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CNN NEWSROOM

President Trump Arrives at the White House and Meets with Legal Team; President's Son-In-Law Now Facing Issues Regarding Back-Channel Meetings with Russian Diplomats; Trump Unleashes On Media Hours After Returning Home; Another Arrest Made In Connection With Bombing; Oregon Victims: Army Vet And Recent College Graduate. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 28, 2017 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the "NEWSROOM".

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We're chasing our tails as a nation when it comes to the Russians.

WHITFIELD: The cloud of Russia hanging over the White House grows with allegations about the President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I can't confirm or deny whether they're accurate. But if they are, it's obviously very concerning.

JOHN KELLY, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I know Jared, he's a great guy, a decent guy. A lot of different ways to communicate back channel publicly with other countries. I don't see any big issue here.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I think Jared has said that he's more than willing to answer any and all questions.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: My dashboard warning light was clearly on and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians.

WHITFIELD: CNN NEWSROOM starts now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Hello, everyone, thank you so much for joining me, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The president is back at the White House after his first trip overseas strategizing now on how to quell the steady stream of leaks on the Russia investigation that have dominated the week's headlines.

A senior administration official tells CNN today is a working day in the west wing adding President Trump is likely to meet with his legal team and aides. And just moments after arriving back at the White House last night, the president was immediately confronted with new reports about son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, did Jared try to set up a back channel to the Russians?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right., let's go to CNN Washington Correspondent Ryan Noble. So Ryan, so far, the administration has refused to comment about the reports of a proposed secret communication line to the Kremlin? Are we hearing anything today now?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're getting some conversation from some of the members of the Trump administration, Fredricka, but no one has specifically confirmed or denied this report that Jared Kushner was seeking up this secret back channel line of communication with the Russia government and the transition team.

We do know that H.R. McMaster, the National Security Advisor, defended the concept kind of broadly without specifically talking about Kushner. And we heard the same this morning from the Director of Homeland Security, John Kelly, he was on NBC and pressed by Chuck Todd on this particular issue and this is how Kelly responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: I know Jared, he's a great guy, a decent guy. His number one interest really is the nation. So, you know, there's a lot of different ways to communicate back channel publicly with other countries. I don't see any big issue here relative to Jared.

CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": Even with an adversary, somebody that was at that time, our own intelligence community had collectively said this is a country that had infiltrated our election. Did this show good judgment?

KELLY: Well, you notice before the government was in place, during the transition period I think, from what I understand and I think, any time you can open lines of communication with anyone, whether they're good friends or not so good friends, is a smart thing to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: It's important to point out that we still don't know the specific details of this interaction that was allegedly attempted to be setup by Jared Kushner. The reports have come from intelligence sources that learned that the Ambassador Sergey Kislyak informed his superiors about this attempt a-by (ph) Kushner to do so. And the White House has not provided any specifics about it. And as I said before, it's yet to confirm or deny.

Meanwhile, the president as you've mentioned, Fredricka, is here at the White House today, they're calling this a working day. He's huddling with his advisors and perhaps his legal team as he continues to confront this ocean of controversy related to Russia's attempt to intervene in the U.S. election and his campaign's perhaps ties to that.

We're not sure if the president will be on the move at all today. But if he is, Fredricka, we will certain to update you.

WHITFIELD: All right. I know you will, thanks so much, Ryan Nobles, I appreciate it.

All right. A lot to talk about here so let's bring in our panel, James Gagliano, CNN law enforcement analyst and Patrick Healy, CNN political analyst, good to see both of you, gentlemen.

All right. So James, you first. We heard from Secretary John Kelly. Now I want to play some sound from former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. And here he is reacting to the story on Kushner's back-channel discussion that's been reported with the Russian ambassador.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLAPPER: I have to say that without specifically affirming or confirming these conversations since -- even though they're in a holy ground (ph), they're still classified. [14:05:00] But just from the theoretical standpoint, I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. So James Clapper is very concerned. How concerned should those within the intel community be at this point?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure, Fredricka, I definitely try to apply equanimity of these situation of looking at the actions of the current president. I was fiercely critical of how he treated the former FBI director.

But I also want to caution you as we go forward; I think it's important for your audience to understand, we can't open investigations and then go and search of a crime from the FBI. We have to see evidence of a crime.

