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Ads Targeted Michigan and Wisconsin; Senate Intel Still Looking at Collusion; Trump Visits Las Vegas. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired October 4, 2017 - 13:00   ET



SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA, VICE CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: And my hope, at least from some of the comments of some of the companies, I've heard at least comments that they are -- they are open to this type of disclosure.

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA, CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Let me just state fact today. It is illegal, today, for foreign money to find its way into U.S. elections. So, it's not like we've got to rewrite some laws.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to get clarification on this. So, so far, have you not been able to verify the intelligence community's assessment that Russia was weighing in on the side of Donald Trump?

BURR: We feel very confident that the ICA's accuracy is going to be supported by our committee. We're not willing to close the issue, given the nature of the rest of the investigation, that we might get a thread of intelligence that suggests possibly an area of the ICA that we -- that our interpretation is different.

So, we're leaving it open. It's not closed. And I think any smart investigation would stay open until we've completed it.

WARNER: And that's, again -- let me just add onto it. That's one of the things we're trying to be very careful here is, as Richard mentioned some of these meetings and we've talked to most folks.

We also know -- we -- this has to be talked through with all of the balance of the committee members. That we're being, I think, extra cautious here saying we're not reaching final conclusions until we've had those conversations with all those folks (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could there ever be a point with the meddling from Russia was so overwhelming that it could lead to negating the results of the election?

BURR: Maybe that's a theory people are working under. All I can tell you is that the votes were countered. One person won. And that's how it's going to stay (ph). UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) committee's report, will be any (INAUDIBLE) of what the Senate Judiciary Committee has found in its own investigation?

BURR: We're focused on our investigation. Everybody has their jurisdictional lanes. My hope is that they stay within those lanes.

We talk I won't say regularly but when we need to with the special counsel. The special counsel was focused on criminal acts. We're not focused on criminal acts. If we find one, then they are the first phone call we make.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have heard -- you know, the president (INAUDIBLE) but he hasn't, really, spoken out on this issue other than to call it a hoax. Do you want to see him lead some kind of effort, speak out, do something tangible to protect the country from these what you consider to be ongoing attacks from Russia?

BURR: Listen, I think the vice chairman alluded to the fact that though it was slow getting DHS to recognize this, it didn't take as long, as it did for last administration, to run the clock on it.

So, we're not trying to look back and point to things that were done wrong. Everybody's done things wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm talking about the prospect that does the president now take what you're saying today, speak out against it, and lead some kind of formal effort to protect the country?

BURR: We're not asking the president to take the briefing that we give at a -- at a press briefing about progress and assume that that, in any way, shape or form, fully encapsulates what our final report will say.

What I will say is what the vice chairman pointed out. That the Department of Homeland Security has taken a different posture. It's his administration. I'm sure they had his direction or his leadership's direction. We're pleased with the progress that they're making.

But some of the things that hopefully we will be able to point out will be important steps to be incorporated in their thought process moving forward.

Thank you, guys. We've got to run.

WARNER: Thank you, everyone.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: The Senate Intelligence Committee chair and vice chair saying that they have more to do, they and their staffers, on the Senate Intelligence Committee, to determine whether there was any collusion between the Russian government or the Russian operatives and anyone on the Trump campaign or in the Trump campaign orbit. The chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, also saying that there's general consensus that they trust the intelligence community's findings from last January that, indeed, Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

There's a lot more news to discuss. Let's talk about it with our panel. We have with us our CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash, CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, who's the anchor of "INSIDE POLITICS," Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger, and CNN National Security Commentator Mike Rogers, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Chairman Rogers, let me start with you because, obviously, President Trump has called the whole issue of Russian meddling in the election a hoax. I can't find any single other person in the Trump administration who believes that. They all say it's real.

[13:05:05] And although Chairman Burr wouldn't touch it, when asked about it by our own Manu Raju, they were very clear, they think the I.C. community's -- the intelligence community's conclusions were accurate. Take a listen.


BURR: I think there is general consensus, among members and staff, that we trust the conclusions of the ICA. But we don't close our consideration of it in the unlikelihood that we find additional information through the completion of our investigation.


TAPPER: Fairly significant.

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: I think it's significant. A, that they've both publicly, Republican and Democrat, came out -- by the way, which is the right way to do an investigation like this. Stood at the podium together and said, we agree with the intelligence community assessment that said the Russians tried to meddle in the election.

I think what gets caught up here is the politics of it caused a candidate to win. And that's where a pushback happened in the -- in the press conference. We're not saying that.

