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Interview with Representative Blake Farenthold; U.S. Intel Handling Under Scrutiny; Interview with Senator Chris Murphy; Cleveland Cavaliers One Win Away to NBA Finals. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired May 24, 2017 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R), TEXAS: Yesterday, the chief of the CIA was asked, was there any evidence of collusion with the Russians on the part of the Trump campaign. And the answer, several times he was asked that, was no, there was not. Yet we still see the constant level of attacks. You see stories that are coming in based on anonymous sources --
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Congressman --
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: That's not fully what he said.
BERMAN: Congressman, yesterday, he was asked repeatedly if he saw evidence of collusion. He said he didn't deal with evidence. What he says is he saw intelligence which led him to believe there were contacts between Russia and people involved with the Trump campaign that raised questions that were unanswered when he left office, but he would not directly say he saw evidence there. It just gets the idea that there are these open questions.
FARENTHOLD: Well, again, there you go and taking the worst possible spin --
BERMAN: I'm just saying what he said. I'm not spinning. I'm just saying what he said.
BERMAN: That's all I'm doing.
FARENTHOLD: You know, my take-away from it was that there really wasn't any evidence of anything improper, and we are spending hours and hours in Congress with folks saying investigate this, investigate that, yet they're not willing to give the investigators, which we now have with our special counsel, the chance to investigate it. This is a constant --
HARLOW: So, Congressman, let me -- all right, you say we're taking the worst part, and that's your opinion. You are welcome to it. We watched the entire hearing, as it sounds like you did, as well. Let me read you a quote from former CIA chief John Brennan.
"By the time I left office on January 20th, I had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf, again, either wittingly or unwittingly." He went on to say, "I saw interaction that raised questions in my mind as to what was the true nature of it."
That is more than just the, you know, worst part of it. That is what he said over and over again.
FARENTHOLD: Again, the constant questioning, he's unable to point to any specific evidence, and I think that's what we're going to continue to see there. And my fear is our constant focusing on the Russians is deflecting away from some other things that we need to be investigating in. There's still some question as to whether the intrusion of the DNC server was an insider job or whether or not it was the Russians.
BERMAN: What evidence -- I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, sir. The insider job, what are you referring to here? Because I hope it's not this information that FOX News just refused to be reporting.
FARENTHOLD: Well, again, there's stuff circulating on the Internet. My question is --
BERMAN: What? What's circulating on the Internet? What's circulating on the Internet that you think is worthy of a congressional investigation? Because the D.C. Police are investigating this, and so far they haven't said there's any there- there.
FARENTHOLD: Yet the D.C. Police nor no federal investigator has ever had a look at the DNC computer. We're relying only on the report of somebody that the DNC contracted to examine their computer rather than having federal officials. To me, we need to let the feds look at it.
HARLOW: Congressman, do you think it's responsible to bring up, as a representative of the American people, to bring up things, in your words, that are swirling on the Internet? And give it justification as -- you know, as if there's a there-there when we know nothing on that yet?
FARENTHOLD: I think the same is true with what the media is doing with Trump. We're basing allegations on anonymous sources.
HARLOW: OK, so do you mean quoting the former CIA director who said, quote, "I saw evidence worthy of investigation by the bureau to determine whether there was cooperation or collusion that was taking place"?
FARENTHOLD: I'm going back to the Comey memo.
HARLOW: Do you think they're equivalent?
FARENTHOLD: I'm going back to the Comey memo, which is based entirely on anonymous sources. So my overall point is this needs to be fully investigated.
FARENTHOLD: Let the professionals investigate it. Let's not try it in the media, which is serving as a distraction for what needs to be done in this country. That's fixing healthcare, that's getting people back to work, that's fixing taxes, that's securing the border. Instead, we're hearing a constant barrage of anti-Trump -- I'm going to call it propaganda.
BERMAN: Well, OK. Again, if the propaganda is coming from the former CIA director, and if that's your opinion, you're entitled to it. If the FBI director James Comey says he wrote the memos, if he says it out loud from his mouth, will that be propaganda?
FARENTHOLD: Again, I want to hear what Comey has to say. I want to hear the facts. I want to hear the information about it.
HARLOW: But to John's question, if the former FBI director James Comey said, yes, indeed, I wrote those memos, as we have reported from multiple reliable sources, will that still be propaganda in your mind, Congressman?
FARENTHOLD: No, it won't, but we need to hear the facts and circumstances associated with that memo. And I'll tell you, if he's such a big memo writer, there are some memos from the previous administration in the campaign that I'd like to see, as well.
