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CNN TONIGHT

Manchester Bomber Identified; New Developments in Russia Investigation; Two Identities in One; Testimonies from Former Director Adds Smoke; ISIS Strikes Mercilessly to Innocent Children. Aired 10- 11p ET

Aired May 23, 2017 - 22:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Time now to hand it over to Don Lemon and CNN Tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Our breaking news. Two major stories an ocean apart. Terror in Manchester and new developments in the Russia investigation.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

Britain raising its threat level to critical tonight fearing another attack may be imminent. ISIS claiming responsibility for the Manchester suicide bombing that killed at least 22 people, including children and teenagers.

Plus, dramatic developments in the Russia investigation. The president lawyering up expecting to hire his longtime New York-based legal adviser, Marc Kasowitz described as a tenacious litigator to represent him, that's as the former head of the CIA testifies in public for the first time that he saw evidence that the Russians were trying to court Trump aides.

We've got the latest on both big stories for you this evening. Let's get right to CNN's senior international correspondent Atika Shubert, live for us in manchester. Hello, Atika. The U.K. raising its threat level to critical, and you're getting new details about the bomber Salman Abedi. What can you tell us about this investigation?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, police really focused their search on two locations, two houses really, and I'm on the street where one of those searches took place. They actually used a controlled detonation to get into the home where at least the last known address of Salman Abedi.

They basically went in with forensics teams, combed through it and brought out some material for further investigation, documents, for example, but we don't have any more details about what they found inside.

Now the second location they looked at we now know from talking to a family friend and neighbor was the home of Salman Abedi's brother. Now in that same area, police also made a very quick and efficient arrest of a 23-year-old suspect believed to be a man -- believed to be linked to the suspect.

Now he was literally just walking along street when a masked and armed gunman, excuse me, masked and armed policeman came and plucked him from the street and brought him into the station.

So, that's what we know about the police activity today, but we're still trying to get information on exactly what kinds of explosives were used and what kind of detonation device was used. How was this bomb packed? Those will be critical clues to understanding how the attack was carried out and whether or not it was not just one person but a whole cell involved.

LEMON: Atika Shubert reporting from Manchester this evening on our breaking news story. Thank you, Atika. I want to turn now to the other breaking news story tonight and that's major developments in the Russia investigation.

We're learning tonight that President Trump is expected to hire attorney marc Kasowitz to represent and that's according to a senior administration official and a person close to Trump.

Let's discuss now with senior CNN's global affairs analyst, David Rohde, senior contributor Emily Jane Fox, a staff writer for Vanity Fair, and CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson.

Good to all of you. You know, the last 24 hours have contained some very damaging revelations about the president and the Russia investigation, first from reports that President Trump asked two top officials, Director of National Security, Admiral Mike Rogers and the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to publicly deny collusion between his campaign and Russia which they declined to do.

And then today, the former CIA Director John Brennan gave his public testimony.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I encountered and I'm aware of information an intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign.

That I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals and it raised questions in my mind again whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, David Rohde, two things here. There is the -- for the first time the public acknowledgements of contact between the Trump -- between officials and Russian officials and the Trump campaign and also he was worried enough to alert the FBI. DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I think that's his job

to alert FBI, but this is -- the whole question, you know, how many contacts? Reuters reported recently that there were 18 phone calls before the election between Trump associates and different Russian officials.

Several of them were by Michael Flynn, who's come under so much attention, new subpoenas towards him today and the question is what was said in those calls. To be fair, Brennan said today he is personally did not know of evidence of conclusion. He -- you know, that's up to the FBI and that will be up to the Mueller investigation and the congressional committees and that remains the big question.

LEMON: That's not what he does, that's what the FBI does; right?

ROHDE: He's barred by law, the CIA by law cannot investigate Americans.

[22:04:57] LEMON: Nia, these reports along with the Comey reporting, they show a pattern of the president reaching out to people about the Russia investigation, the national -- the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats declined to comment when asked about his role in it today, but I want you to take a look at his answer then we'll talk about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I have always believed that given the nature of my position and information which we share, it's not appropriate for me to comment publicly on any of that, and so on this topic as well as other topics I don't feel it's appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Nia, he was -- he was measuring every single word he said today. You can see how careful he's picking his words. He could have denied the report but he didn't.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. There was no flat out denial there, and there was also no firm shutting of the door in terms of him talking about this later. He said he didn't feel comfortable, he didn't think it was appropriate to comment publicly on that, and it's likely that at some point, and he alluded to this at some point later it might be appropriate whether it's behind closed doors to go into more detail about those conversations.

