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Federal Appeals Court Upholds Block of Trump Travel Ban; Trump Scolds NATO Allies Over Defense Spending; Senate Intel Heads Given Broad Subpoena Power in Russia Investigation. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired May 25, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TAPPER: Spoiler alert for those who haven't seen "Empire Strikes Back." And of course, all the sequels. Yes, even "The Phantom Menace."
That's it for Jake Tapper and "THE LEAD." Stay with us. We're going to have Wolf Blitzer right now.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Travel ban blocked. Another major setback for President Trump's travel back as a federal appeals court refuses to clear the way for implementation. So what is the White House's next move?
Withholding the memos. The Justice Department informs House investigators it won't hand over documents pertaining to conversations between President Trump and fired FBI chief James Comey, citing the new special prosecutor's investigation. Now, Senate investigators have been granted broad new subpoena powers. Will they use them?
Lecturing allies. President Trump scolds leaders of NATO countries for not meeting financial commitments while allies express anger over U.S. intelligence leaks. Do they still have enough trust in the Trump administration to share their very sensitive information?
An unprovoked attack. A closely-watched special House election is rocked when one candidate allegedly body-slams a reporter. Voting is underway right now. How will the assault charge against the Republican candidate impact the outcome of this race?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following breaking news. Another major legal setback for President Trump's efforts to restrict travel to the United States from six Muslim-majority countries. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court ruling blocking the revised travel ban.
Also breaking news, the Senate Intelligence Committee has just voted to give broad subpoena power to the chairman and the ranking member of the panel for its probe of Russian election meddling and possible -- possible -- collusion with the Trump campaign.
At the same time, the FBI is declining the House Oversight Committee's request, at least for now, for documents related to President Trump's communications with fired FBI Director James Comey.
We're also following President Trump's remarkable lecture to NATO allies at a meeting of member state leaders in Brussels. The president scolded them publicly for not meeting financial commitments to the alliance, and he pointedly failed to affirm NATO's mutual defense pledge.
We're covering all of that and much more this hour with our guests, including the former foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton, Jake Sullivan. And our correspondents and specialists are also standing by.
Let's begin with the breaking news about President Trump's revised travel ban. Our justice reporter, Laura Jarrett, is working the story for us.
Laura, 10 of the 13 justices who heard the case ruled against the Trump administration.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. Another significant setback for the Trump administration in this ongoing legal drama over the president's travel ban.
This time a majority of judges on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a lower court's decision to indefinitely halt the ban, finding that it likely violates the Constitution, because its primary purpose was to disfavor Muslims.
The court's ruling was lengthy and scathing, explaining in part that Congress [SIC] granted the president broad powers, but when it comes to immigration, the president's power cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across the nation.
The president -- the Trump administration had tried to justify their attempt to ban foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries on national security grounds, but at the end of the day, Trump's own words doomed any legal justification his lawyers could have offered in this case with a majority of the judges finding that then-candidate Trump's campaign statements revealed on numerous occasions he expressed anti-Muslim sentiment, as well as his intent, if elected, to ban Muslims from the United States.
Now, we haven't heard any reaction from the White House or the Justice Department on next steps here, and we also still await a decision from a different federal appeals court in the 9th Circuit that heard arguments in another travel ban appeal earlier this month. But at least now this travel ban is on hold, Wolf.
BLITZER: Another huge setback. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, what, 10-3 against the president. The 9th Circuit presumably is going to do something similar.
JARRETT: Well, you know, the 9th Circuit is made up of three Clinton- appointed judges, so I think you can imagine what the result might be there. But obviously, they have a little bit of differing views, and so we have to wait and see what the opinion actually says.
BLITZER: All right, Laura. Good reporting. Thanks very much for that.
Let's get some more now on President Trump's NATO speech. A major speech raising, though, new questions among allies about the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance.
17:05:9] Our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is traveling with the president -- Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, President Trump took the extraordinary step of scolding much of the NATO alliance for failing to pay its fair share to the partnership. He also stopped short of endorsing a key NATO agreement to come to the common defense of the alliance.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Terrible thing.
ACOSTA (voice-over): For President Trump it was a day of shattering the norms of global diplomacy. Moments after calling for a moment of silence to remember the victims of the Manchester attack and a stepped-up fight in the battle against terrorism...
TRUMP: All people who cherish life must unite in finding, exposing and removing these killers and extremists and, yes, losers. They are losers.
