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Stunning Revelations Over Russia & Kushner Rock West Wing; Florida Students Return to School Two Weeks After Massacre; Ken Starr: Too Early To Say Whether Obstruction Has Been Proven in Russia Probe. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired February 28, 2018 - 07:00   ET


CUOMO: -- for the right reason. Andy Schultz, thank you very much.

And thanks to you, our international viewers for watching us. For you, "CNN TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY has news in this Russia investigation and a lot of it. Let's get after it.


[07:00:21] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really don't see how he could do an effective job without top-secret briefings.

RAJ SHAH, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He's doing a great job, and he will continue in his role.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four countries are discussing Jared Kushner might be vulnerable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we might be seeing the end of Jared and Ivanka.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: This is a broad claim of privilege that I don't think any court would sustain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hope Hicks apparently did admit that, in representing Donald Trump, she occasionally had to tell white lies.



RAJU: Should there be?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you get back to preparing for the A.P. exam after you lost your friends?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's going to feel empty for a while.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to come back as a class and we're going to continue on. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn is back in Parkland, Florida, this morning. A big day as the students go back to school.

But here in New York, we're following several major Russia developments that are rocking the West Wing. CNN has learned Special Counsel Bob Mueller's team is investigating President Trump's business dealings with Russia prior to the 2016 campaign.

Also chief of staff John Kelly downgrading Jared Kushner's top-secret security clearance. A bombshell report in the "Washington Post," says at least four countries discussed ways to manipulate Kushner by taking advantage of his lack of experience, financial troubles, and intricate business arrangements.

Also, a source says White House communications director Hope Hicks admitted telling white lies for the president -- Alisyn.


Chris, listen, it's very active right here. OK? We are 40 minutes away from class starting. And all sorts of things are happening on the ground outside of Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

First of all, we watched as just a line of cars of teachers and staff members about an hour or half an hour ago, just stretched for blocks coming into this school for the first time in two weeks. That was poignant.

And then we watched all the police officers from all of the neighboring towns from Hollywood, Florida, Broward County. We have Pembroke Pines. We have, I mean, just -- it seemed like a dozen police, different officers, towns coming here to show this solidarity with their police officers here and all of the students. And a huge show of force.

And then what I guess I wasn't expecting, and I don't know why, a really emotional moment when we watched the school buses start arriving, lines and lines of school buses with kids sitting in there, you know, coming back to their beloved high school which, of course, for the past two weeks has been a crime scene. And we're just trying to figure out how they had the strength to get on those school buses and what they're going to do today.

We have some pictures of students walking into the school with white roses. That's one of the symbols, obviously, of what they've lost here. I don't know if you can see, but down the road, this is where the memorial was. All sorts of mementos put up on a wire fence.

And there's just a huge show of strength of students and police officers that have gathered together down the street in front of that memorial, obviously, to remember all of their friends. So it's just a very emotional morning, as you can imagine. And throughout the morning we're going to be here talking to students and their parents about whether or not they do feel prepared to go back and how they plan to get through all of these emotional scars.

And what they're going to do to further the national debate over gun violence. As you know, these kids have been meeting the charge. They have been activated ever since this happened. We're going to be talking to the faces and the students you have gotten to know best during these two weeks of how they're feeling today. So Chris, there's a lot to cover this hour as we are here in Parkland, Florida.

CUOMO: A very important place to be. You have the contrast of the struggle of getting things back to normal. And then their hopes for a change and to see what will be different. And that is an unanswered question at this point. But you're in the right place on the right day, Alisyn. We'll be back with you in a second.

We have all of these headlines. Let's begin with CNN's Abby Phillip live at the White House. And again, Abby, we have not seen this much news come out of the investigation at once in a long time.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. A lot of new developments overnight, especially as it relates to the president's son-in- law, Jared Kushner, and also this ongoing Russia probe.

We're learning that the special counsel is looking into issues beyond the 2016 campaign, including the ways that Russia could have influenced Mr. Trump at the time before he started running for president, when he was thinking about running in 2016.


[07:05:09] PHILLIP (voice-over): Multiple sources tell CNN that investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller have been asking witness about Mr. Trump's business dealings in Russia, before the 2016 campaign as he considered a run for the presidency.

TRUMP: I have no deals there. I don't know anything.

