hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 8:00 p.m. in moz cow and 8:00 p.m. in erbil as well. whenever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us. up next, if you questions about a meeting between a russian and the trump campaign. donald trump jr. gave two statements that differ.
besides jnt jrdonald trump jr. son-in-law jared kushner also attended that meeting held over at trump tower in new york city on june 9th of last year. first reported by the netanyahu. t "new york times." and damaging information about hillary clinton before the meeting. and bring in cnn's jeff zeleny. we're learning more about the setup to the meeting. >> reporter: wolf, we're learning who set up the meeting, scheduled this meeting, an entertainment executive by the name of rob goldstone who set up this meeting to happen last june, a year ago in june at trump tower in new york city. now, rob goldstone is someone who was working on the miss universe pageant, familiar with the trump family and donald trump jr. indeed. he arranged to set up a meeting he tells in a statement to cnn confirming the report this morning in the "new york times" as well as the "washington post" that he facilitated the meeting between the president's oldest
son and this russian lawyer about some type of knelltive informati negative information on the clinton campaign. so they accepted the meeting. the timing comes about two weeks after the president then a candidate accepted and clinched the republican nomination, after he clinched the nomination. his -- as everything was coming together, clear he would be the nominee and clear the trump campaign wanted to hear what this russian operative had to say. it was negative about the clinton campaign. the reason this is significant, wolf, there are many sort of incremental developments. this is different in the sense it's the first acknowledgement there was a meeting during the campaign between a top set of officials from the trump campaign and a russian operative happening during the campaign. we know about meetings that happened after the election, but this came in june of 2016. >> what is the trump administration, jeff, saying about this meeting? >> reporter: wolf, i expect we'll hear more at the white
house press meeting sarah huckabee sanders will hold off camera in about an hour. kellyanne conway was on cnn's "new day" downplaying and dismissing all of this. >> it's very typical to have principles in the meeting. we -- principals in the meeting. we had a fraction of the staff and money in clinton inc. in brooklyn. you're trying to have viewers say, oh, my god, because these three principals imbued with some type of seriousness that wasn't true. senior operators for the campaign. let's not focus on what did not happen in that meeting. no information provided that was meaningful. no action taken. >> wolf, the question, we do not know exactly what happened in that meeting. she's right about that, but it is different in the sense this was not just a meeting with three principals but a russian operative coming to meet them specifically with information on their rival.
it's already stirred so many questions on capitol hill. senator susan collins, republican of maine, said a short time ago she wants to see the president's oldest son before the senate intelligence committee. so, wolf, what this does is, sort of re-ignite its, resparks questions about potential collusion the white house thought they'd moved beyond. >> and jeff zeleny at the white house. thanks very much. and stand by for the press conference. and the president appears to be backing off an earlier tweet forming an election cyber security unit together with russia. following his meeting with the russian president, president trump tweeted this, "putin and i discussed forman an impenetrable cyber security unit so election hacking and many other negative things will be guarded." but democrats and republicans, they quickly, immediately, scoffed at that idea. >> it's not the dumbest idea i
ever heard but pretty close. when it comes to russia i as dumbfounded, disappointed. end of the day he's hurting his presidency. >> i don't think we can expect the russians to be any kind of a credible partner in some khyber security unit. it would be dangerously naive for this country. if that's our best election defense, we might as well just mail or ballot boxes to moscow. >> this is like the guy who robbed your house proposing a working on burglary. it's they who did this. >> joining us from the state department, michelle kaczynski. what does the president now say about working with russia on election security specifically in the area of cyber security? >> after that tweet touting this impenetrable cyber security unit that could be formed with putin, seeming to say how great that would be, his other tweet later after he got all of this
criticism including from the republicans you heard, just because he said something like that doesn't mean it can happen. and he said, it won't happen. it can't happen. so he's doing a complete turnaround on something that he seemed to be big on initially. i mean, the criticism on this has been pretty severe, including from some republicans and the analogies being made that forming some kind of working group like this with vladimir putin would be like, you know, trying to work on chemical weapons with syrian president bashar al assad. he's apparently feeling that. turning around completely on this idea. what exactly was discussed and said in that meeting, of course? only those in attendance know for certain, wolf. >> yes. many pointed out he went from supporting that kind of cooperation in cyber security with the russians, at one point, 13 hours later, reversed himself in that second tweet.
