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Trump: Kim Will 'Get Protections' If He Makes Nuke Deal; Trump on 1-Year Anniversary of Mueller Probe: It's a 'Witch Hunt'; Court Allows Lawsuit Against Trump to Proceed; GOP Revolt May Force Vote On Protecting Young Immigrants; Trump: Kim Will Get Protections If He Makes A Nuke Deal. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 17, 2018 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[17:00:08] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. North Korea protection. The president says preparations are still under way for a summit with Kim Jong-un. Is he now offering the North Korean dictator protection in exchange for a nuclear deal?

Mueller mandate. One year into his investigation the special counsel provides a federal judge with a Justice Department memo laying out the full scope of his authority. Is Robert Mueller just getting started?

"Disgusting" and "illegal." President Trump marks the anniversary by calling the probe a disgusting, illegal witch hunt and suggests the FBI under President Obama used an informant to spy on his campaign.

And deposition possible. A judge lets a former "Apprentice" contestant's defamation suit against President Trump proceed. Does that mean the president could be forced to answer her allegations under oath?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

Breaking news, President Trump says plans are still in the works for a meeting with Kim Jong-un, and he say the North Korean dictator could stay in power if he gives up his nuclear weapons program.

I'll speak with Congressman Joaquin Castro of the Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. And our correspondents and specialists, they are standing by with full coverage.

Let's begin with our senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, the president seems to be promising the North Korean dictator he ca stay in power if he gives up his nukes.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Wolf.

That is exactly what the president said in the Oval Office today, reassuring Kim Jong-un that he would remain in power if he abandoned that nuclear program and offering a warning if he didn't. Now, all of this is coming as the president very much wants this

summit to happen. But we did hear today the president begin tempering his words, placing blame on North Korea if it falls apart, not the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The best thing he could ever do is to make a deal.

ZELENY (voice-over): President Trump trying to keep his summit with Kim Jong-un alive tonight, gently urging the North Korean leader against backing away from landmark nuclear talks in Singapore.

TRUMP: We're willing to do a lot, and he's willing to, I think, do a lot, also. And I think we'll actually have a good relationship, assuming we have the meeting and assuming something comes of it. And he'll get protections that will be very strong.

ZELENY: The president not saying what protections he's prepared to offer North Korea if it abandons its nuclear program. But he contradicted national security adviser John Bolton, standing only a few feet away in the Oval Office, who suggested Libya could serve as a template for disarming North Korea.

JOHN BOLTON, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I think we're looking at the Libya model of 2003, 2004.

ZELENY: That comment angered Pyongyang, considering Libya's leader, Moammar Gadhafi, was killed in 2011.

TRUMP: If you look at that model with Gadhafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him. Now, that model would take place if we don't make a deal, most likely. But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy. I really believe he's going to be very happy.

ZELENY: The president offered a measured response to North Korea's threat to call off next month's historic meeting, suggesting everything is on track.

TRUMP: We may have the meeting. We may not have the meeting. If we don't have it, that will be very interesting. We'll see what happens.

ZELENY: But the president also wondering whether China and a broader trade dispute is behind North Korea's abrupt decision to move the goal post for the talks.

TRUMP: I have a feeling, however, that for various reasons, maybe including trade, because they've never had this problem before -- China has never had this problem with us -- it could very well be that he's influencing Kim Jong-un. We'll see what happens. Meaning, the president of China, President Xi, could be influencing Kim Jong-un.

ZELENY: The president was less interested in taking questions today about the Russia investigation. Canceling a formal press conference with the NATO secretary-general as he visited the White House.

The president had plenty to say on twitter. Marking what he called the second year of "the greatest witch hunt in American history."

At the White House briefing today, we asked press secretary Sarah Sanders about that message.

(on camera): This morning the president marked the one-year anniversary of the Mueller investigation saying it's disgusting, illegal, unwarranted and a witch hunt. But his own FBI director yesterday said it's not a witch hunt. Does the president -- why does the White House believe it's a witch hunt, and why did he cancel his news conference this afternoon, which was originally set for 3 p.m.?

