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CNN Poll on Anti-Semitism: 28 Percent of Europeans Say Jews Have Too Much Influence in Business & Finance; Trump Blasts Mueller; Interview With Illinois Senator Richard Durbin; Did Paul Manafort Meet With Julian Assange?. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired November 27, 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: Paul Manafort is denying a new report that he met multiple times with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, including once around the time that he became the Trump campaign chairman. Is Robert Mueller looking into that, as he declares Manafort's plea deal is dead?
Discrediting Mueller. The president goes on a very angry new Twitter rant against the special counsel, accusing him of doing tremendous damage. Is Mr. Trump worried that something big is about to happen?
And state of hate. CNN explores the rise of anti-Semitism across Europe, including in Germany. Why is the far right making a comeback now, so many decades after Hitler and the Holocaust?
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 Robert Mueller's probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Tonight, CNN has obtained draft court filings by Mueller's office. They give new insight into what the special counsel knows about Trump ally Roger Stone and his alleged efforts to get information from WikiLeaks about Clinton campaign e-mails stolen by the Russian intelligence service.
Stand by for details, this as "The Guardian" newspaper is now reporting that Paul Manafort held three secret meetings with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, including one in 2016 around the time he became the Trump campaign chairman. Manafort is denying that.
But there's no denying that he's now in new legal limbo tonight, now that Mueller has called off his plea deal.
I will talk about all of that with the top -- a top Democrat, Senator Dick Durbin. And our correspondents and analysts are also standing by.
First, let's go to CNN political correspondent Sara Murray.
Sara, tell us more about these draft documents from Mueller's office. They're part of a failed plea deal with Roger Stone's associate Jerome Corsi. You spoke with Corsi today.
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. I did.
And Corsi shared these documents with us. And it's interesting because, of course, it gives you a window into the potential legal jeopardy that Jerome Corsi is in for allegedly lying, but it also gives you a look at a framework for a potential collusion case that Mueller's team may believe they can build against Roger Stone.
And if you look at these draft filings, they show a number of messages between Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone that give you an idea of how eager Roger Stone was to try to get his hands on these WikiLeaks e- mails and the role that they believe Corsi may have played and helping to provide some kind of intel.
So if you look at one of these e-mails from July of 2016, organization one in this is WikiLeaks. So Roger Stone is writing: "Get to Julian Assange," the founder of WikiLeaks, "at Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending WikiLeaks e-mails. They deal with foundation, allegedly," referring there to the Clinton Foundation.
So fast forward to August 2 of 2016, and Jerome Corsi sends an e-mail to Roger Stone. And he says: "Word is, friend in embassy plans two more dumps, one shortly after I'm back, second in October. Impact planned to be very damaging."
That e-mail goes on to reference John Podesta, then the Clinton campaign chairman. And it's part of the reason that investigators were wondering whether Corsi had some kind of connection to WikiLeaks or he was in touch with Assange. Corsi insists he didn't. Roger Stone still insists he never got an early look at anything WikiLeaks was planning to release.
But another thing investigators were really interested in when it came to Jerome Corsi was his role in this tweet that Roger Stone put out that's become quite famous in August of 2016 where Stone predicts it will be Podesta's time in the barrel.
Well, Jerome Corsi gave Roger Stone pretty public cover for that tweet. He said he did a research document. That's what the tweet was based off of. When I talked to him today, he said, in actuality, the tweet came first and then my research came after that.
Here's how he explains it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME CORSI, AUTHOR, "THE OBAMA NATION": Political campaigns frequently develop alternative explanations for clients. And I was doing that.
I mean, they said, is it lying? I said, well, yes it's lying, but it's pretty normal practice in politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: So there you have him saying Roger Stone was concerned about how the tweet would be taken. Could his friend Jerome Corsi provide him some research to back him up?
Stone has insisted that tweet was not about the Podesta e-mails, but instead about the Podesta brothers' business dealings, Wolf.
BLITZER: Sarah, WikiLeaks published John Podesta's e-mails the very same day that "Access Hollywood" released a videotape where Donald Trump is her talking about groping women, among other things.
So what does Corsi know about the timing of all of that?
MURRAY: Well, this was another focus for investigators. Jerome Corsi has a book coming out. He wrote in it that he shared information about a conversation he had on October 7 with investigators, as well as with the grand jury.
He confirmed that account when I spoke to him. And he said Roger Stone seem to know that this tape was coming, that it was damaging, that they needed to do something to mitigate the fallout. And he reached out to Jerome Corsi.
Here's what Corsi said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORSI: We get to October 7, which was a very, very busy day from here in New York. And Roger calls me three times.
We have three times we have a discussion. Now, my recollection is that Roger is saying this Billy Bush is going to be dropped, and Assange better get going. Why don't you get to your buddy Assange and tell him to start?
