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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Grand Jury Subpoenas Issued in Russia Probe; Mueller Exploring Potential Financial Ties to Russia of Trump, His Family and Trump Organization. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired August 3, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:05] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
There's breaking news tonight on a number of fronts. A major step by Robert Mueller in his investigation. Also, new details CNN has learned about how Mueller and his team are following the money trail, perhaps crossing what President Trump agreed was a red line he didn't think Mueller should cross. And yet again, President Trump caught not telling the truth, when transcripts of his phone conversations with Australia's prime minister and Mexico's president are leaked.
We begin, though, with breaking news on Robert Mueller's investigation, that major new step today. We learned grand jury subpoenas have been issued. Subpoenas related to Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer at the Trump Tower during the campaign.
Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown joins me now.
So, this news about the grand jury, what have you learned?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we've learned that the special counsel has issued grand jury subpoenas related to that Donald Trump Jr. meeting at Trump Tower last June. This is according to a person I spoke with familiar with the matter. And the subpoenas seek both documents and testimony from people involved in this meeting, though it's not clear exactly who involved in the meeting has been asked to testify.
But given the wide ranging investigation, it is expected that special counsel subpoenas have been or will be issued pertaining to other parts of this investigation beyond the Trump Tower meeting. But, Anderson, this development does tell us that Robert Mueller, special counsel Mueller, takes the Trump Tower meeting seriously and he's doing things by the book, making sure that if the grand jury signs off on any record and any testimony, Anderson.
COOPER: Do we know when the grand jury was actually impaneled? Was that recently?
BROWN: So, we don't know when exactly. I mean, the special counsel was appointed just last May. So, obviously, sometime after that. And the subpoenas were issued just in the recent weeks, in the last couple of weeks. And it shows that the special counsel probe that began in May is
entering a new phase of the investigation before the special counsel probe subpoenas have been issued as we previously reported, Anderson, in other aspects of the investigation such as business associates of Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser. That happened out of the northern Virginia. And then at that time, investigators were using the northern Virginia grand jury before the special counsel. But now, everything has been moved to D.C. where Mueller is conducting his investigation, Anderson.
COOPER: What's the White House said about this?
BROWN: So, Ty Cobb, the president's lawyer, talked about this after the news broke. He said grand jury matters are typically secret. The White House favors anything that accelerates the conclusion of his work fairly. The White House is committed to fully cooperating with Mr. Mueller. Former FBI Director Jim Comey said three times the president is not under investigation and we have no reason to believe that has changed.
And one White House source, Anderson, says that the legal team is, quote, highly content about this development, which this source says is not causing any anxiety with the president's legal team. They view this as something as a good thing in terms of hopefully the investigation will wrap soon in their view -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Pamela, we're going to talk to you shortly.
We want to get more perspective on this story now. Joining me are John Dean, Philip Mudd. Also on the phone is Jeffrey Toobin.
So, Jeff, what does this tell you about where special prosecutor Mueller is in the investigation?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST (via telephone): Well, I would say it means it's the end of the beginning. It means that he is now prepared to start bringing witnesses in to the grand jury who will testify under oath, sending grand jury subpoenas to businesses, to various places where he may get records that are useful to this investigation.
But it's important to point out of the grand juries can often sit for a year or even more, and, of course, grand juries can issue indictments, just because there is a grand jury doesn't mean there will be indictments. But there can't be indictments without a grand jury. So, it is certainly a step forward in the investigation.
But I don't think anyone should draw any dramatic conclusions about which way Mueller is going by the fact that he has impaneled the grand jury. It means he is acting the way professional investigators do. And he is seeing where the evidence leads. But that also means that he is progressing in the investigation.
COOPER: Yes. John Dean, I mean, I think some people are hearing this will think, oh, this means he believes there's wrongdoing that he knows about, and he's pursuing it. This could just be a fact finding exercise, just a way to get subpoenas and doing everything by the book.
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Absolutely. It really is an enhanced investigative tool that he can use, having the grand jury issue subpoenas. As Jeffrey said they can get business records that every not otherwise going to be available. And it really gives them a step up in their investigation.
So, it doesn't tell us anything about any potential wrongdoing. It just tells us this investigation is serious, and going forward.
COOPER: Phil, based on your experience with the FBI, I mean, you worked with Mueller, how do you see this?
PHILIP MUDD, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: A couple ways. One, the easy, and I'm with Jeff Toobin, I wouldn't read too much into it this.
But one of the easy interpretations is speed. Director Mueller, I spent four and a half years with him, he's not going to be doing this in 2019, Anderson. He's rigorous, but he's not sitting around saying let me take a bunch of information in and extend the investigation forever.
[20:05:02] I would focus on one piece that I think is critically important, and I think everyone will miss except people like lawyers and investigators. And that is, the difference between information and people. You would think this is about interviewing subjects.
