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CNN TONIGHT

Russia Probe Turns to Kushner; Montana Election Results. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 25, 2017 - 22:00   ET

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


(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Don Lemon and CNN Tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: We have breaking news for you, two major stories. The polls, while they're just closing in a race that everybody is watching right now, the race that got a reporter body slammed and a candidate charged with assault.

And there's a major new development in the Russia investigation to tell you about as well.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

All eyes right now on Montana and that special election in the state to fill its open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrat Rob Quist running against republican Greg Gianforte who is charged with misdemeanor assault, allegedly body slamming a Guardian reporter just last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREG GIANFORTE, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: Speak with Shane, please. I'm sick and tired of you guys! The last time you came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

BEN JACOBS, REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: Jesus.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: We should tell you that the reporter is live with us in just a moment. You're going to hear from him.

Plus, breaking news on Russia and this is big. Going straight to the heart of the White House and the first family.

Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, and right-hand man, now a focus of the investigation. Investigators looking at Kushner's contacts with Russian officials and the campaign's data analytics operation. We're covering all the angles on both these big stories for you tonight. So, we're going to start with the votes. Just being counted. Beginning

to be counted right now in Montana's special election to fill its open seat in the House of Representatives. We'll find CNN's Ryan Young there, he's at Gianforte's headquarters in Bozeman, Montana. Kyung Lah is there as well at Quist campaign in Missoula, Montana.

Good evening to both of you.

Ryan, I'm going to start with you. The polls just close in Montana. You're at Gianforte's headquarters as I said. What's going on there following the assault charge?

RYAN YOUNG, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, a lot of excitement here from people in the inside, they tell me they believe their candidate will be victorious tonight, in fact, they believe the reporter pushed too far to go inside that room and that's exactly what they were telling on the inside.

They believe he will stand up and be victorious in this and they believe that he was the one who started this confrontation. That's not what we heard from other folks around Montana today. They thought this was a slight to the entire state and they're hoping that people come out and vote and turn this election around.

LEMON: So, Ryan, has Gianforte directly addressed what happened or responded to three major papers pulling their endorsement of him?

YOUNG: Not at all. In fact, we walked inside trying to see if he could get a glimpse of the candidate, or figure out where he's going to show up later on tonight. So far no one knows that.

There's a small police presence on the inside. But everyone in the inside was just talking about this ground swelling of support, they believe this incident has only strengthened the cause behind him, and people say -- a couple folks said this is Montana justice, that they're tired of reporters coming from outside and pushing their way into rooms.

Once again, though, we'll have to see how this turns out tonight in terms of the back and forth with heavy supporters on the inside who definitely want to see their candidate win.

LEMON: Kyung, I want to go now to the democratic headquarters for Rob Quist. What's the mood there tonight? Are folks talking about this body slamming incident?

KYUNG LAH, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Absolutely. I mean, this is all that they've been talking about. The democrats we've spoken to ever since this video, ever since this audio, excuse me, was released, they're culling it disgusting, vile, that they hope this will be the game changer.

What they don't know is if it, indeed, will be. In a state where Donald Trump won by more than 20 percentage points. I was actually speaking to a supporter, Don, and they said even if they lose, they believe it will be by a small margin. Very small margins. And that in and of itself they believe will be a victory, a signal, to the national democrats from Montana, Don.

LEMON: So, Kyung, as I understand, you have spoken to voters on the street there. One person even shouted something at you. Can you tell us about that?

LAH: You know, the people we were talking to were going to the polls to vote. We wanted to go someplace where a lot of republicans were gathering, just to see if the audio may have affected their vote.

And we actually ran into quite a few people that as soon as we said we were CNN, they had a very strong reaction. A couple of them repeating what President Trump has said that we're fake news. We immediately correct them say, that's not the case.

But still, they were ready and they were constantly talking about it. And then a man who was walking in to vote, ironically into a church that was being used as a polling place, and I actually tweeted about it, he said, "You're lucky someone doesn't pop one of you."

And I was really confused. I even had to ask my producer, Bill, what exactly did he say? And indeed, he did say that. So, what democrats and republicans wonder is, if the audio, indeed, will actually inspire republicans to get out and vote for Gianforte, even more wholeheartedly.

[22:05:05] LEMON: If viewers are confused, and maybe they don't know what that means, that means we're lucky if someone doesn't shoot one of you, that's what pop means.

Thank you, Kyung. Be safe, please. Let's get to our other breaking news. We are going to get back to that story in just a moment. We have some other breaking news I want to talk about and it's the Russia investigation. Jared Kushner under FBI scrutiny.

And joining me now is CNN's justice correspondent Evan Perez. Evan, you have this new reporting, tell us why the FBI is interested in Jared Kushner.

