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THE SITUATION ROOM
Deutsche Bank Giving Trump's Financial Records To New York A.G.; Hillary Clinton: Congress Should Build On Mueller Report; Interview With Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) On Trump Ignoring Bipartisan Subpoena; Trump White House's Inability To Focus On Election Interference; Kim Jong-un Arrives In Russia For Putin Summit, Pressuring Trump. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired April 24, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks so much for watching.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Happening now, breaking news: Trump's bank records: CNN has learned Deutsche Bank has started handing over some of President Trump's loan records to New York state's attorney general.
What will they reveal about the president's finances and his business?
Fighting the subpoenas: the president is not backing down and is escalating his war with House Democrats, vowing to fight all demands relating to their investigations of him.
Unwilling to prepare: election security, a sore subject at the White House, where the former Homeland Security secretary was reportedly warned not to talk about it to the president because it upsets him.
And one official tells CNN getting the White House to focus on election security is like, quote, "pulling teeth."
And warm wishes: Kim Jong-un arrives in Russia for his first summit with fellow strongman Vladimir Putin. Russian officials warn not to expect any agreements or a joint statement.
Is it all designed to pressure the U.S.?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following breaking news. CNN has learned Germany's giant Deutsche Bank has started giving New York state's attorney general documents related to loans to Donald Trump and his business.
At the same time the president is drawing a battle line in his war with House Democrats investigating him saying -- and I'm quoting him now -- "We're fighting all the subpoenas."
The latest stonewall: the Justice Department telling the House Oversight Committee it won't comply with a subpoena over the citizenship question on the U.S. Census. That's the third time in two days the administration has stonewalled a congressional demand for information.
We'll talk about that and more with Congressman Dan Kildee of the Ways and Means Committee, which the administration is refusing provide with the president's tax returns and our correspondents and analysts are also standing by.
First, straight to our Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta.
The president calls the subpoenas ridiculous.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. There is another dark cloud hanging over the White House, as you said, and the president can't do much, as New York state investigators have begun to obtain financial records from Deutsche Bank that are related to Mr. Trump's businesses.
On nearly every other front and all of the other Trump investigations, the president sounds like he's in a fighting mood.
ACOSTA (voice-over): The president came out swinging against the investigations launched by House Democrats, giving a thumbs down to demands for his tax returns and subpoena for the testimony of former White House Counsel Don McGahn.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're fighting all the subpoenas. Look, these aren't like impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020. They're not going to win with the people that I see. The only way they can luck out is by constantly going after me on nonsense.
ACOSTA (voice-over): But there's another big headache for the president. CNN learned Deutsche Bank is now providing financial records to the New York attorney general, who issued a subpoena for documents connected to loans for Mr. Trump's business empire.
Earlier in the day the president claimed he's been cooperative with congressional investigators, even as he scoffed at them.
But that's not true. The president has not released his long sought tax returns.
TRUMP: I have been the most transparent president and administration in the history of our country by far.
ACOSTA (voice-over): A source familiar with discussions inside the president's legal team told CNN Trump's attorneys believe Special Counsel Robert Mueller already has them, something the president assumes as well. TRUMP: Now Mueller, I assume, for $35 million, checked my taxes, checked my financials, which are great, by the way. You know they're great. All you have to do is go look at the records. They're all over the place. But they checked my financials and they checked my taxes, I assume.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Democrats say they're not giving up on obtaining the president's tax returns.
REP. JUDY CHU (D), CALIFORNIA: It is the oversight duty of Ways and Means to see that the law is properly complied with and the chair is exercising his duty to make sure that the returns of the president were done properly. And we also want to know whether the president is paying his fair share of taxes.
ACOSTA (voice-over): The White House is also pushing back against a report in "The New York Times" that former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was blocked by Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney from talking to the president about Russian election meddling.
