tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 31, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
at so many junctures through this entire episode of the campaign and everything else. >> we have six seconds left. thank you, everyone. i appreciate it. join us tonight for a special prime time edition of "the lead" at 10:00 tonight. handing it over to wolf blitzer. thanks for watching. happening now, breaking news. scaramucci out. president trump's controversial new communications director anthony scaramucci resigns after just 10 days on the job. we're learning new details of why he was asked to leave. the president's new chief of staff john kelly was so disgusted about how the president fired james comey that he called comey and told him he was considering resigning. the latest rocket launch by
north korea with a rocket launch of our own. russian president vladimir putin makes a dramatic move ordering hundreds of diplomatic staffers to leave their post in response to u.s. sanctions. is it a major setback for u.s. intelligence? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we're following breaking news. anthony scaramucci is now the latest trump team casualty. just hours after president trump tweeted there is no chaos in the white house, scaramucci resigned as communications director, a job he held for just 10 days. sources tell cnn the new white house chief of staff john kelly wanted him out. also a cnn exclusive. sources revealed that kelly was so angry at the way president trump fired fbi director james
comey, he told comey he might resign his position at the time as homeland security supervisor. also president trump intends to sign the sanctions bill but won't say when. russian president vladimir putin is already retaliating, exp expelling hundreds of diplomatic staff and planning to consecrate properties. the north korea new ballistics missile was the most successful yet. it went 6,000 miles, putting many american cities at risk. let's go straight for the very latest.
this is a bombshell. jim acosta is working the story for us. jim, another major shake-up. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. ne earlier this morning president trump was insisting there was no white house chaos and this afternoon, his staff plunged into more turmoil as embattled communications director anthony scaramucci stepped aside. scaramucci has been in the headlines almost as much as the president has in the last 10 days as he's been on the job as communications director, and that he planned to go after people he saw as rivals, sean spicer and chief strategist here at the white house, steve bannon. it appears even though the president was trying to make things easier for his new chief of staff john kelly to have some sort of control and order here at the white house that he was very much disappointed, according to sources, and offended, even according to
sources, by scaramucci's comments with the new yorker where he went on that profanity-laced rant going after steve bannon and reince priebus. sarah huckabee sanders today did say kelly would be the person at the top here just underneath the president. all staff will report to him, but also scaramucci's comments may have had something to do with his departure. here's what she had to say. >> the president certainly felt that anthony's comments were inappropriate for a person in that position, and he didn't want to burden general kelly also with that line of succession. as i think we've made clear a few times over the course of the last couple of days to several of you individually, but general kelly has the full authority to operate within the white house and all staff will report to him. >> now, we should point out during the briefing that just wrapped up within the last hour, wolf, sarah huckabee sanders was asked how was it the president
could be offended by that kind of inappropriate language coming from anthony scaramucci when he certainly has engaged in that himself? as a matter of fact, it was the president's language as a candidate during the campaign that almost derailed his candidacy when he was caught on tape saying all kinds of things on "access hollywood." in terms of anthony scaramucci's departure and what it means moving forward, they once again have a white house communications director position to fill. when they get to the point of getting somebody in that position, it will be the third or fourth position refill. we should point out deputy secretary sarah huckabee sanders was asked about some of the comments the president made last week at a law enforcement event where the president talked about police officers being able to rough up police suspects. sarah huckabee sanders said at the briefing today that the president was just joking about
that. i tried to ask, as sarah huckabee sanders was leaving the room, how could the president of the united states joke about police brutality. she did not answer that one. >> she is saying steve bannon and other white house officials want to go speak and the president said all white house staff will answer to john kelly. >> that will be contested in the next couple weeks, not only because jared kushner and ivanka trump are part of the president's families and have sort of walk-in privileges as adviser that can walk into the oval office without going to the chief of staff. obviously this is something reince priebus did not have control on when he was the chief of staff here at the white house, wolf. various officials could simply go around reince priebus and meet with the president without the chief of staff having any knowledge of that. obviously retired general kelly
wants to put a stop to that and have the staff report directly to him. but as you know, even with anthony scaramucci stepping aside, there are still some officials here with some sharp elbows who might test that system. we'll have to wait and see whether or not what we're hearing today is how it plays out in the weeks and months ahead. what we've seen so far, the president likes to talk to outside voices, people who don't necessarily go through the chief of staff, wolf. >> very, very interesting. jim acosta, thanks very much. we're also learning exclusive details of a conversation between john kelly and james comey after comey was fired as fbi director by president trump. our justice correspondent pamela brown is working her sources for us. pamela, they tell you kelly, who was then homeland security secretary, was angry about how the president handled comey's firing? >> that's right, wolf. we've learned that the incoming white house chief of staff john kelly was so upset, so disgusted as one source put it, with the way president trump handled the