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Different topics. The president knows that there was no collusion in the campaign. And he has been quite clear about this. It's gone on for over a year. They've found no evidence of collusion. And still strongly believe that it's a witch hunt.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[17:05:06] ZELENY: Now, that has been a soundtrack of the White House and advisers to the president for most of the last year: "There's been no evidence of collusion or obstruction of justice."

But Wolf, that simply is not true. That is the point of the investigation that, indeed, is ongoing. But even as we enter the second year of this investigation, one question remains unanswered here tonight. Will the president still sit down with Bob Mueller -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Good point. Jeff Zeleny at the White House, thank you.

The president and his advisers are complaining that the Russia investigation has simply gone on too long, but at this one-year mark, the special counsel's authority is becoming clear.

We're joined by our CNN political correspondent Sara Murray and our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto.

Jim, first to you. Mueller's team has now given a federal judge a document showing, outlining the full authority of his mission.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's remember exactly what that language says. It says that the special counsel can investigate any coordination or links between Trump campaign aides and the Russian government.

In addition to that, any issues that arise as a direct result of that investigation. Keep in mind that so far, a year in, there are already 22 indictments, 5 guilty pleas. There's been one prison sentence put on, and that's just in the first year while continuing -- the special counsel continuing other lines of inquiry, as well.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Tonight, one year into Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, a federal judge has the full, unredacted memo outlining the parameters of the probe.

Written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last year, the publicly available portion of the memo instructs the special counsel to investigate, quote, "any coordination or links between the Russian government and Trump campaign aides," as well as, quote, "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation."

The memo was requested by the judge overseeing the case against Paul Manafort in Virginia to determine what charges, if any, the court should throw out. This week, a federal judge in D.C., overseeing the other Manafort case, threw out Manafort's motion to dismiss saying, quote, "The special counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government."

Still, despite 22 indictments and 5 guilty pleas, the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the president himself continue to argue the special counsel's investigation should end.

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: Mueller should now bring this to a close. It's been a year. He's gotten 1.4 million documents. He's interviewed 28 witnesses. And he has nothing, which is why he wants to bring the president into an interview. And we're demanding from him, "Tell us what you have to get from an interview that you don't already have."

SCIUTTO: Giuliani told CNN Wednesday that Mueller has informed the president's legal team he does not believe he can indict a sitting president.

GIULIANI: It would violate the Justice Department policies, and he is specifically appointed under those policies, so he has to follow those. So we could go to court and challenge anything that he did that was violative of those policies.

SCIUTTO: This is based on rules long established by the Justice Department dating back to Watergate and later reaffirmed during the Lewinski scandal.

However, should an extraordinary circumstance arise, Mueller can still request a special exemption from Rosenstein.

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If the special counsel found substantial evidence of criminal wrongdoing, he could either, one, write it in a report and give it to the attorney general or, two, ask the attorney general for an exemption from the OLC policy so that he could indict while the president is in office.

SCIUTTO: Giuliani has also implied that, because the president cannot be indicted, he also cannot be forced to answer questions from Mueller.

GIULIANI: We're pretty comfortable that in the circumstances of this case, they wouldn't be able to subpoena him personally.

SCIUTTO: But the law may not support Giuliani's claim.

ZELDIN: The law since United States versus Nixon is pretty clear that the president has no choice but to testify when given a grand jury subpoena except if he exerts executive privilege and a court finds it to be relevant, or he asserts personally his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

SCIUTTO: Through it all, Mueller keeps pushing his probe forward, in an office described by a witness already interviewed by his team as all business.

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: It's a very nondescript, ugly government office with a bunch of locks on the door. The furniture is all second or third-hand. They're all business over there. They're not looking for any luxury.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: Giuliani has also repeatedly made the point that, if there is no indictment, that the special counsel would just, in effect, present a report. But keep in mind, he would then present that report, if there's something there, to Congress, to both parties in Congress. That's exactly how things proceeded in the Clinton investigation, which led to impeachment charges. He was not convicted but led to impeachment, and that is still a possibility hanging over the president.

[17:10:12] BLITZER: Certainly is.

All right. You know, Sara, there's -- on this first anniversary, you've been doing a lot of reporting on what it's like for the witnesses who are actually called to testify before Mueller's investigators.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, we know that Robert Mueller's team is very quiet about this. They're certainly not out there doing press conferences. And when they do decide they want to bring someone in, even if that's someone who wants to walk through the front door in full view of the media already, they really discourage them from doing this. And instead, they sit up a rendezvous point somewhere else, and Mueller's team will come and pick up the witness in a car with tinted windows. They have this roving fleet of different cars they'll use.

