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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  April 10, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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spent $5.2 million of the $6 million that it raised in the first quarter, which is a pretty high burn rate, but it also said that it transferred more than $10 million from warren's senate campaign, so that's a pretty big cushion for now, jake. >> mj lee, thanks so much. our coverage on cnn continues right now. happening now. breaking news. spy claims. democratic lawmakers are demanding an explanation for the extraordinary claim by the attorney general william barr, who tells lawmakers he thinks government spying did occur against the trump campaign. he offers no proof, but says he's begun his own probe into how the fbi's trump/russia investigation got started. inner circle interviews. federal investigators have reportedly questioned two former trump aides, key members of his inner circle, digging up, and i'm quoting now, more evidence that was previously known about hush money payments. missed deadline. president trump and his treasury
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secretary making clear that the irs will not comply with today's deadline to hand over six years of his tax returns. how will congressional democrats respond? and what's in a name? during a visit to the home of america's first president, president trump reportedly criticized george washington for not naming mt. vernon after himself, saying, and i'm quoting now, you've got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." breaking news. congressional democrats are furious and demanding answers tonight, following a stunning assertion by attorney general william barr, who without offering any proof, testified that he thinks government spying did occur against the trump campaign. barr confirmed he has launched his own probe into the origins of the fbi's investigation into
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possible ties between the trump campaign and russia. president trump today renewed his attack on the special counsel's investigation, calling it an attempted coup. that as a new report says federal investigators have dug up more evidence than previously known from the president's inner circle about muhush money paymes to women. "the wall street journal" reports former trump white house aide hope hicks and security chief keith schiller made phone calls to a tabloid to help bury the story. i'll speak with senator joe manchin of the appropriations committee. and our correspondents and analysts, they will have full coverage of the day's top stories. democrats want an explanation for the attorney general william barr's jaw-dropping claim during a congressional hearing today. moments ago, the house speaker, nancy pelosi, angrily attacked the attorney general. >> the chief law enforcement officer of our country, is going off the rails. yesterday and today.
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he is the attorney general of the united states of america, not the attorney general are of donald trump. >> all right, let's go to our justice reporter, laura jarrett, she's over at the justice department. laura, some extraordinary testimony today. tell us why democrats are so furious about what the attorney general said. >> well, wolf, democrats are fuming about the unproven, controversial claim of spying on the trump campaign is now back on the scene. and it isn't being propagated just by the white house. it's now being held up by the chief law enforcement officer of the united states. >> i think spying did occur, yes. i think spying did occur. >> reporter: an inflammatory claim likely music to the president's ears. >> and this was an attempted coup. this was an attempted takedown of a president. >> reporter: attorney general bill barr told lawmakers today he believes the fbi and intelligence community spied on
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donald trump's 2016 presidential campaign. essentially echoing a charge president trump has made for more than two years. >> i think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. >> reporter: to look into any alleged misconduct, the attorney general said he plans to examine the genesis of the counterintelligence investigation into possible links between the trump campaign and the kremlin. >> have you any evidence that there was anything improper in those investigations? >> i have no specific evidence that i would cite right now. i do have questions about it. i am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. i'm saying that i am concerned about it and looking into it. that's all. >> reporter: in a possible swipe at former fbi director james comey or his deputy, andrew mccabe, barr said, if there was any wrongdoing, it may have only been a problem with senior fbi leadership. >> to the extent there were any issues at the fbi, i do not view