firing of fbi director james comey that he called comey shortly after he was terminated to say how angry he was, to express that. this is from a source in a conversation with comey and kelly. the sources we spoke to, my colleague said comey was particularly upset by the way it all went down, by the way comey was treated when he learned that he had been fired on the news rather than learning about it by the president, from the president. and this call took place while comey was traveling back from los angeles to washington on may 9 after learning this thewnews. comey declined to comment to us about this story. the white house homeland security did not comment on it. wolf? >> i'm told john kelly went even further in that phone call? >> that's right. he expressed his anger and he even at one point said he was contemplating resigning from his position as secretary of homeland security in a showing of solidarity in the wake of
comey being fired. we're told during this phone conversation that comey responded by telling him not to resign, not to do anything. now, both sources caution that it was unclear how serious kelly was about resigning, and of course, that never happened. fast forward a few months later, now he is the white house chief of staff. for context, though, the sources said that comey and kelly are not particularly close friends, but they had a professional relationship and a deep mutual respect for each other. bottom line, kelly was upset by the way that comey was treated by the president in this case, wolf. >> pamela brown reporting for us. pamela, thanks very much. lots to discuss. let's get a lot more on all of this. democratic congressman jim hines of connecticut is joining us. he's a member of the house intelligence committee. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> held lorlo, wolf. >> let's get to the breaking news first. after 10 days on the job, communications director anthony
scaramucci is out. what does this say about the position of the new white house chief of staff, john kelly? >> i guess i'm not surprised. kelly in and scaramucci out is nothing but good for the white house and this country. scaramucci showed on day 3 that he was all about himself, that he was willing to step well beyond the bounds of anything acceptable in the most powerful building in the land, and, you know, john kelly a marine, well respected. if anyone can bring order to what has been a chaotic white house operation, i would expect to be a four-star marine. i think he's respected around town, around washington, and i think he's going to be respected within the white house and hopefully he will tame some of the crazy that has prevailed there in the last couple months. >> i also hope you'll report on the other news this hour that the white house chief of staff john kelly was so upset about how president trump handled the firing of the fbi director james comey that he called james comey
and said he was also considering resigning. this a kofccording to sources familiar with kelly and comey. what does that tell you? >> i have two reactions to that. my first reaction is john kelly is, by all accounts, a man of honor and dignity. whatever you think of jim comey and people have plenty opinions about jim comey, the way he was treated by the president, i don't care who you are and the way you think about different political parties, was very acceptable about a man who ran the fbi well, had great respect for the fbi. so not surprising, that's an honorable man. b what caught my eye was the fact that story came out today. we know president trump, one of his quirks is anything related to mueller or the fbi or the russia investigation just makes his head explode, so i wonder if this is an uncomfortable moment. i am keeping my fingers crossed that general kelly will.i. impo
some order and keep a respectable relationship with the president. i suspect all of that doesn't help. >> james comey was informed he was out as the fbi director bypassing a tv on his way out in los angeles. that was very irritating not only to him but to others. let's get a reaction to the russia sanctions bill. the russia president vladimir putin now says he will make the u.s. reduce its embassy and consulate staff in russia by 775 people, including diplomatic personnel. how much of a blow is this to the u.s.? >> well, you know, it's not a good thing. it a little unclear what he means by 755. a lot of employees at the embassy are actually russia citizens who work at the embassy who will be out of work. if some of those people are intelligence people in the country, that will conceivably
compromise our ability to know what's going on within russia. i wouldn't call this a good thing in a very narrow sense, but i am very pleased that the congress, over the objections of the white house, has made it very clear that russian behavior is unacceptable and will be met with serious sanction. you know, as you know, this was a veto-proof vote in both houses of congress. the president was sort of dragged kicking and screaming into it. i think he owned it when it was all over. if we are going to counter putin in a serious way, we are waiting for the president to join from his most powerful of bully pulpits to join the course of americans, almost any other american inside washington and outside of it, by saying we will not tolerate another russian hack on hur electir on the beha russians have abroad. >> they will review when the
president will actually sign the sanctions legislation overwhelmingly approved in the house. 98-2 in the senate, 104-3 in the house. what do you make of that? >> again, big picture, i'm very, very happy that we have finally come up with a government response to the hacking into russian behavior. and look, we may get into a tit for tat where we're imposing sanctions on each other. we win that particular poker match because, again, remember, russia is a country that is playing from profound economic weakness. the economy of russia is half the size of the economy of california. their military doesn't begin to hold a candle to the united states military. you know, this is why they like to play in the cyber realm and messing around with elections, because, you know, if it comes to head to head confrontation either economically, sanctions or military, it ends very, very badly for russia. >> there are a lot of other developments we need to discuss.
