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THE SITUATION ROOM

Judge Issues Gag Order in Roger Stone Case; Trump Declares National Emergency; Interview With Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD); Five Dead in Mass Shooting in Illinois; Former FBI Acting Director Claims Trump Disregarded U.S. Intelligence and Believed Putin on North Korea; Special Counsel Prosecutors Say They Have Evidence of Roger Stone's Communications With Wikileaks. Aired on 6-7p ET

Aired February 15, 2019 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:00]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar in THE SITUATION ROOM. Wolf Blitzer is on assignment.

And we are following a lot of breaking news in Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Tonight, prosecutors are revealing for the first time that they have evidence that Trump ally Roger Stone communicated with WikiLeaks, this as a federal judge just put a gag order on Stone and lawyers involved in his criminal case.

Also breaking, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has been interviewed by the special counsel's office, in a story that was first reported exclusively by CNN.

I want to bring in Pamela Brown, our senior White House correspondent. We have justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz and CNN national security and legal analyst Susan Hennessey.

Tell us what you're learning, Pam.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, we're learning that prosecutors are saying for the first time today that they have direct evidence of Roger Stone communicating with WikiLeaks.

This is according to a new court filing from special counsel prosecutors. And the prosecutors had to show the case against basically how the case of the Russians hacking the DNC and the Stone case are related.

So, the way they did that is, they executed multiple search warrants that showed up this information on several accounts that showed that Roger Stone was in fact in touch with Guccifer 2.0, believed to be Russian intelligence, and WikiLeaks.

Now, it's unclear what those communications entailed. But, previously, prosecutors had said that he was seeking to reach Julian Assange through intermediaries to find out what the Russians had and whether it would help the Trump campaign.

So, this certainly, Brianna, raises a lot of questions, because, again, in the Roger Stone indictment, it just alluded to the fact he was trying to get in touch with WikiLeaks, not that there was this direct evidence.

Of course, he was charged with lying, not conspiracy. So, certainly, this raises a lot of questions, though, about what those communications were about, why this is just being revealed now.

KEILAR: And how significant is this, in your evaluation, Susan?

SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think, potentially, it is quite significant.

So, Roger Stone has always sort of been in this nebulous space. So then the big million-dollar question here is, was -- is there a direct line or a line that we can trace between the Trump campaign, the Trump Organization, people actually within the president's orbit, and this Russian plot?

Robert Mueller has really laid out quite convincingly what exactly the Russians engaged in. And Roger Stone, by virtue of his own public comments at the time, right, that John Podesta was going to have his time in the barrel, essentially correctly predicting the future, really did raise the specter that he knew this non-public information that turned out to be true in advance.

And so one of the interesting things here is not, just how close is Stone's ties to actually -- to WikiLeaks or to Assange personally, but also what was the nature of his communication with the president or with the Trump campaign? Those are both big unanswered questions of essentially, what role did he play here and was he potentially a go- between or a pass-through that communicated relevant information?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And really one of the things that would make this most significant, certainly, that if Roger Stone had any kind of knowledge or was any way directing or working with WikiLeaks and telling them post this, I need you guys to do this on this day, I need you to do this, tell me what more you have, if he was in any way coordinating with them, this is going to change the entire game, primarily because then he had knowledge of what they were doing, how they were obtaining these e-mails and other information.

One of the things in the documents that I found really interesting was that the government, in explaining these search warrants, they say that they obtained and executed dozens of search warrants on various accounts used to facilitate the transfer of stolen documents for release, as well as to discuss the timing and promotion of their release.

So, clearly, I mean, they have a lot of information. They're talking about dozens of subpoenas here, perhaps search warrants and servers and e-mails, so there's a lot more that they're still not telling us about communications perhaps between WikiLeaks, Russians perhaps, others involved in this entire investigation.

KEILAR: Why would Roger Stone lie about that contact? And I know this is a hard question to answer because you're not Roger Stone. But why would he lie, knowing the resources that Robert Mueller has to check things?

I mean, if you have sent an e-mail, if you have been in touch, there's record of it. And he's lied about it. And he's been caught.

BROWN: He has. I mean, remember, some of them were text messages. I mean, very -- he wasn't going to great lengths to cover up his communications, because we know that from the indictment.

So it does raise the question of, why is he lying about it? Of course, you would think that he would think he's -- it's going to be uncovered by prosecutors. So it is just this fundamental question. Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, just why did they lie?

But what really sticks out to me about this is, let's not forget that in the Roger Stone indictment, it said a senior campaign official directed someone else to get in touch with Roger Stone about what WikiLeaks had.

Now, it didn't include this information, though, that he actually did make direct contact with WikiLeaks. So, it certainly raises that extra question of like, OK, well, who else in the campaign was then aware of these communications and what they were talking about?

[18:05:10]

KEILAR: Because, prior to this, we only knew that Roger Stone was in touch with...

PROKUPECZ: Intermediaries.