And they'll whisk the witnesses over to their offices, down stairs through a parking garage and then they bring the witnesses sort of upstairs, where they're waiting in this kind of drab waiting room.

You know, one of the things that we have heard from people who have been in and other people familiar with this situation is they're shocked by the amount of information Bob Mueller's team already has. They have, you know, e-mails and calendars. They're able to create detailed timelines of events. So when they're being asked about information, you know, Mueller's team can come back to them and say, "Well, wait, according to, you know, what we know, you actually, for instance, had dinner here."

BLITZER: Sara, give us some color on the Mueller team and how they're actually working.

MURRAY: So it's a -- it's an ugly government office building like you heard Michael Caputo say there. He's been in to meet with Mueller, and they're basically working like you would expect any Washington bureaucrat to work. They just have a much more secretive, more sensitive mission. You know, when you go into these buildings, it's pretty drab. The furniture is mismatched. You know, as Michael Caputo said there, it looks like it's sort of second or third-hand.

And the bureaucrats kind of keep their schedules. They go out during the middle of the day for lunch. They stop at a Mexican food truck. They stop at a popcorn food truck. There's also a lunchroom that was described to me as pretty sad. And they said it kind of smells like Hot Pockets. So, you know, kind of what you would expect from your sort of government stiffs, just like I said, with a very secret mission.

BLITZER: No $100,000 dining-room sets or anything along those lines.

It's one year into this investigation, and you've been doing a lot of reporting on this, Jim, as well. So what can we anticipate? How much longer are they going to go on?

SCIUTTO: Listen, a favorite talking point in the White House -- you heard it here again today from Sarah Sanders, is there's no evidence of collusion. The fact is, we don't know the answer to that question. So far, the crimes charged that have been charged have not been for collusion or conspiracy, what would actually be the criminal charge. They've been for things like money laundering and lying.

But keep in mind that several of those guilty pleas involve people who would be party to or privy to evidence of coordination with Russians. George Papadopoulos, who bragged about knowing that Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, for instance. Michael Flynn, who was in on several conversations with Russian officials. So those questions are not closed.

We don't know the question to the question as to whether Robert Mueller has found evidence of coordination between Trump campaign and Russian government officials. We do know that he has useful witnesses in determining the answer to those questions.

BLITZER: And we do know he knows so much more than any of us know about this investigation.

SCIUTTO: Absolutely.

BLITZER: We only know a tiny, tiny bit.

SCIUTTO: And cooperating witnesses who face the threat of jail time, if they don't tell the truth -- if they don't tell the truth.

BLITZER: Jim Sciutto, Sara Murray. Guys, thanks very much. Joining us now, Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas. He's

a member of both the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us. Let's get to Rudy Giuliani, the president's new lawyer. He seems to be arguing that if the president can't be indicted, a sitting president, he says was told by Mueller can't be indicted, a sitting president can't -- if he can't be indicted, he also can't be compelled to testify either. Is that a fair assessment?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: Well, as your reporters mentioned, he could actually get an exemption to not indicting the president. But putting that aside for a second, an indictment and being compelled to give testimony as a witness are two very different things.

So most of all, Donald Trump owes it to the American people to go sit down in front of Bob Mueller and answer questions about what happened in the 2016 elections and whether there was any collusion with Russians and all of these other associated issues on obstruction of justice and money laundering that have come up.

BLITZER: Do you believe the special counsel should be required to prove that the president possesses what's described as unique information that can't be gathered elsewhere in order to compel his testimony with a subpoena?

CASTRO: No. I think the president is not above the law. No president is above the law, and he should be treated like another grand jury witness.

BLITZER: But do you think a sitting president of the United States can be indicted? I'll point out what Rod Rosenstein said only a couple of weeks ago. He said it's the position of the Department of Justice, the Department of Justice, he says, quote, "has opined that a sitting president cannot be indicted."

CASTRO: Well, I guess I would put it this way. If the special counsel finds that there is significant evidence of criminal activity that involves the president of the United States, it's going to be very strange for the country to not indict the president.

