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Interview With California Congressman John Garamendi; Mueller Indicts 12 Russian Intelligence Officers for Election Interference; Will Trump Still Meet With Putin?. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 13, 2018 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:03]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: breaking news: 12 Russians indicted. The Justice Department reveals the most detailed evidence yet of Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election, as stunning new criminal charges are announced in the Mueller probe.

Vast Kremlin conspiracy. Prosecutors allege an extensive scheme within Vladimir Putin's own military to break into Clinton campaign computers, spy on Democrats, and steal e-mails and voter data.

Tonight, President Trump is under enormous pressure to confront Putin or call off their summit next week.

Perry Mason moment. Mr. Trump says he will bring up election meddling, but doesn't expect Putin to suddenly confess like you might see in an old TV drama. Democrats and some Republicans say they're worried about what might happen if the two men meet alone.

And diplomatic disaster. The indictment was announced as the president was in Britain meeting the queen and trying to walk back his criticism of the prime minister. Will the Putin summit turn things around or make matters worse?

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We're following breaking news on the indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of a sustained campaign to interfere with U.S. democracy in the 2016 election. We're getting new information about how investigators infiltrated the Russian hacking operation at the very highest levels, this as the White House and the Kremlin appear to be on the same page in their response to the indictments, insisting that next week's Putin-Trump summit will go on as planned.

I will get reaction from Democratic Congressman John Garamendi and former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara. And our correspondents and analysts are also standing by.

First, let's go to our Justice Department, Jessica Schneider.

Jessica, this new indictment in the Mueller probe is very, very detailed.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, Wolf. It spells out the great lengths 12 Russian intelligence officers allegedly took to hack Democratic e-mail accounts and then blast out those e-mails on Web sites those Russians created.

And while those Russian officers tried to conceal their identities, the Justice Department in this indictment is now spelling out exactly who they were and what they allegedly did.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Tonight, 12 Russian intelligence officers are charged with hacking into the e-mail servers of the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign, plus stealing U.S. voter data during the 2016 election.

ROD ROSENSTEIN, U.S. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: We know, according to the allegations in the indictment, the goal of the conspirators was to have an impact on the elections.

SCHNEIDER: The 29-page indictment details how the Russians targeted more than 300 people associated with Democratic campaign committees and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

This was the e-mail Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta received telling him to click a link to change his password, the technique known as spear-phishing. Podesta did, allowing the Russian officers to steal his user name, password and e-mails.

Prosecutors allege these Russian officers hacked into several accounts, stealing thousands of e-mails.

ROSENSTEIN: The defendants hacked into computer networks and installed malicious software that allowed them to spy on users and capture keystrokes, take screen shots and exfiltrate or remove data from those computers.

SCHNEIDER: And to distribute the stolen e-mails, the indictment says the Russians registered the domains DCLeaks and then Guccifer 2.0 and used a network of computers around the world, including here in the U.S., funding their scheme through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

ROSENSTEIN: The defendants falsely claimed that DCLeaks was a group of American hackers and that Guccifer 2.0 was a lone Romanian hacker.

SCHNEIDER: Rosenstein stressed that none of the Americans targeted knew they were communicating with the Russians.

ROSENSTEIN: The conspirators corresponded with several Americans during the course of the conspiracy through the Internet. There's no allegation in this indictment that the Americans knew they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers.

SCHNEIDER: But the indictment does detail the Russians' contact with several Americans, including a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress whose identity has not been disclosed.

It also documents discussions between the Russian intelligence officers posing as Guccifer 2.0 and a person who was close to the Trump campaign in August and September 2016.

The language of the messages revealed in the indictment matches the Twitter messages previously released by Roger Stone. But Stone, in a puzzling statement to CNN, says he doesn't believe he is the one referenced in the indictment.

Stone has admitted he communicated with Guccifer 2.0, but denied he had any knowledge about the hacking.

[18:05:04]

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I'm not involved in collusion, coordination or conspiracy with the Russians or anyone else. And there's no evidence to the contrary.

