use campaign material from another presidential campaign and use it as evidence in a court case against the other presidential campaign. It is a threat to democracy. It is wrong. We ought to be able to say that.
Another thing I'd like to hear the FBI director to say is that he believes it's wrong for an official of the FBI or an FBI agent to be assigned to a case where they have a family member that has a direct interest in the outcome of that case.
Those two things would go a long way I think in trying to get this resolved and that's we ought to move forward with some reforms because there are going to have to be some reforms in order for us to ensure this doesn't happen again.
CABRERA: OK. Let me ask you about the president's tweet this morning. He says this memo totally vindicates Trump in probe but the Russian witch hunt goes on and on. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. And you can read the rest there on your screen.
Do you agree that this memo totally vindicates Trump in the Mueller investigation?
TURNER: No. This -- the memo isn't about the special counsel's investigation. It's not about Trump. It's about the one incident that is of grave concern, of Hillary Clinton campaign materials being as evidence in a court case. That's it. That's the message that is out there that we need to address. We need to reform this so that we don't have this happen again because when you blur those lines, you threaten democracy.
CABRERA: When you talk about reform and accountability in this, what about Rod Rosenstein? He was listed as one of the people in the memo who reauthorized the FISA warrant and surveillance against Carter Page. What do you think is his future? What if the president decides to fire him? Would you support it?
TURNER: No. I think what needs to happen is the discussion about what the content of the memo is with the campaign materials being used. You know, Director Comey, you know, when he was director, he not only knew but believed it's OK. He tweeted out afterwards when the memo came out that that's it? He believes it's OK for Hillary Clinton campaign materials that are funded by that campaign to make their way as evidence into this court case. Now I think the American public --
CABRERA: Let me stop you there for a second because Director Comey is not there.
TURNER: -- do not believe that.
CABRERA: Director Comey is gone. There's a new FBI director --
TURNER: No. He tweeted that out and he said that's it.
CABRERA: A lot of people have been demoted, who have been called into question based on their investigation.
[20:25:02] TURNER: He said that's it.
CABRERA: What has been revealed by the inspector general's report who is looking into an independent investigation into the Hillary Clinton --
TURNER: Right. So there is a culture --
CABRERA: Excuse me. Just a moment, please. I want to make sure we get back to it because I am very short on time here at the end of our segment.
CABRERA: And I just want to get a quick answer. Do you stand behind Rod Rosenstein?
TURNER: You know, I think we have to look at the whole job he's doing. I see no reason why he would not be supported. I don't think this memo has anything to do with that. I think it has to do with the crux of protecting democracy and ensuring that the culture that James Comey thought was OK, of using campaign materials as evidence in court cases stops. And I think that, you know, our current director, Director Wray, could come forward and say I think this is wrong. We will not be using campaign materials against another campaign as evidence in the future and we will not have agents or officials on cases where their spouse has an interest in the case.
CABRERA: Again, that was Representative Mike Turner.
Coming up, in a new interview, actress Uma Thurman is accusing disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. Why she says she's breaking her silence now. Next.
[20:30:36] CABRERA: Actress Uma Thurman this weekend saying Harvey Weinstein did attack her. She told the "New York Times" in a piece released today about several disturbing incidents with the one-time powerful movie producer, one of which got frighteningly physical.
Our senior media correspondent Brian Stelter is here, and also with us is pop culture commentator and anchor of People TV, Lola Ogunnaike.
OK. So, Brian, we have now known for months that Uma Thurman likely had a story to tell about her interactions with Harvey Weinstein.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes.
CABRERA: Given that they do have a history. Especially in those Quentin Tarantino movies. But what are we learning about what she's now alleging?
STELTER: She says there were two physical assaults, what she calls sexual attacks. And she gave an interview to Maureen Dowd that will appear in tomorrow's "New York Times." And this is notable partly because of their past, their careers they had but also because, you know, she had been interviewed on the red carpet a couple of times between October when the scandal broke and now, and she avoided questions about Weinstein.
She said, I'll talk about this at a time and place of my choosing. You could tell she was angry, you could she had something to say. And in this "New York Times" interview she says she has some regrets that, you know, this happened to her, she said, in the 1990s. Weinstein went on to allegedly harass and assault other women for decades after that point. So she wonders, like many others. She wonders if she could have done more to stop him.