Mulvaney released a statement, saying "I don't recall anything along those lines happening in any meeting. But unlike the Obama administration, who knew about Russian actions in 2014 and did nothing, the Trump administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections and we have already taken many steps to prevent it in the future."
Former President Obama says he warned Russia's --
ACOSTA (voice-over): -- Vladimir Putin to stay out of U.S. elections.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn't happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out or there were going to be some serious consequences if he didn't.
ACOSTA (voice-over): But White House critics wonder whether the West Wing is getting serious about Kremlin interference, given the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner's comments on the subject this week.
JARED KUSHNER, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: When you look at what Russia did, buying some Facebook ads to try to sow dissent and do it, it's a terrible thing but I think the investigations and all of the speculation that's happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads.
ACOSTA: Now a senior White House official conceded the president and his team have been more focused on border security than on cyber security in recent months, saying the border was the first, second and third topic on the president's agenda. Still, the official suggested former Secretary Nielsen is attempt to repair her image, saying she didn't want to be remembered as the secretary of immigration -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It's very interesting because there's some more breaking news coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM. The former secretary of state, the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, has just written a very strong op-ed in "The Washington Post" dealing with these issues. Tell our viewers what she said.
ACOSTA: That's right. Hillary Clinton just posted this op-ed in "The Washington Post," and she's essentially saying that Congress should build upon the Mueller report and start having hearings about what was uncovered in the Mueller investigation.
She is essentially telling her fellow Democrats up on Capitol Hill, this idea that they have to have impeachment or nothing is a false choice. And she recalls back to her days as a staffer in the Watergate days, that this is something the Congress should do. It should not forgo this responsibility.
I'll read a portion of this to you.
It says and it is strongly worded, "Our election was corrupted, our democracy assaulted, our sovereignty and security violated. This is the definitive conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller's report.
"It documents a serious crime against the American people."
These are very strong words from the former secretary of state.
It goes on to say, "The debate about how to respond to Russia's sweeping and systemic attack and how to hold President Trump accountable for obstructing the investigation and possibly breaking the law has been reduced to a false choice," she says, "immediate impeachment or nothing. History suggests there's a better way to think about the choices ahead."
She goes on to say, "Obviously this is personal for me and some may say that I'm not the right messenger. But my perspective is not just that of a former candidate and target of the Russian plot.
"I'm also a former senator and secretary of state, who served during much of Vladimir Putin's ascent, sat across the table from him and knows firsthand that he seeks to weaken our country."
Wolf, this is obviously not going to sit well with the president, who still goes to these rallies from time to time and listens to chants of "Lock her up." He clearly likes to go after her as a political target and use her as a political target.
So he may be tempted to weigh in on all of this. But Hillary Clinton still very much feels as though she was the victim of a cyber attack against the U.S. democracy in 2016 and that Americans across the country were also victims in the attack.
She is basically making the case right now that Democrats up on Capitol Hill have a responsibility here to do something about it. These are very strong words from the former secretary of state, when she says our election was corrupted, our democracy assaulted, our sovereignty and security violated, very, very tough words from the former secretary of state.
BLITZER: She concludes the article by saying a crime was committed against all Americans and all Americans should demand action and accountability. You're right. Jim Acosta at the White House, thank you.
Let's go to Capitol Hill, where Congressional Correspondent, Sunlen Serfaty is on the scene for us.
Sunlen, tonight Democrats are furious. They're firing back.
What are you learning?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is really an escalation and a showdown between Democrats on Capitol Hill and the White House in light of that stonewalling strategy that seems to be emerging from the White House and from President Trump directly.
Today the Justice Department told the House Oversight Committee that it will not comply with the subpoena demanding an appearance of a senior DOJ official -- this is related to the Democrats' probe, looking into the addition of a citizenship question on the census.
Now this has set off the chairman of that committee, Elijah Cummings, given that this is the second ignored subpoena coming from the White House this week.