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it as a problem that's endemic to the fbi. i think there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there, at the upper echelon. >> reporter: barr expected mueller's report to be released next week, telling the senators, he wouldn't remove information from the full report just to please the president. >> does that mean that you will redact information to protect the reputational interests of the president? >> no. i'm talking about people in private life. >> okay. >> not public office olders. >> reporter: still, barr has been sharply criticized for finding the president did not obstruct justice, despite mueller not reaching a conclusion himself. >> did he express any expectation or interests in leaving the obstruction decision to congress? >> he didn't say that to me, no. >> so he said the obstruction decision should be up to you? >> he didn't say that either. >> all right. >> but that's generally how the department of justice works. >> reporter: and while barr
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deflected many questions on robert mueller's ultimate conclusions -- >> it is striking the president claimed complete and total exoneration, if he didn't either see the report or was briefed on the report. >> you cannot possibly surmise that president trump would claim exoneration without having read anything. uh, so. >> the attorney general couldn't say if the special counsel agreed with him that the investigation didn't establish the president obstructed justice. >> did bob mueller support your conclusion? >> i don't know whether bob mueller supported my conclusion. >> reporter: as for mueller's highly anticipated report, which we expect to see as soon as next week, the attorney general said that lawmakers will see more than just the gist of it, and he hasn't overruled the special counsel on any proposed redactions. wolf? >> laura, thank. laura jarrett at the justice department. i want to bring in our senior justice correspondent, evan perez, and cnn reporter, kara scannel. evan, the attorney general made this truly stunning statement today, that he thinks the fbi,
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the intelligence agencies actually spied on the trump campaign. what evidence could he possibly have? >> it's not clear, wolf. and i think he says he had some concerns. and look, he was given multiple chances today to sort of clarify what he meant. and he really didn't do that. i think if you're the fbi, folks there are wondering whether he's talking about the fisa application for carter page, and, you know, from all the information that has been shown so far, that appears to have been done properly. is he talking about the cia and some of the activities they had, looking at what the russians were doing on their end, talking to people connected to the trump campaign. it's not clear what the attorney general was talking about. it's not clear what he means is going to happen here. is he talking about perhaps a higher standard before you can open a counterintelligence investigation? if that's what he's talking about, that's a big deal and i think we're going to hear a lot more about that. >> we certainly will. kara, amidst all of this, there's a new report that
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federal investigators in new york, they questioned two key members of the president's inner circle in connection with those hush money payments to those two women who allege they had affairs with the president. what's the latest on that? >> wolf, so "the wall street journal" is reporting that the prosecutors in new york last spring interviewed hope hicks, donald trump's longtime communications adviser, and keith schiller, his longtime security official/bodyguard, questioning them about some of these hush money payments, specifically related to american media. that's the publisher of the "national enquirer." the "national enquirer" was involved in one of these hush money payments that michael cohen pleaded guilty to, involving kaiinvolve involving karen mcdougal. "the journal" doesn't say exactly how this was used, but prosecutors interview a lot of witnesses who have knowledge about events, and it's possible this was used as leverage against american media, which eventually signed a non-prosecution agreement. and also with david pecker, who was the publisher and he talks to donald trump, he's talked to him for years, they're very
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close. and he testified in the grand jury against michael cohen under an immunity deal. that all culminated last august into michael cohen pleading guilty. we got a little bit more detail about the earlier stages of this sdny investigation. >> this s dmrdny, southern dist of new york potentially a bigger threat to the president than the mueller investigation? >> i think people close to the president have always thought that this is the bigger threat. and the fact that it lives on, wolf, by the way, we know, again, "the wall street journal" kind of clarified some things that we've already said and known, which is that this is an investigation that's still ongoing. the prosecutors in new york seem to be trying to figure out who else may have been involved, who may have known about the hush money payments. and whether or not there were any additional laws that may have been broken in this. so, again, i think this is why people close to the president have always said, they expect this investigation to last through the end of his presidency. and perhaps beyond that. >> yeah, goes on and on and on.
