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THE SITUATION ROOM
Trump Stokes Fears Over Immigration; Animosity Toward Iran Warming Ties Between Israel & Arab States; Roger Stone and WikiLeaks; Trump Stokes Immigration Fears; Trump Accused of Tweeting Racist Ad; Interview With Indiana Congressman Andre Carson. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired November 1, 2018 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: Case for collusion?
Newly revealed e-mails show longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone talked to then campaign chairman Steve Bannon about WikiLeaks just days before it started releasing stolen Democratic e-mails. Was Stone a conduit for the Trump campaign?
Limiting protection. President Trump speaks from the White House, stoking immigration fears and hinting at changes to asylum, but instead of a policy announcement, the president of launches into is divisive and anti-immigration stump speech.
Divide to conquer. Mr. Trump ramping up his rhetoric and hammering away at immigration, hoping to boost Republicans in the midterm election. Tonight, critics are blasting are racist campaign video the president retweeted. One Republican senator calls it sickening.
And Trump's convenient truth. The president, questioned about his false and misleading statements, says he wants to be truthful, adding -- and I'm quoting the president now -- "When I can, I tell the truth."
What about when he can't?
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.
We're following breaking news, major new developments in the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Newly revealed e-mails show then Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon talked to longtime Trump adviser and political operative Roger Stone about WikiLeaks and its plan to release Democratic e-mails stolen by Russia just before the 2016 election.
A source tells CNN that Mueller's team has copies of the e-mails. And we know that investigators have interviewed multiple associates of Roger Stone. I will talk about the breaking news with Congressman Andre Carson of
the Intelligence Committee. And our correspondents, analysts and specialists are also standing by.
First, let's get some more on the breaking news right now.
Our political correspondent, Sara Murray, is joining us.
Sara, more than ever, it looks like Roger Stone could be key to any collusion charges in the special counsel's Russia investigation.
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he certainly is key right now, Wolf, to Mueller's investigation into whether there was any kind of collusion.
And now we're getting a glimpse at the fact that Roger Stone was in contact with at least one senior Trump campaign official about WikiLeaks' document dump.
MURRAY (voice-over): New e-mails reveal Roger Stone was in touch with a senior Trump campaign official, Steve Bannon, about WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential race. Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has copies of the e-mails, a source tells CNN, part of its investigation into whether Stone actually had an inside track with WikiLeaks and whether he shared any of that information with members of the Trump campaign.
In an e-mail on October 4, 2016, Bannon, then the Trump campaign CEO, wrote to Stone: "What was that this morning?" Stone published the e- mails in a column Thursday for the right-wing "Daily Caller."
Bannon's e-mail came shortly after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange delivered a speech billed as an October surprise.
JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: I understand that there's enormous expectation in the United States.
MURRAY: But Assange didn't unveil any new information, angering some of Trump's supporters who were hoping for a bombshell on Hillary Clinton.
In a reply to Bannon, Stone explained the delay: "Fear. Serious security concern. However, a load every week going forward."
Stone says his e-mail was based on public information. During his media event, Assange promised more WikiLeaks material was coming. Stones moved to publish the e-mails preempted a "New York Times" story Thursday about Stone's efforts to pitch himself to Trump campaign officials as a WikiLeaks insider.
At least one campaign official told investigators Stone told campaign officials he had ties to Assange, according to a person familiar with the investigation. While Stone made a show publicly and privately of bragging about his ties to Assange during the 2016 campaign, he has since revised his story.
Stone says he actually relied on publicly available information, tips from journalists and a back-channel source, progressive New York activist Randy Credico. Credico has denied he acted as a back channel.
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: And, then, of course, there is the Mueller investigation, poking into every aspect of my private, personal business, social, family and political life.
MURRAY: Stone hasn't been contacted by Mueller's team, but nearly a dozen of his associates have. Still, it's unclear what charges, if any, Stone could ultimately face.
"The New York Times" also published e-mails showing Stone asking Bannon to help him get funding from GOP donor Rebekah Mercer to spread a story, based on no evidence, that Bill Clinton has a love child.
"I have raised $150K for the targeted black digital campaign through a C-4," Stone wrote. "Tell Rebekah to send us some money."
The request could run afoul of federal election laws. Stone says he never received any money from the Mercers, and he maintains he is innocent.
STONE: I am guilty of no crime in connection with the 2016 election or anything else.