Cummings saying in a statement in part, quote, "This is a massive, unprecedented and growing pattern of obstruction. Both President Trump and attorney general Barr are now openly ordering federal employees to ignore congressional subpoenas and simply not show up without any assertion of a valid legal privilege.
"These employees and their personal attorneys should think very carefully about their own legal interests rather than being swept up in the obstruction schemes of the Trump administration."
Also we heard from --
SERFATY: -- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office today. She called this strategy of White House stonewalling, quote, "a level of secrecy that should alarm all Americans."
BLITZER: Sunlen Serfaty on Capitol Hill, thank you.
Let's get some more on all of this. Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan is joining us, he's a member of the Ways and Means Committee.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us. Let me get your immediate reaction to Hillary Clinton, whose presidential campaign was targeted by Russia in the 2016 election. She says, you just heard her, you and your fellow members of Congress
should continue your efforts to hold hearings on the Mueller report and not rush to a vote on impeachment.
What do you make of her advice?
REP. DAN KILDEE (D), MICHIGAN: Well, I haven't read the whole piece but I agree with that assessment. We don't have to draw the conclusion as to what action we might take in order to make sure we inform ourselves and, more importantly, inform the American people about all of these facts.
We have a president who is the most, I guess, least transparent president in the history of the United States. This is really a frightening moment, to see him ignore a bipartisan subpoena, to order his officials to ignore a subpoena of the Congress of the United States.
It really paints a picture of a president who is even more out of control than he has been since he's been in office. This is a frightening moment for us.
BLITZER: He says he's the most transparent president ever. But forget about that. The Democrats, as you know, you're trying to hold public hearings. The president is pledging to fight every subpoena.
So how do you conduct oversight when the administration is refusing to comply with subpoenas?
KILDEE: Well, a couple ways. One, I think anyone taking those directives from the president or the attorney general or the deputy attorney general ought to think carefully about their own responsibility. If they're officers of the court, they ought to think very carefully about violating the law themselves by not complying with a legitimate subpoena.
That's number one, making it clear everyone is responsible for their own actions and those people should think carefully about complying with a legal subpoena from the legislative branch.
But we're not simply going to roll over if they don't. We obviously will pursue every legal means we have to enforce those subpoenas, even if that means going to court to make sure they are enforced.
This will not end well for the president. All of the information he's trying to hide is going to come to light. The idea he thinks he can get away with it, this is not a question about the minutes of the board of directors of the condo association at Mar-a-Lago.
This is the government of the United States. He does not get to decide what the American people know and don't know about how he is conducting the government.
BLITZER: Your Democratic colleague from Virginia, Congressman Jerry Conley, says the president's actions, in his words, "are pushing a lot of Democrats into the impeachment camp." Do you think that's true?
KILDEE: It is true. I have not made any final conclusions on this but I've talked to a lot of my colleagues. I went into this with the idea that I don't think we should hope for bad news in the Mueller report.
But I've been reading this and now seeing the president's reaction afterward -- and it's worse than I thought. The directives that he gave, for example, to Don McGahn, it's worse than I expected.
So many members like myself, who have been very careful not to draw any conclusions, are seeing a picture being painted of a president that's really frightening and a challenge to the basic tenets of our democracy. He seems willing to do anything he can to protect himself.
He's not the most transparent president in the history of the United States with one exception. He's completely transparent in the sense it's easy to see everything he does is to protect himself. Everything he does is to deflect somebody damaging his already very tender ego.
And it's a dangerous moment. It's one that does bring us back to recall some of the darkest moments of the Nixon administration. This guy is circling the wagons and we all ought to pay very close attention to what he's doing and is trying to keep us from knowing.
BLITZER: As you heard at the top of the hour, Deutsche Bank is turning over some of the president's financial records to the New York state attorney general.
Has your committee considered turning to the state level to try to get some of those records or even the state tax returns when you file your state income taxes that you typically have to include some portion of your federal taxes?
