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GOP Montana U.S. House Candidate Accused of Body Slammy Reporter FBI Duped by Fake Russian Intel Document on Clinton E-mail; U.K. Bomber Likely Had ISIS Training in Syria. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired May 25, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: What do you think is better for the Republican Party, for him to win or to lose?
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, for this president who supported him, he wants to see this as a win. Even with all of this going on, he's a staunch supporter, a loyalist to Donald Trump, which he's in need of right now. He is like him. He's a business mogul. Donald Trump needs people like that in his camp who are espousing exactly what he says. Look what happened with the reporter. Reporters are enemy of the people. We are opposition parties. Steve Bannon said that. But for the Republican Party, for those in Washington, for the Paul ryans, Mitch McConnells, this does not bode well at all. For the president, it's one thing. For those in power on Capitol Hill, it says another.
BALDWIN: Paul Ryan said he needs to apologize.
BALDWIN: We heard from the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: To see this person who wants to be a representative in the House of representatives for Montana, sort of a wanna-be Trump, using language like that, treat people harshly like that. That's his model. Donald Trump is his model. We've really got to say, come on, behave. Behave. That was outrageous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Congressman Jolly, I saw your Twitter: "Hey, county prosecutor, file assault charges against Gianforte and accessory charges against President Trump."
DAVID JOLLY, (R), FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: That's it. Listen, welcome to Donald Trump's America. Welcome to the environment he created. Rarely do I agree with Nancy Pelosi. Understand this is what we did when we had a candidate who, two years ago, suggested I don't want to kill the media but I do hate them and they are disgusting people and we've allowed them to do this and, frankly, 46 percent of the people who put Donald Trump in the White House have also contributed to this environment. Understand politically, also, how weak Gianforte is right now and how weak Republicans are. He snapped because he was being pushed on whether or not he supported the AACA in a state Trump won by 20 points and couldn't handle the question and he put the reporter in a chokehold. That makes what Donald Trump did to April Ryan look like small ball, and I never thought we'd get to that point.
RYAN: I hear you.
But going back to that point, though, it's true, there is a segment of society that's listening to the president. He's giving this dog whistle and they are following it. On Twitter, the Twitter trolls have taken over. It's about giving fact and people are jumping on us. Just for shaking my head, allegedly that Sean Spicer said I did, I got a death threat. And we had to file a complaint with the FBI. So this is real. This is not a good state of affairs.
BALDWIN: Ben Ferguson, you're shaking your head?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I'm shaking my head because I think it's pretty ridiculous. I understand why Democrats are trying to connect a guy in Montana, that was an idiot, to the president because you're trying to score political points. Let's separate and actually hold the man, the candidate in Montana, responsible for his actions. This guy and what he did was inexcusable. He should, in my opinion, not only apologize but he should probably drop out of the race. I think he probably knows seven out of 10 votes have been cast because you can vote by mail. But for Nancy Pelosi and others to say, oh, well, this was sanctioned by Donald Trump. No, this is a grown man running for Congress who obviously cannot handle the heat that comes with running for office. You hold him accountable. But don't try to score political points and try to connect to the White House because you're just as bad as the guy who assaulted the reporter.
FERGUSON: Grow up and hold the adult accountable.
BALDWIN: I understand. You are separating the two.
Do you see -- is there a breakdown in civility? Do you acknowledge that?
FERGUSON: Yes, there's absolutely a breakdown in civility on both sides. As soon as I get done with this, some people will probably say, Ben, you should literally die. That's where we've gone. And he made a stupid mistake. I personally would early vote because stuff like this can happen but let's try not to somehow -- this is a kid that gets in trouble and the parents don't want to hold him accountable so he blames the friends for getting him in trouble. Well, you're hanging out with bad people. No, you made a bad decision. Don't try to connect with Donald Trump.
RYAN: The vice president supported this candidate. The vice president and president supported this candidate with robo-calls.
FERUGSON: Whoa. Whoa.
RYAN: This is not about Barack Obama. This is about --
FERGUSON: My point is this --
[14:35:14] FERGUSON: There are people that Obama that he supported and --
FERGUSON: Listen to me, this is what I'm going to say.
No. You're making my point for me, which is this, when you were the president, you basically support the people that are running on your side of the aisle. There are people that were shady and did stupid things and some are disgraced politicians. Anthony Weiner is one of them, which a lot of Democrats supported him --
BALDWIN: Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.
FERUGSON: My point is this --
BALDWIN: Why are we talking about Anthony Weiner right now, my friend?
BALDWIN: Come on, come on. Let's stay on track.
JOLLY: I think Ben just acknowledged --
BALDWIN: Congressman Jolly --
JOLLY: I think he just acknowledged that Donald Trump -- I think Ben just acknowledged that Donald Trump has terrible judgment for supporting Gianforte.