But -- and, you know, sort of if you step back, I mean, the time line of events of this president talking to people about this investigation, talking to Comey, for instance, back in January at that dinner where he seems to ask for some sort of loyalty pledge and then you move to February reaching out to Comey again and essentially telling him to lay off Flynn short after Flynn resigns form the White House.

And then you move to March the conversations that we've been reporting on, the New York Times has been reporting on with Coats and Rogers as well, where he essentially asked them to publicly deny that there's any collusion.

And also a lot of the reporting is coming out, too, that it's not only Trump. It's people around him in the White House trying to figure out how to tamp down on this and how to essentially run a P.R. campaign around this Flynn investigation, wondering if the FBI can squash the investigation and wondering if intelligence officials can come out and say something different and the essentially say that there was no evidence of collusion.

So, it's unclear on whether or not this was a real attempt to squash the investigation or if it's, you know, the White House not really been clear about the lines that are clear to most administrations between the White House eyes as well as the FBI and the intelligence agencies more generally.

LEMON: David, I have to ask, because Nia, and I wrote it down, she is using -- she's choosing her words carefully as well. She is saying timeline. But the question is, you think about Comey, he fired Comey and then he told the Russians. I got that Russia thing off the table. That's gone. Are we seeing a pattern, is this a pattern of the president trying to pressure top officials like this?

ROHDE: It's a pattern of him trying to get it out of the news and that's the question. This is the question of obstruction of justice.

LEMON: What's the motive behind that?

ROHDE: Correct, and it depends on, you know, what's his goal and does it actually obstruct the investigation. Those are sort of the high legal bars.

But we've talked about this before, at the very least it is an astonishing political mistake on his part by doing these things, and if he does it again in any way, shape or form it's just going to add fuel to the fire and make Russia an even bigger story.

LEMON: Emily, I have to ask you, because you got a scoop today as I reported at the top of the show. He is hiring an attorney, a longtime adviser, right? But you're hearing that he -- someone asked advice from Chris Christie about who the president -- what the president should do in this. Tell me about this.

EMILY JANE FOX, STAFF WRITER, VANITY FAIR: Sure. So, two people familiar with the conversation said that Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey and an ally of Donald Trump who was with him on the campaign once he dropped out of the presidential race and led into the transition before he was replaced by Mike Pence that Jared Kushner called him asking him if Trump should seek legal counsel.

And Christie, according to someone who spoke to him last week said to him the president should lawyer up and he should shut his mouth. As we know now, that's kind of what's happening. The president is reportedly hiring a private lawyer and he has been pretty quiet while he's been on this foreign trip abroad. LEMON: It's interesting. I mean, these two -- Chris Christie and

Jared Kushner as allies, what's happening here?

FOX: Well, a White House official told me earlier this year that Christie and Kushner who have a long history of -- Christie was the prosecutor of...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Prosecuted his father.

FOX: Jared Kushner's father in prison.

LEMON: Right.

FOX: So they had a long history of animosity towards one another, but they buried the hatchet earlier this year saying, look, the president is going to be in office. We have bigger fish to fry basically and turns out they did have bigger fish to fry and that's what they are dealing with now.

LEMON: All these crises in the White House bringing these two together which is interesting.

FOX: A beautiful friendship.

LEMON: Yes. Yes, I mean, it is. It's interesting to see those two come together, especially given the history.

[22:09:57] David, Dana Bash interviewed Senator John McCain earlier and he weighed in on these developments including President Trump asking his two top officials to publicly deny evidence of collusion.

Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I don't think that it's logical to assume that the president of the United States would ask the director of national intelligence not to investigate the Russia issue. I just, if you said that's going to happen I would say, yes, it's a lousy movie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROHDE: It's a lousy movie and as we said it's just terribly politically. Why would you say these things to people? I mean, it's really shocking, and whether it's the president himself or his staff, like they should know better.

I mean, the Russia story has been raging since the end of the election. It's been months and months and months. So to take these, you know, steps. It's at least, you know, reckless at worse and to suppress the investigation.