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evan, thank you. kara, thanks to you, as well. there's more breaking news, as a deadline arrives without the irs providing congress with president trump's tax returns. president trump made it clear today he's not budging on that, as he also renewed his assault on the special counsel's probe. let's go to our white house correspondent, abby phillip. abby, take us through the late-breaking developments. >> reporter: well, wolf, today is that deadline for the irs to respond to the house ways and means committee request for six years of president trump's tax returns, but the president appears to be gearing up for a fight. and he is also in a combative mood over the robert mueller report, which is about to released imminently. the president appears to be attacking the investigators, even though he said, just weeks ago, that he wanted the full report to be released to the publi public. >> this was an attempted coup. this was an attempted takedown of a president. and we beat them. we beat them. >> reporter: tonight, president trump going on the attack against the russia
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investigation, ahead of the release of the full mueller report. >> so the mueller report, when they talk about obstruction, we fight back. and you know why we fight back? because i knew how illegal this whole thing was. it was a scam. >> reporter: as attorney general bill barr testifies on capitol hill that redactions won't be made to protect him. >> does that mean that you will redact information to protect the reputational interests of the president? >> no. >> i'm talking about people in private life. >> okay. not public office holders. >> reporter: trump gearing up for another battle with congress over his taxes. >> i got elected last time with the same issue. >> and while i'm under outside, i won't do it. if i weren't under outside, i would do it. i have no problem with it. >> reporter: a deadline to hand over six days by today. this isn't just about the
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president and congressional oversight, as i said yesterday, can you imagine if kevin brady, when he was chairman, he had requested tax returns of prominent democrats. we want to make sure that we follow the law properly. >> meantime, in texas today, trump painting a gruesome picture of the situation at the border. >> they'll kill you, take your truck, sometimes go and rob the house and who the hell can live like this? >> reporter: and downplaying the influence of his senior policy adviser, stephen miller, who sources say has been put in charge of all immigration and border-related issues. >> stephen is an excellent guy. he's a wonderful person. people don't know him. has been with me from the beginning. he's a brilliant man and frankly, there's only one person that's running it. and you know who that is? that's me. >> miller's hard-line advocacy causing even republicans to push for a check on his power.
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republican senator john thune telling cnn, i do think his voice is influential and i hope it gets balanced out with other voices there. and increasingly, republican lawmakers are speaking up about trump's unconventional picks for another role, the federal reserve board. trump has selected stephen moore, a former campaign adviser, who critics say lacks the economics qualifications for the post. and former republican presidential candidate, herman cain, who faces renewed scrutiny over allegations of sexual harassment. but senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is privately urging senators to raise their concerns about both men to the white house. sources tell cnn, trump now won't say if kaine's nomination is in jeopardy. >> well, i like herman cain and herman will make that determination. herman is a wonderful man. he's been a supporter of mine for a long time. as to how he's doing in the process, that i don't know. you go through a process. but herman's a great guy and i
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hope he does well. >> reporter: and on immigration, president trump is also teasing in texas today that he might ask the military to return to the border, although the pentagon says they have not yet received a formal request. wolf? >> lots going on. abby phillip at the white house, thanks very much. joining us now, democratic senator joe manchin of west virginia. he's a member of the appropriations committee. senator, thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> the attorney general, you heard today, he does think that spying occurred, that it's looking -- he's looking into the origins of the fbi probe, of the trump campaign. have you seen -- and you used to be a member of the intelligence committee -- during this time, have you seen any evidence of impropriety on the part of either the fbi or the u.s. intelligence community, the cia, or others? >> no, i haven't. and no one on that committee either told me. the intelligence committee, the intelligence community, all 17 of them, have their job to do.
