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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Evidence of Trump Campaign Collusion Emerges in Russia Probe?. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired January 9, 2019 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're back with breaking news in our world lead.
Moments ago, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, questioned what the president knew and when he knew it.
This comes after former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort admitted in new court filings that, while he was leading the Trump campaign, he was also sharing internal campaign polling with a Russian who has ties to Russian military intelligence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: To me, this appears as the closest we have seen yet to real live actual collusion. Clearly, Manafort was trying to collude with Russian agents. And the question is, what did the president know? What did Donald Trump know about this -- this exchange of information?
Did the Russians end up using this information in their efforts that took place later in the fall?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Senator Warner also said he wanted to see exactly what Manafort turned over to the Russians, something that top Democrats in the House could ask for, now that they are in the majority, theoretically.
CNN's Sara Murray reports.
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats today seizing on the revelation that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared campaign polling data with his Russian associate Konstantin Kilimnik before the 2016 election, raising concerns about whether that intel could have been used to meddle in the election.
WARNER: If what the Manafort lawyers by mistake revealed is accurate, how is that not evidence of an effort to collaborate in some way, particularly when we saw, subsequent to this sharing of information, the Russians use their social media army to, in effect, try to influence the election?
MURRAY: According to prosecutors, Kilimnik has ties to the same Russian military intelligence unit that hacked the Democratic Party.
Democrats are asking whether it's possible that the Russians could have also used Manafort's sensitive polling data to help direct Russians' propaganda and disinformation campaigns in 2016.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Why is the campaign chairman for a us presidential candidate providing campaign polling data to someone linked to a foreign adversarial intelligence agency?
MURRAY: Republicans quickly insisted the new details, which Manafort's attorneys inadvertently revealed in a court filing, don't amount to collusion.
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: Communicating with someone about polling data and what's going is no secret thing in that sense. So I'm -- again, looking for that as the smoking gun, I think, would be a pretty big stretch.
MURRAY: Still, Manafort's contacts with Kilimnik, which continued after Donald Trump was elected, offer the clearest public evidence yet of coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, all of this emerging amid indications that special counsel Robert Mueller's probe may be winding down.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is planning to voluntarily leave the Justice Department shortly after William Barr, President Trump's nominees for attorney general, is confirmed, a source tells CNN.
ROD ROSENSTEIN, U.S. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Bob Mueller or Rod Rosenstein or Matt Whitaker or Bill Barr, that investigation is going to be handled appropriately.
MURRAY: Rosenstein, the primary man overseeing Mueller's Russia investigation, has signaled to other officials that he intended to leave DOJ when he was satisfied the Mueller probe was completed or at least close enough to completion that it was protected.
As Barr made the rounds on Capitol Hill Wednesday...
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: Congratulations on your -- the president nominating you.
MURRAY: ... lawmakers tried to allay fears about his plans for the Mueller probe.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: That he has a high opinion of Mr. Mueller, has no reason for Mr. Mueller to stop doing his job and is committed to allowing Mr. Mueller to finish.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MURRAY: Now, Barr's confirmation hearing is set for mid-January, so it could be February or even longer that Rod Rosenstein is still on the job over at DOJ -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Sara Murray, thanks so much.
I want to bring in former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Republican Mike Rogers and Democrat Juliette Kayyem, who was the assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama.
Mr. Chairman, let me start with you.
You were an FBI special agent. You also ran campaigns. I mean, this could be innocent, I guess, theoretically, but it looks weird. And it shows up in the context of the Mueller investigation.
MIKE ROGERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's damning, but not definitive.
So investigators would have to do a couple of things. They have got to determine, what was the intention of that meeting? Was their intention of having the Russians use this information? Was it intended to get back to the Russian government? He was an agent of the intelligence services, not an intelligence officer directly.
So they have got some hurdles to get over. But what it does do, it sends a pretty clear signal that he has not been truthful for a big part of that Mueller investigation.
