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CNN TONIGHT

Trump Rejects Bannon's Hard Line Against Mueller For Now; Eight Dead In Act Of Terror In New York City, Investigators believe Attack Suspect Acted Alone. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired October 31, 2017 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[23:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: pro-Putin alley to influence American politics that is definitely a person of interest investigating collusion with Russia. And this is the guy who ran the campaign.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Thank you all I appreciate it. This is CNN tonight I am Don Lemon, it is 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast. We're live with breaking news, on what police are calling an act of terror, the worse in New York City since 9/11, this is what we know right now, eight are dead, at least eleven injured, in a brazen daylight attack on a crowded bike path along the Hudson River. A truck rented today from the home depot entering the bike path at Houston Street at 3:05 p.m. plowing south through cyclist and pedestrians for 16 blocks, slamming into a school bus at chamber street injuring two students and two adults. The attacker then jumps out of the vehicle and what turned out to be a paintball gun and a pellet gun. He was shot in the abdomen by a police officer, and taken to custody. The suspect identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov. A source says that he left a note in the truck claiming the attack was in the name of ISIS. Law enforcement says he came to the U.S. in Uzbekistan in 2010 and most recently lived in New Jersey at least part time. Witnesses reported the suspect was yelling Allahu Akbar, according to four law enforcement sources. A lot to get to in the coming hour. I want to get right to CNN Brynn Gingras first, just about a block away from the scene, Brynn hello to you, you are downtown at the scene, so close to ground zero in the freedom tower. What's the latest tonight?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORREPOSNDENT: I can tell you right now Don, sources here on the scene tell me they have actually had to spread out the crime scene a little bit further move some barricades rather further down the west side highway. That is because they discovered some shell casings near where they are investigating, those shell casing belonging to officers again who shot at this suspect when this all sort of unfolded today, so the crime scene I can tell you stretches for many blocks here along the west side highway, but of course, we have the freedom tower right here, red white and blue is lit up and all of the lights behind us here where the investigation is ongoing. Right down this block here Don, I can tell you that truck, the rental truck that Saipov was driving ended up and that is where the crux of this investigation is at this point. You know witnesses who I talked to throughout the day, law enforcement sources who were on the scene right after it happened, they all described the scene the same way, that is just horror between the mangled bicycles that were on this path that this driver took to the people that were screaming at the time that were injured and also just people of course that were killed along this path just the sight of that horrific is what it's been described as. I talked to one girl, 17-year-old, she was leaving high school and getting out around that time, she heard gun shots and ran back to the high school located really not far from where we are, she took cover for three hours inside the high school with her classmate and taking pictures all the while of the scene that was unfolding of officers and investigators trying to capture this man and eventually really the carnage that was left behind. Very emotional scene still. Investigators are still working here Don.

LEMON: Brynn Gingras live for us in the scene downtown. Thank you very much for that. I appreciate that. I want to turn now to CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciuto, Jim, excuse me, Jim good evening to you. What are your sources telling you about the suspect tonight?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the latest we're hearing now. It is the belief and this is granted preliminary that he was acting alone. They don't have any information at this point that he was on anyone's radar as a potential jihadi, someone who had been radicalized. I was told there's earlier in the evening that there was no specific intelligence indicating the possibility of an attack on this target at this time. As far as the suspect is concerned, 29 years old, came from Uzbekistan, some seven years ago in 2010, had a residence in Florida, but also had residence part time in Paterson New Jersey. Authorities had now spoken to some family members in New Jersey. He does have prior arrests but nothing related to terrorism. Arrested in 2016 for some repeated traffic violations, but to this point no knowledge at least among the 30's that they've discovered of any previous indications of links to terrorism.

LEMON: Let talk about the White House response, what is the President saying?

