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Reports Involving The Russian Government And The Trump Team Directly Tied To Jared Kushner; James Comey Was Worried About The Russians Impacting The Integrity Of The Clinton Email Investigation; Marc Kasowitz Will Be The President's Go To Counsel In The Russia Probe; Republican Greg Gianforte Is The New Congressman Of Montana; Electronic Ban On Plane Coming Into United States Will Be Expanded. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired May 27, 2017 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: This story was first reported by "the Washington Post" which said this wasn't going to be a symbolic secret channel but an actual system using Russian diplomatic and equipment. Sources say the conversation came during a meeting with between Kushner and Russia's ambassador Sergey Kislyak back in December at the Trump tower. That was before the inauguration and also at this meeting according to the Post, lieutenant general Michael Flynn, the now fired national security advisor at the center of an FBI probe.

And while all these is happening, CNN is just learning that members of Trump's family are thinking about the future meeting with the RNC to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the midterms in 2020.

And we have a team of reports and analysts standing by. I want to begin with CNN's Ryan Nobles in Washington.

Ryan, so far, that the only word from the White House has been no comment.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Ana. The White House does not seem too interested in providing its side of the story, a story that has once again involving the Russian government and the Trump team directly tied to Jared Kushner, the son in-law of President Donald Trump and a senior advisor to the president.

CNN has confirmed that after the election last fall Kushner explored this idea of setting up a secret line of communication with Russia to discuss military operations in Syria and other matters even though it's unclear why a channel like that would be necessary.

Now, Kushner first discussed this idea during the meeting in December with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. Now, the line was never established but it would have been given Kushner and the incoming national security advisor Michael Flynn a secret channel of communication with Russian leaders that would have been outside the purview of the Obama administration.

Now, this morning during an off-camera but on the record briefing for reporters, the current national security adviser, H.R. McMaster and the Trump chief economic advisor Gary Cohn were asked about this latest Kushner controversy and this is how they responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY COHN, CHIEF ECONOMIC TRUMP ADVISOR: We are not going to comment on Jared. We are just not going to comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General, generally speaking, general would you be concerned if someone on the National Security Counsel or in this administration were to seek a back channel communication with Russian and with the Kremlin? Would that generally concern you not to even address Kushner specifically, but in general terms?

COHN: No. I mean, that we have back channels communication with a number of countries, so generally speaking about back channel communications what that allows you to do is communicate in a discreet matter so it does predispose you to any sort of content of that conversation or anything. So no, we wouldn't be concerned about it.

The White House officials were pressed by Jared Kushner, there's reports that hay may be having a step back in the White House. Kushner's not going anywhere he's going to continue to focus on his job. This comes all as the President makes his way back to the United States, his team both in and outside the White House are preparing for a full court meeting with the President. The sons, and his wife met with the White House and officials multiple times over the past few days. The goal being to get everyone on the same page with the idea of the 2018 mid-terms and of course the President's 20 re-election campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: And in just the last few minutes, Jim Acosta, our senior White House correspondent pressed the White House officials about Jared Kushner. And there is some reports out there that he may be taking a step back in the administration. Then the White House told Jim that that's not the case. That Kushner is not going anywhere. He is going to continue to focus on his job.

And Ana, this comes all as the President makes his way back to the United States. His team, both in and outside of the White House are preparing for a full court coordinated defense of the president and this administration, the President's son Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and his wife, Lara. That was a group of White House and RNC officials multiple times over the past few days (INAUDIBLE) to get everyone on the same page with the eye toward the 2018 midterms. And of course, the president's 2020 reelection campaign.

CABRERA: We also know the President scheduled his rally saying it will be another day down the road.

I want to turn to Clare Sebastian now in Moscow.

I'm curios to what the relation is to this latest Jared Kushner reporting and this reporting about a secret line of communication that had been suggested by Jared Kushner. What's Russia saying about all this?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, it's interesting we have no overt confirmation or denial about whether that story is true. What we do have the - in the comment from the Russia's foreign minister the spokeswoman responding to our question by text message earlier today quoting the report by the "Washington Post" quote "(INAUDIBLE) or simply internal political squabbles." (INAUDIBLE) reflecting the sense here in Moscow that the whole Russia issue is really being used by Trump's opponent to try to discredit him. And so, you know, the sense of those political squabbles Russia has consistently tried to paint anything Russia related controversy coming out of Washington as simply political chaos going on there and nothing to do with them. But we are getting a sense that the level of exasperation is growing. You have same (INAUDIBLE) early in the week warning the U.S. media not to spread lies about the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Kislyak.