MURRAY: Now, even though Roger Stone says he's innocent, he has also said that he wouldn't be surprised if the special counsel brings charges against him.
Stone insists those would be trumped-up charges designed to get him to flip and cooperate against President Trump -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Sara, I want you to stand by.
Mark Mazzetti is with us as well of "The New York Times." He's a CNN national security analyst.
You have been doing reporting on this story as well. Tell us a little bit more about the e-mails that clearly are of great interest to Robert Mueller and his team.
MARK MAZZETTI, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The significance of the e-mails, first and foremost, is that on the same day that Julian Assange makes this big announcement in early October of a big document dump ahead, Steve Bannon e-mails Roger Stone to ask him, what is this all about?
So, clearly, the campaign chairman of the Trump campaign saw Stone as some kind of a conduit. As we reported today, that several -- several witnesses have told the Mueller investigation who were in the Trump campaign that they saw Stone as some kind of a conduit, or he represented himself as such.
The big question, of course, is was he? And this is where we get into the murkiness of Roger Stone's public and private comments. But the e-mails are significant. And, as you say, they are of real interest to the Mueller investigation.
BLITZER: Could these e-mails and Roger Stone, Sara, be potentially what Mueller is looking for and his team as far as collusion is concerned/
MURRAY: I mean, certainly one of the things that they are looking at is whether Roger Stone was legitimately getting some kind of information from WikiLeaks and whether he was in any way sharing that information with members of the Trump campaign or with Donald Trump directly.
So this e-mail does show you that he was in contact with senior officials at the campaign, he did have access to these people. The question is whether he shared other information that we haven't seen yet. You can -- he is right that the information in this e-mail is stuff that Julian Assange was saying publicly.
There is no big secret smoking hidden gun in there, but it tells you he can get Bannon when he needs him. We know that he can get -- he could get Donald Trump when he needed him. So who knows what else they talked about.
BLITZER: Steve Bannon, who was a top official in the Trump campaign, we know he's now been interviewed, what, three times by Mueller and his team. We don't know what went on in those interviews, but presumably a lot of questions about all of this contact with Roger Stone, WikiLeaks, and WikiLeaks -- how WikiLeaks got all those hacked e-mails, courtesy of Russia.
And in a federal investigation like this, you always look to who hasn't been interviewed yet, who hasn't been hauled in. And best we can tell, Roger Stone has not been interviewed by Mueller or been before the grand jury.
If you're Roger Stone, that means there's a problem, right? It means that there could be -- you could be a target. We don't know. But you're in greater potential legal danger.
And so, as Sara reported, it could be any number of things. He has said, well, maybe he will look for financial crimes, maybe it'll be perjury. He is trying to build this idea that, as the president has, it's all a witch-hunt, and if they find me on financial crimes, it'll be a very, very low bar, nothing to do with collusion.
BLITZER: Mark, how big of a deal is it that apparently no one from the Trump campaign called the FBI or any other law enforcement authority to say, hey, there may be some illegal activity going on, Russia, through WikiLeaks, passing on information, campaign-related information, campaign finance laws, stuff like that?
MAZZETTI: That is the single biggest question throughout this whole saga, not just on the Stone e-mails, but going back to the Trump Tower meeting of June 2016, back to the George Papadopoulos meeting a couple of months earlier.
Nobody, as far as we can tell, in the Trump campaign, after all this outreach, ever went to the FBI and said, hey, what, this is untoward, this shouldn't be happening, we want to notify you because this is a foreign power trying to interfere in the election.
Remember, when these Stone e-mails came, it was widely reported that the Russians had been behind this WikiLeaks activity.
BLITZER: What do you expect? What are you hearing from your sources, Sara, about possible indictment of Roger Stone?
MURRAY: Well, look, we're obviously just days away from the midterms, so we're not necessarily expecting any big announcements to come before then.
But, afterwards, we don't know. There are people who are involved in this investigation who say they certainly wouldn't be surprised to see additional indictments. But Robert Mueller's team is very tight- lipped. And when they have an indictment, we will all find out about it, but not until they want us to.
BLITZER: As you know, Roger Stone keep saying he was just hyping information that Julian Assange had already spoken about publicly, and he didn't do anything wrong.
Roger Stone has said a lot of things at a lot of different times, sometimes at odds with each other, right? And he is someone who has built a career on making some things that are false look real.
So figuring out what the story is has been difficult, specifically on Roger Stone. He has said different things about what he thought Guccifer was, whether it was Russians or a lone hacker. He has said different things about whether he knew Assange or had had direct dealings with WikiLeaks.