ACOSTA: The president stuck it to NATO, chastising member countries he insists aren't meeting their financial obligations to the alliance.
TRUMP: But 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defense. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States.
ACOSTA: He even seemed to mock NATO's new headquarters as extravagant.
TRUMP: I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost. I refuse to do that, but it is beautiful.
ACOSTA: And in a move that's sure to worry some of the alliance's smaller, more vulnerable nations, the president did not express support for Article Five that mandates an attack on one country is an attack on all. The president made the remarks at a dedication to a memorial for 9/11, the last time Article Five was invoked, but he only mentioned it in passing.
TRUMP: Our NATO allies responded swiftly and decisively, invoking for the first time in its history the Article Five collective defense commitments. ACOSTA: The president was hardly feeling bashful throwing his weight
around, pushing past the prime minister of Montenegro and engaging in an extended power handshake with France's new president, Emmanuel Macron.
But the president is also responding to serious complaints from one key U.S. ally, Great Britain, which is furious at American law enforcement officials over leaks coming out of the Manchester investigation.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I will be making clear to President Trump today that intelligence that is shared between law enforcement agencies must remain secure.
ACOSTA: The president warned he will get to the bottom of the leaks, saying in a statement, "I'm asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
President Trump has more trouble waiting for him back home as the special prosecutor investigation into Russia is getting under way. The White House is preparing a war room rapid response room to deal with the inquiry, with one official saying, "This is the reality of the world we live in now." The new operation could bring former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski back into the fold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, should the British trust America with intelligence?
ACOSTA: So far Mr. Trump is refusing to follow presidential tradition on this overseas trip, declining to take but just a few questions from reporter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you think Michael Flynn should cooperate in the Russia investigation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the British intelligence...
TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you all.
ACOSTA: Contrast that with his fellow leaders, who all fielded questions from reporters at NATO.
ACOSTA: Asked to explain the president's comments here at NATO, one senior administration official told CNN they are the president's own words. And asked whether the president will at all take questions from a reporter at a formal news conference on this overseas trip, a senior White House official said nothing is final -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Jim Acosta traveling with the president. Jim, thank you very, very much.
There's also -- by the way, these are live pictures coming in from Sicily right now. The president and the first lady, you see them there. They have just arrived for G-7 meetings in Sicily. It's getting late into the night, but that arrival has just taken place. They've just walked down from Air Force One. Sicily the final stop on this, the president's first overseas mission as president of the United States. We're going to have extensive live coverage of that coming up. Stand by.
There's other breaking news we're following in the Russia investigation. The heads of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, they have just received broad authority to issue subpoenas for their probe of the Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Our global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott, is joining us with the latest. Elise, this is a major development.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Well, now Chairman Richard Burr and Ranking Member Mark Warner have blanket authority to issue subpoenas without the committee voting on them. This as lawmakers are frustrated they have not received any documents they've asked for since Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel last week. And they're concerned his investigation will hamper their own probes.
[17:10:09] LABOTT (voice-over): Tonight the FBI is refusing to share with Congress, former Director James Comey's private memos about his meetings with President Trump. In a letter to House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, the Department of Justice blames the new special counsel, Robert Mueller as well as, quote, "other considerations."
Tonight Chaffetz, who spoke this week with Comey, has set a new deadline of June 8 for the FBI to turn over the memos, saying in a letter he hopes the bureau will, quote, "make the right decision."
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT), OVERSIGHT CHAIRMAN: I'm skeptical and want to see them ourselves, but Director Comey was -- he would not answer that question. He would not confirm where they are, what their presence -- if there was a presence of these documents. He would not say a word about that.
LABOTT: The FBI decision is the latest example of the Russian investigation stalling on Capitol Hill, blamed in part on Mueller's new investigation.
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think we have the exact same rights to proceed with Mueller as special counsel as we had with Rosenstein as acting attorney general and that we should take advantage of that. Clearly, there are deconfliction issues that exist in either case.
LABOTT: The Senate Judiciary Committee said it wants any audio recordings of President Trump's meetings with Comey. Trump raised the prospects following Comey's abrupt firing earlier this month when he tweeted, quote, "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press."
CNN has learned the White House has yet to tell the Senate committee if the tapes even exist, and witnesses, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, have not turned over documents to the Intelligence Committees, leading to threats of subpoenas.
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We'll keep pushing, quite frankly. We're going to continue to be able to work through the process. We work with our attorneys to determine what are the parameters of where we can go, and we're going to try to use every tool that we can to be able to get to the facts.
