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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Giuliani to Politico: Mueller's Team, President Trump's Lawyers Working Together to Narrow Questions for Possible Interview; Sources: Manafort's, Son-in-Law Pleads Guilty Under Deal Must Cooperate with Mueller Probe, Other Investigators; Top Democrat On Senate Intelligence Committee; Giuliani To PBS: A Mueller Pres. Trump Interview "Looks More Hopeful"; Pres. Trump And Allies Pound Away On "Witch Hunt" Theme; Team Trump Pounds Away At Mueller Investigation; Anti-Immigration Rant Caught On Video; More Republicans Defy Paul Ryan For Vote On DACA Bills; Man In New York Doesn't Want To Hear Spanish; Anti-Immigration Candidates Campaign In Georgia; One Year Since Mueller Investigation Begin. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired May 17, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:13] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The president woke up with a disgusting taste in his mouth.
John Berman here in for Anderson.
That's his word, disgusting. That's how the president chose to describe the special counsel's investigation, which is one year old today, illegal, too, even though it was launched by his own Justice Department.
Keeping them honest, we have new reporting on the probe and a growing White House effort, a by and large misleading one, to derail, discredit and otherwise divert attention from it. The president kicked off his morning with a string of tweets. Congratulation, America, he wrote. We are now into the second year of the greatest witch hunt in American history and there is still no collusion and no obstruction. The only collusion was that done by Democrats who are unable to win an election despite the spending of far more money.
Then this, wow! Word seems to be coming out the Obama FBI spied on the Trump campaign with an embedded informant. If so, this is bigger than Watergate.
He followed up with this one, despite the disgusting, illegal and unwarranted witch hunt, we have had the most successful first 17-month administration in U.S. history by far. Sorry to the fake news media and haters, but that's not the way it is.
Apologies to Walter Cronkite, but that's not quite the way it is. Though big tax cut bill and a Supreme Court nomination and humming economy are certainly nothing to sneeze at. But keeping them honest, with respect to the investigation, the president is asking people to forget that this probe, this illegal probe as he calls it was begun on the authorization of his own Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The president is asking people to ignore the broad scope that
Rosenstein gave Robert Mueller to do his work. Additionally, the president is asking us to believe this is a witch hunt.
But it's only a witch hunt if you don't find any witches and they have here. In just a year, the special counsel charged 19 people, and three companies, including a former White House adviser. Three former Trump campaign aides, including the campaign chair at the time, a prominent Russian oligarch, and a dozen Kremlin-backed trolls. Five defendants have pleaded guilty, including the former national security adviser Michael Flynn and deputy campaign chair, Rick Gates, they're both cooperating with the special counsel.
So, the president wants us to set that aside and set aside the one- word answer his own FBI director just yesterday gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: Are you said at your confirmation hearing that the Russia investigation was not a witch hunt. Now ten month here, far more immersed in the details of the FBI, is that still your penalties?
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So ignore that. And set aside the fact that long before the special counsel got to work, the FBI was investigating Russian penetration of the 2016 campaign in general and members of the Trump campaign specifically.
According to "The New York Times'" blockbuster report on the origins of the FBI probe, a government informant, yes, did meet with campaign adviser Carter Page. Page was already suspected of being a Russian agent. The same informant, according to "The Time's", also met with George Papadopoulos, whose talk at a London bar about seeking Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton may sparked the entire probe.
For what's it worth, there's not a single reference in "The Times'" piece to the information actually working inside the campaign, yet to hear the president and his spokespeople spin it, what appears to be basic bread and butter investigating is somehow the kind of campaign espionage not seen since Watergate.
The president's new attorney, Rudy Giuliani, for one says he is shocked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: I am shocked to hear they put a spy in the campaign of a major party candidate, or maybe two spies. And now, I'm going through my brain. You know I was a big part of that campaign trying to figure out who was the spy. Now, I'm wondering, is it this person, or that person, or this person? Now, if there is a spy, they got nothing from it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: A short time later, the president tweeted, wow. Then later today, his White House press secretary put out her own deeply concerned gloss on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Does President Trump believe that the FBI had a spy at one point inside his campaign?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I haven't spoken with him directly about that, but certainly seen the reports and if there is any truth to that, it should certainly be looked into.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Again, there are no mentions in the actual story of a spy inside the campaign. None. That is completely invented, yet, somehow and maybe not by accident, it became a "Fox and Friends" talking point and a presidential tweet and something the White House believes should be looked into, which you will remember is how the Devin Nunes shenanigans played out last year. The House Intelligence chairman rushing to the White House to brief the president on shocking information he had just learned about, shocking information he had just learned from inside the White House, itself.