And they also said, I found interesting, that it was indiscriminate. Some of that influence was on both sides of that aisle which may -- which is really interesting. Part of that was the chaos they talked about on race and other things, trying to sow chaos in America.

I thought that was significant today that both parties came out and made that conclusion, saying, yes, the Russians were involved. They fired on both sides. This is something we need to worry about. And, oh, by the way, 21 states were impacted directly by this. We're going to have to do something about that. TAPPER: And Gloria Borger, the vice chair, Senator Mike Warner of Virginia, a Democrat, making the argument the 21 states, there was an attempt by Russians to I think he said something along the lines of test the vulnerabilities --


TAPPER: -- of the election systems in 21 states. But underlined by chairman Burr that no vote tallies were altered.

BORGER: Right. And they were clearly upset at the Department of Homeland Security which they both said took 11 months for the Department of Homeland Security to reveal what those states were because they clearly want to get ahead of it before the next election.

What I also thought was very important was on the Comey memos we talked about so much. They clearly made the case that this is now a legal case up to the special counsel. That they -- they're done with it. They're done with the Comey memos and that's now Mueller's point.

And also, on the dossier, they say we've hit a wall here. We can't interview the author of it. We've asked to interview him. Obviously, he's in Britain, Christopher Steele.

And so, they've said that the two the chairman would talk to him but they cannot make any statement about the validity of the -- of this dossier, because they're unable to interview the author of it.

TAPPER: Do they want to know who paid for the Steele memo, --

BORGER: Exactly.

TAPPER: -- and they want to know who the sources were for the Steele memo, Christopher Steele, former British intelligence agency who has worked for American intelligence in the past. Not willing to testify --

BORGER: Not available.

TAPPER: -- to them. And they can't -- he's not an American so they can't compel him to.

BORGER: Exactly.

TAPPER: John King, obviously, the big question is not whether the Russians attempted to do this. We've known for a long time that they did and, to a degree, they succeeded.

The big question is, did anyone in the United States help them in that task? Here is what Chairman Burr had to say about collusion and how it remains an open question.


BURR: We have more work to do, as it reals to collusion, but we're developing a clearer picture of what happened. What I will confirm is that the Russian intelligence service is determined, clever, and I recommend that every campaign and every election official take this very seriously as we move into this November's election and as we move into preparation for the 2018 election.


TAPPER: That's not a confirmation that the collusion was proven but it's certainly not a denial.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On several occasions, I have at least three in my notes here, he said that's still an open question. That collusion is still an open question. The issue collusion is still open.

That's bad news for the president. There were no damning judgments about the president of the United States or the Trump campaign here. Let's be crystal clear about that. Nobody said there was any evidence that they had before that.

But the president has said, he said, this is a hoax. The president's team has said repeatedly -- you know, the president, himself, still says, if Russia meddled, number one. You had two very sober gentlemen there, a Republican and Democrat. The chairman makes an important point about the bipartisanship, saying it happened and it's still happening. And it's a warning to the current campaigns.

But if you're the president of the United States, 25 more interviews this month. Some public hearings about the social media. His personal attorney, Michael Cohen, about to be called before the committee in a public setting.

They're trying to interview his son, Donald Trump Jr., about the now infamous June 2016 meeting and both of them standing there, especially the Republican chairman who won re-election because of the president's help in North Carolina, saying the issue of collusion is still open.

That's not good news for the president. No matter when this ends or what the conclusion is in the end, it just tells you, we have months and months and months to go. At a minimum, a huge distraction over this administration and still the open question of collusion.

[13:10:08] TAPPER: Collusion is still an open question and another major open question, Dana Bash, is the idea of what was what was the role of social media?


TAPPER: The vice chair, Mike Warner, he's been keyed in on this for months about what exactly the Russians did when it came to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites? And why they did it. Why, for instance, as CNN broke yesterday, why they targeted Facebook accounts in Michigan and Wisconsin? And now, Facebook and Twitter are going to be will be called before the committee to testify.

BASH: Absolutely. Look, this is a huge part of the sowing of confusion and chaos that those two senators were just talking about, using social media to do so.

And, you're right, our reporting yesterday, I was told that one of the areas in which they were trying to address this in Michigan, in Wisconsin is targeting people who could be susceptible to anti-Muslim messages, saying that the Muslims are going to change the American way of life.

Now, we don't know the exactly what parts of Michigan and Wisconsin, what time frame in the 2016 election. But it happened.

And I think the combination of that and I thought that that sound bite you just played from Richard Burr, the chairman, saying that the Russian intelligence is aggressive and you need to look at it, looking forward campaigns, is very, very telling. Combined with Mark Warner saying that they, the Russians, hacked into political files.