EVAN PEREZ, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Don, the issue is with this investigation is that there are multiple tentacles now that go directly to Jared Kushner. And that includes a closer look at the Trump campaign's data analytics operation, and whether or not the Russians were able to benefit from it, whether wittingly or unwittingly through the help of someone to be able to target the negative messages against Hillary Clinton, the positive messages against, for Donald Trump, and whether or not any of that has to do with Jared Kushner because he was in charge of this data operation.

Second part of this investigation that they're now looking at is, of course, Michael Flynn, the fired national security adviser who we know that Jared Kushner was in at least one meeting with Michael Flynn, with the diplomat from Russia, Sergey Kislyak, the top Ambassador here in Washington.

And then thirdly, his own meetings with Russians. These are all things that the FBI is now taking a look at, Don, and whether or not Kushner has more information for this investigation.

At this point, he is not a target of this investigation, we're told. At this point, the FBI simply believes that he has a lot of information and they would like to know what he could possibly shed on it.

We should also add that, you know, obviously, heretofore, we know the Trump White House has been saying that, you know, everybody else, that the FBI's been taking a look at, is peripheral to the Trump operation. Well now, this is his son-in-law, this is somebody who is one of his closest advisers and he's inside the White House. Don?

LEMON: Interesting. So you're reporting Kushner's role helping to run the campaign's data analytics is part of this probe. Why is that, Evan?

PEREZ: Well, here's what the FBI is taking a look at. They have gathered all this data on these Russian, these Russian bots, these computers, that they believe were able to, again, target how this news, the news, the fake news, some of it was fake news, some of it was the information that was stolen from the DNC, and these stories, some of it came from Russian outlets like R.T. and Sputnik and was able to target it in places like Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

These are places that ended up being the margin of victory for the president. And we know that the Trump operation was able to build a very smart data analytics operation and Kushner has done interviews in which he said that he helped build this. That he helped attract some of the smart tech people who were able to put together this micro targeting to figure out where voters were going to be able to be turned in favor of Donald Trump.

So, now, the FBI simply wants to understand a little bit more of this, whether or not possibly the Russians had a window into the Trump operation, either through spying on it, either through somebody who wittingly or unwittingly was assisting that effort. Don?

LEMON: So much to get to the bottom of. Evan, I want you to stand by. Because I want to bring in now Washington Post -- the Washington Post Justice Department reporter, Matt Zapotosky.

Matt, thank you so much for joining us. Here's a statement from Jared Kushner's attorney. I want to read it for you. He said "Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings. He will do the same if he's contacted in connection with any other entity. James Gorelick."

So, to be -- Jamie Gorelick -- to be clear, no one is alleging Kushner did anything wrong. But will the FBI interview Jared?

MATT ZAPOTOSKY, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: I expect they will. That statement from Jamie Gorelick kind of hints that they have not yet but if they do reach out, he is willing and he has also, as his lawyer mentioned, offered to talk to Senate investigators who are running sort of a parallel probe at looking into a lot of the same issues.

So I would expect at some point the FBI will want to talk to Jared Kushner. We haven't gotten there yet, but I certainly think we will get there. Probably pretty soon.

LEMON: All right. You're also reporting, though, that investigators are broadly looking into financial crimes. Talk to me about that.

ZAPOTOSKY: They are. And we're not specifically reporting that they're looking into financial crimes with Jared Kushner. I need to be really clear on our reporting on that. We're reporting that they're interested in particular in these meetings, some of which Evan just mentioned in December after the election, maybe one back in April.

But, where Jared Kushner is meeting with the Russian ambassador and then the head of a Russian banker which certainly there could be a financial tie there.

Separately, we are reporting that this investigation is kind of sprawling. It's looking at financial crimes.

[22:10:01] Again, not necessarily directly with Jared Kushner, but possibly with other people, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, and maybe, Jared Kushner. We just haven't nailed that down.

LEMON: There's just another aspect of your reporting not specifically reported to Jared Kushner. All right, Matt, thank you very much.

Evan is coming back in just a moment. We're going to report more on his Russia reporting.

I want to get back to our other breaking news story because as votes are being counted in Montana's special election to fill its open seat in the House, I want to bring in now the reporter who shocked the political world last night saying he had been body slammed by Greg Gianforte.

It's Ben Jacobs of the Guardian. Ben, thank you so much for joining us. We're glad that you can join us tonight. We know that you tried last night but you were being treated and also being interviewed by police. How are you doing?

JACOBS: I'm as -- under the circumstances I'm doing OK. It's been a very bizarre 24 hours. That this has not been anything I ever predicted or could ever imagine happening. It's been very surreal to be put into a story when you thought, when I thought I was just here to report on the story.

LEMON: Talk to me more about when you say under the circumstances you're doing OK.