michelle, there are still some areas of december s disagreemen. president trump accepted putin's denial he meddled in the u.s. election but the president tweeted he strongly pressed the russian leader on the issue. is there any way that we can figure out who's right? >> reporter: there are a lot of problems here. whenever you're dealing with russia and their statements, even their descriptions of phone calls or meetings, it always differs from the u.s. account. and because it's russia, you have to take whatever they're saying with a pile of salt. i mean, russia still denies they had anything to do with cyber meddling in the united states. then again, you know, donald trump and his campaign and the people around him have always played fast and loose with the truth and with facts as well. there's will the difficulty is. i mean, as soon as the u.s. description of what happened came out, all over social media there were doubts as to its
voracity. there are reasons for that. but you're dealing with russia. however, you know, we should point out that -- whenever somebody like secretary of state rex tillerson describes what is said, when he's asked directly, did the president accept that? tillerson denies that the president accepted putin's claims, but he keeps saying that he talked about concerns that the american people have. he never says that those concerns are shared by trump himself. and remember, it was only one day before this meeting with putin that he was there in poland casting enormous doubt on whether russia did play a role as well as, you know, as some describe it, throwing the u.s. intelligence community under the bus. >> wolf? >> interesting. michelle, thank you. michelle kaczynski at the state department. talk about all of these developments with my next guest. democratic senator jack reed of rhode island. ranking member of the senate armed services committee and a member of the senate committee
on intelligence. ex-officio, on that committee as well. what's your level of concern that the presidential oldest son had together with the then campaign chairman and senior adviser, the son-in-law, jared kushner with this russian lawyer. >> very serious. >> why? >> first, the whole pretense of the meeting and the son indicated, was to get information from the russian government about hillary clinton. that's essentially going to a foreign power and asking for help in the election. that was the pretense. >> and tweeted this morning, donald trump jr., eldest son, obviously, being sarcastic in the tweet. obviously i'm the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent. went nowhere but had to listen. so he's saying and some supporters trump supporters saying it was opposition research. what all campaigns do. >> not operations research based on soviet -- excuse me, russian
intelligence. that's the difference. this was an individual who had clear and close ties to the russian government, to their intelligence services perhaps. we don't know. we have to probe that, but this was not a meeting with an american political activist, someone who was part of the campaign, and it was a very, very particular meeting involving the three principals, jared kushner, paul manafort and donald trump jr. this was not a casual sort of meeting. this was very deliberate. you have the three most significant people on the campaign at that juncture. >> you've done research. what do we know about this lawyer, this russian lawyer, who came to this meeting, her last nate, woetzelknitsskyia. >> very little, quite frankly. one of the questions that the intelligence committee will take up. what i read in the press, act niv trying to reverse the legislation that caused the russians to stop their adoption
program. >> the mag nitschke act. >> and seems to be someone described publicly as having close ties to the kremlin and active on behalf of the kremlin. that was, i'm sure, a part of the, of her attraction to the campaign. >> sorry. you can -- as a part of your intelligence committee investigation, donald trump jr. to come from the committee and testify? >> i hope so. that claim has already been made. it's appropriate he does that to clear this up. >> what ash paul manafort and jared kushner? >> we have been trying to pursue them to come and testimony. that's led by the chairman and ranking member mark warner of virginia. but we are doing that, and in addition i'm sure this is falling under the embed of the special prosecutor. he has to be interested in this, too, because of his mandate to see if there are connections between the trump campaign and the russian government. >> do you know if there are any follow-up meetings? this meeting, apparently, if you
look to what donald trump jr. said, lasted 20 minutes, to a half hour. do you know of other incidents similar to this or going further? >> i don't. this is a pattern of not acknowledging a meeting then acknowledging a meeting and discovered there were other meetings not acknowledged. took place with general flynn, with attorney general sessions didn't indicate he met with the russian ambassador initially. a troubling pattern of behavior. more and more comes out about more extensive meetings on these and other subjects. >> initially didn't come up involving jared kushner, the son-in-law as well. >> exactly. >> you issued a statement following the president's meeting with the russian president vladimir putin and wrote, president trump may have accepted putin's assurances that russia did not meddle in the u.s. presidential election but i can assure you the american people do not share his confidence in mr. putin's claims. the crucial work of u.s. intelligence agencies, law