TAPPER: And, Juliette, just moments ago, Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on Senate Intel, raised the possible connection between sharing this polling data and Russian interference in the election. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARNER: Did the Russians end up using this information in their efforts that took place later in the fall, where they tried using the Internet Research Agency and other bots and other automated tools on social media to suppress, for example, African-American vote?
Was that something that was driven by this campaign data that was turned over to the Russians?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What do you think? I mean, is this where Mueller's team is investigating?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, absolutely. And I think that they're fair questions.
I don't think we know the answer. And I don't -- I don't think that Senator Warner is suggesting we know the answer. From what we have learned so far in the last 24 hours, we still have two big questions. One is, of course, what was the nature of that data? Was it that
specific that it would actually help the Russians to target certain areas? Or was it vague, like, oh, Michigan and Wisconsin are swing states, which anyone could figure out by watching CNN?
The second is, and what did Trump know, and did he know about these interactions? But the one thing we do know, just picking up on what Mike Rogers just said, is, Manafort was open for business and that that -- and that the campaigns contacts with the Russians were known by the Russians, and the failure of anyone on the campaign to notify the FBI of those interactions and essentially lie, those, to me, are not open questions anymore.
And then this is just one more data point in a long series of data points that show the Russians were in, the FBI was out with this campaign.
TAPPER: And, Mr. Chairman, Juliette is 100 percent right. Mark Warner did not say definitively this is the case, we know this, but he did say this. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARNER: Can we make that connection from the Trump campaign data to the suppression of the African-American vote? Not at this point.
But why else would you be sharing confidential campaign data with a Russian intelligence agent?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Why else would you be sharing confidential campaign data with somebody who works for Russian intelligence or an agent of Russian intelligence?
ROGERS: Yes. Yes.
And it's a little bit about what Juliette was talking about, that when you invest your career in doing shady deals in Ukraine and other places, bumping into Russians all the time -- and clearly that was the path he took. And so he was already dealing in a shady environment.
It could have been, why are you leading a presidential campaign in the midst of flying to another country, Madrid, to have this meeting to show this information? Now, that's the damning part. But it could also be, listen, I'm currying favor for future contracts here. So I'm going to give you some of the inside scoop on what's up happening in the campaign.
That's where these investigators are going to have to get over that hurdle in making an understanding of, was this information provided to help the campaign back home? Or was this information provided to help Paul Manafort further, his, I would argue, shady consulting area?
That's what they're going to have to prove in court. And I think that's the big difference.
KAYYEM: And can I just say something?
You showed a clip of Senator Lankford saying, it's not a smoking gun. And I think that's manipulative of the senator that to put the context of a conspiracy that way, because there's likely not a smoking gun. There's going to be a lot of different pieces of evidence.
And the question is, does Mueller have connective tissue to show that there's collusion and that the 2016 campaign was undermined or influenced by the Russians?
But one thing that is clear, and is that Manafort was compromised enough that he either shared information that he shouldn't have or wanted to sell information because he had financial dealings. And that compromise nature of this investigation is what we should remember.
Was he compromised? Was Donald Trump compromised? Or were the kids compromised? And that's where -- that's -- that's the $64,000 question at this stage.
ROGERS: And the one part of that -- and, Juliette, you're so right -- is that this was one piece of information that was inadvertently disclosed.
ROGERS: I will guarantee you there are stacks of pieces of information that would even allow Mueller to say, you know what, you're not cooperating, I'm going to send you to jail anyway, even with his cooperation.
And that tells me there's a lot more to that story that Mueller knows.
TAPPER: To be continued, as always.
Mike Rogers, Juliette Kayyem, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
The one thing more Democrats are embracing as they gear up for 2020 -- coming up next. Stay with us.
[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Just moments ago you heard potential 2020 presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris address a possible run for the White House in 2020.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: I will make my decision soon, not at this very moment. We have to understand that the American public and the people of our country are smart people who will make decisions about who will be their leader based on who they believe is capable, who they believe has an honest desire to lead, to represent to see them, to be a voice for them even if they have no power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Harris is among a group of new to the public, presidential hopefuls including her, Senator Cory Booker, Congressman -- former Congressman Beto O'Rourke who may try to be the next Democratic presidential nominee. Let us discuss her and others. I want to read something from Axios of the Democrats running for 2020. "The momentum online on cable among donors with newly elected Democrats and among the early to 2020 crop is clearly with the new more unabashed Liberals."