I look at this and say, look at Don Jr. He didn't tell us the truth. When I interview subjects, I can't anticipate the truth. What I'm more interested in potentially is subpoenas of data that allow me to say, who did he talk to, who did he text, who gave the company money four, five years ago who might have tried to call in a chip during the campaign. That kind of data that you can get through these investigations is critically important when you have interviewees who aren't going to tell the truth. That's what I think part of the grand jury process will include, Anderson.
COOPER: So, Phil, does this just mean, you know, when somebody gets sued, they often -- you know, the lawyers send out an e-mail saying, save all documents. Does this just mean everybody has to save documents or do they have the way to forensically go back and look at deleted documents, or look at the -- does the subpoena allow them to, you know, requisition old text messages?
MUDD: Look, this is about a couple of things.
First, you should be able to go to a phone company or e-mail service provider and say, give me all the information related to that person's phone messages or e-mail messages, going back a certain amount of time. The Internet service provider should be able to provide that. So, I think you should get a historical perspective of what happened on the campaign.
That's why four, five years might seem like a long time, but it's hugely significant here because let's say somebody called last June and asked Don Jr. or Jared Kushner to take a meeting. I want to know if that person bought an apartment in Trump Tower four years ago. I want to know if this was a pay-for-play. In other words, somebody said, hey, I've had a business relationship with you, why don't you meet the person I want you to meet. That's why these historical records are so important.
COOPER: You know, Jeff, it's interesting that, you know, just this week, we learned that the president was actually the one, according to the "Washington Post," dictating, the White House just said he weighed in on the statement, the initial misleading statement that Don Jr. made. I assume that will be part of what Mueller is looking into, that he's focusing on this particular meeting.
TOOBIN: Well, that is part of the possible obstruction of justice part of his investigation. The issue of whether false statements were made regarding contacts with the Russians, Don Jr.'s.
But the other point to be made about the subpoena power is that, you can subpoena -- you can investigate an individual, but not subpoena that person. I mean, if, for example, you wanted to know if Don Jr., what he was saying, you subpoena banks, you subpoena phone companies, you subpoena Internet service providers. None of -- all of that evidence comes from other people, not from Don Jr.
And these Internet -- these big companies like banks, like telephone companies, they have entire offices that do nothing but answer subpoenas. This is very familiar work to them.
So, you know, assuming that Mueller is working expeditiously, it seems -- they will not take forever for him to collect this kind of information.
COOPER: John, if Mueller already has another grand jury working on investigating Michael Flynn, why does he need to have another one in D.C.?
DEAN: Well, there could be a number of explanations. First of all, it's closer to his office complex. He's in Southwest. So that could be just the reason of proximity is much closer than going over to Alexandria.
Another would be that he's very familiar with that courthouse. He's worked at -- he knows the judges there. So he would be in a very comfortable court setting. The judges know him, too, which it would also be of benefit.
So, I think it's probably a combination of those sorts of things that would result in him going there rather than the Eastern District, where he did have a grand jury, and there was one going with the Flynn and Manafort cases.
COOPER: So, Jeff, if they start wanting to look at, and start to subpoena records on past financial transactions, that Donald Trump had as a citizen with Russian people buying things in his buildings, how many -- stuff like that, would they have to then impanel another grand jury? TOOBIN: Oh, not at all. No, the grand juries have essentially
unlimited jurisdiction. It's really up to the prosecutor what they want to subpoena. So, the same grand jury can investigate financial transactions, can investigate tax offenses, can investigate obstruction of justice. I mean, it really is one stop shopping.
The other point to be made is that grand juries are tools of prosecutors. There are no defense lawyers present when witnesses are examined. There are no -- there is no notice to individuals that they are being investigated by the grand jury.
When you go into a grand jury room, it doesn't look like a courtroom.
[20:10:03] It looks like a classroom. There's no judge there. The prosecutor runs the process. So, it really is a tool of the prosecutor, and he can operate essentially independently, and doesn't have to notify anyone about what he's doing, or what he's finding.
COOPER: So, Phil, when the president's attorney in his statement says, Robert Mueller told President Trump three times that he wasn't a focus of his investigation, which may have been the case when Robert Mueller was FBI director, it's very possible based on what Jeff just said, that if the president is being investigated, that his attorneys may not even know about it?
MUDD: They may not know. And furthermore, this investigation, I mean, that was months ago, or even weeks ago. This investigation may have moved forward since then.
Look, what's -- the most fascinating piece of this, Anderson, is not whether the president is investigated or not, it's whether people walk into the room and start saying things, because they see data laid on the table that they didn't anticipate.