Is it unsettling to me that Jared Kushner as part of the president's transition team elected to try to have a meeting on what is Russian soil? Remember, a U.S. embassy overseas is U.S. soil and the Russian embassy here is Russian soil. Is that unsettling? Absolutely. Are the optics bad? Absolutely.

But again, as bad as it may look, the appearance of impropriety, I still think we have to put everything into context and make sure that we don't automatically jump to the conclusion that a crime has committed.

WHITFIELD: Well, what do you mean the context? I mean, if Jared Kushner or anybody else involved, the Pentagon, with this plan even as transition, perhaps you and others in the intel community would be less unsettled but, as of right now, based on the kind of reporting that's at hand, it's not clear whether anyone within the Obama administration because this was during transition, anyone within the intel community was privy to this proposed plan.

GAGLIANO: Sure. And I think we all understand the need for there to be one president at a time. And even if you have a lame duck president as the 44th President was at the time, he still the president. But it's not unprecedented that transition teams -- this has been discussed from the National Security Advisor now, H.R. McMaster, as others folks as well, this is a normal course of business for transition team.

WHITFIELD: To reach out to another country?

GAGLIANO: Yes. Now, does it appear unseemly because they looked to do it on Russian soil, which is the embassy here in the United States? Yes. But again, no crime. I mean, we have the Logan Act which precludes U.S. citizens from reaching out and doing the business of our government. But again, since 1799, I can't think of one instance where somebody has been prosecuted for that.

WHITFIELD: OK. So Representative Adam Schiff of California also had some remarks on all of this reporting. This is what he had to say about this, you know, Kushner report, take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIFF: I can't confirm or deny whether they're accurate. But if they are, it's obviously very concerning. And as you said at the top of the show, it's all about the context.

John Brennan testified this week that what concerned him wasn't simply that the Russians were having contact with people associated with the Trump campaign, that the Russians have contacts with Americans quite routinely or the election routinely, but it was the context of an election campaign in which the Russians had been intervening to help Donald Trump, to hurt Hillary Clinton.

And of course, if these reports are accurate right after that campaign, after that intervention, to have the President's son-in-law, a key player within the Trump organization trying to establish a back channel with the Russians through a Russian diplomatic facility, you have to ask, well, who are they hiding the conversations from?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So Patrick, you know, while Kushner has said that he would cooperate, that he would testify on the Hill, he also has security clearance, something that he even had during that transition time. So should his role with or even access as an adviser to the president right now change as a result of what's been revealed in this reporting?

PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this is what's part of what's so strange about this, Fred, which is that you have Jared Kushner who isn't simply a normal senior adviser, he is the son-in-law of the president of the United States.

And for a lot of folks, certainly a lot of Democrats, this creates the potential for kind of a double standard that he is going to be treated differently, that it is far harder for President Trump to side line or even kind of hold accountable someone who he sees as kind of family first and who has invested in Mr. Trump's presidency personally and on a family level as well as politically, so it's going to be hard.

In terms of what is sort of seemly or unseemly, part of the challenge here is that, for those of us who were covering the Trump campaign in the fall or were involved with it, there were a lot of questions about why Donald Trump was so open or amenable to Russia, why he was sort suggesting [14:10:00] if Russia could find Hillary's e-mails, you know, they should go right at it.

I mean, that whole relationship was a big question. So when you come out and Donald Trump has a family member who has no experience -- remember, Jared Kushner's experience is in media publishing and in real estate development, has no experience in foreign affairs and is the one sort of suggesting a back channel to Russia as a family member creates a lot of questions about accountability.

WHITFIELD: Right. And so, the White House now, a gentleman reportedly is planning its war room, prominent Washington attorneys are part of the equation as we understand it. So James, how will this White House operate, govern and even plan for defending itself in these investigations or answering questions? You know, this investigation is only growing.

GAGLIANO: No, that's fair, Fred. And I think what we need to make sure we establish here is, it is right now just a counterintelligence investigation into the Russian collusion. They obviously wanted to discontent and discord among the American electoral process, they were successful in that.

But even as unseemly as it might sound, if there were discussions between the Trump transition team or the Trump campaign and the Russians, I've heard everyone from Alan Dershowitz on down say, there's no crime there. If it moves into the criminal realm, they're going to have to find more than just the appearance.