CABRERA: And now Weinstein, his camp at least, responding, right?
STELTER: Yes. His lawyers and his representatives have come out admitting there was some incident in London and Paris, we can put on the screen the statement denying a physical assault . It says, "Mr. Weinstein acknowledges making an awkward pass 25 years ago at Miss Thurman in England after misreading her signals. This was after a flirtatious exchange in Paris for which he immediately apologized and deeply regrets. However, her claims about being physically assaulted are untrue."
And his camp says this is the first we've heard of this. CABRERA: Right.
STELTER: Look at the photos of them together. They're all smiling together in photos. That's a pretty outrageous thing for the Weinstein to have said.
CABRERA: In fact, I do want to read that part of this statement as well, Brian.
CABRERA: Let's all read it together here. So "This is the first time we are hearing that she considered Mr. Weinstein an enemy and the pictures of their history tell a completely different story." Again talking about pictures that were released along with that statement showing Weinstein and Uma Thurman posing together and they were happy, at least looked friendly in the pictures.
Lola, what do you make of this defense?
LOLA OGUNNAIKE, ANCHOR, PEOPLE TV: I think the defense is reprehensible. I think that anyone who understands how this industry works is that you oftentimes have to work with people that you don't like, but you have to smile for the cameras. We all know that. The fact that these women were able to put on a brave face in spite of the fact that they have been sexually assaulted by this monster is a testament to their strength and not to the fact that Harvey Weinstein had a consensual relationship with any of these women.
CABRERA: It's hard to keep track now of just how many people are alleging --
CABRERA: -- sexual harassment, sexual abuse.
Brian, in fact, today we are learning of new allegations and new investigations into Harvey Weinstein criminal investigations in the U.K.
STELTER: That's right. In London. UK and Metropolitan Police say that in November they received a complaint from one woman about two different alleged assaults by Harvey Weinstein. These dated back a number of years. So police are now investigating those. They revealed this for the first time today. But already we knew there were criminal probes in London, Los Angeles and New York. So this just adds to the list of accusers that have actually gone to the police. And so far there has been no arrest and there's no indication of an imminent arrest.
But you've got three different investigations simultaneously against Harvey Weinstein right now. He is apparently still in rehab in Arizona. But you have to think that these police investigators have a lot of evidence they're going through because they are interviewing so many different alleged victims. OGUNNAIKE: And keep in mind, Ana, just yesterday it was revealed that
Halle Barry's former manager who was currently Taraji P. Henson's manager has also been accused by nine women of this sort of behavior.
OGUNNAIKE: So this is an industry epidemic. These are not isolated incidences. This is a colossal problem that needs to be addressed. But what makes me hopeful is that women across the world are speaking out about this. And not just prominent figures.
RAIN, the Rape Abuse and Incense National Network, says the number of calls that organization received in November went up by 25 percent and 30 percent in December.
[20:35:02] OGUNNAIKE: So that means that women are feeling more comfortable, and men, feeling more comfortable coming forward with things that have happened to them, as well as people who are around them. They're calling these hotlines as well and offering support or asking, how do I help a friend or a family member deal with things that have happened to them? So we're seeing a real trickledown effect and that is one of the silver linings of this.
CABRERA: A trickledown in reporting and also people facing accountability and consequences for their actions.
CABRERA: I think like the Kevin Spacey allegations and the fact that now "House of Cards" is going to happen without him. That's one of my favorite shows on Netflix.
STELTER: It went back in production this week with a bunch of new actors.
STELTER: You know, the show will probably be better than it ever was without him. But, you know, when you watch the new season, you're probably still going to think of Kevin Spacey. There's going to be reminders of this ongoing Me Too moment -- movement for a long time.
OGUNNAIKE: But the great thing --
STELTER: And it feels to me like we're still in the early innings.
OGUNNAIKE: We are. But again one of the great things is that donations to these organizations are up. Some donations are up as much as 40 percent and some of these donations are coming in with #metoo. So I love that, that these people are not only coming forward, but people in support of these victims are coming forward with money to help others. CABRERA: Our thanks to both Lola and Brian.
So call is bad timing? Days before the White House refused to approve new sanctions on Russia, CNN learned that the CIA director met with sanctioned Russian spies. So what did they talk about and how normal is that?
