Transcript for Giuliani associates arrested for funneling foreign money to Trump reelection group
Everybody welcome to the briefing her mind Devin Dwyer Washington great to have you with us on this Thursday some breaking news to sharks start the show today on the effort by president trump. And his allies to investigate former vice president Joseph Biden. In Ukraine the Justice Department today arrested in indicted. Two associates of Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for allegedly funnel in more than 300000. Dollars of foreign money. To a group supporting president trumps re election the two men you see in their of that harness. And I gore from and they're both American citizens they're both businessmen from Florida. They were arrested at Dallas airport last night as they tried to leave the country on one way tickets today they appeared in court. And prosecutors explain the charges. As alleged in the indictment the defendants broke the law to gain political influence. While avoiding disclosure. Of who's actually making the donations of where the money was coming from. The American people expect and deserve an election process that has not been corrupted by the influence of foreign interest. And the public has a right to know the true source of campaign contributions. Walls make up the fabric of who we are as a nation. These allegations. Are not about some technicality. A civil violation. Or an error on a form. This investigation is about corrupt behavior. Deliberate ball breaking. Our to Michael being as are senior investigative reporter he joins us now has been leading on this story Mike these are the first criminal charges. Related to this Ukraine controversy they don't directly implicate president trump and any wrongdoing. But it does hit very close to home for him yeah. I think a lot of people are gonna care about this because it's another small piece of the bigger puzzle of what led to that July 25 phone call. With Ukrainian president and now of course at the center of impeachment inquiry. But we learned today in the charging documents is that in the middle of last year left harness he said was arrested. He passed a congressman to help with an effort to get via Ukraine the US ambassador to Ukraine fired. Months after that he and Rudy Giuliani were part of a group that tried to dig into dirt as we know I'm Joseph Biden smothers. And then that sort of continued until March 26 left harness was on an email we've learned. He was among many others on an email that was talked not how to deal with not getting this information out more and into the public. In these two guys you should say again were also in the charges to they deal with campaign finance law violations allegations. But they're accused of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to this not only that congressman you mention but also. To this group supporting president trumped we should say that the president trumps counsel Jay secular low give us a statement about the president's awareness of all this let's put that up. Secular says as the end indictment makes clear neither the president nor the campaign. Were aware of these allegations but Mike her. Again to underscore this is Rudy Giuliani. Who talks to the president all the time in fact there's some reporting out there that he was seen just this week over trump hotel across town with the two suspects. In this indictment is there any implication here. For the impeachment process I think you get again Democrats. A look at what we now know from these charging documents that in the middle of last year is when live harness was asking for help in getting us ambassador fired. And the reason that matters is because the ambassador her firing in the allegations around her was one of two things. That trump talked about on that July 25 phone call which again is the key the whole center of this impeachment inquiry. Listen to American citizens over in Ukraine involved in some money funneling allegedly and also tied up in this effort that the president has been pushing maybe you know about it. But certainly interest in lot of questions there Mike I mean thanks for back toward Phelps is at the White House forces all this is breaking it's really doesn't look good Jordan. But what are White House officials saying about these two indictments. Deb in the White House is staying silent on this we obviously saw that state me when he too. For the president's personal attorney Jay secular low but the White House is staying out of this for now. The president trump is set to depart the White House for a campaign rally tonight in just about half an hour and I'm told. We do expect to hear from the president then and I'm sure he'll be asked about that seven. Are torn thanks meantime the president of Ukraine is speaking out today as well he sat down with ABC's Tonya honest. A to talk about his the president trumps efforts to get him to investigate Joseph Biden. And he insisted today in an interview in Kiev that there was no black male involved Nicholas. Good evening to you it's almost nighttime here yeah and today the president of Ukraine involved in what he called a media marathon. Ten hours of nonstop questions with reporters we were invited. To sit down with him around a dinner table. With about ten other journalists to ask questions basically fire off questions and get his answers now. He didn't answer us in English though most of the time we said at the table the conversations were obviously in Ukrainian now we asked him specifically if he thought it was core rocked up resident. Ask a foreign nation to investigate a political rival socially what president trump asked him to do. And it that was corrupt president salutes the apartment campaign on anti corruption