BLITZER: Well, what should the bar be?

CASTRO: I think if there is significant evidence of criminal activity, then I think he should.

BLITZER: Well, they can always -- the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, after he gets a report from the special counsel, he can always submit that report to the House of Representatives, where you guys have the authority to begin impeach proceedings.

CASTRO: Sure. And of course, those are two very different proceedings. One, you're talking about a criminal prosecution. The other one, you're talking about removing a president from office through impeachment. That, of course, is -- basically a political solution. And I would hope that if that evidence comes out, that this body would pursue it, but that remains to be seen.

BLITZER: Rudy Giuliani suggested on FOX News last night that collusion is not even a crime. He said opposition research is legal, and he added this. It's legal even, in his words -- even if it comes from a Russian or a German or an American. It doesn't matter. What do you make of that?

CASTRO: I think Rudy Giuliani is trying to make any excuse that he can for his client, who is getting more and more desperate. The fact is, there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians who interfered with our 2016 elections. The secret meetings; the fact that Roger Stone, for example, knew ahead of time about the e-mail -- the Clinton e-mail dump; the Trump Tower meeting where the top, top campaign people, including Donald Trump Jr. from the campaign were meeting with Russians who ahead of time basically said they had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

So really the only question, Wolf, is not whether there was collusion or not; there was collusion. It's how consequential that collusion was.

BLITZER: We'll find out at some point.

Let me get your quick reaction to some of the breaking news right now. The U.S. Senate has just voted to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director. She was a controversial choice, as you know, given her involvement in the Bush era enhanced interrogation or torture programs. But this is a big win for the president.

You sit on the House Intelligence Committee. Do you think Gina Haspel will be an effective director over at the CIA?

CASTRO: Well, now that she's been confirmed, I certainly hope that she will be. I would have voted no on her confirmation. I think that she looked the other way, at best, at torture and then helped cover it up. So I think the CIA had somebody better to offer. But now that she's confirmed, I hope that she will stick to what she said in her confirmation hearings, which is that she won't allow the CIA to engage in that kind of conduct again.

BLITZER: Congressman Castro, thanks for joining us.

CASTRO: Thank you.

BLITZER: Up next, a judge rules that a former "Apprentice" contestant's defamation case against President Trump can, indeed, move forward. Will the president now be forced to give sworn testimony?

And the lawyer for Stormy Daniels says more women have come forward claiming hush-money payments for affairs with Donald Trump. And he says their stories add up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:20:57] BLITZER: President Trump could suddenly be facing new legal jeopardy. A New York court has denied his bid to delay a lawsuit by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, who alleges then-candidate Trump defamed her after she accused him of groping her.

Our national correspondent Athena Jones is in New York working the story for us. Athena, should the president be worried?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Well, perhaps he should be.

The judge's ruling, allowing the gathering of evidence to proceed in this case is certainly not good news for the president. It's particularly significant, because Zervos's legal team made some important requests. They subpoenaed the campaign for Zervos-related records months ago. And just in the last couple of weeks, Zervos's attorney has subpoenaed two companies, MGM Studios and the Beverly Hills Hotel. MGM owns the archives of "The Apprentice," and Zervos's attorney wants them to hand over all documents, all video or radio recordings that feature Summer Zervos or Trump talking about Summer Zervos, or Trump talking about any woman in a sexual or inappropriate manner, and that includes female "Apprentice" candidates or potential candidates from any season of the show.

Zervos's attorney also wants records from the Beverly Hills hotel of any stay by Trump during a four-year period ending in 2009. She wants records of Trump's stays, also Zervos's stays and records of any stays of two of Trump's long-time aides. And she wants video of the common areas and entrances and bungalow areas from the month of 2007 -- December 2007. That's when Zervos says she was assaulted by Trump.

The companies have two months to -- till the end of this month to respond to that request. And it's important to note these "Apprentice" tapes are significant because, you know, we all remember the "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump is heard bragging about sexually assaulting women. Are there going to be similar comments on these "Apprentice" tapes?

And then, of course, the biggest challenge in all of this, all of this gathering of evidence, is the fact that we expect Summer Zervos's team to ask to depose the president. We know that Trump has a problem with making inaccurate statements quite often and that it was lying under oath that got President Clinton into so much trouble in the 1990s.