LABOTT: Meantime, there is growing concern on Capitol Hill about a new document that may show even more Russian meddling in last year's presidential election. A "Washington Post" report suggests former FBI Director Comey may have been duped by fake intelligence created by the Russians.
Sources tell "The Post" that the false document, which claimed former attorney general Loretta Lynch had privately assured members of the Clinton campaign the investigation of her e-mail server would not go too deep, led Comey to bypass the Justice Department and publicly explain why he was recommending the Democratic presidential candidate not be charged in the e-mail probe.
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handing of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.
LABOTT: Democrats say that criticism of Flynn by Comey set a chain of events in motion that helped Trump win the presidency. But now sources close to the investigation tell the newspaper that the document was fake and may have been intentionally planted to harm Clinton.
LABOTT: And the man who was the leading candidate to replace Comey, former Senator Joe Lieberman, has bowed out. In a letter to President Trump, he cited the president's hiring of Marc Kasowitz, who is a partner at the same law firm as Lieberman. Lieberman said he doesn't want to create a conflict of interest.
But Wolf, you know, there has already been widespread dissatisfaction with the idea of Lieberman for the post, and officials say the president wants to expand that search.
BLITZER: Elise Labott, reporting for us. Elise, thanks very much.
Let's get some more on all of this. Jake Sullivan is joining us. He was Joe Biden's national security adviser, later a former policy adviser to Hillary Clinton, as well.
Jake, thanks very much for coming in.
JAKE SULLIVAN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER FOR JOE BIDEN: Thanks for having me.
BLITZER: Let me get to the breaking news. Another major setback for President Trump's travel ban, targeting the six Muslim majority countries.
Let me read part of the decision. This is from the 4th Circuit Court down in Virginia. Quote, "We need not probe anyone's heart of hearts to discover the purpose of this executive order" -- EO-2, as it's called, the revised version -- "for President Trump and his aides have explained it on numerous occasions and in no uncertain terms."
Your reaction to this legal setback to the president?
SULLIVAN: I think the court got it exactly right. Donald Trump didn't issue an executive order that banned all Muslims. He issued an executive order that banned as many Muslims as he thought he could get away with banning. He basically went to his lawyers and his policy makers, and he said, "I promised a Muslim ban. I went all over the country talking about a Muslim ban. I know I won't be able to get away with that, so cook up something for me that we think can stand up."
And the court saw right through it. They saw that the purpose of this order was to discriminate on the basis of religion, which the U.S. Constitution does not permit.
BLITZER: The argument that the administration made, the Trump Justice Department, is absolutely necessary for national security to have this limited travel ban against these six Muslim-majority countries. They -- and they assert that the president has statuary [SIC] authority to restrict immigration however he sees it. Why do you think they're wrong?
SULLIVAN: If you go to any senior intelligence official, any senior counterterrorism official in the Clinton administration, the Bush administration or the Obama administration and ask them, "Does it make any sense to identify these six countries as the six countries to ban people from, when not a single American has been killed in a terrorist attack in the last two decades from any of them, whereas Americans have been killed in terrorist attacks by people from other countries," they would all tell you know, "No, absolutely not."
And that's just more evidence of the real motivation behind this.
Like the court said, we don't have to look into Trump's heart. He told us over and over again what he was trying to do here. It wasn't to protect Americans. It was to ban Muslims.
BLITZER: Let's talk about the other big story today. The president lecturing the NATO allies. He pointed out correctly only five of the twenty-eight NATO allies pay -- devote 2 percent of their GDP to defense spending; 23 do not. He was very angry at that, and it became clear during the course of his scolding the allies at this event in Brussels. Was he justified?
SULLIVAN: Look, what Donald Trump basically did today was carry Vladimir Putin's water. Is it true that more NATO allies need to pay more in defense? Yes. Presidents have been saying that for years.
But going to Brussels and standing in front of the 9/11 Memorial and haranguing our allies while refusing to stand behind bedrock American commitments, that's what Donald -- that's what Vladimir Putin wanted Donald Trump to do. And so I'm sure they're toasting in the Kremlin tonight.
BLITZER: He says -- he didn't specifically cite Article Five, which is attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all NATO allies, but his aides later said that simply by showing up there, he supports NATO; and that's the bedrock issue of NATO.