That would seem to me to not be great news for the Vice President Joe Biden's of the world theoretically even though he ranks highest in the polling.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, when you have a primary where there's going to be so many people running, I think it's really a free-for-all and anything can happen during the term. Nobody expected. You know, remember, in 2016 Republicans had what, 16 different candidates and nobody expected the result should be what it ended up being. So I don't think you should count anybody out or anybody in right now and just what the things develop.
TAPPER: She's pretty progressive. She's pretty Liberal, Kamala Harris, Senator Harris, but I've -- you here grumbling from some progressives about she's a former prosecutor, she's too allied with police, she's just another corporate Democrat like Hillary Clinton. You hear things like that about Cory Booker too. So just like Republicans have their purity tests on the right, people like Senator Harris are going to face that on the left.
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I guess. I mean, if having been a prosecutor is a disqualification for higher office that's going to be it. And look, she survived in California politics which is a pretty progressive Democratic Party. And honestly in a general election, I think that would help her, don't you think?
TAPPER: Yes. But I'm talking about in the primary. I mean, you know what I'm talking about. You must hear these whispers too, the people like her. I've even heard there are people in the Bernie Sanders wing of the party that criticized Beto O'Rourke as being too corporate.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We've seen that as well and I have to all of them. It's the first time in my life I don't have a preference. I really don't. So I'm an undecided Democrat as well. But I would say to all of them, let it roll off your back. You're going to be criticized. That's part of the game. That's part of the job. It's good to be criticized. And they should just take that. I thought -- I think what Democrats are looking for are passion, compassion, charisma. And I think we saw some of that in that interview.
I mean, I think talent is going to matter a lot here. It's not I think going to be who has the best 14-point position plan on immigration. I think it's going to be who can transport an audience. I hate to put that bar there, the way that Barack Obama did. I think that's what Democrats would --
TAPPER: And I want you to think listen, Jackie, because last night Beto O'Rourke, former Congressman did an event on Facebook live called Love From the Border. He walked around his hometown of El Paso, went to friend's houses, called the President's various misstatements out saying this is what it's actually like on the border. Here's a small sample of the 90-minute video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETO O'ROURKE (D), FORMER CONGRESSMAN, TEXAS: One of the safest cities in America. This neighborhood is safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What do you think?
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He also had a video that he released I want -- I think it was an online ad that had a drone view of the border and showing kind of what the terrain looked like. Listen. this is an issue that he can really sink his teeth into because he's from El Paso. He is -- he knows that area. I mean, he had a road trip with Will Hurd who's a Republican who opposes the wall, who is also from a border -- a border district in Texas.
Just because he lost doesn't mean he's not going to run. And it might -- what we've seen I think with the 2016 race is it doesn't hurt to jump in because it may have passed you by.
[16:50:09] TAPPER: Senator Amy Klobuchar who's also contemplating a run from Minnesota, Democrat, she gave a little like one-minute response to the President on Twitter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: You know what the President didn't talk about tonight, he didn't talk about the people in my state and across the country who are being affected by the shutdown. I'm ready to go back to work and vote and get this done. I'm ready to go back right now. It's pouring rain outside. I've got an umbrella.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What do you think?
KRISTOL: It's good. I mean, you remember, I don't know what these things means, ultimately, but I mean, it is a very different media environment. I guess that's what strikes me for many of the races we were involved in. And in that respect, to speak -- being younger helps not so much partners, people want someone young and new and fresh but also because if you are younger you actually are just more natural in this environment.
NAVARRO: But you know --
KRISTOL: I think that's a big advantage for O'Rourke and to some degree Harris and some of the --
NAVARRO: You know, it's not just about being young, it's about really being able to use some of these platforms effectively. We've seen or Ocasio-Cortez. The night she beat Joe Crowley, I went and followed her on Twitter. She was like -- you know she maybe had 60,000. Today she's got well over two million followers.