SCHNEIDER: The indictment also alleges that the Russians first attempted to spear-phish and hack e-mail accounts used by Hillary Clinton's personal office on the same day Trump said this:

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.

SCHNEIDER: The deputy attorney general briefed President Trump on the charges before he left for his overseas trip and today stressed politics should stay out of what is a serious legal and national security matter.

ROSENSTEIN: We need to work together to hold the perpetrators accountable.

We need to keep moving forward to preserve our values, protect against future interference, and defend America.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Now, the chances are slim that these Russian military officers will ever face these charges here in the U.S., especially considering 13 other Russian nationals who were indicted in February still haven't even been served summons, because the Russian government is blocking it.

But, of course, now, there is that growing chorus of Democrats who are urging President Trump to demand extradition of those Russian officers when he meets with President Putin face-to-face on Monday -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We will see if he does. And, Jessica, thank you, Jessica Schneider reporting.

Let's bring in crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz.

Shimon, you have some information about how investigators were able to infiltrate this Russia operation?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf.

I think the one thing we can understand from this indictment is that the U.S. government, our intelligence partners certainly, are not concerned now with what the Russian may know. Certainly, we hear a lot of talk about sources and methods and if we reveal too much information, and it's clear by this indictment, by the release of this, that the U.S. government is no longer concerned, because, clearly, when you read this indictment, they were all over these Russians, whether it's through their cell phones, perhaps, or through their networks and their e-mails.

They have been able to gather so much information about the individuals, some of these senior level people within the military, the intelligence military of the Russian government, so much so that they were even able to learn that, in some of the instances, the Russians were celebrating, happy about some of this operation.

Certainly, they have enough intelligence where they saw the Russians were happy. This group in particular, some of the people they indicted, were celebrating when the president won the election. And it's also clear there are probably human -- there's probably human intelligence here, sources in the Russian government who have been providing information to us in terms of trying to bring these charges.

It's certainly significant, as we have been saying, and it's clear that the U.S., just as much as perhaps the Russians were all over the DNC and all over the Hillary Clinton campaign, it's clear that the U.S. government has been all over the Russians, certainly in this investigation.

BLITZER: How big of a deal is it, Shimon, that the U.S. government was willing to release so much investigation detail in this indictment?

PROKUPECZ: It's something that this government, certainly the FBI, does very seldom. They don't do it often.

These investigations go on for years, for this purpose, because they like to sit and watch and wait and see what else people are doing, certainly, when it comes to nation states. Having this much information out there tells us that , A, they feel that they were at a point where they were not going to collect any more intelligence off of this operation, off of this group of people who were doing this hacking and that they were at a point where it was safe enough and that the government was comfortable enough to go ahead and indict and release these charges and this information.

BLITZER: What are they saying about whether this Russian activity is still ongoing?

PROKUPECZ: There is a lot of concern, certainly, from people in the U.S. and people overseas. People in the U.K. certainly are concerned given what just happened there by Russian activity. And there is indications, certainly sometime soon, there's a lot of intelligence overseas and certainly U.S. officials are picking up that indicates that the Russians are not going to stop and in some ways, perhaps, may be ramping up some of their operations, some of the work that they have been doing.

BLITZER: Shimon Prokupecz reporting for us, thank you.

The new indictment in the Mueller probe overshadowed the pomp and the controversy surrounding President Trump's visit to the United Kingdom today. And it's casting a huge cloud over the Trump-Putin summit scheduled for Monday in Helsinki.

Our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is joining us now from London.

Jim, the Trump administration is reacting to the indictment, but there's been no condemnation, I take it, specific condemnation of Russian interference. Is that right?

[18:10:02]

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. No condemnation.

And the White House released a very carefully worded statement on these charges against the Russians in the 2016 election, noting there is no allegation of -- quote -- "knowing involvement by anyone in the Trump campaign."

And while the president is still calling the Russia investigation a witch-hunt, he did that earlier today, he told CNN he will tell Vladimir Putin to stay out of U.S. elections when they meet on Monday.