[20:40:38] CABRERA: Welcome back. Sometimes timing is everything. This week, amid all the shouting over the memo, there was little talk of key changes regarding Russia related issues. The first the Trump administration's decision to in a way punt on punishing Russia with new sanctions. The non-decision came Monday after a secretive meeting between the CIA's top spy, Mike Pompeo, and Russian spy masters the week prior.
Now Democrats say the timing of this meeting seems suspicious especially after Pompeo responded to questions about the meeting with few answers, including whether he and the Russians talked about delaying the sanctions.
Let's talk it over with Samantha Vinograd, who served on President Obama's National Security Council, and CNN intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer.
So, Bob, first about this meeting between Pompeo and Russia's intelligence officials. Is there a reason to be concerned about who he was meeting with?
ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: You know, I don't mind the meetings. There is a connections between the Russians and the CIA that's longstanding. But, you know, having three intelligence chiefs here at a time like this sends a message to the Russians, hey, we're back to business as usual. Fine, you hacked our election in 2016. We're not going to add new sanctions. Don't worry about this.
And by the way, Pompeo said last week that the Russians would probably get involved in the 2018 elections.
BAER: He said that to BBC. So I mean, what is going on here? For me it's crazy. I mean, rewarding the Russians at this point makes no sense to me on a diplomatic level. And on an intelligence level you don't need to meet the chiefs of the service to exchange intelligence.
CABRERA: Samantha, how common is a meeting like this between U.S. officials, Russian intelligence officials?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: It's fairly common. And I actually think that this meeting going forward was not a negative thing. I think that we should continue coordinating at the highest levels on shared threats, for example. We know that there is ongoing cooperation against counterterrorism threats in both of our countries and I think penalizing the intelligence services because of what's going on elsewhere is probably not the right signal.
But I do think we have to be aware that when the head of the Russian intelligence services comes to the United States and meets with Mike Pompeo, that unto itself is an intelligence collection mission. Right? He's going into the CIA where the Russians have always tried to get inside, get breaches, find targets.
And he comes to the United States and sees the disrepair in our government and in our system and is probably going back to Moscow and reporting on exactly that.
CABRERA: He doesn't even need to meet with Mike Pompeo to see that.
VINOGRAD: No. He could just open a newspaper.
CABRERA: I mean, he just observe what's going on.
VINOGRAD: Read the president's Twitter feed.
CABRERA: What do you think of the fact that this meeting was kept secret until we learned about it first from Russia media?
BAER: Well, I mean, what's interesting is technically the connections between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Russian services is supposed to be a secret. Just like we have relations with the British and the French and the rest of it. And these meetings are rarely announced. So the fact that the Russians announced it, they are telling the Russian people that things are fine with the United States, things are coming back. No new sanctions.
So for the Russians this was a propaganda victory, but also keep in mind, it was a break of protocol.
CABRERA: Samantha, on that timing issue, given this past week there was, you know, this deadline to impose new sanctions and the Trump administration essentially said we're not going to impose new sanctions coming right after this meeting with Pompeo. Is there anything suspicious about that?
VINOGRAD: I don't -- I don't personally think so. I think that having worked at the CIA for almost a decade, I think that they're incredibly professional. And I don't think we've heard anything to discount that. I think that Mike Pompeo, as Bob mentioned, has been on record talking about Russian interference in the election, despite the fact that President Trump hasn't. He's talked about the fact that we're exposed in the 2018 election. So I think that it may have been a coincidence.
We had this January 29th deadline for the administration to deliver a report to Congress about whether entities around the world have reduced business with designated Russian entities. That report went forward. We did not see the imposition of new sanctions.
[20:45:01] I did hear that entities and countries that have agreed to major arms deals with Russia have agreed in private not to go forward, and I think that that's really valuable information that will start to come out.
CABRERA: It sounds also positive that is a --
VINOGRAD: It could be. It could be.
VINOGRAD: -- are somehow not needing the sanctions in that regard.
Thank you very much, Samantha Vinograd and Bob Baer. I appreciate both of you and your expertise.
Now the United Nations says North Korea is thumbing its nose at sanctions and pocketing millions of dollars in the process. CNN exclusive report next.
[20:50:01] CABRERA: Consider this, according to the United Nations, Kim Jong-un's North Korea is financing its nuclear ambitions by racking up nearly $200 million in elicit income. Just last year, they've been ignoring sanctions and exporting banned goods, the U.N. says.
