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Kushner Discussed Secret Communications Line with Kremlin, Didn't Disclose Phone Calls to Russian Ambassador; Comey Acted on Russian Intel He Knew Was Fake During Clinton E-mail Investigation; Tight Security at Indy 500 After Manchester Attack; More Racist Rants Caught on Camera. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 27, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:08] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Great to have you with us.
Let's start with breaking news on CNN. The chaos that awaits President Trump after he arrives back home in just a few hours is the latest and potentially the most damaging development in the growing investigation of the Trump administration's ties with Russia. The news involves the president's son-in-law and close advisor, Jared Kushner. The sources confirm to CNN that Kushner discussed a plan after Election Day to set up a secret communication channel for the White House to communicate with the Kremlin. That source tells us Kushner talked about this idea with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., a man that current and former intelligence officials regard as of one of Moscow's top spies. That secret line was never set up. It is not clear in Kushner brought it up or if it was suggested by the ambassador.
The idea was this, Kushner and the son-to-be-named national security advisor, Michael Flynn, would have been able to talk to Russian military officials directly, secretly, and unmonitored through a channel set up at Russian diplomatic facilities.
One other thing, Reuters is reporting that Jared Kushner failed to disclose at least two phone calls with the Russian ambassador between April and November of last year, conversations that should have been included in his security clearance paperwork.
Meantime, the FBI is also very interested in a data operation that may have helped Donald Trump win the White House. That data operation was supervised by Jared Kushner.
So much to pull apart on this story. CNN Washington correspondent, Brian Nobles, is in Washington, and CNN international correspondent, Claire Sebastian, is in Moscow.
Ryan, to you first.
Air Force One is in the air, President Trump will be back in the United States tonight. What administration officials are saying of these developments involving Jared Kushner.
BRIAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Not a whole lot, Ana. This speaks to the larger message about the White House of these lengthy trips the president had overseas. They conducted no significant press conference on camera. The president took few if any questions from reporters. As a result, we haven't been able to ask direct questions about these controversies swirling around Jared Kushner.
This morning, two White House senior officials, Gary Cohn, the senior economic adviser, and General H.R. McMasters, the national security advisor, did take questions from reporters. It wasn't on camera but they did record what they said. And they were asked about Jared Kushner and this is how they respond.
(BEGIN AUDIO FEED)
GARY COHN, SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISOR: We are not going to comment on Jared. We're just not going to comment.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Generally speaking, General, would you be concerned if somebody on the national security council or in this administration were to seek a back-channel communication system with the Russian embassy and with the Kremlin? Would that generally concern you not to address Kushner specifically but in general terms?
GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: No. I mean we have back channel communications with any number of countries. So generally speaking, about back channel communications, what that allows you to do is communicate in a discreet manner, so it doesn't predispose you to any content or conversation or anything. I would not be concerned about it.
(END AUDIO FEED)
NOBLES: Now, as for Jared Kushner himself, he has not responded directly to this report about attempting to set up back-channel communication with the Russian government. He did respond to the Reuters report through his attorney. His attorney saying that they are not sure specifically of the phone calls or conversations that Reuters is speaking about.
Ana, we are not getting a lot of answers from the White House about this specific issue, and a lot of these questions are going to be waiting for them as they arrive here in Washington tonight.
CABRERA: No doubt about it.
Thank you, Ryan. I want you to stay with me.
And bring in Claire Sebastian who is in Moscow for us.
Russia's foreign minister has responded to these reports. What is the Kremlin saying?
CLAIRE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nothing officially from the Kremlin, Ana, as of yet. What we got was a text message of the foreign ministry today saying, essentially, calling that story by "The Washington Post" McCarthyism or simple internal political squabbles. No official confirmation or denial the story is true. We press the foreign ministry spokeswoman on whether they were aware of this request or suggestion by Jared Kushner of a secret channel of communication to be set up through Russia's embassy in Washington. She would not be drawn on that. We assume that they were aware of this since this report came from an intercept from Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S. She would not comment on that. We have no comment, as I say, from the Kremlin. It's interesting that Russian tactics in recent weeks, there are various stories coming out of these stories coming out about links to the Trump administration and Russia have been deflect, dismiss and even deride the reports and point them as a political chaos in Washington. And this was no different. We're sensing an increasing exasperation. The foreign ministry spokesperson warning U.S. media earlier in the week to not spread lies about the Russian ambassador to the U.S. -- Ana?