So certainly, a frustrating episode for the Russian government here. Another kind of blow to the hopes this relationship could be on a path to improvement -- Anna.

CABRERA: I understand the Russia is denying this report. But if it is true could it also be, or what are the chances that Russia, this communication that was intercepted between Kislyak and Moscow according "the Washington Post" reporting that that was actually Russia just trying to throw off the U.S. officials?

[16:05:18] SEBASTIAN: Well, you know, it's not outside the realm of possibility. Certainly, it's an accepted wisdom and western intelligence agencies that Russia is a monster in using this information when it comes to advancing its political goals. And this might been a way to, you know, test whether or not this line was secure. But this doesn't seem to be something that would advance their political goal. This is the time when it hopes for that relationship with the U.S. was particularly high. There is definitely a sense of euphoria in Moscow at that point just a month after the election, Ana.

CABRERA: Clare Sebastian in Moscow, Ryan Nobles, our thanks to both of you.

I want to bring in my panel, CNN global affairs analyst and senior national security correspondent of the "Daily Beast" Kimberly Dozier, also professor emeritus of Harvard Law school and prominent scholar on criminal law Alan Dershowitz and Paul Callan, our CNN legal analyst and senior trial counsel at Callan legal.

Kim, a source with knowledge of this story is telling CNN that this secret line of communication that was supposed to help the Trump team in Russia privately discuss military operations in Syria and ore matters without the administration knowing about this, would that make sense?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, EMERITUS PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Who are you talking to?

CABRERA: To Kimberly Dozier.

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Sorry about that. Would it make sense? No, it wouldn't make sense in that look, a back channel negotiation to communication in which H.R. McMaster was talking about is usually when the U.S. goes through a third country, say Switzerland, to talk to Iran to negotiate on behalf of hostages or something like that. It's not an independent communication system through a foreign government's embassy.

CABRERA: Now even before this news broke Kushner was under at scrutiny of course with the FBI looking at the data operation he developed to target voters during the 2016 election, his relationship with general Michael Flynn and the relationship he had with the Russia.

So Kim, Jared Kushner, he wears a lot of hats right now in the White House, right. What are you hearing about this news affects his ability to his job in.

DOZIER: Well, it is beginning to have an impact. This Russia circus is making foreign diplomats wonder if he is going to be able to follow through with some of the things that he has promised or some of the things he is going to try to do for instance bringing Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table. And I heard from one key diplomat in the middle of the ISIS fight who said this White House is so tied up with domestic issues it's like they don't have an Iraq strategy.

CABRERA: Wow.

Alan, obviously, there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered. But if you're investigating whether any laws were broken what probably crimes would apply in?

DERSHOWITZ: It's hard to imagine any. Of course, the Logan act would apply. But the Logan act is dead letter. It was passed to 1799. Used once against the Kentucky farmer who didn't get prosecuted in 1803, and it's been subject to what the lawyers would (INAUDIBLE). That Is a legal concept that says you can't resurrect a dead statute that has never been used.

So there is no criminal activity here at all and there's a precedent to this. When Ronald Reagan was elected President he obviously established a back channel with Iran that he didn't want the sitting President, Jimmy Carter to know about, because the goal was to undercut the Carter administration to delay the release of American hostages who are being held in the American embassy and to make sure that they were released on the day of his inauguration so that President Reagan could claim the credit for it. I'm sure what happened is Kushner did not trust the Obama administration or the national security people that he thought that if he went through usual --

CABRERA: But he talked to Russia then apparently.

DERSHOWITZ: Isn't that a tragedy, that in America you have President- elect and his staff trusting the Russians more than they trust the Obama administration? It tells us something pretty awful about the level of trust in the country. But there is nothing even arguably in my view at least, criminal about any of this. And that's why a special counsel is a wrong person to investigate this. These are political issues that should be investigated by independent outside commission set up by Congress which with do everything under the sunlight of the TV camera rather than behind the secret walls of grand jury where we are not gone to learn anything.

CABRERA: So let me have you hold your thoughts right there so Paul can get in on the conversation.