But, of course, we will have to wait and see if he actually does that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): As the president was greeted by Queen Elizabeth and holding talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Mr. Trump was again met with the unwelcome guest that never seems to leave his side, the Russia investigation.

TRUMP: I think that we're being hurt very badly by the -- I would call it the witch-hunt. I would call it the rigged witch-hunt.

ACOSTA: At a news conference, the president again slammed the Russia probe, despite the fact that he had been briefed earlier this week that the Justice Department was preparing an indictment against 12 Russians accused of hacking in the 2016 election.

ROSENSTEIN: The president is fully aware of the department's actions today.

ACOSTA: On the defensive, the White House released a statement, noting: "Today's charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the Trump campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along."

The president said he would raise the issue of election meddling when he meets with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Monday.

TRUMP: I know you will ask, will we be talking about meddling? And I will absolutely bring that up. I don't think you will have any, gee, I did it, I did it, you got me. There won't be a Perry Mason here, I don't think.

ACOSTA: Still, Trump complained the Russia investigation complicates his relationship with Moscow.

TRUMP: We do have a political problem where, you know, in the United States, we have this stupidity going on, pure stupidity, but it makes it very hard to do something with Russia. Anything you do, it's always going to be, oh, Russia, he loves Russia. I love the United States.

ACOSTA: As the president said at the NATO summit, he wants to be friends with Putin.

TRUMP: He's not my enemy. And hopefully, someday, maybe he will be a friend. It could happen.

ACOSTA: But the president told CNN he will insist that the Russians cease their attacks on American democracy.

QUESTION: Mr. President, will you tell Putin to stay out of U.S. elections?

TRUMP: Yes.

ACOSTA: Following the NATO summit, where he outraged some U.S. allies, Mr. Trump irritated his hosts in Britain, criticizing the prime minister's handling of Brexit to the "Sun" tabloid.

TRUMP: I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn't agree. She didn't listen to me. She wanted to go a different route.

ACOSTA: In a rare moment of contrition, the president said he was sorry.

TRUMP: Because, when I saw her this morning, I said, I want to apologize, because I said such good things about you.

ACOSTA: But there were no apologies from the president for his harsh rhetoric on immigration, after saying he believes immigrants are changing the fabric of Europe.

TRUMP: And I know it's politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I will say it and I will say it loud. And I think they better watch themselves, because you are changing culture. It's a very sad situation. It's very unfortunate. But I do not think it's good for Europe and I don't think it's good for our country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: Now, as for Russian meddling, all eyes will be on the president to see if he will, in fact, tell Putin to stay out of U.S. elections.

And now Mr. Trump face perhaps an even more critical question. Will he demand that Putin turn over the Russians who have been indicted back in the U.S.? That demand will only make his hopes for a friendship with Putin much more complicated.

And, Wolf, those questions obviously will go a long way in allaying the fears of critics who worry the president is just not going to be tough enough when he meets with Vladimir Putin coming up on Monday -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, we will see what happens in Helsinki. I will be there myself covering this historic moment.

Jim Acosta, thank you.

Joining us now, Democratic Congressman John Garamendi. He's a key member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be with you, Wolf.

BLITZER: How significant is the fact that these indicted Russian individuals were members, senior members of Russian military intelligence?

GARAMENDI: It's extraordinary importantly.

The president's actions are unbelievable, Wolf. We're looking at the president even hours ago saying that this is still a witch-hunt.

Well, listen, Mr. President, the witch-hunt has produced 12 Russian witches at the highest level of the Russian military. This is nothing to be waved off. This is a very serious allegation, backed up by indictments and backed up by lengthy information, including some very classified documents and other sources that the FBI has used and the other intelligence agencies.

It is time for this president to stand up for America. It's time for him to put on his big boy pants and push back against Russia. Russia is not a friend. Russia is an enemy. Russia has invaded Crimea. Russia has invaded the Ukraine. Russia has tried to disrupt the elections in Europe.

[18:15:02]

They surely disrupted the elections in the United States. It's time for the president of the United States to stand up for America.