[15:05:18] CABRERA: Claire Sebastian, Ryan Nobles, thank you to both of you.
Take a listen to how former CIA Director Michael Hayden reacted to Jared Kushner discussing this secret line to Moscow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, SMERCONISH: General Hayden, is this nefarious or is this naivety?
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, Michael, right now, i'm going with naivety, and that's not particularly comforting for me. What manner of ignorance, chaos, hubris, suspicion and contempt would you have to have to think that doing this with the Russian ambassador was a good or appropriate idea? Again, naivety, but it does not make me feel good about many things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Let's talk more about all of this with California Democrat who said Kushner should be prosecuted for not disclosing all of his Russian contacts on his security clearance form.
Joining us, Congressman Ted Lieu, a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Thank you so much for joining us, Congressman.
What is your reaction to this latest reporting on Jared Kushner?
REP. TED LIEU, (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Ana, for your question. Jared Kushner should resign and he should be prosecuted for lying on his security clearance forms, if these reports are true. We know on his first security form he failed to disclose the meeting with the Russian ambassador. That was a significant meeting where they discussed secret back-channel communications. You would not forget about that meeting on his security clearance form. When he was told to revise the form, he lied again, because Reuters reported there were two additional contacts with the Russians that he failed to disclose.
CABRERA: The White House has admitted to the communication that happened in December, a meeting of some sort. Back to what we are hearing in terms of the reports of "The Washington Post" and what officials, I should say, are confirming to CNN that this back-channel communication line was indeed discussed, what do you make of the conversation and the content of that conversation?
LIEU: I think General McMaster is misleading the public. The issue is not having a back-channel communication with another country. The issue is that Jared Kushner wanted this done with Russian equipment at a Russian embassy. The only reason he would want to do that is to hide those communications from U.S. intelligence. It makes you wonder whose side is he on and what is he hiding.
CABRERA: This communication happened between Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, and Moscow. It was picked up in an intercept by U.S. intelligence, in which Kislyak reported to Moscow that it was Jared Kushner who suggested this line of communication. That never happened. But is it possible or have you considered the fact that it is possible that Russia may have been lying about this communication all together in an attempt to mislead U.S. officials if they believe this U.S. officials were listening to their conversations.
LIEU: This whole incident, again, shows that Russia is not America's ally. They tried to undermine our elections last year and they're trying to undermine our democracy this year. For a Jared Kushner to not have disclosed this meeting on his security clearance form, that's simply a violation of federal law. I have filled out SF86 security clearance forms and right on the form it says, if you make a false statement, you are liable for punishment up to five years.
CABRERA: We put up a tweet, in fact, where would you reference that specifically. You talk about false statements punishable by imprisonment. Here is what Kushner's attorney is telling CNN in response to the Reuters report, that he didn't disclose at least, a couple of phone calls between April and November. This is from Jamie Gorlick, his attorney. He said, quote, Mr. Kushner participated in thousands of calls in this time period. He has no recollection of the calls as described. We have asked Reuters for the dates of such alleged calls, so we can look into it and respond but we have not received such information."
Congressman, what if he does not remember those additional contacts?
LIEU: The most significant takeaway from the attorney's statement is they don't deny the CNN reporting or "Washington Post" reporting about the meeting with the Russian ambassador. He failed to disclose that on his first security clearance form. That's a violation of the law. On the second security clearance form, when he was told to revise it, he fails to disclose these Reuters contacts, that the Reuters talked about. Why we are calling Russian ambassadors? Why is the administration doing that? If you were to do that, Jared Kushner would have remembered those phone conversations.
[15:10:08] CABRERA: Michael Hayden suggested that it was naivety, the reason behind some of these. Could it be that? Do you agree?
LIEU: Suggesting a back-channel communication with Russians who are not our allies maybe it's because Jared Kushner is naive, but to do it, to say that we need to use Russian equipment at the Russian embassy, now he's trying to hide something. And separate from that, there was pure lying on his security clearance forms. Those are serious federal offenses.
CABRERA: Congressman, have you discussed any of this new reporting with some of your colleagues on the two committees investigating Russian ties and meddling in the election, House Intelligence Committee or House Oversight Committee?