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and that's to make sure that we don't have any foreign involvement, any way, shape, or form, whether it be in our econom economics, in espionage and sabotage we're trying to thwart, or in our election process. that's their job. if they see something, they've got to do their job. if they believe that something different now, then show us. but we have not seen that at all. >> the inspector general's office over at the department of justice is already overseeing an independent investigation into the matter. is it appropriate for a political appointee, and the attorney general, as you know, is a political appointee, to begin his own parallel investigation, especially given the way the president has talked about all of this? why not wait for the inspector general's report before going out and saying what he said today? >> well, the attorney general has quite a bit on his plate right now. and he doesn't need fob goito b there, because we're waiting for this full mueller report. and i think the best and the quickest that we can see that, the confidence of the american people will have, is that it was
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done thoroughly. if there are still concerns, there's concerns. if there's not, there's not. if he says he has to redact it for whatever reasons, then so be it. but then it should not be held from the representatives, such as, in the senate and the house. those especially on whether it's beyond judiciary committee or on intel. there should be no holding back from those to be able to see what you're redacting and if it qualifies to be redacted. there's got to be transparency, wolf. and there's got to be confidence in the system. that's who we are. and attorney general barr takes the same oath of office that we all take, to uphold the constitution. >> you heard the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, just say a little while ago, the attorney general in her words is going off the rails. she accused him of acting as the attorney general for president trump rather than the attorney general for the united states. so you voted to confirm bill barr. do you have confidence he's making the decisions right now
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that are necessary, independent of the president? >> i have the ability to call attorney general barr, ask him directly, and hold him accountable for his actions, if that's the direction that he's going. i did that and i did not, in a san francis partisan way, it's in a non-partisan way that i did it. i believe he's qualified to do his job. if he tells us he's going to be transparent and all-inclusive and he's not, you think i'm not going to call, i'm concerned about the affordable care act. i asked him, point-blank, are you going to, if the fifth circuit -- if the united states supreme court basically turns down and rejects texas, are you then going to enforce the law? the affordable care act is law of the land. and basically, he will enforce that, he says. if he doesn't, i won't hesitate a second to call. >> if that law is completely overturned, the affordable care act, millions of americans will lose their health insurance, because they have pre-existing
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conditions. and unless a new law is passed, they're going to be stuck without anything. as you know, the attorney was asked also today whether he shared the president's view that the mueller probe was illegal, an illegal witch hunt. he refused to give a clear answer. shouldn't the attorney general, though, of the united states, be able to answer a simple question like that? >> i would have thought he could be more direct on that, because if he's sign the entire 400-page mueller report, if he sees how that investigation investigation was conducted, you would know it's not a witch hunt. it's basically a deep dive making sure foreign entities aren't changing the whole outcome of the election process and continuing to continue to be involved. and if they believe they can get by and russians, there's no doubt at all, 17 agencies of our intelligence came to us on a regular basis and all of them
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had the same advice. that russia has done and will continue to do everything they can to alter our investigation. and in all honesty, this administration, from what we're understanding, as basically allowed our cyber group, basically, our cyber defense, to attack back. >> well, i suspect you're absolutely right on that point. and the president did, he went one step further. he not only called it a witch hunt, a hoax, he called it today phony. and he also said it was a treasonous hoax. treason is a very strong word, senator. you know the death penalty comes with treason. he's accusing these individuals who launched this investigation of engaging in a treasonous hoax. >> well, let me tell you. we have 17 intelligence community. for them to start something down this absolutely intensive as they've done and this widespread, they have to all come in agreement that there was activity. there was definite confirmation of activity of what russia was
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trying to do. now, if they have prove it, and if the report comes out and proves what the president says, there was no collusion, they weren't working with anybody, that's fine. that reaffirms this. i would want this entire report. i would want people to see the entire report. that's the thing i think needs to be done for the confidence that we need to start bringing this country together. we're so tribal, wolf, it's unbelievable. what side are you on? i'm on the side of this great country of the united states of america. doesn't matter whether you're democrat or republican. the facts are what they are. you're entitled to your opinion, you're just not entitled to fabricate your own facts to support your opinion. >> senator joe manchin, as usual, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. good to be with you. up next, new information emerging about the legal problems facing the star actress lori loughlin. is the federal government pressuring her to make a plea deal in the college cheating scandal? visionworks can do more than just make you see great.
