Return to Transcripts main page
Trump At Mar-A-Lago For Holiday; Ted Malloch Talked To Investigators; Mueller's Report. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired April 20, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: You're live in the CNN Newsroom. Thanks for staying with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
President Trump spending Easter weekend in Florida at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Part of his day, he spent on the golf course. Part of his day, he spent on Twitter. A predawn tweet storm that hammered his usual targets, the authors of the Bob Mueller report, whom he calls angry Democrats and true Trump haters. And he called out Mueller by name. The president, again, proclaiming no collusion with Russia repeating it several times and the words, pretty amazing.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is in West Palm Beach right now. Boris, top leaders in the Democrat-controlled House at least say they're moving on after the Mueller report. But some key Democrats are not yesterday ready to let it go.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, and one pretty powerful Democrat, Jerry Nadler, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He has filed a subpoena demanding the full, unredacted Mueller report from the Department of Justice. He wants to see the underlying evidence, even the information that was redacted, because Grand Jury information was being protected.
Nadler filing the subpoena. The Department of Justice responding swiftly in a statement. They write, quote, "In the interest of transparency, the attorney general released a special counsel's confidential report with only minimal redactions." The Department of Justice has also made arrangements for Chairman Nadler and other Congressional leaders to review the report with even fewer redactions.
In light of this, Congressman Nadler's subpoena is premature and unnecessary. The Department will continue to work with Congress to accommodate its legitimate request consist with the law and long- recognized executive branch interest.
We should point out, Nadler set a deadline in this subpoena of May first. There is no sign, as you just heard in that statement, that the Department of Justice is ready to comply. So, it's very likely that this will wind up in court.
As for President Trump, he spent the day at his golf club here in Palm Beach, Florida. At one point, he drove by a crowd of supporters, giving them a very enthusiastic two thumbs up as he drove by. The president appearing cheery.
But what we've heard from sources behind the scenes is that he is fuming over some of the information that was in the Mueller reporter, specifically some of the depictions that we heard from mostly former White House officials that paint a portrait of a president who is paranoid and angry over the Russia investigation. And aides who either refused or ignored many of his orders -- Ana.
CABRERA: Boris Sanchez for us in West Palm Beach. Thank you. Keep us posted on any new develops from there.
Now, one of the most damning takeaways from the Mueller report is that what ultimately saved the president from obstructing justice is a staff that basically ignored what he told them to do. Take the case of then White House Counsel Don McGahn. In early January of 2018, "The New York Times" reported that the president had ordered McGahn to remove Robert Mueller. Here was the president's reaction to the story at the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you seek to fire Mueller?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you want to fire Robert Mueller?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Fake news, folks. Fake news.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your message today?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Typical "New York Times." Fake stories.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Turns out it was true. The Mueller report works through the entire episode step by step as the president stews over the report, tries to get McGahn to lie about it, too, demanding he write a letter calling the story inaccurate which it wasn't.
The president asked McGahn, did I say the word, fire? Again, responded, what you said is, call Rod Rosenstein. Tell Rodd that Mueller has conflicts and can't be the special counsel. The president responded, I never said that.
And the report suggests Trump was always a little suspicious of McGahn's potential power. Why do you take notes, Trump asked. Lawyers don't take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes. McGahn responded he keeps notes because he's a real lawyer. To which Trump replied, I've had a lot of great lawyers like Roy Cohn. He did not take notes. Roy Cohn, if memory serves, was disbarred in 1986 for unethical conduct. But I digress here.
Another famous example involves the man whose firing triggered the appointment of a special counsel, former FBI Director James Comey. Comey alleged that Trump had asked him to go easy on an investigation into his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn. While Comey didn't see his way to letting it go. Flynn was axed. And Flynn, ultimately, pleaded guilty to lying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About Michael Flynn, would you consider a pardon for Michael Flynn?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We'll see what happens. Let's see.
I can say this. When you look at what's gone on with the FBI and with the Justice Department, people are very, very angry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:05:00] CABRERA: The report also details the president pressuring then Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rethink his recusal in the Russia probe. But he stayed out of it, leaving the president fuming both in public and behind
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what happens. I put an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department. Jeff Sessions never took control of the Justice Department.