BERMAN: Congressman Blake Farenthold, I think we all agree we want to see people speak and see the evidence for ourselves out in public. We will reconvene this discussion after that point because I think that will be interesting to have a talk with you then, too.
FARENTHOLD: I look forward to it.
HARLOW: Thank you, Congressman.
In a second major -- a second major intelligence partner of the United States now voicing concerns.
[10:35:04] Could leaks harm intel sharing for U.S. investigators?
BERMAN: Officials in the United Kingdom are slamming the United States for what they call irritating leaks in the investigation into the deadly Manchester bombing. This after a string of details about the attack emerged from U.S. law enforcement sources before they were released by the British police.
HARLOW: And of course, there is an important context here.
[10:40:03] This is the second time in as many weeks that U.S. handling of intelligence has come under scrutiny. Israel's Defense minister is now saying it has made a, quote, "pointed correction," after President Trump allegedly leaked Israeli intelligence to the Russians. Our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott following the story.
Two big concerns on intelligence in two weeks.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, guys, but I think they're kind of apples and oranges here.
LABOTT: On one hand you have the Israeli situation where President Trump seems to inadvertently spoke about intelligence that perhaps he shouldn't have. He says, you know, in kind of trying to defend himself that he didn't say Israel, he kind of admitted that he was doing that, but that is, you know, more of -- kind of mistake that he made, didn't really know what he should be saying to the Russians and what he shouldn't be and doesn't seem from what, you know, Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence, was saying yesterday before Congress, that there was any process involved in trying to tell him what he should have been talking to the Russians about.
What we have in this situation today is U.S. officials talking to CNN and other outlets deliberately about this investigation and what the UK Home secretary was saying, not only is that it's irritating, but it kind of ruins the element of surprise for British investigators as they're going about the investigation and persecution of suspects in the Manchester attack. So I think it is a little bit different and what the UK is arguing is a little bit more, you know, imminently dangerous to the investigation, but clearly, it's in the whole context of, you know, allies not so happy with the U.S. handling of their intelligence.
BERMAN: All right. Elise Labott for us, thanks very much.
Just to be clear, when CNN gets information like this, it is careful to make sure it doesn't compromise the investigation.
HARLOW: Of course.
BERMAN: That is something that we are very, very conscious of.
All right. Thanks so much, Elise.
Michael Flynn is pushing back now on both the Senate and the House, refusing to comply with requests for documents related to the Russia probe. Will he be held in contempt? A key Democratic senator joins us next.
[10:46:30] BERMAN: All right. New this morning, the Senate Intelligence Committee clearly frustrated with Michael Flynn who has refused to testify, refused to produce documents, now President Trump's former National Security adviser on the receiving end of two new subpoenas related to businesses that he ran.
HARLOW: Those subpoenas as committee chair Richard Burr says, quote, "all options are on the table," if he does want comply, that coming from a Republican.
Moments ago Flynn denied a House Intel Committee request for documents leading to the ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee saying subpoenas are on their way, Mr. Flynn.
Joining us now, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. He sits on the Foreign Relations Committee.
It's nice to have you here. And let's just get right to that because the way you put it last night, you said Michael Flynn can't hide for very long. You went on to say if he doesn't tell his story then he's likely to face a lot of jail time. Should he be held in contempt of Congress?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, listen, I'm not an expert on Fifth Amendment privileges, but from what I understand it doesn't apply to business records so it looks as he's going to have to submit these documents. I think there is a question as to whether it applies to documents at all.
The point I was making last night is that I think he's ultimately going to have to tell his story because he's got criminal liability, potentially, for his failure to tell the Trump administration and disclose his connections to both Turkey and to Russia, and so, you know, one of the ways that you can try to get out of a pretty severe criminal consequence is to give prosecutors, give investigators information about others that may have also violated the law. So I have an idea that he's probably got a story to tell and he's probably at some point likely to tell it.
BERMAN: Just to be clear. No committee right now is suggesting they're looking -- you know, to reach any kind of immunity deal. They basically say that's off the table and it would probably entail some kind of immunity deal for him to tell a story, as you're saying right there.
Senator, you said something very interesting last week to Democrats and whenever you're asked. You say Democrats run the risk of focusing too much on the Russia investigation which is actually something Blake Farenthold of Texas said a couple of segments ago, he said some other stuff, too. But he thinks that everyone is focused too much on Russia, you should be focused on other things. Explain.
