Return to Transcripts main page
AT THIS HOUR
Questions on Nunes Coordination with White House on Memo; Clinton "Regrets" Not Firing Aide; Train Carrying Lawmakers Hits Truck. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired January 31, 2018 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00:] REP. MIKE QUIGLEY, (D), ILLINOIS: I'll be candid with you. I don't -- I think I took him off guard, with all due respect, if that's possible at this point in time. I think he was rattled. I'm not sure he was answering the first questions candidly. And I think it was brought home when I specifically mentioned staff. So I fully believe that Chairman Nunes has not changed his tactics. He began this investigation as a subsidiary of the White House, as someone who was coordinating with them rather than being an independent investigator. The sad part is he is the chairman of the committee that's investigating the most important attack on our country's democracy in our lifetime.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: So, Congressman, to be clear, you are saying you do believe that Chairman Nunes worked with the White House coordinated with the White House to prepare this memo?
QUIGLEY: Here's why I say that. That's how the investigation began. I don't believe there's ever been a time when Chairman Nunes didn't believe his responsibilities in this investigation didn't rest with whatever the White House wanted him to do.
KEILAR: So do you think he did it or do you think there's a possibility he did it or do you think it's a question worth asking? Where are you on this?
QUIGLEY: Look, I have a belief that he was coordinating with the White House all along including on this memo. The fact that he reacted in the manner in which he did, and I suppose you had to be there to see his mannerisms and expressions, leads me to believe that he, again, wasn't being candid and the fact that he refused to answer another member of the committee's question about who was involved in working on this them memo. Look, there's reasonable belief that he was involved all the time.
KEILAR: Are you going to follow-up with him on this?
QUIGLEY: Well, my hope is that the American public and the press will follow-up with him on this and press the issue. It's certainly my intention to do so. We frankly don't have a lot of business meetings to have these opportunities, but we will next week when we formally ask the committee to release the minority memo which, point by point, will rebut the fiction of the majority memo I expect the White House to release shortly.
KEILAR: What do you think his goal is here with this memo?
QUIGLEY: I think the memo is part of a pattern to -- things have gotten very scary for them. Let's understand the context of this. What is the White House concern? There have now been four indictments in the Mueller investigation steams forward. At least two of those involve are cooperating, specifically General Flynn. That has to be very scary for the White House. So I think they're taking orders to try to do the only thing they have left. Discredit the very institutions that are investigating them. And I believe that they will trample on those institutions that keep us safe with little regard for the trust that has been established and the relationship. Again, that helps keep us safe. So I'll finish that thought by saying this. This in the final analysis rests on the speaker of the House. This is his responsibility ultimately. He can take Chairman Nunes to task and tell him he has to cooperate, he has to start working to help us find out what happened.
KEILAR: Congressman, CNN is reporting that the Democratic memo, the rebuttal argues that proper procedures were actually followed when obtaining the FISA warrant to look at Carter Page. In your reading of the memo, its underlying intelligence or any of your other work on the Intel Committee and your reading I would say of the Republican memo here, have you seen, and I know you can't speak about specifics, but have you seen evidence of any abuse of surveillance by the FBI?
QUIGLEY: In this case I have not. And I think it's important for us to recognize no investigation is perfect and we have to accept it warts and all. I will tell you I actually think they did a spectacular job on this under very trying circumstances.
KEILAR: I want to ask you a question about the FBI and the ongoing government review of something separate here, of its investigation of Hillary Clinton's e-mails. "The Washington Post" is reporting that after Clinton-related e-mails were found on the laptop of former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is the husband of a top Clinton aide, then Andrew McCabe, quote, "appeared not to act for about three weeks" when investigators requested to examine those e-mails. The inspector general is looking into this. Should your committee be looking into it?