One quick comment on the pace of the investigation, and whether the president eventually gets ensnared in this -- I don't think Mueller would do this and Jeff Toobin would know this better than I, unless he knew what questions to ask already. That is, if I want to talk to somebody about Don Jr., Jared Kushner, I'm not going to say, what were they doing before this meeting with the Russians? I'm going to know some of the answers already, because the investigation. And I'm not going to ask for a subpoena until I know some of the answers, because I want to see if somebody's lying when they're sitting in front of me.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, do you agree with that?
TOOBIN: I do. Specifically, I think you don't want to start interviewing witnesses until you have documents. I mean, remember, the whole Don Jr. chapter of this investigation only arose because the e-mails came out.
I mean, you know, there is this mythology that cross-examination of individuals can get people to tell the truth. What gets people to tell the truth are documents. It's corroborating or incriminating evidence that is independent of the testimony. And I am sure that Mueller is not going to want to bring in
significant witnesses, until he has seen the financial records, the e- mails, the texts that either incriminate or exculpate the people he wants to talk to. It's really more important to gather the documents first before you start interrogating witnesses.
COOPER: Yes, I think I also misspoke. I think I said that the president's attorney said that Mueller had told him three times that the president wasn't under investigation. Obviously, it was Director Comey at the time who told the president that. Not Mueller. So, I apologize for that, getting it mixed up.
More breaking news one direction that Mueller's investigation is taking. CNN has learned that investigators are looking closely at the money trail between the president and Russia. The latest on that.
Also ahead, President Trump asked the president of Mexico to stop saying the United States was going to pay for the wall. That's one revelation from a leaked transcript of a phone call between the two leaders. More on that, coming up.
[20:16:20] COOPER: Well, there's more breaking news tonight in the Russia-White House watch. CNN has learned new details about how special counselor Robert Mueller and his team are following the money trail. They're trying to look at any possible financial connections between President Trump and Russia, connections that could go beyond the scope of the election, according to law enforcement sources and people familiar with the investigation.
Here again is CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown reporting.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Does anyone really believe that story?
BROWN (voice-over): Tonight, the Russia investigation continues to widen, as federal investigators explore the potential financial ties with President Trump and associates to Russia. Sources tell CNN financial links could offer a more concrete path to any potential prosecution. Investigators are delving into possible financial crimes including some unconnected to the election.
For the president, that's going too far. He's warned that delving into his businesses is a, quote, violation.
Trump has maintained there's no collusion and he has no financial ties to Russia.
TRUMP: I can tell you speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia. BROWN: Now, one year into this complex probe, the FBI has reviewed
financial records related to the Trump Organization, the president himself as well as his family members and campaign associates. CNN has told investigators have combed through the list of shell companies and buyers of Trump branded real estate properties. They scrutinized the roster of tenants at Trump Tower in Manhattan, reaching back several years.
And officials familiar with the investigation tells CNN special counsel Robert Mueller's team has examined the backgrounds of Russian business associates connected to Trump --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Moscow, it's Miss Universe 2013.
BROWN: -- dating back to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant he hosted in Moscow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you to Aras Agalarov and the Crocus Group for their amazing hospitality.
BROWN: CNN could not determine whether the review has included Trump's tax returns.
But even investigative leads that have nothing to do with Russia, but involve Trump associates, are being referred to the special counsel to encourage subjects of the investigation to cooperate.
TRUMP: The entire thing has been a witch hunt.
BROWN: President Trump keenly aware of the increased financial focus, regularly denounces the investigation.
TRUMP: Russia is fake news. This is fake news put out by the media.
BROWN: Trump's team seeking to limit Mueller's investigation.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president's point is that he doesn't want the special counsel to move beyond the scope and outside of its mission, and the president's been very clear as have his accountants and team that he has no financial dealings with Russia. And so, I think we've been extremely clear on that.
BROWN: CNN has learned new details about how Mueller is running his special counsel team. More than three dozen attorneys, FBI agents and support staff, experts in investigating fraud and financial crimes broken into groups, focused separately on collusion and obstruction of justice. There is also focus on targets like Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, and General Michael Flynn, his fired national security adviser.
CNN has learned that investigators became more suspicious of Manafort when they turned up intercepted communications that U.S. intelligence agencies collected amongst suspected Russian operatives, discussing their efforts to work with Manafort to coordinate information that could hurt Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House, according to U.S. officials. In Flynn's case, the focus is now on his lobbying work for the Turkish
government which he failed to disclose as required by law. Both men deny any wrongdoing.
[20:20:01] COOPER: And Pam Brown joins us now.
What's the White House saying about this?
BROWN: So, I spoke to the president's attorney, Jay Sekulow, today, and he said that the president's outside legal counsel has not received any requests for documentation or information about this. He said any inquiry from the special counsel that goes beyond the mandate specified in the appointment we would object to.