Well, I didn't have any contact with Assange. But Roger going back to July and August may have -- I may have led him on now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Now, Corsi suggested these conversations were hours before the tape was released publicly. Roger Stone is vehemently denying all of this.
In a statement to CNN, he said: It is pure, unadulterated, unmitigated B.S. And why would I ask him to contact Assange, who even today he says he does not know? Neither logical or true."
So, Wolf, this is what investigators are still sifting through. Just a reminder, as of right now, still no charges against Jerome Corsi, still no charges against Roger Stone. BLITZER: Good point.
All right, Sara, thank you very much, Sara Murray reporting.
Now to the breaking news on Paul Manafort and the bombshell report that he held secret meetings with the founder of WikiLeaks. The former Trump campaign chairman back at the center of the storm in the Russia investigation once again tonight.
Our justice corresponding, Jessica Schneider, is here with us.
So, Jessica, this new report potentially very explosive, despite all the denials.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
And a lot swirling surrounding Paul Manafort tonight. First, Robert Mueller's team, they accused Manafort of lying, ending that plea deal that's been in the works for two months now. And, of course, "The Guardian" issued that explosive report that Manafort allegedly met with Julian Assange multiple times.
Now, Paul Manafort and WikiLeaks, they have issued strong denials, but really any connection could be a major development in the special counsel's probe into collusion.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Tonight, a new report of secret talks between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the president's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
"The Guardian" citing sources who say Manafort traveled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to meet with Assange between 2013 and 2016, including one meeting around March 2016, the same month Manafort joined the Trump campaign.
CNN has not confirmed the newspaper's reporting, and it is unclear why Manafort wanted to see Assange and what was discussed, according to "The Guardian." The news outlet based its reporting in part on an internal Ecuadorian intelligence document that lists Paul Manafort as a well-known guests at the embassy, but Manafort's visits were reportedly not officially logged.
And CNN has also learned that the special counsel has been investigating a meeting between Manafort and Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno in Quito in 2017 and that Mueller's team has asked if WikiLeaks or Assange were discussed in that meeting.
Assange has been holed up at the embassy since he was granted political asylum in 2012. And in the months leading up to the 2016 election, Assange's WikiLeaks posted thousands of hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: We have more material related to the Hillary Clinton campaign. SCHNEIDER: Russian intelligence officers allegedly hacked Democratic
Party computers beginning in March 2016, according to an indictment filed by the special counsel.
And a few months later, prosecutor say WikiLeaks reached out to a persona run by Russian intelligence known as Guccifer 2.0, later releasing the e-mails bit by bit.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This just came out. WikiLeaks. I love WikiLeaks.
SCHNEIDER: WikiLeaks denies that Manafort ever met Assange. Assange's lawyers also deny the story.
And Paul Manafort issued this forceful denial: "This story is totally false and deliberately libelous. I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to WikiLeaks, either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or WikiLeaks on any matter. We are considering all legal options against 'The Guardian,' who proceeded with this story even after being notified by my representatives that it was false."
Any meeting between Assange and Manafort would likely be of high interest to the special counsel and its collusion questions. Mueller's team met multiple times with Manafort after he pleaded guilty in September.
But on Monday night, Mueller's team told the court it was calling off the cooperation, accusing Manafort of lying multiple times about various subjects during his plea talks.
Manafort's lawyers shot back, saying Manafort believed he provided truthful information. Mueller's team will now have to tell the judge what Manafort lied about, revealing part of the investigation.
And the president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani telling us CNN today that he's been talking to Manafort's defense team, and knew they were running into problems with the special counsel.
SCHNEIDER: And Mueller's team called off the cooperation deal with Manafort just days after the president submitted his own answers to questions about possible collusion.
Of course, the president has repeatedly slammed Mueller's Russia probe. And also, Wolf, he's called those questions that he answered for Mueller's team a perjury trap. Of course, now it's Manafort being accused of lying.
BLITZER: Yes, lots going on right now. Jessica, thank you very much, Jessica Schneider reporting. Also tonight, the White House is trying to tamp down speculation that
the president might be considering a pardon for Paul Manafort now that his plea deal has been scrapped.
Let's go to our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
Jim, you were at that rare White House press briefing today. Sarah Sanders was there, among others, answering questions.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
At the first on-camera briefing with reporters in nearly one month, White House officials tried to carefully answer some questions today on the Russia investigation.
The press secretary, Sarah Sanders, appeared to indicate that there weren't talks going on inside the White House on pardoning former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. But the White House didn't exactly encourage Manafort to cooperate with the special counsel's investigation, just as he's been accused of lying to the investigation.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Handle with care, that seems to be the White House approach to dealing with the allegation from the special counsel's office that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort violated his plea deal by lying to investigators.
At the White House briefing, there was no talk of pardons.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not aware of any conversations for anyone's pardon involved in this process at all.
ACOSTA: But, notably, no real push to urge Manafort to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.
(on camera): Would the president recommend that Mr. Manafort begin to cooperate, offer full cooperation to the special counsel's office?