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to save 30% on all the medications we carry. so go directly to now. the breaking news. congressional democrats are demanding answers after the attorney general william barr's surprising testimony today that he thinks the government may have spied on president trump's campaign. let's bring in our political and legal experts to discuss this. the senate minority leader, the democratic leader, gloria, chuck schumer just admitted, ag barr admitted he had no evidence to support his claim that spying on the trump campaign did occur. ab barr must retract his statement immediately or produce specific evidence to back it up. perpetuating conspiracy theorys is underneath the office of the attorney general. >> well, yeah. the democrats are up in arms about what he said. i mean, he believed he said that
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spying did occur. then he tried to walk it back a little bit and said he had concerns that spying did occur. i think what he was trying to say is, i want to make sure they had enough reason to go issue these fisa warrants and that it was all kosher. and i think he's been echoing the president in a way who's been coming out and saying, this is a witch hunt, this is illegal. barr did not go that far, but he said, it is an obligation to make sure that the government power is not abused and he also went on to say, look, normally, a campaign would have been advised on this and you had rudy giuliani and chris christie in the campaign at the time and why weren't they advised? and we know from james comey's testimony to congress that the reason they didn't do that, i mean, they told both campaigns that there were adversaries who might potentially spy on their campaigns.
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the reason they did not give them chapter and verse, and i'm sure this is going to be discussed a lot, is because we didn't know whether we had anything, said comey. we wouldn't want to either alert people that we were investigating them by doing a defense of people, or smear people. so, i think that's why they erred on the side of being general to both campaigns, rather than being specific. but barr clearly believes, maybe they should have been more specific. >> it's attorney general, used to work for the u.s. national intelligence community, is there evidence to support, so suggest that intelligence agencyies, whether the cia, the nsa or other intelligence agencies did in fact spy on the trump campaign? >> at this point, exactly not. and attorney general barr agrees with us. he has said there's no evidence. it's not only inappropriate, but it's unfortunate that he used a term like spying to describe what by all accounts is an
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absolutely legitimate and necessary counterintelligence investigation. this feeds into this idea that there was some sort of witch hunt or inappropriate investigation. based on all the evidence that we had, it was absolutely necessary for us to ask this question as to whether or not there was some sort of relationship between people on the trump campaign and the russians. the question was asked and it was answered and for anyone who suggests now that we should have never asked the question is simply not showing an appropriate level of concern for our national security. so if barr wants to look at process, to make sure that as these warrants were granted and as this process was carried out, that everyone behaved in a way that was appropriate in keeping with the values of the ic, i think that's fine. but to suggest that they're spying, that does a real disservice. >> when you used that word "spying" today, that caused a huge, huge uproar. also, laura, the attorney general told lawmakers, he doesn't know if robert mueller agrees with his conclusion that -- on whether or not the president actually obstructed
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justice. so that seems to be a significant admission. >> of course, it is. i mean, it tells you the left hand and the right hand actually never did a handshake after a 22-month investigation. think of the idea, not only did he say that mueller did not explicitly ask him to reach this conclusion, but he hasn't even endeavored to find out if mueller agrees with this conclusion. wouldn't this be the person you would like to speak to if there were questions of law or fact resolved? that he hasn't had that conversation says to me he was acting autonomously, and it is the department of the ag to make hard decisions and to be the final arbitrator. but when you have a special counsel like robert mueller, where the mandate actually says, he has to reach conclusions, it still begs the question and in my mind, requires the question to be asked of robert mueller as to what communication was there where he felt entitled to reach a conclusion that you did not feel capable of making. >> we'll see if he explains that
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in that 400-page report and the redacted version we expect to be released next week. we'll see how far he goes and we'll see eventually if mueller himself testifies before congress. you know, rebecca, the attorney general says he won't redact information in the mueller report that's expected to be released next week, just to protect the president. as the fight, though, over the release of this redacted version heats up, do you think that pledge is enough to satisfy the democrats? >> i'm going to guess no, wolf. and all you have to do is look at what democrats have been saying. for example, today, following barr's testimony to congress, they've been suggesting that they don't trust him, that he's not a reliable witness, that he's working as a political actor on behalf of the president. and so they're suggesting that any decision he makes is going to be influenced by president trump and what the president wants. so anything he redacts is going to be open to questions from democrats. and i think we're going to see possibly a long battle, but certainly a battle on behalf of