And it's just important to point out, for context, even though he says that special counsel hasn't reached out directly to the president's legal team, you can issue subpoenas for financial records from banks, financial institutions, as well as, of course, you can get records from the Treasury Department. So, you don't necessarily need to go to the lawyers to get the information in the investigation -- Anderson.
COOPER: Pam, stay with us.
I want to bring in Matthew Rosenberg and also Timothy O'Brien.
Matthew, how broad is the mandate for Mueller? Because the president's lawyer says anything that goes beyond his mandate. But there's a lot of people that argue it's relatively broad.
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I'm pretty sure the mandate does include this. You know, it's the kind of thing that would get hashed out by lawyers in court I'd imagine. But I think the definition, or the scope of the mandate being offered by Trump's lawyers is far narrower than most people would interpret it to be.
COOPER: Tim, I mean, you know a lot about President Trump's business interests and finances. You were involved in a lawsuit with him. I mean, what do you make of the fact that special counsel is now looking into all that, and maybe predating the election?
TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW: Well, I think that all of this will hinge on quid pro quos, did Trump at any point or did Jared Kushner at any point discuss lifting sanctions on Russia, were there any favors sought for by representatives of the Kremlin, or anyone else, in exchange for financing in any form to the Trump Organization. I think that's one set of issues.
The other is that, you know, Donald Trump doesn't have a closet full of skeletons in his background. He's got closets full of them. And I think if Mueller proceeds down this path, he's going to start to look at a lot of transactions that Trump has done in the United States, with questionable partners, the Bayrock Group, for example. And I think issues like money laundering are going to come to the fore. COOPER: Matt, I mean, the whole idea of following the money, sort of
a political scandal 101, in this day and age investigators can look at not only a paper trail, also, obviously, the electronic trail.
ROSENBERG: Absolutely. And, you know, I think that's a problem both for the president, for people around him potentially, and also for General Flynn, and Paul Manafort who are obviously now outside the inner circle. There were a tremendous amount of dealings done, you know, in General Flynn's case, they're looking at Turkey. With Manafort, his connections with the Ukrainians who are backed by Moscow.
There are a lot of records here. And I think that's going to present an opportunity for investigators kind of dig into it, but does potentially open up kind of reams of liability and kind of avenues for them.
COOPER: Pamela, is it clear how many people are actually working with Mueller on this?
BROWN: Well, there are 16 principal attorneys, Anderson. So, these are attorneys that either were working at law firms, or came from the Department of Justice who are part of this probe. Beyond that, you have FBI agents, agents who have actually been assigned to Washington from all across the country, even from the L.A. FBI bureau coming here to work on this. And then you have support staff.
So, there are really dozens of people. And people continue to be added it seems every day, Anderson.
COOPER: Also, Pamela, I mean, this is happening, obviously, on the heels of new chief of staff, John Kelly, telling the Attorney General Jeff Sessions that his job is safe, which means that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein still has authority over Robert Mueller, which is significant in terms of any impulses the president might have to try to stop Mueller.
BROWN: Right. Because it would be up to Rod Rosenstein at this point, the way things are now with him being the deputy attorney general, to fire Robert Mueller. The president would ask him to do so. And then, you know, it would be up to him whether he would want to.
But I can tell you, Anderson, he has testified on Capitol Hill that he sees no reason to fire Mueller. I'm talking about Rod Rosenstein. He stands by his decision to appoint him to this job, because remember, he was the one that appointed him back in may to this job. I've been told by people in the Justice Department and elsewhere that if the president asked Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller without cause, that Rosenstein simply would not do so, would leave if he was put in a situation like that -- Anderson.
COOPER: So, Matt, is it possible that if, you know, Mueller in the course of this investigation discovers some sort of shady dealing that has nothing to do with Russia or with the election that happened years before, that they could move forward on that? ROSENBERG: I mean, look, think about Whitewater. It started out with
an investigation into some real estate deals and we ended up with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. These things can be brought. I can understand why the president's lawyers are trying to narrow the scope and define it was narrowly as possible.
But also going back to the electronic trail you mentioned before, I should have mentioned this. You know, beyond financial records, beyond the e-mails that we've seen from Don Jr., there are also intercepts. There are intelligence that we know goes back to last summer that involves Russian officials talking about Manafort, Russian officials talking about working with Flynn.
[20:25:05] And that's really part of what got the thing going to begin with last summer. And there are still a lot of unanswered questions about whether any of those kind of ideas the Russians had, those notions were consummated, whether they actually did try to work with them. I think that's a huge part of what the special investigation is looking at.
And you can and you start digging into that, you start digging into financial records, these things can go on for a long time and they can get awfully broad, and awfully kind of veer off in courses we don't expect to see in the beginning.
COOPER: Yes. Pam?