So this has been, as reporters covering this, one of the biggest troubles of this investigation is the Roger Stone aspect of it.
MURRAY: You can imagine how Mueller feels searching through the same stuff about what is real and what is perhaps exaggerated.
BLITZER: And I can assure you, whatever he knows, Robert Mueller and his team, is a ton more than any of us know. They know a lot right now.
Mark Mazzetti, you and your team at "The New York Times" doing excellent reporting on this. Thank you very much.
Sara, you're doing excellent reporting as well, getting a lot of new information.
Let's get some more on all of this.
Democratic Congressman Andre Carson of Indiana is joining us. He's a member of the Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.
Now that Roger Stone tells "The New York Times" he was just bluffing about his connections to WikiLeaks, do you think that's at all a credible explanation?
REP. ANDRE CARSON (D), INDIANA: Time will tell, which is why it's so important for the Democrats to regain the House, so we can reopen the Russia investigation.
Our Republican colleagues failed miserably in sort of checking off certain boxes when it related to the interviews. They did so in a very cursory manner, but we need to reopen the investigation to subpoena not only Steve Bannon, but Roger Stone's activity, as well as their e-mails.
BLITZER: If people in the Trump campaign actually believed that Roger Stone had inside information on WikiLeaks or the hacked e-mails, shouldn't they have alerted authorities, the FBI specifically?
CARSON: There are a lot of things that this administration should have done and should be doing, but they aren't doing.
So I don't think it's unreasonable that they would be doing something like that.
BLITZER: Well, they didn't. They didn't do what -- if there were illegal activities going on, didn't Steve Bannon and others in the Trump campaign say, you know what, someone's trying to pass on hacked e-mails, for example? That's a crime. Someone's trying to get involved -- foreign involvement in a domestic presidential campaign. Potentially, that's a crime.
And no one called any of the authorities. Is that the information you have as well?
CARSON: I think it's troubling.
I think you have Roger Stone and Steve Bannon, who clearly were involved with spreading of hacked e-mails, the spreading of misinformation about Hillary Clinton, along with the web of donors, Wolf, some who are connected to Cambridge Analytica, who were responsible for spreading these hacked e-mails, and ultimately allowing Russia to leverage these tools to impact our electoral process.
BLITZER: How important, Congressman, is Roger Stone to answering the question, the key question, whether there was, in fact, any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia?
CARSON: I think he's critically important.
Again, Wolf, my Republican colleagues on the Intel Committee have failed miserably. When the Democrats regain the House, I think that one of the first things on our agenda would be opening -- reopening the Russia investigation.
And so these things cannot be done in a very careless manner. My Republican friends talk about saving taxpayer dollars and being good stewards of taxpayer resources. This is the first step in making sure we are preserving and maintaining the republic, as it were, to get to the bottom of this, so we can honor our founding fathers, as complicated as they were, and making sure we have the correct checks and balances to keep the system sound.
BLITZER: As you know, Mueller and his team, they have -- they have questioned, either directly or through a grand jury, about a dozen of Roger Stone's associates.
Do you think Stone will be indicted after the midterm elections?
CARSON: We will have to wait and see. I don't want to say too much before the -- before Tuesday the 6th. You know how these things can get.
BLITZER: Do you believe Stone was honest when he testified before your committee, the House Intelligence Committee?
CARSON: One would hope. I mean, he was under oath. One would hope.
But I still feel as if the line of questioning too cursory, it was too surface. I think that in order to get deeper into these investigations, we need the Democrats to lead the charge. Adam Schiff has done a phenomenal job. He's a very dear friend of mine.
I think we need Chairman Schiff, myself and others to get to the bottom of this. And I think we could really unearth necessary truths to make the American people feel safe.
BLITZER: Well, if the Democrats win the majority in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Devin Nunes will no longer be the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Presumably, Adam Schiff will be the chairman of the Intelligence Committee.
What are the first things you will want him to do?
CARSON: Well, I think that a Chairman Schiff will certainly lead the effort in reopening the investigation. I think Chairman Schiff will ensure that many of the subcommittees, one of which I serve on, Emerging Threats, is given the opportunity to help our intel community and give them the kind of necessary support that they need.
And they don't need the interference of Congress. We want the oversight of Congress. But we don't need Congress using the intel agencies as a political platform. We want them to keep Americans safe. We want them to keep our global community safe.