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democrats trying to get as much information as they possibly can. >> you know, gloria, you heard the speaker today just a little while ago, nancy pelosi, say that barr is acting as the attorney general of the president rather than the attorney general of the united states. >> well, i think this goes back to sean's point about, you know, this notion that -- of barr saying, maybe, you know, this investigation wasn't warranted. that he had concerned about it. and that, you know, there were -- why wasn't trump briefed? i have to investigate this. when, in fact, there is an inspector general investigation into this very matter going on at the same time. and when you had the president come out this morning and say that this investigation was treasonous, that it was an attempted coup, effectively, and then you had barr come out and raise sort of the same questions about whether this was an abuse of power, you have to ask the question about whether barr was speaking to an audience of one
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at this point. and whether his answer was too political. you know, you can't -- you can't say that, you know, barr is not a professional, he understands the justice department, he's serve there had, et cetera, et cetera. but, you know, these -- they were kind of ins sync today. and you have to whether or not whether they've communicated. he didn't answer questions about how much the white house knows about what is in the mueller report. and that's another question i wish he would have answered. >> wolf, i think one thing to add to what gloria said. there's all of this talk about why the fbi didn't go to someone in the trump campaign. the truth of the matter is, is that all of the evidence that the intelligence community was collecting left the intelligence community going, we don't know how deep this potentially goes. we don't know who's involved and who's not involved. who do you go to when there are multiple people on the campaign who are having meetings with russians and then they're lying about those meetings? you've got to figure out who the actors are, who you can actually share this information with. and as we've seen, now that the
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investigation is done and we have all of these indictments, it was unclear from the very beginning. >> you're the legal expert. it's one thing of the president to accuse people of engaging in a witch hunt or a hoax, to say it's phony. but when he throws out the word treasonous and says someone is engaged in treasonous behavior, an attempted coup, you know what the penalty is if you're convicted of treason. >> and remember his reaction when steve bannon made that comment about treasonous behavior with respect to the now-infamous trump tower meeting and how the president and his team thought it was absolutely absurd because of the penalties associated with one being treasonous in this country. and of course, what i think is really savvy about william barr in this case, and we've shown through his testimony, is that he was able to essentially to blow three different dog whistles with just one air. he touched on the issue of the dossier and how that was an issue, whether that was a genesis. he touched on the issue of whether george papadopoulos was, in fact, the person to actually alert people to have this be a threat. and he talked about the upper echelon of the fbi being blame
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worthy or complicit in this overall theme of witch hunt. and he actually said in response, was ait a witch hunt? he said, it depends upon where you sit. that's a rose by any other name. i think he showed today, he may be an ally to the president of the united states in a way we did not expect. >> it's interesting, you think the president fully understands that the word "treason," if you're convicted of that, that carries the death penalty. >> i don't think he cares, wolf. and that's really the fundamental thing here. is that he doesn't care about the literal meaning of his words. he cares about what it means for him politically. and from a political perspective, treason is a very weighty word that his supporters will understand. and for the president, it is all about loyalty, as we know. everything comes back to loyalty. are you with me or are you against me? that's kind of the message he's sending here. >> i think what this all shows in the president's tweeting again today about this and has been tweeting nonstop is that somebody told him what's in this
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report. because originally, he said, let it all out, he said, i'm completely exonerated, i would like everybody to see it, and there has been a total flip on this. why has there been such a flip on this. and i think the reason perhaps that the attorney general wouldn't answer this question about what the white house knows about what's in the report is because they know something and the president has -- talk about going off the rails. the president has gone off the rails on this. after he said he's been exonerated. what other explanation is there other than he knows that he's got to be prepared for what's coming out. and i think they're trying to change the subject here. because i think barr knows, there's a lot of stuff that's going to come out that the president doesn't like. and he's sort of turning the page and saying, well, i'm wondering how this investigation got started in the first place. and i think it's a political act more than any kind of legal act. >> once again, today, in the latest tweet, he was saying, someone has now been determined
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by 18 people that truly hate president trump that there was no collusion with russia. so he's going back to that right now. all of a sudden, now, it's 18. used to say a lower number of angry democrats who were involved in this investigation. very quickly on this "wall street journal" story today, reporting to federal investigators, the u.s. everyone to for the southern district of new york, that i have interviewed two additional people at the center of the alleged hush money payments to these women who claim they had an affair -- affairs with the president. if you take a look at this inner circle and put them up on the screen, among those now confirmed interviewed by "the wall street journal," hope hicks, close former aid to the president, keith schiller, who used to be in charge of security for the president. this is a potentially significant development, as well. >> you bet it is. the notion here that people presume that this dragon against the president had one head, well, you see the six-headed hydracoming out. one of the most formidable ones is the sdny. because they don't have to be