Paul, do you agree that there does not appear to be any crime attached this scenario?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there is no crime necessarily attached to it. But I have to disagree strongly with Alan here. Although, it's perfectly legal for American citizen whether elected or not to have a back channel to a foreign power, you know, unless it's espionage in time of war. The question is whether that back channel was used criminally. And if Kushner was using that back channel to disrupt the American election with Russian help that could in fact be a crime. So that's what we have to find out. Why was this bizarre mode of communication with the enemy of the United States being utilized?

[16:10:32] CABRERA: So what would be the crime if that would be the case?

DERSHOWITZ: What's the crime?

CALLAN: Well, the statute -- it would depend on what was going on. I mean, I don't know.

CABRERA: Let him finish, Alan.

CALLAN: Alan, please let me finish. If Kushner and the Trump administration were had been approached by the Russians who said, we have hacked emails that would picked up from hacking Hillary Clintons career and we would like to supply those hacked emails to assist you in getting elected. That may very well be a form of aiding and abetting a Russian hacking operation into U.S. computers. And as you know, Alan, there are federal statutes that ban such hacking. Now, of course --

DERSHOWITZ: No --

CALLAN: Which is why we need an investigation by a special prosecutor.

CABRERA: Now, before you respond Alan, I do want to just make sure that we get the important facts out there and that is even the source that CNN has been talking to tells us that this back channel, this secret communications line whichever you want to call it was not set up. It was apparently suggested according to this intercepted conversation between Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak and the authorities in Moscow.

Number two, I also think it's important to know that according to officials that CNN has spoken to and past reporting and Reuters which was reporting that Kushner did not disclose a couple of other secret meetings or communications that record secret meetings that he has had with Russia officials. That so far there isn't any evidence seen of wrong doing or collusion, maybe nothing improper about this. But let me ask you about this Alan --

DERSHOWITZ: No. I want to respond to Paul first.

CABRERA: Go ahead.

CALLAN: Let's assume the worst case scenario and that is let's assume that they told them that they had already hacked the DNC and Kushner said wow, great, thank you. Please send us the material we want to use that. How is that different from "the Washington Post"? How is that different from The "New York Times?"

(CROSSTALK)

CALLAN: Alan, let me change your (INAUDIBLE) slightly. Let's say Kushner said yes, please sent it and keep it up. Keep up the good work. Keep supplying that. Do we have a problem now Alan?

DERSHOWITZ: That would be exactly the same as of the "the Washington Post" and "the New York Times" said please keep sending it to us. Please keep doing it.

CALLAN: No. no. Not please keep sending it. Please continue your hacking operations. It is very helpful to us in this campaigns. Would that be criminal crime?

DERSHOWITZ: Let me tell you, to make it a crime it would require that the Trump administration tell them to hack, tell them how to hack, give them specific targets to hack. Just saying that we will use the material is not a crime. And hypothetically -.

CALLAN: I agree with you. You know, Alan, you are arguing about a point that I don't disagree with you on.

CABRERA: One at a time please.

CALLAN: Alan, you are arguing with me on a point I do not disagree with you about. My point is this. We don't know the details of the contact with the Russians. And I'm not just talking about with respect to the back channel, but I'm talking about in all respects. And that's why we have to take a look at this.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, do you actually think there's a possibility that anyone in the Trump administration actually told the Russians to hack into the DNC rather than just use the material --

CALLAN: I certainly --

CABRERA: OK. Gentlemen I want to get Kim back into the conversation. We are getting in to hypotheticals right now. We are working to get those answers through the course of the investigation.

But Kim, you know, CNN is also learning that the President is now prepping a war room to deal with the fall out of this investigation that tends to create more and more smoke to deal with the Russians probe and possible members of this quote/unquote "war room," you see them there. I have been mentioned chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief of - his chief strategist Steve Bannon, also former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former deputy campaign manager, David Bossie. Do you think it's gotten to the point, Kim, where this President needs a war room?

DOZIER: I think it's a logical move. Look, when you are at the White House and some of these controversies are breaking it's all hands on deck, people looked stress, people look worried, they are trying to get information, they feel like the rug's been pulled out from under them with every single one of these exclusives. So to be able to say to the White House staff, there's a team that's going to handle this so they can keep their eyes on the job they're supposed to be doing, I think it's a smart move and probably should earlier.

[16:15:15] CABRERA: Paul, before this latest news broke, we reported Kushner who he had said he would voluntarily testify before Congress about what he knows pertaining to their investigation. Do you see this latest news as a game changer?