Now, there's a lot of smoke and that's unsettling to a lot pf of people. And I trust that with Robert Mueller coming on board to be the special prosecutor. I trust that the leaks will stop. Because as a former FBI agent, I find the leaks indefensible. I find that consequentialism that folks at the upper echelons in the department of justice or the FBI are doing to leak this stuff out, I find it indefensible. It's corrosive to our democracy. It does not help in the investigation. And I think it causes a lot of people to lose faith in the institutions that are here to protect us.

WHITFIELD: Go ahead.

HEALY: (inaudible) if I may on the leaks. There are also leaks that are coming from the White House. You have White House officials who are going on background with reporters giving them information that then President Trump is coming --

WHITFIELD: Because the leaks can mean something --

HEALY: -- that then President Trump is saying, oh, how can these leaks be happening? Some of this information is driven by the White House itself.

WHITFIELD: Right. And the leaks can mean a few things. Some of the leaks are coming from those who are in the White House, on staff, you know, they've been on board. They might be leaking because they see things that are concerning and so they are sharing that information and feel like it needs to go out or perhaps James, as some have contended, the leaks are happening from outside of the White House to undermine the White House.

So I mean, it's very difficult to discern from which the leaks come. But we are talking about Washington and unless it's leaking classified information, there's nothing illegal, right?, about leaking, sharing information especially when something is awry?

HEALY: Right. But it's that the President Trump is sort of (inaudible) including on Twitter today in sort of casting this broad brush against all leaks. Well, those who live in glass houses shouldn't necessarily throw stones. I mean, you can't sort of attack one kind of leak but then say, well, the White House is putting out these other kind of leaks to undermine their opponents within the national security.

So Fred, to your point about the war room, I mean, what we're looking at is kind of extraordinary which is the possibility that President Trump is going to bring in sort of the the toughest infighters like Corey Lewandowski from the campaign, Sam Nunberg, other possibilities, people who have kind of been moved aside during the campaign because they were seeing --

WHITFIELD: I mean, Lewandowski was fired and now potentially being brought back to put out the fires or manage.

HEALY: Exactly. And these are people who frankly clashed with Jared Kushner during the campaign. I mean, who clashed with sort of the family but who are sort of seen as people who would be kind of ruthless in protecting President Trump's image, his message and it goes to point of what the president's mentality here.

If President Trump is thinking about bringing Corey Lewandowski and Sam Nunberg back into the White House to sort of defend him, he's looking at sort of a scorched earth approach, you know, as opposed to necessarily getting all the documents in place and putting that forward.

WHITFIELD: And Patrick, while you're talking we showed the tweet. That was a tweet, one of many today from the president after this nine-day journey overseas. And when he gets back to the White House, back on U.S. soil, he's tweeting about fake news, turning toward the media again. You know, Donald Trump, the president, is not helping this matter go away. He's helping to stoke the fire and keep the conversations going by injecting his feelings in this matter, don't you think?

GAGLIANO: No doubt, Fred. And he is definitely pushback on the fourth (ph). He, unlike any other president in modern history [14:15:00] or that I can recall going all the way back to George Washington, I think what is important to make a distinction here on is this. Leak is such a benign term. Whistle-blowing is important. And listen, the FBI has been involved in that going back to --

WHITFIELD: And in some case, they're kind of interchangeable. That may be applying here.

GAGLIANO: Absolutely. But the actual term for this is the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. If we unmask somebody and that's leaked out, that's classified information, we put sources in jeopardy. We jeopardize the means and methods (inaudible) which we do.

WHITFIELD: Right, when it is classified.

GAGLIANO: Yes, when it's classified. Now, as Patrick pointed out, the stuff that's being cherry picked in the White House and being leaked to the press -- because we all know that politicians leaked, no matter what side of the aisle they're on.

I just think it has a dilatory's effect on the process. And the process here is, get to the bottom of it, find out what Russia actually did beyond just leaking the WikiLeaks documents, was there anything they did to actually detract from our electoral process and causing the American people to lose faith in our institution.

WHITFIELD: We will see where this investigation takes the nation. All right, James Gagliano and Patrick Healy, thank you sop much, appreciate it gentlemen. See you soon.

HEALY: Thank, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up next. New arrests, new raids in Manchester as the investigation to the deadly terror attacks deepens. Details on that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:20:00]

WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. Senator Lindsey Graham says he just isn't not buying the story about Jared Kushner's plans to potentially setup a back channel with the Russians. Graham attributes much of his distrust to the fact that Russia may have infiltrated the FBI with fake intel.