JACOBS: That in terms of under the circumstances that for someone who's been body slammed by a congressional candidate, I think -- I think I could be in worse shape, but it's been a strange 24 hours and strange sort of going through this entire process of going from -- going from asking -- asking a basic question about the Congressional Budget Office score of the republican health care plan to an ambulance.

LEMON: Yes. So, I hate to have you relive this again, but I want to play that audio of what went down yesterday then I want to get your response on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACOBS: In terms of the CBO score, because, you know, you were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill that just came out.

(CROSSTALK)

GIANFORTE: We'll talk to you about that later.

JACOBS: Yes, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious...

(CROSSTALK)

GIANFORTE: Speak with Shane, please. I'm sick and tired of you guys! The last time you came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

JACOBS: Jesus.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?

JACOBS: Yes and you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You'd like me to get the hell out of here? I'd also like to call the police. Can I get you guys' names?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you got to leave.

JACOBS: He just body slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So walk us through again what happened because in his response, right, he is saying that they asked you to leave and that you were pushing your phone or recording device in his face. Is that true?

JACOBS: No. As you can hear by the audio, none of that is true as you can tell by the eyewitness events. None of that is true. That you have a situation where it's, you know, not just myself, but it's an audio recording, it's the three Fox News employees who were there, the BuzzFeed employee standing -- reporter standing outside the door, versus the statement that the campaign put out, which is, you know, they got my name right and they got my employer right. Other than that, I think there was -- it was not factually accurate.

LEMON: He said "It was an aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist, it created the scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ." Again, saying that you shoved a recorder in Greg's face, and, again, you say this is completely not true, in fact, the Fox reporter has been on air saying that there was nothing aggressive in your behavior.

JACOBS: Yes. I mean, you know, I was asking a question about healthcare policy and trying to -- trying to grab the candidate in sort of a loose moment when he was talking around.

You know, his response was something I've never anticipated having asked thousands of politicians countless questions about policy and politics over the years.

This is -- this has never happened to me before. I have to hope and imagine it won't happen again and it's just something so unusual and so far beyond the bounds of anything normal in journalism.

LEMON: Ben, why do you think he reacted that way?

JACOBS: I don't know. There seem to be some discontent over colleagues of mine who had been reporting the state a couple weeks ago, but it was very, you know, this -- there's -- you know, when you talk to politicians as a reporter, sometimes they're less happy to talk to you than others.

But there's never any -- I can't imagine, I mean, this is a situation where one adult decided to body slam another adult without warning or provocation. And I still can't quite fathom, you know, why, you know, not just a politician reporter, but just two adult human beings would, you know, why that would happen in that situation.

[22:14:59] LEMON: What do you say to people who have at least had aggressive, negative language, toward journalists? Because it's not an easy job being journalist. You're not in a war zone, never would you expect to be physically assaulted when you're on a story, but there are journalists who serve in war zones and who put their lives at risk every single day.

What do you say to that sort of rhetoric that has been used lately? And people who use it?

JACOBS: I think it's really disappointing that journalism, it's important to bring folks the information they need. My job which is by no means a war zone is sort of making sure voters have the information they need to make an informed decision and trying to do what I can to do that.

But journalism is such a fundamental part of the democratic process and seen across the world right now, journalists being killed in Russia, in Mexico, not, you know, which not to mention some of the increased tensions in the United States that healthy democratic process require journalism.

That's why the First Amendment is there and that it's essential to have journalists to try to report facts and provide some level of oversight and accountability for the political system.

LEMON: Have they reached out to you at all, and if so, they say anything, do you want an apology?

JACOBS: Certainly, certainly an apology would be, you know, more than warranted. I'm still, you know, haven't heard anything from them and still sort of slightly flabbergasted, not just by -- not just by the assault, but by the statement that was put out last night which was in some ways far worse, that, you know, I can heal up, it's not the end of the world.

But as someone who's a journalist who relies on my integrity and my reputation for, you know, being trustworthy, that type of -- that type of attack in some ways was beyond the pale.

LEMON: Ben Jacobs, we wish you the best. Thank you so much. And be safe. OK?

JACOBS: Thanks for having me.

LEMON: When we come back, two breaking news stories. How the Republican Party is handling Gianforte's's alleged body slam. One hint. They're not saying much.

And more on the expanding Russia investigation reaching into the heart of the White House.

[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The polls are now closed in Montana in the election to fill that state's open seat in the House. And we are awaiting first results to come in and we'll bring them to you.

And more on our breaking news tonight, the FBI's looking at Jared Kushner in its Russia probe.

I want to bring in now CNN political director, David Chalian, chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, and political reporters Matt Lewis and Kayleigh McEnany. Good evening to both of you.

So, our two big stories tonight. I want to start with Russia first, Gloria. You've been reporting on Kushner's meeting with Russian officials which are part of this investigation. What do we know about them?

GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, we know that he's had a couple of meetings with Russian officials. First of all, with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador, and then he had a meeting with the Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov. And Gorkov is somebody who's an ally of Putin's who works with the VEB bank, which is a Putin bank, which is under sanction by the United States. When you talk to Jared Kushner's people, they will say that during the

transition, he was the man to see on foreign policy and he met with lots of diplomats from Saudi Arabia, from Russia, everywhere, and in this particular case, his allies say he was trying to establish a back channel to Russia.

And he asked Kislyak, who should I meet with? And Kislyak recommended Gorkov and he met with Gorkov.

Now, if you were to do just a little Google search on Sergey Gorkov, you would understand that this is a bank closely tied to Putin, sanctioned by the U.S. government and that perhaps he ought not have been meeting with him.

Their response is, if you want to establish a back channel, you have to go to people who are close to Putin. So that is what he will tell the committee when he testifies and presumably that's what he will tell the FBI.

LEMON: So far, David, we haven't heard from the president, the president hasn't had, as I understand, from our reporters, hasn't had a press conference traveling overseas. But he can't be happy about all of these reports tonight.

DAVID CHALIAN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, CNN: To say the least. He can't be happy. Don, I actually think that this is going to be one of the more fascinating things to watch now that this new phase with Jared Kushner under scrutiny, this new phase of the Russia investigation.

Two things, how does the White House respond now that it is a current sitting senior adviser to the president? Are they different -- is the White House different in its approach and responsiveness to things related to the inquiry?

A and b, the president's personal response to this, is he going to react differently in some way than we have seen him to date, witch- hunt, and dismissing it and all those things, now that his son-in-law is at the very center of this? Will he start taking different kinds of advice in how he responds publicly to the inquiry?

LEMON: Kayleigh, I want to ask you, are the tentacles of this investigation spreading, you think?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: No, I don't think they are. Look, we have no information to suggest that he is a target of this investigation. It is completely within the realm of reason to suggest that he would be a witness if they're looking into the Trump campaign, of course, someone who is at the epicenter of the Trump campaign is going to be a witness.

You know, he's fully complying with investigators and I just have to echo something that Harvard emeritus Professor Alan Dershowitz said, there's no evidence here and he worries that this is -- I have the man, now let's find a crime. And that's what it's increasingly looking like which is why the president called this a witch-hunt.

LEMON: Matt, you're shaking your head.

MATT LEWIS, COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, I think you're right in the sense that this could spiral out of control. It may have nothing to do with collusion. We don't know that yet, but it is getting bigger and, you know, look, if Whitewater started off an as investigation into Arkansas land deal, ends up with a President of the United States, you know, perjuring himself.

So it's entirely possible this story will metastasize over time and you have Paul Manafort involved in something, you have Jared Kushner. He could even just lie to the FBI about something that has nothing to do with the original charge and that in and of itself would bring down.

[22:24:59] I mean, it's pure speculation now, of course we have no idea what's going to happen. But my point is, these things do take on a life of their own.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: OK. I need to interrupt. I need to get you in here. David Chalian, I hope you're looking. Because we have the first totals in from Montana. We believe these are absentee votes. And there you see Quist with 47, Rob Quist who is a democrat 47.8 percent, and then the republican, Greg Gianforte, the one now who is charged with misdemeanor assault, 46.3 percent. This is close, David.

CHALIAN: Yes, it is close, and we expected a close race here. Even before the body slamming incident. This was an un -- what I should say, it should not have been a close race and it was building do be one.

And that is because, you know, both candidates are pretty flawed here, and the -- what the republican had been experiencing over the last several weeks was a narrowing margin. Talking to people on both sides here.

The democrats were a little late getting in here. The republicans were aware this was going to be much more competitive than, let's say, when Donald Trump won the state by 20 points back in November. They started fortifying early on.

We'll see tonight if that was enough to stave off what could be a huge upset. This is very early. You know, we've got about 26 percent of the estimated vote in.

But I was told by a republican operative going into tonight, you know, this is going to be a potentially two to three-point race, and this is what it's shaping up to be in these early results.

LEMON: It's reminding me of Georgia, remember we were looking at...

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: Yes. And just like Georgia, I think this is good news for the republican. Because the democrats always start off with most of the early votes.

(CROSSTALK)

CHALIAN: Yes, but Matt -- Matt, before we -- before we go down that line, I want to make a difference here. Both sides expect that nearly 70 percent of the electorate will have voted early.

So it's not -- it is much larger universe, it's almost like a vote-by- mail state here. We don't expect necessarily the same kind of massively skewed to the democrat early vote and then Election Day vote come in just because it's such a big universe that is early vote.

I don't think we can count on it quite the same way like Georgia. That doesn't mean these changes -- these vote totals won't change. They will.