HUCKABEE SANDERS: We can only speak to what our role is in that process. And not only has the president, but the entire administration has been fully cooperative with the special counsel's office, providing hours and hours of sit-downs, as well as over four million pages and documents. We continue to be cooperative. But we also know that there was no collusion and we're ready for this to wrap up.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Press Secretary Sarah Sanders appeared to make a point of only defending the president, not the rest of the campaign.
HUCKABEE SANDERS: Certainly remain confident in the White House's assertion that the president was involved in no wrongdoing, was not part of any collusion.
ACOSTA: Still, with expectations building that Mueller could be closing in on new indictments in the Russia investigation, the president remains agitated with the probe, tweeting: "The media builds up Bob Mueller as a saint, when, in actuality, he is the exact opposite. He is doing tremendous damage to our criminal justice system, where he is only looking at one side and not the other. Heroes will come out of this and it won't be Mueller."
The White House is also standing its ground on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, with National Security Adviser John Bolton dismissing questions from reporters about whether he should listen to an audio recording of the murder of the Saudi journalist.
JOHN BOLTON, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I guess I should ask you why do you think I should. What do you think I will learn from it?
QUESTION: Well, you're the national security adviser. You might have access to that sort of intelligence.
BOLTON: How many in this room speak Arabic?
QUESTION: You don't have access to an interpreter?
BOLTON: You want me to listen to it? What am I going to learn from -- I mean, if they were speaking Korean, I wouldn't learn any more from it either.
ACOSTA: Sanders pushed back on the notion that the president is rejecting the assessment of the CIA that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's killing.
HUCKABEE SANDERS: We haven't seen definitive evidence come from our intelligence community that ties him directly to that. What we have seen is a number of individuals that we know are tied to that and those individuals have been sanctioned.
ACOSTA: As Sanders was speaking, the president upstaged his press secretary, breaking the news that he may punish General Motors over its plans to close car factories in the U.S., tweeting: "We are now looking at cutting all GM subsidies."
The White House is blaming GM, not Trump administration economic policies, for its current woes.
HUCKABEE SANDERS: They're making a car, frankly, that people don't want to buy.
ACOSTA: Now, the White House said the president won't be meeting with the Saudi crown prince when he travels to the G20 summit in Argentina later on this week.
The president however, at the moment, will be meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin. That's what the national security adviser said earlier today. Russia's recent aggression against Ukraine is likely to come up in that discussion. What the president will do about that aggression remains a big open
question. We should point out, Wolf, late this evening, "The Washington Post" says it has an interview with the president. In that interview, Wolf, the president says he may scrap that upcoming planned meeting with Vladimir Putin because of this Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Of course, it's only Tuesday. The summit is later on this week. And the president could change his mind and update that comment, that statement as to whether he will meet with Putin later on this week, Wolf.
BLITZER: We will see what happens in Argentina.
All right, Jim Acosta, thank you very much.
Joining us now, Senator Dick Durbin. He's a member of the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate. He serves on the Judiciary Committee as well.
Senator, thanks so much for joining us. We got lots to discuss.
But do you view these Roger Stone e-mails as an attempt to collude? Or is this evidence of collusion, formal collusion, in your eyes?
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL), MINORITY WHIP: Well, it's a tangled web, Wolf.
And I think anyone who's trying to follow it and sort it out wonders really what's at the bottom of it. I will tell you this. There's one responsibility that Congress bears at this moment. And that's to make sure that the efforts of Robert Mueller continue unimpeded, unobstructed, and not diminished by the administration, either by the attorney general or others.
We have a bipartisan bill to achieve that. It should be part of our final work product in the next few weeks.
BLITZER: Will it be part of the effort to make sure the government doesn't shut down by the end of next week? Will you demand that that be included in any final legislation to keep the government operating?
DURBIN: Well, I think most agree, Democrats and Republicans, since it's a bipartisan bill, that it's not only important, but timely.
Senator McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, has said repeatedly, we see no need for it. And yet, as this investigation unfolds and the president continues to fight it, it's clear to me that we need the assurance this will continue to be an independent and credible investigation.
BLITZER: "The Guardian" newspaper is reporting that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in the spring of 2016, around the same time that Manafort actually joined the Trump campaign.
So, if that's true, what new questions does that raise? Manafort, as you know, and Julian Assange, they're denying it.
DURBIN: Well, I can tell you this. I don't know about the authenticity of the assertions by "The Guardian" newspaper concerning these meetings by Manafort with Julian Assange.
But you raised the point earlier, Wolf, a very important one too, what an amazing coincidence, a WikiLeaks dump just minutes or hours after the "Access Hollywood" scandal was unfolding here in the United States.
For those of us who were observing it from afar, it seemed like much more than a coincidence. Was there coordination by anyone with this WikiLeaks leak and dump of information? That remains to be seen.
We have one theory that "The Guardian" has put forward today.