I'm disappointed in the attorney general for many reasons and you understand that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, when Sessions didn't listen, who did the president turn to then? None other than his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.
Mueller states the president wanted Lewandowski to dictate a message that Sessions should give a speech publicly announcing, I know that I recused myself from certain things having to do with specific areas, but our president is being treated very unfairly. Lewandowski dragged his feet. He tried to kick this to White House official, Rick Dearborn, who didn't want to touch it either.
And there are many, many, many more examples, that includes former White House staffer Rob Porter, former deputy national security advisor, Katie McFarland, even Trump's friend and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, among others, who refused to do what the president asked.
Had they followed through, that could have had legal implications for them and the president. So, let's just sum it up, using the words of one senior administration official telling our Jake Tapper that the president makes absurd demands of his staff and administration officials who are alarmed by them and reluctant to follow them. It's not only unsurprising, but has become the norm.
I want to bring in S.E. Cupp, Host of "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED" at the top of the hour, and Van Jones, Host of "THE VAN JONES SHOW" which follows S.E.'s program tonight. Van, hearing the many ways now that Trump staffers essentially ignored their boss when he made questionable demands, does that give you a little more confidence about who's surrounding this president?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I know some of the people who surround the president. I have confidence in some of them, and others, you know, probably not as much. But it gives me a lot less confidence in where the president is. You know, there's that famous thing from the 2016 campaign that some people take Trump literally but not seriously on the left. People on the right take him seriously but not literally. That's fine for a campaign.
But when you're governing, you want the staff to take you literally and seriously. And it seems like we had a situation where sometimes the staff wasn't taking him seriously or literally. And that just seems to be, you know, not the right way to run a circus, let alone run the -- run the White House.
CABRERA: S.E., I keep thinking about that anonymous op-ed --
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
CABRERA: -- back in September, titled, "I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration."
CABRERA: Now, we learn of these 11 people, at least 11 people, who were pushing back or not doing what the president said to do because it was questionable.
CUPP: Yes, I mean, I think we spend a lot of time villainizing people around Trump for enabling him. And I think it's right to do that. Because I think there are a lot of enablers, both in the administration and in Congress.
But, yes, we should point out, it turns out, there were nearly a dozen people around him who said, no. Just to think back historically, there have been plenty of aides and advisers who said, yes, to a president to much worse things. So, this is actually good.
Now, like Van points out, we should still be deeply concerned about what the president wanted to do; what he will continue to want people to do for him. And you have to hope that, God forbid, we face some kind of emergency where people inside the White House, in the "SITUATION ROOM" for example. Don't know whether to do what the president is telling him to do or not. That's a real crisis.
CABRERA: I also wonder about the credibility of this White House, after reading the report about all the lies.
CUPP: I mean, it's shattered. The question to Van's point is, who cares? Do voters care? I don't think his base does. They don't take him literally. I think on the left, people, of course, really care about credibility.
The question is, what will voters decide? As you know, they're not really all that jazzed about Mueller per se. But is this a character issue now?
CABRERA: And it's not just the Trump administration taking a hit from the revelations of this report. Now we have nitty-gritty details, Van, of what Russia got away with before the 2016 election. Scott Jennings writes this, "The Mueller report makes it clear that the Russian interference failure was Obama's alone. He was the Commander- in-Chief when all of this happened." What's your reaction? Fair criticism?
JONES: Well, I don't think it's fair criticism in that Obama was trying to act in a -- in a very constrained political environment. And that the Republicans -- he reached out to them trying to proceed in a bipartisan way to protect the country and the Republicans didn't want to cooperate.
That said, I will -- I do think we've lost the plot. There is one person who is very happy with all of this. Trumps not happy today. He's tweeting. Democrats aren't happy. There's one person that's very happy, and it's Vladimir Putin.
[17:10:00] Vladimir Putin wanted America to be divided and weakened and tearing ourselves apart. And that's exactly what has happened. And so, some will blame Obama. Some will blame Trump. Some will blame Mueller. Some will blame Comey. Some will blame the moon being in the second house. I don't know.