DOZIER: Well it depends on --

CALLAN: Well, we have to see if he precedes this this, with testifying. You are saying he has committed to testify before committee prior to this --.

CABRERA: He didn't commit but he said I will voluntarily tell you everything I know should you ask me to.

CALLAN: Well, you know, frankly, I think for the Trump administration, that being quite open about this and disclosing is the way to go with it. Because if there's nothing criminal, then this is a back channel communication of which as Alan have said we have seen a lot of in U.S. history. It really depends on what they were back channeling about. And I think it will be wise for them to reveal as soon as possible.

CABRERA: Alan, if you were advising Jared Kushner, what would you tell him?

DERSHOWITZ: The first thing I would do is write a letter to the special counsel challenging his jurisdiction saying you have no roving commission to look into political sentence. You only have jurisdiction to look into crimes. Show me the statute that you are investigating. Show me your criminal statue and then we will be prepared to respond openly and fully.

But in the absence of a specific criminal statute that you have probable cause to investigate, you have no jurisdiction. They should be done by a congressional committee looking to change the laws. And the laws should be change. It should be a crime to coordinator with a foreign power to influence an American election, but it's not a crime. That's what Congress is for. That's what independent commissions are.

But as a civil libertarian, I'm deeply concerned about a special counsel with the power of grand jury subpoena operating behind closed doors, calling witnesses who don't have lawyers and then simply not telling the American public what they learned, simply coming up with no indictment no charge or an indictment. So I think this is the wrong process.

CABRERA: All right, everyone. Stay with me.

Coming up, how a fake Russian documents including James Comey's investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. This is a CNN exclusive.

Plus, he has defended everyone from Bill O'Reilly to Robert de Niro. Look at the man now hired to defend President Trump in the Russia probe.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:21:39] CABRERA: We are now learning there is more to the story about why fired FBI director James Comey went public to announce the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails and that it was ending. Well, it turns out he was worried about the Russians impacting the integrity of the Clinton email investigation. You will recall, Comey held that infamous news conference last summer announcing no charges, but also taking the extraordinary and some say in appropriate step of saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Although we did not find clear evidence that secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the hailing of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling a very sensitive highly classified information.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Hillary Clinton's base are convince those words extremely careless damage her reputation. And now sources tell CNN was one big reason Comey held that press conference was because of something coming from Russian intelligence officials, information Comey apparently knew was fake, but he believed if it got out it would undermine the investigation and the justice department itself.

The false intel coming from the Russians apparently described some emails between then DNC chair Debbie Wasserman- Schultz and a political operatives saying that then attorney general Loretta Lynch would make the FBI-Clinton probe go away. Again, according to sources, this information wasn't true.

But that's why Comey went out of his way to go around the justice department when he made his unexpected and controversial announcement. He wanted to make it clear the justice deputy had nothing to do with the FBI direction.

Lots here to dissect. Kim Dozier is back with me.

Kim, in light of what we are learning did Comey make the right call in holding that press conference?

DOZIER: Well, you can see with the U.S. media's reaction to the emails that were hacked and how they got published everywhere and really affected public opinions ahead of the polls that James Comey was on to something. He understood that there was a portion of the population that would believe these emails were real if they ended up getting leaked and that there would be almost nothing he could do to prove them to be false without revealing sensitive intelligence collection methods that you simply don't want the opposition to know that you have. So by making this announcement and by cutting the DOJ out of the process, yes, he was protecting the integrity of the investigation, but what has to ask, what did he do to the election itself?

CABRERA: And there is also the question, why didn't he tell Congress. Even in classified sessions we are learning that he believed this intelligence has been coming from the Russians was fake. Now that aside, of all the bombshells we have been learning about this week, where does this one rank?

DOZIER: Well, what this shows is that there is a masterful disinformation campaigned being waged against the United States. What you do with this information in what is called in IO war, Information Operations war, is that you want to create something and put it out into the public realm that is as close as possible to reality or to people's preexisting beliefs.

For instance, this email would hint at some sort of criminal cooperation between the DOJ and the Clinton campaign. There are a lot of people within the United States that are predisposed to believe that. So that is how you put something out there that matches what people are already thinking and reinforces their belief. That's why when you look at the French election campaign, what the media chose to do there, which is cannot publicize the last minute dump of Emmanuel Macron's emails - of his campaign emails, that's something that the U.S. media is going to have to think about when they get linked something.

