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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  October 25, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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a title that we confer on all kinds of people who get elected to public office. but -- but elijah cummings was honorable before he was elected to office. >> elijah. >> eleitch jaciceitch e. cummin peace. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. al raising flags among diplomats, republicans and conger and staffer as the pentagon and the white house budget office. the question, why was president trump blocking nearly $400 million in aid to ukraine? while that decision was ultimately reversed, the weeks leading up to it are now at the
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heart of the democrats' impeachment inquiry, and today president trump once again defended his phone call with hi counterpart in ukraine repeatedly asked his former counterpart to invest gays joe biden sparking that whistle-blower complaint about trump's behavior and the allegations of quid pro quo. >> that's a level of unfairness for a perfect conversation with the president of ukraine. this was a perfect conversation, and, frankly, had they known what the conversation was, they couldn't have even wasted everybody's time. president of ukraine and the foreign minister came out and said there was no anything. there was no -- he used the word no blackmail. they said there was no pressure. there was nothing done wrong. this is a hoax. >> cnn political correspondent sara murray is the one breaking this story for us this afternoon. sara, you have learned that a conversation with ohio
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republican senator rob portman was one of perhaps the final pieces here before president trump decided to indeed release the millions in military aid to ukraine. can you unravel this for us best you can? >> reporter: right, brooke. we know the president was under a lot of pressure at that point but didn't realize how pivotal this phone call seemed to be when he spoke to senator rob portman september 11th and on the call portman telling him you really need to release the money and making the argument now is the time to do it. you don't do it soon, the fiscal year can ends, the money goes away altogether and the president puts up a usual protest. the u.s. is taken for a sucker, european countries aren't paying their fair share,al call ends and the president surprises everybody saying, okay. send the money out and tells the aides to move forward, release the funds that the white house put a hold on for months and
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months on end. one of the factors bearing down at the president at that point and rob portman was one. l lawmakers raising alarms. the white house was inundated with letters and calls from members of congress expressing concern. president trump also at that point learned that there are diplomats who suspect he's holding back the money as part of a quid pro quo. remember, at the same time this whistle-blower complaint is beginning to circulate and more white house officials learning that is out there and it's unclear which factor is the thing that pushed president trump to shift his position on this. this, brooke is is a key question for impeachment investigators. what inspired the president to finally remove the hold on the funds? the white house did not comment on the story and offered shifting explanations in the past. wanted to do a national security review. sources tell us all the work on that wus done before the president ever paused the fund. and mick mulvaney, rees sources
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of management and budget, a cursory poll of the numbers, not something to hold up the aid for weeks at a time. certainly something, brooke, of interest to congressional investigators who definitely want to get to the bottom of why the president decided to freeze the money in the first place, and why he decided to move forward with it. >> yes. you hit the key question. i understand the white house didn't comment for this particular piece but overall what has their complains been for reasoning for president trump to finally say, okay. i'm giving them the money? >> reporter: they've offered a lot of reasons. their overall talking point ask essentially this is bureaucracy. we will to make sure that this money wasn't going to a corrupt place. that it was being spent properly, that it had gone through all the appropriate checks. all the other sources we talk to say, yeah, that's true. the brunt of that work had already been done in may before the president ever decided to put a hold on this money. at the time that these funds were supposedly under review at the office of management and budget and with national
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security teams, we're told there weren't any real questions flowing from omb. they weren't asking questions of the kinds of agencies you would expect if there was a real policy review going on. again, the state department already wanted this money out the door. the pentagon wanted the money out the door. members of kongs to allocated the money wanted it out the door. everyone was confused what the holdup was. >> sara murray with reporting. thank you very much. with me now, a cnn national security analyst and served as a senior adviser to the national security advisory in the obama administration. and a former fbi special agent and cnn legal and national security analyst and for us over at the white house. white house reporter for the "wall street journal" and a cnn political analyst. michael, starting with you, because you're there at the white house. this is what we want to start with. numerous people to sara and jeremy diamond's reporting, numerous people sounded the alarm as president trump seemingly unwilling to give the millions in aid to ukraine.