But what I know is that this should be the time that we come together as a country and say, even if we want more hearings, the most important hearing we can have is, how do we protect our democracy from an ongoing attack from a foreign power? And we're having every conversation but that one.
CABRERA: And it seems like lawmakers are kind of struggling with how to respond to this report. We've seen a variety of Republican lawmakers reacting in different ways. You have Jim Jordan tweeting, quote, "No collusion. No obstruction. Complete cooperation from the president. No executive privilege asserted."
You had Marco Rubio's statement, not even mentioning Trump by name or talking about the whole volume two, the obstruction probe. He just focused on Russia's election interference. Then, you have Mitt Romney, saying, quote, "I am sickened at the extent of pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office in the land, including the president."
S.E., why do you think Republicans seem torn on this?
CUPP: Oh, I wish they were more torn, frankly. I wish -- you know, they seem a little conflicted. I think, to a large degree, most Republicans seem OK to accept the president's spin and move on. The problem is, I don't know if they realize, moving on off of -- off of Mueller is actually advantageous to Democrats.
Without Mueller as a foil, Trump actually just has to govern. And that's not been his wheelhouse as president. He's best when he is yelling at an enemy. When this is over, he'll have to talk about issues. Issues like immigration, health care. Issues that Democrats win on. So, I actually don't think they're doing themselves any services by, like, pushing people to move on.
I do, also, just want to point out, while the statements and reactions are interesting and worth noting, we should say, the Senate has taken up a bill. It's called the Defer Act. To -- the Deter Act, sorry, to levy sanctions on Russia. There is some actual legislation that's being --
CUPP: -- worked up. Whether it will get passed or bipartisan support or Trump to sign off on it is another thing. But I think, you know, behind the scenes a lot more quietly, I think lawmakers are trying to address this.
CABRERA: And, Van, I want to ask you what Democrats could and should do here. Since this report dropped, we know three more freshmen Democrats have said they plan to sign onto the impeachment resolution started by Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Al Green. You also have Senator Elizabeth Warren saying, it's time to start impeachment proceedings. Where do you stand on impeachment now?
JONES: I'm not on the impeachment bandwagon, at this point. I think that more hearings are probably necessary and important. I think the people are feeling torn. Because if Bill Clinton was impeached, it kind of feels like you've got a fairly low standard for impeachment. So, there's enough stuff in there that maybe a president could be impeached.
But I think, also, politically, it may not make a lot of sense. I think there's got to be some way for the Congress to go on record that the kind of behavior in this report is not acceptable. History needs to record that the American people and Congress don't think it's acceptable.
The problem is, it's either impeachment or nothing, in the minds of most people. You know, the idea of a censure has not really been discussed. I don't know what the proper response is. But I do think that, at this stage, continued investigations, more hearings. I do think that some people in Congress should be able to see the full report.
We -- the Nixon impeachment didn't start off as impeachment hearings. They started off as hearings that became impeachment hearings. And I think we need to continue the process of learning more.
CABRERA: I mean, as you both know, the latest polling shows impeachment is not popular with the majority of Americans right now. In fact, voters on the campaign trail aren't talking about the Mueller report. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As of last week, I had only been asked four questions about the Mueller report. And I had been asked over 100 questions about health care.
REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, I believe that we have held more town has than any other person contending for the Democratic nomination. I've answered more questions than anyone else so far. And Chris gave me a count today of something like 550 questions over the last four and a half weeks. The Bob Mueller investigation has come up two or three times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Two or three times, 500 questions. Kamala Harris, last night, didn't receive any questions at her town hall following, you know, those latest developments.
S.E., it sounds like voters maybe don't care. They want to move on, to your point earlier.
CUPP: I think they do. If I were a Democrat running for president, I would stick to h.i.t.t., health care, immigration, tax and tariffs. Those are personal pocketbook issues that, I think, will motivate a lot of people, especially voters who actually, historically, vote, to get out -- to get out to the polls. That's the name of the game. It's turnout, getting those voters to turn out. I don't think Mueller is going to do it.