The other thing that we are all going to have to think about is well, when I get leak or obtained a document or an email, it gets dump to WikiLeaks, am I reading genuine information or am I reading three quarters genuine information. And then part of it has been manipulated in a ways to throw election and throw the course of the government.

[16:26:06] CABRERA: Clinton's campaign manager, by the way, Robby Mook was asked about the fake document. And here's what was said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBBY MOOK, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It's frightening to me the extent now it seems of Russian intervention not just in our political process but now in our government and the execution of justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Could there be other fake Russian documents floating around Washington right now that could be influencing other investigations, Kim?

DOZIER: Well, there got to be other fake Russian documents out there at least influencing public opinion. But in a sense, this is an information campaign that went a little too far. Because what Moscow had hoped to do, we think is to either damage Hillary Clinton's campaign and her future presidency, they hadn't expected Trump to win, but now that they do have Trump in office, the hope had been that there would be warmer relations between Moscow and Washington D.C. And as the President himself has acknowledged there is a lot of pressure on him and he can't move forward with that kind of corporation because it looks like he's too cozy with the enemy.

CABRERA: Kim Dozier, thanks for your analysis. Great to see you.

Coming up he is called the toughest of the tough guys. He will look at the lawyer President Trump is now tap to represented him in the Russia probe.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:31:38] CABRERA: His law firm Bio describes him as the toughest of the tough guys. And then Uberlitigator and now we know Marc Kasowitz will be the president's go to counsel in the Russia probe. At $1,500 an hour Marc Kasowitz is no springer to high-profile clients. His firm has represented everyone from former FOX News Bill O'Reilly, actors Robert de Niro and Mia Farrow, and for about 15 years, Donald Trump.

Well, one journalist wanted to see records of Trump's divorce from his first wife Ivana, Kasowitz kept them seal. He also handled the lawsuit against the author of a book on Trump and financial battles over Trump's Atlantic City casinos plus the dispute about Trump University.

For more on the man who will represents the president in the Russia probe, I want to bring back our legal mind Paul Callan and Alan Dershowitz.

Gentlemen, good to bring you back with us. We had that spirited discussion last time. Let's try not to talk over each other this time.

Paul, I will start with you. President Trump, you know, as a citizen, as a businessman Trump had a reputation with his lawyer had a representation of using lawyer litigation as a weapon of sorts. Is this going to work on the current stage for the President?

CALLAN: It's an unusual selection for the President because Marc Kasowitz is an aggressive commercial litigator. He is the head of a 350 attorney firm that has offices in I think in about seven or eight U.S. cities. But primarily, they do real estate and commercial battles between American corporations.

This case in the Trump investigation kind of overlaps with those sorts of principles but also Washington politics. So I would imagine he will bring somebody else in on the political side, one of a Washington insider to assist. That would be the way to go I would think.

CABRERA: Alan, how is Kasowitz viewed in terms of legal circles and among some of his colleagues, do you know?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I'm now doing a major case, international case with the Kasowitz firm. They have done a very, very good job. They are very tough and they are very thorough. I think it was a wise choice to bring him in early on because he is the only lawyer really that Donald Trump has an enormous trust and history with.

He is also a lawyer that Donald Trump might listen to and I think that's crucial. You need a lawyer that will tell Donald Trump when not to talk, when not to tweet, maybe when to talk. I agree with Paul that he also needs a kind of crises manager, a lawyer who has had experience in managing crisis in Washington or elsewhere. And I suspect that Kasowitz is the beginning of I believe mark's the beginner of putting together a somewhat larger, not a very large, but somewhat larger legal team that would probably include a very experienced criminal lawyer, a very experienced Washington lawyer, crisis manager. But Kasowitz will be in charge, you see he has the trust to the client and that's crucially, crucially important particularly when your client is the President of the United States.

CABRERA: Exactly, but the President of the United States also has other legal counsel in the White House does he not Paul? So why have this outside counsel, why is that important for the President?

[16:35:00] CALLAN: It is important. And I might start by saying it's not an indication of guilt of any wrong doing it's only sensible that the President would bring in personal counsel. And the reasoning we do so is the White House counsel is defending the institution of the presidency, the institution of the White House. But this investigation has the potential to spill over into the President's personal real estate interests. The special prosecutor might, for instance, be investigating whether Russia was investigating in any Trump companies and whether that had an influence that have to be looked at. Kasowitz's presence will protect the President from unlawful and illegal inquiries into his personal business matters.