Now, we know some of that is obvious with the -- with the e-mails from John Podesta and so forth, WikiLeaks. But maybe there's some that we don't know. And if you add up all of those things, it suggests that maybe there -- the collusion part of this is open because the Russians got information from political campaigns that they were able to use, whether the campaigns knew it or not.

TAPPER: I want to bring in retired General and former director of National Intelligence in the Obama administration, James Clapper. General, we also heard Richard Burr, Senator Burr, Republican from North Carolina, effusively praise the Obama administration officials who -- for being cooperative and coming in, giving an average interview of two hours. I don't think I've heard a Republican praise the Obama administration like that ever. So, kudos to you and your colleagues for achieving that.

What sprung out at you, from this press conference, by Burr and Warner?

GEN. JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ITELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I think first, Jake, the fact that they -- I mean, it was gratifying to me, obviously, that they affirmed the intelligence community assessment judgments, the key judgments that we made. So, that was -- that was gratifying.

I also think that just to salute the committee, it has been bipartisan and remains so. I think Chairman Mike Rogers alluded to that, that, you know, the chairman and the vice chairman stood in front of the podium and, I think, gave a consistent presentation. So, that, in itself, was important, particularly after all the months that had lapsed.

And I can attest that the approach that they've taken, since I was one of the witnesses that volunteered to appear, they were very thorough and very objective. And one of the things that I thought was remarkable, when I appeared before the staff or staff -- what's called a staff interview, that I really couldn't tell who was a Democratic and who was Republican. So, that bipartisanship, I think, pervades the entire effort. The other point I think worth making out of all this is, what was the actual impact on the election? And that actually gets down to impact on individual voters. And there's really no way to assess that. We didn't try to do it and made that point when we came out of the RICA on the sixth of January. We didn't see any evidence of voter -- of voter tallies being messed with.

But as far as assessing how any of this, you know, Facebook, Twitter, all this kind of thing, how it actually affected individual voter decisions, there's probably no way to go back and reconstruct this. But you have to wonder where this was seen by, you know, 10 million times or 10 million people were exposed to all this in its totality. And given how close the election was in some of these key states. You have to wonder.

But, empirically, I don't think is ever way -- there's no way we'll ever know.

TAPPER: There isn't. It is interesting. Obviously, President Trump won Wisconsin and Michigan by approximately one percent of the vote.

[13:15:00] But I was reading the report that CNN broke yesterday about how some of the fake news, some of the fake ads and information that were spread in those two states by Russian-linked operatives were messages that were anti-Muslim. I don't know that people who would be susceptible to messages like that were planning on voting for Hillary Clinton anyway.

CLAPPER: Well, that's true. I mean, again, I don't have the insight into this -- into the high fidelity detail here because it would be very interesting to know -- one aspect I'd be interested in is the timing of when these various --

TAPPER: Right.

CLAPPER: Facebook ads appeared in relation to what current events were. And what both Chairman Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner said that I completely agree with, that, you know, this -- there was a concerted campaign here, first and foremost, and that was our first conclusion in our intelligence community assessment was to sow discord, discontent, dissent and disruption in this country. And the Russians succeed in that objective to fairly well.

Thereafter, and, of course, as far as favoring one candidate over the other, well, our intelligence community assessment says they were opposed, the Russians, and this starts with Putin himself, opposed to Hillary Clinton. And that started with -- based on some personal animus that Putin had for both Clintons, and notably her because of -- he ascribed blame to her for having fomented or attempting to foment a color revolution in Russia in 2011. So it started out with a very strong opposition to her and as things evolved over time, support to now President Trump.

TAPPER: Obviously, the one thing that everybody is most curious about is whether or not the Senate Intelligence Committee or the House Intelligence Committee, which, by the way, gives a good example of how bipartisanship when it breaks down what that looks like, as opposed to the Senate Intelligence Committee. And kudos to Mike Rogers for doing it the right way when you were there.

But --

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR (ph): Thanks for that clarification, Jake.

TAPPER: I don't want to blame it on you.

But everybody's wondering, obviously, about collusion, whether there was any collusion, whether any American conveyed in any way to these Russian operatives, we could really use you to gin up some votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania or whatever. And we heard no evidence that there is any evidence, but we certainly did not hear the chairman or the vice chairman beating it down.