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at the end of the day, he is the one who decided to both block and release the funds. so how worried are trump staffers about his involvement here? >> reporter: it's -- the answer is they're not that worried. we're getting a lot of the same kind of vibes during the mueller report. there's a, quite a bit of confusion here and overlap in duties. to understand where the white house is now, senior aides and where the staff are, look at the mueller report. go back to the mueller report that exonerated them on collusion with russia. they feel like this impeachment inquiry is just another thing that they have to endure. obviously there are significant distincti differences here starting with bipartisan criticism of the, of trump's call with ukraine to start with, and bipartisan criticism of the president's decision to withhold this aid. so there are some other factors
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that they have to deal with and we're starting to hear more and more of that from republican allies. we've heard freedom caucus members complaining they're not hearing enough from the white house on this. lindsey graham was very vocal over the last couple of days urging them to follow the clinton playbook not the mueller playbook. >> interesting. and's "the" key question sara hit upon. what precipitated president trump's decision to finally release this military aid? keeping in mind around the sim time the whistle-blower complaint was out there. perhaps he nigh about it at the time. what do you think of this? >> brooke, the only people that probably weren't worried about withholding this aid were russians. hard press fod find a republican, democrat or anyone in the u.s. government that wasn't concerned $400 million in security assistance wasn't being given. bill taylor laid that out in his testimony.
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life or death stakes at play here. we know multiple cabinet-level officials state, d.o.d., cia, ambassador bolton, who may testify soon raised concerns about this. and concerns circulating nec lawyers were called and likely president trump felt legal pressure that ultimately lid to this decision. the president was willing to do something that helped russia, because ukraine would not cooperate with his politically motivated investigation. countering russia has had strong bipartisan support and president trump willing to put that on the table for his own personal gain. >> to your point we know end of the day the senior administration quoted in think reporting saying end of the day it's president trump who this is all up to whether or not he wants to release this aid. >> it's not to an extent. a quick caveat, congress has power of the purse.
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an issue president trump was violating -- >> investigating what was up with withholding. pivot to john bolton for you. lawyering for bolton are in talks about a possible closed-door deposition keeping in mind also swirling around this period of time john bolton let go from duties as national security adviser. some republican sources admitted bill taylor's testimony was a game-changer but bolton would be next level. why? so i think that bolton kind of encapsulates why this is not what happened with the mueller report. the mueller report was about kind of these indirect and not establishable contacts between the trump campaign, at least trump himself and russia. the witnesses coming in wb often hostile and not wanting to come in or if they did they could be characterized as biased like michael cohen under criminal investigation themselves.
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ultimately about conduct during the campaign. this is all very different. these are trump's own people. his own appointees, republicans voluntarily coming in. they are not under clouds of investigation themselves. show it's harder to say, oh, they're trying to get a deal with prosecutors to testify, and this is about his conduct as the president of the united states. and these are the closest circle and people observing him. i think she in way more legal trouble than he understands, and definitely with regard to impeachment, a lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt i think the mueller playbook is the wrong one to do in this case. >> i think john bolton is a game-changer because john bolton wasn't just responsible for ukraine. he was national security adviser who covered a host of countries. china, russia, ukraine and other areas. he knows where, about a lot of different skeletons in the closet and has nothing to lose. he's already been fired or according to him resigned.
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i do think bolton the credibility may be in question a little bit. john bolton is looking to write his redemption song now and made comments behind closed doors and may testify before capitol hill. his signature is on a lot of signs in ukraine. sane signed off or call memos, memorandas and conversations. strong feelings but complicit as far as we know, he didn't do anything to stop it. he signed off on them. >> right. back to you at the white house. that the president is escalating attacks on former ambassador bill taylor had ground-breaking testimony saying today secretary pompeo made a mistake calling him out of retirement to be the top diplomat in the country. what did you make of that? >> well i mean, this is another -- as soon as someone criticizes president trump, the
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response is always to find a criticism of him and this wasn't the president's mistake. he didn't make any mistakes along the way. it was pompeo's mistake hiring him and this is his game plan, his m.o. we see that at the white house. we see that this week at an event in pittsburgh which was part event, part rally and they're going to keep -- he's going to keep doubling down and fighting. we've seen him using the strategy at recent rallies. they are passing out, reporting on "wall street journal" dotcom passing out call sheets to people waiting in line to call members of congress and urge them to give up the impeachment proceeding, support the president and impeach adam schiff. >> no kidding. we thought we'd heard it all. michael bender, appreciate you and your reporting and ladies, thank you very much. i think you hit the nail on the head about john bolton's testimony would be a
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game-changer for sure. thank you. still ahead, new details about a book written by this anonymous trump administration official reportedly including details of private conversations with the president himself. plus, trump defends his comment that the impeachment inquiry is of lynching. we're live in south carolina as he speaks today as a historically black college. later former vice president joe biden says he's not worried about fund-raising as his 2020 rivals criticize him for giving this green light to super pac funding. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. we'll be right back.