BLITZER: Should the president demand the extradition of these 12 Russian military officers? GARAMENDI: Absolutely. Absolutely, and the 12 before -- and the 13

before, 25 of them in the whole.

And who knows what will come from this from other areas. The indictment indicates that there's a whole lot more going on here. We know that the Russian GRU operatives committed a crime in the United States.

We must demand their extradition to the United States. And the president must not meet with Putin until and unless this happens. If we continue to be a little baby in the background, as the president thinks we should be, then we're going to get pushed around and there's going to be a very serious consequence in Europe, in the United States, in elections, in every free election around this world, because Putin has been absolutely clear.

He is out to destroy the democracies of the West. He's out to destroy the unity of NATO and the European Union and in any way possible to destroy the relationship between the United States and our allies. It has to stop and this president has to stand up for America.

BLITZER: Do you expect eventual indictments against Americans who actually communicated with these individuals?

GARAMENDI: Yes. Yes, I do.

Exactly what it will be, we don't know. There's the question of collusion and the breaking of American laws. That's probably where this is likely to go. The question of whether there is -- whether the president actually conspired in this whole thing remains to be seen.

Whether there was an attempt by the president to put a stop to this is also under investigation. And then there's the whole Cohen issue going on in New York with a different set of jurisdictions. There's a very complex web here.

But beyond and more -- as important as all of that is, it is critical that, in the days ahead, the president of the United States stands up for America, not just tells Putin, oh, my, you have done wrong, Mr. Putin, but, simply, if it's a face-to-face confrontation with others there to watch and observe, it's time for Mr. Trump to put on his big boy pants and to stand up for this nation.

BLITZER: The indictment also alleges a scheme to manipulate voting systems in the United States and officials, secretaries of states of various states, including the theft of information related to 500,000 American voters, very sensitive personal information about those American voters.

What is Congress doing to protect the integrity of the American electoral system?

GARAMENDI: The Republican Congress is doing almost nothing.

We have appropriated some money to the Department of Homeland Security. Have there been any real investigations? No, they're off on these tangents, trying to destroy the FBI, which is out there trying to protect our democracy. That's what the Republicans did yesterday.

It is a dereliction of the duty of Congress. We must be investigating. We must follow along. We must give the resources to the state. And, Wolf, it's not just the election system. These folks hacked into our nuclear power plants. They gained -- they were able -- although they didn't, they were able to gain control of the operations of our electrical grid.

They were in a position to literally shut down America. We know who did it. It was the Russians. What has this administration done to push back? Well, that's what Congress has to find out.

If the president is not willing to push back, then Congress has to push the president to act as though he is the commander in chief of the United States military.

BLITZER: Congressman John Garamendi, thanks for joining us.

GARAMENDI: Happy to be here.

BLITZER: The breaking news continue here, what the new indictments reveal about the status of the overall Mueller investigation.

Plus, a top Republican joins Democrats in demanding that President Trump cancel his summit with Vladimir Putin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:23:25]

BLITZER: We have more breaking news on the indictment of 12 Russian military officers in the Mueller investigation.

CNN has learned that U.S. intelligence officials detected some of those indicted Russians as they were congratulating one another on their operation and as they were celebrating President Trump's election win.

Let's bring in CNN's senior legal analyst, former U.S. attorney Priebus.

Preet, what stands out to you in this indictment?

PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, basically, all of it.

It's a very powerful document. The level of detail, the level of thoroughness, the level of specificity in it is fairly extraordinary. You know, if you take a step back and you look at what the rhetoric has been about what this investigation has been about, the Russia investigation, done by special counsel Mueller and his team, he's basically been looking at -- he's basically been looking at three things.

One, whether anyone engaged in an attack on American democracy and interfered with the election. Second, whether any Americans conspired with them to do that thing. And then, third, whether or not there was obstruction of the investigation.

And there have been allegations of witch-hunt and overstepping their bounds with respect to all three of them. And what's, I think, important from the perspective of the integrity of the investigation, and also what it means for American elections and our relationship with Russia is, with respect to that first bucket, whether or not the Russians interfered with the election, the evidence now, if you believe the allegations in the indictment -- and I do because they're so specific and authoritative -- it's overwhelming.