We want to reach strengthen our relationship Wolf, our Five Eyes partners and make sure that the global community is communicating, and we don't have a president or an administration who is constantly minimizing and insulting the hard work that our citizens put into these agencies each and every day.
BLITZER: Let me turn, Congressmen, to the president's midterm push to create fear over immigration.
The president posted a video, as you know, on Twitter today. He sent it out to his 55 million followers.
It shows someone who's now on death row here in the United States for killing two police officers and then shows selected scenes of the migrant caravan. The video alleges that Democrats are letting people like that killer into the country.
What's your reaction to this effort in these final days of the midterm campaign, this effort by the president?
CARSON: I think, very sadly, Wolf -- and you remember it -- this is reminiscent of Willie Horton tactics. This is reminiscent of the kind of fear-mongering that takes place, the racial division that takes place, creating this boogeyman of sorts, or boogeywomen of sorts, where you have African-Americans who are targeted as part of this boogeyman effort, Latinos who are targeted as part of this boogeyman effort, Middle Easterners, South Asians, Africans being targeted, minority communities, ethnic groups being targeted, unfortunately.
That's not what this country should be about. We need a president who's going to be a leader. I want to see President Trump, who has a background as a developer, introduce a public works program, the kind that we saw under Eisenhower. He can only get that done under the Democratic proposal, but he doesn't want to.
Instead, he wants to conjure up fear amongst his base. But our polls are showing us, Wolf, that his base is slowly leaving him. Not only are they seeing buyer's remorse or having buyer's remorse, but they're disgusted. They don't feel like he's being presidential, he's representing them.
We want President Trump, if he really cares about this country, to be presidential, stop the fear-mongering, stop the Islamophobia, stop the homophobia, stop the anti-black rhetoric, get to the job, be a president, be presidential, and move America forward.
BLITZER: Yes, the president did promise a major infrastructure program when he took office. We haven't seen that yet.
As you know, the president has also said, Congressman, without any evidence at all, that there are, in his words, Middle Easterners among those in that caravan about 1,000 miles away from the United States in Mexico. When he says Middle Easterners, he's suggesting presumably terrorists.
What do you hear when he says that?
CARSON: I'm saddened, I'm deeply disappointed, but I'm not surprised.
It's as if he thinks that the American people are stupid. Now, he has -- there are folks from the Industrialized Midwest, and Rust Belt states and other states who feel displaced, they feel as if they're hopeless and their jobs have left, and they're blaming the loss of jobs on minority communities.
I think the reality is that his statements have been irresponsible. He's perpetuating negative stereotypes. That's irresponsible. I think, if we really are concerned about preserving the republic, I'm urging folks to vote on Tuesday, November 6, and vote for Democrats.
BLITZER: Congressman Andre Carson, thanks so much for joining us.
CARSON: Always an honor. Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, the breaking news continues next.
President Trump stoking immigration fears out there on the campaign trail.
Plus, the outcry over a rather racist video the president shared that has Republicans even distancing themselves from the president.
BLITZER: There's more breaking news tonight.
President Trump's stoking fears about immigration ahead of the midterm election, now just five days away.
Our White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, is joining us now.
Kaitlan, the president is holding yet another political rally tonight.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
And, Wolf, he essentially held one here at the White House earlier. He gave this speech that was less presidential address from the Roosevelt Room and more of his campaign-style stump speech on immigration.
But, Wolf, the backdrop of that was, this is a president who is trying to make the upcoming midterm elections all about immigration.
COLLINS (voice-over): Immigration and playing up fear just five days before the midterm election.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They are rushing our border.
COLLINS: In a talk late today at the White House that was billed as a presidential address, but devolved into a stump speech, the president took on what he called the immigration crisis, revealing no new information, proposing no new changes, and claiming he would sign an executive order next week without offering any specifics.
It seemed to be another effort by the president to put immigration front and center in the midterm elections. In the final weeks, the president has not only claimed he will end birthright citizenship.
TRUMP: Now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order.
COLLINS: But also promised to deploy thousands of troops to the southern border to stop a caravan that's weeks away, build tent cities for those seeking asylum, and posted an online video showing an illegal immigrant bragging about killing police officers.
Those tweets are considered official White House statements. And the move is drawn comparisons to the racist Willie Horton ads supporting George H.W. Bush in his 1988 campaign.
TRUMP: We're getting prepared for the caravan, folks. You don't have to worry about that. Getting prepared for the caravan.