BROWN: I was just going to say, it started off with those intercepts, and, of course, raised the suspicions of investigators. But, also, we were told that Carter Page who the FBI already had a FISA warrant on two years prior to last July when the investigation was opened, he also caused raised eyebrows among investigators when he went to Moscow. And so, investigators are wondering, why is this person who is being associated with the Trump campaign who we already have a FISA on going to Moscow, what is his relationship, what are the Russians trying to do here?
So, it was really a combination of things which is in the new reporting today, Anderson.
Thanks, everyone. Appreciate it.
Up next, there's still the possibility the president might try to fire Mueller like he fired James Comey. But a group of bipartisan senators have a bill that would protect Mueller. We'll get into that when we continue.
COOPER: More now our breaking news, subpoenas have been issued in the Russia probe. According to a person familiar with the matter, with subpoenas related to Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, supporters gathering behind a bipartisan
push to protect Robert Mueller from potentially being fired by the president. The new Senate bill would let Mueller or any special counsel challenge their firing in court.
Republican Senator Thom Tillis is one of the sponsors of the bill. Here's how he says it would work.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The new Senate bill would let Mueller or any special counsel challenge their firing in court. Republican Senator Thom Tillis is one of the sponsors of the bill. Here's how he says it would work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOM TILLIS (R), SENATOR, NORTH CAROLINA: So the President would maintain the power to remove the special counsel. We would just want to make sure that it had merit and had that back in the judicial process. And if there is a termination, we just want to make sure through judicial review it was warranted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A lot to discuss, Paul Begala, Jason Miller join us now. Paul, I mean, you know a thing or two about special counsels and grand juries from your time in the Clinton White House. When the Trump team says they're not rattled, do you buy that?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, yes, because they're idiots. I'm sorry, they're rattled or lying, or both. Come on, this is a grand jury. If they're not rattled, they're not taking it seriously enough.
I mean, I've said this before, the most important for those folks, is free legal advice, don't lie. Look at Scooter Libby, a highly respected guy, the Chief of Staff to the vice president of the United States, convicted of, among other things, misleading the grand jury. And it ended his government service, and really shattered his life for quite some time. Don't lie.
When you're going through one of these things, I never got called to the grand jury so I've to say, I'm very fortunate that I don't speak from firsthand experience. But many of my colleagues did. You can't talk to them about their testimony lest they be accused of colluding and getting your stories in sync.
For days and days beforehand, they're out of commission, the witnesses because they've got to go work with their lawyers. The fear of forgetting something, missing something, even accidentally misleading them, they have an enormous burden on them right now. And not only just running our government, but this adds a crushing weight. If they're not taking it seriously, then they are fools.
COOPER: Jason, how do you see this? I mean, do you see this grand jury as a significant step?
JASON MILLER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, no, not at all. I mean, the convening of the grand jury is about as significant as the special counsel turning on their computer. I mean, there are dozens of grand juries that are convened around the country every single day.
And this is a step that they have to go through to even proceed with their investigation. And look, they may end up with this thing, with simply producing a report that may not even be any charges that get filed. But I think there's something a little more important here, Anderson, that's really becoming clear, and that's the fact that there is absolutely nothing to the unfounded allegation that there's some type of coordination between the campaign and foreign entity.
Even looking at CNN'S reporting this evening that came out, there is -- even in opening lead, it talked about the fact that this aspect of trying to go into finances is how they view the special counsel views this as being a fertile avenue to continue the investigation. So I think it's very important for people to realize, this isn't even about some supposed coordination or collusion with the campaign in a foreign entity. This seems to be going in completely different directions. At a certain point, I think this really is kind of ridiculous.
COOPER: Paul, do you agree with that? I mean, it does seem like the financial ties we're looking at are potential ties between Russians and then citizen Trump?
BEGALA: Right. And that's what any good prosecutor, what any good investigator is going to do. I will point out that in the e-mail that was released from Donald Trump Jr. to the guy that set up that meeting with a Russian lawyer, Mr. Trump Jr. says, I love it. But better if late summer, which is, at least an attempt at collusion, we would be better served by negative information about our opponent being release late in the summer. That's a campaign person telling someone who claims that damaging information about Hillary, when it would be best.
And now, -- by the way, the collusion per se is not a crime. We keep using that word. But that alone is proof that there was probably not criminal, I hope, for Mr. Trump's sake collusion. But this notion that's like turning on a switch on a computer. Jason, I completely -- it's like the word tumor, OK. Could be benign, we hope and pray it is, but it could be the death of you. And you better take it real seriously. When that doctor says tumor, or when that lawyer says grand jury, you need to take it real seriously.
COOPER: Jason -- on the computer and having a grand jury. But the grand jury has subpoena power as opposed to turning on your computer?