SCIUTTO: Well the President tweeted an hour ago saying the following, I've just ordered homeland security to step up our already extreme vetting program, that is his phrase, being politically correct is fine, but not for this exclamation point. The President is talking about beefing up America's vetting for foreigners for Muslim-majority countries and we are now in the third iteration of his travel ban from Muslim majority countries, but is should note that of the countries listed in that travel ban, Syria, Iran, Libya, Chad, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela which of course is not Muslim majority, North Korea neither, but Uzbekistan is not on the list so had this ban gone through it would not have many years ago meted this particular suspect. He is been in this country for seven years and typically in my contact over the years with intelligence officials, counter terrorism officials typically when jihadist like this or people that had been radicalized attacks, that radicalization takes place somewhat close to when they carry out the attack, it would have been unusual for it to have taken place many years ago before he came to the U.S. Again this is early in the investigation. One thing they are looking at now. We're told of no evidence yet that he had any ties to international terrorist organization but still investigating that as they move forward. LEMON: Jim Sciutto is our chief national security correspondent. Jim

thank you, I appreciate that. I want to turn now to our New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, thank you for joining us, you're a New Yorker.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Good to be with you.

LEMON: Tell me how you feel about this?

KRISTOF: It's horrifying. This beautiful day, and then to see kids with Halloween paint streaked with tears, it just breaks your heart.

LEMON: You're absolutely right it is heart breaking living here and seeing that. I had a guest on earlier on his way to pick his ten- year-old son up from school and explaining to him I'm not going to let the terrorists stop us. We have to move on.

KRISTOF: And of course happen so close to the world trade center.

LEMON: Absolutely. Let's talk about the travel ban. So say Sayfullo Saipov came from Uzbekistan in 2010, it is not on the list of these travel ban, Syria, Libya, Chad, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. Do you think it is going to be on the next version of this travel ban?

KRISTOF: Uzbekistan is interesting, because it is not, if anything is kind of Islamophobic country, it is leadership has been awfully brutally suppressing Islam in our country, and sometimes with U.S. support in fact and anything that is helped to create a backlash that has radicalized some people in Uzbekistan and there is indeed a coder of radicalized Uzbek's around the world and in this case it appears the perpetrator was radicalized in the U.S. after arriving. But Uzbekistan is not a classic case of that would makes that list and President Trump said he would amplify his vetting. This is not a case of a refugee or someone from one of the countries he is talked about.

LEMON: Yeah as he calls it extreme vetting. There's been no domestic ISIS attacks carried out by individuals from the travel ban countries since the Supreme Court allowed portions of Trump executive order to be implemented in June, but federal judge in Hawaii block President Trump revised travel ban, but at what point does this administration see its ineffective here.

KRISTOF: I don't think they will see it. In fact at least on my twitter feed people somehow ramp up and see somebody from a majority Muslim country and it reinforces their belief perhaps President Trump was right. In fact the lesson to me is that he was not from one of those countries and President Trump's efforts wouldn't make this country safer aside from the fact he came in 2010. It is incredibly complicated. There's no silver bullet if anything it's more like silver buck shot. We can deal more with intelligence, we can do more with trying to limit access of people to have a weapons including trucks. The New York City police department has an outstanding counter terrorism operation and have tried hard to prevent truck rental organizations from running to people who might blow things up, but you can't get perfect compliance. LEMON: Because when you think about Oklahoma City it was a rider

truck, correct.

KRISTOF: I think that is right.

LEMON: And then the first world trade center bombing was also a bomb that was in a garage and left a giant hole in the garage of the world trade center, so this has been happening.

KRISTOF: That is right. I mean, I must say that there was a period when we were worried about WMD attacks would be far more lethal and far more destructive to our social fabric.

[23:10:00] I don't think there's a way we can perfectly protect our self from this kind of lone wolf attacks whether with a truck, with a gun or with a knife. We've seen these over the world. They're just heart breaking when they happen, but they don't threaten the system as a whole.

LEMON: Can I ask about the whole lone wolf thing, I think it is a pretty good point, can you really have a lone wolf when you have the internet is that a lone wolf or maybe someone who doesn't have an accomplice physically with them but being directed or influence by someone on the internet.

KRISTOF: So they're part of a wolf pack that is in a sense global.

LEMON: Or virtual.

KRISTOF: A virtual wolf pack if you will, but is not traditional geographic wolf pack. One of the things I must say that I am reflecting on is our role in the media and I do think that sometimes these lone wolves want to be heroes and I think maybe we in the media should have second thoughts about publicizing their names. I fear that we create an incentive for them to commit some of this acts and we should maybe keep them anonymous.

LEMON: Do you think people really remember the names of the folk that is much.