I have no investments in Russia, none whatsoever.

PHILLIP: Sources say questions from investigators include the timing of Mr. Trump's decision to run for president, any potentially compromising information the Russians may have had about him, and why efforts to brand a Trump Tower in Moscow fell through. Mueller's team also focusing on the financing of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT, REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": If Mueller was looking at your finances and your family's finances, unrelated to Russia, is that a red line?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?

TRUMP: I would say yes. I would say yes.

PHILLIP: The Russia probe gaining steam as the political future of President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner remains uncertain. "The Washington Post" reporting that foreign officials from at least four countries have discussed ways to manipulate Kushner "by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties, and lack of foreign policy experience."

"The Post" also reporting that White House officials were "concerned Kushner was naive and being tricked in conversations with foreign leaders."

SHANE HARRIS, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": Jared Kushner was also having his own conversations with foreign officials. And people in other countries and was not reporting those in the normal channels to White House officials.

PHILLIP: The story came hours after news that Kushner's top-secret clearance was downgraded after months of delays in completing his background check.

REP. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: For him to be the person who's carrying forward an important peace plan in the Middle East at the same time that he lacks a top security clearance, I just don't think that's workable.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He's a valued member of the team, and he will continue to do the important work that he's been doing since he started in the administration.

PHILLIP: One of President Trump's closest aides, White House communications director Hope Hicks, also under scrutiny. A source tells CNN that Hicks admitted during more than eight hours of testimony before a House panel that she's had to tell white lies for the president but says she has not lied about substantive issues.

Committee members say Hicks would not answer questions about her time in the White House or her role in drafting a misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Democrats on the committee demanding more transparency.

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), ILLINOIS: Anyone who doesn't answer questions, they ought to be subpoenaed.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: This is not executive privilege. This is executive stonewalling.


PHILLIP: Now Alisyn, on another matter, while this debate on guns that was started by these students in Parkland is going on, we're learning overnight that the president was actually lobbied by the National Rifle Association over the weekend at a lunch not to raise the age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21.

Now, the White House says that the president still wants to do that. He still thinks it should be 21. But we clearly know that the NRA is opposed to that idea. We are also learning that this week, President Trump is supposed to be unveiling some new school security measures this week before he leaves for Billy Graham's funeral on Friday, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Abby, thank you very much for all of that update. Because it will be very interesting to see where the president lands on all this policy.

So at this hour, there is a lot of activity here at Parkland High School. The sidewalks are filling up with students who are returning to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for the first time.

You can see -- I don't know if you can see. There are school buses lining the street right behind me, filled with kids who are coming in, back to their school two weeks after this gunman opened fire there.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher has been covering this story since then. She joins me now. So what do we expect, Dianne?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, you were talking earlier about how seeing school buses made you feel emotional. You weren't expecting that.

I've been watching these hundreds of police officers come in, some of them walking arm in arm with some of the students here. They simply wanted to feel protected. One of the biggest things that talking to those kids last night, was they were anxious. They were nervous about coming back to school. They knew what we faced. Some of them said we're in the safest place in Florida. But they felt like they were still entering a crime scene.

And today, it is the job of the educators, the teachers, who are grieving as well, the superintendent, to make sure they feel like they're in a school and not a crime scene. They are starting in the classroom that they were in when that shooting happened, which is difficult. And a lot of them have expressed apprehension about going back to that.

CAMEROTA: And they did that because they thought that, psychologically, that was important to reset the clock from there?

GALLAGHER: They wanted to reset the clock from there. They also wanted a chance to go back and be with those people they were with when this happened. This is a point of trauma in their life. And they want to make sure that they can be with the individuals they were with at that time. They could spend that time grieving.

[07:10:06] But also, a lot of them say they don't really know what to expect, teachers and students.


DARREN LEVINE, TEACHER, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: There's no playbook for this. There shouldn't be a playbook for this. And we're going to take it as it comes along every single day. KAI KOERBER, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: How do

you comprehend all the empty desks and all the friends people lost and everything else? How do you return to normalcy after that?

GALLAGHER: And Alisyn, normalcy, that's kind of a word that you're trying to figure out what does that mean out here in Parkland and Coral Springs.