MILLER: Well, so let's talk about something that is actually criminal here. And that's if you look at grand jury code 6(e), which says it's illegal to go and leak out any information about the proceedings of a grand jury. Paul referenced this a little bit earlier. And so the only crime that we're seeing that's going on here is the fact that somebody is talking about the proceedings of a grand jury. This is very serious stuff. And I hope that, look, there's an investigation into this. And they get whoever has doing it. And I would think there's a Trump supporter. This is probably being done to step on the President because he's had a good week, a new chief of staff in there and he is getting the ship righted and getting a good structure in place. Really seems pretty suspect to me that this is illegally being leaked out.
BEGALA: So it's not that the mere existence of the grand jury doesn't violate 6(e). Just let me be a lawyer here for a second.
MILLER: But --
BEGALA: The Rule 6(e) -- excuse me. I let you say something really inaccurate, Jason. I want you to let me say something perfectly accurate. Information presented to the grand jury must remain secret. And it must. And I think you make a great point, if you start to see leaks coming out of that grand jury. That could very well violate rule 6(e). But the existence of a grand jury is not -- in fact, it's probably very public information, because they meet at a courthouse which is a public building.
[20:35:20] So it's not -- I believe I asked (INAUDIBLE), but I can tell you, 6(e) does not say, you can't say a grand jury exists.
MILLER: Paul, I appreciate the shell game, Paul, that you're discussing the proceedings, or the fact of the details about something moving along. Then yes, it is illegal.
BEGALA: That's not a violation. It's the testimony. If they say John Doe testified that --
MILLER: If you're talking about the details and how it's moving along, that is a violation of 6(e).
COOPER: All right, we're going to leave it there. Jason Miller, thank you, Paul Begala as well.
Up next, our other big story tonight, leaked transcripts of President Trump's phone calls with foreign leaders reveal what he really thinks about Mexico paying for the wall, and the truth about a conversation President Trump accused the media of lying about. Turns out, they didn't, he did.
COOPER: The other big news tonight, transcript of President Trump's phone calls with leaders of Mexico and Australia are now public after someone leaked them. The transcripts provide an inside look into the President's conversations with the Mexican President about the wall. And also revealed that the President did not tell the truth when he attack the "Washington Post's" months ago for their reporting about the phone call with Australia's Prime Minister. Randi Kaye has some.
[20:40:02] RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His first phone call with the Mexican president after taking office, and Donald Trump was already arm twisting. Transcripts obtained by the "Washington Post" revealed President Trump's goal, to stop Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto from saying publicly that Mexico will not pay for the boarder wall. Trump, "We should both say, we will work it out."
The phone call took place on January 27th, just two days after President Trump signed an executive order to build the wall, though funding is still an issue. Trump appearing to try to script the Mexican President. Pena Neito, "My position has been and will continue to be very firm, saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall." A frustrated Trump, "But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that, and I cannot live with that."
Earlier in the call, Trump issued an ultimatum of sorts. "If you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore." Trump also suggesting this could backfire on him. "This is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important."
Trump and the Mexican president also discussed the problem with gangs and drugs. That's when Trump insulted the people of New Hampshire, referring to his win there in the primaries. "I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den, coming from southern border."
KAYE (on camera): Still, before it was over, President Trump changed his tune, after they both agreed to stop talking about the wall, and who will pay for it. Trump telling the Mexican president that he'll make him so popular that his people will call for a constitutional amendment so he can run again. In Mexico, presidents are limited to a single six-year term.
KAYE (voice-over): In another call that same week with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, one of our closest allies, Trump lost his patience. Their conversation went south after Turnbull asked Trump to consider taking as many as 2,000 refugees that had tried to enter Australia by boat.
The Obama administration had originally cut a deal to do so. Trump's response? "Boy that will make us look awfully bad. Here I am calling for a ban, where I am not letting anybody in, and we take 2,000 people. The United States has become like a dumping ground."
Turnbull quickly tried to explain. "Every individual is subject to your vetting." Again, like with Mexico, Trump appeared worried about how it all would make him look.
Trump, "This is going to kill me. I am the world's greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. It makes me look so bad. And I have only been here a week."
KAYE (on camera): Trump suggested the refugees could become a Boston bomber. He also called the whole agreement a "stupid deal." After finally agreeing to vet the refugees, he said the deal makes him look like a dope.
KAYE (voice-over): Later in the call, the transcript shows Trump said, "I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer."
Finally, before abruptly ending the call, Trump hurled one more insult Australia's way. "I've had it. I've been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous." Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: And just to set the record straight, a few things we learned from these transcripts during the campaign, candidate Trump never mentioned anything except that Mexico would be paying for the wall. President did not win the New Hampshire in the general election. We don't know if he was referring to the primary but Hillary Clinton won the state in November.
And after word got out right after the call with Australia's prime minister, the call was contentious and the President tweeted that that was fake news. Once again, we know he wasn't accurate. Both calls suggest his real, maybe his only motivation for any number of complex topics, is how they'll make him look.