SULLIVAN: Donald Trump has spent the last two years calling NATO into question, so there was a basic concern as he headed to Brussels today. Will he or will he not affirm what American presidents, Democrat and Republican, from Truman to Reagan to Obama have said, which is if Russia attacks one of our allies we'll be there to defend him? That was the question on everyone's mind, and Donald Trump refused to make that commitment.
BLITZER: But you agree with him that the NATO allies, each NATO ally should devote 2 percent of its GDP to defense spending?
SULLIVAN: Of course I do. Donald Trump is by no means the first person to have said this. Barack Obama said it. Secretary of Defense Bob Gates went around Europe saying it. There's a right way and a wrong way to do this.
And the wrong way is to drive a wedge between our alliance and give common cause to Russia in carrying this out. And that's basically what Donald Trump did today. He has an opportunity to...
BLITZER: He points out the earlier administration officials failed in that effort. By doing this publicly, he will succeed; and he says he's already seeing changes.
SULLIVAN: So first of all, we had started seeing changes to this before Donald Trump came into office.
Secondly, he's not first person to raise this publicly. You can find numerous quotes from President Obama on the same issue.
Ultimately, I do think we have to succeed. But the best way to succeed is to come in and tell our NATO members that the United States is good to its word, that an attack on one is an attack on all.
And let's not forget as I said before, he was standing before the 9/11 Memorial when he did this. Article Five has only been invoked one time in the history of NATO, and it was invoked by our European allies to come to our defense after 9/11. And it was our NATO allies who sent thousands of their men and women to Afghanistan to fight and die alongside us. And I think Donald Trump should be reminded of that.
BLITZER: Not just the Europe allies; Canada, as well. Don't forget our North American ally. We have a lot of viewers in Canada who are very sensitive to that. SULLIVAN: Absolutely.
BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany. She gave a lecture of her own today in remarks over there. She mentioned the Berlin Wall. She grew up on the other side, east -- the eastern side of Germany, and she said this: "Walls, it is not isolation and the building of walls that make us successful but open societies that share the same values."
I saw this, a lot of people saw this as at least a veiled swipe at President Trump, who wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. How did you see it?
SULLIVAN: I think it's hard to read it any other way. And I think what Angela Merkel was focused on there was not just the issue of a wall or immigration. What she was focused on is that we do share certain core values as democracies, as countries that care about the human rights and dignity of our citizens and citizens everywhere.
And frankly, a big concern that all of us have had about President Trump is he's basically said, "I don't really care about those values or human rights. I'm happy to embrace strongmen and dictators elsewhere. I'm happy to do Putin's bidding." And I think that, ultimately, is one of the core messages that Angela Merkel was trying to say.
[17:20:13] BLITZER: Yes. She opposed building a wall, but she also opposed isolation. I saw that as another, at least, veiled swipe at the president and the "America-first" policy.
But we have some breaking news that we're following. The Justice Department refusing to provide valuable information to the Congress. We're going to take a quick break, resume our interview right after this.
[17:25:05] BLITZER: We're following breaking news. The FBI now declining the House Oversight Committee's request for documents related to President Trump's communications with the fired FBI director, James Comey.
We're back with Jake Sullivan. He was Vice President Biden's national security advisor; former foreign policy advisor to Hillary Clinton, as well.
They're citing the Justice Department, the fact that the new special counsel Robert Mueller, himself a former FBI director, has an ongoing investigation. That's why they're declining the release to Congress of these memorandum, memorandum, these conversations.
But do you believe the memoranda should immediately be sent over to Congress?
SULLIVAN: I think they should find a way to deconflict this. Whey should shut down -- the Congress and Mueller should sit down and work it out so that ultimately, Congress can get the memos and perform their oversight function. But I think that they should just figure this out as adults.
Because there's a way for this investigation to proceed and for Congress to get the memos, and they should work That out.
BLITZER: And Comey has publicly committed to testifying publicly. But now, apparently, he wants to get approval from Mueller to do so. Is that the right decision on his part? Does he need Mueller's approval?
SULLIVAN: I think he should make sure that this isn't going to, in some way, inhibit or impair Mueller's investigation. But I think Mueller should find a way to say, "Yes, go ahead and testify." It's important that the American people hear directly from Jim Comey. And he should testify before the Senate Intelligence.
BLITZER: You have very mixed feelings about the former FBI director, James Comey. Right?
SULLIVAN: I have mixed feelings about what he did last year, yes. On the one hand...
BLITZER: But you don't believe the president should have fired him?