usually had to say. What do you think it will president asking of coordination to investigate. Political rival is that corrupt. I think that this bomb parts of new laws he lost. We've wants us all and his you know we outside from any cover up some scenes and you know and there is for example monkeys. These monkeys for about Greece my guess is won't. He told a don't remember all the war because he was. Yes in las news along doesn't Lipsky says he has not broken any laws that it was not corrupt what he did was just a phone call. But when I pressed to be put president trump had done was corrupt. As many have claimed of the United States including Democrats. And others he says he's not gonna judge president trump that he's unaware that the president has broken any laws in that in his opinion it was just a phone call. DeVon. Art thanks Tommy John us over there in Kiev what's been torn Phelps Bakken in the conversation from the White House where the president. Has been seizing on this interview that Tom did with the Ukrainian president he says it's vindication there was no black male there was no pressure on that call. But it doesn't change the fact that president from did ask a foreign leader to investigators rival and White House officials. We're very concerned about it. Yet DeVon the president position putting inks to it but of course. Seven this is sort of a relevant to the house inquiry here. They're not trying to establish. That there was a quid pro quo as Ukrainian president might have understood it what they are trying to establish is did the president abuse his authority as the president. The United States not the commander in chief. And use that power as. The top elected official in this country to try to benefit his own political campaign and put our own national security at risk be cousin. Ukraine's vulnerabilities these and he rushed down. Hey thanks store and Phelps force at the White House as Jordan said the president headed off to Minnesota tonight for campaign rally impeachment likely. To be front and center in his stump speech on stage this is a new poll just out today from. From Marist in the Wall Street Journal shows new support among the American people for the impeachment inquiry here's the number 52% now majority. I support the inquiry into alleged wrongdoing by president trump that includes. A majority of independent voters as well. Rachel Scott is out in Minneapolis covering the president's activities out there Richie you've been talking with the president's supporters about the inquiry about the controversy. What are you hearing from them. Exactly I didn't take a look the the border spearheading the president's supporters are heading in the right now I have learned what I mean isn't California girl friend I didn't raining outside. It's been a long here and it looked in the front. What we're asking him about his. In I aged White House I'm Maria now they don't deny the facts did not deny that Wednesday. The fear of Ukraine flew back to different. Between rival but for now they think it's a holiday open an investigation has the which six they it. I think it's not oldest. I don't believe in it. What is the president's own publicly you're playing at obviously triggered the impeachment inquiry repeatedly earns. They're Ukraine's investigated potential lightweight rival without wrong. Is it Ron that he was talking. And it is it wrong the accident to investigate corruption and Joseph Biden. I don't think they get anything out calling it. Oh. Hold. It's all book fair. You know. Them. I think I hear from the president's supporters they do not think president was wrong. Wrong in asking for the and they say it was a simple phone call there was no pressure there they believe that it that if there is actually. That there's no. Probably president yeah a foreign leader to do so. Even a personal attorney for personal attorney. The department wanted the idea. They repeat a lot of the big talking point that the time campaign is running at this the Democrat Patrick. Which 12016. Election hyper that over and over again from the supporters here they say. Witch hunt that. See you later green that was some significant moment he's been hearing it that your imminent announcement each man. And they say they don't leave the house and they investigate president of the Democrats who were leading it. They just think this whole thing and consistently we don't return. As well. Was talking points have taken hold at least at the trump based Rachel Scott think he's so much for that coliseum this continues to play with independent voters who will be so crucial. Coming up what we now overseas though to the crisis in Syria on the border with Turkey we told you this week on the frontlines advice is that president trump. Abruptly pulled US forces out of that area Turkey is now in its second day. I've an all out assault on the Kurdish forces that used to be our allies in that same area in the fight against ice is the fighting. Of course torn intense protests from Republicans and Democrats harsh criticism for the president. Is over there in the region and filed this report for the briefing room a short time ago. Hi Devin we are now in northern Syria academic the last time we were here with city US and Kurdish parts is working hand in hand. To defeat ours is but today of course has all changed missing Turkish troops move across the border as part of an invasion. About pockets it will US forces together with a battle against eyes this is just being thrown into disarray. Overnights Turkish forces attacking Syria and from the spelling on the ground. And machine gunfire can be heard filling the as we entered day two of its soul from Turkey. Turkey claiming to have struck more than a 190 total gets the