LIEU: No yet. These are breaking stories that just occurred less than 24 hours ago. Only in a Trump administration that you have breaking news that's interrupted by more stories.
CABRERA: What would advise to your colleagues?
LIEU: They continue forward with the congressional investigation. I am pleased there is a special counsel, Robert Mueller, who's investigating not just Trump's Russian collusion but any facts that rises from it. The significance of today is it does not matter what happens with the Trump/Russia collusion investigation. You got separate federal crimes being committed by Jared Kushner because of his lying on his security clearance forms.
CABRERA: You are accusing him of lying? That implies intent, does it not?
LIEU: Absolutely. When you have a major meeting with the Russia ambassador, talking about secret back-channel communications using Russian equipment, you don't forget it on your security clearance form. That is a lie. He intentionally failed to disclose that. That's a federal crime.
CABRERA: And in your mind, is this a game changer?
LIEU: It is. But keep in mind, the last few weeks have been a game changer, a turning point for America. We watched the president of United States commit obstruction of justice in real time. He fired Director James Comey, he went on national TV saying he did it because the Russian probe was on his mind. Now the White House no longer denies that he did it to relieve pressure on him from the FBI Russia investigation.
CABRERA: Congressman Ted Lieu, stay with me. More to discuss. Another bombshell report on how Russia may have infiltrated the FBI with fake intelligence and how it impacted then-Director James Comey's decision to go around the Justice Department with his announcement in the Clinton e-mail investigation last summer.
Stay with us.
(CROSSTALK) [15:16:48] CABRERA: We now know a controversial move by James Comey was sparked in part by fake Russian intellig3ence. That's what multiple officials involved tell CNN.
CNN's Dana Bash has the detail on what caused Comey to act on some information he knew was false during the 2016 presidential campaign.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: CNN has learned that then-FBI Director James Comey knew that a critical piece of Russian information related to the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation was fake, but he felt he needed to take action anyway because he was concerned if the information became public, it would undermine the investigation and the Justice Department itself. This, according to multiple sources talking it my colleagues, Shimon Prokupecz, Gloria Borger, and myself.
These were a major factor in Comey deciding to publicly declare that Clinton probe was over last summer without consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch. You may remember that earlier this week "The Washington Post" reported on this intelligence and doubts about its credibility. The fact that Comey felt he had to act based on Russian disinformation is a stark example of how Russian interference impacted decision making at the highest levels of the U.S. Government during the 2016 campaign. The Russian information at issue claimed to show that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had been compromised in the Clinton investigation because of e-mails purported e-mails between then DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and a political operative, saying Lynch would maybe the FBI Clinton probe go away. According to one government official, in classified briefings, Comey told lawmakers that he was afraid the information would drop and undermine the investigation, but Comey did not tell lawmakers he doubted the accuracy of the information, even in a classified setting. According to sources close to Comey the FBI director felt that the validity of the information didn't matter because if it became public they had no way to discredit it without burning sources and methods.
Think about the chain of events this helped set off. When Comey held his press conference in July of 2016 announcing no charges against Clinton, he took the extraordinary, and many people say, inappropriate step of calling her extremely careless. Clinton aides are convinced that her reputation was damaged with voters and she never recovered. That probably wouldn't have happened without Russian interference.
Also, talking to many officials on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, dissemination of fake information is still a major issue. Multiple sources tell us that Russia is still trying to spread false information in order to cloud and confuse ongoing investigations.
Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.
CABRERA: So the plot thickens.
We are back with Congressman Ted Lieu, a California Democrat.
Congressman, thank you for staying with us.
After everything we learned and what Dana just reported, did Comey make the right call in holding that press conference publicly ending the investigation without the Justice Department's approval?
[15:19:49] LIEU: I disagree what many of Director Comey's actions last year. I cannot second guess his integrity or judgment. He knew that if this fake Russia e-mail got out to the public that the Trump's campaign and major concerned media sites were going to promote it and disseminate it and promote the fake Russian propaganda. That's what they did last year with all sorts of fake stories. There was no way the FBI would be able to respond. I can understand why Director Comey did the action that he did last year.
CABRERA: Would you have done the same thing?
LIEU: I would not. I would have stuck to the FBI's traditional policy of not talking to the press about ongoing investigations. I think that's what he should have done. Again, it is hard to second guess his judgment because we saw last year a lot of fake news that the Russians put out that were repeated by conservative media sites.