[20:05:01] That is the cycle. This seems to be following. Yet as it plays out, Robert Mueller is going about his work. And according to Michael Caputo, who appears frequently on this program and was interviewed by the Mueller team, the focus is squarely on the one thing the president had most had most adamantly denied, collusion.
And just yesterday, we learned what Donald Trump Jr. told a Senate panel about his meeting with Russians offering, let's just speak plainly here, to collude with the Trump campaign. The Russians were promising dirt. Donald Trump Jr. wanted it. And after the meeting was over, what he was most disappointed about was that they didn't offer more.
So, his father apparently sees collusion like a vampire sees garlic. His son seems to view it as catnip to a tabby.
And the president's new lawyers say even if it did happen, so what?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: That's what you do. Maybe you shouldn't, but you do it. Nothing illegal about that. And even if it comes from a Russian or a German or an American, it doesn't matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Rudy Giuliani made more news late today. He told the PBS NewsHour that the special counsel's team communicated last night with the president's lawyers, and he says they're narrowing down questions for him. Whether that means the president will actually agree to be questioned, he only said it looks more hopeful than it did a day or so ago.
Our Gloria Borger has much more on that shortly. First, though, her report, our best inside look at the investigation, itself.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST ( voice-over): Experiencing team Mueller up close is no walk in the park.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's intense. You know, first of all, they ask to pick you up at a nearby hotel, because they want to sneak you in the back door. That's the way they want to drop you off when they're done.
It's also not a friendly environment. They're professional. I wouldn't could them polite.
BORGER: But they are well-informed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They know more about the Trump campaign than any single person that's worked there. That's because they have everybody's documents. The Mueller investigation knows more than anyone person does. And anybody who sits with them needs to be mindful of that.
BORGER: Especially the president as both he and his revolving team of lawyers are well aware.
(on camera): What would Trump risk if he were to testify in front of Bob Mueller?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Untruthfulness and the possible charge of lying to a federal investigator.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end of the day, is it a perjury trap or is it not? You know, from my perspective, the president shouldn't go anywhere near this group.
BORGER (voice-over): The tangled tale of Russian interference may have started in a London bar in the spring of 2016, when George Papadopoulos, a young self-promoter named to the Trump foreign policy team told an Australian diplomat that Moscow had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Papadopoulos is the coffee boy. He was and always will be.
BORGER: Now, serving up information to Mueller, after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI as are at least three others.
PHIL MUDD, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER: When the FBI walks in the room, they're not asking you questions half the time because they want to know the answer. They're asking questions because they want to see what you're going to say. Did you meet with John Doe last week, no?
Well, they got your e-mail. You did. Now they know, A, that you are not telling the truth. And, B, they know they got a hammer on you. You just lied to a federal officer.
BORGER: Another person under the hammer for lying, deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, who did business with the Russians and worked with campaign chairman Paul Manafort both before and during the election.
Manafort could still be under investigation for colluding with Russia and has pled not guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracy.
SANDERS: Today's announcement has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity.
BORGER: The White House also separated itself from its former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The next president of the United States right here.
BORGER: Now cooperating with Mueller, after lying to the FBI and the vice president about his Russian contacts. And, yet, the president intervened on Flynn's behalf.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: He said he hopes I can let it go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when he said that, you thought --
COMEY: He's asking ne to drop the criminal investigation of his now former national security adviser.
ZELDIN: I think the first sign of obstruction was the president asking for loyalty, followed on the heels of that by clearing the Oval Office and asking Comey to let the Flynn investigation go.
BORGER: The most startling twist in the Russia saga came last summer when Donald Trump Jr. confirmed a 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians peddling dirt on Hillary Clinton. His e-mail, I love it.
But he claimed the focus of the meeting, which also included Manafort and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner was not about Russian coordination but about Russian adoption.
[20:10:02] A bust he denies telling his father about.