Here is a short list of what North Korea has allegedly been up to. Falsifying domes to sell coal to China, Malaysia, Russia and Vietnam. Selling weapons to Syria and Myanmar. And now according to an exclusive CNN investigative report, David McKenzie takes us to Mozambique, where Kim's regime is busting sanctions through military and fishing deals.
Here is what David and his team found.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tracking the elicit funding of a rogue nuclear state. A months-long investigation leads us to a fishing boat in Maputo, Mozambique.
(On camera): Just be careful. Hello? Can we talk to someone?
(Voice-over): We uncover sanctions busting caught in the act.
(On camera): So there are two North Korean fishermen here in the boat. They don't want us to talk to them. And they've stuck this boat between two others. It's pretty well-hidden.
(Voice-over): The captain locks himself away with good reason. Illegal fishing operations generate significant cash for Pyongyang's nuclear missile program, say U.S. officials.
Yes, the crew are all Koreans, this Mozambican crewman tells us.
(On camera): Hi. Can we come up? All right. So the captain of the ship is on the phone with someone. I think it's wise that we get out of here, actually.
(Voice-over): Kim Jong-un's ultimate aim is to develop a viable nuclear-tipped missile, threatening to strike cities across the United States. But these sanctions are biting and the Trump administration is taking a tougher stance.
They're scouring the globe to generate cash. 7,500 miles from Pyongyang, they found a willing partner. One of 11 African countries United Nations is investigating for sanctions violations. From the channel, we can easily spot the rusting boats.
(On camera): So that's the Susan I and that's the Susan II. Our investigations show that these shrimping strollers are a part of a lucrative joint venture between the Mozambican and the North Koreans.
(Voice-over): Illegal as of last August and there are more sinister links than just a few fishing boats. Investigators are tracking it all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Surface-to-air missiles, manned portable surface- to-air missiles, military radar, air defense systems, the refurbishment of tanks. It's a long list.
MCKENZIE: Pyongyang exporting its deadly expertise for hard cash, even to Mozambique's remote interior. Bolstering military installations like this, the U.N. says, Training elite forces for at least two years, military sources tell us. All of it under sanctions for more than a decade.
So how do they keep their operations secret? The trail leads us to one of Maputo's busiest avenues.
(On camera): So according to documents, this is the headquarters of the North Korean trade emissary here in Maputo.
(Voice-over): Reviewed by CNN, the documents name a shadowy front company called Haegeumgang. In 2017, the U.N. revealed that it helped funnel at least $6 million in military contracts to Pyongyang.
(On camera): Hi, how are you, sir?
(Voice-over): Some Asians were living here. They left three or four months ago, says the property agent. Nobody could tell us where they went.
(On camera): Are there still North Koreans in Mozambique?
(Voice-over): Yes, we have some here cooperating in social and technical fields, he says, which is not against sanctions that were declared by the United Nations. He says they are implementing sanctions. We saw clear violations.
Defense Ministry officials refused to be interviewed by CNN or answer our questions.
(On camera): Has Mozambique been complying with the U.N. sanctions?
(Voice-over): "I cannot say at this moment," he says. "I don't have detailed information on the question you're asking." The U.N. is waiting for answers from Mozambique, a country risking
hundreds of millions in U.S. aid to help Kim Jong-un find ways to fund his nuclear ambitions.
David McKenzie, CNN, Maputo, Mozambique.
CABRERA: One more note now from overseas, militants in Syria managed to shoot down a Russian fighter jet today. It's been confirmed by the Russian military, and this video is reportedly the burning wreckage of that plane. A Russian SU-25.
It happened near the city of Idlib. A part of Syria fully controlled by militant groups fighting against the Syrian government.
[20:55:05] Witnesses say the pilot parachuted out but was then killed by rebels on the ground.
We'll be right back.
CABRERA: Dennis Edwards, the lead voice behind some of The Temptations' biggest hits, has died. His agent told CNN Edwards suffered from a long illness. The Grammy winner joined The Temptations in 1968. He sang some of their mega hits, including the iconic "Papa was a Rolling Stone" and "I Can't Get Next to You." Dennis Edwards would have turned 75 today.
That's going to do it for me. Thank you for watching. I'll be back here at 5:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. "THE NINETIES" starts right now. Good night.