I will say that I've noticed, just in the moments that we were here, the kids walking through here, a lot of them have dyed their hair blonde in honor of Joaquin Oliver, who was killed in that shooting. Most of the kids are wearing shirts that have the names of the 17 victims on their backs that they've had made in those two weeks, a lot of the activism that they've been doing. They've all been working on trying to heal. And this is the first big step in them coming back together and figuring out what normalcy is.

CAMEROTA: Right. And we've talked to them about this. There is no normalcy. There's a new normal for them. They didn't want a new normal, but it's been forced on them. So now they have a new normal, and here we are today, trying to figure out what that's going to look like.

Dianne, thank you so much for all of your reporting on that.

So how are the teachers preparing to help the students? Look, the teachers themselves are traumatized. So what are they going to say to their students when they all go back to the site of this shooting? And what will be done to help those students emotionally recover and to keep them safe and to keep them feeling safe?

So joining us now is Broward County Public Schools superintendent, Robert Runcie.

Mr. Runcie, thank you so much for being here. You're about to go into this school and see all the students en masse for the first time. What are you going to say to them?

ROBERT RUNCIE, SUPERINTENDENT, BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: I'm going to welcome them back, tell them we love them, we're there for them and we're going to provide as much comfort and support as possible.

We're having flexible half days today, tomorrow, and Friday. And we're going to do whatever it takes so that, as a family, that we can actually work through the healing process as best as we can.

The place for us to be is together, back having some sense of normalcy. And as a group, as a family, I think we can go through it. We'll never forget this. It is a very traumatic situation that's going to take a long time to try to get through it. But we have to do it together.

CAMEROTA: What's the thinking about having the kids go back to the very classes that they were in at the moment that the shooting started? RUNCIE: For one, they're not going back in the classrooms.

CAMEROTA: Right. But going back to the moment.

RUNCIE: That's part of the healing process, trying to reconcile with that tragedy. That is something we have to face eventually. Again, we're going to provide as much support as we can to our students as they go through that. We understand it's extremely difficult for -- for our kids today. But again, we're here for them.

CAMEROTA: What about the kids who feel overwhelmed? When there are too -- if they go and feel too overwhelmed, what happens for them?

RUNCIE: So we will make sure that they have grief counselors and whatever -- whatever supports they need. If they actually don't want to stay for the day, we'll make arrangements for them, you know, to go wherever they need to, if they need to go back home.

But again, we have supports. We have lots of resources. We're ready for our kids. We've had a couple of days to prepare and work with the faculty, and help them get acclimated and deal with their challenges so they're ready. We believe that our kids are ready.

I've talked to many students. They're excited. They want to come back. And those that are, you know, in a better frame of mind, at least today. And certainly, help their friends who are struggling with it.

So as a family, they're going to pull through it. Our kids are strong. Marjory Stoneman Douglas is enormously proud of them. We see how they've seen them take the national stage in the midst of all their grief and pain. They figure out ways to turn it into something positive. I believe they're going to do that starting today.

CAMEROTA: We're watching. As kids go in, they're being handed some white roses. And some are going in with white ribbons, obviously, to remember their friends who were lost. Is there such a thing as kids who won't be able to come back to high school here? I mean, sis there any way you can change your plan for them?

RUNCIE: Sure. We've made it very clear that if any student that really feels that they cannot come back here, we will work with them to provide a reassignment to another school in this district. We haven't had many requests for that at all.

[07:15:06] So they want to be together. We're happy about that, and we're going to do what we can make sure that that happens.

CAMEROTA: The last time we saw you on CNN you were at our town hall, which we really appreciated. Since then, a lot of information has come out about the police response here, about what lawmakers plan to do. What do you think about what you've learned about the police response?

RUNCIE: Let me just say this. Because there is a handful of folks that there have been some allegations about their response. I don't want to characterize our law enforcement personnel.

What I saw on that day was an unbelievable level of response from first responders and law enforcement on site, folks running in and out of the building, not realizing that their shooter was still in there or not, trying to save lives. So that went on.

We also need to acknowledge the courage and bravery of our administrators who were running into that building. A couple of them lost their lives to protect kids. They didn't have any firearms with them.

That is what I would expect from any law enforcement personnel that was -- would be on our campuses, that they would do whatever it takes to protect our kids. So we'll see what happens with the investigation that has been initiated by the government and the state. So...