BROWN: Intermediaries. Exactly.

KEILAR: OK.

PROKUPECZ: Yes.

So that's how the special counsel in the charges, certainly, that's how they made it seem. Other information indicated that it was intermediaries.

KEILAR: You said if he -- the important distinction would be if he was directing and guiding the release.

What if he was just receiving guidance about when things were going to happen?

PROKUPECZ: I mean, that's probably a fair legal question.

KEILAR: What do you think?

HENNESSEY: I mean, look, we want to be careful because Roger Stone has, of course, not been charged for sort of underlying conduct here. He's only been charged with lying.

But the reason why it's potentially of interest to investigators is because the way the laws of conspiracy work. In order to conspire to commit a larger crime, you don't have to be involved in every single part of it.

You have to know that the conspiracy is taking place, that this larger criminal scheme is being conducted. You have to take substantial steps. And even if you're a piece of that, it's potentially a small piece, something like organizing the distribution of hacked materials, directing the hacking of that types of materials -- and, again, this is not what Stone has been substantively accused of at this point.

That is all stuff that could indicate that down the road prosecutors might be interested not just in looking in charging someone like Roger Stone. Also remember Jerome Corsi, that sort of draft plea agreement sort of still hanging out there, he still hasn't been charged.

The reason why this might be of interest to prosecutors is because it might indicate that they're making the step towards something like a conspiracy charge.

KEILAR: OK, so my point, my question then is, if they have some sort of proof, which we don't know because we're waiting to see where these dots are connected, if they have some proof that he was involved in a conspiracy or that he has knowledge of it, would there be a reason at this point in time to not charge him with that?

Because it's only lying and other subsequent charges.

HENNESSEY: Right.

So the big reason is, one, whether or not they're prepared to make that case public and whether or not there are other individuals, other potential targets here that they aren't yet prepared to tip their hands.

PROKUPECZ: We also -- you have to keep in mind that -- and the special counsel's office has said, the FBI has said this, and intelligence officials -- that they are still working operations, they are still working investigations, because the Russians are continuing to still want to hack and interfere in our election.

So there could be elements of this that they do not want to reveal, because it could reveal sources and methods.

BROWN: And that reporting is about Assange.

(CROSSTALK)

PROKUPECZ: There is a case.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Julian Assange. PROKUPECZ: And so there could be that. That case is out of the Eastern District of Virginia. It's not a special counsel's office case, but they could be merging everything together.

And that's why I was making the point earlier that, no matter what happens here, the special counsel stays, goes away, this investigation is going to live on well beyond the special counsel's office. And that's going to be significant.

And just one point that I want to make about why lie, I think what was going on here is that, politically, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, all of these guys, they knew that they had to stick to one story, because politically it was going to be too damaging for the president.

And in the end, Michael Cohen, what we saw is time and time again is all of these guys trying to protect the president in the end. They were doing all sorts of shady things, doing all sorts of -- all sorts of shenanigans that were going on during the campaign.

They did not want to admit to it. And every time the FBI would confront them, they would lie. When they went before Congress, they would lie, because, ultimately, I do think that, whether there's collusion or no collusion, politically, this was always going to be a problem for the president, and that what they wanted to do was protect him.

KEILAR: At the very least.

PROKUPECZ: At the very least.

HENNESSEY: Another thing to keep in mind, whenever we're looking at the indictments that are starting to get closer and closer to actual Russian activities, people outside the United States, that's an area in which it's not just a criminal investigation.

It's also a counterintelligence investigation and national security investigation. And those are contexts in which the government isn't always thinking just about filing charges, right? They're thinking about long-term protection, not just of sources and methods, but also of countering those efforts into the future.

And so this really is an area in which we see the extent to which these -- this investigation really is informed by large long-term national security concerns and issues. It's one area in which we might get less information, even if they're ultimately is something like a public Mueller report.

This is the type of the stuff that the government traditionally really does not like to...

PROKUPECZ: Pam, you will remember this, because when we were doing all of this reporting early on in this investigation, we kept hitting roadblocks because of the counterintelligence investigation. Sources were very reluctant to talk about some of the information, because they were dealing really with a -- what they deemed to be a national security threat.

We have Russians who were trying to interfere in the election. They were trying to hurt us. And they are continuing to do it. And I think, for the FBI and for the Department of Justice, that's what has complicated this entire investigation.

[18:10:04]

If they have information, how do you handle it? It's sensitive. What do we do?

KEILAR: And, Pamela, you broke a very interesting story, which is that the White House press secretary spoke to the special counsel.

Tell us about this, and why we're just learning about it.

BROWN: That's right.

So this happened late last year, but we are just now learning about it today.

KEILAR: Wow.

BROWN: So the White House did a pretty good job for keeping it under wraps for this long.

But, yes, so Sarah Sanders gave an exclusive statement to CNN, saying that she voluntarily sat down with special counsel Robert Mueller, and that she was urged to do so by the president.

