tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN April 30, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PDT
very good friday morning. i'm jim sciutto. rudy giuliani and matt gaetz, two of president trump's former trump's close al closal h. -- c allies, joan greenberg into the federal investigation into gaetz wrote a letter stating that gaetz paid for sex with multiple women, note this including minor who was just 17 years old at the time. cnn has not seen that letter. we have not verified the details as reported by the daily beast. a spokesperson for gaetz is
denying the allegations and joel greenberg's attorney has declined to comment. we're going to bring you all of the details in a moment. there is also this. former trump attorney rudy giuliani has spoken out for the first time since federal agents raided his manhattan home and office. he says he did nothing wrong. this as "the washington post" in another story has learned that fbi directly warned giuliani he was the target of a russian disinformation campaign. did he not take that warning. we're all covering all the angles of both these stories with our reporters, correspondents and analysts. i want to begin on capitol hill. we're following development surrounding matt gaetz. walk us through what we know about the letter and the context of the letter. the letter sent, was the not, for his social joel greenberg trying to get a pardon from the outgoing president? >> that's right, joel greenberg admitted he and gaetz paid for sex with multiple women including a minor who was 17
years old at the time. now the letter was drafted after greenberg asked roger stone, of course, he's that close trump ally, long time friend of the former president, for how they departed during the final months of the trump administration. in the letter, greenberg claims he and gaetz thought one woman was 19 years old but later learned she was under age. greenberg reportedly claims he -- when he learned of this he called the congressman. he urged him to steer clear of this matter and cnn, as you mentioned, jim, has not seen this letter. so we can't verify the details of the daily beast story. but we have spoken to several women who were involved with these two men and we have reported in the past that greenberg paid women on behalf of gaetz after some sexual encounters. now roger stone, trump ally, did speak to our colleague chris cuomo last night. stone says he doesn't recall any letter. he says he never heard greenberg
implicating gaetz and he never tried to get greenberg a pardon. he told "the daily beast" he never received any payments or asked for any payments from greenberg. >> gaetz's response to all this this morning? >> they're denying it as they denied all along. with the spokesman for congressman gaetz said in the statement, he has never paid for sex nor has he had sex with a 17-year-old as an adult. stort st the story shows that congressman gaetz was long out of touch with mr. greenberg and has no interest in involving himself in mr. greenberg's affairs. as we've reported and you have seen that he was involved in his affairs. greenberg is currently in jail facing 30 federal charges including sex trafficking and sources tell cnn that greenberg has been cooperating with federal authorities since last year. he has shared with them information about encounters with the -- he and the congressman and the women were
given cash or gifts in exchange for sex. now mr. greenberg is expected to file a plea deal with investigators in the coming weeks. anticipate congressman gaetz, of course, he is still a member of the house judiciary committee. he has not been punished in any way. he has a chance to argue the case. he denies the charges. he assured him he hasn't done anything wrong. congress won't take any action unless he is indicted. >> when folks he could praut with federal investigators, they ask were you working with anybody else? thank you very much. this morning "the washington post" says that fbi directly warned former trump attorney rudy giuliani that he was the target of a russian disinformation campaign aimed at interfering in the 2020 election. the new report just days after federal agents raided his manhattan home and his office. cnn is following this h giuliani
went on fox news last night. friendly outlet. what was his defense? >> yeah, jim. so we heard for the first time rudy giuliani speaks since his offices were raided. and this is part of an investigation that giuliani has known about for two years. he said he tried to speak to authorities about it at least twice in that time period. what prosecutors are looking into here is a foreign lobbying violation. whether rudy giuliani should have disclosed he was lobbying on behalf of a foreign individual, in this case this investigation is focusing on giuliani's efforts in ukraine. the push to remove the u.s. ambassador who was the ambassador to the ukraine and whether he was doing that at the benefit of his client then president trump or if he was working on behalf of ukrainian officials who wanted per gone. on fox last night giuliani denied that he had done anything wrong. and he also said the evidence on these seven or eight device that's were seized would exonerate him. here's what he said.