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right now president trump is speaking at benedict college an hbcu is tomis historically blac college and sending out a tweet comparing the impeachment inquiry as a lynching. instead of an apology, what president trump brought up before his speech. when asked about using the word that describes the murder and racial terror inflicted on more
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than 4,400 african-americans. >> well, it's a word that many democrats have used. it's a word that many people have used over the years. but that's a word that has been used many times. >> his lack thereof, of any apology there at benedict historically black college really notable. sara westwood is there live in south carolina following the president. what did he say? >> reporter: well, brooke, the president's remarks here at benedict college are ongoing. he spent the bulk of his time talking about reform and he brought up impeachment at the event. clearly something still on his mind. of course, as you mentioned, it's notable he did not apologize. was given the opportunity to for his decision to compare his political situation to lynching in a tweet, despite how much
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condemnation the president's language has drawn and how few defenders he's had within his own party. it's against that backdrop the presidents makes this rare visit to a historically black college here in south carolina and ahead of that naacp released a statement expressing skepticism and the saying the president's visit so soon after invoking lynching created and unexpected and un's pleasant situation for students here. a number of protesters behind me who have come out to protest this event and a number of supporters who came out ahead of the president's visit. a small event. a lot of media not allowed inside. of course, the president also took this opportunity, brooke, to say words in honor of the late congressman elijah cummings. that took up a portion of the beginning of his speech as well. >> thank you very much. in south carolina following the president there. meantime that anonymous senior trump administration official
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writing this book is teasing that it will have a lot of details from president trump himself. the back cover of this book entitled "a warning." obtained by cnn that leads -- hopefully others will remedy the era of silence and choose to peek out. these pages you will not just hear from me. you will hear a great deal from donald trump directly for there is no better witness to his character than his own words and no better evidence of the danger he poses than his own country. daniel meyer former executive director of the intelligence commute whistle-blowing and a whistle-blower himself. three times over. dan, thank you so much for coming back, and it got us thinking, here you were. willing to come forward and sacrifice and risk it all, but this person, this senior trump
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add mministration official has chose ton do this anonymously? should this person reveal who he or she is? >> no. somebody has to be personally comfortable with this. if a person needs anonymity,ed they need to have it. the watergate scandal, they had it and whistle-blowers who have been anonymous. it affects what you do with the information because you can't follow up with it, but the bias should be to get the information out there. let the inspectors and investigators, prosecutors, decide what facts are corroborated and what facts are not. >> a number of people, though, would disagree. namely, our cnn political commentator ana navarro not holding back opining this morning. >> i frankly have no patience for somebody who see the he of chaos we're in and doesn't have the courage to come out and put a name to this. >> i was asking. >> focus on the people putting names and careers out there,
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reputations out there. not somebody too afraid just to give their names and true identity. come out, man. >> come on, man. she says this person, if not, would belo cowardly. does she have a point? >> i don't think she has a point. everybody has a level of comfort bringing itemses forward and the system should be biased towards getting the information out. we insist on a common standard people have to dent fidentify themselves, it will be restricting moving it out to be reviewed and analyzed. >> the intelligence committee has formal channels for whistle-blowers and protections. if this is a senior administration official, what protections would he or she have? >> so i'm assuming, could be wrong. this person's a seen jnior exece service or even a political appointee. protections are limited.