And she says, in the statement, as has everyone else in the administration, to fully cooperate, that this was something the president wanted her to do.

It's significant for a couple of different reasons. First of all, our understanding is, she was one of the last people to be interviewed by Robert Mueller, well after the big batch of White House officials. It was around the time John Kelly, former chief of staff, was interviewed.

So it's unclear why she was one of the last people. I know, according to my reporting, is there was a lot of back and forth with the special counsel. Emmet Flood came in. He wasn't just going to allow her and John Kelly to be interviewed with the special counsel without some restrictions and boundaries. And so that may be one of the reasons.

But, of course, she has been a central part of this, of the Trump White House from the beginning. She was part of the campaign, but more importantly, she is someone who has been at that podium speaking on behalf of the president.

And, as you know, Brianna, there have been times where she has said stuff from the podium that hasn't been truthful. And so our understanding is the special counsel wants to know whether the president has had a role in telling people to go out and not say truthful things in order to limit the investigation, to obstruct it. One example of that, what they have been looking at is the Air Force

One statement saying about the Trump Tower meeting, that the president only weighed in, she said, and then we learned, oh, actually, he directed it.

And so our understanding is that is something that the Mueller team has been looking at, and it wouldn't be surprising if that was an area of focus with Sarah Sanders. We don't know the exact substance, but it appears this was part of the obstruction probe.

KEILAR: I'm going to have you all stand by, because we have even more breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.

The Democratic chairman of the House Oversight Committee is calling into question statements made by the president's attorneys.

Let's get details now from our senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju.

What is Elijah Cummings saying?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the House Oversight Committee chairman says he has new documents that actually contradict what attorneys representing the president said to federal ethics officials about those hush money payments that occurred in 2016 to silence the president's alleged affair with Stormy Daniels, who, of course, was threatening to go public at that time.

Now, according to Cummings, in this letter that he wrote to the White House, he's saying that Sheri Dillon, who is the president's personal attorney, as well as Stefan Passantino, who's a former White House official who now represents the Trump Organization, may have provided false information to federal ethics officials with the Office of Government Ethics as they were asking about those payments.

Now, initially, according to this letter, that in the spring of 2018, Dillon repeatedly told them that Trump -- quote -- "never owed any money" to Michael Cohen. Of course, Cohen paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to be quiet about this alleged affair.

Now, In may of 2018, though, Rudy Giuliani, another Trump attorney, went on FOX News, told Sean Hannity that the president reimbursed Michael Cohen. The president later confirmed that he reimbursed Michael Cohen.

This prompted those federal ethics officials to go back and question Dillon about those payments. And at the time, Dillon said that -- according to this letter, that Cohen always knew he would be reimbursed, but -- quote -- "The mechanisms for reimbursement changed over time."

Now, Passantino apparently, according to Cummings, made similar comments to federal ethics officials and said that there's a retainer agreement between the president and Cohen that covered some of these payments. Now, Cummings cites what federal prosecutor said in their plea

agreement with Michael Cohen who pleaded guilty to these crimes as well as implicating the president in two crimes. In that plea agreement, Cummings points out that there was no retainer agreement between the president and Cohen over all these payments.

Now, Cummings is asking the White House for a range of new information about all these matters. And he has also sent a letter to the Trump Organization demanding a range of documents by next Friday, threatening to subpoena if he does not receive documents as he investigates these hush money payments.

So far, no comment yet from the White House or these Trump attorneys or the Trump Organization, which just received this letter this afternoon, but safe to say, Brianna, that Cummings, in new power as the Democratic chairman of this key committee, plans to pursue this rather aggressively, whether subpoenas and the like.

[18:15:02]

And they believe they have new information suggesting the president's attorneys may not have been truthful to federal ethics officials -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Manu Raju, thank you for all of the details on that.

We have more breaking news this hour.

The House Judiciary Committee is launching an immediate investigation of President Trump's newly declared national security declaration at the border. The panel's Democratic leaders are citing Mr. Trump's stunning remark during that announcement that he didn't need to take this drastic action to build his border wall, but that he wanted this to go faster.

We have CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta joining us now.

Jim, update us on this.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, I mean, that was one of the more stunning moments during this press conference earlier today, when the president said, I didn't need to do this.

Democrats immediately took notice of that and thought, well, we may now have a weapon in our arsenal to go after this national emergency declaration that you heard from the president earlier today.

President Trump has signed the spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. That is the other big headline of the day. Now he's on his way to his golf resort down in Florida after declaring a national emergency on the border.

The president, as you saw earlier today, was playing fast and loose once again with the facts, though he did acknowledge one bit of reality. And that is a legal challenge to his declaration is likely coming very soon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): Trying to take a victory lap after a stinging defeat in Congress, President Trump declared a national emergency at the border to start tapping into administration funds to build his wall.

But the president may have already undercut his case when he indicated his real motivation is to speed things along.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this, but I would rather do it much faster. And I don't have to do it for the election. I have already done a lot of wall for the election, 2020.