[17:15:09] Now, like I said earlier, if Beto O'Rourke or a Pete Buttigieg wants to also have a character debate, I think that's fair. But I wouldn't make it centered around the revelations in the Mueller report. We don't even need them. There's plenty of other stuff to talk about, when it comes to Trump's character, his lack of transparency, his targeting Democratic institutions, all of that. I think that's fair game.
CABRERA: Let's talk more about what Democrats may do, Van. You have on your show tonight California's Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom. Let's give a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Yes. Listen, I appreciate your passion and you've always been passionate about this stuff. Are you the anti-Trump? I mean, are you -- are you consciously trying to create a contrast, kind of set yourself in your way of doing things as a positive, counter-example to Trump? I mean, how do you think of your role as a governor in Trump's America?
O'ROURKE: I don't wake up every morning and trying to, you know, find a crowbar to put in the spoke of the wheels of the president to trip him up. But, I'll tell you, I'm going to have the backs of our diverse communities. He attacks our diversity. He attacks people and demeans them and dehumanizes people. I'm going to stand up for them. If he attacks our clean air and clean water, I'm going to stand up for clean air and clean water. If he wants to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and increase premiums for millions and millions of Californians, I'm going to stand up against that.
Look, I do govern the most un-Trump state in America. There's no doubt about that. But I also see my role as not just the center of the resistance, but a positive alternative to Trump and Trumpism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Van, is showing a positive alternative what Democrats need to do to win back the White House?
JONES: I think so. I mean, it -- I do think you have to remember, we have different Democrats who have to do different stuff. I mean, if you're running for president, as we've heard from some of those other people, they've got to focus on the stuff that S.E. was pointing out.
And if you're the governor, and we've got some Democratic governors, you've got to be able to show real positive responses. If you're in Congress and part of your job is the oversight, he just makes it so hard to do oversight, because he does so many things. It just seems so bad. He -- and you -- you say, well, I've got to do something but what do I do?
CABRERA: His administration keeps stonewalling, too, every request --
JONES: Yes. So, --
CABRERA: -- for documents and subpoenas.
JONES: -- yes, so, the conversation about what should Democrats do different? Democrats should do different things. But those who are governing states and those who are running for president need to be focused on the stuff that S.E. was talking about.
But I don't think that that means the ones in Congress should just do nothing. And that's the struggle right now in the Democratic Party.
CABRERA: Van, S.E., thank you, both. Make sure you tune in to "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED" at the top of the hour. And then, later at 7:00 Eastern, we mentioned how Van Jones will be joined by Governor Gavin Newsom. He also has Kim Kardashian on as well.
Now, the Mueller report did not find behavior of the president or his associates criminal. But what legal peril could still lie behind its redacted lines? Plus, a somber day in American history, the Columbine School massacre. We're talking about 20 years later.
CABRERA: Now that we have seen the 400-plus pages of the Mueller report, is the worst over for Trump and his associates? Remember this, 14 investigations had been referred to federal prosecutors outside the special counsel office. But here's the thing. We don't know what 12 of them are about.
CNN's Pamela Brown has that and other revelations.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats on Capitol Hill are focused on the parts of the Mueller report they haven't seen. The chair of the Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena, demanding the full report, along with all the evidence collected by the Special Counsel.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: We need the entire report unredacted and the underlying documents, in order to make informed decisions.
BROWN: Among the 1,600-plus lines of redactions, a detailed list of more than a dozen cases that Mueller's investigation either spun off or referred to other U.S. attorneys. The report lists two cases started by Mueller that are still ongoing and lists 12 others that were handed over to other jurisdictions. It's not clear where those cases stand, but Democrats are raising concerns that those investigations will now, ultimately, be overseen by Attorney General William Barr, who they say lost credibility by mischaracterizing the report in his letter last month and in a press conference Thursday morning.
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It's hard to imagine anyone trusts the attorney general after his performance so far.
BROWN: But a source close to Barr pushed back on the criticism, saying he followed through on his pledge to be transparent. The report also reveals new details about the extensive interactions between the Trump campaign, Russians and WikiLeaks. Democrats are now demanding access to the information blacked out over more than seven pages covering the Trump campaign and, quote, "dissemination of hacked materials."