SULLIVAN: I don't think that the president should have fired him to get in the way of the Russia investigation, which is what the president did. I think that that is, if not obstruction of justice, dangerously close to it. So I think that what the president did with firing Comey was dead wrong.
BLITZER: But you think he should have been fired on the merits? Forget about the separate investigation?
SULLIVAN: Look I don't want to weigh in on whether he should be fired or not. What I will say is that what Rod Rosenstein wrote in his letter.
BLITZER: The deputy attorney general.
SULLIVAN: The deputy attorney general, what he wrote about how Comey handled this last year, I thought was right and fair; that Comey took steps in this investigation that were unprecedented and, frankly, an abuse of power.
BLITZER: Would Hillary Clinton have been elected had it not been for what Comey did?
SULLIVAN: I think there's a lot of polling data that Nate Silver has put together to suggest that's the case, but you know, I can't say for certain anything.
What I do know is that before the Comey announcement in late October, Secretary Clinton was leading in the polls by three, four, five points. And as Nate Silver has shown, after that letter dropped, her lead shrank by two or three points. Pretty direct evidence that it had a major impact on the outcome of the -- of the election.
BLITZER: You're seen this "Washington Post" story that came out, suggesting there was a fake memo circulating that maybe the Russians circulated that had an impact in July in convincing Comey to ignore the Justice Department leadership and go out and make his statements?
SULLIVAN: I saw it, and, honestly, when I read it, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It is so outlandish and outrageous.
The idea that the Russians managed to slip a memo into the FBI that is basically a caricature of a right-wing fever dream: somehow Loretta Lynch, and Hillary Clinton, and George Soros, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz were all conspiring together. Just utter, complete nonsense.
So either the FBI fell for something or else they were using this for political purposes, but either way this is a huge problem; and it's just further evidence of the need, both for the special prosecutor, and for a robust investigation on the Hill.
BLITZER: Well, there is a special counsel right now. You're pleased about that?
SULLIVAN: I am. But I'm saying, this is just evidence of why it's so important that they be able to do their work.
BLITZER: Yes. What was so surprising about that fake memo is it could have been checked out very quickly, but apparently, they never interviewed any of the people even mentioned in that memo.
SULLIVAN: I mean the memo, to even hear it described, you don't have to be a professional law enforcement person to know it's crazy and nonsense. So how this ever became part of the justification for why Jim Comey went out publicly against Hillary Clinton, I want to know the answer to that question, because this is just a kind of nuts scenario that we've seen unfold.
BLITZER: Jake Sullivan, thanks for coming in.
SULLIVAN: Thanks for having me.
BLITZER: Coming up, there are new revelations in that fast-moving investigation of the Manchester bombing. A U.S. official says the suicide bomber likely received training from ISIS in Syria.
Plus, as pictures from the scene of the bombing leak, investigators blame the United States. Will their anger ultimately hurt U.S. intelligence gathering?
[17:34:18] WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM ANCHOR: We have much more to come on today's breaking news in the Russia investigation. But, we're also closely watching today's turnout in Montana's special Congressional election, where the republican candidate now faces a misdemeanor assault charge after allegedly body-slamming a reporter for simply asking a question. Our national correspondent Kyung Lah is on the scene for us in Montana. So, Kyung, how is this news that is pretty startling affecting voters?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, everyone has heard about it. Now, we spent a good deal of time this morning as the polls opened, talking to voters. We spoke to about 75 voters, both democrat and republican, and everyone had heard this audio. This is audio between the Guardian reporter, Ben Jacobs, and Gianforte. Jacobs had recorded a question about health care. Here's what happened next.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
[17:35:10] BEN JACOBS, THE GUARDIAN POLITICAL REPORTER: The CBO score. As you know you've been waiting to make your decision about healthcare until you saw the bill and it just came out. And -
REP. GREG GIANFORTE (R), MONTANA: We'll talk to you about that later.
JACOBS: Yes, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious about -
GIANFORTE: Speak with Shane, please. I'm sick and tired of you guys. The last time you came in here, he did you the same thing. Get the hell out of here.
GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here. The last guy did that same thing. Are you with The Guardian?
JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.
GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.
JACOBS: You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.
GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.
JACOBS: You'd like me to get the hell out of here? I'd also like to call the police. Can I get you guys' names?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you got to leave.