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beholden to the same constraints that mural weller was. their mandate is far more expansive. and they're the ones who have the hook in cohen, who was talking about individual number one. we cannot possibly believe that all of his testimony and documents he provided to congress would have just fall bin the wayside. this is them following up and they are actually very legally prudent to do so. >> it's going to be a big story, i'm sure, as well. to our viewers, tune in later tonight, 10:00 p.m. eastern. i'll be moderating a cnn democratic presidential town hall with washington state governor jay inslee. that's at 10:00 p.m. later tonight. and stay with us. we're getting new details about the legal problems facing the star actress lori loughlin. is the federal government pressuring her right now to make a plea deal? behr presents: tough as walls.
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and reaches everywhere. this is beyond wifi, this is xfi. simple. easy. awesome. xfinity, the future of awesome. tonight, there are new questions about whether the federal government is trying to pressure a strar actress into pleadi ining guilty in the coll cheating scandal. lori loughlin and her husband are among the parents facing new charges for allegedly resorting to bribery and fraud to get their children into top colleges. brita brynn gingras is following this story. >> top attorneys say it's not time to cut a deal. their strategy or at least part of it, get the government to show its cards. what evidence is there to prove
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these parents like loughlin conspired to commit these alleged crimes to get their kids into these elite schools? >> reporter: tonight, a law enforcement source says "fuller house" actress lori loughlin has not yet engaged in substantial plea discussions with prosecutors, but added, it's not too late. this after loughlin was among 16 parents indicted tuesday on an additional charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. loughlin and her husband, fashion designer, mossimo giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 to facilitate their daughter's admissions into usc as rowing recruits. court documents detail conversations the couple had with ski mastermind, william singer, to facilitate the payments. the couple, as well as the dozens of others caught up in this scandal were previously facing a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. that fraud carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, as does the money laundering charge. criminal defense attorney vanu
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vargese says if he was loughlin's attorney, he would have advised her to not take a deal. >> all the payments were done by her husband. and it makes that very clear that her husband wider the money over to singer. that, to me, does not lead to her being guilty in a criminal conspiracy to commit what they call honest services fraud or money laundering conspiracy. >> i know! >> reporter: the additional charge loughlin, her husband, and 14 other parents are now facing is a move prosecutors warned would happen if they didn't cooperate early on in the case. an aggressive tactic, says vargese. >> so for the government to push to plea this quickly, it's really not a fair position for them to take. because basically, you're not giving them an opportunity to really challenge the evidence, to review it. >> reporter: the evidence, according to a law enforcement source, is plentiful in the case and a recent court filing shows possibly what the government has against some parents. surveillance photographs, academic records. the government even noting there are others involved who have not yet been charged.
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defense lawyers representing the 16 charged, includie ing loughl filed a letter arguing that the government putting all parents in a single indictment is unorthodox and a strategy that could be considered as judge shopping. the u.s. attorney for massachusetts calling the claim a hail mary. 13 other parents did take the government's deal this week, including actress felicity huffman. huffman was accused of paying $15,000 to alter her oldest daughter's college admissions test scores. the government will ask for the minimum punishment for huffman in exchange for the quick plea. huffman issued a statement taking full responsibility for her actions, saying, quote, i want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly. she also said her daughter did not know of her involvement in the scheme, an important line in the long apology, as vr investigators say it's considering more arrests,
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possibly of students who knowingly participated in the scam. >> and usc says it's considering plea deals when deciding the fate for its students connected to this scam, and that would include loughlin's daughters. it's unclear what schools, if any, huffman's daughters have been accepted to, since she would have been applying when these arrests came down. wolf? >> we'll watch this story together with you, brin, thank you very much. brynn gingras reporting. coming up, what's president trump's problem, with of all people, president george washington. why go with anybody else? we know their rates are good, we know that they're always going to take care of us. it was an instant savings and i should have changed a long time ago. we're the tenney's and we're usaa members for life. call usaa to start saving on insurance today.