BLITZER: I'm sure Mueller and his team are looking into precisely that.
As you know, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, says the president -- she says, flatly, the president wasn't involved in any collusion. But that's a change from saying that no one in the Trump campaign was involved.
How significant potentially is that shift?
DURBIN: Well, I think the president is narrowing his conversation as much as possible as those who were around him and part of his campaign effort are falling by the wayside.
Manafort, of course, is his former campaign manager. Roger Stone has been a confidant of his for many, many years. All of them, questions have been raised -- and even more when it comes to Manafort. And I think what the president is doing, what Sanders is doing for him is narrowing that umbrella of protection to a very narrow allegation, that it's just the president who was above this.
BLITZER: Why do you believe Paul Manafort would strike a plea deal with Robert Mueller and his team, only to break it and lie to the special counsel's team and the FBI, as alleged by Robert Mueller and his team?
DURBIN: There are a lot of theories, of course.
One of them is, he forgot, a memory issue. I think that's the least credible. I think there also is this looming concern that there's a pardon waiting for him in the White House when this is all over. I hope that's not true. Pardons in this circumstance would certainly raise serious questions about whether this president are any person is above the law in the United States.
BLITZER: Well, do you believe a pardon of Manafort by the president would be an admission of guilt by the president, considering Manafort's role in the campaign?
DURBIN: Yes, I would.
BLITZER: That's a serious, serious charge.
The White House, by the way, today said -- at least Sarah Sanders said she doesn't think there's any consideration of pardons right now. She was very specific on that.
How concerned, Senator, are you that a potential government shutdown would put the Mueller investigation on hold, at least for the days that there would be no funding for that investigation?
DURBIN: I don't know the internal workings of that investigation or whether to date any funding is critical. That's something we'd have to look into more carefully.
But I can tell you this. When it comes to a government shutdown, this is a decision in the hands of President Trump as to whether to shut down this government. He has a majority in the House, a majority in the United States Senate, Republican control of two branches of government.
Any shutdown is on his shoulders.
BLITZER: On a different subject, "The Guardian" newspaper also has a report today that the White House is preventing the CIA director, Gina Haspel, from briefing members of the U.S. Senate on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist.
Do you know if she will be attending that briefing?
DURBIN: Well, I don't know who gave the order. But we were told that she would not be attending the briefing for members of Congress. That is extraordinary.
When we're dealing with the Khashoggi situation, the assertions by the State Department and intelligence agencies, her absence is obvious. And it's noted, and it raises a serious question as to whether this administration is giving us the whole truth.
BLITZER: And even that so-called Gang of Eight, the leadership, the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate, the chairmen of the Intelligence Committees, even they have not had access to hearing directly from her? Is that what you're telling us?
DURBIN: What I'm telling you is, at the briefing that we are promised tomorrow, the general briefing for members of the United States Senate, we are told that Ms. Haspel will not be attending.
And I think that her absence raises serious questions about why we're not being told the whole story.
BLITZER: Because the CIA did have that conclusion that we all know about.
Let me ask you about another sensitive issue. You're spearheading this bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act, as it's called, which has President Trump's support. He says he supports it.
Today, Jared Kushner, his senior aide, his son-in-law -- he's been working on this issue with Democrats and Republicans -- he went to the Senate Republican policy lunch to try to move this bill along. If the president says he supports it, you support it, what's the problem? Why hasn't this come up for a vote?
DURBIN: Wolf, this is an extraordinary measure.
I was spearheading the last effort on sentencing reform eight years ago. My partner was an Alabama senator named Jeff Sessions, Durbin and Sessions. Now we have a more amazing coalition, not just President Trump endorsing it, but Chuck Grassley, my co-sponsor, along with Mike Lee and Cory Booker, and the support of the major police organizations, as well as the ACLU and others.
We have really reached a moment where we ought to move together on a bipartisan basis and solve a problem that we know faces our country. It's up to Senator McConnell. He will make the decision about whether this will be a priority in the closing days.
BLITZER: And if he doesn't do it in these closing days, you think he will do it in the new session? The Republicans will still be in the majority.
DURBIN: They will be in the majority. But I just tell you, the stars don't line up the way they have in this circumstance very often. Let's seize this opportunity and do something important this year.
BLITZER: Senator Durbin, thanks so much for joining us.
DURBIN: Thank you, too.
BLITZER: All right, just ahead: Do the court documents obtained by CNN show the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is close to nailing down a collusion case? How much does Mueller already know?
And Mueller's team says Paul Manafort broke the cooperation agreement by repeatedly lying to the FBI and federal investigators and prosecutors. What is the former Trump campaign chairman hiding?
BLITZER: We're following multiple breaking stories on the Russia invest, including new details on Robert Mueller's focus on Trump ally Roger Stone.