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♪taking care of business. experts are now saying that the latest ballistic missile tested by north korea could have is a range of more than 6,000 miles, putting cities including los angeles, denver and chicago within striking range for the kim regime. we're back with democratic congressman jim hines of connecticut. congressman, the president said today that he would, quote, handle north korea. i'd like you to respond to that comment. is he handling this crisis? >> well, that doesn't give me a great deal of comfort, first of all, because i have no idea what it means, but also, you know, having just watched the health
care debacle over the last couple of weeks or, you know, you name it, any other legislative initiatives, that gives me a little bit of pause. to be fair here, this is a very hard problem in which there are no particularly good solutions. there's no right answer here. i think the president is right is singling out china as really the player that holds the cards in this negotiation, and i'm not sure twitter is the way to do it, but really pushing china while we make sure we've got the military presence in the region that we want to have, and, you know, making sure they engage with the north koreans. i think that's really the only way to go here. >> china -- you can push china all you want but they're pushing back right now. they're clearly not doing what the president of the united states is tweeting about, what the united states is trying to pressure china into doing. how serious, congressman, is this north korean threat right now to the u.s. main laland? >> it's very serious, it's very
serious. i think it's probably still improbable that they could assemble a missile, load it with a miniaturized nuclear weapon that would actually go off over the united states. but again, maybe they can. and in national security, if there is some chance that they can, you have to assume that they can. and so, you know, it's a very, very serious issue, and again, back to the chinese. they obviously are very concerned about stopping the flow of energy and food in such a way that they demilitarized the regime. that is obviously an economic and military challenge for them. i do think we have ways of pressuring them. they are annoyed to no end we have installed what's known as a thaad missile defense on the korean peninsula. they worry we can use that missile in the radars associated to see what they are doing.
we can make it uncomfortable for them in a way that they pull a little harder on the leash they have over north korea. this is a very scary moment. back to john kelly, wolf, who we were just talking about. i got to tell you, i'm no fan of this white house or this administration, but knowing john kelly is in the room as opposed to somebody like reince priebus or anthony scaramucci when the president is considering how to handle north korea gives me a lot more confidence than i would have had yesterday. >> i've heard that from a whole bunch of people. thanks very much, congressman himes of connecticut. thank you for joining us. back to the white house, anthony scaramucci resigns after less than two weeks on the job. and later vladimir putin's revenge for the u.s. sanctions. he's ordering hundreds of diplomats, technical staffers out of the u.s. diplomatic relations in russia are reliable for intelligence gathering. we have new information for you. (vo) when you wake up with
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no one else lets you do that. see how much you can save when you choose by the gig or unlimited. call or go to xfinitymobile.com. xfinity mobile. it's a new kind of network, designed to save you money. we're following breaking news. the white house communication director anthony scaramucci resigning today, the white house saying he wanted to get the new chief of staff a clean slate. let's get some insight from our specialists. only 10 days on the job, scaramucci is now out. what does that say to you about the influence on the president by the new chief of staff john kelly? >> that is pretty immediate, right? we talk about scaramucci being on the job for 10 days, kelly on
the job for just a couple hours at this point, and now scaramucci who said he was reporting to the president is out. i think his influence obviously extends to the uppermost regions of this white house, uppermost staff, and we heard from sarah huckabee sanders today that everyone is going to report to him, and that includes ivanka, that includes jared kushner, that includes kellyanne conway who was a little coy about that. i think it also suggests that discipline is going to be very important in this white house. there are so many stories and so many sort of lingering kind of story lines from this white house. priebus was one of them, right? he was up, he was down, he was up and he was down. on day one you've got kelly coming in and saying, enough, and the president obviously agreed. >> what does it tell you, phil, about the new role that the white house chief of staff is going to be playing? >> not much. for the first 24 hours the signal is good.