The heavily redacted section points to interests the campaign had in WikiLeaks releases of hacked e-mails, and mentions conversations the president had with deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, including one during a car ride to the airport, as well as with his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. The few sentences that aren't redacted appear to suggest that Trump may have had some knowledge of the WikiLeaks campaign.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: WikiLeaks. I love WikiLeaks.
BROWN: At one point, Cohen told the special counsel that after the WikiLeaks released stolen e-mails in July of 2016, quote, "Candidate Trump said to Cohen something to the effect of" but then the rest of the sentence is redacted. The report also details conversations between Jerome Corsi, an acquaintance of Roger Stone and former advisor to Trump and Ted Malloch, who was said he was an informal adviser to the Trump campaign. [17:25:02] Malloch told investigators he and Corsi had multiple Facetime discussions about WikiLeaks. And says an unnamed person had, quote, "made a connection to Assange about John Podesta's e-mails. That person, whose name was redacted, says the e-mails would be released prior to Election Day and would be helpful to the Trump campaign."
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Whether they rise to the level of a conspiracy, they are unquestionably dishonest, unethical, immoral and unpatriotic.
BROWN: While the report says investigators could not prove a federal crime related to the contacts, it reveals that Mueller's conclusion may have been different with access to more evidence. The investigation, Mueller says, was impacted by witnesses who lied or even deleted information. Writing in the report, the office could not rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on or cast in a new light the events described in the report.
CABRERA: That was Pam Brown reporting.
I want to bring in federal prosecutor, Lis Wiehl, Co-Host of "WOR Tonight" with Joe Concha and Lis Wiehl. Thanks so much for being here.
LIS WIEHL, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Good to be here.
CABRERA: So, we know Mueller's team referred 14 investigations --
CABRERA: -- to other federal prosecutor offices. Twelve of those cases are redacted in the Mueller report. Did you see hints in the report about what those could be about?
WIEHL: Well, it's impossible to see that, because they are redacted. But what's clear is that Mueller found them to be very interesting. And the reason we know that is because when Mueller says he didn't need to interview President Trump, he says, we have enough information without -- on obstruction. We have enough information on abusive power, without actually interviewing the president. It's OK to just get those written -- those written interrogatories which was all they got. Well, that just tells you right there that they had the information they needed.
Where would they have gotten the information? Pretty much from what they -- you see on what we've got and also from what's been redacted, right? That's the only place that they could have gotten them. So, we need to -- not necessarily you and I need to, but certainly the members of Congress and that Judiciary Committee need to see what's in those redacted information.
CABRERA: So, your mindset that what is in the redacted portions matters?
WIEHL: Absolutely. And I know that Congress can get them. Why do I know that? Because I was on -- I was on the impeachment investigative council for the Democrats during the impeachment of President Clinton. I sat in that secure room then, you know, 20 years ago. It was made available under Independent Counsel Starr. So, I know that.
And I know the law has changed since Starr and Mueller, but I know it can happen that you can set up a secure room where those documents can be released to Congress. It can happen then. It can happen again.
CABRERA: So, it can happen?
WIEHL: Of course it can.
CABRERA: But should it happen? And does -- and I ask, does it matter, in the sense that what's the end game for Democrats? If impeachment is not the end game, --
WIEHL: Well, that's the thing.
CABRERA: -- then why?
WIEHL: That's the thing. Does it matter, in the sense that if the Democrats realize that impeachment is only going to lead -- maybe articles will go through the chamber. That is through the chamber here, in the Democratic sense if the articles will pass through. But will not actually go through a trial and will end up impeachment through the -- through Trump being impeached and actually dismissed from office.
Then, they may decide, we're not going to go through the rest of it. And, at that point, then, maybe they don't ask for anything more, and they just concentrate on, you know, trying to go through the whole election process. And that's for only Congress to decide.
CABRERA: Do you believe, if the president weren't the sitting president, based on what you've read in the obstruction portion of the report, can --
WIEHL: Can (INAUDIBLE) be indicted?