CABRERA: Congressman, the reason Comey gave for publicly holding that controversial press conference was the infamous tarmac meeting of Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I struggled as we got close to the end of it with a number of things that had gone on, some of which I can't talk about yet, that made me worried that the department leadership could not credibly complete the investigation and decline prosecution without grievance damage to the American peoples' confidence in the justice system. And the capper was, and I am not picking on the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, who I like very much, but her meeting with President Clinton on that airplane was the capper for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: In retrospect, what's your take on that?
LIEU: There was nothing false about what he just said. Because at the beginning, he did reference that there are things that you cannot talk about yet. Their meeting probably had some sway in the decision making. Clearly, this Russian intelligence fake document did have a tremendous sway over his decision making, and it is unfortunate that the Russians were so successful last year, and they're still attacking the U.S. this year with fake information.
CABRERA: Multiple sources tell CNN, until this day, that Russia is trying to spread that false information as you mentioned, inside the U.S. through elected officials and American intelligence and law enforcement operatives, and still nor attempt to cloud and confuse the ongoing investigation. Right now, could there be other fake documents flowing around Washington and possibly influencing probes?
LIEU: Absolutely. That's why I am calling not just for a special counsel, which is great happening, but also because we need now commission to look at exactly what we just said, the Russian operations that are happened last year and continuing this year to under mind U.S. democracy and the elections.
CABRERA: What do you do about that?
LIEU: We first need the non-fake media to continue promoting real stories. We need elected officials not to propagate what they know is fake Russia news. We need our intelligence services, the FBI and others, to step up their game and really fight back against the Russian intelligence operations that have been so successful both last year and now.
CABRERA: Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you for your time.
LIEU: Thank you.
CABRERA: After the attack in Manchester, security is being ramped up around the U.S. We are live at the Indy 500 this weekend where fans can expect tight security. And the vice president is also expected to attend. We'll take you there, live, in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[15:27:38] CABRERA: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera.
A travel nightmare unfolding in London today. British Airways cancelled all flight from London's two biggest airport, Heathrow and Gatwick. The airline blames a major I.T. system failure. The airline says there is no evidence of a cyberattack. It comes on a major spring break travel weekend in Britain. British Airways says it hopes to restore service by tomorrow. Delays are expected.
An update to the investigation into Monday's terror attack in Manchester. Today, houses were evacuated as police conducted more searches. Two more men are in custody. That brings the total to 13 people arrest, 11 who are still in custody right now.
Britain today lowered its terror threat level from critical to severe. Police say they will be out in force. They have extra armed officers patrolling events. Not only a busy holiday weekend, but it is the start of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar. An emotional scene earlier today at Manchester's' St. Ann's Square. The mother and family of bombing victim, Georgiana Collander, released yellow balloons as a tribute to the lives lost.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Roaring engines speeding around the tracks will be heard around the world on Memorial Day weekend. It is the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. There you see a British driver behind the wheel, the 28th in the line tomorrow. Hundreds of thousands of racing fans will turn out to see all those speedsters test their metal and see who comes out on top.
I want to bring in CNN sports anchor, Coy Wire, joining us live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Coy, want to talk about security because a lot of tensions after the terror attack in Manchester this week. Security at these events on many minds. Anything you can tell us about the measures being taken there?
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Of course, Ana. Good to see you. Here is what we've learned from track officials at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There will be more than 1,000 law enforcement and security personnel on-site this week. And they added quick response tactic teams to their security apparatus. And they found a unique way to remind fans if they see something, say something. It has the driver's report on PSA.
[15:30:00] They're playing on video boards at the track. The recent terror attack in England and the recent announcement Vice President Mike Pence will be here at the track causing heightened security. But there is a plan in place to keep safe. More than 300,000 people are expected to be here for the Indy 500 tomorrow. Ana, this is the largest single day sporting event in the world.
CABRERA: No doubt. You know about sports. You know about competition. I understand that your past life in the NFL pales in comparisons in terms of challenge and what you got to experience there on the track with these racing legends.
WIRE: Ana, I got to ride with living legend, Mario Andretti, the only driver ever to win the Indy 500, Daytona 500, and a Formula One world championship. Little did I know, I would be more scared than I've ever been in my life. I had no idea what it was going to be like. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIO ANDRETTI, RACE DRIVER: It is going to be a bad hair day.