He was on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning and did not hold back about then-Director James Comey's decision to go around the justice department with his announcement about the Clinton e-mail investigation. Here's part of that interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GRAHAM: We're chasing our tails as a nation when it comes to the Russians. I don't know who leaked this supposed conversation. But just think about it this way, you got the ambassador of Russia reporting back to Moscow on an open channel, hey, Jared Kushner is going to move into the embassy. I don't trust this story as far as I can throw it.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: In what way? Why don't you trust it?

GRAHAM: I think it makes no sense that the Russian ambassador would report back to Moscow in a channel that he most likely knows we're monitoring. The whole story line is suspicious. I've never been more concerned and suspicious about all things Russia than I am right now. So I'm not going to jump to the conclusion that Mr. Mueller jumped to.

BASH: So you think that it is possible what that the Ambassador Kislyak said to Moscow was on purpose because he knew that he was being monitored and not accurate?

GRAHAM: That's possibility. Well, look at it this way. Apparently, the FBI director intervened in the elections in July 2016 based on a fake e-mail generated by the Russians from the Democrats to the department of justice trying to shut down the e-mail investigation of Clinton. If that was fake, why don't you think this is fake?

I'm not so sure the e-mail that Comey relied upon was fake. But I can tell you this, he never briefed the congress, the judiciary committee, about any fake e-mail. What he told the intelligence committee about this e-mail he never suggested it was fake. So if he intervened in the election based on fake information generated by the Russians, that was incredibly incompetent thing to do. So I don't really know who to believe any more.

BASH: He allegedly didn't tell congress it was fake or not or didn't matter to him whether or not he told congress is one thing, that's separate because --

GRAHAM: It matters to me.

BASH: -- he felt that he couldn't talk about it anyway because it would give up sources and methods, you don't buy that?

GRAHAM: No. Because he did talk to congress about it. He didn't talk to the judiciary committee. He talked to the members of the senate and house intel committee that he was sitting on e-mails that the Russians had between the Democratic party and the department of justice that were highly explosive, that was the main reason he jumped in in July to take over the investigation because he thought the department of justice was compromised. And he never once told the member of the house or the senate that he thought the e-mail was fake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Moscow's ambassador to Washington isn't the only powerful Russian Jared Kushner secretly met with after the U.S. election. He also met with the well-connected head of a Russian state-owned bank and didn't report it on his application for top secret security clearance. Here now is CNN's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the man Jared Kushner met with in December, 2016, just a month after Kushner's father-in-law, Donald Trump was elected president. His name is Sergey Gorkov. His a Russian banker. The chairman of VEB bank. He also has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin who appointed him to head the back.

Gorkov graduated at Russian academy that trains people to work in Russia's intelligence and security forces. Here is how the White House explain the nature of Kushner's meeting with the banker.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Jared did a job during the transition and the campaign where he was a conduit to leaders. He wants to make sure that he's very clear about the role that he played, who he talked to. And that's it.

KAYE: That may be true. But it doesn't square with what the bank itself has said about the meeting. In a statement, the bank said its executives met with Kushner not as a representative of the White House but as head of Kushner companies. The bank said its leaders met with numerous global financial executives as it developed a new strategy for the bank.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: It's interesting that the Russians seemed to contradict what Jared Kushner said when he said that he was acting as a liaison between the campaign and foreign governments. So I'm sure that that will be an issue that we will try to clarify.

KAYE: What [14:25:00] exactly was discussed between Kushner and the banker remains a mystery. Though Jared Kushner has offered to answer the Senate Intelligence Committee's questions about not only this meeting but another meeting he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that same month. It was Kislyak who had suggested Kushner met with the Russian banker.

The fact that Kushner didn't mention either of these meetings on his White House security clearance forms, it may also be a topic of inquiry. Though he did rectify that a day after the omissions.

There's also the concern that the Russian bank has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014. And when Kushner met with Gorkov, he was still CEO of Kushner companies. And critics question whether he was looking for a financing for a pricey Manhattan real estate project.

The meeting itself didn't violate the U.S. sanctions but investigators will want to know what was said.

LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: I have a feeling that it related to financial issues since it involved a Russian bank. But to his credit, he's willing to testify on that issue and I hope that the committee really thoroughly looks at what the reasons were why engaged in that conversation.