CABRERA: Can I -- ask you -- you know where I'm going?
WIEHL: In other words, if I were a prosecutor, --
WIEHL: -- with the evidence that I have right now, and --
CABRERA: From what you've already seen that's not redacted.
WIEHL: -- from what I've already seen and what I can almost surmise -- well, no, not -- let me answer the question you that you had posed. From what I've already read, and not even read the redaction, would I bring this charge of obstruction and potentially abuse of power against an ordinary citizen, not abuse of power, but obstruction? Absolutely.
CABRERA: It's that easy to answer that question. Lis, we will leave it there. Thank so much for your time and we appreciate your expertise.
As Democrats are talking impeachment, possibly, including one top senator who is running for president, how are other contenders responding to the Mueller report? We'll take you to the campaign trail, next.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: The revelations about President Trump from the Mueller report I've given 2020 Democrats plenty to talk about on the campaign trail. Senator Elizabeth Warren is now the first presidential candidate to call for the House to begin impeachment proceedings. It remains to be seen if more could follow suit.
CNN Senior international correspondent -- senior national correspondent, I should say, Kyung Lah has been following Senator Kamala Harris's campaign swing through South Carolina this weekend, and Kyung, what is senator Harris's message today.
KYUNG LAH, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you are seeing right behind me, Ana, is the second Town Hall that the senator is holding. I'm trying to keep my voice low just so I don't disturb the crowd. It's a pretty packed gymnasium here. And it's a Q&A format.
So this is the midway point of a three-day swing and she has not included in her prepared remarks anything about the Mueller report.
In a Q&A with reporters that she just had with us a short time ago just before she took to the stage here, she did reiterate her call that Congress needs to call before it Robert Mueller. She wants Mueller to testify.
[17:35:07] LAH: And then she also said that the report makes one thing absolutely clear that there was obstruction. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no question that there is good reason to believe that there was an obstruction of justice by this President. There's no question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: And she said that she was simply not prepared at this point to call for impeachment, that she wants to look at the underlying evidence, that she wants to see the full un-redacted report, and that she wants to essentially look at the evidence saying, "Hey, she's a prosecutor. She wants to look at everything before she comes up with that sort of judgment." And something else that I should add, Ana, is that I'm at South
Carolina State University. This is a historically black college and university. It is a diverse crowd here. We just had the year of the woman, the Democratic base is more diverse than ever before, and overwhelmingly female, at least the base that is, and the two frontrunners at this point is still the unannounced Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
We asked Senator Harris, what gives? How is it that two white men who are in their 70s could be leading all of these polls? And she said, "I wouldn't hang my hat on that. It is early." Ana.
CABRERA: Expressing confidence it sounds like. Kyung, I'm curious how much are voters asking Harris about the Mueller report?
LAH: That was really obvious yesterday in a very large Town Hall that voters just didn't seem to care all that much. All the questions that were asked were about healthcare, were about the economy, were about her teacher pay initiative, that they wanted to hear about those types of initiatives. That the Mueller report was something in the background.
But then at a small gathering today, someone did ask her about the report. So it hangs out there in the zeitgeist of what voters are thinking about. But when it comes to the chance that they have to ask her question, they're asking more directly about kitchen table issues.
CABRERA: So she may not be talking about it necessarily directly with the voters. But I know at some point she has been very vocal about the Attorney General. I mean, she's been ripping into William Barr. What is she saying?
LAH: That's really where she tees it up. When that one voter I was mentioning just now about the small gathering. She started with Attorney General William Barr, she said that she found his behavior offensive that his behavior was more in line with acting like the counselor for the President that she felt that the press conference he gave was as if he were in the White House briefing room.
And the reason why she personally takes so much offense to that is because she was a prosecutor and she felt that his behavior simply did not live up to the ideals of the office.
CABRERA: All right, Kyung Lah, thank you for that reporting. As Kamala Harris speaks live with voters in South Carolina tonight, and we have new details about how Robert Mueller's investigation was able to track Russian government's interference in the 2016 election with crypto currencies like Bitcoin.