DONALD TRUMP, JR., SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame.
BORGER: Just as head scratching is the president's personal involvement aboard Air Force One in composing a misleading statement about the Trump Tower meeting. Could that potentially be obstruction as well?
ZELDIN: As an act in and of itself, I don't think it's obstruction of justice. But I think that obstruction of justice, from Mueller's standpoint, is going to be a mosaic of activity.
BORGER (on camera): So, it's just a piece of a puzzle.
ZELDIN: It's a piece of the puzzle.
BORGER (voice-over): A very big jigsaw with a trove of characters, the Russians, 13 indicted for trolling Americans on social media. Political trickster Roger Stone, long-time friend of the president who denies coordinating with WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who distributed the Democratic National Committee's e-mails hacked by the Russians, campaign aide Carter Page, his frequent trips to Moscow raising eyebrows, and Trump lawyer Michael Cohen who pushed a never built Trump Tower Moscow during the election and who was recently raided by the FBI.
The Trump family is not immune either, son-in-law Jared Kushner who sought the back channel with Russians and then omitted those contacts on disclosure forms. And yet, after one year, while the president runs on and on --
TRUMP: It's a total witch hunt. I have been saying it for a long time.
BORGER: Mueller runs silent and runs deep.
ZELDIN: We are piloting the Titanic. We have seen the tip of an iceberg. We have no idea what lies beneath the surface.
BORGER: So what's ahead? A Mueller firing, or a Supreme Court battle over presidential testimony? One thing not on the table, according to Rudy Giuliani, a presidential indictment. Which could leave it all with a report from Mueller for the Justice Department and Congress to consider, and then they decide just what to do with it.
MUDD: I think the American people will be frustrated in the end, because they're going to expect that he's going to sit in front of the cameras or issue 100 pages and give them like a story.
ZELDIN: He has to submit a confidential report. My expectation is that Mueller would like to submit that report in confidence, turn out the lights, and go home and leave it to others to figure out what to do with his findings.
BERMAN: And Rudy Giuliani has been all over the media the last self days. He spoke with "Politico" about prepping the president for a possible encounter with team Mueller. The sessions, he said, would be held in off hours in the White House, perhaps even over golf games.
Our foursome tonight, Gloria Borger, Carl Bernstein, David Gergen, and Jeffrey Toobin.
You know, Gloria, you have seen these reports from PBS and elsewhere tonight, quoting Rudy Giuliani as now saying of the president it would be going to far to say he is going to sit down. But it looks more hopeful than it did a day or so ago.
Is this consistent with what you are hearing from your sources?
BORGER: Well, I spoke with one this evening, who said, look, there have been a series of communications between the Trump legal team and the special counsel about this question of whether Trump should testify, will testify. And color me skeptical and color my source skeptical, about whether, in the end, they're going to reach some kind of agreement. But it's very clear from watching Rudy Giuliani over the last few days that what's important to the president is what Rudy Giuliani is doing, and what he is doing is making it appear as if the president is very willing to testify, is trying to reach an agreement with the special counsel to do so, so that if in the end he ends up not testifying, they look like they have made a good faith effort and the president can then place the blame elsewhere rather than on himself.
BERMAN: This is very interesting, Jeffrey Toobin, make it appear as if the president wants to sit down. Make it look like these are good faith negotiations. They're increasingly every day that passes it seems to me that this show, the Rudy Giuliani show isn't ending itself.
It's not a means to an end. He's not there negotiating an outcome with Robert Mueller. He is there to create this show which is a part of the larger political argument.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Right. What the president has said is he wants better TV lawyers. And now, he's got a real TV lawyer in Rudy Giuliani, who is making two points basically, one is, as Gloria was saying, the president really wants to testify.
BERMAN: Which we don't know for a fact. All we know is he says he wants.
TOOBIN: He says he wants to.
BERMAN: He wants us to think he wants.
TOOBIN: Right. And the other point he is making is that this is a terrible and unfair investigation. This fantasy, this absurdity that the FBI planted a spy in the Trump campaign.
[20:15:00] Not said in the "New York Times" article. Not true. But, you know, it gets into the Fox biosphere and repeated and it becomes something to talk about.