BLITZER: And I take it there may be, at least according to Stormy Daniels's attorney, other women now with claims against Donald Trump. What are you hearing on that?

JONES: Right. Well, Michael Avenatti has mentioned other women in the past, and he did so again in an interview this morning on MSNBC. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: They are not fully vetted, but there's at least two that I think are on solid ground. And I think that, as the evidence rolls out over the coming months, disclosures are going to be made that my client was not alone as it relates to these payments; that Michael Cohen was not a 24-hour 7-day a week fixer for the sole purpose of taking care of Stormy Daniels. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two women who allege that they have agreements

with Michael Cohen or Donald Trump?

AVENATTI: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And women who claim to have had affairs or sex with Donald Trump?

AVENATTI: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And these women, are they part of a -- larger payments?

AVENATTI: I'm sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did they have larger payments paid to them, larger than $130,000?

AVENATTI: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: And so, Avenatti made these sorts of claims before. It sounds like he's further along in the vetting process. But he hasn't offered any evidence or any further details, and it wasn't clear in that interview this morning that these women are going to be -- are going to want to come forward publicly -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Athena Jones reporting for us. Thank you.

Coming up, President Trump suggests that during the Obama administration the FBI used an informant to spy on his campaign. Where did he come up with that?

And one year into the Russia investigation, the president marks the occasion by calling it a witch hunt. But is Special Counsel Mueller just getting started?

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:29:12] BLITZER: Our breaking news on this. the first anniversary of the appointment of the special counsel, Robert Mueller. The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, this afternoon stood by the president's latest very angry tweet calling this a disgusting, illegal and unwarranted witch hunt.

Let's bring in our correspondents and experts. And Joey Jackson, Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer, is suggesting that, if you can't indict a sitting president, you also can't compel a sitting president to testify. What do you think?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I disagree with the reasoning but let's start from the beginning. In terms of compelling a sitting president to testify, there's

language in the decision by the office that put out the decision on you not indicting the president. And essentially, what the language says is that there's a difference between compelling a president to appear and the Nixon decision where it was tapes that was compelled. The question of whether a president could be compelled to appear anyplace has not yet been answered.

[17:30:00]

Having said that, the issue then becomes if you do compel and that you are allowed to compel a president to appear, does the President have to say anything? So, I agree with the notion that a president can take the Fifth like anybody else, but you cannot conflate the issue of on the one hand a President being a criminal defendant, which you cannot be because you cannot indict a sitting President on the one hand, and on other hand, a President being required to participate in the judicial process.

BLITZER: Yes, remember, they threatened to subpoena Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky matter, but he -- before that subpoena actually went forward, he agreed voluntarily to go ahead and appear before that grand jury.

JACKSON: Exactly.

BLITZER: And Dana, you had a chance to talk to Rudy Giuliani. Why is Giuliani putting all this out right now?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, ever since he was brought on to the team, he very clearly, very transparently has said that he wants to try to change the narrative for the President. That's number one. And number two, it's sort of more internally, made the President feel more comfortable that he has somebody who is a lot like him out kind of doing his messaging. And that is -- that has dictated how Giuliani deals with the press and deals with Robert Mueller's office and deals probably with the President. And what is the message supposed to be? The message is supposed to be the President's OK. We're OK. He's not going to be in trouble. So, by saying, he's not going to be -- he can't be indicted, a sitting President can't be indicted. Certainly, the notion or the interpretation could be, well, he's not in trouble but we know and we reported as we got this news just because the President or anybody is -- can't be indicted, doesn't mean that they're out of the woods. And that is certainly the case for Donald Trump.

BLITZER: You know, Bianna, the -- Giuliani knows Mueller isn't going to respond to all the stuff that he's saying. So, is this simply a public relations strategy that we're seeing right now from Rudy Giuliani?