JACOBS: He just body slammed me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: Jacobs did end up calling the police. The Sheriff's Department did eventually charged Gianforte with misdemeanor assault. The court appearance has yet to happen, but this certainly is affecting at least a trickle of some of the voters here. We spoke with the Missoula County election administrator, and she said this morning, early in the morning when polls opened, she did get about a dozen calls from voters asking if they could legally change their vote. Here's what she told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: If the audio had not surfaced last night, if there's no confrontation with this reporter, how many calls do you think you would be getting about changing the vote?
REBECCA CONNORS, MISSOULA COUNTY ELECTION ADMINISTRATOR: Probably none. Voters are fairly decisive unless things change, and we had that last-minute change last night with new information.
LAH: Now, the Quist campaign, I'm here at their election watch party. They are hoping that this is going to make a difference in that group of undecideds or democrats who might be a little reluctant to vote. They're hoping it will inspire them to get out as far as turnout. But, Wolf, we spoke to a lot of people, and I can tell you of all of those people I spoke with, only one said it had changed his mind to go from Gianforte to Quist. I was surprised by the number of people who said they didn't just accept what happened, that they were actually cheering it on. One person as he went in to vote said to us as he was walking in, "You're lucky that someone doesn't pop one of you." Wolf?
BLITZER: Very quickly, the House Speaker, Paul Ryan, he suggested that Gianforte apologize. Has he?
LAH: He has not. We haven't heard a peep out of him on social media, on his campaign Web site. He has not had any public appearances that we are aware of.
BLITZER: Kyung Lah on the scene for us in Montana. Thanks very much. Let's bring in our specialist, David Chalian, what do you think? How much of an impact is this going to have on the outcome?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, it's unclear because as Kyung was saying, you could - you could envision a scenario where some democrats in a special election, off-year, who may not be turning out to vote are inspired to sort of take this on. You could easily imagine some Gianforte supporters not necessarily encouraging more body-slamming in our politics, but who could be like, "Oh, he took it to the media, I'm OK with that." So, I don't think it's at all clear how this will affect. And remember, Wolf, both sides, republicans and democrats are sort of modelling off of the 2014 midterm election as perhaps the scope of the electorate, the size of the electorate. If that's the case, roughly 7 in 10 voters may have already voted before any of this news was out here. Here's what I think is really clear, you saw a candidate there on a hair trigger. This race is so much closer than it ever should have been, and that republican candidate Gianforte was clearly feeling that and snapped. I'm not excusing his behavior, should never do what he did, but that, I think, is quite clear, the pressure of this race was getting to him.
BLITZER: Yes. There's a lot of early voting though in Montana, a lot of absentee ballots have already been sent in. Trump carried Montana, Dana, by, what, 20 points over Hillary Clinton. It should have been a lock, but it could be very, very close. DANA BASH, CNNCHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he carried Montana
and Gianforte was on the ballot, he was running for governor and he did much, much worse than President Trump. I think he was like 47,000 votes less than the President, and he lost. He didn't become the Governor of Montana. So he's got that up against, and I totally agree with what you said, David, that this is a race that should not have been tight going in, that republicans felt that this is a republican seat, that they were going to keep it in the republican column and it has tightened even before this, and especially before this, in a big, big way. Republicans had been pouring a lot of money into this, a lot of manpower. Don Trump, Jr., the Vice President and others going in there to try to make sure that they didn't lose this seat. So, that's the context and the backdrop of this unbelievable event last night.
[17:39:53] BLITZER: Everybody stand by. We've got some breaking news.
Just getting in reaction from the Department of Justice on this setback, a major legal setback to President Trump's travel ban. Let me read the statement from the Department of Justice. "President Trump's executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe. The Department of Justice strongly disagrees with the decision of the divided court, which blocks the President's efforts to strengthen the country's national security. As the dissenting judges explained, the executive order is a constitutional exercise of the President's duty to protect our communities from terrorism. The President is not required to admit people from countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism until he determines that they can be properly vetted and do not pose a security risk to the United States." Here is the last sentence. "This Department of Justice will continue to vigorously defend the power and duty of the executive branch to protect the people of this country from danger and will seek review of this case in the United States Supreme Court." Laura Jarrett, looks like it's going to the Supreme Court.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, not a surprise here. Their options were pretty limited. They could try to see if the full panel on the Fourth Circuit wanted to reconsider, but given the decision here, that seemed unlikely. And so, their only path here was really to try to go to the Supreme Court, get an emergency stay of this decision and see if they have any hope there. But obviously, Wolf, this was a decisive blow to the Trump administration. It was a 10-3 decision and obviously, the justice department, relying there on the dissents which were strong, three republican nominated judges came out and said the President was well within his authority to do this.