CNN obtaining draft court filings by the special counsel's office. They show Mueller has been preparing to -- had been preparing to tell a federal court that Stone pushed an associate to get information from WikiLeaks about Clinton campaign e-mails stolen by Russian intelligence.
Joining us now, our senior legal analyst, the former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara.
Preet, thanks for joining us.
Do you believe these e-mails -- are these e-mails evidence that Roger Stone at the very least attempted to commit conspiracy?
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I don't know, as a legal matter, if you can attempt to commit conspiracy. Either you committed conspiracy or not. And you have to show that there was a meeting of the minds between and among one or more folks with an intent to break the law.
What's really, really important is to understand what was in the minds of the people who were having these conversations? Was there mere knowledge that there were going to be attempts to hack and successful attempt to hack into DNC and other Clinton campaign folks' e-mails and to distribute them on a regularized basis to do maximum harm in the October -- before the election?
Mere knowledge may not be sufficient. So, part of what you need to have here is to find out from witnesses, if not from documents, what the intent was, because, if you're sort of a bystander, and not necessarily aiding and abetting the conduct, then it may not reach the level of criminality.
But all the suggestion of the draft documents that you refer to in the other reporting makes it seem much, much closer to the fact.
BLITZER: Why would Jerome Corsi released these draft filings?
BHARARA: You stumped me.
I have been seeing folks on social media asking the same excellent question. I don't know. Some of these folks who are swirling around in this investigation, whether you're talking about Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort or Sam Nunberg and others, they sometimes seem to want attention.
And, boy, do they get it when they make statements like this. I can't think of a particular intelligent, rational basis that is helpful to him, to Jerome Corsi, for releasing these documents.
Maybe he's so immersed in his own defense and thinks that these documents are on their face so indefensible, which I don't buy, but maybe he does. And he thinks that, by exposing them to the public, he will gain some sympathy. But that's a pure guess on my part.
BLITZER: Is that allowed by the system, for him to go ahead and release these sensitive documents?
BHARARA: Well, you tend not to want that to happen. But I'm not aware of any privilege that applies. It's not classified information. It's not grand jury information.
And the ordinary course, in order for someone to get to the point where they sign on the line, which is dotted, on a plea agreement, you have to provide it to them. And most of the time, when you get far enough down the road that you're providing an actual draft plea agreement, in my experience, along with a draft information or indictment or some other document, you're pretty assured that you're going to get it done.
And you share it lawyer to lawyer. And, often, you give some of the details about it in advance on the phone or in some other informal way. And then those don't see the light of day until you walk into a courtroom, and you swear and attest to everything being true, and you do your allocution, and you plead guilty. Sometimes things go south. But it's very rare, you know, given the spirit of your question, going to this, it's very rare for someone to A, both decide not to cooperate and not to plead guilty after having gotten the document; and then also making it public in some kind of play for sympathy or support on his -- on his part.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that's what I thought -- I suspected, as well.
As you know, "The Guardian" newspaper is reporting that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Julian Assange, they met sometime around March of 2016 around the same time that Manafort joined the jump campaign. Manafort is denying it. Julian Assange is denying it. But what might that signal to the special counsel?
BHARARA: It would signal to the special counsel all those protestations to the contrary are false, which is important. Because why are you lying about something if there was nothing wrong with it?
I noted that Paul Manafort has said publicly, either himself or through his counsel in the last few minutes, about "The Guardian" article; he finds it libelous. Well, if it was an innocent meeting that he had, I don't know why it would be libelous. And if he didn't have the meeting -- I'm sorry, he did have the meeting, he's lying about it now, that would show to the Mueller team that maybe there was something, you know, not good afoot.
And obviously, given what transpired after spring of 2016, with the WikiLeaks dumps and the scheduled harm on a regular basis in October, you know, timed specifically in ways to causes maximum harm to the Clinton campaign, to the extent that Paul Manafort being -- was about to become a very, very, very high-level campaign person, in fact the chairman of the Trump campaign, that gets you close to this thing that have people have been talking about. That's not a legal term but a more informal term, collusion. It's the very sort of essence of it.
BLITZER: Both Manafort and Roger Stone, they spoke with President Trump throughout the presidential campaign. How plausible do you believe it is that the president was kept in the dark on all of this, assuming that all these reports are true?
BHARARA: I mean, look, based on my sort of being a citizen in the country and watching television, reading the news, and studying like everyone else, Donald Trump's behavior and how involved he wants to get on these things, it seems very implausible that he wasn't advised along the way.
In the same way that we saw there were denials about the payments to Stormy Daniels at the outset by Michael Cohen on behalf of Donald Trump, a lot of those assertions of not being told about certain things turned out to be false and turned out to be proven false by one or more recordings.
It is also the case that Donald Trump on a regular basis -- I don't know what the exact number is, I saw it recently -- you know, dozens of times on the campaign trail talked about WikiLeaks, talked about releasing e-mails. So it was on his mind, not just privately, but it was on his mind when he stood at the podium in front of tens of thousands of people.