ACOSTA: Adding in more than $1 billion authorized by Congress, the White House said it's secured a combine $8 billion for the wall. But the president was still selling the project, accusing critics of lying when it's pointed out that most illegal drugs coming into the U.S. go through legal ports of entry.

TRUMP: When you listen to politicians, in particular certain Democrats, they say it all comes through the port of entry. It's wrong. It's wrong. It's just a lie. It's all a lie.

ACOSTA: But the president was once again hyping the threat at the border, making all sorts of unproven claims of his own.

TRUMP: Women and girls, you can't take them through ports of entry. You can't have them tied up in the backseat of a car or a truck or a van. They open the door. They look. They can't see women with tape on their mouth or three women whose hands are tied.

ACOSTA: And the president lashed out when the facts were presented to him.

(on camera): There's a lot of Department of Homeland Security data out there that shows border crossings at a near record low...

TRUMP: That's because of us. But it's still -- excuse me...

ACOSTA: That shows undocumented immigrants committing crimes at lower levels...

TRUMP: You don't -- you don't really believe that stat, do you? Do you really believe that stat? Take a look at our federal prisons.

ACOSTA: What do you -- well let me ask you this. I believe -- I believe in facts and statistics.

(voice-over): The president sounded petulant, grumbling over the likelihood that Democrats will take him to court for circumventing Congress.

TRUMP: And we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit, even though it shouldn't be there, and we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we'll get another bad ruling, and then we'll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we'll get a fair shake and we'll win in the Supreme Court.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump also appeared to mimic the president of China as he marveled over how the autocratic country punishes drug dealers.

TRUMP: I asked President Xi, I said, do you have a drug problem? No, no, no. I said you have 1. 4 billion people. What do you mean you have no drug problem?

No, we don't have a drug problem. I said, why? Death penalty. We give death penalty to people that sell drugs, end of problem.

ACOSTA: And the president bristled at the notion that conservative media stars are actually calling the shots when it comes to his policy.

TRUMP: Look, Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do. Not of me. If I changed my views, he wouldn't be with me.

Rush Limbaugh, I think he's a great guy. Ann Coulter, I don't know her. I hardly know her.

ACOSTA: But there are cracks in his wall of conservative support.

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "IN TRUMP WE TRUST": The only national emergency is that our president is an idiot.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: Now, the president all but stomped his feet when he was asked whether he is simply making up this national emergency, as he calls it.

But the president has bigger things to worry about than which questions are asked at a news conference, such as the growing number of Republican senators who are raising questions about that declaration, saying it may well be unconstitutional.

So, Brianna, while you were mentioning there a few moments ago these House Democrats already preparing to challenge the legality and the constitutionality of this emergency declaration, he has problems in his own party, Republican senators coming out and saying they're not sure this is constitutional -- Brianna.

KEILAR: It's stunning.

Jim Acosta at the White House, thank you so much.

And joining me now, we have Democratic Congressman Anthony Brown. He is the vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

[18:20:02]

Sir, thanks so much for being with us. REP. ANTHONY BROWN (D), MARYLAND: It's great to be here with you.

KEILAR: And here in the studio. We love it.

So, we're following a lot of breaking news stories.

I do want to start with this news that the special counsel's team now says that they have evidence that Roger Stone communicated directly with WikiLeaks.

As you will know, before, he alluded that this was not the case. They're saying this is the case. They have not charged him with anything related to collusion or conspiracy, but these are the facts that they have put out.

Do you believe that it is evidence of collusion, or is there more you would want to see?

BROWN: Well, it certainly gets us closer to a conclusion that may one day be made about collusion, because we know that Roger Stone is very close, a political ally of President Trump and the Trump orbit.

So if there's now evidence that Roger Stone has been in conversations with WikiLeaks, that gets you closer to President Trump, then candidate Trump, and Trump administration and -- I should say, Trump campaign operatives, that they were in conversations with WikiLeaks.

KEILAR: Do you think that there is a reason he would not have been charged with conspiracy even if they have evidence to charge him?

BROWN: Look, I think that the Mueller investigation is very methodical in how they approach this and very strategic in when and what to charge, so they can make sure they're getting as much information as possible, so that they can make even more decisions on how to proceed.

So I think it's all part of a strategic plan by the investigators as to how best to proceed.

KEILAR: When you look at person after person who prosecutors either have charged with or laid out facts of the case that they have lied about things pertaining to -- pertaining to contacts with Russia, does it lead you to believe anything?

Or is it just a question to you when it comes to the president's involvement? What do you believe about the president's potential involvement in this?

BROWN: Look, a lot of the people around the president, I mean, most of them have lied along the way. I mean, Paul Manafort has and Michael Cohen has, and Roger Stone has.

And many of us -- and I do believe as well that the president has lied on far too many occasions. So, this is a problem for the president, as things are closing in on him, as Mueller's investigation seems to be stepping closer and closer to the president. And it's a group of people that have just lied along the way.