LEMON: I mean, that's what -- Nia, that's what you said before whether they don't know. I think you said sort of what the line is and what the protocol is, but, I mean, still, these are adults. Are we, you know, giving them too much leeway in this because I think people who maybe are not as worldly as the people we have in the White House would probably know better.

HENDERSON: Yes, and this is a White House that came in essentially boasting that will they were the smartest guys in the room, and the smartest girls in the room, that everybody else who had served in administrations didn't know what they were doing. I believe at one point Donald Trump talked about the folks around him, his cabinet officials, having the highest I.Q. of any other administration.

LEMON: He knew better than the generals.

HENDERSON: Yes. He knew better than the generals, and the folks around him were the best and the brightest, and that was supposed to kind of assure people who might have had doubts about his inexperience, that he had hired people who had experience.

But, again this, gets to sort of the thin ranks around him. And also we're talking about Christie before. Christie, in some ways they should have listened to Christie way back when because he was raising are the alarms about Mike Flynn way back during the transition, but of course, he was ousted from the transition.

Mike Flynn put in place there because that have tension that he had with Jared Kushner going back to the prosecution of Jared Kushner's father, so, you know, a lot of red flags that they didn't listen to, and it's still unclear why. This sort of mystery of this enduring loyalty and enduring bond between Donald Trump and Mike Flynn.

LEMON: Emily is shaking your head here and for Emily that's a big -- you're agreeing with that.

FOX: Well, Chris Christie came out yesterday in a press conference in New Jersey and said he's not my cup of tea, Mike Flynn. I wouldn't have hired him, I wouldn't have put him in the White House but I'm not the president.

I think of all the criticism that Jared Kushner gets, one thing that I've been told over and over again is that he's not afraid to ask what he does not know, and I would take it as a good sign if it is true that he went to Governor Christie last week. That's exactly what he should be doing. He's a senior adviser to the president. He should be seeking advice from other people to help advice.

LEMON: That's an interesting comment from Governor Christie and I think it ended with a throat clear. So, thank you all. I appreciate it.

When we come back, none of this is good news for the president. I'm going to ask two former White House counsels what they think of the investigation so far.

[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Our breaking news tonight, President Trump lawyering up expected to hire attorney Marc Kasowitz to represent him. That is as former CIA Director John Brennan publicly tells Congress he's worried -- he worried about contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.

Let's bring now in Bob Bauer, the former Obama White House Counsel and also CNN contributor, John Dean, the former Nixon White House Counsel and the author of "Conservatives Without Conscience."

Good evening to both of you. I'm so glad to have you here. John, I'm going to start with you.

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: All right.

LEMON: Because Watergate was a story that developed by a drip, drip, drip of reporting and leaks. These last few days we have been seeing a deluge of news. How serious is that right now, and how bad is this for the president?

DEAN: Well, it certainly has been fire hose speed news which is very unlike Watergate and it strikes me that Mr. Trump has made more mistakes in a small intense area of coverage of this thing than Nixon did over a protracted amount of time.

But they both made mistakes and brought a lot of harm on themselves, and I'm not sure that Trump hasn't done the same in hiring a counsel who doesn't have a real background in Washington.

LEMON: But it's someone apparently he trusts because he's counseled him before.

DEAN: That's it.

LEMON: And Bob, and it's Bauer, I'm used to saying Bob Baer on the networks so I apologize for that. You say the administration is not handling the Russia investigation well but the responsibility falls squarely on the president. Explain that.

BOB BAUER, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: The president has tweeted on the subject. He has up to this point at least made a number of public comments that have been unhelpful including comments that have been inconsistent with what others in the administration had said.

So it's not clear that there's any real discipline around the communication of the president's position here, and any selectivity, any care in deciding what it is that he should talk about and what it is that he shouldn't.

But certainly what he has said, for example, I saw it in the last segment, the reference to a letter that he sent out, the letter of dismissal to Mr. Comey in which he specifically says that he sought and received or at least that he received, so he says, on three separate occasions assurances from FBI Director Comey that he was not under investigation. It's not at all clear certainly whether that's true. That may be. That

may not be, but one way or the other that he would put that out in a letter is just an example of the undisciplined and ultimately self- defeating approach that he's taking here.

LEMON: To that line of questioning, John, the sources tell CNN President Trump asked two top intelligence chief, director of national intelligence and the director of national security agency to publicly deny evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russia.