KAYE: Seems that Jared Kushner who rarely speaks beyond a whisper in the president's ear may soon be called on to do a whole lot of talking. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Coming up. As the Russia cloud looms over the White House, a staff shake-up. Is it in the works? The latest on the relation between the president and his top aides, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:30:46]

WHITFIELD: President Trump fresh off his nine-day overseas trip is meeting with advisers today amid reports of Adviser Jared Kushner proposing a back channel line to Russia and a possible shake-up among senior staff.

A senior administration official telling CNN the president will also likely meet with his legal team about investigating Russia ties. That same official telling CNN no immediate staff changes, however, are expected.

For more on all this, I'm joined now by CNN political analyst and "New York Times" editor, Patrick Healey, and Alice Stewart, CNN political commentator and former communications director for Ted Cruz. Good to see you both.

So Patrick, you first, will there be a shake-up in this White House? What is your view?

PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's really to be determined, Fred, I mean, during the campaign, then Candidate Trump you know, talked a lot about bringing in new people, about moving people around. I mean, it was sort of almost a strategy that he used to kind of light a fire under people and certainly individuals were moved out.

Corey Lewandowski was moved out. Paul Manafort was moved out. It was not until Kellyanne Conway really understood President Trump's kind of love for polling information and data understood kind of how we work came in that the campaign really stabilized.

Now you're finding a White House that is under investigation by so many different fronts, Fred, and the notion that just changing whoever is speaking at the podium can sort of stabilize things in the notion that, you know, Jared Kushner's role could be adjusted this way, or Reince Priebus that way.

You know, it goes against the seriousness, and the nature of the fact that there are these investigations under way by Robert Mueller and by Congress, you know that just quick fixes are not going to solve.

But just to reinforce, keep in mind, Fred, again, this is a real tactic of Donald Trump and it has been for years, the notion that somehow a shake-up will solve everything.

WHITFIELD: And so Alice, if there is a shake-up and of course, I guess it depends on what positions are being shaken up, does this mean exemplify a White House in chaos or would that shake up exhibit more control over trying to quiet the chaos?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, change-up in any White House is not unusual and look, while it was clear that while President Trump was running for office his constant media exposure, his tweets and him driving the message himself was very effective, it worked for him.

Governing is different than campaigning. I think what they're learning is that controlling the message, less exposure on the part of the president in some instances, zero to just a few tweets would be more helpful and letting the team get together each day and decide what is the message we're driving tomorrow, everyone on the same page and drive the message.

Get on the offense, stop playing defense as they have done so much lately but get on offense and drive the message. Where they're running into trouble is they have a message and they tend to have mixed messages.

The team says one thing and the president says something else, mixed messages create media mayhem, and that's where they need to get on message by one common them they want to push and drive that consistently.

WHITFIELD: All right, and Patrick, you know, sources telling CNN that the president and his staff may be meeting with advisers, maybe even with legal advisers because so much is going on. But coming off that nine-day trip that the president says, you know, was a home run.

He highlighted all the -- what he determined to be the successes during the nine-day trip and then back on U.S. soil, back in the White House. And he has been tweeting, but not about those successes, largely, he has been tweeting about his relationship with the media and calling it fake news, et cetera.

I mean, is this setting back the White House, particularly when the president you know said that he just came off a successful trip?

HEALY: Yes, I mean, it was interesting to note, Fred, that while the president was on this foreign trip that he considers very successful he was not tweeting in the usual provocative ways. There was a message that the White House in a concerted way tried to put out every day.

[14:35:04]And some days, especially early on in the trip in Saudi Arabia and Israel there was some success there. I mean, this was relatively for this White House, a disciplined operation. And now you know he is coming back and to Alice's good point, you know, the White House, so much of their day, day-to-day is dealt with keeping up with President Trump's tweets and the distraction that they create from the legislative agenda that they're trying to push. That President Trump --

WHITFIELD: The self-infliction.

HEALY: The self-infliction, and President Trump when he was on that foreign trip didn't have a lot of time to sit around, channel surfing between CNN and Fox and MSNBC, and getting his hackles raised and watching Sean Spicer at the podium. And having sort of the outburst in sort of an hour to hour way can just throw off any real sense of discipline and concerted strategy. So many of these problems, Fred, are about the principle, and controlling the principal, Donald Trump.

WHITFIELD: So Alice, you know, you worked on Ted Cruz's campaign, and to work on a campaign and a White House also means you have to have a knack at some kind of crisis management. But when you talk about a White House where just as Patrick was describing, so much of the wounds come from self-infliction.