Please put your helmet on.
Yeah, you will feel some G forces in the car. It will go pretty fast.
From there on, just enjoy the ride and smile.
My head hurts. I'm out of breath right now from screaming so hard. I am already hoarse. We only did two laps. My stomach was in the back of my throat the entire time. I have not screamed that loud my entire life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
My body was feeling it -- Ana?
CABRERA: Oh, my gosh. I loved that you admitted about screaming around the tracks.
Coy Wire, thank you for being there.
This just in to CNN, Trump's sons Eric and Donald Jr meeting with Republican officials to plot some strategies. We'll discuss why they're meeting, next, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[15:35:56] CABRERA: We are following breaking news, the swirling controversy awaiting President Trump when he returns to the U.S. after his first trip overseas. It is centers around the president's son-in- law and top advisor, Jared Kushner. Sources tell CNN Kushner discussed setting up a secret communication line between the Kremlin and the Trump administration during the transition. We're told all went down in a December meeting between Kushner and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. That's not all. Kushner is also facing intense scrutiny for another December meeting, this one with a Russian banker who has close ties to Vladimir Putin.
CNN's Randi Kaye has more.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the man that Jared Kushner met with in December 2016, a month after his father-in- law, Donald Trump, was elected as president. His name is Sergey Gorkov and he's a Russian banker, the chairman of VEB Bank. He has ties to Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who appointed him to head the bank. Gorkov graduated a Russian academy that trains people to work in Russia's intelligence and security forces.
Here is how the White House explained the nature of Jared Kushner's meeting with the banker.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Jared Kushner did a job during the transition, in the campaign, where he was a conduit into leaders. He wants to make sure he's clear of the role he played and who he talked to, and that's it.
KAYE: That may be true. It does not square with what the bank itself have said about the meeting. In a statement, the bank said it's executives met with Kushner, not as a representative of the White House, but as head of the Kushner's company. The bank said its leaders met with numerous global financial executives as it developed a new strategy for the bank.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R), MAINE: It is interesting that the Russians seemed to contradict what Jared Kushner said when he said that he was acting as a liaison between the campaign and foreign governments. I am sure that'll be an issue that we'll try to clarify.
KAYE: What exactly was discussed between Kushner and the banker remains a mystery. Though Jared Kushner offered to answer the Senate Intelligence Committee questions about not only this meeting but another meeting he had with Russian Ambassador Kislyak that same month.
It was Kislyak who suggested that Kushner meet with the Russian banker.
(on camera): The fact that Kushner did not mention either of these meetings on his White House security clearance forms may also be a topic of inquiry. He did rectify that a day after the omission. There is concerns that the Russian banks has been under sanctions since July 2014. When Kushner met with Gorkov, he was still CEO of Kushner's company. And critics question whether he was looking for financial for a pricey Manhattan real estate project.
(voice-over): The meeting itself did not violate the U.S. sanctions but investigators would want to know what was said.
LEON PANETTA, FOUNDER, PANETTA INSTITUTE & FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE & FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I have a feeling that it related to financial issues since it involved a Russian bank. But to his credit, he's willing to testify on that issue. And I hope that the committee really thoroughly looks at the reasons and why he's engaged in that conversation.
KAYE: It seems that Jared Kushner who rarely speaks beyond a whisper in the president's ear may soon be called onto do a whole lot of talking.
Randi Kay, CNN, New York.
CABRERA: In a few hours from now, President Trump will return to the United States as he wraps up his nine-day official trip overseas. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump returned to Washington, D.C., earlier this week.
Let's bring in national political reporter for Real Clear Politics, Caitlin Huey-Burns; and CNN global affairs analyst and "The Daily Beast" contributor, senior national security correspondent, Kim Dozier.
Kim, first to you.
Jared Kushner, all these contacts learned, all we've learned in the last 24 hours, we heard the former CIA director describe these developments as, quote, "off the map." What's your take? How does all of this look for Jared Kushner?