FERGUSON: No. My point is this -- JOLLY: But listen, to Ben's point, you can't tie the two of them together. But listen, bad candidates can't handle the scrutiny of the press, and that's true of a congressional candidate in Montana and of the president of the United States, who cannot handle the scrutiny of the press. And that's one thing that Trump and Gianforte have in common.
Ben, you cannot break up that message.
BALDWIN: We've got to go.
David Jolly, April Ryan, Ben Ferguson --
BALDWIN: We can talk about Anthony Weiner another time. All right?
Thank you very much, you guys, for all of your various opinions.
We do have more breaking news we need to get to into the investigation of the attack in Manchester this week. We are now hearing who likely trained the attacker and where that happened.
Also ahead, President Trump slamming NATO leaders to their faces on the steps of NATO headquarters. See what happened in some very awkward moments.
[14:41:23] BALDWIN: All right. Breaking news, an investigation into the deadly concert bombing in Manchester, England. Sources are now telling CNN that the bomber likely received training from ISIS when he traveled to Syria in the months before this week's attack. The United States also now believes that ISIS set the stage for the terrorist to carry out his suicide bombing at that Ariana Grande concert. This comes amid rising fears of another possible attack. CNN has confirmed, right now, armed officers are patrolling U.K. trains for the first time ever. The U.K.'s terror threat level remains at the highest point in a decade.
Atika Shubert is live in Manchester.
Atika, talk to me about today's raids in the hunt for others who might be involved in the preparation for the bombing.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. We've seen an increasing number of raids around the city and we've been to at least four of them. This is one of the first places that was searched. This is where Salman Abedi was actually living, or at least his last known address. What we've been seeing is a hunt for a possible place where the bomb may have been at the apartment yesterday and other places searched and packages have been coming there. And there is an increased pace to try to find out how the bomb was constructed and who made it. What the consensus is from a lot of investigators is that Abedi did not work alone. There is a possibility that the experienced bombmaker put together these explosives. And the question is where did he do it. If it was in Manchester, are there more explosives. These are the kind of leads investigators are racing against time to try and chase. That's why we see so many of these searches and raids happening -- Brooke?
BALDWIN: Atika, thank you.
Let me bring in Chris Swecker, a former FBI assistant director.
To Atika's point, if this individual had been in Libya a couple of weeks before the attack, and then in Syria some months before training with ISIS terrorists, what does the training entail and what would he have learned?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSITANT DIRECTOR: It would have been mostly indoctrination. I would dispute that it's a really complex attack. I understand the detonator may have been complex but most of the materials that went into the bomb is pretty common bomb. Mostly what took place overseas is the indoctrination, the brainwashing, and then the fundamentals of walking into a public area, selecting the area, and then detonating the bomb. But I think most of that -- they select these individuals carefully. They're people who -- we've seen this in the past -- susceptible to the message, willing to do what this person did. I've been to suicide bomb scenes in Iraq and the first thing that strikes you is, wow, this person is committed. This is the ultimate kamikaze sacrifice. You know you're going to die.
BALDWIN: Just seeing some of the pictures and remnants in person, it's chilling to look at but also likes like there was a dedication to make sure that this thing got carried out and not based upon how they were able to explode it.
One other piece I wanted to bring up to you because we know this bomber's brother is currently in custody in Libya for plotting his own attack there. When we talk about brothers and terrorism, there is, Chris, a bit of a theme, the Kouachi brothers who did the "Charlie Hebdo" attack, and the Brussels suicide bombers, were brother. I remember being in Boston, the Tsarnaev brothers. Why is there a trend?
[14:45:12] SWECKER: These are expendable people. And, again, I think that the master terrorists, the master bombers are not expendable. They want them around for the long term so they can continue to do this. I just think ISIS, al Qaeda, veteran terrorists are good at the indoctrination part and they spot people most susceptible to do this type of thing and they stay in the background. There was an initial ISIS message that referred to multiple bombings, which is pretty ominous. Maybe they were recruiting other members of the family, maybe other members of the malignant social network, if you will. But obviously, there's a cell in operation here. And this -- extend this all the way back to Syria, I think that the Brits and the U.K. intelligence services are holding back a lot of information, as they should. I think this is fairly extensive, as most people would surmise by this point.
BALDWIN: So they are spotting cowardice and weakness in these individuals.
BALDWIN: Chris, thank you for your expertise.
Coming up next, a report suggests the FBI and James Comey may have been duped by a possible fake document, a document that could have influenced Comey's actions involving the Clinton e-mail investigation. We have that coming up.