CAMEROTA: Very quickly, one of the things the lawmakers are considering doing is having ten -- having ten teachers here trained to use firearms so that they can be armed in the schools in Florida. Are you comfortable with that?

RUNCIE: No, I am not in favor of arming teachers. Why not we just add another ten law enforcement personnel on campus? That's what we should do. We should be finding school resources officers, law enforcement people, not arming our teachers. They have enough of a burden on their plate, trying to deal with everything that they have to squeeze it into an instructional day, support our kids. They made many sacrifices on their own.

When we think about what we need to arming teachers with, I always say we need to be arming them with greater compensation, better benefits, and working conditions. That's what we need to look at, not putting guns on their hips. Money in their pockets is what they need.

CAMEROTA: Mr. Runcie, thank you very much for talking with us now and back then. We'll be watching. Best of luck to you. Thanks so much.

OK. Thank you.

So, listen, in the two weeks since the tragic shooting in Parkland, some of the survivors have become, as we know, these influential voices, right, these activated voices. These teenagers didn't think that they were going to turn into a movement. But they have turned into a movement. And they have ignited this entire national conversation about gun violence and gun control and what they want to see happen.

As we watch these kids go back into the school right now, these are live pictures that you're looking at. And they're being handed some white roses that you can see as they get closer. Some of them are wearing white ribbons. And some of them are wearing "MSD Strong" T- shirts. And that's the message that we've heard from so many kids that are wearing their, you know, maroon and white school colors. And they're just all sort of showing their strength and their solidarity in coming back together. So I mean, obviously, the question is what happens now that they

return to class? And what happens -- what happens with their movement?

So we're joined by two of the shooting survivors and now gun control advocates. We have David Hogg and his sister, Lauren Hogg. Great to see you guys. Nice to meet you, Lauren. Thank you for being here.

David, you were the first student that we talked to in the hours after this massacre, and everybody remembers it. Because you sort of gripped the nation's attention, because you were so clear-headed already even in the hours after the trauma.

So what have these two weeks been like for you since then?

DAVID HOGG, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Extremely frustrating and annoying to see Speaker Paul Ryan and multiple others not take any action.

Paul Ryan wants to see more teachers be armed, along with the Republican Party. They want to sell more guns. They want to work on behalf of the people that own them, which is the NRA, multiple different special interest groups. They want to sell more guns. They want to scare more people, get more guns sold so they can get re- elected. They want to scare the people. And we don't want to see that happen.

The thing that makes me the most mad is, even after two weeks, even after two weeks of all of this, not a single bill has been passed at the state or federal level. None of our glass is being replaced with bullet-proof glass. None of our locks are being able to -- are being -- none of our locks that are being replaced are able to be locked from the inside. No legislative action has been taken. All we have now is more guns and more chances for things to go wrong.

I mean, think about it this way. What about a student like me that's going to be at school today? What if I was misidentified as another school shooter. What if somebody -- what is there's a blue on blue situation where there's an undercover police officer in there, and we had a scenario were one of them started going off and, because they thought they saw a school shooter, and as such they started shooting at each other and just slaughtered everybody inside? The only thing that's changes is we have more guns and more chances for things to go wrong.

CAMEROTA: OK, so what I hear you saying is that there are all sorts of scenarios because you've lived through this you've now had to contemplate. There are all sorts of frightening scenarios that you're thinking and playing out in your head as you go into school. And So how are you getting the strength to go in there today?

[07:20:13] D. HOGG: I have to because our politicians are cowards, and they won't. They won't gather the strength even to stand up to the NRA, like Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, or Donald Trump. Where they won't stand up to the NRA and say, "You don't own me anymore," and they rip of their shock collar. At this point, our politicians are like really stupid sharks. They think that they have power, but honestly don't.

CAMEROTA: But now all of that said, your state legislature does appear to be doing some things. As you know, there's been proposals. They do appear to be moving forward with some plans of raising the age limit and, as you know, they also are considering training teachers.

D. HOGG: And that's just a compromise of GOP of politics. As I said in the beginning we...

CAMEROTA: Why? What do you want to see? What did you -- what would be action to you?

D. HOGG: Raising the federal age of gun ownership and possession to the age of 21, banning all bump stocks, making sure that mentally -- that we have a universal background check, making sure that people that have committed of acts of domestic violence are no longer able to get a gun, which in Florida, it's harder; it's just not impossible fully yet. And making sure that people with a criminal history and a history of mental illness are not able to obtain these weapons of mass destruction.