I mean, both of these men were uncomfortable with the requests. They did refuse. When the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was asked about the report today, he didn't confirm. He didn't deny it either. He simply said it would be inappropriate to discuss conversations he had with the president.

Is it legally appropriate for the president -- for President Trump to ask two top intelligence officers something like this?

DEAN: Well, it's not unlike what Mr. Nixon did that got him in a lot of trouble when he asked the CIA through his chief of staff to go to the FBI and tell them to halt part of their investigation.

[22:20:04] Actually Haldeman, his chief of staff, didn't carry out the full instructions, but they certainly were there on tape. I think that what he's doing -- what Trump is doing is certainly more than a P.R. effort.

If he could get these people to step out and give him some sort of wedge or opening against the FBI, I think he would have used it and pursued it because he clearly doesn't want the FBI investigation to go forward, so it's part of a pattern, showing his intent, and this may come back to haunt him, Don.

LEMON: Do you think it's part of a pattern. I asked that too in the last segment. You think this is a pattern?

DEAN: I do. I think it's a clear pattern. Even when he's sharing his private thinking with Lester Holt and saying, well, I didn't think this was a legitimate investigation. Therefore, I thought it was appropriate to fire this guy who was causing me all these problems.

And he said in another conversation with the Russians that indeed he was relieved now that he had fired Comey because that took the investigation off of him. It's just a steady pattern of he wants to block an investigation. And as president, regardless of his motive, he doesn't have the right to block the FBI investigation.

LEMON: And Bob, Admiral Mike Rogers of the NSA apparently wrote a memo documenting his conversations with the president, just like Comey did. We reported so much about that.

When you look at all the President Trump's actions together, and again, we're talking about pattern here or time line or motivation, his firing of the former director, FBI Director James Comey, these conversations with intelligence chiefs and the comment to top Russian officials and the Comey dismissal eased pressure on the investigation, is this something that could rise to the level of impeachment?

BAUER: Well, that's something for Congress to address. Of course, the standards under our criminal law are different than the ones that Congress uses to determine whether to initiate an impeachment inquiry.

It's a very different line of analysis on Congress' part, but I -- I certainly share the view that the president has brought significant trouble on himself, and I also agree that where you have granting that we may not know all the facts at this point.

Some of this is sort of generally reported material but where you seem to have this accumulation of activity by the president to seek assurances about his own legal status and to attempt to ward off this investigation, he's going to cause himself trouble, both within the criminal enforcement system and on Capitol Hill.

Whether the trouble he causes himself on Capitol Hill will ever lead to an impeachment inquiry is at the moment not knowable.

LEMON: Bob, I have to ask you, given your experience, your own experience serving on a White House counsel. Is President Trump getting the right guidance from his White House Counsel Don McGahn?

BAUER: It's impossible to know, I think all lawyers would say without knowing the substance of the relationship or the exchanges of information and advice between the two, lawyers can be advising completely accurately, completely correctly, very sagely and clients are not listening, or it's possible that something is getting lost in the translation.

It's hard to say. Certainly as I mentioned earlier with the letter and certainly with these reported phone calls, you know, to Comey to seek reassurance, to Senator Coats and to Mr. -- Director Rogers to seek assurance, if he's getting advice and the advice that we think he ought to be getting, he's not listening to it.

LEMON: Yes. He is a counsel to the White House and the presidency, not his personal counsel, John. Do you think he's getting the right advice though?

DEAN: Well...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Or giving the right advice to the president?

DEAN: I think White House counsel, that whole shop is a very good group of lawyers, and whether Trump is listening to them is another question. What's interesting and got to be remembered is post-Ken Starr there is no attorney-client privilege. So, there is -- he'd be wise to have limited conversations if indeed they are having conversations on this subject at all.

LEMON: John, Bob, thank you. I appreciate it.

DEAN: Thank you. BAUER: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, some key insight into the man at the center of of this growing investigation. Lieutenant General Michael Flynn's friend joins me. Why he says Flynn didn't want to be President Trump's national security adviser.

[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The Senate intelligence committee issuing new subpoenas for documents from businesses run by Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser. If he doesn't comply the committee warns contempt charges could be filed.