And the idea that anyone can say that there was no interference with the election is just fooling themselves. The actual -- the best sentence in the entire indictment is the statement of the object of the conspiracy.

[18:25:03]

Every federal indictment that talks about a conspiracy has to state what the object or purpose of the conspiracy was. And it's right there in black and white that the object of the conspiracy was to interfere with an American election, and it's clear with the purpose of interfering in the American election on the side of one party vs. another.

So it's an extraordinary document that puts the lie to anyone saying that the investigation is a witch-hunt or it's not yielding anything.

And it identifies, you know, by name, 12 specific high-level military intelligence officials in Russia who had to be doing what they were doing with the full, explicit approval and perhaps direction of Vladimir Putin. That's an extraordinarily significant thing.

BLITZER: Yes. And the president himself even today once again called it a rigged witch-hunt, even though the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, earlier in the week briefed him on this indictment.

The indictment, as you know, Preet, is based on a lot of counterintelligence work that had been completed well before special counsel Mueller was ever appointed. So, what does that tell you about additional information that Mueller might have?

BHARARA: Well, I think everything in the investigation has told us -- and topped off by this indictment -- that special counsel Mueller has an enormous amount of information that was gleaned by using intelligence methods.

And some of it has been declassified, for purposes of being able to use it in a criminal investigation. Lots and lots of information that I'm sure Mueller's team has will never see the light of day, will never fall into an indictment or a criminal complaint of any kind, because it's not necessary or because they can't make the ultimate leap to using that information to charge someone.

But I think, you know, as evidenced by, you know, the unknown nature of the specific details that were going to be in this indictment, although people sort of expected that there would be a charge relating to the DNC and the DCCC hack, the fact that there's so much new detail in here that no one knew about suggests to me that there's a lot of work still to be done, there's a lot of information that they still have, and this remains at the tip of the iceberg.

BLITZER: There's virtually zero chance, I suspect, that these 12 Russians will ever be extradited to the United States. So what's the purpose of indicting people who will never stand trial?

BHARARA: Yes, so, you know, we indicted people all the time, often under seal, if we thought there was little likelihood that if they knew about the charges they would travel.

It seems, you're right, unlikely that these folks would travel to certainly not the United States, but also to a friendly country with whom we have an extradition treaty. But there's a thing that's gaining, I think, more credence in law enforcement circles called name and shame.

So, we brought a case against some people who are affiliated in Iran with the IRCG who engaged in a cyber-attack on facilities here in New York and on financial institutions in New York. The U.S. attorney out of Pittsburgh a few years ago brought a case against five Chinese nationals in connection with a cyber-attack that they had engaged in.

And the idea is, you want to name them and shame them, because there's some idea that, by letting people know that you know what they were up to, and not only did you know that they were up to, but you knew with great specificity, and you uncovered in great detail what they were up to, it a little bit lets them know that they might not be able to get away with it in the future.

And with respect to some countries, it does have, in a diplomatic sense, a regulating effect. Now, it will have a greater regulating effect and a turn effect if Donald Trump were to use that document and the specific allegations made in that document when he meets with Vladimir Putin, by happenstance this Monday, and gets to show folks that our intelligence people knew what they were doing, and went to extraordinary lengths to uncover things that probably the Russians didn't expect us to.

You started the segment by talking about how the Russians were celebrating. Well, they're not celebrating today.

BLITZER: The president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had this to say in reaction to the indictments. Let me read it to you.

"The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans. The Russians are nailed. No Americans are involved. Time for Mueller to end this pursuit of the president and say President Trump is completely innocent."

What is your reaction?

BHARARA: I find myself involuntarily smiling when people quote Rudy Giuliani to me these days.

Look, the indictment doesn't say anything at all about whether or not Americans wittingly and knowingly were involved in the activities that are the subject of the charges. And it may well be that none were. We just don't know yet.

But it doesn't exonerate anybody. And I think it was good that Rod Rosenstein made clear that, you know, there are no allegations about Americans conspiring in this particular indictment.