MURPHY: Well, all of this is important. So I don't mean to diminish the importance of getting to the truth on the connection between the Trump campaign and Russia, but the fact of the matter is, as we speak there are 13 Republican senators that are meeting behind closed doors that are trying to produce a health care bill that may take health insurance from 24 million Americans, may drive rates up for all of my constituents. And so I think --
[10:51:44] MURPHY: Very clear over and over to state that he believes that there is a war on between the United States and elements of the Muslim faith. So just because you don't include that in a speech that you gave in a Muslim country doesn't cancel out the fact that you have said that about the Muslim faith over and over and over again. Those words are still available to those recruiters.
BERMAN: Senator, we want to get your take on something that I know you feel very passionate about. Infowars granted some temporary press passes to the White House. They've been in various White House briefings and whatnot. Infowars, of course, is a Web site that in the past has questioned whether or not the Sandy Hook Massacre in your home state even happened. So how do you feel about representatives from Infowars being inside the White House reporting?
MURPHY: I just don't think that Infowars should be able to get inside the White House. It gives -- grants legitimacy to a news organization that peddles in really dangerous conspiracy theories, as you mentioned at the top of the list their idea that the Sandy Hook massacre was possibly a hoax. I guess there are some inside Infowars that believe that these 20 children are not actually dead but are hiding out somewhere in the United States. That's just horrific for those of us who lived through it. It's horrific for those parents to listen to, and the danger is that when Infowars gets access to the White House it communicates to people that they are a legitimate news source and when they traffic in these conspiracy theories, that they deserve, you know, some relevance and some purchase in American public opinion.
BERMAN: Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, thanks so much for being with us. Sir, appreciate it a lot.
MURPHY: All right. Thanks a lot. Yes.
BERMAN: All right. Still to come the Cleveland Cavaliers now just one win away, sadly, for their chance to defend an NBA title. The "Bleacher Report" is next.
[10:57:15] BERMAN: The Cleveland Cavaliers are one win away, but it will be a very difficult win, from heading back to the NBA Finals.
HARLOW: John Berman is still excited about this as you can see. Andy Scholes, good morning.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, guys. You know, John, I think even you and most Boston fans pretty much expect the Cavs to go on to win this series and play the Warriors in the finals. But I'll tell you what, game four had Cleveland fans a little nervous again. The Cavs were down 10 at the half and Kyrie Irving rolls his ankle on this drive here in the third quarter, fans were in a panic, as you could see for quite a bit, but Irving would just tighten those laces, get back out there. He would go on and have 21 points in the quarter helping the Cavs build a lead. He ended with a playoff career high, 42 points.
LeBron would also chip in with 34 points of his own. The Cavs win 112-99. They could close out the series in game five tomorrow night in Boston. The Ottawa Senators needing a win over Pittsburgh in game six and stay
alive in the Eastern Conference Finals, and as you can see, they were doing whatever it took to slow down Penguins star Sydney Crosby, even squirting him with a water bottle.
The game was tied at one in the third. Mike Hoffman is going to come through with the game-winning goal. Senators win 2-1 forcing a winner-take-all game seven tomorrow night.
Many teams around baseball holding a special moment of silence last night for the victims of the Manchester bombing. The Yankees did that and then played the United Kingdom's national anthem "God Save the Queen" before they played the "Star-Spangled Banner." Definitely a touching moment at Yankee Stadium.
And elsewhere in baseball, we had a really scary collision in the Dodgers-Cardinals game. Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson, watch them going after this fly ball. Puig catches it, but not before drilling Pederson with his elbow. Both guys end up going to the ground.
Take another look at it. Pederson would also slide head first into the wall. He would leave the game. The Dodgers say fortunately he just had a neck sprain. Puig, amazing he was able to stay in the game, guys. The Dodgers would go on to win 2-1 in extra innings.
Guys, definitely good to see both of those guys walk away from that collision because definitely it could have ended up much worse.
BERMAN: Andy Scholes, in two words or less, Warriors or Cavaliers?
SCHOLES: Warriors in five.
BERMAN: Wow. That was three words.
SCHOLES: Three words. Sorry.
BERMAN: But meaningful. Andy Scholes, thank you very, very much.
HARLOW: OK, guys. Thank you all for joining us. I'm Poppy Harlow.
BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts now.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Right now President Trump is visiting Brussels, Belgium, the very same place that the president called a hellhole back in 2016. And moments from now he will meet with the Belgian prime minister.
The president touching down just moments ago. We are going to be waiting to hear from them after their meeting, during their meeting, and see what comes of that.