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Trump: "I Think I'd Take" Dirt from Foreign Government on Political Rivals; Sen. Graham: Was a "Mistake" for Trump to Say He's Accept Dirt on Opponent from Foreign Nationals; Speaker Pelosi Slams Trump for Saying He'd Still Accept Foreign Dirt; GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy Answers Media Question on Trump saying He'd Accept Foreign Dirt on Political Opponents; U.S. Navy Helps 2 Oil Tankers in Suspected Attack in Gulf of Oman. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired June 13, 2019 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: But it wasn't the only evidence that the FBI says that they had. We don't know everything that was in there. But we do know that they had a massive amount of information that they asked, that they provided to the FISA court in order to get that surveillance warrant. So that's the first thing.

Second thing is, you know, you -- you cannot say that just because the dossier was used that it equals what, you know, this meeting was, where clearly they were told that the Russian government is offering to support the Trump campaign.

So that's where I think a lot of people today are now trying to move the goal post, especially on the Republican side. The president's supporters are trying to move the goal posts a little bit. Previously, they said, what you should do is call the FBI if you get outreach like this.


PEREZ: Now they seem to be saying, well, you know, the dossier.

BOLDUAN: Well, on the most basic level, what we heard from the president to ABC, to your point, Evan, is that when presented with, if opposition research, if information on your opponent was brought to you by a foreign country, what would you do with it. I'd take it, I'd listen to it, and I may or may not go to the FBI.

What happened with the Steele dossier, from multiple fronts, the dossier went to the FBI.

PEREZ: It did.

BOLDUAN: The FBI alerted Donald Trump that the contents of the dossier. That was that meeting that we know of --

PEREZ: Right.

BOLDUAN: -- between the intelligence leaders, James Comey, and the president, if we're asked about the dossier.

PEREZ: Right. Exactly. And keep in mind, Lindsey Graham himself is one of the people who told John McCain -- he was aware of the dossier early on. He told John McCain to take the dossier, take the document to the FBI, which the FBI already had possession of.


PEREZ: They already had a version of these documents. And they were using it as part of their investigation. It was unverified intelligence, right.


PEREZ: And you're right. I mean, look, I think there's a -- there's a gulf of difference between the two things.

Right now, there's an investigation by the Justice Department to see whether or not the FBI did everything right. It may be that they made mistakes and they should have done other things. We don't know that yet.

But I do think that one of the things that's happening, Kate, at this moment, is there's a moving of the goal posts, there's a bit of what about-ism because I think the president and his supporters want to make sure that people remember that the dossier existed, even though, again, it wasn't the only piece of evidence that the FBI had.

BOLDUAN: And guess what? What we're talking about today are words from the president, his own mouth, on what he would do even going forward. That is an important part about this.


BOLDUAN: Words that cannot be denied, that, as far as we know right now, these things were not edited, question and answer on the same clip. The president's own words today. We've established that with the dossier, thanks to you.

Evan, thank you so much.

We have much more to discuss. Exactly what this means, what the president said, and what are Republicans are saying maybe not publicly but maybe privately.

Much more after the break).


[11:37:46] BOLDUAN: We're back with breaking news. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as you saw moments ago, really slamming President Trump for saying that he would still, going forward and today, accept intelligence from foreign governments in the upcoming election about his opponents. She said that he, quote, "Does not know the difference between right and wrong." Joining me now, Anne Milgram, a former New Jersey attorney general and

CNN legal analyst, CNN special correspondent, Jamie Gangel, and Robert Anderson, former FBI assistant director of counterintelligence.

He testified yesterday in front of the House Intel Committee about the threat of foreign interference in our elections.

So appropriate, Robert, that you are here. Thank you so much.

Jamie, let me start with you.

One big question right now is, why are our inboxes not so flooded with Republicans, freedom-loving Republicans who don't like Russia so much, speaking out to say, this is wrong, full stop, and nothing more? What are you hearing from --


JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Just when they thought it was safe to come out, they're looking for a bigger desk to hide under.