enforcementance the special counsel and bipartisan congressional panels will continue until we get to the bottom of what happened and can help's prevent continued russian interference in future democratic elections. what do you know actually emerged from the extensive conversation that these two presidents, putin and trump, had on russian meddling? >> it's hard to know definitively, because there were only four people, principals in the room and two translators and there's various stories. what i think was a huge missed opportunity. and i think before the meeting. the president would have been better served and we would have been better served if instead of trying to make an arrangement with the russians who penetrated our election he stood with traditional allies, democratic krunlts, france, germany, others, called out the russians and then went in to that meeting with a solid assurance that the international community was rejecting russian involvement in democratic elections and we wouldn't tolerate it and make that demand.
he avoided that. he didn't do that. he went in, listened to putin and apparently one side thinks everything's okay and the other side wants to get on. his comments, let's get on with business with the russians rather than let's stop them from interfering in our elections. >> he did tweet at one point in that, on that cyber security issue. this is the president, the fact that president putin and i discussed a krib are security unit doesn't mean i think i can -- doesn't mean i think it can happen. it can't. but a cease-fire can and did. you welcome the achievement of the cease-fire? >> the cease-fire is very important. any step in syria to lower the level of violence and take pressure off the jordanians. it's right along their border. the more difficult issues will be the area not there along the jordanian border but in the euphrates valley along syria, iraqi border. that's where isis is retreating to. that's where our surkirogate forces are headed, assad and irans and russians, that's the test case.
>> senator jack reed, thanks for joining us. good to have you on the program. get republican perspective on us a this. a republican from mississippi, senior armed services committee as well. thanks for joining us, senator. >> thank you. glad to be with you. >> what kinds of concerns if any does this meeting that donald trump jr. had with this russian lawyer raise for you? >> i do not think the american people are going to be horrified by this, and i agree with donald trump jr. he was told that there was in information unfavorable to their general election opponent. he went to a meeting. turns out there wasn't much there and instead the russian attorney wanted to talk about the magnitschke act and russian adoptions. a pretty quick meeting and he concluded that it didn't amount to much. i just think that's pretty much
of a great big nothing when it comes to whether there was some sort of collusion between russia and -- and general election campaign organizations. >> senator, let me ask you, because you're a united states senator. a senior senator. would you go to a meeting with a russian lawyer, not even knowing who this person was? someone simply saying you know, we have damaging information about your political opponent and you would bring your campaign chairman, a senior adviser to a meeting like this? would you simply go in blindly into a meeting like this? >> well, donald trump didn't go. as far as -- >> i'm not saying donald trump. nocht saying donald trump. i'm saying that donald trump's eldest son went into a meeting. he accepted a meeting like this and brought the campaign chairman at the time paul manafort and the president's son-in-law jared kushner, senior adviser to the campaign. would you simply go into a meeting like this not even knowing who this person you were going to have a meeting with and what the agenda was? >> well, i as a public official
or candidate would not do that. some somebody on behalf of a campaign was told there was information that might be of interest to the public, i just don't think the american people will be up in arms that that meeting took place. >> do you think he should testify, if there's nothing wrong, donald trump jr., you just heard your colleague senator reed, senator collins, others say he should come up to capitol hill and answer questions about this meeting. would you rk thwelcome that? >> i like senator jack reed and he and i have worked together on many issues in the armed services area, and certainly senator collins is my colleague and -- if they want to ask questions, then i would listen to them, and -- and look at the propriety of that. i really don't have any knowledge of the subpoena power there, but as far as asking a few questions, i don't see the harm in it. >> yeah. >> i just don't think it's a
very big issue. >> i don't think their necessarily ready to start subpoenaing donald trump jr. but inviting him, a volunteer way, to come in and answer questions about this. i think that's what they would like to do. let me move on to this other sensitive issue. you've been involved in national security as well. president trump seems to be backing way from his original support for some sort of are joint cyber security unit with the russians. should that have been part of the dialogue in the first place? >> well, if it's a part of a dialogue between the united states and russia on cyber security, it should be in the context of a -- of a, working towards an agreement with our -- russian counterparts that they'll quit doing this. when it comes to cyber attacks and -- and bad actions in terms of, of cyber, russia is, is the problem.