KEILAR: Let's talk now about the president's announcement today. He predicted that he is going to prevail before the Supreme Court.

There are many people who -- Democrats and Republicans, colleagues of yours, who say that they don't believe that this is constitutional. Even Marco Rubio said he believes that it is a crisis, but he doesn't believe it's constitutional.

What do you think?

BROWN: Well, the crisis is actually in the White House, and not on the southwest border.

I think this is nothing but a pure power grab by the president, and not that he has contravened the authority or power of Congress, but, quite frankly, the will of the American people.

In -- the president in the midterms ran on the wall. He sent active- duty military to the southwest border to support his argument that there's a national emergency, and the voters rejected that. And that's why the Democrats took the majority in the House of Representatives, running against the wall in large part.

KEILAR: Some of the money that he is looking to grab, aside from the $1.375 billion that he -- that came from Congress, from that agreement. So there's this whole other pot.

And it includes military construction. I'm curious, with your role on the Armed Services Committee, what you think about that? Because, according to "Military Times," this includes military housing...

BROWN: Yes.

KEILAR: ... in Italy, in South Korea, and in Wisconsin.

And there are different pots of money, but that construction money is largely seen as the one that would be most easily pulled over to pay for building a wall.

BROWN: I was appalled by the president this afternoon when he said that that money wasn't important.

KEILAR: Can we listen? Let's listen to that. We have that sound bite.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Some of the generals think that this is more important.

I was speaking to a couple of them. They think this is far more important than what they were going to use it for. I said, "What were you going to use it for?" And I won't go into details, but it didn't sound too important to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: We have a number of military projects. Actually, we have a list of them, if we can put them up, because I think this is really important, new vehicle maintenance at the camp in Kuwait, drydock repairs at Pearl Harbor, hangar improvements at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, and that new family housing that I mentioned.

We know the state of housing when it comes to military families who are living on base.

What did you think of him saying that?

BROWN: Look, I was just shocked and appalled that the president would suggest that -- that generals don't think that money is important.

This supports family -- military families, and, as you mentioned, the day care centers, the schools, the medical clinics and the medical facilities, and also the readiness impact, right, hangars and airfields.

[18:25:02]

Much of this is in Europe to repel or to counter Russian aggression. So, to say that it's not important, when right now we're debating what might be a very large military or defense budget, I got to imagine that, in the Pentagon today, that there were many general officers wondering, who could he possibly be talking about, because that's not what we think.

The Pentagon spends a lot of time making their case to Congress -- I'm on the House Armed Services Committee -- why they need every single dollar to enhance military readiness, lethality, to take care of military families.

So to say that any one of those dollars is unimportant, that's astonishing.

KEILAR: And you yourself are retired, right, from the United States Army Reserve. Am I correct in that?

BROWN: Yes, I spent a number of years in the Reserves. I spent a year in Iraq, and with some of the most patriotic men and women that you have ever met and certainly that I have ever met.

KEILAR: All right, Congressman, thank you so much. Really appreciate you coming into the studio.

BROWN: Thanks.

KEILAR: Congressman Anthony Brown with us there.

Thank you so much.

And we will have a much more after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:00:38] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM: We have breaking

news this hour in the Russia probe. Special Counsels team revealing for the first time that it has hard evidence that Trump ally Roger Stone communicated with WikiLeaks. This coming as we are learning that the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has been interviewed by Robert Mueller's office.

Let's bring in CNN's Senior Legal Analyst and former U.S. Attorney General, Preet Bharara, to talk to us about this.

Preet, when you see this, how significant is it that Robert Mueller is now revealing theyhave evidence of direct communication between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks, something that Roger Stone, thus far, has denied?

PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's pretty significant for a lot of reasons. One of the reasons is in the root of your question, which is it's something that Roger Stone has denied over and over and over again.

And so among the other things that need to be thinking about is did Roger Stone lie about this to Congress or lie about this to other government officials, which would be the predicate for yet another crime? It's a little bit confusing to people and I've only had a few minutes to process it. But it's a little bit confusing to people. Why? Some of those other allegations didn't come out in some document like the indictment against the GRU officials, the Russian Intelligence officials, or in the indictment against Roger Stone himself.

The other reason it's significant, perhaps more importantly, is it peels away another layer of separation between the Trump campaign and folks who were trying to undermine our election and trying to harm the Hillary Clinton campaign. So it was bad enough before that Roger Stone had clearly told lies about having contact with WikiLeaks through intermediaries. It's, I think, substantially more bad for him and potentially bad for the campaign that you take away those intermediaries, and he had direct contact with WikiLeaks.

KEILAR: So - and you mentioned, look, he hasn't been charged for anything relating to conspiracy or collusion, right? It's lying and other related charges at this point in time. So around the time he was arrested recently, there were raids on various properties of his, including a storage unit. So, presumably, there was a lot of terabytes of information that was gotten by investigators.