CLAPPER: That's true. And I think that is exactly the right position to take. Just as they withheld final judgment on the veracity of our intelligence community assessment, even though right now they trust it. But they have to hold open the option if some future information comes up, which either refutes or hopefully reinforces what we said. So I think they -- their stance there was exactly right. And I -- and I do completely agree with you, Jake, about the manner in which the chairman, Mike Rogers, and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger ran the House Permanent Select Committee for Intelligence was the model of bipartisanship.

TAPPER: I want to turn now to Jim Sciutto and get some reaction from him.

And just some other housekeeping notes, Jim, some other items that they said that -- that Chairman Burr and Vice Chair Warner suggested, they were pretty much done in investigating the April 2016 meeting at the Mayflower hotel between Trump campaign officials and surrogates with the Russian ambassador and others. Also, the changing or the attempt to change the Republican National Committee platform. There was a representative who wanted stronger language about providing weapons to the Ukrainians as they fought Russians or Russian-tied separatists. And they said they were close to finishing up with that.

What struck you the most from this, Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is important to note that on those two key questions, we've done a lot of reporting on that, with the Mayflower meeting, the question was, was there an undisclosed substantive meeting between Trump officials, including Attorney General Sessions, and the Russian ambassador. It appears they've come to a conclusion on that. He didn't say what the conclusion was, but seemed to hint that they had closed the door on that, that all seven people they had talked to described it in the same terms.

The changing of the platform at the GOP convention, I know from very early on in this investigation was something that members were curious about. He did seem to say that they were satisfied with the explanation there, that the Trump team wanted to find some sort of balance, to be a strong ally, he said, to Ukraine, while leaving the door open to better relations with Russia.

[13:19:57] But on two other questions, in effect, he -- the GOP chairman of this committee, in effect, contradicted the president and he said that the findings, as you noted, Jake, earlier, that, as the intel community found, that Russia meddled. They agree with those findings, one. And, two, on that collusion questions, it just struck me, there were multiple answers that he could have given there. He could have said, we looked into it, we found no evidence. He didn't say that. He could have said, we're looking into it and as of yet have found no evidence. We've heard that from members sometimes say that in public. He didn't say that either. In fact, he said, we're still looking into it and have to look into that question. That is not an answer that the president wanted.

One final thing. And Director Clapper had said this to me multiple times last year before he left his position, is that Russia has not stopped these attacks. A clear warning there to Republicans and democrats alike as 2018 and 2020 comes, I mean his words were, you'd have to be crazy to imagine that Russia is not going to continue these attacks and they are. And when I speak to members of the -- both committees, Hill, House and Senate, that is a warning they give me repeatedly, that the intelligence they are seeing shows that Russia continues these probing attacks. And the big question, Jake, is, yes, they did not affect vote tallies this time. Will they attempt to do so in future elections?


SCIUTTO: That is very much an open question.

TAPPER: And before we even get to the midterms, of course there are elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the state of New Jersey and elsewhere around the country and there were specific warnings to any campaign operatives to be on their guard.

You've been watching CNN's special coverage of the Senate Intelligence Committee's press conference when it comes to the Russia investigation and possible collusion between any members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

I'm going to throw it now to my colleague Anderson Cooper, who is live in Las Vegas.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jake, thanks very much. Appreciate that.

I want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and also watching around the world right now.

As survivors continue to fight for their lives after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history here in Las Vegas, we want to start this afternoon with breaking news about the gunman's girlfriend, Marilou Danley. She's considered a person of interest in this case and the Las Vegas sheriff has just revealed that FBI agents are going to be questioning her any minute now. Danley was in the Philippines, as you may know, at the time of the shooting. Her family is now saying that the gunman told her to go to the Philippines, likely so she couldn't interfere with his plan to kill as many people as possible. That according to the family.

Now, meanwhile, President Trump is here meeting with survivors. He'll also meet with several doctors and nurses and first responders, police officers. Just before leaving Washington, however, the president teased that -- that new information about the shooter -- about the shooter would be forthcoming. Here's what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're learning a lot more. And that will be announced at the appropriate time. It's a very, very sad day for me, personally. Thank you.


COOPER: One answer we hope to learn soon, of course, is why. You see this was not a crime of opportunity. This was obviously meticulously planned. It was mass murder. That was the intention. The shooter had 23 weapons in his hotel room according to law enforcement. At his home in Mesquite, Nevada, he had another 19 firearms, explosives as well, thousands of rounds of ammunition. At a separate home in Reno, Nevada, he had seven guns and even more ammunition. And in his car, according to investigators, they say they found ammonium nitrate, which is a chemical that can be used to make bombs.

There's a lot to talk about, about what's happening here in Las Vegas. CNN's senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta is traveling with the president. He joins us now.