and not only with the united states but with many of our allies. the smaller countries in the baltic area have had portions of their economy shut down by russian cyber attacks. so any talks should be in the form of what sort of agroemt can we come to with the russians to make them agree not to do this, in the future. in terms of a task force supgting thsupgt isupgt -- suggesting we're on the same side of this issue and there's some force out there we both abhor doing this. i don't think the american people buy that, and frankly i don't think the trump administration ever thought that woulds a good idea. >> one final question, senator, before i let you go. would you like to see the president more outspoken in condemning the russians for this interference in the u.s. presidential election?
many of his top advisers, cabinet members, have been outspoken. he has been, as you well know, very, very tame in this area? >> well, as far as i understand it, i did not attend the meeting, of course, but it was the first thing the president brought up. when he met with president putin. and he brought it up very forcefully and received an answer. you know, the problem with meeting with the russians, and you've got to do it is, then they get to, their spin on what was said in these private off the record meetings, and i expect they put the sort of spin most favorable to them on their notes from the meeting. >> i'm not suggesting what he said privately in this meeting with putin was tame. i don't know what he said in that private meeting, but in his public statements, he has been tame. he hasn't really gone out and said what you just said now, there's no doubt the russians did this. it was inappropriate, and they should cut it out. we haven't heard strong -- you
know, strong -- many strong tapes like that from the president, well, okay. i thought i had heard it quite a bit over time from people speaking for the president. >> right. that's true. >> but i'll go back and look at his statements, and it might be that he could be even more forceful. i, again, go back to what i've said to you before, wolf. really, the american people are more interested in the substantive issues that we need to get about the business of doing. such as an infrastructure plan and health care and a better tax system that makes us more competitive to raet jobs, but it might be that your point is well taken and that the president needs once again to, to answer this issue in a very, very forceful way. >> okay. senator, thanks, as usual, for joining us. always good to have you on our program. coming up, we'll have a lot more on donald trump, but junior the meeting with that russian
lawyer who reportedly promised to provide dirt on hillary clinton's campaign. our panel is standing by. former fbi director james comey's memos now back in the spotlight after a new report claims some of those memos contain classified information. we'll have new details. won't e of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan. no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back including depreciation. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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the trump administration is downplaying a meeting between the president's eldest son and the president's son-in-law, his then campaign chairman and a russian lawyer with kremlin ties. let's discuss this and more with our panel. joining us now cnn correspondent joining us from cambridge, massachusetts. political director, and our chief political analyst and our chief political correspondent. so gloria what do you make of the different explanations we've heard so far from donald trump jr.? >> well, first of all, donald trump jr. says these are not two different explanations. that he is just in his second version elaborating on the first, and what he neglected to include in his first version, his first statement, which i believe came on saturday, was that he gave no indication that the meeting was called because they were looking for some dirt on hillary clinton. and that this person apparently
had some. and his second explanation, he does explain that this person said that they had some information on hillary clinton, and that the explanation seemed so vague and ridiculous, made no sense to him, then after that, it turned to the russian adoption and the human rights issues, at which point he cut it off. and -- the question i think we all have is that, people close to trump have been asked, were there other meetings? this came as a result of jared kushner re-filing his sf-86 form in which he included this meeting. so the question is, we didn't know about this meeting and were there other meetings what happens we should have known about? at this point all we know is what donald trump jr. said occurred. >> you said this was a significant new development we're reporting on over the past couple days. tell us why?