COLLINS: The president back in campaign mode this week, delivering a scorching message last night in Florida, hoping to amplify voters' fears about immigration.
TRUMP: Got a lot of rough people in those caravans. They are not angels. They are not.
COLLINS: Trump trying to make a caravan of Central American migrants the central issue in the midterms.
TRUMP: A Democrat victory on Election Day would be a bright, flashing invitation to traffickers, smugglers, drug dealers and gang members all over the world, come on in.
COLLINS: In an interview that same night, Trump claiming to ABC News that the caravan is bigger than people think and mostly made up of young men.
TRUMP: They can't invade our country.
COLLINS: But the president provided zero evidence to back up his claims, which he made despite reports showing the caravan has dwindled in size from 7,000 to 3,500, and includes men, women, and children fleeing violence and poverty.
Trump, who said this on the campaign trail in 2016:
TRUMP: I will never lie to you.
COLLINS: Was asked if he's kept that promise.
TRUMP: I do try, and I always want to tell the truth. When I can, I tell the truth. Sometimes, it is turns out where something happens, it's different or there's a change, but I always like to be truthful.
COLLINS: So, Wolf, there the president saying he tries to be truthful when he can, though his statements about immigration are not always honest.
But that is a message he's taking on the road not only tonight in Missouri, but with the nine more stops before voters go to the polls on Tuesday, Wolf.
BLITZER: Rather awkward way of speaking about the truth.
Kaitlan, thank you very much, Kaitlan Collins over at the White House.
We have our correspondents, our analysts, they are here right now. We have a lot to discuss.
We will be right back.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're following the breaking news. Newly- revealed e-mails in possession possession of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, showing that longtime Trump advisor and political operative Roger Stone talked to the Trump campaign about WikiLeaks and the stolen Democratic e-mails before they were released, just before the 2016 presidential election.
[18:32:01] Let's get some more with our correspondents and our analysts. And Mark Mazzetti, you contributed to this "New York Times" report in which there's a lot of new information about all these e- mails. What exactly is Mueller looking at now?
MARK MAZZETTI, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, he's looking at the broad issues, as we know, of was there a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and the issue of obstruction of justice.
A lot of the activity has focused in recent weeks on Roger Stone and his associates. And we've said we expected there was going to be a pause before the election of no indictments. Indeed, there haven't been, but that means -- that doesn't mean that behind the scenes there hasn't been a lot of activity.
So Roger Stone is a focus. And the question is was Roger Stone somehow a link between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, Russian intelligence, et cetera. And that seems to be where Mueller has put a lot of his effort in recent weeks.
BLITZER: It's very interesting. You know, Gloria, I want to read one of the e-mails "The New York Times" got a hold of. It's from October 3, 2016, just before the election. One of Steve Bannon's Breitbart employees asked Roger Stone, quote, "Assange, what's he got? Hope it's good."
Stone replied, "It is."
Then the Breitbart employee encouraged Steve Bannon to follow-up, saying -- and I'm quoting now -- "Clearly, he" -- Roger Stone -- "knows what Assange has."
What do you make of it?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and let me just finish this loop here, because then Steve Bannon e-mailed him back and said, "I've got important stuff to worry about."
So it seems like Bannon was pretty dismissive of Roger Stone.
I think the big question here is people in the campaign didn't really know what to make of Roger Stone. I mean, one thing I know from my reporting is that Roger Stone did talk to the president. He presented himself as somebody, I believe, who knew a lot about WikiLeaks and when they would release certain things and what they would release perhaps. He e-mailed his friend at that point, Sam Nunberg, and said that he was dining -- he dined with Assange, which would presumably be in London, and then a number -- eventually said, "Well, you know, I think that was just a joke."
But I don't think anyone knows what to make of him and whether he was telling them the truth or not. Because when you look at the entire history of Roger Stone, dating back to, what, Nixon days, he's a -- he's a trickster.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He is a trickster. And you're never really sure --
BASH: -- if what he's saying is true, which could help him, probably, in the court of law. But -- maybe you have it.
But yes, Steve Bannon blew him off at the beginning: "Don't bother me, I've an actual campaign to run."
But then after Assange did his thing, and they didn't reveal anything, then Bannon went back to Roger Stone and said, "What was that about this morning?"
So the question is, as I see it, is whether that could be perceived -- I mean, he was the top guy for the Trump campaign at the time. That could be perceived as if he knew that Stone -- or at least Stone told him that he had communication with Assange, that it could be some kind of phishing.