But there's -- we are hearing things on background, which means they're willing to talk to us, but they don't want to attach their names to it.


GANGEL: I spoke to a senior Republican, who said to me today, honestly, bottom line, it's really bad, it's really, really bad, he shouldn't say it. And if he were to do it, it would be impeachable.

BOLDUAN: That from a Republican?

GANGEL: That's from a Republican.

So you know, I think what we're going to see is Lindsey Graham came out and went so far. But I think most Republicans on the record are still, for whatever their reason, they're not going to go up against him.

I do want to give one last --


BOLDUAN: Hold on one second.

Because on the issue of Republicans, let's get over to Kevin McCarthy, top Republican in the House. He is speaking now.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): -- in our elections. I watched in the last campaign the Democrat presidential campaign spend $6 million to a foreign entity to travel the world to try to find something.

When they could not find it, they made false accusations, salacious accusations at that. Drove this country into a special counsel lasting more than 22 months. Using this false information, sending it to the FBI that went and got a FISA court. Then to spy upon Americans and took us through something we should never have to live again. I did not hear the speaker be appalled at that.

[11:40:13] Or to have a chair of the House Intel Committee think that he's knowingly speaking on a phone to a foreign entity to supply some other false allegations. And what action did he take? Those are the things I'm appalled about that actually did happen.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: John McCain gave the Steele dossier to the FBI.

MCCARTHY: Who paid -- no, what I'm talking about is the Clinton campaign and the DNC spending $6 million creating a false dossier.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You're saying that the DNC made up the entire Steele dossier?

MCCARTHY: Did they pay a foreign entity to go around and create it? I believe they did.


Yes, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sir, is it right for the president to say that he would listen if foreigners offered dirt on his political opponents? Is that the kind of help that you would do?

MCCARTHY: I think we all see -- you're talking about a hypothetical. One thing I want to see, everybody in America, we do not want a foreign government interfere in any of our elections and we should all stand united on that.

Yes, sir?


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Congressman McCarthy, Jon Stewart got a lot of attention this week with his visit to Capitol Hill. How do you see the 9/11 fund issue playing out? Is it a sunset? Is there a way to make sure that everybody --

BOLDUAN: We see there Kevin McCarthy, top Republican in the House, answering questions about this very issue.

Jamie is here. Robert Anderson, former FBI is with me, as well.

Anne, just give me your take on -- this gets to exactly, Jamie, what we were talking about, what Republicans are saying publicly versus what they are saying privately to you.

What you hear from Kevin McCarthy is he's putting this all on Democrats. He doesn't want to talk about what could happen in the future. He says I want to talk about what happened in the past.

ROBERT ANDERSON, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: Right. Well, let's start at the point that the president described what happened in 2016 as opposition research. It wasn't opposition research. It was criminal activity. A number of Russians, people affiliated with the Russian government, they have been charged with the crime of computer hacking.

So to make any equivalency between what happened when Russia was essentially hacking into the American election, both through social media and by stealing emails, is completely different than what most of us would think about as traditional opposition research, which is not criminal.

BOLDUAN: And, Anne, it you -- I mean, take it broadly. We don't even have to go through episode by episode.

Broadly, the -- what I'm getting is -- don't believe -- I don't want to talk about what's going on going forwards, I don't want to deal with the hypothetical, even though it's not hypothetical because Donald Trump answered the question. We're talking about what Donald Trump said on tape.

But instead, i want to talk about almost trying to get us to not believe what the Intelligence Community said about what happened in the election in 2016. It feels like we're back at the beginning again.

ANNE MILGRAM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. We're -- he's trying to relitigate everything for the past two years.

But also when it comings to what he said -- when it comes to what he said, this is remarkable and should be deeply upsetting to all Americans, he would take it tomorrow. He would take information from a foreign government, even knowing it is a violation of campaign finance laws, even knowing that Russia has been charged with a crime. That not hypothetical.


BOLDUAN: Right. It's not hypothetical.