Does it make it that much harder to find people in your staff who can go to bat? Who can try to control the chaos or explain the self- inflicted wounds publicly and be able to do a good job at doing that?

STEWART: I think it's a good job for them to bring in some new people WITH regard to dealing with the Russia situation. That way they can separate that and isolate that from their legislative agenda, their accomplishments that they want to achieve in the White House as president.

And let some new fresh blood be the face of the Russia investigation if you want to call it. But as for what the president is doing day to day, whether it's working to get health care passed in the Senate and get a bill passed that will help repeal and replace Obamacare --

WHITFIELD: How does that get done? I mean, that is part of the problem, isn't it? I mean, there have been very few results in that direction in terms of the agenda, health care, tax reform, et cetera, because there is all of this other stuff going on. How can this White House govern? And who wants the job of anything if there is a shake- up? Who wants that responsibility right now?

STEWART: Look, anyone that -- if the president calls and asks you to step up and serve your country, they're going to take the opportunity. And look, what I think what we're seeing is we're seeing a White House that is learning that in order to have accomplishments and in order to move the ball down the field, they need to focus on the issue at hand.

I feel like the foreign policy trip was a huge success with regard to building relationships with foreign leaders, the arms sales with the Soviets and also getting the message clearly to NATO. Those were successes.

WHITFIELD: If there is to be a shake-up, where should it be in the White House in order for it to stay on track, get back on track to agenda?

STEWART: Look, I don't believe that right now there is going to be major shake-ups with regard to the staff. It has been talked about for quite some time. But look as Patrick said, a lot of these wounds are self-inflicted, and you're not going to stop the bleeding of a self-inflicted wounds by rearranging the deck chairs on a Titanic.

This is a matter of hunkering down, getting on offense, driving your message to pass your legislative agenda and make some accomplishments. I think he has a solid team. The team he has there in the com shop and his advisers are a good strong solid team.

And the key right here moving forward is to get on offense, stay off defense, and let the Russia investigation stand on its own. Answer those questions but then move on to talking about the issues that the American people are concerned with, why they got elected in the first place. And I think going out and talking to the American people will help.

WHITFIELD: We'll leave it right there. Alice Stewart, Patrick Healy, thank you so much. Although a reminder talking to the public part, the president was going to do in Iowa that trip has been postponed. So we'll see when that phase that you're talking about is actually going to happen. All right, thanks so much to both of you. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:43:29]

WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. NBC is reporting that North Korea tested a new anti-aircraft weapon system this weekend. For weeks North Korea has also been testing ballistics in defiance of warnings from the U.S. and the west. The report said Korean Leader Kim Jong-un supervised the test and wants the system to be deployed across the country.

Manchester police say they have made another arrest linked to last week's terror bombing at a pop concert where 22 people died, a total of 12 people are now in custody. Britain's home secretary is raising concerns that some of those involved in planning the attack could still be at large and authorities are racing to uncover the full extent of the terror network.

We're also seeing newly released images of the Manchester bomber. They were taken the night of the attack on closed circuit cameras. I want to bring in CNN's Atika Shubert from Manchester. So Atika, how great is the concern over the threat of yet another attack as you also stand in the location where the balloons, the flowers, mementos for those killed continuous to mount?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, there is still concern here, but on the other hand, Manchester is trying to get back to normal. They had the Manchester run today, for example, and despite the large amount of security out there it all went very well.

People didn't seem afraid to come out and I think that is important to say. Now it also has to be noted that the terror threat level has actually been lowered and the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, said earlier today that police were pretty confident that they rounded up Salman Abedi's network, that of course, is the attacker.

However, when asked if there could be other members of the network still at large, she said potentially, yes, and this is why police are working around the clock. In fact right now there are two police searches going on in Manchester.

And these are the things we've seen in the past few days and will continue for weeks now. Even if they have rounded up the immediate network, they have to now sift through the information they have gathered and continue to reach out and see whether or not there are other levels of the network that need to be taken in.

WHITFIELD: So Atika, we're also hearing that police may have found the sites where the bomb was assembled? What more do we know about that?

SHUBERT: Yes, this is interesting. I mean, this is a site that's right in the middle of the city center, it's about a mile and a half away from the arena and it's a short-term rental apartment. It was one of the sites that police raided. They brought in heavily armed police but also forensics teams to search through it.