Joining me is Mack McLarty, and Jason Miller and Ana Navorro. Jason, there's a couple of things for us to discuss. First of all, the fact that this leaked out and the potential damage that does for future relations with other world leaders which we'll get to. But just on the President, you know, blasting the "Washington Post" as fake news for reporting this back then, and then when this actually leaks out, it turns out, this isn't fake news.
MILLER: Well, I think you bring up a couple of good points. And I think this is something Mack can speak to with some of the discipline he was able to instill in a previous administration a number of years ago. But look, I think this is something that General Kelly is going to help do with this administration which is to remind them that look, every single phone call, or every single interaction you have with a foreign leader you have to suspect that that is going to leak out or that's going to be told.
Now, obviously I'm not happy about that. And what I hate to see is when that comes from our end as opposed to the other side. But there -- I think that's what General Kelly is going to do, is putting that level of discipline to let people know, that look, every single word that's said, that could get out.
But now, to this point about these leaks, I mean, in the grand scheme of things, Anderson, this story will be here for today and it's going to be gone tomorrow. This is not something that's going to be bouncing around for days or for weeks. But I do think, if you kind of peel back the curtain and look at what the President was saying, look, I'm glad that President Trump who I worked so hard to help elect is actually giving these guys the business a little bit and saying, you know what, we need to be tough on some of these issues. We don't want to take some of these economic refugees. We need to get our border wall built.
[20:45:24] I'm glad that President Trump is doing things behind the scene that he's saying in public. So I like that.
COOPER: Well, Mack, I mean, to Jason's point -- I mean, Jason raises a good point, people will be glad the President is maybe having a contentious phone call with the prime minister of Australia. But that's not what he said at the time. And then, he accuses reporters of liars of lying about it and calling it fake news. I mean, again, it's just another example and Jason makes a point, you know, people in the White House have to know this is going to become public, the problem isn't General Kelly and getting order on the people around the President, it's the President himself.
MACK MCLARTY, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Anderson, I think Jason made a good point in terms of, you know, words matter. And when you have these calls with other heads of state, one, you need to do your homework. And really be prepared for how you're going to try to handle that call. There's always spontaneity. But in this case, you had really calls with allies, friends, partners, admittedly some complicated difficult subjects.
I think also, it is concerning that you have these transcripts really leaked, and the press has access to the full transcript in a way that's not formal. That's troubling. And it makes future conversations of this type more difficult. I do think General Kelly will impose some order and discipline. I think you need to be prepped, obviously, and prepared by the national security counsel and other appropriate people in the administration. That's what key here.
Now, in fairness, I do think, every president and political figure sometimes wants to put a certain spin on a certain conversation. That's understandable. But you've got to build some bridges with your allies. What we heard was, frankly, a bit unusual.
COOPER: Ana, I mean, you know, putting spin on it is one thing, just outright mischaracterizing it and going after the reporters who correctly reported it and yet again using that leveled fake news, I mean, it just another example of the President lying about something he had no reason to lie about.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, listen, the fake news, and the lying doesn't even surprise me anymore, right? The one thing we know he is consistent about, Trump is lying. The real story here is that you have the Prime Minister of Australia having to explain policy to him. Like you teach a 4-year-old how to read, A is for apple, B is for boy, C is for cat. The President of the United States was completely ignorant and clueless as to the policy that they were discussing. It was (INAUDIBLE) dosing. It was painful for any American to feel embarrassed by the lack of knowledge of this President.
It is astounding the level of leaks of this White House. Forget the new chief of staff. He needs to hire a plumber to take care of these leaks. You are leaking conversations with foreign leaders. This is not about who he's having dinner with. These are conversations with foreign leaders. How is any foreign leader going to talk, speaking to the President of the United States?
And on the Mexican phone call, his base should be feeling very duped today. Because he wasn't telling President Pena Neito, you got to pay for the wall. He was saying to him, shut up, stop saying -- you're not going to pay for the wall because you're making me look bad. It was all about he looks, not the substance.
COOPER: Jason, it seems like his message to the Mexican president was, look, you will say you're going to pay -- you'll ultimately it will come out in the wash. Officially you'll pay, but then you'll get the money back through some other deal that we make on the side. I mean, that's not really how he ran. I mean, I know it makes sense from a political standpoint, but it's -- again, to Ana's point, it's not what he said previously.
MILLER: I think we've established at this point that there's not going to be a check that's written from the government of Mexico with, you know, for however many billion pesos to go and pay for -- go and pay for the wall here. But yes, whether it's restructuring NAFTA or how we redo the trade deals, President Trump is going to make Mexico pay for this wall.
But I think what President Trump is trying to get at in that conversation is, look, this is going to lead to a more contentious relationship if you keep going and saying Mexico is not going to pay for it and that you're not going to assume any of this cost.