KILDEE: We have not yet at this point. I know the chairman is taking a very careful approach on this. But it's mainly because --
KILDEE: -- we know that the language in the tax code is very clear. Section 6103, the section that gives the authority of the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee to order any tax return to be delivered to him. It's very clear law. It's not a question of they may or they could; this says they shall deliver these returns.
We don't think we have to turn to any other venue other than simply to have the law exercised and we will pursue every course available to make sure that the law is exercised.
This all relies on the fact that we have serious questions as to whether or not the IRS is properly auditing and enforcing the tax code on the president and his holdings. And we're determining whether or not we need to take legislative action toward that end.
We have to have access to this information. That is why Section 6103 was written into law almost 100 years ago. We're simply exercising that law because this president has failed to keep his promise to divulge his tax returns, as he promised he would during the campaign.
BLITZER: Get ready for a huge legal --
KILDEE: Frankly, Wolf, every --
BLITZER: -- yes.
KILDEE: -- is I was just going to say, and as every president has done for nearly 50 years.
BLITZER: That's correct.
KILDEE: He's violated that custom and that's one of the reasons we're having to pursue this.
BLITZER: Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan, thank you so much for joining us.
KILDEE: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: The breaking news continues. We're going to dig into Hillary Clinton's just-released op-ed, calling for Congress to build on the Mueller report instead of rushing to impeachment.
Plus top officials warned not to talk to the president about election security.
Is the White House leaving the country vulnerable to a 2020 attack?
BLITZER: Tonight, some very troubling new reports are raising serious questions about the Trump administration's ability and desire to secure the 2020 election from foreign interference. Our senior and national correspondent Alex Marquardt is on the story for us.
Alex, tell us more.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wolf, here we are gearing up for the 2020 election and yet sources are telling us that Russian interference isn't something you should talk about with President Trump, that the last time he led a cabinet level meeting on election security was last July.
And he has just pushed out the secretary whose department helps lead the charge in defending America's elections. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MARQUARDT (voice-over): For then embattled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, securing America's elections against Russia and other threats was a top priority. But her boss, President Trump, didn't want to hear about it.
"It was like pulling teeth," a U.S. official told CNN, "to get the White House to focus the attention needed on this."
CNN has learned that DHS had, for months, tried to sound the alarm and set up cabinet level meetings on election security.
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Thanks very much.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Nielsen, "It wasn't a great subject and should be kept below Trump's level," according to "The New York Times," which first reported the story.
The requests were rejected. Nielsen is now gone. And tonight, new concerns that the administration isn't prepared for a sequel to the 2016 election attack.
SIMON ROSENBERG, FORMER DCCC ADVISER: We just aren't ready to deal with what's in front of us. The systems weren't put into place. The politicians don't really understand what's in front of them.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): The president has long seen talk of Russian election interference as delegitimizing his victory.
TRUMP: It's a Democrat hoax that was brought up as an excuse for losing an election.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): And less than a week after special counsel Robert Mueller reported that Russia interfered in a sweeping and systematic fashion, the attack was radically downplayed by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.
KUSHNER: I think the investigations and all of the speculation has happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): This as intelligence officials repeatedly warned that Russia's attacks, far greater than buying Facebook ads, have continued.
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: What we have seen, what has continued virtually unabated and just intensifies during the election cycles, is this malign foreign influence campaign, especially using social media.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): The White House claims it is leading a, quote, "whole of government approach to election security."
A crucial component to that is the Department of Homeland Security's new cyber security arm, led by Chris Krebs. CHRISTOPHER KREBS, DHS CYBER SECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY: I think they have got probably some sheets in that playbook that we haven't seen yet.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Krebs led DHS' efforts to shore up America's voting systems ahead of the midterms. He's now gearing up for 2020, what he's called the Super Bowl.
KREBS: We've got to be thinking through how they're going to innovate, what are the things they might do they haven't tried in the past.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Krebs says the focus is on three areas: states' voting systems, hacking of campaigns and political parties, then disinformation on social media, all areas detailed in the Mueller report.