So, all of that leads to putting the Mueller investigation on the defensive that they have something to defend themselves about rather than the president deciding whether he wants to testify.
BERMAN: You know, Carl Bernstein, I'm glad we have you here on one specific point that Jeffrey just alluded to there, because the president in one of the statements today said that this is bigger than Watergate. Of course, what he was talking about is the investigation, itself. He thinks the investigation, itself, is so scandalous that it's bigger than Watergate.
It just happens that you know something about Watergate. So, I was wondering what your take on this is.
CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Well, Watergate was about a criminal president, Richard Nixon, who conducted a criminal presidency from the first days of his office until the day he left. I think we need to look at one element of a big picture that was not in that terrific set up that we saw, and that is the success that Donald Trump is having in getting people in this country, not just his base, but you look at the polls, maybe 75 or 80 percent of people who call themselves Republicans, who believe this is a witch hunt.
And those numbers are going up. Not down. Even as Mueller makes more and more invisible progress even as we see a staggering body of everyday that suggests, doesn't prove, but suggests collusion. And we saw how enthusiastic the president's son was about colluding with the Russians to get information and yet, we are finding that the conduct of the investigators, the conduct of the press, the conduct of the Democrats, the conduct of Hillary Clinton for tens of millions of Americans has been made the issue by Donald Trump and they have bought into it.
And I think we need to acknowledge he's having remarkable success there.
BERMAN: Remarkable success, David Gergen, even for people who do not believe this is a witch hunt, there is no question that this White House and its allies are driving the daily story at this point on the Russian investigation. Part of the reason is because the special counsel's team doesn't leak. They don't talk at all. We don't see what they're doing on a minute by minute, let alone a month by month basis.
Look, we didn't know they talked to AT&T and working for them in two months. We didn't know until six months until it happened, we don't know anything from their side. All we hear is what the president and his allies are saying every day.
But, you know, Rudy Giuliani says no indictment one day, and then for the next 30 hours, no indictment is the story. They are driving this.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There is no question. This is an all out propaganda war, hand-to-hand conflict, conducted by one side, conducted by the White House and as you say by the president's allies who are doing everything they can to discredit the investigation, to discredit the institutions of the FBI and the Justice Department in order to drive public opinion in the president's direction.
And the other side is kept silent because that is the professionalism that Mueller is displaying. They don't have anybody out there speaking. And, frankly, there have been very few Democrats good at speaking up, or speaking up on that side and to defend Mueller.
I think Mueller is running an extraordinary professional organization. There haven't been leaks. But the results of having no leak is all the propaganda points pile up on the other side. And I must say, I think that this is helping the president in public opinion. I think it's hurting our democracy to erode public trust in these institutions and to do, to protect the president at great expense to other institutions which have been very important for our democracy in the past.
BERMAN: Asymmetrical warfare to say the least. We're going to talk much more on this in just a moment.
Plus, breaking news, including a new legal move that could increase the pressure on Paul Manafort.
And later, that guy who could not stand the idea of other people speaking Spanish around him. This video that went viral. The man in question has been identified and his story is being seen as something bigger than even his towering rage.
[20:22:58] BERMAN: I was talking about a president of war footing against the special counsel a year into the investigation and also possibly getting ready to sit down with him. Rudy Giuliani is talking about getting his client ready perhaps for golf and narrowing the scope of potential questions.
There is more breaking news that could put pressure, new pressure on Paul Manafort, who as you know is pleading not guilty to the charges against him, at least for now, and not cooperating with the special counsel, at least for now.
Two sources tell CNN that his former son-in-law has reached a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, which has been investigating his real estate deals.
Now, under this agreement, he will be required to cooperate with another investigators, though one source is doubtful about what he may have to offer Robert Mueller or anyone else.
But now with the panel, Jeffrey Toobin, you know, the deputy campaign chair Rick Gates already cooperating with the special counsel, and now his former son-in-law will be cooperating as well. It's closing in.
TOOBIN: This has been a bad week for Paul Manafort. The most important thing that happened is earlier this week, the judge in his Washington case. He has two cases against him -- Virginia and then Washington.
The judge in the Washington case declined to dismiss the case against him and said it was perfectly appropriate for Mueller to bring the case. So, Manafort at a minimum is going trial in Washington. And, you know, we'll see about Virginia.