I want to bring in now Michael Ledeen, he is a friend of General Flynn's and he's also -- they co-wrote this book called "The Field of Fight" -- "The Field of Flight." Also, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem, a former Department of Homeland Security official.

Good evening to both of you. Michael, thank you for joining us. I appreciate your insight into Michael Flynn. He's your friend.

MICHAEL LEDEEN, CO-AUTHOR, "THE FIELD OF FIGHT": Yes.

LEMON: He's at the center of the firestorm plaguing the Trump campaign over potential collusion with the Russians. You say Michael Flynn, the one we read about in the newspapers, the one we see on television or at least people talk about on television is not the Michael Flynn you know. How so?

LEDEEN: Well, the Michael Flynn that I know and with whom I worked very closely to write a book. I mean, writing a book with somebody else is a pretty intimate experience and you get to know your co- author very well.

He's one of the most utterly guileless and straightforward and honest truth tellers I think I've ever encountered and then I hear all these people saying, what a liar he was, and so on, and so there are two different people, the one I know and the one I hear about on TV a lot.

LEMON: You think he's a standup guy considering some of the things that he said during the campaign that we learned about.

LEDEEN: I think that when anybody asks him a serious question, that they will get a serious and honest answer from him.

LEMON: OK. You say Michael Flynn never wanted to be national security adviser. Why not?

LEDEEN: I don't know why not. And that surprised me, too, frankly, but he didn't.

LEMON: Why did he accept it?

[22:30:01] LEDEEN: I suppose Donald Trump can be very persuasive, an it's hard if a president or a president-elect says to you, hey, come work with me. We need you. You're the best person for this job, and I trust you.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Did he tell you specifically that he didn't want to do it or are you just assuming that he didn't?

LEDEEN: No, no, I know that he didn't want to do it. I know that he didn't want to do any more government service, at least for a while, that he wanted to be a private citizen.

LEMON: Do you think he knew he could possibly end up in this kind of trouble and maybe that's the reason he didn't want to do it?

LEDEEN: I'm not a mind reader. All I can tell you is -- is that I know he didn't want it.

LEMON: Does he have regrets?

LEDEEN: I don't know because from the moment this started and then he was surrounded by lawyers. The only thing we've talked about is that we're both lucky men. He has a new grandson and we have a new granddaughter.

LEMON: OK.

LEDEEN: And we were comparing notes on that.

LEMON: Just in the interest of time, I'm going to move on and ask more questions. Do you -- do you know how he is doing and whether he is getting help with his legal defense? Have you spoken to him?

LEDEEN: I haven't spoken to him about that, but from other people my understanding is that it's a pro bono as it often is in these cases in Washington.

LEMON: OK. Stand by, let me bring Juliette in. Juliette, Flynn is pleading the fifth, refusing to testify or hand over any documents. The Senate intelligence committee is threatening to hold him in contempt if he doesn't comply and issue two subpoenas to appear businesses that Flynn ran which don't fall under Fifth Amendment protection. Do you think they'll get the information they need from Michael Flynn?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: They may. I think what they are trying to do at least on the Senate side is to show that their investigation is still going on that on and that they can continue to try to get information from Flynn without granting the immunity which he at least had said he wanted.

But I have to say I don't blame Flynn for the fifth. If I were his lawyers, that's exactly what you would want advice. You have the FBI as well as Mueller now circulating and circling around not just Flynn but, of course, a White House that he was a part of.

But picking up on what Michael said. I actually think there are two Mike Flynn. I think that this public and the one that you hear about and the one -- the people who knew Mike Flynn before when I was government, the head of the DIA, he was a person that had worked the ranks, was considered thoughtful.

He had some management challenges at DIA which ultimately led to him being fired by the Obama administration, but there was nothing that would have told you in his biography then that he would be in this position now, that that -- that that justifies anything he may have done more recently, we don't know.

That's why there's an investigation and Mike Flynn is interesting. He's an enigma. He may be a criminal. We don't know that part yet but that he's complicated is certainly true, and his complications, taking money from the Russians are, doing those speeches, his clients in Turkey, that complication is actually what got him into so much trouble.

LEMON: And Michael, to that point, all of the reporting that -- that's getting the president into trouble, I mean, it really comes back to Michael Flynn. The president was asking Jim Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn, firing Comey and asking two top intelligence officials publicly to say that there's no evidence of collusion between the campaign and the Russians.