Plus, we'll tell you how those same Russian operatives used the death of an unarmed black man shot by police to sow political discord in the U.S.
[17:42:30] CABRERA: Bitcoin may be struggling as a cryptocurrency of choice, but one thing is for sure, when it comes to the Mueller investigation's efforts to track Russians and Russian interference in the 2016 US election, Bitcoin was a real winner.
I want to bring in CNN business reporter, Donie O'Sullivan. Dony, when you looked at the Mueller report, you sort of tracked how his team used Bitcoin to catch Russia. How did they do it?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, so there's a few ways to get Bitcoin, you can simply go online and use your credit card and buy a coin or part of a coin. One Bitcoin is worth $5,000.00 at the moment.
The second way is you can use your computers, you can set up sort of powerful computers to do something called mining, to mine for Bitcoins. And that's basically where you have your computer solve these really complex math problems, and you earn a Bitcoin.
Russian military intelligence, according to Special Counsel Robert Mueller had set up their own mining operation, and so they were earning these Bitcoins and then they were using them for pretty much every element of their effort to interfere in the 2016 election, at least when it comes to online efforts.
So the systems they had set up to hack the DNC and the Democratic Party, they paid for those using Bitcoin. They had used VPNs -- virtual private networks -- as a way to try and hide their identity online. They had paid for those using Bitcoin and even the infamous DC Leaks website, they set up that website and hosted it, paying for it in Bitcoin.
CABRERA: So if they're using Bitcoin, how did they make the connection though, where that Bitcoin was coming from? Is that like the bread crumb that connected everything together?
O'SULLIVAN: Yes. And actually, in Mueller's indictment of the GRU agents last summer, he has a line in this where he said, "The GRU had tried to capitalize on the perceived anonymity that cryptocurrency can offer," perceived there being a very important word given that Mueller was able to figure out and track back to see, you know, where they had spent this money.
You know, there has been, a long time folks had thought, cryptocurrency -- Bitcoin -- it's anonymous. It really isn't. You know, one of the ways you set up your Bitcoin accounts very often as you use an e-mail address. If you're the U.S. government investigating a case like this, you can get access to e-mail accounts.
So they were able to basically see the other side of the operation, and then once they were able to get into that, start tracking back to see, "Oh, this is where they paid for the DC Leaks. This is where they paid to set up systems to hack the Clinton campaign." So they really were able to track it all back and put it together.
CABRERA: So they found that Bitcoins were coming from the same source like the same e-mail or the same mining operation as you had put it up. [17:45:10] CABRERA: You also have reported a lot extensively prior to
the Mueller report on the social media efforts when it came to sow discord, and to really touch on some of the culture issues, culture war issues here in the U.S., you point to Russian trolls exploiting the death of Philando Castile, Black Lives Matter activist -- actually suspected that Russian trolls may have been behind a protest in the aftermath of his death. Remind us of that reporting in now, you know, in the aftermath of this report.
O'SULLIVAN: Sure, I mean, you might be able to remember from the summer of 2016, when Philando Castile was shot, his last moments on Earth were streamed live on Facebook. And that would have been late in the evening here in the U.S., but close to the start of the working day in St. Petersburg in Russia.
And we can see going back to the records of these fake accounts, that they immediately jumped on this topic and sort of trying to incite both sides of already a very difficult situation. And yes, they began this mysterious Black Lives Matter page, began organizing a protest outside a police station in Minneapolis, right after the shooting.
We went back, spoke to local activists there who were very suspicious of this page, because, you know, leaders in the activism community there will try and sort of self-police these events to make sure things don't get out of hand. And they had expressed some skepticism, they had actually contacted and were in communication with the page asking, who were you? But they never taught it could be Russian.
Frankly, they were disgusted that their movement had been exploited in this way. And one thing that was mentioned in Mueller's report this week was that one of the first events in the U.S. that the trolls -- this operation had organized was actually on the Confederacy, a pro- Confederate monument event in 2015. You'll remember that was a sort of big story in 2015.
So they were really trying to stoke both sides and exacerbate existing tensions and divisions particularly around race here in the U.S.