WOLF: It was 10-3 vote against the President. In a White House statement, by the way, quoted one of the dissenting judges as saying, "The real losers in this case are the millions of individual Americans whose security is threatened on a daily basis by those who seek to do us harm." Phil Mudd, is there a real national security issue at stake here?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Heck no. This is asked backwards. If you come into the office -- into the Oval Office, you have a simple question. Let's go to the practitioners and say we want to be a lot more aggressive. What might be helpful? Let me tell you a couple of things that the FBI and the CIA and the major city police chiefs would not say, number one, immigrants are not the source of most of the terrorist problems we had. When we did terror threat cases every day, I did 4.5 years of these, thousands of cases, these are typically native-born Americans or people who have been here a long time. They're not immigrants.
Second, let's assume they were, which is incorrect, these aren't the countries you'd pick. I'd look at others. Some of them happened to be American friends, which suggests to me this list is politicized. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, those are places I'd worry about more than on list -- this list. So, when I see people going to the Supreme Court saying this is about protecting millions of Americans, I'd say, "Did you ever ask anybody who's done this for a living? Because their answers is going to be, 'no, it's not.'"
BLITZER: Yes, the terrorist who killed all those people in Manchester at that concert, he was born in the U.K., born in Manchester.
MUDD: Yes, that's right. If you had given me this list when I was watching the FBI cases years ago and said, "Run this list against the cases that show up at the table," you would be saying, "people from these countries are not significant in our cases. Why would we bother to spend American taxpayer money on it? It doesn't make sense to me."
BLITZER: A series of setbacks, David Chalian, for the President on this travel ban. This is the second version they've come up with. Now, they're saying they're going to the Supreme Court. At what point do they try to cut their losses and move on?
CHALIAN: Well, clearly not yet because they're taking it - they're taking it to the highest court. So, this is a fight that's going to be with us, and there's no indication that that's going to happen right away. So, this is going to be a fight with us for a while. I urge you to go back to December 2015 when Donald Trump announced the Muslim ban as part of his campaign. Most republicans went fleeing, they saw this as a huge political problem, including Mike Pence who was Governor of Indiana at the time and said it was unconstitutional. The fact that the courts keep going back to those words as the intent, I think demonstrates what an enormous political problem this is for Donald Trump and for his party.
BASH: Wait, the leadership and his colleagues who are elected republican officials flee, but the polls showed at the time that his voters were with it.
CHALIAN: The primary voters were with him, no doubt, obviously. He - yes, went on to win the nomination.
BASH: Yes. They don't necessarily control what is deemed constitutional in the United States federal courts.
BLITZER: That's a fair point. All right. Everybody, stand by. There's a lot more news developing, surprising new revelations in the British bombing investigation. It now looks like the killer trained in Syria. Plus, as information and pictures from the bombing investigation leaked, angry British officials confront President Trump. Will the leaks hurt U.S. intelligence gathering in the long term?
[17:49:05] BLITZER: We're following breaking news in the investigation into the terrorist bombing outside a concert in Britain. Our senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward is in Manchester for us. Clarissa, now it appears, what, the suspected bomber recently traveled to Syria? What's the latest?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is an interesting one, Wolf, CNN is hearing from a U.S. official that they believe that the bomber spent some time in Syria training with ISIS in the months before he launched this horrific attack but this is a little bit at odds with what we're hearing from Turkish officials who tell CNN that the bomber did indeed pass through Istanbul Airport but then he never actually left the airport, he never entered the country, and of course, the primary way to get into ISIS-held Syria is through Turkey. So, we're hearing a little bit of discrepancy on whether or not he actually went into Syria. But U.S. officials say he did and then he spent time there training with ISIS.
[17:50:00] Meanwhile, here on the ground, Wolf, raids have continued on various places, one house in particular in the town of Wigan had a corner -- cordon around it for most of the day. Police reportedly finding suspicious materials in that house. They have now arrested eight people in conjunction with this attack as they go out about the business of trying to find out who helped him build that bomb, because according to experts that CNN has spoken to, the bomb was above rudimentary level sophistication. It doesn't appear possible that the bomber from what we know about him and his education level would have the kind of know-how or expertise to build this kind of a weapon.