And you would think that he was openly and notoriously calling for that kind of activity. And there was someone on his campaign who was in touch with folks who could be responsible for that activity, that they would have liked to take some credit and tell the boss, "Hey, guess what? This is what I'm doing." So it seems very implausible to me.
BLITZER: As you know, the -- Manafort was seen as someone who potentially was an important cooperator with the Robert Mueller investigation, but now Mueller and his team say he was lying to the FBI even after reaching an agreement, lying to the federal prosecutors. How much of a setback, potentially, is this for Mueller?
BHARARA: I mean, it depends on what Manafort's information was. If it was very compelling and it was the kind of information that does more than tell you what's in documents and in e-mails. But if he were able to be a witness who could tell you what people's state of mind was in conversations that were not recorded, and credibly do that, then it could be a fairly substantial setback.
You know, we keep talking about this, people like me on television, about how important it is to understand what the intent behind the action was, not just the mere fact of the action or the fact of a meeting. And sometimes you really need cooperating witnesses to make the case.
There's some irony that, you know, in the current circumstances, that Donald Trump, by surrounding himself often with people who seem to be, like Paul Manafort, inveterate liars and people who can't be trusted and people who prosecutors don't think can be credible witnesses on the stand. And they may include people like Michael Cohen, people like Paul Manafort and others, he's almost, in a way, inoculated himself indirectly when those very people who might be in a position to point the finger and to give context to a jury in the future or to a congressional committee in the future, aren't able to do so, because they're fundamentally so not credible that they can't be put on the stand.
BLITZER: Preet Bharara, thanks so much for joining us. BHARARA: Thank you.
BLITZER: All right. Just ahead, as Robert Mueller gathers more evidence involving Roger Stone, is the long-term confidante of the president on the verge of being indicted? We're digging deeper into those draft documents from Mueller's office.
And what's next for Paul Manafort, now that his plea deal has been scrapped? Is a presidential pardon on the table, despite what we're hearing from the White House?
[18:39:26] BLITZER: We're following breaking news on possible evidence of collusion in Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. CNN has obtained draft documents from Mueller's office that shed new light on the alleged connections involving Trump ally Roger Stone, WikiLeaks and Clinton campaign e-mails stolen by Russian intelligence.
Let's break it all down for our analysts. And Gloria, those documents show that Roger Stone was actively trying to get in touch with WikiLeaks to see what they were going to be releasing in terms of these stolen e-mails. Mueller's -- the Mueller team has these e- mails. How big of a deal is it?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's not great news for Roger Stone. I will tell you that.
It looks to me, from reading these e-mails -- and of course, you know, Sara Murray has done some great reporting on this. It looks to me that Stone was trying to use Mr. Corsi as a kind of a cutout to say, "OK, you're communicating with, you know -- with Julian Assange. This is what I need. X, Y, and Z."
And in Sara's story, she points out that on August 2, 2016, Corsi was e-mailing Stone to predict WikiLeaks had more documents in the works and that Stone has said that he spoke with Trump the following day, August 3.
So what was that conversation about? Did Stone relay this to the candidate? We don't know the answers. We are presuming that Bob Mueller knows the answers and that what we are missing here and what we don't have is the communications, the alleged communications between Corsi and Julian Assange.
BLITZER: We do have, and Gloria mentioned it, the August 2, 2016, e- mail from Corsi to Stone. I'll put it up on the screen.
BLITZER: "Word is friend in embassy plans two more dumps, one shortly after I'm back. Second in October. Impact planned to be very, very damaging." That time line was pretty accurate.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And in October, that's when the Podesta e-mails came out. This is like that scene in "Wayne's World" where Mike Myers turns to
the camera and says, "He was awfully well-informed for a security guard." Right? I mean, how else could he have known about this?
There are still dots to be connected, but the timing just seems eerily close; and Roger Stone has not provided an explanation that absolves himself, at least up to this point.
BLITZER: And amidst all of this, Anne Milgram, "The Guardian" newspaper is reporting that Paul Manafort actually met several times with Julian Assange, including in the spring of 2016, around the same time he would become the Trump campaign manager, then chairman.
When you put all this together -- Manafort's denying this; Julian Assange is denying it. But when you put it all together, what does it say to you?
ANNA MILGRAM, FORMER NEW JERSEY ATTORNEY GENERAL: So I think the really important thing, if "The Guardian" reporting turns out to be accurate, it says that Manafort was at the embassy three times. It looks like --
BLITZER: The Ecuador embassy in London.
MILGRAM: The Ecuadorian embassy in London. Allegedly meeting with Assange three times. At least twice were when he was working for Russia -- for the government of Ukraine that was put in by the Russian government. So there are deep connections to the Russians to begin with on the first two.