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at best maybe a constitutional case. those are expensive and chancy. the reason why this person may be anonymous is that protections may be very thin for this person. >> we read the, i read the back cover of this book. this person, he or she, plans to disclose conversations with trump directly in this book. quoting trump directly. seems like this is the sort of information usually screened by the white house to redact classified information and anything too sensitive, you as a lawyer, what would your legal advice be to this author? >> if this was a client of mine i would be clear to get a pre-publication approved because information can be retroactively classified after you published it. it may be unclassified when you wrote it and afterwards decide it is classified and you're on the stick. if you release classified information without it having been redacted 0 e or removed
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stiff penalties. proceeds confiscated by the government. you have to be very careful if there's classified information. >> this passed up a seven figure advance and donating to the white house press corps. thank you very much. >> thank you. coming up next, former vice president joe biden pronmises hs son will not have a role in his administration elected and take as dig at the president's children. and upping the ante for the december debate. what the new criteria means for candidates, and who might make the stage. [ tires screech ] mom, you've got to get yourself a new car. the car's fine. [ car horn honks ]
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joe biden gets a 60-minute treatment this weekend in a teaser clip released by cbs news. one message. confidence. >> do you still consider yourself the front-runner? >> i know i'm the front-runner. find me a national poll with a
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notable couple of exceptions. the last four that have come out. look, this is a marathon. a marathon. >> you can look at the last campaign finance filing. looked at that. you have less than $9 million in the bank. bernie sanders has nearly $34 million in the bank. senator warren has $26 million. how do you compete against that? >> i just flat beat them. we're on course to do extremely well. i'm not worried about being able to fund this campaign. i really am not. truly. >> biden may not be worried about funding this campaign, but his campaign just reversed its self-imposed ban on super pac money and that has opponents crying foul. no place in the democratic primary. listen to senator sanders this afternoon in iowa. >> you have heard joe criticize me once or twice because of
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medicare for all. called democracy. i disagree with joe. i do not think a super pac is healthy for american democracy. all right? >> david chalian, our cnn political director. david, does this issue come back to bite the former vice president among primary voters or do they even care? >> well, some voters care although i imagine that the voters that care most about this might already be sanders or warren supporters. not necessarily, i don't think biden probably will lose support over this, but come back to haunt him is the more pertinent question, brooke. it will. is. julian castro sending out funding emails on this. warren and sanders both have been out there trying to make hay of this. this will be a contrast and in a democratic nomination field running in a democratic primary a lot of agreement on a lot of
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everything. when you have a difference campaigns tend to play up the differences to try to differentiate them and this is one some candidates will try to take to the voters even though it has not historically been a voter motivating issue necessarily. >> got it. the other part of the conversation that came up with norah's conversation with the bidens is just the heat over his son hunter. play what he had to say during the interview about the trump children and any role in a biden white house for his own kids. here you go. >> do you believe president trump's children have acted properly and avoided conflicts of interest? >> look, i wouldn't raise to go after the children. their actions speak for themselves. i can just tell you this you that if i'm president, get elected president, my children are not going to have offices in the white house. my children are not going to sit in on cabinet meetings. >> what's impopper about that? >> simply improper because you should make it clear to the american public that everything
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you're doing is for them. for them. and the idea that you're going to have, go to the extent that he has gone, to have, you know, his children, son-in-law, et cetera engaged in the day-to-day operation of things they know nothing about. >> you don't think jared kushner should be negotiating a middle east peace solution? >> no, i don't. i don't. what considredential does he bro that? >> response from the trump campaign manager to that on twitter. hunter biden would never have an office in the white house, because he's proven that his only qualification is being the son of joe biden. if the scenario, david, becomes trump v. biden will this be a huge issue between the two of them? >> there's no doubt it will be an issue. president trump has made it clear he wants hunter biden front and center in this campaign ands? joe biden you just heard doing
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some of this in advance of our last debate in ohio, of turning the tables and trying to push it back on the president saying you want to talk about family. you have your daughter, your son-in-law working right there in the white house. that's something i would not allow in my white house. he's trying to sort of go from defense to offense. what you see him doing in the "60 minutes" interview as well. i don't think the central issue in this campaign, brooke, but clearly it will be one of the points that is going to be for them to battle out. >> yes. david chalian, thank you very much. >> sure. still ahead here on cnn. secretary of state mike pompeo finds himself getting further and further dragged into this whole ukraine controversy. but he wasn't up for answering any questions about it when he went home to kansas. you will see the awkward moments for yourself. how do you make red lobster's
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breaking news on capitol hill pap judge orders release of grand jury information from the mueller investigation here to be used in this broader inquirinquk to our cnn congressional colonel mcolonel -- correspondent manu raju. >> reporter: suing for grand jury information redacted from the mueller report. a federal just just ruled that the justice department must turn over the redacted portions of the mueller report redacted because they were covered, they were grand jury information.