And what police believe is that this was really the last place where Abedi was staying, and that this maybe where he assembled the bomb. But of course, they now have to follow sort of the chemical clues and find out how he constructed what seems to be a fairly sophisticated explosive.

Did he have help? Who helped them? Where were the other materials assembled? And this is what police are working on now.

WHITFIELD: All right, Atika Shubert, thank you so much from Manchester.

All right, coming up next, new details surfacing in the investigation of the fatal stabbings in Portland, Oregon, now the FBI is looking into whether it will be deemed a hate crime. That is next.

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[14:50:52]

WHITFIELD: In Mississippi, authorities say eight people, including a sheriff's deputy, have been killed in a shooting spree. The 35-year- old Willy Godblot (ph) was taken into custody in near Jackson. Investigators say he was responsible for the rampage and it began late last night with a domestic call. The deputy was responding when he was shot and killed along with three females. Authorities say the other victims were found at two other crime scenes. No word yet on a possible motive.

And we're getting new details now on the investigation into the fatal stabbing attack on a Portland commuter train. Authorities are now looking into the suspect's background and trying to determine if he will be charged with federal hate crimes. We're also learning more about the men who lost their lives after intervening to help fellow passengers.

CNN's Dan Lieberman joins me now. So Dan, what more are you learning?

DAN LIEBERMAN, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fredricka. There's been an outpouring of support from the community there in Portland, Oregon. People are trying to figure out how this could have happened. People are leaving notes and flowers at the scene of the crime and over the weekend, there were vigils.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LIEBERMAN (voice-over): They are being hailed as heroes. The three stabbing victims in Friday's brutal knife attack were honored in a vigil last night in Portland. The victims came to the defense of two women aboard a crowded train at rush hour who were the targets of the suspect's anti-Muslim and racial slurs.

One of those killed, 53-year-old Ricky John Best, was on his way home from work. He was a city employee, an Army veteran, and father of four. His employers remember him as a model public servant. His mother telling CNN he liked to help people and said he will be missed greatly.

And 23-year-old Talishin Namkai-Meche, who died on the scene, a recent graduate of Reed College, an economics major, his school remembering him in a statement, one professor saying, quote, "He was a wonderful human being, as good as they come, and now he is a hero to me."

A third stabbing victim, 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher survived and is recovering in a hospital. His mother speaking out grateful that her son is alive.

MARGIE FLETCHER, MICAH FLETCHER'S MOTHER: I am feeling very, very lucky. I'm thanking God. I'm feeling bad for my son who thinks it is his fault.

LIEBERMAN: She says he's not surprised he tried to intervene and help others.

FLETCHER: Micah's always done that. I've told him his whole life, one of these days, Micah -- I've always worried about it. But he's always been that way.

LIEBERMAN: Strangers are leaving notes and flowers at the site of the attack, calling the men heroes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LIEBERMAN: And the suspect in the case is facing multiple murder charges and he's due in court on Tuesday, 35-year-old Jeremy Christian is due in court on Tuesday -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And so Dan, how is the Muslim community there reacting to this?

LIEBERMAN: Well, they are really following this closely with all the rising reports of Islamophobia and they are really calling -- the Council on American Islamic Relations is calling on President Trump to personally really take responsibility and sort of call on him to address the Islamophobia and all forms of bigotry -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Dan Lieberman, thank you so much.

LIEBERMAN: You got it.

WHITFIELD: We have got so more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. Stay with us.

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[14:58:48]

WHITFIELD: Happening now in the NEWSROOM --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're chasing our tails as a nation when it comes to the Russians.

WHITFIELD: The cloud of Russia hanging over the White House grows with allegations about the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't confirm or deny whether they're accurate, but if they are, it's obviously very concerning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know Jared. He's a great guy, a decent guy. A lot of different ways to communicate, back channel, publicly with other countries. I don't see any big issue here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Jared has said that he's more than willing to answer any and all questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dashboard warning light was clearly on and I think that was the case with all of the intelligence communities very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians.

WHITFIELD: CNN NEWSROOM starts now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone and thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. After his first trip overseas, the president is back at the White House strategizing on how to quiet the crescendo of new reporting this week on his administration and ties to Russian officials. A senior administration official tells CNN today it's a work day in the west wing adding President Trump is likely to meet with his legal team and aides.