So, Jim, talk about exactly what the president's going to be doing in his time here.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the president and the first lady, they just went inside the University Medical Center here in Las Vegas. They're going to be meeting, as you said, with doctors and nurses. Even some of the survivors of this mass shooting that took place on the Las Vegas Strip.

What we don't have is sort of a tick-tock, a play by play, of what the president is going to be doing inside the hospital. The White House very purposefully has essentially made this a closed press event. There are no cameras inside. No TV cameras. No press cameras inside with the president as he goes and visits these folks inside the hospital. We may see some White House official photos later on today.

But it is a big contrast with what we saw yesterday, Anderson. When the president was down in Puerto Rico, there were cameras with him at nearly every turn. And as you saw throughout the day yesterday, the president had some moments that just didn't strike the right tone. This is, obviously, a very, very delicate situation in Las Vegas. And so I think because of that, the White House has chosen to keep this much more under wraps. Now, later on, after he leaves the hospital, he is going to be meeting

with law enforcement, first responders, members of Congress, other local officials here in Las Vegas. At that point, we may hear from the president. But as you heard earlier this morning as he was leaving the White House, he did indicate that there may be some new information coming out in this investigation.

[13:24:56] One thing we don't expect to hear from the president today, unless he's asked the question, is this discussion of gun control. The White House has been making it very clear they don't want to have that conversation right now. They even put out talking points to their surrogates all around the country and around Washington essentially urging those surrogates to go on TV, talk to the press, and say, now is not the time to talk about gun control. We want to wait for the facts to come in.

Of course, Anderson, as you know, as we all know covering this president, he doesn't always wait for the facts to come in. But in this case, as you can see behind me with this visit to the hospital that's very much under wraps, and with the cautious tone that the White House is trying to strike with respect to this mass shooting here, it does appear, at least at this point, that they're being much more careful, much more cautious in how the president handles this, Anderson.

COOPER: So is he going to have any public event where he speaks publicly?

ACOSTA: At this point we don't -- we don't have that locked down. We don't expect him to make any sort of formal remarks here. But as we've seen in these types of situations, if there's a camera rolling in a situation where he -- you know, he could be asked a question, obviously, that changes things.

Now, we should point out, all of this is occurring as there was sort of a political tempest brewing back in Washington with the secretary of state coming before cameras and being asked whether or not he had call the president a moron. I can tell you, Anderson, that the press secretary, Sarah Sanders, told reporters on Air Force One as they were landing here in Las Vegas that the president continues to have confidence in the secretary of state.

However, she put it in sort of cryptic terms. She said, well, you know, the president expresses confidence in all of his cabinet members until they're no longer in those positions. So not exactly a ringing endorsement for the secretary of state. But I think it will be very interesting, Anderson, if the cameras are on anywhere near the president if he's asked that question about his own secretary of state just how he responds to that.

And, obviously, there are these Russia questions that are circulating back in Washington, that press conference that was just held a few moments ago with the two ranking members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The president made it very clear he feels the Russia investigation is a hoax. That's clearly not how those members of Congress expressed that in the last several minutes. But if he does speak to the cameras, we'll know pretty quickly here,

Anderson. But at this point, no set plan for that to happen. But with this president, all bets are off in terms of, you know, expecting what exactly he'll do moment by moment.


COOPER: Yes. All right, Jim Acosta, appreciate that. Thanks very much.

We're learning a lot more this hour about the Las Vegas shooter's stunning arsenal. The pictures that were taken from inside the shooter's hotel room shortly after police breached the door. The police have verified -- the sheriff's department last night verified that the pictures are legitimate. They've launched an investigation to see how these pictures leaked out.

You can see guns, shell casings littered across the floor. According to police, at least 12 -- 12 of the guns found in this room had what's called fire bump stocks, which is an accessory that can turn a semi- automatic weapon into an automatic weapon. It's basically a work around -- around the law. It's perfectly legal to buy in the U.S.

If the pictures alone don't give you a sense of exactly what first responders were up against when they came to that room, I want to put you in their shoes just to give you an idea. What you're about to see is police body cam footage taken as this massacre unfolded. This was released by police in that press conference around 9:00 last night. Let's take a look.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That just hit my head.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go that way. Go that way. Go that way.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, they're shooting right at us, guys. Everybody stay down. Stay down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) coming out a window.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the Mandalay Bay. It's coming out of a window.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back. Get back.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you are. There's multiple (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a gun up there.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see mussel flash from the Mandalay Bay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the Mandalay Bay. I can see the room.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody get down, get down, get down.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not firecrackers?



[13:30:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down, get down, get down.