LEDEEN: Yes, didn't the former head of CIA say that again yesterday?

LEMON: Let me get my question out. The president continues to defend Flynn even though he was fired. Why do you think the president is so fiercely loyal to Michael Flynn?

LEDEEN: Because I think he likes him a lot. They were together constantly during the campaign. He had Flynn introduce him at campaign rallies and so on, so there's obviously a deep personal relationship there.

LEMON: Yes. OK. Michael, thank you. I appreciate you coming on. Juliette, always a pleasure. Thanks so much.

KAYYEM: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, more on today's explosive testimony from the former CIA chief. Why it could make the president's life a lot tougher.

[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Former CIA Director John Brennan telling house investigators that Russia Brazenly interfered in U.S. elections including actively contacting members of the Trump campaign.

Let's discuss with CNN global affairs analyst, Tony Blinken, and CNN military and diplomatic analyst, Rear Admiral John Kirby. John, I just want to get to you weigh in on the last conversation I had with Michael Ledeen who is a friend of Michael Flynn, because you knew Michael Flynn or you know him.

And what I was trying to ask him and how do you reconcile a guy who said -- you know, started the lock her up chant that President Obama wasn't born in America, that he was born in Africa and on and on, he calls him a guileless straight-laced guy who will give you a straight answer.

JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: His description on General Flynn would be the way I would describe him, at least from my relationship with him, and I would be honest I haven't stayed in touch with General Flynn since he left the military and I retired as well.

But in my time working with him on joint staff, and when he was at DIA and I was the Pentagon press secretary he was without guile. He was one of the most intelligent, one of the most loyal and one of the most innovative army officers I ever had had the opportunity to get to know and I still consider it an honor and privilege to have served with him.

I don't know where his political leanings came from, how that started or where -- or why it got to where it did. That was a surprise to me, as I think it was a surprise to many who knew him back then.

LEMON: Do you -- do you have any inkling of maybe it was the way he ended his career or left the Obama administration?

(CROSSTALK)

KIRBY: Some people -- some people have alleged, I can't prove this, but I think some people have said that perhaps his departure from the military the way in which he left DIA, left a very bitter taste in his mouth and might have led to some acrimony there.

[22:40:01] I don't know that for a fact but I have heard that from some people.

LEMON: The former CIA Director John Brennan told lawmakers for the first time today that he encountered intelligence revealing interaction between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign. He says that he was concerned about whether Russia was able to get those people to cooperate. How damning is that, Tony Blinken?

TONY BLINKEN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, Don, you've got a few elements here. What we know is this. We know the Russians were trying to interfere in the campaign, in the election. We know that as part of that their tactics typically includes trying to co-op people, coerce them and get them to cooperate.

We also know, and this is what the former director testified too, that there were numerous contacts between Russian officials and people affiliated with the campaign.

So all of that creates a lot of smoke but it doesn't yet add up to fire. We don't know if there was actual collusion. That's exactly why we have this investigation and why former FBI Director Mueller is in charge of it. We need to get to the e bottom of it. Maybe that there's nothing there, but there's so smoke that we need to look at it. And maybe I said there's no fire, but at some point if there's a lot of smoke you just start choking on that. LEMON: Interesting. Why do you say that? Explain that.

CLINKEN: Well, you know, all of these elements -- here's the problem. When you step back and look at what the Russians were trying to do, the main thing they were trying to accomplish was to sew doubt about the legitimacy and credibility of our system, to make our own people and people around the world doubt that it was functioning appropriately.

And unless you can clear all of stuff unless you can clear this smoke away you're only feeding the fire that Russia was trying to set. That's why this investigation is so important. That's why we need to get to the bottom of it, whatever it is. It may be there's nothing there at the bottom but it has to be done to clear the smoke away and not actually advance what Russia was trying to do which was create doubt about our system.

LEMON: Admiral Kirby, the former CIA director also suggested during his testimony today that some individuals may have unknowingly cooperated or unwittingly cooperated with Russia. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRENNAN: I've studied Russian intelligence activities over the years and have seen it. Again, manifested in many different counterintelligence cases and how they have been able to get people, including inside of CIA, to become treasonous and frequently individuals who go along the treasonous path do not even realize they are along that path until it gets to be a bit too late.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So is it possible that Trump campaign members were duped by the Russians?