clearly what happened here is not what had to do with what scaramucci said last week. they thought this guy has to go if we want change in the white house. for 73 years of his life, the president has been a sdtipulate lynn. there has been a lack of discipline with the white house. think about other things like russia where we saw a difference in the administration, the white house, and outside the white house. i don't think it's going to happen. >> you're skeptical. mark, the white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders
said today that all staff, her words, all staff will report to him, and as you heard, the senior staff who had a direct line to the president no longer do. do you buy that? >> i do in many ways. i'm not sure if general kelly would actually accept this position if he wasn't able to have full operational control of the staff. as phil says, he's never going to have any control over the president. he's going to continue to do what he wants to do, but i do think that if general kelly can bring a little bit of order, a little bit of sanity, a little bit of structure to the white house right now, that could go a very long way. now, the really big question is does ivanka trump need to clear any meeting she has with her father, you know, with general kelly? i suspect not, but i do believe the likes of jared kushner when he's working on behalf of the president will probably keep general kelly, you know, in the loop, so to speak, and we're told from our reporting from our colleagues that in fact they are supportive of this move.
>> deanna, i want to talk about some people who have been removed. michael fliynn, the former national security adviser. reince priebus, white house chief of staff, now anthony scaramucci. did it take a retired marine corps general to get rid of scaramucci even though they didn't immediately get rid of him after that outrageous interview in the new yorker magazine with ryan lizza? >> there is some reporting that general kelly said the only way he would take this job is if scaramucci would leave, and subsequently you saw over the weekend some solacious gossip come out about scaramucci that involved his family and events that happened a week or so ago, and mysteriously it all comes out over the weekend. i do agree with mark unlike reince priebus, general kelly doesn't need this job. i think if he puts his foot down
given his past, if he, in fact, is overridden on what he was promised or is not delivered what he was promised, he could very well walk. i think it also bears to question some of the decision-making of jared kushner and ivanka trump. because from all reporting, they were the ones that brought in scare mucamucci just a couple w ago. they were the ones that wanted comey fired. we're sort of seeing this backlash right now. one has to question how they're feeling. >> we're now hearing, by the way, jared kushner, ivanka trump are supportive of this move to see scaramucci go. do you think part of scaramucci's problem was he was getting too much of the spotlight and the president didn't like that? >> he craved the spotlight that first press conference when he was standing behind the podium there. he was called from the stage several times, your time is up here, but he wouldn't leave. he wanted to take as many questions as he could. what i heard from republicans and people close to the white house was this idea that if he ever got on the cover of "time"
magazine, that would be a problem, right? this president would not like someone whof was outshining him and outshining him in a terrible way. the new yorker story, and the stories coming out on page 6, and none of that was good. >> you're frowning, but go ahead. >> i'm just listening to the conversation about how the new general is going to change the office, and i remember rex tillerson about discipline over foreign policy. jim mattis who is determined on gender policy, not even conferring with chiefs on gender policy? you look at the administration on general mcmaster when he comes in, he'll bring in discipline. he's been here seven months and now we say the new guy is going to bring in discipline. >> i'm not saying he's going to bring discipline, i'm saying there is a higher chance he will
step down himself without having been humiliated like his pr predecessor has. >> steve bannon and kellyanne conway, both of them have had their share of criticism. >> they've survived this long. a close ally of general kelly was texting me during all of this over the past couple hours and said, here's the deal with general kelly. no b.s., a very serious person, and then the next line was, what's going to happen to ban no one -- bannon? we know steve bannon will stay in the white house and he certainly survived the reince priebus firing. but going forward, what role does steve bannon see himself playing in the white house? i'm fairly certain a four-star general is not going to succumb to anyone such as steve bannon or anyone else in that oval office. another thing just very quickly, i was told on friday from a
close confidante of anthony scaramucci that they were going to overhaul the rnc. they were going to go in there, turn it over and cut contracts with public consultants because they were all holdovers from reince priebus. someone sent me a note today saying, guess what, that's probably not going to happen right now, breathing a sigh of relief because scaramucci is now gone. scaramucci fwetweeted out over weekend that he had a very nice conversation with the and you're talking to your rheumatologist about a medication... ...this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain... ...and protect my joints from further damage. humira has been clinically studied for over 18 years. humira works by targeting and helping to... ...block a specific source... ...of inflammation that contributes to ra symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain and... ...stop further joint damage in many adults.