>> yeah. evidence is exculpatory. it proves the president and i and all of us are innocent. they're the ones committing -- it's like projection. they're committing the crimes. the search warrant is purportedly based on one single failure to file. for representing a ukrainian national or official that i have not represented. >> now giuliani is also saying that he may be in the midst of starting a fight with the prosecutors over access to these records and electronics that were filed. constitutional rights were violated because prosecutors obtained electronic communications in 2009. jim? >> the other news, "the washington post" reporting the fbi went to giuliani in 2019 war warned him directly. russia was attempting to meddle in the presidential election and
use him, giuliani went on to meet with ukrainians connected to russia. what are we learning? >> yeah, jim, that's right. cnn reported that the fbi counter intelligence division had briefed the white house and congress about this russian disinformation campaign spreading falsehoods about then candidate joe biden. what "the washington post" is reporting is that giuliani was directly briefed by the fbi counter intelligence about that. giuliani has not responded to our request for comment on that today. he previously denied to cbs news that he did receive a briefing in person and as you noted, after that briefing occurred, according to "the washington post," he continued travels to ukraine to meet with some of those officials. jim? >> understood. t lot to cover. there thank you very much. for more on the legal implications of this, joined by our legal correspondent dana bash. thank you very much. i want to begin with you, elli,
the legal question on the content of "the washington post" story. would it be a crime to get a warning from the fbi saying, hey, the russians are going to try toint fear in this election through you, beware. and then basically ignore it and go on to meet with known russian agents. is there criminal exposure there potentially for giuliani? >> here's how i would try to use that piece of information. to show rudy giuliani's overall state of mind and his bad intent. that could go to any number of other crimes. if he was warned in that clear way and went ahead and did it anyway, i would argue to a jury that shows he doesn't care about national security. he doesn't care about doing the right thing. in fact, he has a one track mind which is to do whatever is necessary legal or illegal to help donald trump get re-elected in 2020. >> dana, politically here giuliani was working on behalf of trump as his personal lawyer. trump was encouraging him to go there. trump and allies were advertising this supposed dirt
that deliberately targeted his election. what is his responsibility here, not legally but what shows he and his allies were willing to do? >> had we not gone through the second impeachment of the now former president, the exposure would be much more great and much more problematic. but because this whole question of giuliani and his relations with ukrainians and trying to get, the dirt, as you said, all of this, this is why. >> or this led to -- excuse me, first impeachment -- this led to the first impeachment. and so it's all wrapped up in that. so plolitically speaking, it is very much baked into how people in this country, voters in particular, approached the president. and, you know, i'm not sure that at which moment in time if people here, you know, alleged
nefarious things about the former president tried to get information from ukraine, you know, and so on and so forth. it will be much of a surprise. >> understood. okay. lots o to tick through guys. sorry to have such a long list of legal things. let's go to matt gaetz now. you've been involved in a lot of investigations here. so joel greenberg, we know, the guy is in jail, right? he's being investigated already. wrote this letter trying to get a pardon from president trump. in he brings up matt gaetz. matt gaetz was in on this stuff too, including paying sex -- paying money for sex with a minor. the legal significance of this for matt gaetz? >> first of all, the already bizarre is getting even more bizarre. boy do i have questions. why on woernlg joel greenberg who was charged with very serious crimes but not yet convicted write out a confession and send it into the government? here's the only possible way i can make sense of this.