LEMON: Hey, Gloria, I wonder how this is going to affect the race, and if it is going to. And before you answer, let's listen -- I want to hear from some of the republicans. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRENT FRANKS, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: The left has precipitated this tense confrontational approach. If I were there, my vote would have already been cast, I would give him the benefit of the doubt.

LOUIE GOHMERT, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: We didn't have a course on body slam when I went to school. I missed that course.

LEONARD LANCE, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: I believe that we should all treat the press with respect and try to lead by example. I, of course, hope the republicans are successful today.

RYAN: If he wins, he has been chosen by the Montana, the people of Montana, who their congressman is going to be. I'm going to let the people of Montana decide. There is no time where a physical altercation should occur with the press or just between human beings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I mean, he is denouncing the behavior and some of them are, others are not, but it's not a ringing sort of no, this should not happen.

BORGER: Right.

LEMON: They're not -- they're not backing away from Gianforte.

BORGER: They're not backing away from their candidate whom Vice President Mike Pence went out to campaign for, Donald Trump, Jr. went out to campaign for. They are saying, some republicans are saying, he should apologize at the very least, including his colleagues from the State of Montana.

The republican, Steve Daines, the republican Senator, and the democratic Senator, Jon Tester, have both said he should apologize. There was no formal written apology from him to his journalist and I think in the last hours of the campaign they wanted to kind of downplay the whole thing because you're -- you know, you're almost across the finish line here.

It's not clear what impact this is going to have. Because as David points out, there's a lot of early voting. I've talk to some people in Montana tonight who say it's just hard to tell whether their friends are going to go out there and stand in line one way or another because they're energized by what -- by this. And, you know, in Montana...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: They're energized on the democratic side or the republican side?

BORGER: Well, both sides. Both sides. I mean, you know, there are -- look, Donald Trump won in this state by 21 points. So, and it is a quirky state, don't get me wrong. I mean, you know, you do have a democratic senator and a democratic governor. It's a quirky state but Gianforte should be running away with this. Even -- even before the body slam, right, he should have been running away with this race.

LEMON: I want to...

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: And he wasn't.

LEMON: I want to ask, I mean, listen, whether this is democrat or republican, I think most people would say this should not happen. The question is, though...

BORGER: Of course.

LEMON: ... nobody's perfect. But if someone who body slams someone just like -- I mean, should that person be serving in office, Kayleigh?

[22:29:59] MCENANY: No. Look, any other profession, a teacher, a lawyer, you name it, you would be fired from your job, and, you know, we heard the house speaker today say, look, he needs to apologize. What did Gianforte do today? He hid. He was scheduled for a 2 p.m. interview at a network.

GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Right.

MCENANY: Didn't show up, canceled it. You apologize. I hope that republicans put pressure on him if he does win and if he does have this misdemeanor conviction, put pressure on him to do the right thing and step down and give the people of Montana a second say in who they want.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You think they should redo it

MCENANY: Yes. LEMON: You think he should step down.

MCENANY: I do.

LEMON: Interesting. Very interesting. OK. Don't go anywhere, everyone. Stand by. I want to put the numbers back up. We're getting our first vote totals in again very early on. I think, Davis, so there it is, 26 percent of the votes. And this is believed to be early voting, by the way. Forty-six point -- 47.8 percent for Rob Quist who's a democrat and 46.3 percent for Greg Gianforte who is the republican.

Also remember last night, he was accused of assaulting a reporter, body slamming a reporter. Charged with misdemeanor assault overnight. We'll continue on with that. We'll bring you more on that.

Also we're going to talk about more on the FBI's investigation, looking at the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, the man who has been called the secretary of everything. What's ahead for Jared Kushner now?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Two big breaking news stories that we want to cover this evening. One on the Russia investigation, the other on what's happening in Montana. That much anticipated election.

All eyes are on Montana tonight in this special election there. There you see, the votes are in. Thirty-eight percent of the vote is in right now and you see the democrat, Rob Quist, 48.1 percent of the vote.

[22:35:03] Greg Gianforte, 46.3 percent of the vote. That is a 2,785 vote margin for Quist at this point.

And as we have been hearing from political folks in Washington, Gloria Borger among them, this is supposed to be a runaway for the republican candidate. This race closed up. I wonder if the incident that happened last night, this alleged assault is going to make a difference in this case. Gloria Borger joins us now.

BORGER: Well, we really don't know. I mean, we know that, you know, 70 percent of the people who vote early. We know that -- we don't know, however, how this is going to affect the turnout on both sides.

The issue here that I think is very important is that, a, Donald Trump is about 46 percent or 47 percent popularity in the state so he's more popular in the state than he is the national average. And that Gianforte has hugged Donald Trump as close as he can and that Rob Quist, the democrat, has made health care a very big issue in this state.