Now, his son-in-law faces, you know, this prospect of being sentenced. It's a lot of pressure to plead guilty and cooperate and, you know, we're talking a lot about spin and public opinion. This is something that actually matters. If Paul Manafort pleads guilty and cooperates, that's a big deal in this case. This has been a week where the pressure on him to do so has increased.
BERMAN: It's interesting because that's an actual factual domino, Carl Bernstein. And when you look at all this and you look at all the evidence, including maybe the volume of the president protestations here, you actually see something else.
BERNSTEIN: Yes. And this is a two-way freight train collision heading towards each other.
[20:25:01] The special prosecutor who has huge momentum here, despite the momentum that Trump has gotten from his base and from Republicans who have been craven in defending him, despite his contempt for rule of law. Did we have these two freight trains heading towards each other?
And Mueller has considerable power behind it. Not just Manafort. He also has plead -- you know, he's got the president's lawyer Cohen, his fixer is in a box and he may flip and talk against the president of the United States. We don't know that.
But we do know the president is very concerned about that and the president is talking to people I talk to about the possibility of issuing pardons, about the possibility of shutting down this investigation, firing Mueller, firing Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. That has been discussed for months and months and months and months.
And if the flame gets too close to the president of the United States, certainly those closest to him, including old friends, believe that he's prepared to shut down this investigation and take his chances with impeachment if it were to come to that and think that maybe he can do better there, if the facts are lined up against him and his former associates are to testify against him or members of his family. So, that we have a real clash coming here. We're at a very critical juncture.
BERMAN: It's interesting, Gloria, because this new legal team with Rudy Giuliani, if nothing else, it seems to have shut down the public musings from the president or the comment that he would make that led people to think he was on the verge maybe of firing Robert Mueller. That's gone away.
BORGER: Right, for now.
BERMAN: At least temporarily -- for now, right.
BORGER: Yes, for now.
BERMAN: Is that intentional by this legal team?
BORGER: Yes, they're trying, and since he's got Giuliani out there, and I will tell you, I spoke with one source who said that the president sees Giuliani as kind of cathartic for him because Giuliani is kind of saying the things that he would like to say that he wishes his other lawyers would say.
But he's got this new legal team and they're getting read in and they're getting their security clearance, which don't forget the husband and wife team of the Raskins still need to get clear, and they're trying to figure out where to go and everybody understands that firing either Rosenstein or Mueller at this juncture the a terrible, terrible idea. You know, there have been some discussion about maybe -- well, he could do it after the midterms, depending on how that goes, for example, but we really, you know, at this point it doesn't seem like it's imminent.
But the president, himself, does not accept that this is a legitimate investigation and that has not changed one iota. He believes it's directed towards him to delegitimize his election and his presidency and he cares about how he comes out of this more than anything else.
BERMAN: You know, David, it's interesting. One of the other things Rudy Giuliani has said is that they think they would beat impeachment, in other words an impeachment battle. It seems that what they're trying to do here is lay the groundwork for a political argument that comes after a report is released, whether it gets to impeachment or not, or otherwise. But to say you're going to be an impeachment battle. Does anyone win an impeachment battle in your experience?
GERGEN: Oh, yes, Bill Clinton was impeached, but was not upheld in the Senate, and he wound up as I recall, the last polls of his presidency was 64 percent.
BERMAN: Is Trump headed there? Is this a strategy to get there?
GERGEN: I think that Trump has a growing possibility within Democratic ranks that more sober people are saying, unless there's a clear smoking gun, why don't we instead of pursuing impeachment, let the voters settle this at the ballot box in 2020, or maybe even 2018?
Let me just say this, I think that two things, one is Giuliani I think being out there and doing what Gloria says he's doing, quite properly, he's taking a lot of the pressure off the president to do it for himself, and I think that sort of has watered down or quieted down some of his tweeting. But the real issue is that the flames, as far as we can tell, have not yet reached the presidency. He's not yet under a lot of personal heat. His people are.
And I think the central player in all of this is likely to be Manafort, or certainly one of the central players. And they've now got a couple of people to go after Manafort, but Manafort himself is not flipping. He's been very tough.
And one has to supposed there are two reasons for that. One, he thinks he's going to get a pardon, as Carl Bernstein keeps pointing out. Or secondly, he's worried if he talks, if he flips, the Russians may take him out at the end.