assuming "the daily beast" reporting is correct. this was an effort by joel greenberg and roger stone to send a signal to the white house, you better pardon him or else. because he has the goods on your buddy. joel greenberg is ready to at mitt to really bad crimes. and if it comes to that, he's going to turn on matt gaetz too. he has the gooz. he has the venmo receipts. pardon him. you'll save gaetz. don't pardon him, he'll do what he has to do. >> is there any weakening of republican backing for matt gaetz here? he still maintains his position on the judiciary committee. he says, you know, and others denied it, give him a shot. behind the scenes are there more doubts? >> there are so many doubts. i'm sure you're hearing the same thing. i am. it's not as if matt gaetz as
this, you know, huge reservoir of support even among his fellow republicans. right now it's about precedent setting and even people who really, really would prefer in the heart of hearts to see him go. they don't want to push him off the judiciary committee until or unless he is actual indicted, until there are actual charges brought against him f that happens, that's going to be a whole different ball game for him. not just legally but politically with regard to his seat. >> dana, as you know, there are on going investigations. they're looking at business practices there. what is the level of concern in the trump inner circle that i
could face legal liability next? >> a lot of concern. yeah. in a big way. that concern started when he was in the white house and then lost the election and was heading out of the white house into the world of being a private citizen where he doesn't have the same sort of protocols and protections legally that he did when he was president of the united states. we don't know how exposed he is to any -- anything that's going on particularly when it comes to never mind federally but in in the state of new york and in particular in the city of new york. there are lots of potential avenues for them to be investigating the former president and that is something that obviously is of concern legally. he's not going anywhere. and that is, you know, painfully
obvious in watching the republican party twist itself in pre pretzels every single day trying to move on and know they're still tethered to this man in a very, very strong way. >> yeah. see the comments of mike pence, right? tethering himself very publicly to this man that didn't call him as the insurrectionists were storming the capitol. thank you very much to both of you. >> thank you. >> thanks, jim. still to come this hour, president biden hits the road again today to pitch his massive and costly economic plans. will americans and a divided congress buy what he is selling? plus, u.s. troops begin their withdrawal from afghanistan today. there is a new warning as that happens from al qaeda. >> tech: every customer has their own safelite story. this couple was on a camping trip... ...when their windshield got a chip. they drove to safelite for a same-day repair. and with their insurance, it was no cost to them. >> woman: really? >> tech: that's service you can trust. >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪
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soon president biden will leave the white house and head back out on the tour to promote several big legislative plans. he'll be in philadelphia where he hopes to garner more support for two bills that will cost trillions of dollars if passed. one bill aims to help working families, the other tackling infrastructure. right now, however, he faces big hurdles from capitol hill to get both done. almost unified opposition from republicans and even moderate democrats such as joe manchin. with me now to talk about the president's ambitious agenda, someone that knows hhis life wes
the author of the book "joe biden." >> good morning. >> so the first 100 days he has done some great things. now we're seeing the infrastructure bill, family bill, enormous proposals, ambitious and also very expensive. and they do go beyond at least the billing of biden as a candidate, as a moderate. somewhat middle of the road candidate. i just wonder, has he overestimate the his mandate? >> well, in a way, it may be that we never fully understood what he was envisioning when he said on inauguration day, remember, i'm putting my whole soil into bringing this country together. i think the default understanding was that you go for the easy one. you go for the small ball, things you know can you bring people together around. actually, there is another theory. i think this is what you hear underlying a lot of what he is doing these days.
he thinks if you can appeal directly to the public or the reason why he is out in philadelphia, georgia, places like that, is if he thinks you can appeal to the public on thing t things they want that can you actually begin to bring them together in theory around the idea that government can deliver again. it can perform. the problem, of course, is the shear challenge of the legislative process to get. there i'm remundinded of someth that joe biden believed, first lesson of being president. you can set an agenda but it is impossible to be able to follow it day to day. simply because of things coming down the pike. in this case, there is a level environment legislative unpredictability that he is contending with that is going to make it very difficult. i wonder if you believe that he is pushing back a bit at this sort of caretaker idea. joe biden, veteran politician coming in.