QUIGLEY: I think we let the inspector general do their job and then I think we should investigate anything that merits our looking at. I think the concern I would have is the fact that there's a lot of rogue partisan stealth investigations that the Republicans are beginning, and I think the attempt there is to deflect and distract. I have absolutely no problem investigating what should be investigated on either side. I'm just concerned that their efforts and their timing will be more in line with the deflection and a distraction rather than to find out the truth about anything else.
And, oh, by the way, my other question that relates to your point to the chairman was about having the Justice Department and FBI review the minority memo before it's released. He said, blurted out, I'm not going to let them do this, we're investigating them, which was news to absolutely everyone on the commute.
[11:35:37] KEILAR: Very interesting.
Congressman Mike Quigley, thank you so much for that.
QUIGLEY: Anytime. Thank you.
KEILAR: Still ahead, just days after Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager told me that her boss made the wrong call by not firing an aide accused of harassment on the 2008 campaign, Clinton now says she regrets her decision. I'll be getting her former campaign manager's reaction next.
KEILAR: Hillary Clinton now says she regrets not firing a senior adviser accused of sexual harassment during her 2008 presidential campaign. In a lengthy Facebook post that came out four days after these allegations were first reported, Clinton wrote this. She said, "I very much understand the question I'm being asked as to why I let an employee keep his job despite his inappropriate workplace behavior. The short answer is this. If I had it to do again, I wouldn't."
Now, in 2007 during Clinton's first presidential campaign, here's what happened. A female staff her accused her faith adviser, this man here, Burns Strider, of touching her inappropriately, kissing her on the forehead, sending her suggestive e-mails among other accusations.
Clinton's then campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, told me earlier this week that she urged Clinton to fire Strider, but she was actually overruled.
She joins me once again for her reaction to the new Facebook post.
Patti, thank you so much for joining us about this.
[11:40:04] PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.
KEILAR: You told me Monday after the initial response on Twitter that Hillary Clinton had where she really didn't admit -- she did not at all admit wrongdoing. She didn't say she made a decision in light of new facts. You said to me then, "I wish she had said it was a wrong call." Here she has finally said if I had it to do again I wouldn't. What do you think?
SOLIS DOYLE: I'm happy. I'm really happy she put out this statement. She said exactly what I wanted to hear which is if I had to do it over again I'd fire him. I think she said what, you know, millions of women across the country and around the world who admire her wanted to hear. They wanted to hear her say I made the wrong call.
KEILAR: Have you spoken to her about this?
SOLIS DOYLE: I have not, but she knows exactly how I feel.
KEILAR: Yes. It was loud and clear two days ago.
Why do you think she did this with the timing? This was minutes before the State of the Union last night.
SOLIS DOYLE: Yes. I don't care. I mean, I don't care about the timing. I really don't. I just care that she came out and said she made a mistake and if she were to do it -- if the same circumstances presented themselves today, she would have fired him. That's really all I can ask for of her and that we can ask of anyone in this position.
KEILAR: Part of it felt a little bit, if I may, like a bit of a counter punch for her to do it right before the State of the Union, to contrast herself with President Trump, which is what so many supporters have said. They've said, look at this person who is accused of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and you're giving Hillary Clinton a hard time about this? That's what so many supporters have said. She seemed to be kind of making this point very clearly after this Facebook post. She then tweeted, after the State of the Union, "I wrote a Facebook post about a decision I made 10 years ago, what's changed, and on an issue, you didn't hear a single word about tonight. Take a look, encouraging people to look at it."
It's no coincidence she chose this timing to contrast herself.
SOLIS DOYLE: Look, we are in a moment obviously. The "Me Too" movement. We are re-evaluating the way we deal with sexual harassment in the workplace and sexual abuse. And we're having a very uncomfortable but necessary conversation about the gradations of the different offenses. Does the guy who kisses unwantedly a woman on the forehead or a subordinate on the forehead, is that the same as the guy who masturbates? Front of a subordinate? Both of them needs to be fired but one needs to be in jail. She's right, in all industries, in the media, in the entertainment industry, Congress and certainly in the White House. You know, I wish it had been a cleaner, "I made the wrong call," and not sort of --
KEILAR: That's very interesting.