[15:40:00] KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: When you think about the fact that Kushner felt he was a private citizen, he reportedly had this conversation with General Michael Flynn in the room with the Russian ambassador. They talked about setting up this independent communications channel. The thing is, when you get a security clearance, one of the things you do is not only disclose all foreign contacts you have had in recent years but also, once you have that clearance, you have a duty to report contacts with foreigners, even contacts with journalists, and especially contacts with journalists, to your security supervisor. He did not know that at that point, but General Flynn did. One of the things you do with U.S. counterintelligence is you watch the kinds of contacts people have with foreigners and you look for something that might be evasive. This was specifically designed to be evasive and that sets off warning bells.
CABRERA: Caitlin, Jared Kushner was still a private citizen at the time when he allegedly spoke with the Russian ambassador, although he was a part of the transition team. He's now a current administration official, and adviser of the president in an official capacity at the moment. His lawyer seems to imply that he does not remember these conversations. He had thousands of phone calls during this time. Is there anything that could suggest he did something illegal in all of these developments?
CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Just to put this in context, this was after we knew that Russia had been meddling in the 2016 election. The fact that there is a discussion, according to these reports, that Kushner was talking the ambassador and setting up these lines of communication, secret lines of communication, hiding them, reportedly, from the Obama administration, kind of speaks volume as to where their minds were at the moment, especially since we knew about Russia being a former adversary and meddling in the election, that's striking, too.
The other thing to consider Kushner, he is the closest person to the president. He was a key member of the campaign, virtually running the campaign at various points behind the scene, and a key adviser to the president and was through the transition, and his position is an unconfirmed position. He did not need to go through that same level of public scrutiny that members of the cabinet and other appointees need to go through. There is so many questions about this.
As we know, he's someone that the Senate and House committees are interested in talking to. And according to reports, others as well.
CABRERA: If there is nothing that he wanted to discuss nefarious, nothing criminal, why go through the trouble of trying to create this very, very channel against the Russians? Could there be another explanation?
HUEY-BURNS: Right, that's what everybody is trying to figure out. What's the reasoning for this type of conversation? Some people said maybe he did not know. Remember, Trump and his family and others involved in this process are new to governing and politics. There are also questions about, you know, what they were trying to talk about. He had that meeting undisclosed that he failed to disclose with the Russian ambassador, with the banker, as you mentioned, in the lead up to this. That raises a lot of questions, and particularly since there are also questions about Kushner's own business dealings. CABRERA: Kim, here is what the Russia side is saying, Russia's
foreign ministry denying reports of Kushner. The Russian ambassador calling it "McCarthyism" or "internal political squabbling."
DOZIER: And enjoying secretly every moment of this chaos that they have manage to unleash. The most disturbing fact about it is that if that meeting happened between Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, and the Russian ambassador, and these discussions took place, as CNN confirmed, that means this White House felt more suspicious of the Deep State inside the U.S. government and we more trusting Moscow before they took office. That's disturbing.
CABRERA: Caitlin, I want to give you something just into CNN. A GOP sources confirmed that Trump's sons, Donald Jr and Eric, meeting with GOP officials to discuss strategies. This is happening this week ahead of the 2018 midterms. Is this par for the course or a sign that they are worried about the midterm elections?
HUEY-BURNS: It could be that. But also, the sons are in charge of the Trump Organization now that Trump is president. So that presents some potential conflicts of interests, given they are running the Trump Organization here. It is not clear to me what this meeting was exactly about and why they are involved in this type of thing. We do know Donald Trump Jr has been active on the campaign trail for some candidates campaigning in Montana in that special election for now- Congressman-elect Gianforte. So he has been active. Again, the fact that they are in charge of Trump Organization is also something to consider.
[15:45:18] CABRERA: Caitlin Huey-Burns and Kimberly Dozier, thank you very much.
These days, you can find former President George W. Bush hanging with someone you may recognize. Take a look at this. You see U-2 singer, Bono. Bono apparently stopped at Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, before a performance in Dallas. Bush posted this picture on Instagram, saying, "Bono is the real deal. He has a huge heart and a selfless soul, not to mention, a decent voice."
Meantime, in London, check this out. Former President Barack Obama meeting up with a royal. Kensington Palace released this photo. You can see a smiling Obama with Prince Harry. According to palace officials, the two men discussed the Manchester terror attack as well as support for veterans as well as mental health issues.
Disturbing, but more and more racist rants caught on camera and shared widely online. What's behind this?
You are live on CNN NEWSROOM.