quiet things down post trump. i have a legacy here. i'm going big on family stuff, health care, gun reform, immigration. >> yeah, i think so. it's interesting. i started to hear that tone from him last summer. he started the cam ppaign sayin he wanted to be the caretaker tra transitional president. he said, no, i see myself in the challenge that fdr was facing. i think at the time people said how does that actually work? this is something he doesn't want to go down in hist rich. he didn't meet the challenge or the moment. that is why you begin to hear from him this much more ambitious and some ways, often says, fwhonce in a generation
investment in ourselves and trying to not just change things around the edges. but fund mentally try to market a pivot, a tone in the culture. thee th the theory is joe biden thinks a lot of people in washington do things backwards because they start the negotiation by enumerating all the ways disagree. if i say to somebody, we can trust each other, maybe there is a way to make a breakthrough. >> we'll see. listen, he was elected hoping, promising bipartisanship. you and i know the reality of washington. the political incentives in this town frankly go against bipartisanship, right? a lot of the folks will be punished in their races if they do anything, you know, work in any way with a democratic president here. that said, biden stuck to his guns in terms of his ambitious goals on a lot of packages. whose fault is it that
bipa bipartisanship is not happening? it is republicans? is it biden? >> the truth is -- even though people are determined on the other side of the aisle to make it hard for him to knock legislative achievementes, you see people talking to him. just this week he got on the phone with important republican senator from west virginia. she's somebody who proposed an alternative in infrastructure bill. they are very far apart. but the idea that they're having the conversations honestly, the process just as important as the result. because somebody like joe mafrnlma manchin, he cares about the idea that they are making efforts at bipartisanship. they have to show that they are taking seriously the idea that the other side of the aisle has an opinion. that they have pint of view. you see them going into that process earnestly.
>> fist pump on the floor is bigger target among republicans. great to your point of view here. thanks so much. >> my pleasure. thanks, jim. >> new this morning, as the u.s. begins pulling troops out of afghanistan, after nearly 20 years, al qaeda is now vowing its war with america is not over. daunting words. we'll have more. ♪ tex-mex. tex-mex. ♪
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this morning the u.s. and nato troop withdraw from afghanistan is now under way. the terror group al qaeda is warning that despite u.s. military personnel leaving the country, its war against the u.s. is far from over. promising a war on all fronts. disturbing words. joining me now to discuss this and more including the u.s. threat and relationship with china, admiral james fritas from nato and author of "2034: a novel of the next world war." it is a page turner. it is based on a lot of facts. i'm reading it myself. i'm listening to it, i should say. admiral, thank you for joining us. >> pleasure to be with you, jim. >> i want to begin, i spoke to republicans and democrats who are made nervous about the u.s. full withdrawal from afghanistan.
i wonder given the terror threat still emminating from there, has the u.s. band ond afghanistan dangerously? >> if i were advising the president, i would be advising him not to pull out that very small contingent of troops. i commanded that mission, it's nato mission. when i did so, i had 150,000 troops under my command in afghanistan. from 50 different nations. today we're down to 2500 american troops. in many ways, we've already pulled the troops out of afghanistan. we pulled 98% of them out. so that tiny remainder, i think, could have been a force to ensure that we don't have a reflash from the taliban. that we don't have al qaeda. i'll close by saying, you know, i'm coming to you from my native state of florida. the pal ban are like gators. you don't want to turn your back on one. they're very lethal.
they're a lot quicker than they look. yeah, i'm worried. >> he uses the image of a finger and a dam. the dam breaks. i want to ask you and a president biden address to congress. you must stand up to china. your book envisions them going to china. just 13 years from now year 2034. there are things happening already and in your view is war with china inevitable? ? >> it's not inevitable. and, jim, the point in writing the book was to create a cautionary tale. this is set 10 to 15 years from now. we still have time to reverse engineer this thing and avoid a war with china. but the trends aren't good. you see a more assertive china. stepping up its pressure in hong kong. pressure on taiwan. they claim the entire south
china sea is territorial waters. that is half the sides of the united states of america. they continue with unfair trade and terror practitions in my point of view. so the tensions are there. and then secondly, china's military capability is rising. so it's like in ghost busters, those two strains, you really don't want them to cross. that of capability and intent. and it looks to me like they may cross in the 10 to 15-year future. >> one thing that strikes me that your book attempts to burst is this idea and u.s. military is unbeatable. they're already outdated. >> well, i will tell you this about the novel 2034. any number of my colleagues, friends, peers, senior military officers, senior policymakers have said to me, admiral, you have written a great book.