launching an all out assault against America's Kurdish allies. Who green on the front lines in the fights against crisis a ground attack now also under way this morning. The large scale operation coming just days after president Trump's announcement to pulley US troops back from the border. Seemingly giving Turkey a green light. But secretary of state Michael McHale is pushing Brcko Matt secession as the administration again appears to send mixed messages. I was just false. The United States didn't give. Turkey a green light what US official now tells ABC news that some Kurdish guards have left that post but prisons holding crisis Reuters. Raising fears that the Turkish incursion could result in Ali she's detainees escaping. Putting US national security at risk president Tom distancing himself from the Turkish incursion pulling the operation a bad idea. But when pressed about the potential danger posed by the prisoners if they escape. Preston trump seemingly uncle so and well it appears that you Europe as well. Turkey's president Eduard labels or codes terrorists and claims he operation will prevent the terra corridor and bring peace. I think from artillery shell put all the ground it's not terrorists but civilians fleeing. Mothers with small babies packing up everything they can cramming into the back of pickup trucks but there a few safe places to run to narrow. Because reporting multiple civilian casualties and at least five deaths wrapped up. We've been on the front lines with the Kurds what's led troops fought alongside US soldiers begins and keeping oasis at bag. Just this morning to British IC's members new news The Beatles held by the coast but now taken into US custody. President trump threatening retaliation against Turkey if the codes a completely wiped out I don't know what that is. Economy of that happens. So have had some strong words from the president I can tell you Devin no one here is listening. Not a Turkish army does driving its forces across the border and certainly not because you're more concerned about staying alive and protecting their homes and a cold that finally it's. Consider what we're talking it took Kurdish intelligence official and he kept asking why has America betrayed its friend saying that no and in the Middle East. Would now believe America's work DeVon. Are they see you in panel for terrific reporting over there inside Syria much more ahead tonight. On world news tonight back here at home down the trump administration's continuing crackdown on legal. An illegal immigration in this country you've heard the president's vows. To opt those ice raids in this country wolf today the head of the agency that conducts those raids. Gave an update on how many immigrants have been removed in the past year. The total is 260000. It's bringing Quinn knowing now he's earned racial reporter and has been of course tracking these number's been down on the border quite it's great to see you. Help us put this totaled 260000. In just some contacts us a lot of people that have been rounded up and deported but how does that compare. A lot of people removed that estimate is actually a slight uptick from the previous year but overall the number of people were moved is still lower than the peak levels we saw under President Obama now as we reported on this show before the humanitarian crisis at the southern border is a major factor in that. And the head of eyes acting director Mathieu Alvin's spoken about that today at the White House briefing room I think we have a clip. We've had to redeploy. Our ice resources to support the Border Patrol and then custom protection with those jobs are the border which is made us less safe. So he's saying they have rat have to less capacity to do this because of the situation to bordered the numbers are striking that's put them up. We've also been a flash point. Offered Democrats on the campaign trail force or people like Joseph Biden had an answer for why back in 20112012. Look at that. More than 400000. Ice removals just in that year alone President Obama won reelection. They. Is this just simply the border is there are more work here there's another. Element of this an Alvin spoke about it at the press conference today the cooperation between federal law enforcement that ice agents that are doing these removals and the state and local jurisdictions is another he huge thing that they're dealing with. The Obama administration was able to forge those partnerships ice has struggled to do that. And we've also heard from Homeland Security career officials. Who are saying that the in the rhetoric coming out of the White House isn't making it any easier for local police officers to cooperate and get criminals are. Interest into street and local governments stopping their cooperation has been ever at least part of why these numbers have gone down meantime Quinn the administration. Is rolling out a plan that announced a couple weeks ago about how they're gonna try to crack down on legal immigration in this country they're making it harder. For legal immigrants applying for green cards to get status if they need health insurance. That's right they are rolling out what's called a public charge rule which raises the bar raises the standards for. Pour immigrants who are trying to legally make it into the country they're not gonna help the Philippines new forms that we're just released overnight that. Debt assets education level some of that was already part of the immigration process but now it'll be. Much harder for low income immigrants coming from poor Central American countries to go to the legal. A CNN a little bit with Jackie V motion joins us now here in the DC bureau from the national immigration law senator Jack it's great to see you are