Now, phishing doesn't necessarily equal conspiracy, but there's a connection we haven't seen.
[18:35:05] BLITZER: You know, Sabrina, if, in fact, the Trump campaign thought Roger Stone had information about these hacked e- mails, shouldn't they, under the law, have at least alerted law enforcement authorities, specifically the FBI?
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, "THE GUARDIAN": I think there's a lot that the Trump campaign could have potentially alerted law enforcement authorities about during the course of 2016.
We've talked a lot about that infamous Trump Tower meeting, and Donald Trump Jr., of course, accepted the meeting, according to e-mails that we've now seen, under the pretense of receiving incriminating information about Hillary Clinton, and having been told that there was an effort by the Russian government to help his father.
The obvious question that stems from that exchange, was why didn't you alert federal authorities that there was a foreign government, and a hostile actor in Russian, trying to intervene in the American democratic process?
So this is not, of course, any ordinary campaign. And the question really is whether or not they saw Roger Stone as perhaps a conduit to the Russians.
And we also know that Mueller has interviewed now more than a dozen associates or reached out to more than a dozen associates of Roger Stone for an interview or to testify before a grand jury. So I think what they're going to be interested in is not just the links that he had to Assange and what the Trump campaign knew about it but also what he may have told then-candidate Trump.
BLITZER: You know, Mark, it's interesting. I assume this is one of the reasons that Mueller and his team are interested in Stone. On August 21, 2016, Stone tweeted this. Quote, "Trust me, it will soon the Podesta's time in the barrel." And the e-mails, Podesta's e- mails, weren't published by WikiLeaks wasn't until October 7 of 2016.
MAZZETTI: That certainly looked like he had some foreknowledge of what was happening. Now, he has said that he didn't. He was saying he had indications that there was -- you know, John Podesta and Tony Podesta, and he didn't know that John Podesta's e-mails had been hacked.
But this has been the real mystery around Stone in the Russia investigation, is what he said privately and what he said publicly sometimes are at odds. Sometimes things he said publicly are at odds.
And so the question, of course, is did he actually have any direct channel to WikiLeaks, to Assange or even the Russians? And did he convey it to the Trump campaign? And that's what even these e-mails don't show and what no reporter yet has shown, but that would be at the heart of what Mueller is doing.
BORGER: Look, it would be interesting if there were some tapes, for example, of conversations or anything between Roger Stone and Assange. We don't know anything about them.
What we do know is that when you get a bunch of people together in a circle and you ask them what Roger Stone told them at a certain time, you're probably going to get different answers from everyone. And we know that this was his way of insinuating himself into the -- into the campaign with this kind of information.
BLITZER: But you know, Dana, at least a dozen or so of Roger Stone's associates have already been questioned, either directly by the Mueller team or at the grand jury. Clearly, he hasn't yet been called in to appear. But clearly there's something going on.
BASH: Which tells you something. The fact that he hasn't been called in looks like he could potentially be the guy that they're going to indict. And even he has said that, that he thinks he is going to be indicted, right? So he's ready for his time in the barrel, to quote Roger Stone back to Roger Stone, based on what you just said; based on the fact there have been so many people associated with him, based on the fact that Steve Bannon was called back, at least it looks like in large part, because of this very e-mail exchange about Roger Stone and with Roger Stone.
BLITZER: The question is now before Mueller's team on three different occasions, one very, very recently.
A lot of people, Sabrina, anticipate that shortly after the midterm elections, next Tuesday, Mueller is going to announce something.
SIDDIQUI: Yes. And certainly, there's been somewhat of a pause. But there is a lot of activity that is going on behind the scenes.
And I think one of the things that's important to remember about Roger Stone is he is someone who connects a lot of dots. He was the one who initially suggested, for example, that the Trump campaign bring on Paul Manafort, who was a former business partner of his.
He, of course, has spoken both publicly and privately about the links that he had to WikiLeaks and to Julian Assange. And he's tried to pass off some of that as having been a joke, but now we have some of these e-mails that show that perhaps there may have been something more nefarious going on.
And I think that ultimately, it's also important to remember that, although he didn't really play a formal role in the later stages of the campaign, Roger Stone is someone who has, in some ways, been the president's longest-serving political adviser. They certainly have discussed politics, even in an informal capacity, over the years. He's someone who has had the president's ear. And so I think that relationship is also going to be a key focus for Mueller and his team.