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they must turn that information over by next week bike october 30th. the judge also rules transcripts and underlying exhibits also must be turned over to the committee. the committee, the democrats have been fighting with the justice department for months over this information saying that they needed this information to determine whether or not to impeach president trump and said it's all part of their broader effort, part of its impeachment inquiry. pushing back the justice department said it's not entitled to that information so it's an invalid inquiry in part of no votes to authorize this inquiry. a judge here siding with the democrats arguments here, a significant ruling that will likely be appealed by the justice department. could be good news for the democrat fighting in a range of matters with the administration as part of their investigations. >> manu, thank you. and author of the book "the threat matrix inside mueller's
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fbi and the war on global terror." talking about redacted portions from the mueller report now available for this impeachment inquiry, why would that be helpful? >> well, it's going to be helpful to the house democrats in providing some new leads to follow-up on. fundamentally it doesn't alter the trajectory of the mueller report. it's not going to tell us sort ofclusiononclusions. it will give democrats a sense how mueller put together his investigation and what he thought was important. similar in ways to what happened in watergate. you saw the grand jury for watergate turn over important material to the house to help inform their impeachment ir memy and another sign how important the house move forward with a more informal impeachment
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inquiry now entitled to a broader set of information. >> manu's point, could be helpful for the house democrats. okay. get to why we booked you. talking about your piece on mike pompeo. you wrote a piece for "wired." headlines, pompeo was riding high until the ukraine mess just exploded. let me play some of the tense moments when secretary pompeo went back to his home state of kansas this week and dodged questions about ukraine and this whole impeachment inquiry. live to this. >> you were in warsaw and so is rudy giuliani. during your time there did you meet with giuliani? >> you know, i don't talk about who i meet with. >> text messages show that dill mats under your authority told the ukrainians a good relationship with president trump was only possibly if they investigated his political opponent and theories about what happened in 2016. were you aware that this was happening? >> again, you've got your facts wrong.
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sounds like you're working at least in part for the democratic national committee when you phrase that predicate of a question that way. >> testimony from respected diplomats. is that damaged your image? and your leadership in the agency? >> i don't think about that stuff. you all talk about this noise an awful lot. >> what good, really, is the word of the u.s. in light of the president's treatment of the kurds? has that undercut u.s. credibility? >> the whole predicate of your question is insane. >> so -- back to you and your piece and in the opening bit of your piece you play the clip of the interview, seven-minute interview he saw his political life plash befoflash before his. talk to me about that. >> mike pompeo basically spent his entire year trying to pretty carefully set himself up at the heir apparent to donald trump. this was a path that he has strong backing from the koch organization. strong backing from evangelicals
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and among the maga base that makes up trump space and positions himself for a state run in kansas next year part of presumably the reason he ended up totally coincidentally in wichita yesterday for the fourth time this year as secretary of state. >>coincidental. >> totally coincidental. right. and sort of charting a path i think of what goes through this kansas senate seat next year and sets himself up to be trump's heir apparent in 2024. that that has been sort of a very careful path that he had been looking to navigate successfully. one of the only folks in the trump administration to have actually been able to leave the administration sort of with his, you know, reputation intact at least within trump circles. trump still very much likes him.