you got one big thing wrong. the date. this is actually much sooner. so we are concerned. we in the national security community. this is a looming tower. i think the biden administration gets that. this is abipartisan issue. we can ensure we don't end up in a position end up in a potion to lose a war in 2034. >> i want to speak specifically about taiwan. i speak to many who fear that china might just up and invade taiwan and larmalarming to heart the admiral, admiral philip davidson, he said as much in public testimony before the senate arms services committee that china could attempt to take over taiwan by the end of the decade. do you share that concern? >> i do. i think phil deployed the number
six as in this could happen as soon as six years from now. i think that's realistic. and ought to be very concerning to us. taiwan is not an obscure little island. it's got 35 million people. it has roughly the 37th largest economy in the world. there is language and culture. it's a vibrant democracy. i visited there. i've met with the people. we ought to support them not for independence. i think that would be a red line. but we ought to enable them to defend themselves. that's where we ought to be headed. >> listen, they own most of the world's production of semiconductors. that whole supply chain goes to hell. quickly quickly, would the u.s. go to war to defend taiwan? >> i think it is under the circumstances in which china
would invade. i think there would be a sharp military response from the united states. >> add mile an hour will a, author of the book "2034: a novel of the next world war," thank you so much for joining us. >> my pleasure, jim. >> next, a major airline is ending a pandemic policy, a popul popular one stashgtsinrting tom. what it could mean for travelers. so you can enjoy it en if you're sensitive to dairy. so anyone who says lactaid isn't real milk is also saying mabel here isn't a real cow. and she really hates that. ♪ (ac/dc: back in black) ♪ ♪ ♪ mabel here isn't a real cow. the bowls are back. applebee's irresist-a-bowls all just $8.99. use a single hr software? nope. we use 11. eleven.
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selling middle seats starting saturday. the a move made by all other major carriers months ago. >> it is safe to get back out there to go out into the world and see the folks in your life. >> reporter: this man heads delta's in flight destinations. the latest estimate, 75% of delta passengers received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. >> the vaccination rate is really helping. customers are feeling confident about it. >> reporter: airlines say they cannot continue capping capacity without awe sera serious increa in fares. leaving middle seats empty re reduces coronavirus exposure by 57%. but the airline industry slammed the modeling for not considering vaccines or the impact of masks. now mandated on planes by the b
b biden administration. coronavirus transmission rates are very low, regardless of where you sit. >> it's the many things together at the same time. they do greatly reduce the risk of air travel and in particular provides a safe opportunity for people given the ventilation, given the wearing of masks, giving the disinfection on the planes, given the individual and personal hygiene attention that does allow for that middle seat to be occupied. >> reporter: industry groups think flying will look more like normal as more people get vaccinated. some airlines are bringing back inflight food and drink service. >> as these policies are going away, and we're seeing fuller aircraft, it is more important than ever that we are vigilant about those mask policies. >> new ideas to bring passengers back are coming from all corners of the aviation administration.
airbus envisions a future of seats arranged in pods. they imagine a productivity class, part plane, part coffee house. >> excited, you know, to see the future where some of the ideas may take us and where the industry may go in the future. so every crisis can also be an opportunity. >> delta says capping capacity onboard cost $100 million in march. that's when pandemic air travel started to surge and numbers remain high. the tsa screened 1,.5 million passenger onz thursday, near a pandemic record. >> there it s the financial incentive to all this for the airlines. by the way, they got a lot of federal help through the pandemic. is there demand there to fill the middle seats? in other words, once they open, are the seats going to be sold? >> delta feels that the demand is there. it thinks that the planes that
are already flying with the middle seats empty will be full relatively soon just because these numbers are so high. we've had seven weeks straight where the tsa numbers are above a million people each day. so they think that the demand is there, jim. >> well, the extra space is good while it lasted. thank you very much. >> devastating scenes really just devastating ones from israel. dozens killed in a stampede. a crush at a religious festival. will we'll be live in israel with the latest. >> tech: every customer has their own safelite story. this couple was on a camping trip... ...when their windshield got a chip. they drove to safelite for a same-day repair. and with their insurance, it was no cost to them. >> woman: really? >> tech: that's service you can trust. >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪
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investigators are searching for the cause of a deadly stampede that killed 45 worshippers at a mass relinlous gathering there. it happened overnight on an area located in the northern part of the country. elliott gotkin joins me from tel av aviv. elliott, what happened and what is the scale of the loss? >> the festival is supposed to be one of joy. but as we saw, it very, very quickly turned to tragedy. from what we understand, there were tens of thousands of people there in the north to venerate the tomb of a second century sage and mystic and at around 1:00 in the morning a number of people tried to leave this gathering and to do so required them to pass through kind of narrow passage. that sent night a bottle neck. it was slippery and on a slope. someone slipped and fell and everybody fell over on top of one into the a kind of human avalanche. and eyewitnesses gave harrowing testimony as to what they saw.