CABRERA: It's good that it's all exposed. We should all be weary when we see things on social media. Good reminder. Thank you very much Donie O'Sullivan. Remembering the Columbine massacre, 20 years later. Coming up, a survivor of the shooting shares her memories of being inside the school when two of her classmates went on a killing spree.
[17:51:53] CABRERA: This is a day recorded in American infamy. We know it simply as Columbine. Today, on the 20-year anniversary of that mass school shooting, survivors and family members of the victims are coming together to commemorate a day they will never forget. CNN Scott McLean reports from Littleton, Colorado.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): On April 20, 1999, a high school in Littleton, Colorado was under attack. A pair of students armed with guns and even homemade bombs walked onto campus and started shooting at their peers.
In the moments that followed, live images of students running for their lives were broadcast nationwide. Then 16-year-old, Samantha Haviland was one of them. She was in the cafeteria when the first shots were fired.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA HAVILAND, COLUMBINE SURVIVOR: My friends had to pull me out of my chair to the ground. I didn't understand. I had no concept of someone shooting at me, particularly in school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN (voice over): Haviland narrowly escaped the danger, but her friend Rachel Scott did not. She was among the 13 people killed. Grant Whitus was the first SWAT officer to enter the building. He is the one scene here at the window to the cafeteria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRANT WHITUS, FORMER JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SWAT LEADER: We broke the window, I went in right then fully expecting to be in a firefight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN (voice over): But by the time police went inside 47 minutes after the initial gunfire, the shooters were already dead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITUS: And by the time we arrived, there was hundreds of cops there and nobody had went in. Twenty years ago, this was how business was done. You know, patrol gets there, surrounds it, locks the scene down and waits for SWAT. In hindsight, that was the biggest mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN (voice over): It's a mistake he won't make twice. Since then, he has been teaching police to go straight to the sound of gunfire. For 10 years after the shooting, Haviland spent her life on high alert, always looking for the exits, looking out for danger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN (on camera): That sounds exhausting.
HAVILAND: Hyper vigilance is extremely exhausting. It takes up a lot of mental energies.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MCLEAN (voice over): Haviland is now the head of counseling for all
Denver Public Schools and sees that same hypervigilance in more and more students every year; even kids who have never experienced trauma themselves. She says it's thanks to monthly active shooter drills and graphic school shooting video shared on social media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAVILAND: I can't say it surprises me. I can say it breaks my heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN (voice over): Today, Columbine still attracts hollow threats and unwanted attention. Last week, a Florida teenager who police say was infatuated with the shooting, took a one way flight to Colorado and bought a gun, forcing the closure of schools across the region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAVILAND: I feel for the students and the staff that are there because these children were not -- they weren't born even 20 years ago when it happened. But they're the targets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN (voice over): A lot has changed since Columbine School shooting truly shocked the country. Police tactics, gun laws, school security and hundreds of lives, but some things maybe never will.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAVILAND: When I think back to high school, I don't think about the shooting. I think about the volleyball tournaments and the speech tournaments, and my friends. But Columbine to an outsider is referring to the shooting itself.
MCLEAN (on camera): It means only one thing.
HAVILAND: It means only one thing.
MCLEAN (voice over): Scott McLean, CNN, Denver.
[17:55:05] CABRERA: Everyday people are changing the world and too often, their work doesn't get the attention it deserves. Well, you can help shine a light on their efforts by naming them a CNN Hero. It only takes a few minutes. Here's Anderson Cooper with some important tips.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Since 2007, CNN Heroes has been featuring hundreds of everyday people whose extraordinary acts are changing lives and making the world a better place.
We need you to tell us about that amazing person in your life. And you can do it right now at CNNHeroes.com.
Here's the inside scoop on successfully nominating your hero. Think about what makes that person truly special, then write it down in a paragraph or two. We also want to know the impact that they're having. Tell us what sets that person apart. Who knows, you might see your everyday hero named as CNN Hero of The Year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: And remember, you don't need to personally know your CNN Hero to nominate them. You can do that right now at CNNHeroes.com.
I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. I'll see you two hours from now. My colleague S.E. Cupp continues our coverage of today's news right after a quick break.