BERMAN: Well, we will -- we will see going forward.
Gloria Borger, Carl Bernstein, David Gergen, Jeffrey Toobin, thanks so much.
Just ahead, I'm going to speak with the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee which as you know has confirmed that they believe that there was Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential election and it was designed to help Donald Trump.
BERMAN: Again our breaking news tonight, President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani tells PBS that is as recently as last night attorney's for the Mueller team were in contact to the presidential lawyers about narrowing questions for possible interview with the President. And as you just heard President Trump acknowledge the one year anniversary of the start of the Mueller investigation by incorrectly calling it "illegal".
For more certainly of interest to the ranking Democrat in the Senate Intelligence Committee, Virginia's Mark Warner, the committee's report yesterday left zero doubt that that committee does believe there was Russian meddling in the 2016 election that it was designed to help Donald Trump.
I spoke to the senator just before the broadcast.
BERMAN: Senator Warner, your committee put out a joint statement saying that you have no reason to question the findings of the intelligence community that the Russians meddled in the 2016 election and they did so with the intent of helping Donald Trump. The House Intelligent Committee put out a report that said the opposite they said they saw no evidence of that. How is it that you guys are at odds?
SEN. MARK WARNER, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well John, let's be clear. The House Intelligence represented only the majority, the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee did not agree with their finding. They agreed with our finding. I think any reasonable person following who is been following the story. And we interviewed over 100 individuals many of them that will part of putting together the intelligence community assessment.
[20:35:11] We interviewed officials from the Obama administration, the Trump administration, and literally every person that is in the intelligence community that has been in effect confirmed by the Senate. One of the first questions we would ask is, do you agree with the Intelligence Committee assessment and every one of them 100% agreed. So, I would argue it's a very small minority of people who are not connected to any kind of factual basis that don't agree with our assessment, which the intelligence community.
They put this -- the report together fairly quickly. But they got it right. They realized the Russians massively intervened in our elections. They touched 21 of our state's electoral systems. They radically used social media in ways that never have been used before and they did it with the intent to help Mr. Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.
BERMAN: Chris Stewart, a congressman -- Republican congressman from Utah who was on the House Intelligence committee was telling me earlier today, he spent hours overt the CIA looking at things. And he saw no evidence he says that the Russians were trying to help Donald Trump. How is it that he says he's seen no evidence?
WARNER: I don't have the foggiest idea. I know that we had in Mike Rogers, Jim Clapper, John Brennan, the previous heads of the three of the intelligence agencies, they all reconfirmed that, you know, our conclusion, their conclusion that should be, they also indicated that there was even further proof when Bob Mueller brought a series of indictments against individuals connected to the internet research agency, the group that was doing a lot of the social media posting, that that, those indictments further confirm that the goal of the Russians was to help Trump and hurt Clinton.
Now, I can't -- you know, I frankly have stopped listening to some of the stuff that comes out of the House majority, because it's been so disconnected from any kind of factual basis. And candidly, that's why it's been so important that in the Senate we keep our efforts bipartisan, the chairman and I and our committee, we go from Tom Cotton on one end to Kamala Harris on the other. We've all stayed united on our reports so far.
BERMAN: How much more work or what does your committee need to do to complete its investigation and when will that be?
WARNER: We've still got three very important pieces to finish. We've finished the election security, we've now done the assessment of the intelligence community. We've got more work to do on what happened well and where there were mistakes made by the Obama administration. We got to make sure that we get a more conclusive report on social media as well as some policy, outlines on where we need to go, because that problem and misuse not just by the Russians but the others in social media is only growing.
And then we've got the question that everybody is still waiting for and I'm reserving judgment on, and the question of collusion between individuals connected with the Trump campaign and the Russians.
BERMAN: You say reserving judgment on that, because we are a year into the Mueller investigation right now. And you say you're reserving judgment on that, you talk to Republicans, you talk to the White House. And they say they have seen no evidence of it to date. Have you seen any evidence of it to date?