KRISTOF: I don't know but I must say I do have the sense some of these folks are frustrated. They feel like they haven't achieved anything. They have these dreams of grandeur, and whether it's the Las Vegas attacker or somebody like this, I do think there's this aspiration for something larger than they are. And I wonder if the promise of publicity knowing that people will say their name all across the country and world may help encourage them.

LEMON: I wonder if we are missing though, maybe it's not people saying their name, because I think people have tough time remembering names maybe it's that they are famous among people that they are trying to impress or trying to be a part of and that maybe.

KRISTOF: There's something to that. That we can't control. I can control whether or not I mention his name in my column and more and more I think I shouldn't. LEMON: Thank you Nic.

KRISTOF: Good to be with you.

LEMON: Thank you very much. When we come back more on our breaking news, what officials are calling act of terror that killed eight people and injured at least eleven more just blocks from the world trade center.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:15:53] LEMON: We are back now with breaking news tonight, eight people are dead in what New York City officials are calling an act of terror, a truck attack on a crowded bike path just blocks from the World Trade Center, a brutal and completely unsuspected attack on a beautiful fall afternoon that suddenly turned deadly. CNN's Tom Foreman tells us how it happen. Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, 6,000 to 8,000 bicyclist and countless pedestrian everyday ravel along the Hudson River on this trail, built as the busiest bike path in America. And officials say this is where the attack unfolded from Houston Street almost down to the freedom tower or the site of the former world trade center. It started at 3:05 in the afternoon when the truck turned off the west side highway and got on the bike path and accelerated very quickly zooming along, the path is paved and easily ride enough to accommodate a vehicle, there will be very little to slow him down. Considering how many people you normally see here on a nice afternoon it's rather remarkable more weren't injured and how far he made it.

In any event down in this area it is not exactly clear if he was trying to somehow pull off the path back into traffic or to escape into the city, but somehow he collided with a bus and that is when this vehicle was disabled. He jumped out of the vehicle and police caught up with him and he was shot. How long did this take beginning to end, not long? The rental truck he got in New Jersey had a big v-8 engine, no big concrete barriers or anything to slow him down in any event. The distance just under a mile. Even at 60 miles an hour the attack would have lasted less than 60 seconds.

LEMON: Wow. Tom thank you so much. I want to bring in now CNN national security analyst Michael Weiss and Juliette Kayyem, also CNN law enforcement analysts Art Roderick, good evening to all of you. Thank you for coming on. Michael what is your reaction to this timeline, what stands out to you.

MICHAEL WEISS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: This is a coordinated attack. The fact that the guy pledge allegiance to ISIS in the form of a letter in the van. Goes back to the ISIS in 2014 when their former spokesman issued a global injunction that Muslims couldn't join the ranks of ISIS on the battlefield there should take up arms wherever they are, pick up a rock, smash down the infidels with a rock or get behind the wheel of a car and just mow down loads of people. I have lost track of the number of terror attacks all over the world that had been done with vehicles like this. Right from the start, I mean assuming he wasn't a drunk driver or just some nut, it definitely have a hall marks to me as Jihadist.

LEMON: The fact he said he did it in the name of ISIS how does that affect investigators.

WEISS: First thing they will do is find out if he is actually in touch with ISIS central command in some part of Syria and Iraq and also important understand that the evolving nature of ISIS exportation of jihad. They already made plans in fact they started making this plans in the advance of the establishment of the caliphate. That one day the Caliphate would collapse and crumble and they would dispatch all these operatives and fighters into Europe, Asia all over the world Middle East of course to create autonomous or semi-autonomous cells that could essentially coordinate and plan attacks without having anybody in the upper echelon of ISIS to know about it. That is the whole point of this remote radicalization or what is known as counter terrorism circles as the virtual entrepreneurs who coordinate these things through the internet.

LEMON: Virtual entrepreneur.

WEISS: Yes.

LEMON: Because my question all evening has been, we keep hearing lone wolf, can you have a lone wolf?

WEISS: Look this is a very fraught phrase and I think it is well past it sell by date. In fact most of the cases that we look at first blush and we think this is probably a lone wolf terror attack whether Berlin or the French attacks and always turn out to be something a little bit more complicated. Not to say someone went to Syria and came back. Not the only cookie cutter example of this. Could be someone in touch with an ISIS recruiter.