CABRERA: I do want to ask real quick, Alan, about a potential issue. I mean, Kasowitz, he represents the Russian bank we know, and other litigation as well as the company controlled by a Russian billionaire with ties to the Kremlin. Again given the cloud of this Russia investigation, could that become a problem?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, the special counsel might want to challenge based on conflict of interest, generally the courts will allow a lawyer to continue to work in this capacity except that there are very stark conflicts of interest.

There's another reason why you need outside counsel, it would not be legal for tax payers to pay for Donald Trump's lawyer when the investigation proceed his becoming President of the United States. If the President were -- there's no evidence it will happen and no suggestion it could happen - but if he would be subject to impeachment he could then use White House counsel or combination of White House counsel and personal counsel, of course that's what Bill Clinton did. And Bill Clinton had his own outside counsel. I consulted with them on a couple of occasions but he has outside counsel along with the White House counsel and they have to be able to work together as a team. But when it comes to allegations that preceded the presidency by law, White House counsel or any government employee could not be receiving tax payer money to represent Mr. Trump. private citizen.

CABRERA: All right, Alan Dershowitz and Paul Callan, thank you both. Good to see you.

Breaking news we got to get to here in CNN. A White House official close to Jared Kushner is pushing back on any notion that Kushner would take leave from his White House duty despite sources telling CNN. And he discussed setting up a secret line of communication with the Kremlin during the transition. This official says Kushner will keep his head down and stay focused on his work and as he is eager to cooperate with any and all inquiries.

Coming up the body slam heard around the internet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sick and tired of you guys. The last guy came in here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: What did now, Congressman Greg Gianforte alleged assault of a report tell us about the partisan divide? We will discuss next. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:42:13] CABRERA: Montana has a new congressman, Republican Greg Gianforte who in his victory speech apologizes for assaulting a reporter who was asking questions about healthcare. Encounter caution on a recording device. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. GREG GIANFORTE (R), MONTANA: Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. You with "the Guardian?"

BEN JACOBS, REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: Yes and you just broke my glasses. GIANFORTE: Last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get t hell out of here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: In the wake of this incident questions have risen as to what will President Trump play in creating a culture of hostility toward the media? Here's the reason why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since you are attacking or organization can you give us a chance.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No your organizations --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are attacking our news organization. Can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?

TRUMP: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, can you state --?

TRUMP: Quiet. Quiet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

TRUMP: I'm not going to give you a question. You are fake news.

The media is rigged. It is rigged. It's crooked as hell. I called the fake news the enemy of people and they are. They are the enemy of the people. Excuse me sit down you weren't called. Sit down. Sit down.

Sit down. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a --

TRUMP: No you don't you haven't been called.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a right to have a question.

TRUMP: Go back to Univision.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: I want to bring in CNN Bill Carter now.

Is it fair to say, Bill, about what happened in Montana is part of a quote-unquote "Trump effect" of sorts?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, I think that is a little easy to make a direct connection. I think it is obviously a change in mood. It is more hostile toward a press it has ever been. The Republicans have always been kind of aggressively hostile towards the press. I think the main stream media is always against them.

But obviously, Mr. Trump's rhetoric was so overheated during campaign that it has ratcheted it up. And I think what's most interesting is now how people came to the defense of this now congressman for an action that, you know, in public -- any other realm of public activity would be considered an out of assault. I mean, you think we would reach the point where there's a common accepted level of civility in politics but we haven't reached that point. And unfortunately it's moving the other way. If it's our guys attacking it's OK.

CABRERA: It does seem like things are getting less civil. And as you pointed out a lot of people came to the defense, even applauded in some circumstances the actions of Gianforte. I want you to listen to what our colleague Kyung Lah heard from some of the voters she spoke to there in Montana after this incident as she was questioning whether what happened if it impacted their vote. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Who did you vote for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gianforte. Yes.

LAH: Did you hear the audio yesterday?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did. And I kind of had compassion on the guy because, you know, and I know you are a nice reporter but not all of them are nice. And he probably just lost it or something.

[16:45:15] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know who Mr. Gianforte is and the type of person that he is. And it didn't affect the way that I voted. I believe he is the best representative for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Now, those are responses. Kyung was also tweeting that people who didn't want to go on camera says things like you are lucky he didn't pop you too. I mean, this idea of liberal media bias, as red meat to a Republican crowd, is nothing new. But does this situation feel different to you?