BORGER: Well, it's a question of what did -- did Roger Stone go to the president and say, "Hey, I have this -- I've got this stuff"?
If they were having phone conversations or they were meeting, I mean, I think, obviously, that's got to be a key part of the inquiry here, which is what did the president know about this?
[18:40:11] MAZZETTI: Right. And so what Mueller does in terms of if he were to bring charges, what kind of charges. As Dana said, he has indicated he might get indicted, but he has indicated he might get indicted for tax issues or financial issues, and teeing that up, as well, if it's that, then this is clearly a witch hunt. Right? There's no there there on collusion.
And if Mueller were to do that, it would certainly, you know, expose the investigation to that. But there may be a strategy of trying to get him on something to flip him, and et cetera. But that's -- but if there is something, it will be very important to see what evidence they have, what charges they actually bring.
BLITZER: Yes, I expect shortly after the midterms on Tuesday we'll be hearing from Robert Mueller and his team.
BORGER: We'll see.
BORGER: Everybody stand by. There's more news we're following. The outcry growing over the racist video the president shared with Twitter followers, 55 million of them, as he stokes fear about immigration ahead of the midterm.
[18:45:38] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We are back with our correspondents and our analysts.
Sabrina, the president tweeted today a clearly racist video, I'm not going to play any of it because it is pretty disgusting. He actually tweeted it yesterday. And some people are suggesting it is worse than the Willie Horton ad some supporters of George H.W. Bush put out during the 1988 campaign.
What does it say that the president thinks doing this is a winning idea?
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN: Well, this is a president when he launched his campaign in 2015 declared that most immigrants crossing the U.S. Mexico border were rapists and killers. Those were, of course, his word.
And throughout the campaign, and even since he's taking office as president, as his State of the Union Address and other forums, he brought out the families or relatives of victims, or people who were killed by undocumented immigrants in an effort to really continue and draw this link between immigrants and violent crime, even though the majority of studies show that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than the native born population. That remained true even as the population of immigrants has risen.
So what this really comes down to is the fact that the president is hoping that fear is going to drive voters to the polls. A lot of it stems from the fact that Republicans hope that these midterms would be about the tax plan that the president signed into law last year. Now the tax cuts have according to most polling be increasingly unpopular, that's true even in the RNC's own internal polling. And so, what they have come back to embracing the politics of fear.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And it works for him. It is unfortunate. It is depressing, but it works for him and he knows that. And he has political instincts that are very astute and attuned to his base. He is not the candidate any more, he is the president of the United States, supposed to be the president of all people, and what this video, it is not even an ad, you don't buy anything, this video he tweeted out was showing somebody, an undocumented immigrant that came to the United States, committed a crime.
OK, but then said that it was basically -- not basically -- said flat out it is the Democrats' fault. And just a lot of fear mongering.
Look, we were talking about the fact that the president is in Missouri. It works on the campaign trail. Just for example, Claire McCaskill, the Democrat, incumbent Democrat, when I was there with her a few days ago, she brought up the caravan, unsolicited, saying she supports the president 100 percent on border security.
That tells you how strong and how potent this issue is, particularly in these red states where they're incumbent Democrats and they're trying to get every last vote they can.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there's a caveat there, though, because it does, as Dana points out, it works in the Senate in these red states. But the problem for the president is that it doesn't work in those moderate suburban districts in the House of Representatives.
And, clearly, the president made a decision. You know, he yelled to Paul Ryan yesterday, you know, got try and save your White House. Why are you disagreeing with me on birthright citizenship?
Yes, the play, his play is for the Senate, which he wants to claim credit for keeping, and this is going to hurt him. And I talked to Republicans that say look, this is not what I want him talking about in my suburban district. I want him talking about the tax cut, right? I want him talking about what we've done for the economy. How good the economy is. I want him to remind people of these things, you know, and he's not.
So the fear doesn't work everywhere, and he clearly made a decision.
BLITZER: Mark, you're also our national security analyst. What do you make of the notion that the president is spreading that there's a crisis on the border right now, even though these individuals in this caravan, they are still about a thousand miles south of the United States?
MARK MAZZETTI, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Sure. And look at what the moves have been, at least the announcements have been. There's a crisis. People are coming to you. We're going to go send troops to defend you, and without evidence of there actually being a crisis.