SOLIS DOYLE: But, but she has a voice in this big conversation and she should have had this one, you know, statement, which I'm very proud of and very happy she did, and then be a voice in the bigger conversation.
KEILAR: And the final point to that, so she hits -- she actually -- you know what, Patti, we have some breaking news. Unfortunately, I have to break away from this.
A train carrying members of Congress to the GOP retreat in West Virginia reportedly hit a truck. This is what we're hearing from one GOP source. This is breaking news just in to CNN. As you can see, they were heading to West Virginia to go to the Greenbrier. The source is telling CNN this is unclear how many members were traveling on this train, but there were injuries. That's what we've been told. Sources said that members, quote, "hit the deck." A GOP aide just texted CNN's Jeremy Diamond. He said, "The train
carrying members of Congress to the GOP to West Virginia was in an accident. Apparently, the train hit the truck. Small injuries reported."
OK, so that's the text. Small injuries reported. This train was en route to the Greenbrier. Fill us in. What do we know?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, that's essentially what we know right now is that this was a train carrying a group of Republican Congressmen to this retreat in West Virginia. They left Union Station this morning. They were taking a train to Greenbrier West Virginia where this retreat is taking place. Unclear exactly where the accident happened as of yet. But what is clear is that, according to this Republican aide, whose congressman is actually on this train and was speaking with him on the phone, the train reportedly hit a truck at some point on its journey between Washington and Greenbrier, West Virginia. Some injuries were reported. The aide told me some doctors were tending to some of the injured members on that train. It's unclear as of now how serious the injuries are. The sense that I got from this aide was that the injuries were not too serious, but it is still early to be able to tell that. Again, this is second hand, but we have been told by multiple sources at this point that this has happened. Some congressmen who were on the train are also beginning to confirm that this accident actually took place. So we're going to have to wait for a little bit to get more details on exactly what the scope of the injuries are and how many of these Republican members of Congress were actually on this train.
This was one of the official modes of transportation taking members from Washington to this Republican retreat in West Virginia. So it could be a good chunk of the Republican congressional conference on that train.
[11:45:43] KEILAR: Jeremy, we have a tweet that has come from a Congressman Bradley Byrne, who was on this train. It said, "The train carrying our members to our retreat had a collision. But Rebecca and I are both OK." He's talking about his wife. That's very usual for spouses to come along on these retreats. "Security and doctors on board are helping secure the scene and treat injuries.
OK, security and doctors on board are helping to secure the scene and treat injuries."
So, Jeremy, unclear actually to me still, you said it sounded like injuries, but we honestly just don't know. We know they are serious enough to be treated but are we talking about bumps and bruises here? Are we talking about something different? What happened to the truck that the train appears to have hit. We don't know the answers to those questions.
DIAMOND: The sense I got from my source was that these were not life- threatening injuries. Again, we just don't know at this point how many different cars these members were in on this train and whether there could be smore serious injuries. But the sense we're getting -- I'm seeing a note from Congressman John Faso, who said, "I think everyone on the trap in is OK. I don't know for sure. It's a long train."
Some of the members of Congress are actually doctors as well. They may be among those treating some of the injured members on the train. And again, this may also be a train with nonmembers of Congress, so there could be other individuals on this train who might be more seriously injured. We just don't know. We're going to continue to monitor this obviously and we'll keep you updated -- Brianna?
KEILAR: Jeremy, I'm going to let you talk to some of your sources for a second. Please don't go far from the camera.
I do want to bring in Congressman Tom Reed, who we were just speaking to -- sorry, we were going to speak to him about policy and about the State of the Union.
Sir, now we're talking to you about this. You've been talking to your colleagues who were on the train.
KEILAR: Is that right? What can you tell us?