And there are a lot of people in the state of Montana who are worried that they're going to lose their health care benefits. And the question that the reporter asked yesterday was about the Congressional Budget Office estimate that 23 million more people would be left without health insurance and that is the question that Gianforte did not want to answer at that particular point.

So, healthcare is a very big issue here, and Gianforte has lined up with the president on this and Quist has been talking about it nonstop.

LEMON: All right. Gloria Borger, thank you. We're following that closely as we get new totals, we'll bring it to you live right here on CNN Tonight.

Let's turn to our other breaking news, Jared Kushner now under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation.

I want to bring in now CNN law enforcement analyst, James Gagliano, a retired FBI supervisor agent, special agent. Globe affairs analyst Kimberly Dozier, and justice correspondent Evan Perez is back with us. So, Evan, bring us up to date on what's happening now with Jared Kushner.

EVAN PEREZ, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Don, the importance of what we're learning today is that the FBI is essentially taking a look at all of the different tentacles of this investigation that lead all the way back to Jared Kushner.

And one of those is the data operation of the Trump campaign and whether or not the Russians who had, as you know, had hacked into the DNC and were helping to spread some of the fake news and some of the -- some of the stolen e-mails, whether or not they were able to either by spying or through other means were able to take advantage of that data operation that the Trump campaign really successfully used to target voters in those key states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan which ended up being the margin of victory for the president.

Now, there's a lot we don't know. There's a lot the FBI is still trying to figure out. We do know that Jared Kushner was the one who set up the operation in San Antonio, Texas. He gave interviews in which he described how the operation was set up including helping to micro target voters to be able to figure out where they could find voters that could turn in Donald Trump's favor and be able to really -- people who had not participated in the political process, would be able to turn up and vote for Donald Trump.

So, a lot of this is now in the hands of the FBI. The FBI's collected a lot of data on these computers, these Russian bots, that they believe were helping to push some of that information through Facebook and through other social media, targeting people with information negative to Hillary Clinton and positive for Donald Trump.

Again, at this point, Jared Kushner is not a target of this investigation as far as we can tell from talking to people familiar with the investigation.

He's not been contacted by the FBI according to Jamie Gorelick, his attorney. We do know, however, that the Senate investigators have already reached out. They want to try to talk to him. They're trying to figure out when that interview will occur. LEMON: OK. I'll get to Kim now. Kim, what's your reaction to this?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, CNN: Well, the sad thing for Jared Kushner is right now should be his moment of glory. He's coming off the back of the president's first foreign trip that he was the main mastermind of. He worked closely with the Saudis, closely with the Israelis.

And think about what this trip has done for all the criticism that President Trump may have gotten from the way he handled some of his remarks today at NATO. In Saudi Arabia, he met with Arab and Muslim leaders and got a largely positive response and changed the channel from his administration being seen as anti-Muslim, at least he took a very major first step.

And in terms of Israel he spoke with both the Israelis and Palestinians and got through that without any major diplomatic incidents. This was designed by Jared Kushner and now, once again, you've got the specter of this Russia investigation taking the shine off of that.

[22:39:59] LEMON: All right. James, I want you to stand by. We're going to get to you.

But we have some other breaking news. We'll get back to James and we'll get back to Evan and Kim Dozier.

I want to get back now to our reporting on the special election that's happening in Montana. New vote totals in now. It's tightening up. Forty-seven-point-two for Quist, the democrat. Gianforte, 47.0 percent. And here we go. Gloria Borger and David Chalian join us now. David, it's tight.

DAVID CHALIAN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, CNN: It is, Don. You know, there's a libertarian candidate in this race who right now is drawing about 5.8 percent of the votes.

LEMON: Wicks.

CHALIAN: And both parties thought the libertarian candidate might be around 5 percent of the vote, and now you're seeing that the libertarian is drawing a little bit more than that. We'll see if that holds.

Not clear exactly in a state like Montana which got -- which has a strong populist streak, sort of on both sides there, how that fully plays, but getting a larger share there obviously is going to impact what the other two fight over. But this is tightening up. You're .2 percent. What is the difference there, 323 votes?

LEMON: Twenty-three. Yes.

CHALIAN: This is with 44 percent of the expected vote already in. So this is going to be as close as was promised to us from folks on both sides of the aisle.

LEMON: Gloria, I think we're going to have a late night. So will the people of America and Montana.

BORGER: Good. I think -- I think people in Montana are surprised at how close this race has become because as of this spring -- this past spring, I'd say March or April, I was talking to some people out there and they thought that Gianforte was going to run away with it.

Neither of these candidates are perfect. Quist has never run nr office before. He's in a band. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But he doesn't have any political experience.