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it makes Dana's reporting even that much more important because both sides, those who think that this is a witch hunt and agree with the President and those who believe that the Mueller investigation is valid and legitimate can say, you know, we've got good news. For those who think that it's a witch hunt, they say, you know what, he can't be indicted. Thus, he probably won't be forced to be interviewed and won't have to speak with Mueller. And obviously, it hasn't affected his poll numbers within his base that much. Those who were in the camp of this being a valid investigation can probably be less concerned now about the President firing Rosenstein or firing Mueller, because at the end of the day, the President would feel that there's not as much pressure on him. The pressure could, in fact, be on Rod Rosenstein again, because if it is true, then it all comes down to a report that Mueller will submit to him what's in that report and what Rosenstein does with it, is even more pressing.

BLITZER: You know, Kaitlan, on this, the first anniversary of the Mueller investigation, the President this morning tweeted this, "Congratulations, America. We are now into the second year of the greatest witch hunt in American history and there is still no collusion and no obstruction. The only collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an election despite the spending of far more money. Despite the disgusting, illegal, and unwanted witch hunt, we have had the most successful first 17 month administration in U.S. history, by far. Sorry to the fake news media and haters, but that's the way it is." You have been doing a lot of reporting on this. Take us inside the President's mind-set right now.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the President is angry. He's been angry about this investigation for a year now, but his anger has grown a lot in the last few weeks, and we've really seen that with -- especially his strategy with his legal team. He's been very frustrated with his legal team that they haven't wrapped this investigation up yet. Now, he's got Rudy Giuliani here who seems to be causing more problems for the President than he is helping, but the President does like him, and I do think that Rudy's defenses of the President do seem to soothe him a bit. But we've seen the White House try to prevent the President from talking about this at all lately. They're saying it's not a distraction, it's not bothering him, and then, he sends out three tweets this morning seething about this behind closed doors.

And though he's been very measured today about North Korea offering his restrained responses, we know that he was supposed to have a press conference with the secretary general from NATO today and that got scrapped. One of the reasons it was canceled was because they didn't want the President being pressed with questions on the one year anniversary about the Mueller investigation while his legal team is trying to wrap things up. So, they're trying to keep the President as quiet as possible about the Mueller investigation, but clearly when he's alone in the residence in the mornings, they can't even keep him from tweeting about it as his anger about this continues to grow.

BLITZER: And Joey, take a look at some of these numbers. One year into this investigation, the special counsel probe 75 combined criminal charges, 22 people and companies charged, five guilty pleas, one person sentenced already. It started a year ago. Look at -- look at those numbers, what does it say to you?

JACKSON: Well, you know, you never can tell, Wolf. When an investigation begins, what's going to happen, right? What the course of the investigation will take, where it would go, how many people would be charged, how many guilty pleas will be, you know, gotten by the special counsel. But I think the critical issue is what we're all waiting for which is the issue of collusion. If you look at the people who have pled guilty to date, it is been for lying, right? And it really interests me when we talk about lying, and you can't lie to the FBI. It's obviously a crime. Those five, you look at Gates, Papadopoulos, Flynn, on down the lying. All five, it's lying. I think everyone is waiting to see what the collusion issue will be and it's just amazes me how no matter how many lies the President himself tells, right, his poll numbers continue to stay the same. And so, I don't know, you know, as the masses does it not matter if you lie? So, we see the lying play out with regard to the special counsel investigation. I think the next shoe to drop will be the nexus and the connection between the campaign if any and any collusion with Russia.

BLITZER: And quickly, Bianna, what do you think?

GOLODRYGA: Well, I do from time to time wonder if Mueller -- if he is watching any of this news reporting -- thinks that, wow, this is so six months ago because he's always one or two or three or four or five steps ahead of everything that our great reporters have been able to uncover. And so, it goes back to the question of what else does Mueller know? Obviously, he knows a lot more. Look at all the indictments that have gone down over the past year. Look at all of the guilty pleas and all of the circle close to the President, and obviously, he's not done yet so there's more to come.

BASH: And Wolf, Sara Murray, Evan Perez, and I contributed to a story at -- we've done on CNN.com which really does show the dichotomy here. We're talking about the public relations strategy, the political strategy because that is the arena in which the President lives and works and needs to deal. And you have Robert Mueller who has with his team over the past year been dealing very methodically, very quietly, and very, very tight-lipped.

BLITZER: We got to take a quick break, but there's a lot more news coming up. A closer look at Kim Jong-un's tactics and North Koreans latest threats to cancel the summit with the President paying off.