[23:20:07] LEMON: Did you want to weigh in, Art, I heard you saying something.

ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALSYT: Exactly right how many lone wolves does it take to make a pack? And I think there a vast of wolves that has brought this up very well earlier in an interview you done earlier, it is a loosely formed pact, there's not one individual directing all of this to happen. You have all this stuff on the internet, you have the magazines that they published, all calling for this. So I think the lone wolf phrase is really gone out the window. I agree with Mike that it's just not useful any more.

LEMON: Juliette Kayyem, you want to weigh in on that?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, nothing new or more to add to that except there is a degree of difference if you think of ISIS as being an enterprise or eco system between what we see, say, in Europe or in the middle east and maybe what we're seeing today, I put caveats on what we're seeing today. We don't even know now if there were co-conspirators here in the United States who helped him plan his attack let alone the kind of a contacts he had abroad. So the question is it a loose affiliation with the eco system or is it much tighter and this was directed, based on what we're seeing right now, you have to assume it was probably loose based on the information. I have to say also the certainty of the New York police commissioner that they believe that this is a solo attack. I think they would not say that unless there was some information to lead them to believe to that. They have no interest in, sort, minimizing the risk at this stage, they want to protect New Yorkers.

LEMON: Art, from everything that we are learning now, do you think the suspect planned to survive this attack, he had a bee-bee gun and paint ball gun.

RODERICK: I don't think so. You don't do this type of attack and get out of your vehicle with two what looks like real handguns and then stand out in the open. I don't think he planned on surviving this attack at all. You look at this attack and compare it to other attacks we had in the U.S. There's been plenty of graphics put up about attacks overseas. I think there's a big difference here and I think law enforcement response and what we've done since 9/11 is a key part of that. We have yet to have a so-called sophisticated attack here in the U.S. That involved let's say a large cell or multiple people as they have had in Europe and I think that is because we put in place since the 9/11 commission report laws, rules, regulations, we've established JTTF and fusion centers and we have a lot more communication going on between law enforcement which is not occurring at the same level over in Europe. I think this is why we can intervene in this sophisticated plan a lot quicker than they can let us say over in Europe.

LEMON: Yes. Michael the suspect in Uzbekistan, he yelled god is great. Allahu Akbar, what is the significance?

WEISS: Actually not surprising this is something that people should stay tune for. I have been arguing for a couple of years now, that the demographic composition of ISIS fighters and ISIS jihadist is changing. First language for these guys is not Arabic, it is not even French or German or English, and it is Russian. A lot of them coming from the former Soviet Union and radicalized through civil war and campaigns being waged in these republics. Just to give you examples, the two former war ministers of ISIS, the last guy who was reportedly killed by the coalition not long ago was a Tajik police commander in an elite anti-riot squad known as Oman, Special Forces guy, trained by the U.S. State department, brought to the United States as part of this cooperation between Washington and Tajikistan. His predecessor was a Georgia national, partial ethnic ethnicity, also Special Forces in Georgia, fought against Russia in 2008 and also trained allegedly reportedly by the United States military. So a lot of these guys are battle hardened with sophisticated military training, they know tactics and they know intelligence gathering. If you talk to former ISIS fighters, one I interview in Istanbul in 2015, he said this were the guys that are called Czechians the grab bag for those in Syria who have been trained not so say this particular individual did, but you look at the airport bombings, these guys look like they had had military training. The nightclub attack perpetrated by an Uzbek, sent by white caucuses, this is the new trend, these are the vanguards of jihadist that we have to be on the lookout for.

[23:25:05] LEMON: I will ask you Juliette, the question that I ask Nic Kristof, do you think we will see Uzbekistan on the next travel ban list?

KAYYEM: No. First of all let's all get this straight he is been here since 2010. This is our problem. In other words we have an issue of radicalization here in the United States. Let me also be clear, even despite what happened today this is not an epidemic or existential threat it is a tragedy for New Yorkers. The idea the President note in his tweet, the solution to the problem we're facing today, it's just ridiculous. Secondly it's leading us in the wrong direction in terms of counter terrorism strategy. The President may be saying this for all sorts of reasons about Islam and radical Islam that is not counter terrorism strategy, which would be what the United States has done incredibly right. We do not have large pockets of radical individuals planning asserted attacks in United States, that is a success, often because of our ability to immigrate and a simulate people coming here from other countries. If the President use this as an opportunity to criticize the other it's not counter terrorism strategy, I think it's much darker and it is sort of reckless since we don't know that many details of this particular suspect.