If it turns out to be true that he was there at that point in time, to me, you know, if you think about the Mueller investigation, it's sort of like a three legged stool. One part is the Russian government hacking the e-mails. Another part is WikiLeaks releasing them. And the final part, where we've had a lot of reporting, but no firm evidence of the connections. We've got pieces. But this really would be a huge step forward in that piece to really link the campaign to the Russian hacking and to WikiLeaks.
BLITZER: You know, Rebecca, two days after Roger Stone e-mailed, "Get to Assange," the president, then the presidential candidate, infamously encouraged Russia to go ahead and hack the Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party e-mails. 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: You think Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi would be doing what they're doing without the president, then the candidate, knowing about this? REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So it's possible,
Wolf. I mean, if they had been smart about this, you would have thought that perhaps Manafort and/or Stone would purposely try to insulate the president from whatever they were doing with WikiLeaks, knowing that it could potentially expose him to some legal jeopardy or at least some P.R. problems, if anyone were to find out that this was going on during the campaign, during the election.
But based on what the president said publicly, the clip you just played; based on all of the pieces of the puzzle that are becoming known to us now, it does look increasingly likely that the president could have or would have known about this. And this is really one of the fundamental questions remaining for Mueller to answer: what did the president know and when did he know it?
SWERDLICK: Yes, real quick, Wolf. Again, this isn't proof that the president knew anything or that any crime was committed. But that clip you just played of the president on July 27, that was two days after, according to these e-mails, Roger Stone e-mailed Jerry Corsi to say, "Get to Assange." What did that mean?
BLITZER: Why do you think Corsi is releasing these draft court documents?
MILGRAM: I mean, this one, it is -- it is really hard to know. The only thing I can think about is that he knows it's coming. He's about to be charged by Mueller. There's going to be a long court filing that says exactly what he's just released. And maybe he's trying to -- I don't -- I mean, I don't think he's gotten ahead of it. But the only thing I can think is that it's coming anyway.
BLITZER: Listen, Gloria, to the new way the White House -- this is the press secretary, Sarah Sanders -- is now talking about these allegations of collusion. Because it's potentially significant. Listen to this.
[18:45:01] Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I remain confident in the White House's assertion that the president was involved in no wrong doing, was not part of any collusion. The things that have to do with Mr. Manafort, I'd refer you to his attorneys to address that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: She is saying the president was not involved. She is not saying that lesser officials were not involved.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. She said that over and over again today. It was the mantra during the press conference. The president was not involved. Months and months ago, we heard the president talk about nobody in my
campaign was involved in any collusion. Now that story has changed and they're sticking to the new one. And I do think you see the circle narrowing, because the president now is making the case about himself because they're well aware of what's going on with others, particularly, say, Roger Stone or Corsi. And so, she was I think incredibly careful about the way she used her language.
BLITZER: What does it say to you, David?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, again, we're still at the point where dots have to be connected. And we don't know all that the special counsel knows. But all of these figures that we're talking about had a chance over these two years to come forward with all this information and say, hey, oh by the way, this is all out there, these e-mails are out there.
SWERDLICK: But just wanted to let you know this, I had nothing to do with collusion. The president could have not said this was a hoax. He could have just said, well, let's see what the investigation turns up. Now, the investigation is turning up a lot --
BLITZER: In the midst of all of this, and the Robert Mueller and his team announced yesterday, the plea deal with Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, is off after signing the plea deal agreement they say -- they tell the court Manafort committed federal crimes by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the special counsel's office on a variety of subject matters which constitute breaches of the agreement.
ANNE MILGRAM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. To the first point in the plain language, it's very clear when you cooperate. You have to tell everything you've done and walk in and talk about every single crime you've committed. And if they believe that hasn't been the case, they could charge him, more importantly here, they've pulled back the agreement.
And the thing to recognize is that it is true that Mueller has a lot of evidence we don't know. I Mueller had evidence that Manafort did not know he had and that they came to a point where Manafort lied directly to them.
BLITZER: Very significant developments today.
All right. Everybody, stick around. Coming up, an exclusive and very chilling CNN poll exposing the deep undercurrent of anti-Semitism, the hatred and ignorance about Jews that's prevalent in Europe right now. A CNN special report, "The State of Hate" is next.
[18:52:21] BLITZER: Tonight, an exclusive new CNN poll reveals the depths of anti-Semitism across Europe and ignorance about the Jewish people. Among the most startling figures, one third of Europeans surveyed said they knew just a little or nothing at all about the Holocaust. More than one fourth said Jews have too much influence in business and finance and one in five Europeans believe that the Jews are to blame for anti-Semitism, saying it's a response to their every day behavior.
This week, CNN is exploring the state of hate in a series of special reports.
We're joined by our chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward.
Clarissa, you've been investigating anti-Semitism in the country that gave rise to the Holocaust, Germany.
What are you finding out?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
Well, this poll was conducted 7,000 people across seven different European countries. The results as you have just said were shocking and often very troubling.