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BLITZER: We're following a surprising revolt among some moderate Republicans up on Capitol Hill. They're trying to force a vote on a controversial bill to protect the so-called DREAMers, the young undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children and could face deportation. Our Political Director David Chalian is with us, but let's go up to Capitol Hill, our Congressional Correspondent Phil Mattingly is watching where all of this is unfolding. Where do things stand, Phil, right now?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as you know quite well, the U.S. House is structured in a way that where the majority really has a hammerlock on everything. The agenda, what comes to the floor, what bills are considered, that, at this very moment, is hanging by a thread. As you noted, it's because of a small group of moderate Republicans, who have essentially decided that the lack of action on the DACA program, on the 700,000 DACA individuals who are currently hanging in limbo, has forced their hand. And 20 as of now that have signed on to the effort to move legislation forward if they get all of the Democrats to support them and a few more Republicans can actually force a vote on something that to this point they have not been able to get to the floor and Republican leadership hasn't been willing to consider.

Now, Wolf, there's a lot of reasons why this is actually moving forward, but the bottom line here is this. These are Republicans, Moderate Republicans, joining with Democrats who are frustrated by a process that simply hasn't worked. We obviously saw this issue in the Senate, it did not move anywhere. We've seen where the President is on DACA and immigration. There's been no clear path forward to a resolution that actually gets signed into law, but for these moderates, the option was do nothing at all or push for something no matter -- if they don't have an end game. They chose, at least at this point, the latter, Wolf.

BLITZER: So, what's the Republican leadership saying about all of this?

MATTINGLY: Look, publicly and privately, they are not pleased at all. I'm told behind the scenes, they've been twisting arms, they've been making phone calls, they've been making the case. Both on the political side and on the policy side, this is a loser. Take a listen to what Speaker Ryan had to say this morning.

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REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The question is can we get legislation to the floor? That has a chance of making the law. I don't think it's -- I think it's futile to bring a discharge through which would guarantee nothing goes in the law.

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MATTINGLY: Now, Wolf, let me take you behind the scenes of what's actually going on right now. Republican leadership has been huddling both with Moderate Republican members and with Conservative members trying to find a path forward that essentially puts this to bed. Doesn't force them to have to deal with this, kind of, almost -- as the speaker calls it Democrats taking control of the House floor. The negotiations are still fluid. There's no end game to them at the moment. But basically, they're trying to take up a conservative proposal. One that would address many of President Trump's four pillars on immigration, sharp limits to legal immigration, the wall, and also, some protections, limited protections for those DACA recipients, while also giving the moderates their opportunity for a vote. That is the pathway leaders think they can have to actually avoid this from happening. The bottom line here remains the same, Wolf. There's no clear pathway to the White House for this. I'm actually told the White House has told Republican leaders, this is your problem, we're not negotiating on this right now, Wolf.

BLITZER: Interesting. Phil Mattingly up on Capitol Hill. Let's get the insights now of our Political Director David Chalian. David, it seems to be a pretty huge gamble for these Republican Moderates.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It is gamble in the sense that they're bucking their leadership and there maybe a price to pay for doing so if they don't get what they want. But what they see, of course, Wolf, is a bigger gamble, which is with the voters back home. This is what we call like an 80/20 issue. The American people have made their voice pretty well clear on DACA and wanting some kind of continuation of the program, protection for DACA, perhaps, even a pathway to citizenship. If you are to line up the 20 Republicans that have signed up with this against the map of the midterms and vulnerable Republicans or Republicans who are retiring and no longer fear the political consequences of bucking their leadership, you can come up with a very a similar list. These are the Republicans that are going to define for Paul Ryan, for Kevin McCarthy, whether or not they stay in the majority or not. They're the most vulnerable and they're signing on to this because they believe not only does the issue work for them, but they need to go back home and tell voters that they actually got something done.

BLITZER: You think Trump, the President Trump wants this fight?

CHALIAN: I don't -- I think that the President has been all over the map on this issue. You recall him sitting in the cabinet room with the bi-partisan group of Senators. You recall where he was throughout the entire campaign. Here's the problem for the President. He took the hard-line immigration position in the Republican primary, carried it through the general, and still won the White House. So, he is not afraid of the politics of this because of his own experience. What he wants no part of, as Phil was just saying, is this internal battle with House Republicans up on Capitol Hill. He thinks that's Paul Ryan's to solve, he doesn't look at all eager to get involved about whether or not this charged petition actually comes the floor.