LEMON: the tragedy for New Yorker, Argentinians and Belgians. There are five Argentinians and one Belgian who were killed. Thank you all I appreciate the conversation. When we come back, the suspect in today's deadly terror attack claiming he committed the attack in the name of ISIS. How are people being radicalized by the terror group and what can be done to stop more attacks?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:30:57] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Breaking news, a deadly terror attack in New York City just blocks from the world trade center. I want to bring in Michael Smith he is a terrorism analyst who testified today before a congressional committee. Michael good to have you on concerning this story today you testified before congress on ISIS and terror. And before the day is out, we have been attack here in United States, what do you make of what happen in New York City today?

MICHAEL SMITH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY FELLOW, NEW AMERICA: I'm still trying to make sense of it, Don. During the senate hearing that I was testifying this afternoon I take a looked telegram channels that are manage by Islamic state members trying to discern whether or not news reports that were popping out of my phone, might have something to do with the group and we started to see a flow of information posting about the news stories that rapidly transitioned into celebratory posting which strongly suggest that there may be some linkage to the group. And this is common that we see this type of celebration of attacks in Islamic state does essentially claim responsibility for whether you see right telegram messenger channel managers posting celebratory responses. They have a hashtag campaign around this to promote some of their posters that are high jacking photographs from the scenes and incorporating their logos and some terrible commentaries and even images of President Trump.

LEMON: Let me ask you then. If know they're operating on the internet, are we monitoring those sites is there a way to shut them down. Talking about that. SMITH: When you talk about telegram messenger channels it's different

than just running a website or being active on an open source platform like twitter or Facebook. Telegram is not an easily searchable platform and most of the channels and chat rooms that they create on telegram, you have to get invitation links to join those chat rooms or channels. A lot of times they will close them for access. There are public access ones, but for the most part you have to really be engrained into their larger network in the cyber domain to track all that in that activity and indeed Western intelligence services are engage in that game, if you will.

LEMON: You can hack them right?

SMITH: Not quite. It's not that simple. Islamic state does run standalone websites that are not as well publicized as a lot of the channels have been become over the past year, especially on telegrams platform that is become the primary point you will see the flow of propaganda, the official propaganda from Islamic state starts on telegram channels and moves out on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and so it is difficult especially for law enforcement intelligence in the United States, because telegram is not a company that is base here, so not much we can do in terms of public pressure on them.

LEMON: I am asking you because we have been talking so much about lone wolf and a lot of the experts are saying maybe time to retire that term especially if someone can be influenced or directed via the internet.

SMITH: Yes that is as Michael pointed out in the last segment that is a stale term for sure. Really when you hear that term used people in law enforcement and the United States intelligence community, they know what that refers to. And it's not meant to imply any longer that this is not somebody who didn't necessarily have links to the groups overseas or online or something like that it just means that at this point in the investigation they have nothing to suggest there's a cell per se that is active in a wider plot, but doesn't rule out the potential of overseas engagements over the cyber domain. These reach that we hear about in the west was the focus of the senate hearing today. I've been frankly appalled to see President Trump responding to this by a focus on immigration policy when in fact what he should be doing is saying, look, we need to focus on this group's reach into the United States over the internet. Islamic state has demonstrated it has achieved a power of persuasion sufficient to remotely accelerate the radicalization process culminating in this results of violence. And he is not focus on that set of issues. That is a big problem right there. If he wants to focus on policy that je could meaningfully develop to do something in a way of counter terrorism to limit the potential of this happening further. That would be the starting point right there.

[23:35:38] LEMON: Thus the focus on the questions on the internet. The producers have figured it out but maybe the President hasn't figured it out. That is how they are being influenced through the internet. Go on.

SMITH: They're absolutely aware of this. I had a conference call with the national security council staffer who is developing the forthcoming national security strategy for the Trump administration assistant to General McMaster last month and she is indicated that she is interested in leveraging what was in my testimony before the senate today for a portion of that, but they're not interested in taking the next step and imposing policies on social media companies, internet, file sharing type companies, big companies whose technologies that groups like the Islamic state and Al Qaeda continually exploit to develop relationship with people here in the United States from afar fields. From places like Syria for instance and so that is a real problem. They are aware of this issue. They do not want to be developing new policies to impose them on these industries.