KIRBY: It's certainly possible. I don't know that he was alluding to any one individual there or even saying that anybody crossed the line of treason there. I think he was speaking from his vast wisdom and experience in the intelligence community about how the Russians operate.

They do things overtly, you know, try to get you with electronics intelligence or bribery, but they also do things covertly in terms of trying to sidle up to you over time. There's many ways that they can develop information and intelligence from different targets.

I think it's certainly possible, I mean, you know, depending on how willing and how corruptible an individual might be, but, again, I really think, I want to go back to what Mr. Blinken said because he's right. We really need to let the investigation go forward before we jump to conclusions right now. There's a lot of spade work that still has to be done. And I think it will be very dangerous for us to jump to any perceptions right now without having the facts to back it up.

LEMON: Tony, the White House says that Brennan's testimony exonerated the president and his campaign from colluding with the Russians. Interestingly the statement was from an anonymous White House official. No one wants to go on the record with this defense.

BLINKEN: Well, I certainly didn't hear that, Don, in reading the testimony and listening to parts of it. That's not what the former director said. What he did say is he doesn't have direct evidence of collusion, but what he did say also very clearly is that there sure are a heck of a lot of questions that have been raised by this combination of Russian interference and Russian tactics trying to co- op people and the fact that there are a lot of contacts.

That's what needs to be cleared up, but I'm also exactly where John Kirby is. You know, let the investigation go forward. Let Director Mueller do his job and let his team do their job and let's see where the chips fall.

LEMON: I want to -- can I switch gears now, Admiral Kirby, I want to talk to you about this horrible terror attack in Manchester that we were reporting on last night and all today on CNN.

President Trump responded by calling people -- the people responsible evil losers. We don't have to play it, but I just want to get -- they said it was the president's decision to use that word.

KIRBY: Yes.

LEMON: What's your reaction to his choice?

KIRBY: It's not the word that I would have used. I think a better word to describe these -- these people, if you're going to use a word is murderer. It is against the teachings of Muslim -- of Islam, it's against the Koran to murder, to take a life, an innocent life and that is what they are doing.

And we saw that, you know, in spades here with what looks like an ISIS -- at least an ISIS-inspired attack in Manchester.

[22:44:57] So, I would have used the word murderer I think it's a word that they don't like, that they do react to. I don't know that using the word losers is going to matter much to these guys.

I understand what he's trying to do, he's trying to use a term and vernacular that he has used in his life as a businessman and, of course, as a reality show host. Loser has a connotation here in our culture that matters. I don't know that it matters to these guys. Again, I would pick the word murderer.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

When we come right back, more on the terror attack in Manchester. We're learning more about the suicide bomber and his plan to target women and children.

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LEMON: Our breaking news. The U.K. raising its threat level to critical tonight fearing another attack maybe imminent after the suicide bombing that killed at least 22 people at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester last night.

I want to bring in now counterterrorism expert R.P. Eddy, the co- author of "Warnings," and also Mia Bloom, the professor at Georgia State University and the author of "Dying to Kill."

I'm so glad to have both of you on for your expertise and this horrific story. We're learning more about the 22-year-old, Salman Abedi, the attacker in this case. What can you tell me about him, R.P.?

R.P. EDDY, CO-AUTHOR, "WARNING": Well, what we understand so far is he's a very normal target for recruitment. He's a second generation British person. He's lived there.

[22:50:02] And what we also know is about 16 young men have been radicalized around Manchester. There's been this transition from gangsterism to Jihad. That's happened with some regularity in and around where this bombing took place. So we don't know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if we find out that he was radicalized through that same process.

LEMON: Do you agree with that, Mia?

MIA BLOOM, PROFESSOR, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY: Yes. In fact, I actually have also heard that there's a possibility he dropped out of school and may have been back in Libya before the attack. If that is the case, then we could actually show a much closer link to ISIS training.

Because if the bomb is very professionally built, this would have necessitated some training, a hands-on training.

LEMON: Yes.

BLOOM: So I think we need to see more as to whether this Libya connection is actually firmly and correct.

LEMON: Mia, I think it's interesting that you make the point that this attack at this Ariana Grande concert appears to target women and children. And you said that's telling. Why is that?