I think for all of the ample evidence of the president being undisciplined in a lot of ways, he can be very disciplined in his message, especially around an election, and I think we probably agree that this is the message until Tuesday, right, is sewing fear, this idea that people are coming to the United States who will hurt Americans and he, the president, will protect you.
[18:50:12] And that's consistent to what we've seen for several days.
BLITZER: The president was asked, Jon Karl of ABC News, asked him about his commitment during the campaign to be honest with the American people and not lie. Here's what the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I always want to tell the truth when I can. I tell the truth. Sometimes it turns out to be where something happens, it's different or there's a change, but I always like to be truthful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: When I can. Those are the words everybody's -- I like to be truthful when I can. What do you make of that?
SIDDIQUI: We sit here on any given day talking about something the president has said or tweeted that is often blatantly false, and he's making these comments on the same day that he held this somewhat impromptu press conference and statement around immigration once again to stoke fears around this caravan where he's made and continues to make many unsubstantiated claims about the nature of the people who are trying to come here. These are people who are fleeing gang violence and poverty in Central America. He didn't back off his claim that there might be Middle Easterners in the caravan, even though he acknowledged that he didn't have any evidence to support that claim.
So, I think it's been well-established now that the president has a problem with the truth but of course as he sees it, that's the media not telling his version of the story.
BORGER: You know, we've come a long way from jimmy carter saying, I will never lie to you. You remember that? Never mind.
BLITZER: We do remember that.
BASH: He remembers that.
BLITZER: Of course.
BASH: We all remember that. We all remember. We all know.
BLITZER: Sabrina and I were covering that together. He was right in the middle of it.
SIDDIQUI: First assignment.
BLITZER: You were doing an excellent job.
BORGER: We've come a long way.
BLITZER: When the president says I always want to tell the truth when I can, I tell the truth. I mean, that says a lot. BASH: Maybe that's the most truthful thing he said. He tries to tell
the truth. It doesn't always work out.
Look, I mean, we joke about it, but it is an -- it's a tough thing, especially for us as journalists, because when we fact check and say, well, what he said is not accurate, even a couple of hours ago when he was in the White House saying things that were just factually wrong about the caravan, it allows him to sort of pit himself against us when we're trying to be the truth tellers and fact checkers.
BLITZER: There's more news we're following. Just ahead, a dramatic shift in relations between Israel and Arab states, thanks to Iran. We'll be right back.
[18:57:19] BLITZER: Long-time chilly relations between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors are starting to warm right now because of their mutual animosity toward Iran.
CNN's Oren Liebermann is joining us live from Jerusalem right now.
Oren, we've seen some pretty dramatic developments recently.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have, and the biggest one was the visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Oman where he met with the Omani sultan just last week but in these two weeks, that is certainly not the only sign of tectonic changes here in the Middle East.
LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Israel's national anthem "Hatikvah" playing for the first time in Abu Dhabi as Israeli athletes won gold at an international judo tournament. Last year, Israeli athletes had to complete under a generic flag. Now, the country's culture minister moved to tears.
It's just one sign of warming relations between Israel and the gulf Arab states.
On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to Oman for the first time in more than 20 years. Afterwards, Oman's foreign minister saying Israel should be treated like a state.
Netanyahu called the trip historic.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This visit comes against the background of diplomatic efforts that have been promoting in recent years vis-a-vis the Arab countries. There will be more.
LIEBERMANN: Israel's communications minister is now in Dubai for a conference and the country's transportation minister is preparing for his own trip to Oman next week. President Donald Trump's special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, tweeting: In the last few days, we have seen our regional partners, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE make statements and/or gestures signaling warmer ties with Israel. A more stable region leads to a stronger and more prosperous region. It is good for all.
The warming relations are driven by mutual struggle against Iran. Netanyahu has been, perhaps, the most vocal critic of the Iran nuclear deal, lauding President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the accord. Netanyahu has quietly had the backing of the Gulf Arab states.
The growing relations have come not because of an Israeli-Palestinian peace process but despite the lack of one. The Palestinians aren't happy about the change in relations with Israel but haven't been able to stop them.
LIEBERMANN: The big question here is are the relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the biggest, the most powerful, the most influential Gulf state. There have certainly been reports of trade deals for Israeli tech but neither side has ever officially confirmed there are behind the table or under the table relations.
Wolf, the closest they have come, arguably, is an on the record meeting and chat between two former spy masters and that was last year.
BLITZER: Very dramatic developments. Historic developments unfolding right now.
Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem for us, Oren, thank you very much.
And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.