TAPPER: She has more followers than Nancy Pelosi.
NAVARRO: She is Instagramming, you know, she has Facebook live and cooking on a -- on a pot. She is somehow relatable. You can -- a lot of -- also a lot of those followers are because of the constant attacks from Republicans and whose heads she's living rent-free.
KUCINICH: But I think being authentic matters.
NAVARRO: But I will say about Kamala Harris though, that struck me. One was the way she dealt with a question you asked her about the #MeToo issue with her staffer. Unlike Bernie Sanders who said oh well, you know, I don't know. I was traveling all over the place. She said the buck stops with me. And I think that's very refreshing to hear politicians take some degree of responsibility.
And the second thing is you know, I've ever heard anybody call Kamala Harris dislikable. There was all of this chatter after Elizabeth Warren announced saying you know it's a woman thing, it's an attack on women. Maybe it's not a woman thing. Maybe it's not Elizabeth Warren thing.
TAPPER: Everyone, stick around. A shocking and disturbing case. Police giving new information this hour about a woman who has been in a coma for years who just gave birth to a baby boy. Stay with us.
[16:55:00] TAPPER: In our "NATIONAL LEAD," Police in Phoenix just wrapped up a news conference confirming they're investigating a sexual assault and a horrifying story. A woman gave birth ten days ago despite having been in a coma for more than a decade. And we've just learned police currently have no suspects. As CNN's Sara Sidner reports, they'll now collect DNA samples from every male employee at the health care facility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Phoenix Police revealing a disturbing new detail in an already horrifying case. A baby born to a female patient living in a vegetative state for years at this facility had coded. Meaning his life was in danger. He and the incapacitated mother whisked away to a hospital. Investigators finally addressing the public moments ago after days of silence. SGT. TOMMY THOMPSON, POLICE DEPARTMENT, PHOENIX: This woman was
unable to move, she was unable to communicate. In other words, she was helpless.
SIDNER: Police have obtained search warrants to get DNA samples from male staffers at the medical facilities hoping to find who may have sexually assaulted the woman who has been in a vegetative state for more than a decade. Attorney Brian Claypool says the criminal exposure, in this case, is very clear.
BRIAN CLAYPOOL, ATTORNEY: If the woman in Phoenix was in a vegetative state and she gave birth to a child, then she was raped because she could not have consented to a sexual relation.
SIDNER: Karina Cesena says she and other parents with children in this facility are stunned and scared. Cesena's 22-year-old daughter is living here with severe brain damage. She is extremely vulnerable. She cannot walk and can barely talk.
KARINA CESENA, MOTHER OF PATIENT: We were just so scared because who knows what would happen. If it was a staff member, if it was a family member, if it was a stranger, we have no idea.
SIDNER: What did you decide to do personally to make sure your daughter who is inside is safe?
CESENA: I stay here 24/7 now to make sure that she is in a safe environment as well and just move forward because trust has been severely broken.
SIDNER: The woman's family isn't talking due to the emotional distress but shared their feelings to an attorney saying they are outraged, traumatized and in shocked by the abuse and negligent of their daughter. They also revealed the baby is a boy who has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for.
The San Carlos Apache Tribe say the woman is a 29-year-old registered member of their tribe. As for the medical facility, the CEO Bill Timmons abruptly resigned this week. Hacienda Healthcare's board of directors released a statement saying what happened is an absolutely horrifying situation and unprecedented case. But they gave no specifics about the case.
Cesena says that the health care company didn't even inform the families about the incident until five days after the birth. And only after local news reports exposed the situation.
CESENA: I think that there's an underlying blanket somewhere they are trying to hide under you know, instead of being transparent. They are not being transparent at all.
SINDER: Police did -- police did reveal when the baby was born, December 29th. That's about ten days ago. And by the way, the baby and his mother are still in the hospital recovering. Jake? TAPPER: All right, Sara Sidner with a horrible story. Thank you so much. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JAKETAPPER. You can tweet the show @THELEADCNN. We actually read them. Our coverage continues right now.