CARTER: It does. It really does feel different. It's getting to the point where the physical activity is in your face more. This reporter did not in any way ask an aggressive question by the way. Listen to that tape. He just asked a very normal question. But there is this edge that's been created, I mean. And unfortunately, you now have a body of people who don't believe anything they hear. They are ready to dismiss it completely because it's reported by somebody they consider the enemy, the enemy of the people.

That's a new level of hostility. We haven't seen that before where the truth is simply not accepted because it's delivered by somebody you consider not on your side. CABRERA: How do you breakthrough? How do we reverse this?

CARTER: I think we just have to keep at it. I mean, look. You know, one of the things we now see is all of these stories coming out about the President, the connections to the Russians. You have one side basically saying all of it is fake as though all these reporters are picking up this information and making it up, well, that's absurd.

And by the way, if it were reversed and Hillary Clinton was in first and involved in this, that same people would be cheering the press. And believe me, the press would cover just as aggressively. They put on page one all the stuff about her email. And if there was a story of (INAUDIBLE), her son-in-law, who are back channel to the Russians and that came out in the press, they believe it and would be aggressively attacking that President and the way this President is being criticized by legitimate people. It's legitimate criticism.

CABRERA: Bill Carter thanks.

Just in to CNN, in the past few minutes, confirmation that American rock and Blues legend Greg Allman has died.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

CABRERA: Allman and his brother Dwayne founded this legendary Allman Brothers band in the late 1960s. They created songs like "Midnight rider," "Rambling Man." Allman's manager said he was suffering from a number of health issues. He died today in his home in Savannah, Georgia. Greg Allman was 69.

We are back after this.

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[16:52:07] CABRERA: Millions of Americans are expected to fly somewhere this Memorial Day weekend. But considered this a warning. Starting soon you might just have to check your computer, probably even your iPad before getting on the plane.

Homeland security secretary John Kelly tells CNN the administration is considering expanding its electronic ban that already applies to some foreign flights coming to the U.S. And it could affect any electronic device larger than a cellphone.

Here is CNN aviation correspondent Rene Marsh.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Travelers are on a move in expected record volume and the terror gives is as high as it was on September 11th. That's according to department of homeland security secretary, John Kelly.

JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: What I have learned in the last 120 days this, you know, relentless attempt on the part on terrorist to blow up airplanes in flight. Ideally bigger planes and a lot of people. We are watching numbers of very, very sophisticated advance threats right now.

MARSH: Travelers flying to the United States from ten airports in eight Muslim majority countries are already under a laptop ban meaning electronics larger than a cellphone are not allowed in the cabin of the plane over fears they may be used to detonate or conceal explosive. The ban is expected to expand to more countries soon.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So this heightened language without any policy changes really leaves the American public at a disadvantage. That kind of language makes the American public do one or two things, freak out or tune out. And neither is good place to be.

MARSH: Travelers at ten U.S. airports may experience new TSA screening measures on large electronics. The agency is testing screening those item separately before allowing them onboard. All this on the heels of a terror attack on concert goers in Manchester, England and just four months after a gunman retrieved a nine millimeter handgun from his checked luggage at the baggage claim and opened fire in Forth Lather Dale.

Now, secretary Kelly is warning Congress, homegrown lone wolf attacks will continue.

KELLY: As horrible as Manchester was, my expectation is we are going to see a lot more of that kind of attacks.

MARSH: it is why some are alarmed at President Trump's proposed 2018 budget cuts to TSA's viper program. The program dispatches 31 teams of law enforcement and explosive experts to soft targets based on the threat level. The budget cuts would leave only eight teams in place.

KAYYEM: There is no consistencies between the language of Secretary Kelly about the terror threat and what his budge looks like.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: That was Rene Marsh recording. Our thanks to her.

Coming up in the NEWSROOM security concerns at the Indi 500. Our Coy Wire is live.

Hey, Coy.

[16:55:04] COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi Ana. A beefed up presence of federal state and local agencies officer homeland security at every gate. We are going to tell you coming up how they plan to keep fans safe at the world's largest single day sporting event, the Indy 500.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:59:48] CABRERA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with us.

Right now, President Trump is flying back to the U.S. after wrapping his nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe. Trump is returning to a White House confronting troubling new reports about his son-in- law Jared Kushner. Source has now confirmed at CNN, Kushner discussed setting up a secret means of communicating with the Kremlin with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a post-election meeting at Trump tower.