so how common is it. For immigrants applying for legal status in this country to sort of come to the door with no health insurance. How many people were talking about here. Well I think that's important to know that this is a radical change in our immigration laws and that this is. Some thing that president trump was trying to do bypassing. His so called merit based immigration bill he failed to get that through congress. And so what he's doing is using. Rule making and proclamations. To do a run and run around congress. To build what is really an invisible wall. This is another brick and in what is really a messaging to folks that are trying to come into the country that if you're not white. And you're not wealthy you're not welcome and this is a real departure from status quo. You know before it was very strange it very. Almost unheard of for people to be denied. Entrance into the United States four these factors. There was the ideas and supermodel. Jackie what Tex of people are these like what types are countries are they from give us a sense of who is going to be must impacted by this rule. Exactly well so there's a number of different things happening there is the public charge rule in the then there's a new proclamation was issued. In on Friday night. But all of these factors the Migration Policy Institute estimates. That these initiatives could recent could reduce the flows illegal immigration by two thirds. And that is slashing illegal immigration and the majority of the people that this is gonna impact. I'm are going to be folks from low income countries. And commute and people of color because the reality is that people from Norway people from Sweden people from the UK. Who are making a 100000 dollars or more or less or not and no more gonna not be impacted by this. As it isn't really an attack on race and on wealth. And real quickly just before re let you go Jack you how do you answer the trump administration's argument that we hear all the time that. These people from a less wealthy countries that come in are much more likely to be a burden in fact the White House statements as they will saddle our health care system is that true. What's the answer to their argument on that point what will look. First of all this is not about health care. The drug administration has been attacking her health care system through the Affordable Care Act. Eroding the individual mandate attacking the child health insurance program this is actually gonna make folks more uninsured. But the reality is that they're all the data shows that you know. It would we move forward into the next generations that actually immigrants used benefits at levels much talked. Then US citizens. And actually our net boon to the economy so it's a nonsense argument that's just going jurors didn't result in more people being uninsured. And if another attack on our health care system at a time when after. Ten years of making progress on decreasing the number of uninsured this is the first year that we've seen a spike in uninsured populations. These attacks on immigrants and our health care system are just going to continue that trend and out really hurt all of us. It's certainly part of a much broader crackdown that this administration has been pushing its heating up as we head into the campaign and we certainly know what's at play their Jackie pima with the national. Immigration loss senator thanks so much for coming in Jackie great to have your perspective and thanks to you Quinn org for your arch firfer reporting on that front as well moving on now. A to a new move by the trump administration's Environmental Protection Agency that might surprise you the environmental agency today. Announced a new regulation. Yes. Adding a regulation aimed at reducing exposure to wed in drinking water in this country the Flint, Michigan crisis of course five years ago put the spotlight on this but take a look at this map. And the cities in this country communities in this country thousands of them that are actually being impacted right now. By elevated levels of lead in their drinking water Stephanie ads is our environmental reporter she's been all over the story from the start Stephanie get break it down for stroke quickly here what EPA's community what steps have been taken. Yet so this is that big gifts look. Effort to sit. Olympics limited exposure to lead in in decades Wheeler compared each AG Andrew Wheeler compared it to be any letting gasoline at fanning lead paint. So basically what what they say they're doing as they are rolling out this proposal to target. Lead service lines which is what's literally bringing the water -- house that are most likely to expose you to add. So there's there's multiple things in this process that require actually identifying where those estimated ten million lead service lines are in the country because they actually don't know right now. Different suite of treating that water just for ways of testing that water. Requirements to notify people if our water has asked justice to be clear this is the trump BP putting in new rules new regulations. It added that in addition it. It's the letting copper rule which is a major EPA regulation it's been under. Review for years and years. And they had they say that since the Flint crisis they really buckle down and and needed to get this. Eric Olson is with us as well he's from the National Resources Defense Council tracking. These water issues for communities and families they're great to see you soon as this and is this a positive step in your view. Well there are few things in here that are good the problem is that it's sort of putting a happy face on. Some really serious problems with the rule for example they're extending. The requirement the