I'm prepared to believe that that's possible that it will happen in the future. I'm also prepared to believe that there may not be sufficient evidence to figure out whether or not Americans were involved.

But this idea that somehow this document, like the inspector general report that dealt with something completely different, exonerates the president is nonsensical.

And, you know, the reaction from Rudy Giuliani at least is a smidgen better than the reaction from the White House, which didn't even acknowledge anything at all about the fact that Russians had been indicted in this conduct.

[18:30:13] The White House reaction, as I read it a few minutes ago, was simply to state what Giuliani says in the second part of his statement, which is, the president is not implicated, his campaign is not complicated. Now, it may be that the campaign didn't have anything to do with it that's provable, but we don't know that until the investigation is done.

BLITZER: Preet Bharara, thanks, as usual, for joining us.

BHARARA: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Just ahead, more reaction -- more reaction to the new indictments and the new evidence of Russia election interference by Vladimir Putin's own military.

Also tonight, the White House isn't condemning Moscow's actions. So what will President Trump say to Putin when they meet face to face on Monday?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:35:34] BLITZER: Tonight the White House says it's not canceling President Trump's summit with Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki, despite the stunning new indictments against 12 senior Russian military officers. The special counsel offering extensive new details on Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election, allegedly carried out by Putin's own military intelligence office.

Some Democrats say they're deeply worried about what Mr. Trump will and won't say if he's left alone with Putin.

I'll be at the summit in Helsinki, Finland, with live coverage on Monday. Stand by for our coverage then. But right now, let's bring in our analysts.

And Jeffrey Toobin, if you read this indictment -- all of us have read it now, some of us a couple times -- how strong is the case laid out by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who signed it?

TOOBIN: Well, I think, you know, having read a lot of indictments in my time, this is unusually detailed. And one reason it's unusually detailed is that this case is unlikely ever to come to trial. These defendants will not be extradited from Russia. They will not come here voluntarily. So there will never be a testing of these charges in a courtroom.

But because of that, I think Mueller and his office wanted to say, "Look, this is what happened." You know, we've heard for more than a year from the intelligence community that there was Russian involvement in the 2016 elections. But it's only today that we've seen this proof, we've seen such details.

And the thing that really struck me in reading these details is that this must have cost Russia millions of dollars. The investment that Russia made in this project was extraordinary. When you see how many people were involved, for how long, how sophisticated, using dollars, using -- using bitcoin. It was a major initiative, and it worked. Donald Trump got elected president.

BLITZER: Well, it certainly did work. How does this fit in, Susan Hennessey, into the broader Mueller probe?

HENNESSEY: All right. So we know that Mueller is pursuing multiple lines of inquiry. He actually appears to be closing the book on this particular section, hacking as related to Russian intelligence officers. He's handing this over to the national security division that will take it from here.

But just because there's multiple threads doesn't mean that they aren't related. So if we zoom out for a minute, it's worth noting, this is the investigation that Jim Comey was overseeing. This was the investigation that Donald Trump has said he fired Jim Comey over, bragged to Russians in the Oval Office about relieving pressure.

So that does raise questions related to other lines of inquiry. For example, what his motivations were in shutting down this inquiry, and whether or not that could constitute obstruction of justice.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, because this is the indictment and a narrative, a stunningly detailed narrative, of what the Russians did. But we don't know yet, and it is to be determined, and probably stay tuned for, the next installment, which is almost surely to focus on the American that is named in here but not blamed. And others who could have been involved on the American side, either knowingly or unknowingly, with these Russians, trying to, as it says, as Preet was telling you, very clearly, for the first time, to stage the release of stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

BLITZER: And to sow dissent here in the United States. TOOBIN: And who was --

BLITZER: Which clearly, which clearly was their objective. On that front, Jeffrey, mission accomplished, as well.

TOOBIN: Well, and who was encouraging this crime to take place?

BASH: Yes.

TOOBIN: Who was encouraging Russia to keep stealing these e-mails in violation of the law? Donald Trump. Candidate Donald Trump.