KREBS: Also their goal here is just to defy (ph) the American public. It's really create this tension, sow discord and have us fight each other.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Overall, the presidential campaigns are arguably the most vulnerable. But in the face of attacks, they have to figure out cyber security on their own.
ROSENBERG: There's a hole in the system that has to be plugged. The security blanket that exists on top of politicians, when they're in Congress or in the Senate, hasn't been extended to their private lives or their political lives or their campaigns. That's the urgency.
MARQUARDT: The White House is pushing back tonight with a National Security Council spokesman saying --
MARQUARDT: -- quote, "Any suggestion that this administration is giving less than a full-throated effort to secure America's elections is patently false," end quote.
But for something so urgent, critics do say that the government needs to name one person to coordinate election security across the government. But there simply is no clear leader on this.
BLITZER: These are disturbing developments indeed. Alex Marquardt, thank you for the report.
Coming up, Hillary Clinton has new advice for divided Democrats as they grapple with the question of impeachment. Stand by. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
[17:30:11] BLITZER: The breaking news. Hillary Clinton is calling on Congress to hold hearings on the Mueller report. In a new op-ed, she warns her party against rushing to judgment but doesn't rule out eventual impeachment for President Trump. Let's get right to our political and legal experts for some analysis in this "Washington Post" op-ed.
Dana, she writes this -- Congress should hold substantive hearings that build on the Mueller report and fill in its gaps, not jump straight to an up-or-down vote on impeachment. In 1998, the Republican-led House rushed to judgment. That was a mistake then and would be a mistake now. Do you think her advice is going to have an impact?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's fascinating that she felt the need and the desire to write this kind of op-ed. She, obviously, in that quote you just showed, talked about the difference, she said, there should be between now and impeachment, which was not a happy time for her family, and what's going on now and another very important time in history that she was a part of, which is she was actually a lawyer, a young lawyer, on the Watergate committee.
So the analysis and the analogy that she makes is that today should be more like back then during the Nixon era where there were lengthy, robust hearings that did eventually lead to the House beginning impeachment hearings.
But, you know, the substance of it is fascinating. And she makes a lot of important points separate from impeachment, just on the notion of national security. And she says, maybe I'm not the best messenger for this since I was, obviously, somebody who was targeted in 2016 or at least the target was to hurt my chances to be president.
But she's right. And that was a big part of the Mueller report, the whole beginning of the Mueller report, which is important not to forget, that the Russians were actively trying to meddle. And they haven't stopped.
BLITZER: And they're intensifying, by some accounts.
BLITZER: What do you think, Nia?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I mean, I think it is interesting that she chose to weigh in, in this way. And in many ways, it does seem like Democrats are basically following this strategy, trying to have the lengthy hearings, not rushing to impeachment.
You hear Nancy Pelosi, essentially, saying find the facts first. They do have a factor here which is stonewalling from this president, essentially saying that he's not going to -- his administration isn't going to respond to any of these subpoenas. We saw that more recently with this subpoena for a Justice Department official who talked about the census changes.
So, yes, I mean, they -- there's a different kind of variable that Democrats have to deal with, and they're trying to figure that out day by day. Blasting the President is one thing. Are they going to basically charge folks with contempt of Congress for refusing to appear? But this is going to be a lengthy battle. The President is saying it could end up in the Supreme Court.
BLITZER: She makes an argument, Jeffrey Toobin, in this op-ed that you made the other day. Maybe she was watching you here in THE SITUATION ROOM. But she says -- the televised hearings added to the factual record going back to Watergate and crucially helped the public understand the facts in a way that no dense legal report could. Similar hearings with Mueller, former White House Counsel Don McGahn, and other key witnesses could do the same today.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Right. Well, you know, the truth, for better or for worse, is that, you know, Americans get most of their news and information from screens, not from written material. And the Mueller report is, you know, 440 single-spaced pages. It's been read by many, but it hasn't been read by everyone.