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and that this has really exploded in a big way over these that last six weeks, it's become clear mike pompeo's state department is the center of this entire ukraine scandal. >> so talk more about that, because maybe he was the heir apparent. maybe kansas senator, but because of the explosion of this ukraine controversy, how much may his role truly be in jeopardy? >> well, we don't yet know, but what we see are increasing signs that mike pompeo's fingerprints were either on almost every stage of this scandal, or should have been. that he's been trying to play in some circles and in some instances the idea that he didn't understand what was happening in his own state department, but we saw, you know, last week the testimony from bill taylor where he said that john bolton told him to
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write a cable directly to mike pompeo laying out his concerns, which did come out. and that this is -- and that's sort of the type of thing where it's going to be really hard for mike pompeo to say he didn't understand what was going on. particularly because he was on that telephone call with the ukraine president, president zelensky. >> got it. as always, thank you very much. love your insights. see you again sure. coming up next on cnn, new subpoenas issued to rudy giuliani associates. why investigators want to speak to the brother of one of the men already indicted. that has a truly long-term view? it begins by being privately owned. with more than 85 years of experience over multiple market cycles. with portfolio managers who are encouraged to do what's right over what's popular. focused on helping me achieve my investors' unique goals. can i find an investment firm that gets long term the way i do?
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prosecutors have subpoenaed the brother of one of rudy giuliani's indicted associates igor fruman pleaded not guilty to charges that he and another associate funneled zonations into u.s. elections and his brother steven is now under subpoena and cnn's kara scannell is following this for us. so what might prosecutors want to know from this steven fruman? >> reporter: well, brooke, it seems like prosecutors are
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advancing the investigation. this subpoena came to steven fruman two weeks after his brother was arrested on the campaign finance charges and prosecutors up here appear to be following the money. they're examining more than 50 bank accounts, tracing the money there. and the relationship between igor and steven, they are not just brothers but are in business together. there are addresses they've used in common, it looks like they may have invested in property together. so all of this as prosecutors trying to understand more about the money flows and the relationships. we've also learned that prosecutors have searched multiple premises as part of the investigation. and in one case they even had to blast off the door of the safe and they're now scrutinizing those documents, records, whatever materials were inside of the safe. as this investigation is progressing, it only broken out in public since the last two weeks since the arrest of igor
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fruman and lev parnas and now they are sending out subpoenas and building out the investigation. >> thank you kara scannell. gaps in the white house explanation for why president trump froze military aid to ukraine. s you drive safely. but allstate actually helps you drive safely... with drivewise. it lets you know when you go too fast... ...and brake too hard. with feedback to help you drive safer. giving you the power to actually lower your cost. unfortunately, it can't do anything about that. now that you know the truth... are you in good hands? the amazing new iphone has arrived. and so has t-mobile's newest signal. no signal goes farther or is more reliable. so you can get more out of the new iphone. better battery life, new ultra-wide camera. and at t-mobile get unlimited for only $30/line for 4 lines
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[truck horn blares] (vo) the subaru forester. dog tested. dog approved.
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didn't want to let you go before updating you on one of the top ten cnn heroes from 2018. this company provides therapy to people with mobility impairs so here is anderson cooper with the story of one of the many, many people she's helped. >> three years ago nate wight injured his spine and was told he woo never walk again but his determination and amanda's help paid off. a year ago he did this. and now just three years after his accident, he's doing this. >> amanda always believed that i was going to be walking again. >> he's living the miracle of what we all aspire for. >> this is the power of technology that everybody should have access to. that's my goal.
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>> next wednesday the top ten cnn heroes of 2019 about be revealed. so stay tuned. i'm brooke baldwin. hope you have a wonderful weekend. but stay right here. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. the president may not be throwing out the first pitch at nats park but he is currently throwing out a whole lot of other stuff. "the lead" starts right now. a current white house official, one who was on the now infamous july 25th phone call plans to corroborate much of bill taylor's damning deposition and john bolton may get his chance behind closed doors. a favorite spot for trump associates and foreign leaders but now eric trump said the trump organization ma by willing to unload the trump hotel, the reason why ahead. and plus as joe biden faces questions over allowing his son hunter to serve on the board of a foreign coan