Now, I don't think encouraging someone to violate the law -- in fact, I know encouraging someone to violate the law is not a crime itself. But it is worth part of the historical judgment about the 2016 election, that this criminal conspiracy took place with the endorsement and support of the candidate who was the beneficiary of this criminal action.

BLITZER: He did say during the campaign, in this -- in a very sensitive moment, he addressed Russia, and he told them, "Go ahead and see if you can find Hillary's 30,000 missing e-mails." I think we have that clip. Let me play it.

[18:40:06] We don't -- I don't think we do have it. Here it is. We're cueing it up. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Dana, you were going to say?

BASH: Well, I was just going to say, yes, and this feeds right into what Jeffrey was saying. Later that day, that very day that you heard that from then-candidate Trump, according to this indictment, on -- it was July 27, 2016, the conspirators attempted after hours to spear phish, for the first time, e-mail accounts at the domain hosted by a third-party provider, used by Clinton's personal office. Candidate Trump said that; the Russians did this.

BLITZER: Yes. And that was exactly during the time of the Democratic National Convention that was going on.

Shawn, the White House issued a statement -- let me read part of it to you. "Today's charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign, and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along."

But what was missing from the White House statement, no condemnation of Russia, no thanks to the U.S. Justice Department, the FBI, the intelligence community for all their hard work. What do you make of that?

SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So I think it's more of the same. I mean, the indictment is very clear that -- that there are individuals who are associated with -- or potentially associated with the Trump campaign who may have worked with the Russians.

And the president has been very clear in his condemnation of the intelligence community's work related to the Russia investigation. So the fact that this indictment comes out and that the president on the very same day says, 'Oh, well, I'll ask Putin about it," and he doesn't say anything about the hard work of the intelligence community or the intelligence community assessment, is very startling to the intelligence community.

You know, one of the things that I think is really very telling here is when the intelligence community -- the intelligence community exists to present the facts to the president, as -- to the best of their knowledge. In this case, it is extremely rare to have a case in which you have an overwhelming amount of evidence that something happened. In this case, an overwhelming amount of evidence that the Russians interfered in the election.

And so the president has basically said to the intelligence community, "I don't trust you. I don't believe you, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to talk to others to determine whether or not you did your homework correctly."

And I think that that's something that everybody who's concerned about national security should -- should take to heart. And the president really should understand that, by asking Vladimir Putin whether or not he -- whether or not he interfered in the election, he's sending a very strong message that he really does not believe that his national security apparatus has the ability to collect the information that's necessary to protect the country.

BLITZER: Everybody stand by.

TOOBIN: Can I --

BLITZER: There's more information just coming in. The White House -- Jeffrey, I'll get back to you in a moment. The White House is seizing on the fact that no Americans were indicted today, but what charges might still be coming from the special counsel?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:48:25] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're back with our analysts. We have more on the new indictment of 12 Russian military officers charged with interfering in the U.S. elections.

Shawn Turner, the Russians, almost certainly, carefully combing through this indictment and reverse engineering, as they say, to try to figure out how the Americans learned all of these specific details.

What does it say that the Justice Department was willing to provide so much specific information? SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think the first

thing to point out, anytime the intelligence community makes a decision to release information that could potentially reveal sources and methods, there is an exhaustive process that they go through. There would have been a lot of communication with the Justice Department to determine whether or not this would have actually hurt the intelligence community's ability to collect additional information.

I think in this case, the Justice Department was able to make a strong case that in order for the American people to really understand in the nature of the offense here, that it was necessary to provide more information to the American people and the intelligence community would have had to do a cost/benefit analysis here, calculation to determine whether or not these particular sources and methods were still yielding fruitful intelligence and information. And also, whether or not, this particular target was able to be covered by some other source and method.

This is not a decision that's entered into lightly. There would have been a lot of coordination. But clearly, the Department of Justice wanted enough information to make sure that people understood how serious this is.

BLITZER: And as this was going on, Dana, there were huge demonstrations on the streets of London against the president of the United States. We've got some pictures. We'll put them up there right now. It was very, very intense.