And, you know, the difference between words on a page or on a screen and an individual telling a story is enormous. And, you know, Mrs. Clinton -- Secretary Clinton, as a veteran of Watergate, someone who worked on the Watergate investigation, she knows that.
And that I think -- you know, I don't think Democrats have to be ashamed of, you know, possibly calling testimony that repeats some material in the Mueller report. They're very different things, and they serve different purposes.
BLITZER: You know, because --
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And in reference --
BLITZER: -- because, Bianna, I was going to say, hearing the former White House Counsel Don McGahn say on television in a sound bite what he said to the Mueller investigators that the President told him to lie, told him to go fire the Special Counsel, all of that will be very powerful.
GOLODRYGA: Which is, to Jeffrey's point, that like millions of other Americans, the President clearly gets his news and information largely from television as well. So, in his opinion, it could be very damaging to hear Don McGahn say that. That's one of the reasons the President does not want him to testify.
But it was also interesting then to have Hillary Clinton reference Watergate where she said in this op-ed, quote, executive privilege could not be used to shield criminal conduct. So she is suggesting and referencing that element of the investigation, saying that executive privilege could not be used there. She's saying that was the right decision, and it should be applied this time as well.
[17:35:06] She's also making sure it's not a binary choice. It's not a situation where Democrats either pursue impeachment or focus on trying to win the election and focus on issues that could help Americans. She is saying it should be a slower process, which is, again, why she differentiates what she viewed as a rush to judgment for her own husband's impeachment versus Watergate.
BASH: And politically, maybe the Democrats have moved on. And just on the raw politics here, maybe some of the candidates wish that she would zip it. But she does lay out here a very important point. I mean, I defy you to find somebody who has the experience that she has on so many of the issues that touch on what we're talking about.
She was -- as a young staffer on Watergate. She was the first lady during an impeachment of her husband. And she was Secretary of State. She was a U.S. senator. And she was the candidate for president who was targeted. So it is --
TOOBIN: You know --
BASH: And it's interesting that she actually addresses all of those things and the idea that, maybe, she's an imperfect messenger, but she comes with all of those experiences.
TOOBIN: Just, you know -- I'm not saying Dana is saying this, but, you know, every time Hillary Clinton opens her mouth, you hear people say, oh, why doesn't she just shut up?
You know, why -- you know, this is a woman who got almost 70 million votes in the United States, someone who is a major American figure, a major world figure, and the notion that she should have no forum --
TOOBIN: -- to talk about these issues is really just absurd.
GOLODRYGA: And what makes it more difficult for many Democrats to move on from the impeachment route is the fact that this administration, this president, his inner circle seems to -- from Rudy Giuliani over the weekend saying there's nothing illegal about what the Russian did to Jared Kushner saying, oh, it was just a few, you know, Facebook pages, Facebook ads, to the President not acknowledging that Russia attacked our democracy and continues to -- it makes it that much harder.
That, at least even on that scope, that perspective, the first part of the Mueller report, this administration is still in denial. At least, the President is.
BLITZER: Got a lot of people making that argument, not only Hillary Clinton. George Conway, who's a conservative, he makes that argument -- Kellyanne Conway's husband. And it comes on a day when the President was tweeting this. I can only imagine what he's -- how he's going to react to this op-ed.
He said, all the crimes were committed -- he committed no crimes, I did nothing wrong. But all the crimes were committed by crooked Hillary, the Dems, the DNC, and dirty cops, and we caught them in the act.
All right, everybody, stand by. There's more news. We'll be right back.
[17:42:17] BLITZER: Let's get back to our analysts. You know, Jeffrey Toobin, Deutsche Bank, all of a sudden, is starting to hand over loan documents related to various Trump projects, Trump businesses in New York State. What information does the New York State Attorney General hope to glean from these records, and how upset should the President really be?