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. back to our specialist. the president on friday when he was speaking to law enforcement, he raised a lot of eyebrows when he said this. let me play the clip. >> and when you see these towns, and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a pad did paddywagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, i said, please don't be too nice. like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand over them, like don't hit their head and they've just killed somebody, don't hit their head? i said, you can take the hand away, okay? >> the president was immediately criticized for saying that by law enforcement authorities. today the white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders said the president was simply joking when he told police to be rough on these suspects. >> as you said, you had police
departments from all over the country essentially saying this was inappropriate. here they are trying to work on relationships they have with different communities, so they didn't see it as funny at all. and it's hard to see it as funny in the era of black lives matter, in weeks after a woman in minneapolis, and i understand the police are still investigating that, was shot, the australian woman, the woman who was shot and killed by police officers. i think it hit a wrong note and rightfully so with a lot of people. >> you heard the clip. do you think he was joking? >> i don't think he was. look, does this president not understand he's speaking to children? he is not only the commander in chief, he sets the tone in chief. the message to children is make fun of women, make fun of hispanics and tell the people that i've worked with, law enforcement, that it's okay to rough somebody up after we've had case after case in the age of smartphones, in the age of video cameras and everybody has had case after case of shootings of bloack kids? that's the message the president wants to send?
what are you supposed to tell a kid? i would tell my neesz aieces an nephews, don't watch because he's going to say something offensive. >> and the boy scout speech at the jamboree. russian president putin saying he wants 755 people working in russia, the consulates in russia by september 1st, they're gone. two u.s. compounds will be shut down. this is even before the president goes ahead and signs the sanctions legislation into law. your reaction? >> yeah, and putin obviously showing a little bit of benevolence, the kremlin saying we're giving them a month to it leave unlike what president obama did when he gave them a few minutes to pack up and leave. a retaliatory measure was to some degree expected by the u.s. there was some surprise russia didn't respond immediately, then
of course we found out about general flynn having the conversation with sergey kislyak saying, don't worry, we'll take care of this. when you look at these numbers, i think a lot of people were surprised. wait, we have that many people, so many working in russia? a great deal of them happen to be russians. these are people who are taxi drivers, who make the coffee, who are the secretaries who, once again, putin is retaliating by hurting his own people. it obviously also slows down the visa application program for any russians who want to come to the u.s., putin wanting to once again cause friction so that russians will not be focused on what's happening at home but abroad. >> you remember, mark, that president obama ordered 35 russian diplomats expelled, those two compounds in maryland and out on long island shut down. 755, that's a bigger number, clearly, as far as the number of people who are going to be affected by this latest development. >> yeah, no doubt. i think putin is looking at these sanctions from an economic
standpoint and realizing this is going to be very hurtful to him. but the fact is, brianna is absolutely right. we expected something to happen. putin could not sit and stand and allow this measure to be signed into law by president trump here in the united states and not take some kind of retaliatory action. the bottom line sweis we're in middle of this chess game and people are moving pieces all over the board. this isn't the last we'll hear of it, although i don't think people are heading down a road that could be dangerous, you know, in some kind of a face-off between the u.s. and russia at this point. >> and will, if i could just quickly add, because something extraordinary came out today in addition to the president's back being against the wall with the veto-proof sanctions. the pentagon announcing a plan they have to arm the ukranians. to one extent you have the president whose hands are tied, and you have putin who may have actually overplayed his hand, because the last thing he wants is to see any sort of u.s. involvement in ukraine. president obama was pressured by
many republicans, including senator john mccain, to arm the ukranians. that never happened. so interesting to see the pentagon come out now with its own plan. >> phil, how do you see it? >> i think when we looked at the election meddling over time, we thought this would mean that the russians would get their guy in the white house, and picking up on what we were just talking about, i think we're realizing that backfired. by the president's association with putin, people, including the congress, are saying we can't get too close to the russians, and if you take a single step, we're going to impose our own sanctions. i also think looking at today the president has a three-foot putt. he owns a bunch of golf courses. he ought to know it's very easy for the commander in chief. putin expects us to put out a tweet that says, wow, this is a bad day for america. can't even manage to do that because he's too busy firing a lounge lizard and sending that guy back to new york? put a tweet out and move on. >> he's been silent since putin made that announcement.