And look, again, going back to my initial point, I'm glad that President Trump was actually standing up and continuing to talk about these issues that he talks about publicly behind the scenes. And to go back to another thing that Ana said just a moment ago about the leaks, yes, this is very troubling when we have leaks that are coming from the administration, and that's why I think, my guess, especially because this was a leak from conversation that happened back in January, these were probably hold-overs from the previous administration and that's what I think it's so important that whether it's the DOJ or other folks within the administration, they need to make sure that they clear out hold-overs from the previous administration because I'm assuming it's probably folks from the Obama administration that were out leaking this.
[20:50:12] They need to get cleared out because this is bad news, the foreign governments can't trust us to keep things quiet.
COOPER: Yes. And the fact is, we don't know who leaked this and obviously there are plenty of leaks from the White House itself but I understand your point. I want to thank everybody.
Up next, why the secret service is leaving its command post now inside the Trump Tower, the new reporting from the Washington Post tonight when we continue.
COOPER: Tonight, "The Washington Post" is reporting that the U.S. Secret Service has moved its post from outside of the Trump Tower in New York. Now, this comes after the federal government couldn't reach an agreement with president Trump's company over the price of the list. CNN sources said the Secret Service is now operating out a mobile command post on the street. David Fahrenthold joins me now. You reported the story for the Washington Post. So why exactly has the Secret Service vacated the Trump Tower command post? Is it they just couldn't agree on the rent inside the Trump Tower?
DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. It sounds odd but that's true. The President's company, which owns Trump Tower, was unable to reach an agreement with the President's government, the U.S. government to basically -- they disagreed about price, they disagreed about some other conditions of the lease and so the Secret Service left. Now the Trump organization is encouraging them to go look elsewhere in some other building.
COOPER: I mean, do we know exactly what this taking point, was -- I mean, do we know, what the price -- I mean, if it was just about price, what the difference was? I think a lot of people were be surprised to know that the Secret Service have to pay rent in Trump Tower to protect the president.
FAHRENTHOLD: It's surprising. We've asked that question both of the GSA, the government agency that handles leasing and the Trump organization, you know, what was the price deferential? How much was the gap? And to the Trump organization, you know, why not just offer for free. These people are here to protect the President and his family. We didn't get response to any of those questions from either side.
COOPER: So the command post understand now that they've moved down to the street which means it's farther away obviously from the apartment. Now, the Trumps don't really stay at that apartment very much at all. But is that from a security standpoint, is that a concern?
FAHRENTHOLD: The Secret Service has told us that they believe that it hasn't really affected their security plan. We talked this in security experts who had a couple of concerns with this. One was that, what's in this command post is the supervisors, the communications hub and backup agents, people who are there to rush in, in times of emergency.
Now they are 50-plus floors below where the President's apartment is. So if they are needed as backup, they are long way from getting to where they need to be. And the question, just about the communication, so now you have agents, the field agents or the agents who are up there with the President, at the President's home, many floors above trying to communicate by radio down people at the street. There's walls in between, there's a lot of distance in between and there's some concerns that they wouldn't be able to communicate effectively by radio.
COOPER: Is this the way it's going to say, or do they still hope to work something out?
[20:55:05] FAHRENTHOLD: Well, it depends on who you ask. When we asked the Secret Service, they said, yes, we really like to find a way to make this work, a way to get back into Trump Tower. The Trump organization though has said, no we've encouraged them for cost reasons and other reasons to go look elsewhere, basically saying, why don't you find another building? It's not the same as moving some arrow (ph) from one building to another. These are folks that need to be near to the President. So moving to another building even nearby is something that Secret Service seems unwilling to do.
COOPER: All right, interesting. David Fahrenthold, I appreciate the reporting. Thank you.
Tonight, the Secret Service released a statement in response to the report from "The Washington Post." it reads in part, "The United States Secret Service continues to work with GSA to obtain permanent work space in an appropriate location. Throughout this process, there has been no impact to the security plan developed by the Secret Service."
So when we come back, the latest details on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation entering a new phase, issuing subpoenas.
COOPER: There's breaking news tonight in multiple fronts in the Russia White House watch. CNN has learned new details about how Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team are following the money between the President and his associates and Russia. We'll have much more on that in a moment.
We begin with a new step in the investigation. Grand jury subpoenas were issued. CNN Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown has the latest on that. So, what have you learned about this grand jury and the subpoenas?
[20:59:56] PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we've learned that the Special Counsel has issued grand jury subpoenas related to that Donald Trump Jr. meeting at Trump Tower of June of last year. This is according to a person that I spoke with today familiar with the matter. And the subpoenas seek both documents and testimony from people involved with the meeting as we know, as we saw on that graphic. There were eight people in that meeting.