So they could have had new evidence here just recently. But if they have this evidence, even if it's recent, why do you think there has not been a charge if they have the basis for it or does this tell you they don't?

BHARARA: Yes. Well, look, sometimes you charge an individual because you have enough to charge him or her with a certain number of crimes, but that's not the end of the story. And there's a reason why in the federal system we have something called a superseding indictment. Which means it's an indictment you file later that sometimes adds additional charges against the people who have already been charged or against other individuals.

Here, you know, the important lesson, I think, for the viewing public to think about is just because a charge in the Mueller investigation has been filed against somebody or a document has been made public, it doesn't mean it's the end of the story.

So, here, you have an indictment brought against these Russian officials, intelligence officers. Later you have an indictment brought against Roger Stone. And then we now learn in this document they filed this evening, you know, it's a fairly routine often not substantive procedural filing where the government was trying to indicate that these two cases were related to each other so that - for purposes of judicial efficiency and not burning too many resources, that a single judge would oversee and preside over both the Russian case and also the Roger Stone case.

And so there are a variety of reasons why you might not do it all at once. But the thing to remember, as I have said, you know, previously, is that the game is not over just because people see a public document filed. There's more to come, it seems.

KEILAR: CNN has learned that Sarah Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, has been interviewed by the Mueller team. What do you think they'd want to learn from her?

BHARARA: Well, you know, Sarah Sanders, it's often the case, just to take a step back, that the spokesperson for a political official has a lot of information and understands what the communications were, understands what kinds of stories have been told. I mean, we prosecuted the speaker of the assembly in New York. And one of the important witnesses in the case was that political leader's spokesperson because that's the person who often knows behind the scenes why people are saying things that they are saying, why they are lying about things.

And so in this case, presumably, it has to do with the famous Trump Tower meeting. And later on, the efforts made to hide the nature of the meeting, whether it was about adoptions or about the Magnitsky Act or about dirt on Hillary Clinton, there have been shifting stories, there have been lies about whether or not the President himself was directly involved in drafting the statement.

[18:35:10]

And so to the extent that Sarah Sanders has information about who knew what and why and what the stories were and who had knowledge and who deliberately decided to put out a false story, that's important information.

And often, just like in a corporate case, sometimes it's the secretary who has a lot of important information because that's the conduit through which communications happen. The spokesperson can be significant.

KEILAR: All right. Preet Bharara, thank you so much for your perspective. We have much more news, much more breaking news just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:40:18] KEILAR: All right, we are awaiting - actually, here is the tape coming from this press conference in Aurora, Illinois from the shooting. Let's listen.

CHIEF KRISTEN ZIMAN, AURORA, ILLINOIS POICE: -- the unification for the victims and witnesses that were in the building will be at Aurora University Public Safety Building located 1408 Southlawn. All five police officers were transported to local hospitals. And from there, two are airlifted to Chicago area trauma centers, six officers being treated for a knee injury.

I want to take this opportunity to send positive energy to those officers who are being treated and to the officers and medics who showed up from all over the state to render aid. This message is for them.

Thank you for your selfless act. Thank you for running towards gunfire and putting your lives in danger to protect those inside the business. My heart goes out to the victims and their families who simply went to work today, like any other day. We offer our sincere condolences. And as the facts of this tragedy unfold, we will provide information and attempt to make sense of it.

I'd like to introduce now our Mayor, Richard C. Irvin, to say a few words.

RICHARD IRVIN, MAYOR OF AURORA, CHICAGO: I don't think I can be clear in stating that today is a sad day in the city of Aurora. For so many years, we have seen similar situations throughout our nation and the horrible feeling that we get when we see it on the news. To experience it firsthand is even more painful.

It's a shame that mass shootings such as this have become a common place in our country. It's a shame that a cold and heartless offender would be so selfish as to think he has the right to take an innocent life. We, as a society, cannot allow these horrific acts to become common place.

We, as a society, cannot allow the selfless and heartless acts of this terrible tragedy to be relegated to spots on the 10:00 news. We must never forget those innocent people who were senselessly gunned down, the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. We must never forget those police officers that rose to the call of duty and put themselves in harm's way to protect the innocent, who are also mothers and fathers, sons and daughters.

Our hearts go out to the victims in this horrific tragedy. Our prayers to their families during what I'm sure will be a long and painful healing process. But we will heal. We will come together as one community and stand by those in pain from today's great loss. We will stand together with those officers shot in the line of duty. We will come together and heal as one Aurora. Let me commend our heroic first responders, the Aurora Police Department, the Aurora Fire Department, our 911 operators, Kane County Sheriff's Office and all the - the FBI and all the responding public safety teams throughout mutual aid and who have come from near and far to assist today. They all put their lives on the line to secure the health and safety of others. We sincerely thank you.

Thank you to every person who is directly involved in this incident. Your patience and professionalism during this entire process was commendable and allowed the responding officers to get the job done. We are here for you all as well.