>> he has been silent and so much focus on what this president will do, what his relationship is with putin, and then this retaliation from putin because of the sanctions. >> he attacks members of his own party on twitter all the time and can't seem to respond to putin issuing this retaliatory measure against americans. >> we'll see what he says when he signs that legislation. he hasn't signed it yet. we'll have more on the breaking news. anthony scaramucci resigning as communications director. also coming up, vladimir putin's revenge. he's ordering 755 diplomats lto leave russia. we'll tell you how that hurts intelligence gathering. and he's not getting any service. i missed, like, the whole thing. what? and i just got an unlimited plan. it's the right plan, wrong network. you see, verizon has the largest, most reliable 4g lte network in america. it's built to work better in cities.
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we're following the breaking news the white house communications director anthony scaramucci resigning today. also breaking white house press secretary sara huckabee sanders avoiding questions about when president trump will sign the newly passed sanctions against russia. asked about why the president hasn't even commented on vladimir putin's retaliation for the sanction, sanders said, and i'm quoting her now, we're reviewing our options. the russian president ordered drastic cuts in the number of u.s. diplomats and technical staff inside russia. cnn's brian todd has more on the cuts. brian, i'm told that these cuts could hurt, what, u.s. intelligence gathering? >> reporter: they could indeed, wolf. some of the people cult will likely be local russian employees of the u.s. embassies and consulate. but some could be americans and among those could be u.s. intelligence assets who would be tough to replace. vladimir putin hits back,
retaliating for u.s. sanctions on russia. >> translator: i thought it was time for us to show that we will not leave this without an answer. >> reporter: putin announces u.s. diplomatic missions in russia will be cut by 755 people, a huge chunk of the staffs at the u.s. embassy and consulates. the kremlin also plans to confiscate two properties operated by the u.s. government in russia, a storage facility in moscow and a country house outside the city. tonight veteran spies warn if american diplomats have to leave russia, intelligence assets could be lost. >> you hide the spies, the cia spies, case officers within the people who do their day job. so, if you only have so many people that are allowed in the embassy, that means it's going to necessarily reduce the amount of people that you can use to gather intelligence. and that's a problem. >> reporter: intelligence experts say it's an open secret that many americans working under the title of diplomats in russia and their russian counterparts in the u.s. are spies. former cia case officer john
saifer worked in moscow. >> u.s. case officers intelligence officers in moscow were strategic assets meant to meet strategic russian sources. whether it's a short meeting or whether there's other means to exchange information be it technical means or what have you. >> i think they may know about you. >> reporter: experts say the scenes depicted in popular spy shows like "the americas" with dead drops, clandestine meetings and fake identities are not that far off from real life. >> dead drops and signal sites and brush passes and clandestine meets, spies still use those because they work. but more and more we're seeing a massive transition from the old spy methods to cyber espionage. >> reporter: it's always been a dangerous game in moscow. >> the kgb owned the city, and they followed everyone everywhere. >> reporter: martha peterson was a covert cia officer in moscow in the '70s. featured in the cnn series
declassified, she recounted her her cover was blown during a dead drop, she was arrested and ter gated all night then kicked out of the country. >> they put the dead drop down in the middle of the table on a piece of prop, a newspaper. they then began the interrogation. the chief interrogator was a very angry middle aged man. >> reporter: saifer says an american spy in russia has to always assume they are being monitored. >> if i got up at 2:00 in the morning and walked outside there would be a team of people there to follow me everywhere and then they would have people to listen to the tapes of all my discussions in my house, watch videos of that. they would interview everybody i came in contact with. >> reporter: intelligence veterans say the russians have a couple of distinct advantages over the u.s. in spy craft. they say the russians have many more spies here in america than the u.s. has in russia and they say the russians often recruit regular russian business people
and travelers to spy for them. people like russian commercial pilots, bankers, journalists, u.s. spy agencies, they say, do not use those tactics. wolf? >> you know, brian, those two houses in the united states operated by the russians which the obama administration shut down in december, one on long island, one outside of washington in maryland, were those used by the russians for spying? and if they were, why didn't the u.s. shut those down years ago? >> reporter: wolf, we are told those houses were likely used indeed for spying. they were not shut down. they were a good avenue for u.s. counter intelligence to spy on russian operatives to monitor them as they came and went from those houses. they were pretty valuable. >> spy stories. brian todd, thanks very much. breaking news coming up next. white house communications director anthony scaramucci is out after ten tumultuous days on the job. we're learning new details of this latest trump team shake up. . you have 4.3 minutes to yourself. this calls for a taste of cheesecake.
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