>> we've sat here for months and watched donald trump tweet and speak publicly saying, no collusion. no co-collusion. no collusion, and we have not had any real data point that was -- again, no smoking gun, but that was evidence that there was conversation between the campaign -- high echelons, upper echelons of the campaign and somebody who had a relationship with the kremlin about damaging information for hillary clinton and helpful information for donald trump. that -- i'm not a lawyer. i have no idea if that's a legal collusion or criminality any there or not. i'm not suggesting that. to me it suggesting you can no longer just dismiss that collusion or potential collusion is not part of this. now we have for the first time donald trump jr., this goes to the heart that he was at the very highest levels of the campaign, campaigning as a surrogate around the country for his dad in strategy meetings. it goes to the heart of the trump campaign and he is there
not just having an innocent meeting explained elsewhere but a meeting he himself admits in a statement he went into with the understanding going in with this person with kremlin ties to get negative information about hillary clinton that could help the trump campaign. that feels like we're in a new ballpark than before. >> definitely. and the -- campaign or the former campaign, now the white house people who worked for the campaign say, oh, come on. this is how campaigns work. somebody calls, says, oh, i have op-o, true, except not when it is a foreign national, particularly when that fortune national is russian. it just, it doesn't happen in that situation and talk to republican after republican who are not in the trump orbit and they admit that to you. some are saying publicly. some are not. so that's why as you were saying, this is so significant, because, you know, whether or not they actually delivered,
this woman actually delivered anything in the meeting is not as relevant at the idea that -- that the trump campaign or his son was receptive to the notion of getting that kind of information from somebody who was a russian national. let me get julia to weigh in on this as well. julia, how do you see it? >> just, the word "receptive" the right word to think about. the russians understood the trump campaign. the trump son, to be receptive to information that would hurt hillary clinton. and that is where the action matters. right? in other words, that is something that the russians certainly would have exploited and continued on doing as we saw over the course of the summer after this meeting is when the dnc gets hacked. when other things happen, that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the trumps receptivity to what the russians
wanted to do was at least made tactically or passively clear by accepting this meeting. i also want to make something clear. the only reason why we know that, or we believe that the information was useless was donald trump jr.'s words. this is a donald trump jr. has changed his story twice within 48 hours. so we do not know whether the information was actually useless or whether it was related to russia's later attempts or later success in hacking the dnc or john podesta's e-mail. we need to not take the donald trump jr. story as true only because it's changed so many times in such a short period of time. >> i have to ask. why were all of these people in the transition and so high up and, again, this wasn't the transition. still involved in the campaign. meeting with people they didn't know? it's sort of hard for me to say that, you know, to believe that i was not told her name prior to
the meeting. so somebody arranges a meeting. you're very busy. running a president's campaign. you are the chairman of the campaign, paul manafort. you are the president's, or the candidate's son-in-law. and son. and you were suddenly meeting with people you don't know? and why would you -- why would you do that? unless you had a real reason to believe that the meeting wa was going to be -- >> an intermediary told them they would get dirt on hillary clinton. the political content, basically after he sewed up the nomination. >> just secured enough delegates to be the nominee but before the convention. we don't know the content of this meeting, again, what everything was discussed but we do know what happened afterwards. we know donald trump almost immediately thereafter was tweeting about getting the 30,000 e-mails of hillary clinton. we know it was after this
meeting in july when donald trump held that press conference where he invited the russians to come in and hack hillary clinton's e-mail so that those 30,000 missing e-mails could be exposed. so we do know certain things around this. again, we don't know the -- we know the timeline. >> we only have one side of the story, and only donald trump jr.'s public statements. unfortunately for him, he's going to have to go, very likely, almost definitely, going to have to go under oath in some way, shape or form whether a congressional committee or special council. >> and don't forget. jared kushner after they won the election was meeting with another russian, sergey, who wasn't told who he was meeting with either. all of the meetings with people who were acquaintances of acquaintances, just happened to be russians? i think we need a little more of an explanation. >> certainly do. everybody, thanks very much.