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a visit to the home much america's first president, a visit called truly bizarre, president trump had some criticism for george washington and revealed his own ignorance about u.s. history. brian todd is looking into this for us. brian, what are you learning? >> this is a new account by a visit a year ago between the trumps and the french president and his wife to mt. vernon. the report says president trump didn't show much curiosity of the estate but was critical of it. when he left the white house in washington, d.c. last april with the french president, macron, to visit george washington's home, mt. vernon, president trump flew past the washington monument. over the george pawing parkway. beside the george washington memorial in alexandria, virginia. yet once on the grounds of his home, he told people around him quote, if he was smart, he would have put his name on it. you have to put your name on
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stuff or no one remembers you, according to a stunning story in politico that cites several sources briefed on his comments. >> that tells you where the president's head is at. this guy wants to stamp his name and likeness on everything and thinks washington missed a chance to do that. >> reporter: politico describes trump as bored during the tour, disinterested about learning about washington and mt. vernon, it was a challenge for the ceo and tour guide that described the evening as quote, truly bizarre. and the guide told others something embarrassing. >> the ceo, doug bradburn told people after the macrons knew more about the history of the residence and american history than the trumps. >> reporter: the thing that got trump most excited according to politico, when he was told how rich washington was. trump criticized the estate saying rooms were too small, staircases too narrow, the floors uneven, ignoring the fact the house was built in 1734, and
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expanded in 1758. >> this is just par for the course with donald trump. speaking of par for the course, i think he probably feels washington missed a point when he didn't build a golf course on the property at mt. vernon because that sure would have enhanced the real estate values. >> reporter: trump often seems astonished by history, often telling crowds to be surprised by basic stories from america's past. >> lot of people don't realize that abraham lincoln, the great abraham lincoln was republican. >> at one point, suggesting americans were just now learning about frederick douglass, former slave that became a famous abolitionist leader. >> frederick douglass is an example somebody that has done an amazing job, being recognized more and more. >> reporter: at his golf course, trump has a memorial to aively war battle at the spot which historians say never happened. unlike predecessors, trump isn't known for reading histories of
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other presidents, something historians say is worry some. >> many presidents made a point of reading books about predecessors, learning from their predecessors. learning doesn't mean you have to blindly follow what predecessors have done, you could like donald trump believe in shaking up the status quo, but you should do it from a position of knowledge. >> reporter: the white house hasn't responded to cnn's request for comment on the president's behavior at mount vernon, but the mt. vernon ladies association that runs mt. vernon. we don't deny any of the quotes of the story, says all parties were interested and engaged in the story of george washington and his home. comments from sources not present don't properly convey tone and context in which they were delivered. wolf? >> brian, thank you very much. coming up, breaking news, democrats are furious now and
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happening now. breaking news. lowering the bar. attorney general william barr alleges the obama administration spied on the trump campaign but offers no proof, sparking
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outrage among congressional democrats. circling trump. a new report says new york prosecutors have moved in on president trump's inner circle interviewing some of his closest former aides and gathering more evidence in the hush money case than anyone previously knew. i won't do it. the president defies demands by democratic lawmakers and vows he won't hand over his tax returns as the deadline set by the head of the house ways and means committee arrives. star pressure. federal prosecutors up the stakes for one of the celebrities in the college admissions scandal in an effort to get her to plead guilty. we want to welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. i am wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." breaking news tonight. outrage among congressional democrats after a bombshell statement from the


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