CAMEROTA: Isn't your state legislature doing all that?

D. HOGG: That's why I'm here today. That's why I'm working. I think that they should have been doing this way before. I think the fact that I have had to threaten the entire state of Florida's economy to get some action is a testament to how disgusting the state of politics has become.

CAMEROTA: But now, do you see action?

D. HOGG: Some. I see some action, and that gives me some hope. But at this point, seeing everything that's going on is giving me hope. And that's why I'm here today. If that bill was not on, like, the House floor at the Florida state level, I wouldn't be here today, because I wouldn't feel safe coming to school. And honestly, I still don't. As I said, we don't have any bullet-proof glass. We just have more guns.

CAMEROTA: Lauren, how are you feeling?

LAUREN HOGG, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: It's kind of indescribable at this moment. Surreal. To be quite frank with you, I'm just scared at this point. I'm scared...

CAMEROTA: What are you afraid of?

L. HOGG: Just going back into my classes and seeing empty chairs where my friends once sat and not being able to talk to them before class. And I'm just so scared at this moment.

CAMEROTA: Are you a freshman?

L. HOGG: Yes, I am. CAMEROTA: And so in your freshman year, you've had to endure this,

you know, unthinkable tragedy that even all of us adults can't really even imagine. And so how have you prepared for this day?

L. HOGG: I just -- all I can do is I've been thinking about what I want to have done. I've been thinking about my friends. It's really where I've been getting all my strength, thinking about my friends that have surrounded me with support. And I just know there's a reason why I made it out that day, and that reason has to be to make change.

CAMEROTA: And what do you want to see happen?

L. HOGG: Exactly what David said. I want stricter gun control. But I'm saying I'm a firm supporter of the Second Amendment. I just don't think people should have access to guns like the AR-15, of that caliber. Because what are -- what good are they for?

D. HOGG: And the other thing that I want to point out here is the legislation that I was talking about earlier. Rick Scott is trying to implement it a year later so that he can have that happen right around his election. He can't let that happen. He's trying to take Bill Nelson's seat. We cannot let that happen. That's why he's putting this stuff into place.

Like I know that he's saying that it takes time. It doesn't. He's governor. We saw his response to Hurricane Irma, and we know that we can get these things done quickly. He just cares more about his political agenda.

CAMEROTA: David, Lauren, thank you both very much. We know what these two weeks have been like for you. We appreciate you coming and sharing all of your very strong thoughts. Obviously, we'll be following everything that you both do. Best of luck with you today. Thank you both.

All right, Chris, obviously, these are two of the students that we'll be talking to. We'll be talking to a girl coming up who can't go back into the school. She doesn't want to go back in her school. What's she going to do?

CUOMO: Very understandable, Alisyn. There is no judging how somebody can respond, especially at that age, to that type of trauma. Very important to have you there.

Very important to have you viewers here, as well, because we have big news in the Russia investigation. One very important headline. Robert Mueller's investigators are looking into President Trump's Russian business dealings before the 2016 election. This comes as Jared Kushner is stripped of his top-secret security clearance.

Joining us now is Ken Starr. We know that name. He led the independent counsel investigation into President Bill Clinton.

Judge, always great to have you. Thank you for being with us.

KEN STARR, FORMER INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: Thank you, Chris. Good to be here.

CUOMO: One thing that's getting some controversy that doesn't make sense to me knowing you and your head on these issues the way I do, when it comes to obstruction of justice, you've said to me many times on and off camera, you haven't seen any evidence of obstruction of justice that is compelling to you at this point. But you are completely open to what we don't know, right?

STARR: Absolutely. It's what we know. I think people have jumped to conclusions that are completely inconsistent with the law. That is to say that the president, exercising his power because of self- interested reasons, has obstructed justice. Our law doesn't sweep nearly so broadly, quite apart from constitutional consequences of a president having Article II power.

[07:25:04] And I think I'm on solid ground here with the Supreme Court of the United States, rebuffing the government years ago 9-0 for trying to end obstruction kinds of issues by overemphasizing and over- defining the word "corrupt."