[15:50:29] CABRERA: Welcome back. Details of a deadly encounter on a train in Portland, Oregon. Witnesses tell police that a man was yelling what they called hate speech before allegedly stabbing people who tried to stop this man anti-Muslim rant. Two people are now dead, a third injured. 35-year-old Jeremy Christian is the man in custody. Charges include two counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted murder. Witnesses say two women, one wearing a hijab, might have been a target of this, quote/unquote, "hate speech." The incident unfolded hours before the start of Ramadan. Following the stabbing, the Council on American Islamic Relations called on President Trump to speak out against rising bigotry and acts of violence against Muslims. But could the viral videos that come from the incident spark a positive change.
This latest incident occurs at the end of a week that saw a spate of racist rants go rival in the grocery store, in airports. More and more these events seem to be happening and getting caught on camera.
CNN's Polo Sandoval has this report.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A series of racist rants in public --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This my (EXPLETED DELETED) country.
SANDOVAL: -- and on camera.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They need to go (EXPLETIVE) back to Mexico.
SANDOVAL: A woman in a Virginia Sprint store hurled a racial slur at a fellow customer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I ain't speaking to no (EXPLETIVE DELETED) spic.
SANDOVAL: In Arkansas --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said excuse me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go back to where you're from.
SANDOVAL: Go back to Mexico is what this Walmart shopper told another.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're in America.
SANDOVAL: She fired the "N" word at a woman looking to interject.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop being ignorant.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) ignorant?
SANDOVAL: Then there's what Orlando residence, Hector Torres, captured on his phone at the airport last week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut up. Shut up.
HECTOR TORRES, ORLANDO RESIDENT: Wow. Unbelievable. Mike, that is sad.
I just had to document it.
SANDOVAL: Torres telling CNN he was speaking Spanish to his Puerto Rican mother on the phone when things got heated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Explain what I did to you one more time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talking that stupid Spanish around here when everyone else is speaking American.
SANDOVAL: Racist rants are not new, says Andra Gillespie, director of the Institute for the Study of Race Indifference at Emory University.
ANDRA GILLESPIE, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF RACE INDIFFERENCE, EMORY UNIVERSITY: These videos remind us that race has been a constant and persistent problem in the United States.
SANDOVAL: There's been a spike of the number of racist rants posted on social media experts say.
TODD GROSSMAN, CEO, TALKWALKER: As technology becomes more and more mainstream and more and more people have smartphone devices and video capability, it's going to be exploding more and more.
SANDOVAL: Recording these kinds of confrontations may also empower people to expose the racism, says Gillespie.
There could also be a Trump factor in it all.
GILLESPIE: People perhaps feel more embolden to express politically incorrect points of view as a result of President Trump's success in being able to use politically incorrectness as a tool and being able to be elected president. But it's important to know that these people held these points of view long before Donald Trump emerged as a political figure.
CABRERA: These videos may be ugly --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Learn how to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) English.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're in America.
SANDOVAL: -- but Gillespie calls them a launching point, a larger conversation about race.
Polo Sandoval, CNN, Atlanta.
CABRERA: This just in to CNN. Breaking news, a pioneer of American music has died. We got confirmation Greg Allman died in his home in Georgia. Allman and his brother, Dwayne, founded the Allman Brothers band that recorded classics like "Midnight Rider" and "Rambling Man." Allman's manager says he had a number of health issues. Greg Allman was 69 years old.
We'll be right back.
[15:58:44] CABRERA: This Memorial Day week, 1,000 extra police officers are patrolling Chicago in an effort to quail the violence on Chicago's south side. Many kids are afraid to even go outside and play because of the threat. This week's "CNN Hero" gives south side kids a safe space. Meet Jennifer Maddox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER MADDOX, CNN HERO: We are in a state of emergency here in the city of Chicago. The shooting, the killing, 5, 6, 7 years olds, they're losing people they love and care about. I'm a law enforcement officer but I'm also a mother and a member of this community. We can't arrest our way out of this.
Once I saw that there was another side to policing, I thought that I could do more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being with me. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. I hope your weekend is off to a great start.
At this hour, lots to discuss. President Trump is on Air Force One flying back to the United States and right into a storm at home over a new Russian controversy. Sources now confirm to CNN Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, discussed setting up a secret means of communicating with the Kremlin.