LEMON: Exactly what happened today it is a soft target and a right target for these terrorist people enjoying a bike ride on a beautiful fall day.

SMITH: It's absolutely terrible and it's what the Islamic state has been calling for as Michael pointed out since 2014 calling out for attacks on civilians here in the United States and in Europe in particular. Last year in the original spokesman Ramadan address that proceeded the attacks in Orlando and state of attacks in Europe he said the smallest act here in Europe or in the United States against civilians is more beloved to the group to what they are doing inside the so called caliphate to try to defend and expand their territorial holding. So this is a high priority objective for this group. And again, you're seeing them demonstrate a power of persuasion that is far greater than anything we've seen with Al Qaeda especially when you consider that Al Qaeda continues to call for this types of attacks here in the west and it's just not happening.

LEMON: All right Michael Smith, we will see back here. Thank you very much, I really enjoyed that conversation.

SMITH: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, new developments on the Russian investigation, a longtime member of the President Trump's inner circle, set to be interviewed by Robert Mueller teams soon, just how close the investigation will get to the President himself.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:42:03] LEMON: Word out of the White House tonight that President Trump is sticking with the strategy of cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller for now confirming that one of the President's closest aides will be interviewed by the Mueller team. Let us talk now, Ken McCallion and Renato Mariotti are both here and former federal prosecutors. Thank you so much for joining us. I am going to start with you. CNN learned today White House communication Director and longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks is scheduled to be interviewed by Robert Mueller's team, Hicks has worked for Trump for years now. Is this significant development you think?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well it certainly, you know it is expected, I know that there has been talk for a while, that Mueller would be trying schedule an interview with her, but what it tells us and I think it is important for viewers at home to realize Hope Hicks's, her portion of the investigation is more on the obstruction side of things. She was also reportedly involved in the crafting of a statement so when Trump tower news broke that meeting with Kushner and Manafort and Trump Jr. at Trump tower with a Russian lawyer the President of the United States was supposedly involved in crafting the public statement about it, a statement that his son made that turned out to be highly misleading and Mr. Mueller is investigating that and Hope Hicks is involved in that statement so her pieces of this investigation have really nothing to do with this Papadopoulos piece as far as we know, had nothing to do with what Manafort and Gates were charges with, reminds why Mr. Mueller is far along on the investigation, the charges against Paul Manafort and Mr. Gates yesterday, realistically there is still a long way to go in other pieces of the investigation and those portions of the investigation continue.

LEMON: Interesting. So can the investigation on Paul Manafort's is focus on his financial dealings is an area you think Mueller can pursue with the President?

LEMON: This is for Ken.

KEN MCCALLION, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Definitely. This was really round one of the Manafort and Gates investigation. I frankly, would expect additional charges. One reason for that is that the information and plea agreement with George Papadopoulos does refer, I think, indirectly to Manafort and others high up in the campaign who had direct communications with Papadopoulos. So I don't think we've seen the last of the charges against Paul Manafort or others at that high level of the campaign and White House.

LEMON: Why is that?

[23:45:00] MCCALLION: Well the Papadopoulos information to some extent is something of a teaser, although it didn't name all of the names of the campaign people that Papadopoulos was dealing with in an effort to discuss how to get dirt from these Russian operatives that Papadopoulos was dealing with, dirt on Hillary Clinton, they're identified by categories in the campaign. So it's clear that Mueller's team is working its way up the ladder of the Trump campaign organization and the White House and one of those people on the political side of the list is Manafort, he was present at the mid meeting on the mounding at Trump tower with Don Jr. and others and as campaign manager he was the point person and coordinated a lot of the contacts with Russian operatives.