"Corrupt" doesn't mean you want to do something in your own self- interest. It means something really beyond just "I'm looking out for myself."

CUOMO: Subjective. But it has to be a quid pro quo. You have to see follow-through in an act. I read that decision when I was preparing for this.

Understood. But also, equally wrong for people to say there is no obstruction of justice when we don't know what Mueller has.

STARR: No, that's exactly right. We shouldn't jump to conclusion. Let's allow Bob Mueller to do his job, which has been my position from day one.

CUOMO: Understood.

STARR: Let's allow the facts to come out. And that's what's unfolding.

CUOMO: Because I have an operative phrase called nontroversy. I don't like when people say, "Oh, well, you know, this is what Ken Starr says, and he shouldn't be saying it." I always want to hear it out of your mouth. Conversation matters more than these type of nontroversies.

So let's get to what happens here this morning. Bob Mueller looking into Trump's business dealings before 2016 to see if there was potential opportunity for exertion of influence by Russian -- any kind of actors on their part. Fair point?

STARR: I think it's beyond his mandate. The mandate is what happened during the 2016 election in terms of collusion. That's the key idea. So here's what I think has happened.

I think Bob Mueller is finding out information that is leading him back to the deputy attorney general. Let's remember one thing. Bob Mueller is not out on his own. He's an officer of the Justice Department. He is reporting to the deputy attorney general.

CUOMO: If Rosenstein didn't like it, the deputy attorney general. If Rosenstein didn't like it, he might not do it?

STARR: Under the regulations, Rod Rosenstein as a man of great honor and great impeccable integrity could say, "Don't go there." It doesn't mean that it wouldn't be looked into, but it might very well be, "Mueller, you're not the person to do it. We're going to have someone else do it."

CUOMO: All right. Let's look at the premise again. The idea of you think it extends purview. And I'm not here to look at your investigation, because as you know, that was a big shot at you guys, at where you started and where you wound up.

But instant case only. If he's trying to figure out what might have happened during the election that would have been wrongful access, wrongful access and all those different defining moments, why would he not look at financial arrangements that might have been created leverage on then-candidate Trump?

STARR: And it's a judgment call. So Bob Mueller might very well be saying exactly what you did and then say, "Look, this is a logical outgrowth of what we've been looking into. Let's just assume for purposes of this discussion there was no substantial evidence of collusion. In fact, I think that the indictment almost two weeks ago of the 13 Russian nationals and three companies suggest there was no collusion.


STARR: It suggests -- because the Russians developed this enormous operation out of St. Petersburg and sent operatives into the United States to sow discord and spend millions of dollars and so forth. They didn't collude with anyone. They...

CUOMO: They're manifesting one tool. That does not exclude the possibility of others.

STARR: Absolutely. I'm not over arguing the plan. I'm just saying it suggests there's not a hint in the 40-page indictment that there was any collusion. And now what are we seeing? We're seeing a focus on what happened before.

So I think it's a policy call within the Justice Department for Rod Rosenstein to say, "I hear what you're saying. Go ye forward." Or he is saying, "I think this is beyond why we brought you in."

CUOMO: Right.

STARR: And here's one thing. The American people, I think, want to know was there was collusion? Let's get that answered would be my sense, if I were at the Justice Department. My sense would be, but I don't have all the facts. Bob, I love you.

But let's just stay focused on what the issue is. And that's the collusion in the campaign.

CUOMO: You understand these issues better than most who are watching, and certainly the guy in the chair across from you. But I don't get why, if you want to know would do they have? What's the analysis on Kushner? People are looking at him because he needed money. Was there a way to get at him that way?

We now know from reports that four countries were talking about how to manipulate him. And that is just the wisdom of the world. Right? The state actors are always looking for how to get influence and undue influence on one another, the United States included.

But if it's true about Kushner, why wouldn't it be true about Trump? And this is a man who wouldn't show his taxes, wouldn't open his books. We know that, from his own son's mouth, that they had a ton of Russian money buying assets, which could be benign, could not be. It just seems like a logical question.

STARR: I'm not arguing that it's not logical and that it might even be a complete outgrowth of what's happened. But I am saying is it has nothing to do with collusion and the campaign. And...

CUOMO: It does if you find out that because of what has happened and transacted in the past, there were opportunities in the mind of Russians or Russian actors to go at the campaign --