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unitedhealthcare insurance company, which has over 30 years of experience behind it. with all the good years ahead, look for the experience and commitment to go the distance with you. call now to request your free decision guide. welcome back. and qatar has been isolated diplomatically over allegations by its neighbors it supports and funds various terror groups. cnn has exclusively obtained copies of secret agreements among gulf nations that may explain how the nations in that
part of the world got to where they are right now. let's bring in our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto with exclusive information for us. >> thank you very much. i have the agreement obtained exclusively by cnn. the existence have been known but the contents kept secret due to the sensitivity of what's involved and agreed to in private by heads of state. the agreements you're seeing, first of which handwritten signed by the king of saudi arabia, amir of qatar and kuwait, obtained by cnn from a source in the region with access to the documents. a second agreement dated in 2014 headlined "top secret" adds the king of bahrain, crown prince of awe bea abu dhabi and explained worst diplomatic crisis in the mete, really in decades, abiding
by the agreements was among six principals, the golf nations set as requirements to improve relations with qatar in a statement released last week. in the statement to cnn, qatar accused saudi arabia and uae of breaking the spirit of the agreement and indulging in "an unprovoked attack on qatar's sovereignty." >> the secretary of state of the u.s., rex tillerson in kuwait in the region would like to mediate this and end this dispute qatar has, a u.s. air base and a ground facility there. a lot of u.s. troops are in qatar and this is a very dangerous situation from the u.s. perspective as well. because u.s. has close alines with the saudis and bahrainis and -- >> absolutely. the president himself got in the middle of this, really. remember the tweets he sent after his trip to saudi arabia citing in effect in those tweets -- siding with the other gulf countries against qatar and
accusing them as much in the tweets of supporting terrorism, and what we see in the agreement, the handwritten one among three amirs in 2014 and others more formal backed by foreign ministers is commitments among all the nations, not singling qatar out but among all nations to do things like not support the muslim brotherhood in egypt. not support what are called deviant groups, to some a code word for terrorism in the region. and not to support other opposition groups in the region. >> one of the demands made here in this document, i've gone through it earlier today, thanks to you and your team. one of the demands, basically qatar shut down al jazeera? >> referred to in the first agreement, not named as antagonistic media. the leader of other gulf countries, based in qatar, accuse it of sort of drumming up support for opposition groups, for instance in bahrain and at
worse drumming up support for terrorist groups. what they accuse them of. and one of their demands, shut that station down. a host of issue, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, so on. these gulf nations accuse that station backed by the qatar government's in effect supporting these opposition groups. >> vocal in that condemnation about al jazeera, gulf nations, saudis, bahrainis and egyptians as well are very angry at al-jazeera. >> and rex tillerson is in the region hoping to bring them were back together. the u.s. has close relationships with all of them. >> and heard words from rex tillerson a week ago and the president, quickly condemning the qataris and the secretary of state wants to mediate and come up with a solution. >> exactly. as often happens, president's tweets can have a different message from some senior advisors. >> wouldn't be the first time. thanks very much.