And Kevin McCarthy, one thing that perked up in all of our ears, he said, when the dossier information, he said, in sending it to the FBI. This is one of the operative issues here. If Donald Trump not only would listen to it, take it, would he report it to the FBI?

Robert, I got to bring you in on this. If you were -- you were just testifying about this. If you were sitting in your old post, what are you thinking right now?

ANDERSON: Well, first of all, it's clear this is a bad move. It shouldn't happen. It should immediately come to the FBI.

And as you said, Kate, for a little over three hours yesterday I told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence this the same thing. The reality is, people need to understand, whether it's Russia, China

or Iran, every hostile intelligence service in the world listened to his comments yesterday.

And the number-one, number-two and number-three priority for every one of those intelligence services is the United States.

If you throw out the Steele dossier and you throw out the Mueller report, just go back to the social media tampering with the presidential election and all the e-mail hacking that was done by the GRU, which is their military intelligence, and I think it lets you know right where we're at.

BOLDUAN: It's deeply troubling to hear all of this. I have to say.

And while folks might say don't listen to what the president's saying because he hasn't done it yet, what I'm hearing from you, Robert, is damage is already being done by these words.

ANDERSON: Well, it's not only being done. And I said this yesterday, I'm telling you, these attacks started in 2014. And they've never stopped. Mark my words.

Just because we're having hearings, just because this is out in the public domain, it doesn't mean that the intelligence services in Russia -- which by the way, the president was a former KGB officer for years. One of the most violent intelligence organizations in the world. They disbanded it. And then he went into politics.

This stuff is going on right now, there's no doubt in my mind.

[11:45:12] BOLDUAN: Here's the thing that -- I'm confounded today. Today is Kate's unfounded -- is this -- we have seen in rare circumstances the Republicans standing up and saying, it's wrong, full stop, there's no, you know, no asterisks to it, take tariffs, take China trade, take -- China trade war. We've seen this before. Even when it comes to the Saudi arms deal, you have Republicans standing up.

Not here, though, Jamie. Not here. And I'm -- I don't know why. And we don't know why, but I'm just --

GANGEL: So not yet. Let's see if anything changes over the next 24 hours.

Just to go back to what Robert said for one second, to his point, in last two years, what is the one thing we have known that every intelligence service has told us: The Russians were meddling.

BOLDUAN: It's the one thing not --


GANGEL: That is not debatable.

What did Donald Trump do in this interview? He opened it back up again and said, come on in. Not as a candidate in a campaign, but as president --


BOLDUAN: Weigh in on that, that's an operative difference. There's not July 2016, hey, Russia, are you listening? This is June 2019, president of the United States saying, hey, I'll take a meeting and listen, and I might not even tell the FBI about it.

What is the legal obligation and difference with that?

MILGRAM: So, legally, both are deeply problematic. But there's a difference, which is that the president could curry favor for those foreign governments. He's sitting in the chair where he could do favors or there's a quid pro quo with foreign governments whereas, before, he was running and hoping to be in that position of power. He's in that position of power today.

So governments who want to help him could hack into the election on behalf of his opponent and, hopefully, get something in exchange, and that's corruption.

GANGEL: There's an expression in the intelligence world, "They own him." When you open yourself up to it, they own him.

And for him to do this as president, having gone through the last two years -- he does know the difference between what is OK and what is not OK, and he doesn't seem to care.

BOLDUAN: Guys, thank you so much. This has been a wild little bit of a show. Anne, Jamie, Robert, thank you very, very much. An important, important conversation that we're having.

We also have an important update coming up next. An explosion and a fire in a critical international shipping lane. The U.S. Navy having to come to the rescue of two oil tankers after what appears to be an attack. Now the hunt is on to figure out who or maybe what country was behind it.


[11:50:50] BOLDUAN: Two ships under attack. The U.S. Navy forced to come to the rescue. And sailors in need of abandoning ship.

This is a new image we'll show you of one of the two oil tankers we're talking about here.

We're told there was an explosion followed by fire on both vessels. It happened as they were sailing through the Gulf of Oman, a key shipping lane in the Middle East.