TOOBIN: Well, Deutsche Bank has two pieces of significance. One, it's the only bank that would do business with Donald Trump after he had his financial problems regarding bankruptcy. So all the money issues are there. Second, Deutsche Bank has a long and undistinguished history of money laundering, including money laundering with Russia.
So all these law enforcement officials, including the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committee, want those records to see if there were any improper dealings involving the Trump Organization.
BASH: And that's really key at the end, what Jeffrey said, is that this -- what you're talking about is the New York Attorney General. But there's also the U.S. House of Representatives asking the same bank for the same information. So the fact that Deutsche Bank is apparently turning over to New York certainly would seem, to me, a signal that they're going to do the same thing to the House.
HENDERSON: And this is certainly what they're hoping.
HENDERSON: They might get blocked by Trump administration and Trump administration officials saying no to these subpoenas, but Deutsche Bank, at least, seems like --
BASH: But they -- they're going to go where the money is, to the bank.
BLITZER: Bianna, you heard the President say he assumes the Mueller team reviewed his financial records, including his taxes. He doesn't know that for sure. But they looked at it, even though there are no references to it in that 400-plus-page document.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, sort of a nothing to see here argument from this administration. Obviously, that's not going to cut it with either the New York State or the committees as well.
So you have Deutsche Bank which says that they are complying. They've asked to narrow the scope, but this is something they've been working on for a few months now, cooperating in anticipation of turning over these documents. This was a really ugly chapter for Deutsche Bank. They had a terrible
comeback from the financial crisis. They are in the process of merging one important arm of the company with another bank. They want to put this past them.
Having this mired in courts is not something these banks want to be dealing with. Deutsche Bank is not the only bank that the committee subpoenaed. There are other banks that they subpoenaed as well that are saying that they are complying. So this is yet another big headache for the President.
BLITZER: Do you think, Jeffrey, that the Mueller team did have access to the President's tax returns?
TOOBIN: You know, I'm going to say those three forbidden words, I don't know.
TOOBIN: Because, you know, there's nothing in the report that refers either to his tax returns or his personal financial dealings, but that doesn't necessarily mean the prosecutors didn't see it, so --
[17:45:07] HENDERSON: Yes, they have.
BLITZER: Because I asked the question, Dana, because the --
BLITZER: The House Judiciary Committee not only wants the full, unredacted report; they want all the underlying evidence. And if there are tax returns in that underlying evidence, that's what they'd like to see.
BASH: That's exactly right. And that's separate from the Ways and Means Committee which has a law on the books or a ruling that gives them the green light to ask specifically for the President's tax returns.
You know, all along, throughout the, you know, 18 months or so of the Mueller probe, the President's legal team, many people who I talked to, they thought that it was likely that Mueller had seen the President's tax returns.
The fact that there was no allusion to it or really anything that had to do with money and financial anything -- it was really specifically limited to Russia and to the probe -- maybe that tells you something. Or maybe not, since a lot of this was punted to New York to other prosecutors -- other court prosecutors.
BLITZER: Fourteen cases including 12 that we don't know anything about. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York reviewing evidence provided by the Mueller team --
BLITZER: -- at least in some of those cases.
HENDERSON: That's right, and that's -- you know, there wasn't -- you know, the President's sort of coming out and saying that he was exonerated by the Mueller report, absolutely not true, particularly on the charge of obstruction.
But this other legal headache, which we don't really know the details of -- in terms of Trump's business dealings, in terms of some of the things that came about after Cohen, in terms of Trump's organization -- so there is a lot more, obviously, that the public doesn't know and certainly that SDNY is probing and that the House committees also want to know.
GOLODRYGA: And it could be --
BLITZER: SDNY, the Southern District of New York.
BLITZER: Very quickly.
GOLODRYGA: And it could be something nefarious, it could be something embarrassing, or a little bit of both. The President always likes to inflate his net worth. We don't know what that exact number is. And who knows what the charitable givings have been as well, not to mention any possible dealings with Russia.