LEMON: Got it. So listen in regards to Papadopoulos, he wasn't a name anyone's radar. I want to recap his involvement here, so March 21st, Trump introduced Papadopoulos as foreign policy advisor. April 26th Papadopoulos told Russia has thousands of Clinton e-mails and May 21st Papadopoulos emails Manafort about a request for Russia to meet with Mr. Trump and on June 9, Don Jr. meets Russian lawyer offering dirt on Clinton. Now lets us fast forward January 27, 2017 Papadopoulos makes false statement in an interview with FBI and July 27th FBI arrests Papadopoulos and October 5th Papadopoulos pleads guilty. So Papadopoulos was arrested four whole months ago, but just heard about it yesterday. What do you make of Mueller's decision to announce his arrest and guilty plea just yesterday was that strategic move?

MARIOTTI: Yes sure for a couple of things. First of all what it tells us Don is that Mueller is running a tight ship over there. I know there's talks about leaks but I don't think it's coming from Mueller's side, I think it's coming from congress or defense or someone else not coming from his team that is first part of it. They kept a huge secret that would have been big news of it had leaked. But also it was unsealed even though the deal was consummated on October 5th. The unsealing of that was yesterday. And I think what that tells me is that this gentleman is going to be involved and have something to say about the Manafort and Gates case. For in other words, I think Mr. Papadopoulos if the trial of Manafort and Gates were tomorrow he would be on the witness list and he will have something to say about both those gentlemen. And of course as Kim mentioned Mr. Papadopoulos also will have things to say about other individuals that are named in that charging document, one of whom we learned recently was Sam Clovis also co-chair of the Trump campaign.

LEMON: More when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:51:50] LEMON: The Trump White House working to down-play the role of George Papadopoulos, but could he be the key to investigation? Back with me now Ken McCallion and Renato Mariotti. Paul Manafort is something of a known quantity in Washington. Papadopoulos, Rick Gates not so much. What could they potentially reveal to investigators that would cause problems for Paul Manafort and others perhaps higher in Trump's circle? Ken, I'll ask that of you.

MCCALLION: Well, Rick Gates has been with Manafort for quite a few years. And Manafort, his circle certainly includes a number of lieutenants including a former GRU, a Russian intelligence agent of the Ukraine and others. And the Mueller investigation, I believe is expanding its circle and interviewing really all of Manafort's contacts. They've gone through his financial dealings. But I think that his dealings particularly in Kiev representing the Yanukovych pro-Russian regime there, that they have conducted in Ukraine and elsewhere. So I think the political end and the Russian connection end of the Manafort investigation is still developing and will be coming in a superseding indictment of Paul Manafort.

LEMON: Does that make a difference that Gates is young, he is a young family representative by public defender, and does that make him more vulnerable to pressure at all?

MARIOTTI: I think definitely so. They've really been joined at the hip, and there's a lot of pressure on Gates. And he actually was, according to the indictment and the information available, intimately involved in not only the money laundering scheme, but the scheme to represent the Yanukovych and Ukrainian interest in lobbying congress in dealing with every aspect really of Manafort's money laundering and political nations. LEMON: Look, let's talk about, let's give some of the details of what

was released about Paul Manafort's spending habits. OK. Almost 1.4 million on clothing, about a million on antique rugs, 820,000 on landscaping in the Hamptons. Manafort is obviously a man of expensive taste. Why would Mueller put this information out there?

MARIOTTI: Well, one thing that you're doing, Don, is you're reading for the indictment. And one thing I'll tell you as a prosecutor that indictment generally goes back to the jury room. That is their guidepost as to when what the case is all about.

[23:55:0] And those items that are in the indictment there, that lavish spending you talked about is extremely powerful evidence to a jury. So people like my parents. Ok, my dad's a cashier at Wal-Mart, if he is on that jury and he hears about some guy is spending that much on rugs or I think there's an item in there he is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on clothing, somebody like my dad or my mom are going to be just absolutely flabbergasted by that. They're going to see Mr. Manafort as somebody living high on the hog and of course the allegations and the indictment are that he is not paying taxes, he is getting paid off by these foreigners. It's not something that looks good for Mr. Manafort in the trial. I will tell you, you talked about the pressure on Mr. Gates. I think both of those men, Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates are under a lot of pressure. And the only thing that could relieve that pressure is a pardon from the President of the United States. Which is why you saw Manafort's attorney coming out and making a very bombastic statement the other day attacking Mueller and --

LEMON: Got to go, Renato.

MARIOTTI: Yes. And sort of trying to play for a pardon.

LEMON: Thank you, Renato, thank you Ken. I appreciate it.

That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.