This is the second attack in a month in this very same waterway, raising a lot of alarm around the world.

What exactly does it mean, and who could be behind it?

Here with me now is Ray Mabus. He was the secretary of Navy under President Obama.

Secretary, thank you for being here.

RAY MABUS, FORMER SECRETARY, U.S. NAVY: Thanks for having me.

BOLDUAN: This is the same waterway four other commercial ships, where they were hit. They were in port when that happened, something like a month ago. What -- what are you -- you see this and hear these very few details we're getting, what do you think happened?

MABUS: Well, it looks like it's part of a pattern because four ships a month ago, not a lot of damage. This time, the ships were at sea. Looks like a bit more damage.

Looks like sending a message because both ships were carrying Japanese cargo at the same time that the Japanese prime minister's meeting with the leadership in Iran. And so -- this is beginning to look like not coincidences.

BOLDUAN: That's what I was going to ask. When you see the images, you see the video coming in, is there another explanation other than it would be a deliberate attack, when you see the pattern?

MABUS: No. Because too many ships go through the Strait of Hormuz, too many do this safely day after day after day. They just don't blow up by accident.

BOLDUAN: These are all commercial ships. U.S. Navy, thankfully, has not been a target as far as we know.

If you were in your old post, if you were sitting -- sitting in Washington, what would you be doing right now knowing that something -- something is going on?

MABUS: Well, the concern here is that it's going to escalate, and it's going to spiral out of control. And you are going to see much more conflict, you're going to see open conflict from the beginning.

BOLDUAN: How do you figure out -- how do they figure out who did it? No one's claiming responsibility. Everyone's denying responsibility now. You look at Iran, Russia, whatever.

MABUS: We have our Intel people looking at it now.

But, you know, suspicion has to fall on Iran because they're under a lot of pressure. This administration walked away from the Iranian deal. They put, quote, "maximum pressure" on Iran. To think that Iran wouldn't strike back is just sort of foolish. To think that they wouldn't do something to -- to do this. And you're seeing the effects immediately because oil prices have spiked.


MABUS: So you're going to pay more for gasoline.

BOLDUAN: You see this as, you know, it's escalating in the -- in these targets, in these attacks. You think that it's to send a message, not necessarily to take the tanker out, to take the oil tanker out, it's to scare and send a message?

MABUS: Oil is a global commodity. It's traded on fear, rumor, speculation. And, yes, it's to send a message.

And if it does spiral out of control, if there's a mistake, if there's a miscalculation, then you could crash the world economy here just by doing things like this. And that's the real risk here.

Because you -- not only had these attacks on different ships, you've got, you know, the rebels from Yemen --

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

MABUS: -- shot a rocket into Abha, Saudi Arabia, into the airport --


BOLDUAN: It's all unconnected and connected when it comes to this -- when it comes to this conversation.

Secretary, thank you for being here. We'll see what happens next unfortunately.

MABUS: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up, the 2020 Democratic contenders are officially out of time to qualify for the first debate. So, who has made the cut?

But, first, in this week's "IMPACT YOUR WORLD," a look at a lifechanging program that helps students learn to read. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 2017, only 22 percent of students from disadvantaged backgrounds were reading on great level. Reading Partners is an organization that provides one-on-one tutoring for children to help them build their reading skills from kindergarten to fifth grade. That's the critical moment in time for learning to read.

[11:55:10] UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Lloyd stepped on every crack --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can see him growing, I can see him doing much better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We partner with educators and bring volunteers who are trained to have one-on-one sessions with students, 45 minutes twice a week, to help them to build their reading skills throughout the school year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, blend it all together.

Good job! You did it.

(LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: He's helped me a lot. I just have to keep on reading, and if I mess up, he tells me to stop, and then I have to say it again. And then I say it right.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Volunteers are essential to our work.

Reading Partners recruits volunteers year-round.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do this to make a difference. If I can improve a child's life, to change their direction, improve their reading, that's so crucial as they continue on.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Thank you for helping me read.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you're welcome.