BLITZER: Good point. All right, guys, stick around. There's more news we're following. The North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, arrives in Russia with warm wishes for Vladimir Putin. The two men are about to meet for the first time, an encounter that could put some serious pressure on President Trump.
[17:51:55] BLITZER: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is in Russia tonight ahead of a summit with Vladimir Putin. Brian Todd is here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Brian, we've seen a lot of pomp and ceremony so far. The question, will there be any substance to this summit?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is a big question, Wolf. Neither side is saying anything about signing any formal agreements or making any statements at this summit. But make no mistake, U.S. officials, South Korean leaders, and their allies are very concerned tonight over the possibility that Kim and Putin could strike a secret deal which might throw a wrench into their efforts to get Kim to give up his nuclear weapons.
TODD (voice-over): In Russia tonight, they are rolling out the red carpet for Kim Jong-un. The North Korean leader arrived in the Russian city of Kazan, just across his country's border, to a hero's welcome. Taking a break from his nuclear stalemate with President Donald Trump,
Kim stepped off his armored train where he was met by girls in vintage Russian costumes offering him a traditional Russian greeting of bread and salt. While the 35-year-old dictator appeared to taste the salt, his trip seems designed to rub it in an open wound with Donald Trump after their failed summit in February.
MICHAEL GREEN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR ASIA AND JAPAN CHAIR, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: It's possible that Kim Jong- un is also thinking about this in terms of making Donald Trump jealous. Trump clearly enjoys being in the spotlight on the North Korean diplomacy; Putin is taking that away.
TODD (voice-over): The Russian President has carefully choreographed Kim's visit. The Russians have preserved what they call the Russian- Korean Friendship House built for his grandfather's visit there in 1986. Nothing on this trip appears to have been left to chance, from lining up Kim's train with that red carpet to an elaborate greeting featuring an honor guard and a marching band.
Tomorrow's meeting between Kim and Vladimir Putin is highly symbolic. It's the first time the two men will have met.
KIM JONG-UN, SUPREME LEADER OF NORTH KOREA (through translator): I have come to Russia with the warm wishes of our people. I hope this visit will be successful and useful. And I hope, through talking with the esteemed President Putin, I will be able to discuss specific issues like resolving the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
TODD (voice-over): Experts say after President Trump walked out on their February summit, Kim is turning to Putin to help him build his stature and leverage with Trump. There is something in this for Putin as well. Analysts say this is a chance for Putin to peel another world leader away from Donald Trump's influence.
ANGELA STENT, AUTHOR, "PUTIN'S WORLD: RUSSIA AGAINST THE WEST AND WITH THE REST": What Putin likes to do is take advantage, again, of opportunities presented to him by President Trump and his difficult relations with a number of allies. We've had an example of that, certainly, with Chancellor Merkel where she's being heavily criticized by President Trump, and Putin, in turn, has started to behave towards her in a more conciliatory fashion.
TODD (voice-over): In recent weeks, just before Kim departed Pyongyang on the train, his regime demanded that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo be replaced as lead negotiator, tested an unspecified tactical guided weapon, and said the U.S. has until the end of the year to change its attitude. What might be worrying U.S. officials about this Kim-Putin alliance tonight?
GREEN: What would worry me would be a Russian move to cheat on sanctions and provide North Korea with cash or access to cash and with, possibly even, help on some weapons systems. So that would be more extreme.
(END VIDEOTAPE) [17:55:06] TODD: Analysts say that with this summit, Vladimir Putin
is working toward a couple of bottom lines he has with Kim Jong-un. They say Putin does not want North Korea to have nuclear weapons, and he would rather help Kim stay in power because he doesn't want a unified Korean Peninsula under South Korean and American influence -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Very interesting and very important. Brian Todd, thank you.
There is breaking news. New York State's Attorney General now getting a first look at President Trump's loan records from a giant German bank.
[17:59:59] BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Breaking the bank. Some of the President's closely guarded financial records now are being turned over to investigators.