a new report providing details about the memos former fbi director james comey wrote about his meetings with president trump. the hill citing officials familiar with the documents saying more than half contain classified information. our just it correspondent jessica schneider is with us now. jessica what more are we learning? >> reporter: the hill reporting the fired fbi director wrote seven memos detailing his nine
conversations with president trump. the hill sources say that four of those memos had markings to make clear they contained information classified at the secret or the confident's level, but here's the key. there is no indication that there was any classified information in the one memo that the fired fbi director james comey gave to his law professor friend to leak to the press. james comey testified june 8th he believed it to be a personal document that contained his own recollection. how james comey distinguished it when questioned by senator roy blount back on june 8th. >> you didn't consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document? you considered it to be somehow your own personal document that you could share with the media as you wanted to? >> correct. >> through a friend? >> i understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president as a private citizen and felt free to share that. thought it very important to get
it ought. >> so were all of your memos that you recorded on classified or other documents memos that might be yours as a private citizen? >> i'm sorry. i'm not following the question. >> i think you said you'd use -- >> unclassified -- >> important to note the fbi does forbid any agent from releasing classified information. the official policy of the bureau. again, while the hill reports that several of comey's memos contained classified information, james comey, you saw it there, continued to stress, wolf, that the memo he gave to his law professor friend that eventually got out to the press did not campaign classified information. >> tell us what the president, president trump, is fwetweeting about this? >> the president taking to twitter as he often does when it concerns james comey. the president tweeting -- james comey leaked classified information to the media. that is so illegal. also, top adviser kellyanne conway was out this morning talking about it as well saying
that comey did release that information. saying it was classified, yet again, wolf, james comey made it clear on june 8th, no. that memo released did not have classified information despite the fact the hill is reporting that four other of his memos did contain classified information. >> and the classified information from the other memos were not leaked to his law professor friend? only one memo and comey made it clear that he did not believe there was classified information in that memo? >> reporter: right. >> that eventually made its way to the "new york times." >> yes. >> thanks very much. jessica schneider reporting for us. coming up, after months of devastating battles, iraqi troops have retaken the city of mosul. what this means and what's next for the war-torn city and that nation when we come back.
completely liberated from the terror group. this is a significant and a symbolic win. mosul is iraq's second largest city, considered one of the main entry points for foreign fighters back in 2014 three years ago the leader of isis al baghdadi announced the creation of the caliphate at the mosque in mosul and the city became one of the terror group's self-proclaimed capitals. celebrating victory in mosul, even though it took three years represents a collective effort, coalition forces, and jay townsend, the general and combined joint task force operation inherent resolve, joining us live from baghdad. general, thanks for joining us. are the iraqis, do you believe, >> do you believe them capable of holding the tentative peace that has now emerged in mosul? >> thanks, wolf.
well, first of all, i think the global coalition that fights isis here would like to congratulate the prime minister and all the iraqi security forces on their risk victory against an evil enemy while making extraordinary efforts to safeguard civilian lives. to answer your question, i do believe the iraqi security forces have what it takes to hold mosul. they've been holding the east side of mosul since it was liberated in january, and they have a plan to hold the entire city even as they prosecutor operations elsewhere in iraq. >> what do they need to do and what will the u.s. involvement be to prevent isis from returning to iraq's second largest city? >> well, they'll be responsible for the hold, and i think they have a good sight picture of what they need to do to do that. what they must do now is
continue the attack. what's next on the docket? it will be to finish operations in min in a province. there's not much left, but there's a bunch to be cleared to include the a major population, about 40 kilometers west of mosul. then there will be other hours that have to be cleared in iraq and western anbar province. >> what will the u.s. role in all of this -- there are still thousands of u.s. troops in iraq under your command. what is their mission right now? >> our mission hasn't changed. the defeat of isis in mosul doesn't mean that isis is finished in iraq, and there's still tough fighting ahead. we'll continue to perform our mission which is to advise and assist the iraqis before combat we train -- helped train and equip them. once they enter combat, we provide them with intelligence
precision fires and combat advice. we'll continue to do that, and we'll go where the fighting moves to next. >> i remember three years ago when those isis terrorist forces moved into mosul. the iraqi military including a lot of u.s. equipment sophisticated armored personnel carriers, they ran away and left all that equipment behind. no how do you know, general, that the iraqi military won't do that again? >> well, the future is kind of hard to know, but i'd say this. this is a different iraqi security force than three years ago, significantly different. you're right. three years ago the isis took mosul in a matter of days, three years ago the iraqi security forces were fighting to hold their capital of baghdad, and today they just concluded a major victory. 40 kilometers in their capital.