You talked about more than 25 percent of Europeans believing that Jewish people have too much influence in business and finance. Twenty-six percent of Germans agree with that assessment. This is a country, Wolf, that has gone above and beyond to try to atone for the sins of its past and yet anti-Semitism is once again a growing problem there.
We traveled to Berlin to find out how that's possible.
WARD (voice-over): It's a sight you don't expect to see in Germany in 2018, hundreds of right wing extremists, many neo-Nazis marching through the nation's capital. Close the border, they shout. Resistance, resistance.
The far right is enjoying a major comeback here, bringing with it a troubling rise in anti-Semitism. According to government figures, anti-Semitic attacks have increased by 20 percent in the last five years. The number of violent right wing extremists has gone up by nearly a third.
This man tells us a shadowy cabal of globalists controls the world.
(on camera): When you talk about the elites and you talk about finance, is that another way of saying Jewish people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. WARD: It is.
(voice-over): Let me say it this way, the banking system for sure. Banks financed the economy, mainly Jews, he says.
We had more question, but our conversation was cut short by one of the march's organizers.
(on camera): I think we have someone who's following --
(voice-over): Making anti-Semitic statements can be punishable under German law.
[18:55:01] But Christian Weissberger explains that neo-Nazis are finding new ways to express the same old hatred. And he should know. Weissberger used to be a right wing extremist himself.
CHRISTIAN WEISSBERGER, FORMER NEO-NAZI: I would say that it is a form of anti-Semitism that disguises itself so they don't talk about the Jew anymore. They talk about the Zionists or the globalists or the bankers.
WARD: And they are growing more brazen. One man flashes a quick but unmistakable Nazi salute right in front of us, a crime in Germany.
It's important to remember this isn't any country. This is Germany.
Just a few hundred yards from the march is a memorial for the millions of Jews murdered here in the Second World War.
(on camera): More than 70 years after the Holocaust, Germany is still haunted by its past. And yet remarkably anti-Semitism is once again a growing problem here with 50 percent of Germans agreeing that Jewish people are now at risk of racist violence.
(voice-over): The statistic comes from a CNN poll that also found half of Germans believe Jews are at risk of hate speech.
At Feinberg's Israeli restaurant, owner Yorai says he gets threats every day.
YORAI FEINBERG, RESTAURANT OWNER: From murder to "I will break your knees", "I will break your arms", "I will break your teeth". They are very creative in everything, you know, all the options that they want to break.
WARD: He was recently accosted by a man who told him Jews will end up in the gas chamber.
It is only about the money for you, you will pay, the man says to him. Nobody wants you here.
(on camera): He told you to go to the gas chambers or that you will go back to the gas chambers? You've heard things like that before?
FEINBERG: Very often.
WARD (voice-over): Germany has acknowledged it has a problem, recently appointing its first anti-Semitism czar.
Felix Klein is focused on creating a nationwide system for reporting anti-Semitic crimes and on improving integration of Germany's different communities.
FELIX KLEIN, ANTI-SEMITISM COMMISSIONER, GERMANY: Anti-Semitism has always existed in Germany also after 1945 and now though it is showing its ugly face more openly -- things that people would never have dared to say in a bar, in a restaurant, in a private surrounding do so now using social media or net.
WARD: Germany has seen upticks in neo-Nazi activity before, most notably in the 1990s. While official statistics show that more than 90 percent of anti-Semitic attacks nationwide are from the far right, there is a new element of concern for the Jewish community, the arrival of 1.4 million Muslim refugees in the last three years.
Doron Rubin is the leader of Germany's small orthodox Jewish community.
DORON RUBIN, LEADER OF ORTHODOX JEWISH COMMUNITY: There are a lot of coming -- coming up of a lot of immigrants that have different history and different background and especially coming from the Middle East, also because of Islam, a different attitude toward Jews.
KLEIN: When we talk about Muslim originated anti-Semitism, I think we can only on win that battle with the help of the moderate Muslims. Without them, this wouldn't be a successful fight.
WARD: Overall, the Jewish community remains anxious.
RUBIN: I think much more Jews now think again like can we call Germany our home and possible to listen to society? You can notice the aggression that might not have been five years ago is starting to pop up again.
WARD: It is a question few in this country ever imagined would have to be asked again.
Now, finding a solution to this problem is not easy because it is such a complex issue. But one interesting conversation I had with the chief rabbi of Poland echoes something that you just heard from the anti-Semitism czar Felix Klein. He said, I'm not convinced that anti- Semitism ever really went away.
I think maybe it was always bubbling there beneath the surface and it's only in recent years that suddenly people feel empowered to give air to views that traditionally would have been seen as socially unacceptable, politically incorrect and just abhorrent, Wolf. BLITZER: Yes, yesterday, we reported on increasing anti-Semitic
incidents here in the U.S. and now in Germany. We're going to continue to follow this throughout the week.
Clarissa, thank you very much.
And be sure to join us tomorrow as we continue our special series on the rise of hate here in the United States and around the world.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.