REP. TOM REED, (R), NEW YORK: Obviously, we're going to the retreat. And I'm back here at home and heard this news just as you all just heard it and reached out to some of my colleagues on the train. All reports I'm hearing from members that I was talking to indicate that it seems to be under control. Members are not reporting any serious injuries or anything like that. So obviously when you hear how your friends are potentially put in harm's way like that, that's something very concerning. So appreciate an opportunity to relay that information. Just keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they deal with this situation.
KEILAR: Of course.
REED: But no serious injuries.
KEILAR: Have they said anything about -
KEILAR: Have they said to you about what happened? So this report that we have is that this train carrying members of your conference to the retreat hit -- may have hit a truck. What are they relaying to you?
REED: Well, my understanding of the situation, just briefly and getting this information in real time, is that there was a truck that the train collided with. I believe a garbage truck. And obviously --
KEILAR: Garbage truck. Is that what you said?
REED: Yes. That's my understanding of it. But obviously, that's not good information for the individuals who may be in the truck. I would imagine that's a serious situation. But talking to our friends, when I hear that news, these are people I work with. These are people that are my peers. These are part of my family to a large degree. I'll just tell you, when you hear news like that, you obviously want to make sure they're OK and it sounds like they are.
KEILAR: Even here recently, we've had -- we've seen a big accident in the Pacific Northwest here in recent years. We experienced that terrible Amtrak derailment. These are the things that come to mind when you're so concerned, especially about these are as you said your colleagues.
REED: Yes. Absolutely. And obviously, when you're dealing with trains, when you're dealing with cars, airplanes, there's always a risk of an accident. What we have to do is make sure we mitigate those risks as much as possible. Times like this, you want to focus and make sure the people you know -- these are real human beings, and you want to make sure they're safe and sound. If someone's been injured in that truck, you have to think of them as individuals and hope everyone is OK.
[11:50:01] KEILAR: Congressman, if you can just let me -- Congressman, I'm going to read this, something one of our reporters, M.J. Lee -- was just able to talk to Congressman John Faso, currently on the train that crashed. He told her that he was actually, at this time when they spoke, looking at the truck that had crashed. According to some reports we heard from Congressman Reed there, from his colleagues, it appeared to be a garbage truck. Preliminarily, that's what was relayed to him. CNN has not officially confirmed that.
Faso says he was told, "Injuries are expected from people on the truck, not the train."
We know some people have been treated on the train for small injuries. We still do not know the status of the truck and passengers that may have been in this truck that this train hit, that this train crashed into.
Here's a quote from the Congressman. "There was, it looks like, a tractor trailer carrying trash that was hit by the train. I don't know that that crossing had guardrails or anything like that. I'm in the third car," is what he said, "but all we felt was a very loud crash, and the truck is -- I'm looking at it right now. It's on its side. There's trash strewn everywhere. Not really hearing definitively, but I'm hearing there are injuries for people in the truck. I think everyone on the train is OK. I don't know that for sure. It's a long train, but most of the concern is for the people outside. Seemed like there were two in the truck. This is Albemarle County in Virginia."
Congressman Greg Walden just tweeted as well. He said, "We're fine, but our train hit a garbage truck. Members with medical training are assisting the drivers of the truck."
Is this Congressman Walden's photo? Is that right? So this is a photo that Congressman Walden put out. You're seeing
there what looks like this tractor trailer, according to -- and you see also what is strewn about there, trash on the side of these tracks. You see people out there assisting. We see doors open to the tractor trailer. We do not know the status of those inside. There are concerns obviously about injuries there.
I want to bring in Sunlen Serfaty. She's on Capitol Hill. These are the members she covers day in, day out.