But, you know, the democrats have invested $6 million in this race and that's one of the reasons it has really, really tightened up and, again, as I was talking about before, I think the healthcare issue plays into it in a very big way.

LEMON: OK. Stand by. As soon as we get new vote totals, there you have 47 percent to 47 basically. It's a statistical dead heat there happening in Montana. We'll get back to Gloria as well as David and the rest of our political panel.

Now let's get back to our Russia reporting. James, we were talking about Jared Kushner now being part of this Russia investigation, not the target of the investigation. But when you walked into the room, I said, you know, in layman's terms, what is happening here, what is going on, what does this mean in terms of for everyone, especially Jared Kushner?

JAMES GAGLIANO, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, CNN: Sure. I mean, Don, the way this whole thing started out, you remember that President Obama called attention to this with the Russians in true Soviet style paradigm interfering in our election. They want to sew discord and chaos and they did a great job of doing that.

We got to keep in mind they just didn't hack the democrats, they attempted to do the GOP's but they weren't able to do so.

There was a counterintelligence investigation opened up by the FBI. The FBI director testified to that and admitted to that that was going on. Whether or not this moves into the realm of a criminal investigation, I think would be speculation.

Right now, we know there are several folks within the Trump administration, Jared Kushner being one, Attorney General Sessions being another, and certainly Michael Flynn being the third that filled out forms, the SF-86, which if you're in a position to handle classified information, you fill this out.

And obviously, there were some things left out on there. The difficulty of using that to say, indict somebody for perjury or providing a false statement is you have to be able to prove intent. And that's going to be the difficulty in this.

LEMON: But the number of people who have omitted or either put false information, however you want to put it, is that -- is that surprising to you? GAGLIANO: Sure. I mean, you can look at this and you can say that

there appears to be a lot of smoke. I have not seen in following this, in being in the U.S. government for 33 years.

LEMON: Yes.

GAGLIANO: I -- Washington is a sieve, these are spaghetti colander as far as leaks. I have not seen the amount in frequency of leaks that I have this weird.

LEMON: OK. I got -- real quickly be because I got to get back to the votes. But if this happened to maybe an agent or someone who worked for the government, what would happen to home them?

GAGLIANO: They would be fired and face criminal charges.

LEMON: Possibly go to jail.

GAGLIANO: Yes, sir.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, all. I appreciate it.

When we come back, more on our breaking news. David Axelrod is with me. And we're going to find out what he thinks. And here we are. This is our Montana special election for that House at large seats. There you see the democrat 47.2 percent. Republican, 47.0 percent. Forty- four percent of the vote in.

Remember, the republican was supposed to walk away with this. We'll see what happens after last night's accusation of assault, body slamming a reporter. We'll be right back.

[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We're back with our breaking news tonight. We're talking about Montana and I want to get to our -- discuss this with our CNN political commentator David Axelrod.

David, I have to tell you we have some new vote totals coming in. As soon as we get them up, you and I will discuss this.

So, let's talk about this. What's your take on what's happening? It's very close. So far the last one we had was about 46 percent of the vote in and it was neck and neck.

DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, Don, there's going to be a temptation to ascribe this to what happened last night. But as you heard earlier, about 70 percent of the voters so it's going to be -- will have been cast before last night.

So something else is going on. This is a district that Donald Trump carried by 20 points that has been held by a republican for 20 years. So there is a resistance to what's going on in Washington.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: There are the new totals. I hate to cut you off, but let me...

AXELROD: No, go ahead.

LEMON: ... just put this up, David, then you can continue your thought.

AXELROD: Yes.

LEMON: OK. So, Gianforte has taken the lead, 47.3 percent. Rob Quist, 46.9 percent. And this is 45 percent of the vote. Just one more percent -- percentage point, 1 percent more of the vote in since we last checked. So there you go. Go on, David. Sorry to cut you off.

AXELROD: So whatever happens, this is a closer race than one would expect in a district -- in a district like this. And we should say the reason that Gianforte body slammed the reporter last night was because the reporter was asking him about the CBO report on the republican healthcare bill and this has been a major issue in this race.

He has taken publicly a noncommittal stance on the bill. Privately he's told people he supports it. This has gotten him into trouble. So in some ways, the closeness of this race is a referendum on the republican healthcare bill which the Quinnipiac poll suggested they had a 20 percent approval rating with 57 percent of Americans opposed.

And this is going to create anxiety among republicans in Washington and certainly in the U.S. Senate where they basically filed the republican bill in the dead letter draw already. But they're going to have to look at this and think about whether -- how they move forward on this issue of health care.

LEMON: Yes. Interesting. What happened last night was so shocking and disturbing I have to get more analysis and reaction from you. But first I want to play the tape and then we'll discuss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN JACOBS, REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: ... the CBO score, because you know, you've been waiting to make your decision about healthcare until we saw the bill and it just came out. And when you talk about...