Meanwhile, another angle that everyone is focusing on is the Libya connection as you may already know, the father of the bomber and the brother of the bomber have both now been arrested by a Libyan militia in the capital of Tripoli, all these leads being explored by authorities here and around the globe as they try to drill down on whether this is a larger ISIS terror cell, whether there is more of a presence of a network here in the United Kingdom so that they can ensure this does not happen again, Wolf.
BLITZER: And it all explains why the British government is now on the highest state of alert fearing another terror strike could be eminent. Clarissa Ward in Manchester, thank you. British officials are also angry blaming the United States for leaks about the bombing investigation. This comes on the heels of controversies involving President Trump himself supposedly sharing classified intelligence with Russian diplomats among others. CNN's Brian Todd has been looking into the impact of all of this. Brian, what are you finding out?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, two of America's closest allies, Britain and Israel, are furious with the Americans tonight over crucial intelligence leaks. The Mayor of Manchester calling the leaks, "arrogant". Tonight, we're getting warnings from intelligence veterans that America's allies will now think twice before sharing some intelligence with Washington.
TODD: President Trump's meeting with NATO allies fraught with tension over leaks of intelligence, leaks that tonight threaten to harm U.S. intelligence gathering.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I will be making clear to President Trump today that intelligence that is shared between law enforcement agencies must remain secure.
TODD: British officials angered that the name of the Manchester bomber and these photos of the bomb in The New York Times were leaked likely by Americans, they believe.
ANDY BURNHAM, GREATER MANCHESTER MAYOR: I say to the U.S. government today from the very top, a clear statement must be made that this will stop immediately.
TODD: Britain briefly suspended intelligence sharing with the U.S. at least on this Manchester investigation. Intelligence experts warn that any such disruptions could come at a cost.
RICHARD CLARKE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNTERTERRORISM CHIEF: When you turn off the flow of information among cooperating partners like this, you do run a risk that some piece of information that could have stopped another attack won't get through.
TODD: President Trump today vowing to get to the bottom of the leaks. Trump in the past has repeatedly slammed the intelligence community for leaks about him.
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I think it's a disgrace.
TODD: But the President himself is also blamed for allegedly disclosing this month to top Russian officials, intelligence gained from Israeli about ISIS plots. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman asked if an Israeli asset's life was put in danger, would never confirm nor deny, but said Israel made a "correction."
What do you think he meant?
NATAN SACHS, ?BROOKINGS CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY DIRECTOR: We took the measures needed, small measures to defend whatever asset it was but the Israelis now are going to be concerned about whatever assets they have, and they're going to think twice about how exactly they share it.
TODD: The President claims he never identified Israel by name.
TRUMP: Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name Israel.
TODD: President Trump is also under fire for allegedly divulging to the President of the Philippines something that is usually kept secret that two U.S. nuclear submarines were near the Korean Peninsula. According to a Philippines' government transcript of the conversation leaked to the intercept this week.
CLARKE: Someone has got to get to President Trump and let him know that he can't just say whatever comes into his head when he's talking to another government. He can't tell them where our nuclear submarines are, he can't tell our number one adversary, where Israeli spies are.
TODD: Has the U.S. endangered intelligence cooperation with its two closest allies in just a couple of weeks?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: You never know what little detail is important to a U.S. investigator or what little detail might dovetail with a U.S. investigation that the Brits don't necessarily know about, for example.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that may not be shared now?
SWECKER: My fear is that that type of information sort of the broad general information is not going to get shared.
TODD: And the key question tonight is how long is this so-called "intelligence freeze" between these allies going to last? Analysts say this adjustment in intelligence sharing with the U.S. may only be temporary. They point out, Britain and Israel need U.S. intelligence every bit as much as the Americans need theirs. In fact, a British official told me today, there will be no shift in the broader intelligence sharing arrangements between Britain and the U.S. Wolf?
[17:55:02] BLITZER: But, Brian, in the Manchester investigation, U.S. officials really had to do some serious damage control?
TODD: They sure did, Wolf. Britain's top counterterrorism officer said just moments ago, in fact, that intelligence corporation between Britain and the U.S. in the Manchester case resumed but only after Britain got, "fresh assurances" from the Americans. And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is heading to Britain tomorrow to smooth things over.
BLITZER: All right. Brian, thank you. Breaking news next, President Trump's travel ban suffers another major setback in federal court. We're getting new reaction from the White House.
BLITZER: Happening now. Breaking news. Major setback. Tonight, a new court ruling against President Trump's revised travel ban. This campaign comment about Muslims, they are coming back to haunt him again.