WARNER: If there was not more to be investigated, and more facts to come out, I don't think we would have had at this point a year today into the Mueller investigation five guilty pleas, 14 indictments, including the indictment of the President's campaign manager Mr. Manafort, including the indictment of a number of key Russians who were involved in further bolstering the evidence about Russians helping Mr. Trump to hurt Clinton. You know, in terms of the clue, I felt and others are, we're going stay silent until we see all the witnesses. BERMAN: Well, staying silent is different than reserving judgment. So, are you staying silent or your just refusing to answer whether -- have you seen evidence?
WARNER: However, John, you want to ask the question, I'm not going to weigh in until the committee finishes its work. And we've got more work to do. We -- there is actually one of the things that is a bit frustrating, because I wish we had been further along at this point.
BERMAN: One of the things the President said today is that the Mueller investigation is disgusting. He called it illegal. His personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is out there almost every day saying the same thing on television. Do you worry that their argument is starting to be heard? Particularly among supporters to the President? Do you worry that it's working?
WARNER: I worry that this President's relentless attacks and his allies attacks on the Mueller investigation, their relentless attacks on the integrity basically on everybody that works at the FBI. Their relentless attacks on, in effect, the whole Department of Justice, really raises to me the concern that some of Mr. Trump's supporters may start thinking well, you know, not only is the Mueller investigation not accurate or not fully credible.
[20:40:13] But, you know, it also in effect gives a green light to people deciding. Well, I don't want to follow this law or this rule because everybody that's involved in the FBI and Justice Department is somehow corrupt. That gets us into very dangerous territory. And I think those who've made those kind of ad homonym attacks, do so extraordinarily irresponsibly and are not reflective of what our nation is, rule of law.
BERMAN: Senator Warner, thanks so much for being with us.
WARNER: Thank you John.
BERMAN: So both President Trump and his Republican allies continue to pound away on the theme that the Russian investigation is a witch hunt and a total waste of time.
Coming up a detailed look at their game plan and how it has been working.
BERMAN: If you count the times that President Trump and his allies have used the phrase "witch hunt" when talking about the Russian investigation, there's more for calculator this might week is breaking point. It seems to be broadly coordinated in its form from tweets to television appearances on Fox News to surrogates fanning out all over the country.
But we'd look at how this works and its effectiveness. Here's 360 Randi Kaye. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The attacks come from all sides, Twitter and television with the help of trusty surrogates.
[20:45:03] RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAYWER: This is a completely tainted investigation.
KAYE (voice-over): The President sometimes starts the attacks on Twitter early in the morning to his 52 million followers, tweeting about something he saw on the Fox News morning program, Fox & Friends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times have we heard that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign?
KAYE (voice-over): Then in prime time, Fox News host Sean Hannity takes the baton.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: I have a message tonight for the special counsel Robert Mueller. Your witch hunt is now over. Time to close the doors.
KAYE (voice-over): Hannity according to one account, speaks with Trump nightly about how to shape their message to supporters. It's a relationship one White House official described to New York magazine as a quote "f'ed feedback loop".
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The message now, everyone knows it's a fix OK, its witch hunt. And they know that. And that they've been able to message it.
KAYE (voice-over): Trump's newest lawyer Rudy Giuliani now also in the tent to amplify the narrative.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President --
GIULIANI: Clearly isn't. And he is absolutely right. And you want to get insulted. You get insulted. But it's a dam witch hunt.
TRUMP: I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now, and actually much more than.
KAYE (voice-over): The playbook is this, attack and attempt to discredit any element of the investigation unfounded or not.
HANNITY: Robert Mueller and his band of Democratic witch hunters never should have been appointed. And they need to be disbanded immediately.
KAYE (voice-over): Sound familiar?
TRUMP: So you have all these investigators, they're Democrats. In all fairness Bob Mueller worked for Obama for eight years.
KAYE (voice-over): He didn't mention Mueller was first appointed by George W. Bush. The FBI and former director James Comey's credibility also under attack. On Twitter last month, Trump directed his followers to tune into Fox & Friends which attacked the FBI and later on Hannity show, Giuliani did the same.
GIULIANI: Comey should be prosecuted for leaking confidential FBI information when he leaked his report.
KAYE (voice-over): And the President got in on it too, tweeting, James Comey is a proven leaker and liar. Also in on the act Devin Nunez, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Remember Nunez had already been caught fibbing about his contacts with the White House and his committee's investigation into the President's campaign had been closed over the objection of Democrats on the committee. Its conclusion? No evidence of collusion.