(CROSSTALK)

GREG GIANFORTE, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: We'll talk to you about that later.

JACOBS: Yes, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious...

(CROSSTALK)

GIANFORTE: Speak with Shane, please.

[22:50:02] I'm sick and tired of you guys! The last time you came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

JACOBS: Jesus. GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?

JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You'd like me to get the hell out of here? I'd also like to call the police. Can I get you guys' names?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you got to leave.

JACOBS: He just body slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: David, I wonder if you've been surprised by the Republican Party, the reaction today. A few people have spoken out, but most people are saying its people in Montana who are going to decide if this is OK.

Kayleigh McEnany who is, you know, as a Trump supporter who is on our air all the time said she believes Gianforte should step out of the race, the race should be held again because if it was a schoolteacher, or anyone else, and even, you know, someone in the media and we were accused of assault, we wouldn't have a job. Is that how you see this?

AXELROD: Yes, I sure do, and good for Kayleigh for saying that. You know, if I'm a republican in Washington tonight, I'm looking at these results and saying, you know, maybe the best thing for us would be if this guy loses because if he comes to Washington as the newly elected representative and has to go back to be tried for assault and battery and becomes an emblem of the republican caucus in Washington, that's not good for us.

So they're -- yes, I'm surprised they haven't spoken out and what will be interesting is if he does win, how will they react to him? Will they accept him? Will they accept his election? You know, they have the right to refuse to hold a, you know, a hearing and expel him for his actions, I presume, but just how will they -- how will they deal with this? I think if I were them, I'd be rooting hard for Quist to make a rally here.

LEMON: Interesting. OK. So, David, I want you to stick around. We're going to continue to talk about this. In Montana you see, 45 percent of the vote. Forty-seven percent -- 45 percent of the vote in. Forty- seven percent of that is for Gianforte who's the republican candidate and 46 percent, almost 47 percent, pretty close, is for Rob Quist.

Gianforte has taken the lead there. We're going to continue to talk about that.

And also I want to get David Axelrod's reaction to the FBI now, sources saying that Jared Kushner now the FBI wanting to interview him and talk to him about his role and possible collusion or contacts with the Russians during the campaign. We'll be right back.

[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. There we go. This is Rob Quist headquarters in Missoula, Montana. You can see the live band on stage there. Some supporters we're told dancing in the crowd. The crowd has been cheering as the vote totals come in.

A little early to be celebrating but at least they're in good spirits. They got a projector on the wall showing the vote totals, and so they say there's a mix of young folks, college age, and older, liberal Missoulans who are there in that crowd.

Again, early to be celebrating but they are. Rob Quist, 46.9 percent right now. Greg Gianforte 47.3 percent of the vote with only 45 percent of the total in at this point. So that's one of our two breaking news stories. That's in Montana tonight.

Plus, we're reporting on Jared Kushner under FBI scrutiny in the Russia probe.

Back with me now, Mr. David Axelrod. So, David, CNN has learned that investigators are now focusing on the president's son-in-law and senior adviser for his interactions with Russian officials. This goes straight to the heart of the White House and the president's own family. How do you think he is reacting tonight?

AXELROD: Well, not well. I don't think he's reacted well to any of this. So this certainly won't sit well with him. But it's not particularly surprising. It was reported last week that a senior adviser to the president was a person of interest to the investigators.

There was a lot of speculation that it was Jared Kushner because he was not only at the heart of this White House, but he was at the heart of the campaign.

We know that he met with Russians during and after the campaign. He was late to including that in his security clearance application, but he added that later. And he met with Ambassador Kislyak who is at the center of the Flynn probe.

And he also met with this banker who Gloria spoke of earlier who runs a state-owned bank that is very close to Putin and the Kremlin. I think the prime minister sits on its board. And it's been sanctioned. It's been sanctioned because of the invasion of Crimea and in the midst of the U.S. putting new sanctions on Russia, because of what was done in the election, apparently Jared Kushner met or shortly before that, Jared Kushner met with this banker.

So, there's plenty of reason to want to talk to him. The thing that I found more ominous from a White House standpoint is that the story in the Post also referred to an expanding focus on potential financial crimes.

And that means that it is widening out and we don't know whose financial crimes or whose records they're going to look at but that would give me a sense of nervousness if I were sitting in the White House tonight.

LEMON: All right. David Axelrod, I want you to stick around. We're going to bring David Axelrod back in the show.

When we come back, results of Montana's special election are coming in, the republican candidate there facing assault charges after allegedly body slamming a reporter. We're going to give you the very latest, they are the latest results there up on your screen right now. Don't go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

[23:00:00] LEMON: And here's the breaking news at the top of the hour. Votes being counted at this moment in the race where republican candidate allegedly body slammed a reporter.

This is CN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.