Thank you to the entire Aurora community for helping us to get the word out and provide accurate information throughout the community. Your support was invaluable and will continue to be from this point forward.

Thank you to the people from throughout the nation who have offered assistance as well. We need your support and we need your prayers more than ever.

On behalf of the entire city of Aurora, remember, we are one community and we will be stronger than ever past this.

This time, I will introduce our Governor, J.B. Pritzker.

J.B. PRITZKER, GOVERNOR OF AURORA, ILLINOIS: I want to begin by acknowledging the amazing work of the Aurora Police Department and Chief Ziman and all of the men and women who were first responders and every single law enforcement officer involved in securing this scene.

[18:45:10] You rushed toward danger. And in doing that, you saved countless lives. And you represent the very best of what it means to protect our communities and to serve our communities. You have our deepest gratitude. And all the resources of the state that you need are at your disposal to continue your work into the evening and in the days ahead.

I want to say a special thank you to the FBI, the ATF, Illinois state police for offering backup, for being here to help the city of Aurora and the police department. There is no way to prepare for the pain of losing innocent people in the state that you were elected to lead, the state that you are elected to protect. There is no way to prepare. There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams and their futures.

There are no words to express our gratitude to the families of the officers who were injured in the line of duty as they responded within moments to the gravest kind of danger that they can face. Tomorrow, the families of the victims will be less than whole. They join a group that should not exist. And yet continues to grow.

This morning, I stood with 1,500 community members in Chicago who were fighting the epidemic of gun violence that continues to ravage so many communities. These are everyday citizens who have been called to action by the loss of a loved one, by witness of violence in their communities or by the simple desire for change.

To the families of the victims here in Aurora, there are no words that I can offer to lessen the pain, but know that our state grieves with you. That M.K. and I and our family grieves with you.

May the memory of those that we lost today be a blessing. And more than that, may their memory fuel our work to bring peace to this state that we call home. And may God bless the brave law enforcement officers who continue to run toward danger. Thank you.

Let me turn it over to Deputy Chief Rawley (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. We will return at 9:00 this evening. We will have something with more substance in terms of the progress of our investigation. I hope to have enough to give handouts for everyone.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I want to bring in Josh Campbell.

We are learning -- we had this press conference coming to us from Aurora, Illinois, where we learned about this shooting. Five people have died, Josh, as well as the shooter.

I also want to note, we heard authorities there saying there's going to be another press conference, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Maybe we will learn more information then. We did learn some from you. You are a former FBI supervisory special agent, law enforcement analyst. Tell us what you learned, what stood out to you in this?

JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Yes, obviously, a tragic day. Five deceased and five law enforcement officers responding to the scene were injured in the incident. They are currently in the hospital. Their condition as we reported was stable. We're waiting for additional details from law enforcement on an updated status of those officers.

We do know the subject is deceased. We can report -- officers -- we struggle with names a subject. Oftentimes, it's an important part of the investigation. You want to get that out there in case people know about who this person is and they have information to provide. They have named this person.

He is 45-year-old Gary Martin (ph). The police chief there indicating that officers believe he actually worked at this facility. The motive remains unclear. That will be part of the investigation. Obviously, now that he is deceased, they can't conduct an interview. They will have to dig into his past, his associates and co-workers to try to get to the motive, Brianna.

KEILAR: That's right. This is significant. We heard initially from a witness, Josh, who said they saw someone with what they described as a pistol, to be clear. We don't know what the weapon was. They said there was a green laser light on it. They saw this was telling our affiliate WLS, they saw someone that they believed to be a co-worker.

[18:50:04] CAMPBELL: Right. KEILAR: With that in mind, what would be the questions that you would

want to know? And is the normal profile that this is some sort of grievance? What questions would you have about that?

CAMPBELL: Yes, during the initial phase of the incidents, we always wonder, why is the perpetrator at a particular location? Was it random? Did they go there to inflict massive loss of life? Did they actually try to fill out or have grievance they were acting upon?

Often, these people -- we call them injustice collectors. We don't know the motive here. These are people who, they may have felt some type of slight. And now, they have to act upon that.

We don't know what the dynamic was at work. We know from the one witness that one of our affiliates spoken to, that's the person you mentioned, they indicated the person had workplace troubles which adds to building out of this whole picture of this person and why he did what he did.

But, obviously, you look at the weaponry. He mentioned that, you know, had tactical sights on the pistol. He went there with the intent of taking life, with killing people and at least five people tonight tragically are dead.

KEILAR: I want to bring in CNN law enforcement analyst, former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes.

Tom, what stands out for you as you listen to the Aurora police chief and you listen to authorities there, giving us these new information, five dead we should say and the shooter dead as well?

TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think, Brianna, the main thing that stands out is that we probably will never completely know everything that you'd like to know in this situation with the subject being killed.

You know, what was motivating him? Did he not get a raise? Was he going to be fired? Did somebody else give him a hard time? Maybe angry at a boss?