BLOOM: The idea is to try to cause as much shock value as possible. And I think that, you know, the reaction we've seen, we've seen the parents on your show, Don. It's heartbreaking that -- this is an idea, these are innocent kids who have done absolutely nothing. They have their whole life ahead of them.

And so the shock value is exponential. And ISIS is always pushing the envelope. Whether they are killing 8-year-olds at a rock concert or using 8-year-olds as suicide bombers, they are completely exploiting children and they are violating every norm we have in society and they keep pushing the envelope further and further.

LEMON: R.P., remember 2015, three suicide bombers, remember at the Bataclan. They struck almost simultaneously Bataclan and theater in Paris, as well as this crowded stadium. The things, the bars, restaurants and concerts, why are these -- these are considered what, soft targets?

EDDY: Soft targets.

LEMON: And it's -- these are easier targets for terrorist.

EDDY: And unfortunately, no matter what we do, once we get to the point where the bomb is enroot, we're not going to be able to stop these soft terrorist attacks. We'll get lucky with intelligence, we'll get lucky with preventive nets, but it's very difficult.

Just think about going to the airport, you're waiting in the line for TSA. At that point you're on the unsafe zone and there's a very mass of you, it's very easy for someone to get into that area because they haven't gone through a metal detector at that point.

LEMON: How do we establish if this person was working alone if they're a part of a terrorist network?

EDDY: Let's understand something about that. Maybe it doesn't matter as much. It only matters tactically in the U.K. right now if he's got a group and the U.K. intelligence services MI6 and MI5 are going to try to figure that out. I think they already know something. It enhances -- enhance terror alert.

But what I want to make the point about is ISIS is really three things. So you have ISIS, the terrorist group, that's the land lord of Syria and Iraq and holds this false caliphate. You have ISIS actually sending out foreign terrorists, and this might be one of the few examples that happening.

And then you have ISIS as an idea of mass destruction that recruits people very rapidly over the internet and other ways and do extremism. So this could be option number two or three. It doesn't particularly matter. ISIS is deadly in every dimension.

LEMON: Yes. Everything matters when it comes to fighting terrorism. And not to get hung up on words, but I asked my last expert about the term evil losers from the president today, as an expert, I'm interested in your take on that.

EDDY: When I worked at the White House and as I advise the president, it's very important that the president understands the words he uses and that they really matter and he communicates powerfully. I think this president doesn't think the same way that many of us do about that.

I've also made the point for a long time that these terrorists aren't eight feet tall, and there's a lot of feeling in the media and there's a lot of feeling among the populist that these are super men that are going to come get us in our sleep.

We've learned time and time again that they're really not. So I don't mind him saying they're not masterminds, I don't mind him saying I'm not going to call them monster, but I just think it's not the way a president should speak to use a word like loser.

LEMON: Mia, what do you think?

BLOOM: I think R.P. is right. I think that this language is going to resonate with the Americans or with the president's base, but it's going to have absolutely no effect on ISIS.

In fact, in terms of the culture, loser in our culture means something very different. It's going to have zero effect. The other thing is that, ISIS really doesn't care what Trump thinks. They have spent the last few days mocking him on their social media and on their encrypted platforms.

And so anything that comes out of his mouth means nothing. But I agree with your last expert, that if you frame it with their being un- Islamic or they're murderers or they're mushrikeen or some other terminology you could use, that might resonate more.

LEMON: OK. Thank you, Mia. Thank you, R.P. I appreciate it.

EDDY: Thanks.

LEMON: So before we turn it over to colleagues Jim Sciutto and Pamela Brown, a word on the families of Manchester facing their worst fears right now. I spoke last night to Charlotte Campbell, whose daughter was missing.

[22:55:01] The family announcing tonight that 15-year-old Olivia was tragically killed in the attack. Her grieving mother posting on Facebook, "Rest in peace, my darling precious. Gorgeous girl, Olivia Campbell taken by far too soon. Go sing with the angels and keep smiling. Mommy loves you so much."

Earlier, Charlotte talked about the last time she heard from her daughter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL, OLIVIA CAMPBELL'S MOTHER: It was half past 8 she said (Inaudible) she said they were amazing. She was waiting for Ariana to come out, and she was so happy. And she thanked me and said she loved me. And that was the last I heard from her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Four young victims of the bombing have been identified so far. Our collective hearts are broken tonight. You are in our thoughts and prayers. It goes out to all the families and everyone involved tonight.

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