BLITZER: Yes, and Paul Ryan says that even if it passed the House, the DACA legislation, passed the Senate, the President would veto it. So, why waste everybody's time. Is that fair?

CHALIAN: That is a fair assessment of Paul Ryan's message. It's also probably a truism. I think these members who are on the bill like this and in supportive of this, they think it's worth the time because they want to be able to go back home and say, we tried to get something done on an issue you say you care about.

BLITZER: All right. Thank you so much. We're going to continue to watch that story, as well. Coming up, Special Counsel Robert Mueller tips his hand about what he's investigating. Stand by. What we've learned from newly filed federal court papers.

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BLITZER: This afternoon over at the White House, the President said preparations for summit with Kim Jong-un remain underway despite this week's threats by the North Koreans to cancel the meeting. Let's bring in CNN's Brian Todd. Brian, the President made some interesting offers to the North Koreans today. BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the President really made some jarring promises today. He said that Kim and his country could become very rich if they made a deal with the U.S. And in his most extraordinary offer, Mr. Trump seemed to almost guarantee that Kim Jong-un would stay in power if the right agreement is made.

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TODD: After ominous messages and outright threats from the volatile North Korean leader about pulling out of a summit with President Trump, the President late today offered a possible carrot to Kim Jong- un.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He'll get protections that will be very strong.

TODD: Analysts say this could be the kind of security that the North Korean leader values most.

PATRICIA KIM, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I think it could mean that the United States is willing to offer a guarantee to North Korea that it will not engage in regime change.

TODD: In recent days, the North Koreans said if they were forced into a corner to unilaterally abandon their nuclear weapons, then, they wouldn't be interested in a dialogue with Trump. But tonight, the President's aides tell CNN they believe Kim is posturing, and they don't think the summit is in jeopardy. If this is bluster, a key question in Washington tonight is why. What is Kim hoping to extract ahead of a summit?

KIM: I think Kim Jong-un is trying to send a message that his road map for denuclearization is a step by step synchronous approach where, you know, he gives one concession, we give another concession.

TODD: Analysts say the North Korean threat to pull out of the summit seems like an old school move by the Kim family. Something Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, would do.

KEN GAUSE, NORTH KOREA LEADERSHIP EXPERT, CNA: His father's, basically, negotiating strategy was very tactical. He was moving -- was getting short term concessions from the international community.

TODD: Experts say despite recent suggestions by Kim that he wants to strike a deal with the west, he may ultimately only be focused on a deal that guarantees that he can save himself and the dynasty into which he was born.

GAUSE: Kim has two basic bottom lines and two objectives that overrule every other objective that he has, and it guides all of his decision making. One is regime survival, the other is perpetuation of Kim family rule. And whatever outcome of this summit with the United States would have to guarantee that both those objectives are protected.

TODD: If those objectives aren't protected, some suggest Kim Jong-un could back out of his scheduled face to face with Trump. Although, it could now prove to be more difficult.

KIM: Kim Jong-un could choose to pull out, but I'm convinced that he wouldn't have made overtures over the last couple of months to the United States, to South Korea, to China, just to walk away at the last minute.

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TODD: So, what are the consequences for Kim if he does walk away from the summit? Analysts say there are voices in the White House like John Bolton's who may want to go back to the tougher posture with North Korea, which could include considering a first strike. But America is risking consequences of its own, like a more aggressive North Korea, and the possibility that South Korea will be so upset by all of it that it will want to scale back its security alliance with the U.S. Wolf?

BLITZER: Lots at stake, Brian. Thanks very much.

Coming up, new information on Michael Cohen's confidential financial records. What prompted a whistle-blower to step forward? I'll speak with Ronan Farrow who broke the story in The New Yorker.

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BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Protecting Kim Jong-un. President Trump is still planning on a historic summit, tries to reassure the North Korean dictator by promising, quote, protections that will be very strong.

Clearly a witch hunt. Exactly one year after it began, President Trump lashes out at Robert Mueller's Russia investigation as the special counsel reveals the full scope of this authority to a federal judge spy accusation.