We don't know those details. Some of that will be told to investigators during the course of the investigation but, you know, what really goes on in somebody and the depth of somebody's mind in a situation like this we may never know for sure.

KEILAR: And so what is happening now?

We are also waiting to learn how many people are injured. What condition they're in. We do know that there were five police officers who were struck. None of them killed. We had heard earlier they were in stable condition.

What does that tell you about what they were confronted with as they came into this building?

FUENTES: Well, we heard that they were going up against the subject with a handgun, with a laser sight on it. By those sights are fairly cheap. You can get them at a gun shop for $100 to attach on most semi-automatic and revolver pistols. So, that's not that big of a deal to have that kind of a sight on the gun.

But we don't know, you know, what his background was. Did he have a prior arrest record? Did he take it from somebody else. Those will come out pretty quickly.

The police will be looking at his social media, if he had it. What e- mails, anything else. So, that will be part of the ongoing investigation.

KEILAR: All right. Tom Fuentes, thank you so much for your insights.

And just ahead, the former acting director of the FBI is offering a disturbing new account of President Trump choosing to believe Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence officials.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:55:59] KEILAR: Tonight, more bombshell revelations about the president and his administration from former FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe. He offers a disturbing account of President Trump's willingness to disregard U.S. intelligence officials and believe what Russia's Vladimir Putin tells him.

CNN's Brian Todd has been looking into this.

So, what have you been finding?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, we found what appears to be a pattern of President Trump actually taking advice from Vladimir Putin on U.S. national security matters that don't seem to affect Putin directly, a key question. And tonight, why would the president listen to what Putin says about North Korea, which contradicted what Trump's own intelligence agencies told him?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): It was an astonishing moment when President Trump apparently bought a line from Vladimir Putin. The account comes from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

In his new book, according to "The Washington Post", McCabe wrote that during an Oval Office briefing in July of 2017, Trump refused to believe U.S. intelligence reports that North Korea had just test fired a long range ballistic missile. According to McCabe, Trump didn't believe North Korea had the capability to launch those kinds of missiles because Vladimir Putin had told him so.

STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA MOSCOW STATION CHIEF: It's obviously never a healthy sign when your country's leader has the tendency to listen to autocrats as opposed of his own intelligence services.

TODD: The White House has pushed back on McCabe's book. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders saying McCabe has no credibility and is an embarrassment to the men and women of the FBI.

But Trump has often fallen to Putin's distortions, most infamously in Helsinki, when he seemingly bought Putin's line Russia didn't try to meddle in America's elections.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have great confidence in my intelligence people but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.

TODD: Trump has sometimes sounded closer to Putin's point of view than stated U.S. policy.

TRUMP: For the people of Crimea from what I've heard would rather be with Russia than where they were.

TODD: And he has boasted of his relationship with Putin.

TRUMP: My Putin meeting was one of the best meetings I've had.

TODD: But is the former KGB colonel getting inside his head?

HALL: Vladimir Putin would not have, you know, much difficulty pushing something like Donald Trump's buttons. He does have the training that all basic case officers have which is to identify vulnerabilities and motivations in your target. In this case, Putin is looking at Trump as a target.

TODD: When top U.S. intelligence officials last month directly contradicted Trump's assessments of ISIS's strength, Iran's nuclear dangers or North Korea's will to denuclearize he dismissed that and said they must go back to school. On North Korea, Trump has presented a sunnier picture than his director of national intelligence.

TRUMP: A lot has been accomplished.

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival.

TRUMP: A key question tonight, if Trump goes into his upcoming summit with Kim Jong-un believing what he wants to believe about Kim's intentions instead of trusting U.S. intelligence, what could happen?

MICHAEL GREEN, FORMER NSC OFFICIAL FOR ASIA: He might declare that he has ended the nuclear threat, that North Korea has made a solid commitment which might take away the leverage needed to have monitoring and verification to prove that North Korea is giving up nuclear weapons.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: It's for that reason that analysts believe that Mike Pompeo and other American negotiators who right under President Trump are right now looking at as many specific agreements as they can, making specific deals with North Korea before the summit to box the president in and keep him from giving away too much to Kim Jong-un at that summit -- Brianna. KEILAR: And, Brian, there are reports that Vladimir Putin actually

influenced Trump's thinking of another critical matter that had to do with North Korea?

TODD: You won't believe it, Brianna. Last year, "The Wall Street Journal" reported that Putin spoke to Trump and gave him the idea that if the U.S. stopped the joint military exercises with South Korea, it could actually moderate Kim Jong-un's behavior. Trump ended up cutting back on those exercises, but not stopping them completely.

Experts say this is typical Putin. He manipulated that because Putin had an interest in making it as difficult as the U.S. forces as possible to be ready for a crisis on the Korean peninsula.

KEILAR: All right. Brian Todd, thank you for that report.

I am Brianna Keilar.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.