they fought for nine months without respite, and they took this second-largest city in iraq back. this is a very different army than -- and security forces than existed three years ago. >> how much tension is there, general, between the iraqi shia, the sunni, and the kurds right now? because if you really want a united country, all of these elements of the iraqi population need to work together. are they? >> yeah. well, the more than 40,000 iraqi security forces operating today are comprised of shia, iraqis, sunni iraqis, kurds, christians, and others. i'd say they're pretty united right now. there's a lot of celebrating going on iraq wide right now that started yesterday. so how long will that last? well, i don't know, but you've
hit on the critical point. that's the key point for the future is this country has to pull together. this society has to pull together if they're going to prevent isis or the isis next from returning. >> what, if any, role will the u.s. military under your command have in trying to achieve in raqqa another isis caliphate capital, in f you will, that you achieved together led by the iraqi military in mosul? >> well, as of about an hour ago, what was job number two for us, rauk qqa syria is now job number one. we're prosecuting that fight there like we did there. and we're performing the same kind of missions, the coalition as performed and the same kind of missions there we'll take raqqa with our partners. >> how long do you think it will
take? >> i don't know. i predicted that. i'm not too good at the predictions. i predicted it would take about six months to take mosul. it took just shy of nine months, a few days shy of nine months. i won't guess on raqqa. >> general, thank you so much for your service. thank you so much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. >> let's go to our senior international correspondent nick paton walsh. he recently was in mosul. he's now in irbil. what were the conditions like? nick, what did you see? >> this morning the fighting was still underway. we understand that even as they were making the victory declaration, there were still pockets of isis holding out. the area we were in this morning was close to the river that marks the back end of isis territory inside the city of mosul, and literally iraqi special forces trained by the u.s. given u.s. weaponry, were
fighting over the remaining dozen houses also, which isis held down there. we saw isis. we thought fighters, we're told they were fighters by the iraqi forces coming out and handing themselves over. clearly dishevelled, dusty, perhaps having run out of ammunition. we saw a u.s. air strike land close to our position. that's how intense and close the fighting is at this stage. they're house to house block to block but they're down to 100 yards between where we were and that river. the fighting intense as i say, but possibly in the hours, days ahead, finally coming to an end there. the whole city absolutely in ruins. like some sort of extraordinarily awful supernatural element as hit it. i've never seen anything like it. nearly every car you see is torn up like a piece of paper. the roads are all pushed to one side by bulldozers buzz the
rubble, it's hard to imagine anyone could ever live there again. we saw civilians picking through the rubble. we saw a group headed to a mosque which isis blew up themselves. it used to be the most sacred monument for them where baghdadi announced the leader of the caliphate, three years and 11 days to the moment i'm talking a go. but it is mosul's task to put itself together for iraq. you heard the general talk about how the towns of isis has to be confronted but it is tonight with the night, with the fall of segd biggest cities, the celebrations began last night. we waited a long time for the bureaucratic speech to play out. we finally heard it now. i think perhaps many iraqis are hoping they might be able to think about the future and the rebuilding rather than the violent bloodiness.
>> nick paton walsh on the scene. thank you for your excellent reporting. that's it for me. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in the situation room. for our international viewers, amanpour is next. for our viewers in north america, news room with pamela brown starts after a quick break. you do all this research on a perfect car, then smash it into a tree. your insurance company raises your rates. maybe you should've done more research on them. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. switch and you could save $782