[14:50:39] BALDWIN: A strange document is causing a stir on Capitol Hill today. According to "The Washington Post," Russia may have planted a document to make the Clinton e-mail investigation look like a conspiracy. In March of last year, the secret document appeared, an apparent piece of Russian intelligence claiming that Loretta Lynch had privately assured someone within the Clinton campaign that the investigation into then-FBI Director James Comey's handling of said classified information wouldn't actually go too deep. But according to people close to this investigation, by August, the FBI had come to believe that the document was possibly fake.
David Chalian is joining me now, our CNN political director. Also joining us, Garrett Graff, is author of "The Threat Matrix, The FBI At War."
Guys, good to see both of you.
David, the real story here appears to be how this document may have influenced Comey at the time. Lay this out for me.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you remember, Brooke, when Jim Comey was testifying before Congress recently and was asked about why he went around the Department of Justice procedures and gave the press conference clearing Hillary Clinton but saying she acted extremely carelessly. Remember the attorney general at the time, Loretta Lynch, Bill Clinton went to visit her at the time and that interaction raised questions about why he thought maybe to be completely independent of DOJ, not even give Loretta Lynch a real heads-up to what he was doing was necessary. He mentioned other items that influenced the decision making. It seems that this document is one of those items that he was talking about and yet we are learning that the document is not necessarily deemed to be credible so you can imagine the irony of all of this that Jim Comey, who inserted himself into the presidential election, as you know, multiple times, to great criticism, may have done so because of the weight he gave what is now deemed to be perhaps a fake document.
BALDWIN: This is huge, if true.
You mentioned when he was testifying recently and he talked about Loretta Lynch, he talked about when he went straight to cameras back in July. Do we all remember this moment?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified of information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Opinions are irrelevant and they were all uninformed by insight into our investigation because we did our investigation the right way. Only facts matter. And the FBI found them here in an entirely apolitical and professional way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, Garrett, as I read this piece in "The Post" this morning, Comey felt he had little choice to step around the DOJ and announce the end of the Clinton investigation because he feared, if Loretta Lynch announced no charges against Clinton and that secret document was leaked, if, then the legitimacy of this entire investigation would be questioned. Are we to believe that the FBI could fall for fake documents?
GARRETT GRAFF, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR: Well, so I think one of the things that this "Washington Post" report makes clear -- and we had known about this document a couple of weeks ago, but "The Washington Post" makes it seem like it played a much more central role in Jim Comey's decision making during that summer to have that unprecedented press conference. But it seems clear that if this is a fake document -- and in the context of the totality of the information that we're learning about last summer, that the U.S. government was often operating with very complete and inaccurate understanding of the scale and scope of what Russia was doing in the meddles with our election.
[14:54:43] BALDWIN: So we've talked so much about Jim Comey because he was fired and because of the conversations with the president and he's known for his notes, right? My question is, and I'm sure the Hillary Clinton folks are thinking the same thing, my goodness, when are we going to get the details and the notes of the thoughts going on behind the scenes of this investigation?
To either of you.
BALDWIN: Garrett, and then David.
GRAFF: I think this is really interesting looking and thinking about this timing. This document first surfaced in March, which is about when the FBI begins to realize that it's unlikely to bring charges against Hillary Clinton. So these two documents are working their way through the system at the same time. And we are beginning to also understand the depths of distrust between Jim Comey and Loretta Lynch. Now, normally the FBI director and the attorney general is one of the most important working relationships in the U.S. government. And we are beginning to understand the extent to which Jim Comey just didn't trust that he could listen to or trust the decision making and independence of Loretta Lynch throughout this process. And that's a really troubling precedent that we're beginning to understand.
(CROSSTALK) CHALIAN: But to your point, Brooke, if, indeed, the special counsel, Bob Mueller, is doing the most comprehensive look at Russia's meddling in the election, then you are right, it will be curious to see if there are contemporaneous notes about Comey's thought process surrounding this memo.
BALDWIN: David, thank you.
Garrett, thank you as well.
More on our breaking news today. Another rejection to the president's travel ban. The Fourth Circuit Court upholding the block on the ban. What this means politically, and what the White House's next steps legally are. More on that.
You're watching CNN.
BALDWIN: Top of the hour, you're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.
Yet another rejection of Donald Trump's travel plan today. Coming from the Fourth Circuit Federal Appeals Court. It just upheld the block on the president's revised ban against six Muslim-majority nations. That is Libya, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. The ruling was overwhelming. It was a 10-3 decision. It upholds a lower- court decision to indefinitely stop core parts of the president's executive order that he signed back in March.
So let's begin with Jessica Schneider with details on that ruling and opinion.
You said it was some 200 pages. Tell me more about that. Why did they go this way?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've all been sifting through it, Brooke. Definitely, a lengthy and, at times, scathing ruling. The bottom line here is --