And right on queue, that was followed by a tweet. House Intelligence Committee votes to release final report. Findings, no evidence provided of collusion between Trump campaign and Russia. Which was then picked up by Fox News.
HANNITY: Mueller has been at this for almost 10 months. Congress for over 14 months and so far nothing, no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.
KAYE (voice-over): And around and around it goes. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
BERMAN: Coming up, the immigration debate, north, south, and then the nation's capital of racist prank caught on cell phone video in New York. Two anti-immigration candidates run for governor in Georgia.
That plus the immigration debate in the House of Representatives, next.
[20:52:28] BERMAN: The Republican leadership in the House as promised to hold a vote on a hard line immigration bill. Meanwhile, moderate Republicans are a few away seen away from for a series of votes to save the DACA program. The President has been venting more about immigration policy in the past few days and there are examples all over the country of how out of control in some ways the debate has become, a video has gone viral from here in New York, a man identified as attorney Aaron Schlossberg was caught on cellphone video at a restaurant in the middle of Manhattan ranting because employees and customers were speaking Spanish.
AARON SCHLOSSBERG, ATTORNEY: Your clients and your staff, is speaking Spanish, because when (INAUDIBLE)
(OFF-MIC) SCHLOSSBERG: And my guess is they're not documented. So my next call is to ICE to have each one of the them (INAUDIBLE). The least you could do is speak English.
BERMAN: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted today, the 8.6 million people who call New York home speak more than 200 languages. They're all New Yorkers and they're all welcome here. Meantime, in Georgia, the governor's race includes more than one candidate with big talk against immigration, trying to make their point with a big truck and a big bus.
Gary Tuchman, reports.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Spotted on interstate 45 in Georgia. A vehicle that a candidate for governor calls his deportation bus.
MICHAEL WILLIAMS, (R) GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We'll not just going to track him, we'll watch him roam around our state. We're going to put him on this bus and send him home.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Republican State Senator Michael Williams trailing in GOP primary polling with a bus that says danger, murderers, rapists, kidnappers, child molesters and other criminals on board echoing these words.
TRUMP: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some I assume are good people.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Are you putting people on the deportation bus?
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Are you trying to find people into deport?
TUCHMAN (on-camera): So why are you doing this?
WILLIAMS: Again, this is to bring awareness to the issue illegal of immigration and our state in our country.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): But isn't it a mean spirited of gimmick to have a bus that says deportation and murders and rapists are on this bus.
WILLIAMS: What is mean about holding people accountable for breaking the law. When did that become a mean --
TUCHMAN (on-camera): You think, illegal immigrants are murders and rapists?
WILLIAMS: That's not what we're saying. That's not what the bus says.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): What does the bus say?
WILLIAMS: The bus says that it has kidnappers, illegal aliens on there, and that's who we're going to go after those that in our country illegally and breaking yet another law.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): So is this a gimmick though?
WILLIAMS: Absolutely not.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The candidate and the staff take the bus and an RV to Georgia cities that have many immigrants. And get a mostly negative reaction from people who have gathered waiting for the bus. But Michael Williams isn't the only candidate running for Georgia governor who is going to extremes.
BRIAN KEMP, (R) GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: In two things if you going to date one of my daughters, respect, and?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A healthy appreciation for the Second Amendment, sir.
KEMP: We're going to get along just fine.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is also running and also talks about hauling away immigrants.
KEMP: I got a big truck. Just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take them home myself. Yes, I just said that.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): One has a big truck. Another, a big bus.
(on-camera): You're a Sunday school teacher?
WILLIAMS: I am.
TUCHMAN (on-camera): Does this violate the tenants of your religious moral and that to be kind to your fellow human being?
WILLIAMS: Again, what I am doing is being kind to the citizens of this country. The citizens that have built this country and have something that world covets and wants, we have to protect that.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And before the deportation bus drives away for the day, someone places this on the front of it. Words from the poem of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Decatur, Georgia.
BERMAN: Coming up for us, on the one-year anniversary of the Mueller investigation. The President calls it a disgusting, illegal and unwarranted witch hunt. In facts are -- is already led to 22 defendants, 75 criminal charges and five guilty pleas. The latest from the White House next.