current requirement to pull out those lead pipes out of the ground. Currently they're supposed to be pulled out within thirteen years. If they're high levels of lead and there's stretching that out to 33 years so. Although there's some tweaks that might have some small benefit we're very concerned about basically more than doubling the amount of time. That it is allowed for the Wadi systems to take out those lead pipes so that is a worry that we have. Brian EPA had actually responded to act concerned by saying there were loopholes and the 7% requirement and the 3% it. Full pipe replacement notes some fascinating is this is being rolled out Eric were quickly before let you go what what can people concerned about lead in their water do this is obviously something we can't taster C. But give us some news we can use in terms of how would help protect ourselves. Other millions of people more than five and a half million people served by these systems that have problems and probably more than that so you can carry water tested you can. Contact a certified laboratory. Timing get your water tested for lead and you can also consider using a filter that is independently certified to remove land. But you have to install that right and you have to maintain it and change it correctly or else you can continue having problems. All right great to have you with hysterical since are we can talk longer thank you so much for coming in from the National Resources Defense Council. Stephanie yes thank you as always some ever seen news hour coming out of the EPA today finally. It is historic milestone we want to take note of today the city of Montgomery Alabama the State Capitol. In that state with its dual history of slavery and Jim Crow also. Being the birthplace of the civil rights movement this week elected the first African American mayor in that city's 200 year history. And Stephen Reid joins me now via Skype from Montgomery mayor reed it is great to see you congratulations on your victory. Has the victory sung in a name what do you make of the history of this moment for your city. There and I thank you for having me. Is a pleasant is being reviewed daily the mayor led the Montgomery Alabama. It is not on Kansas yet has been a whirlwind since late Tuesday night we. We're declared the winner and we've been going. Fast for pretty much since then but I think the historical significance of this is not lost on me. Nor my campaign would restarts understand as we were knocking on doors and as we're talking to people in churches. Community centers and just out. I in the streets here bow what this election was was really. And Bob dealers was important to them what we wanted to do to maintain. All of the opportunities here at the type of narrative who want to create. For the city among governments so. Born and raised in Montgomery I understand it I got a better lesson and it throughout the course of this campaign and I realized. You know what amazes so many people across this country. You know I was stunned to learn that Montgomery was one of just three major cities in the deep south that has not had an African American. Mayor in its history obviously you can cross Montgomery off the list now but what to what took so long. Yeah isn't paid any number of events I think really this has been some systemic things that have been in place. Always have not help are holding efforts here I think we've been very. Arcane and our approach to voting we don't have early voting we don't make it I accessible as most recent are relative to other communities I also think that in the past we've tried to you. Navigating that they Avalon of racial all. Politics in this and so on whether or not electing a black mayor. Might he actually worse when the city didn't see it with a man here. That may not have been doing when I won't want them to do I think the last couple may have had have been you know big of people. But I think they're already exists or a little bit different than mine and I think we were able to capitalize on the fact that. Are we get the message and we had need to momenta home. Through catapult us in this race we thought that Tom was right in probably witnesses say this read your first requested. Is not lost on me dead and 1619 the pros laser brought this country. And an 1819. City among Burma's founded and now it's win I think we're we're getting our first black mayor so that does have a lot of significance to me. And I certainly understand the importance of that. And though when you start today and with the other issues that I mention. I think Knowles systems networking plays the monster that was in place. And really held us back for some time. Because the city of Birmingham elected his first black mayor. In 97 not so. Alabama has seen that big cities and Alabama have seen nab a Montgomery hasn't been an out liar in that case. But now and out liar no more electing use Stephen Reid is the new mayor of Montgomery Alabama the city's first. African American mayor and its 200 year history of storied history. Mixed history slavery Jim Crow obviously civil rights history as well and those many years thank you so much for coming on the brief and sharing your story good block any of a lot of work ahead EU. I'm mr. mayor hoped to see you back years in time on ABC news live. Thank you so much integrated. And thanks to all of you for watching us on this Thursday here in a briefing room where her every day 330. PM eastern time also 530 and 630 hope you download the ABC news apathy are having marches live. On demand commercial free all day long right there plus the latest on the stories we've talked about today I'm Devin Dwyer Washington. Hope to see right back here tomorrow.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.