>> translator: i was there. inside the bonfire it was crowded. and there were around 60,000 to 70,000 people. no place to move. people started to fall to the ground. a lot fell to the ground. >> reporter: and we say there were tens of thousands of people there. there were far fewer people that were there in previous years. but of course, now the task of identifying the bod yuies is on going. this is the institute of forensic medicine in israel in southern tel aviv. we understand that many people inside the building going around the bodies to see if they can identify friends, loved ones, or members of their own family. jim? >> when you describe the scale of this, thousands of participants, then you see that narrow passage way that they were going through, this gets to planning issues in advance, does it not? >> well, as i said, you know, this is -- this was not the
biggest crowd that they ever had there. there has never been anything like this before. but, of course, one of the big questions they will be asking as part of this investigation is first of all, how come so many people are allowed to take part in this event? and, you know, who is responsible? and what can they do to ensure that something like this never happens again? but certainly when you look at those pictures of the narrow passageway and the volume of people that were there, it is kind of a wonder that to have something like this not happen before. now they're dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy. jim? >> no question. all those families. elliott, thank you very much. and we'll be right back.
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over the past six decades, late-night television has grown from a shot in the dark experiment to a thriving and money making cultural phenomenon now the new cnn original series "the story of late night" xam i examines how late-night television keeps us laughing and shapes how we see the world. we take a look at the challenges the late night shows faced defining the funny and just getting on the air during the covid-19 pandemic. >> reporter: i'm coming to you from the late show's new temporary set, the he had sullivan my house. >> the story of late night contains a strange 2020 chapter. that likely changed the shows forever. >> from trevor's couch in new
york city to your couch somewhere in the world, this is "the daily social distancing show with trevor nolan." >> as the pandemic arrived, iconic late ni shows stopped having studio audiences. and within days, the stars left the studios too: >> welcome to "the tonight show." i'm so excited to be doing the show from my panic room, i mean the living room. >> the new at home vibe reflected our new reality. famous celebrities just working off web cams, figuring out where in the house to record. >> you are watching vet special social distancing edition of "the late show." i now call it the lather show. >> you know what? it was great tv. relatable, personal, sometimes even sweet. >> we watched more times than the and mateors who drew it have watched frozen 2.
>> in some cases, celebrities are easier to book from kim kardashian west to meryl streep and, yes, hillary swank's bird. >> this is burt. he is our latest rescue. >> to politicians and former presidents, all joining via web cam. these capabilities will outlast the pandemic. leaving a lasting mark on how tv looks, feels. some comics have slowly come back to their studios. >> they divided the office into zones. zone a, b, c. it's like i'm -- i'm not sure if i'm hosting a show or boarding a southwest airlines flight. >> and jimmy fallon brought back small numbers of fans. >> i've never been so excited to do a show for 58 people in my entire life. >> now the late night shows are like the rest of us, having mixed feelings about getting back to whatever normal used to be. >> well, you guys, this is just nice to be around people again. >> a new late night story is
just starting now. cnn, new york. >> the all new cnn original series "the story of late night" premiers sunday at 9:00. should be fun. thank you so much for joining us today. i'm jim sciutto. i hope you have a great weekend. >> hello, everyone. thank you so much for joining us. "at this hour," we're going to get an update from the white house on the fight against the pandemic. and by all indications, they should have good news. i know it feels rare that we're able to bring that to you many times. good news. there is major progress on all fronts in the fight against the pandemic here in the united states. let me play for you how a doctor described it this morning. >> i think question confidently say the worst is behind us.