[18:50:01] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Very intense and very odd. You know, the president said earlier today, which at the time, he knew about this indictment, we didn't. Even then he said, well, maybe it will be like a Perry Mason moment. What you're looking at is more like the twilight zone because this came out here, the president is meeting with the queen, the event that he wanted probably more than anything else when he was elected president to meet the queen of England.

And this is happening. Never mind that stunning protest with the now infamous baby Trump float.

BLITZER: You know, Jeffrey Toobin, the organizers say maybe a quarter of a million people showed up. There's no way to determine if that is accurate. But it's still a huge statement against the president.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, he is a deeply unpopular figure abroad, especially in the metropolitan area of London. You know, he's very much associated with support for Brexit, but Brexit passed in spite of the votes of London not because of London. London was very much against Brexit.

And so, his politics are anathema to most of the people in London and I think this protest is indicative of that.

BLITZER: Certainly is. All right, everybody, stand by. There's more news we're following right now including -- we're going to get an analysis from our own Chris Cuomo on the new charges against the Russian military officers, what it means for the Mueller probe going forward. Did the indictment allude the Trump ally Roger Stone without mentioning him by name?

We're going to hear from Stone right here on CNN. We'll have details.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:56:19] BLITZER: We're digging deeper right now into the new indictments in the Russia investigation and potential clues about where the Mueller investigation is heading next.

Let's bring in CNN's Chris Cuomo, the anchor of "CUOMO PRIME TIME".

Chris, how do -- how do these indictments fit into the broader investigation?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "CUOMO PRIME TIME": Well, look, not that we necessarily needed it after the last set of indictments we had that made it very clear that the government's understanding is that it wasn't just people trying to help Russia with a plan to interfere with the presidential election. It wasn't just people in and around the Russian government. It was specifically high ranking officials within the Russian government who were working in their intelligence department, which means punitively, pun intended, that Putin had to know about what was going on with this.

So, it really should close the door, finally, although I would argue, Wolf, we didn't need this to close the door on a basic truth, which is that Russia endeavored to and succeed in hacking the U.S. election. We now know more, we now know the names and we know something else. We know that Mueller's men and women were able to get so deep inside a very difficult syndicate of people to crack that if there were any Americans involved, they will probably know about it.

BLITZER: Excellent point, a very important point indeed. The details in this indictment are amazing. I understand you have Roger Stone on your show later tonight. He obviously figures prominently into this investigation. Give us a preview.

CUOMO: Well, we're going to go back to him now. I've spoken to Roger about this before. I want to know what his take.

Two things, Wolf. One, does this mean for Roger Stone? Does he believe that he is the person mentioned as a person in the indictment? He says, no. We're going to test that.

And then what does it mean shifting from the me of Roger to the we of all of us who are concerned with the implications of this probe and what it should mean for the president of the United States with this big meeting coming? Remember, Roger's defense may be right, I wasn't a high ranking official within the government or in the campaign, so I can't have committed a crime with anything I did, this indictment doesn't name any crimes, I speak to the president.

And if he does, what is his advice for Trump in this all important meeting with Putin that you and I will see in person?

BLITZER: We're both going to be in Helsinki for this summit. It's a key, key moment. We'll see how far the president of the United States goes in confronting Putin on these allegations.

Chris Cuomo, as usual, thanks so much for joining us.

And be sure to tune in later tonight for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". That's at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Another programming note I want to share with our viewers, a CNN's original series "The History of Comedy" premieres this Sunday with a special look at a sexual revolution in humor. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America very obviously quite apart from "Playboy" is involved in something we've been calling the American sexual revolution.

UNIDENTIIFED MALE: It's not the '50s. The '50s, everything is buttoned-down in post-war. It took the loosening up of the 1960s.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's everybody swinging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And suddenly, people were just talking openly about sex.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Be sure to watch "The History of Comedy." You're going to want it to see it, this Sunday, 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. "The History of Comedy".

I'm Wolf Blitzer. Thanks very much for watching. I'll be live from Helsinki all day Monday for the Trump-Putin summit.

In the meantime, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.