Normally, Sunlen, we're talking about policy, and this is a very unusual situation that we're seeing where these Republican members heading to what is normally a pretty quiet retreat, a party retreat in West Virginia, have -- they're on this train. They're on this train, and it has hit what appears to be a tractor trailer carrying, according to reports from some members of Congress on the train, trash.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And, Brianna, it's worth remembering this is an annual retreat, as you said. Typically, a time they leave Washington all together and go out and really have some good policy discussions within their party. That train they were on left Union Station earlier this morning, making the few-hour trek out to Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. Certainly those anecdotal tweets and quotes of congressmen and women on the train, certainly for the most part right now giving us key information on what's going on, trying to piece together what exactly happened.
Also worth noting that many congressmen and women bring their spouses to these sorts of retreats. So we know at least from one Congressman, he said he was traveling with his spouse. So certainly we not only want to know the status of all the members of Congress, but of course their spouses traveling out there as well.
Some of these anecdotal comments are quite powerful. One Congressman saying they heard a loud bang. That jives with what we heard from many other people on that train. It appears the train hit some sort of garbage truck. And the most important thing right now is the status of everyone on the train, were there injuries. It seems like at this hour, not any severe injuries from members traveling up there, but of course, still a lot to learn -- Brianna?
KEILAR: And I just want to recap for our viewers what we are looking at. This is a picture -- and please stay with me, Sunlen, as you have been in touch there and following various reports from Congress members.
This is a photo taken by Republican Congressman Greg Walden, who was just on that train, or was just on that train, carrying a number of members from the GOP House conference en route to Greenbriar, West Virginia, for the annual Republican -- or for this Republican retreat. So this was a train carrying members of Congress. It reportedly hit that truck that you see there on the left.
This is really the big question, although what we're hearing is sporadic reports from different members of Congress. Remember, this is a very long train. That's what they're saying. So we hear from members who are -- sorry, my producer is talking in my ear.
What are we seeing?
[11:55:14] Oh, Speaker Ryan, I'm being told, is on the train.
Is that coming from his office? That's what we're hearing?
So we're hearing from CNN's Dana Bash. She's confirmed the speaker is on the train. He is OK. That is what her sources are telling her.
So some of the positive news we're hearing here from both the speaker's office and from members of the Republican conference is that they believe people are OK on the train.
Now, of course, we haven't been able to account for everybody on the train, but it seems right now that the concern -- and this is another photo you're looking at from Congressman Greg Walden. The concern is for the people -- it seemed like there could be two people. That was the understanding of Walden. There could be two people who were in this truck, which reportedly is a tractor trailer carrying trash that you see strewn about there.
What's also really interesting that we're seeing from these photos is that it appears to be more of a residential area than the previous photo indicated. You're seeing there this is not far from what looks like a road that's adjacent to a number of residences.
We're hearing more information.
I want to go to Congressman French Hill. He's on the phone with us right now. He's on the train.
Sir, what can you tell us?
REP. FRENCH HILL, (R), ARKANSAS (via telephone): Well, the train is about 20 miles outside of Charlottesville in a rural, suburban area. It struck a garbage truck that was attempting to cross the tracks. The guardrails of that crossing were down. It was marked, and it was down, but the truck was struck by the train and overturned. The two people in the truck severely injured.
KEILAR: OK. So how were you able to ascertain that the two people in the truck were severely injured? Is that just what you were able to actually see, or did you hear that from someone else?
HILL: No, I'm looking at them right now. I mean, the train stopped just at the crossing after striking the truck and, fortunately, there were several members of Congress that are physicians, who were out immediately with the capitol police, able to provide first aid to the injured.
KEILAR: OK. So members who are doctors of your conference out there helping with capitol police.
You have eyes right now on two victims who were -- they were able to be taken out of the truck? Tell us what you see. HILL: They were thrown from the truck. And one appears to have been
stabilized. They're evacuated. The other one, I don't have eyes on right now.
KEILAR: OK. So one appears to have been stabilized and air evacuated. By a Medivac chopper? Were you able to see?
HILL: Yes, yes.
KEILAR: So they were actually thrown from the truck. And just to be clear, when you said the guardrails -- so the arms that would have indicated it's not safe to cross were down, and the truck was on the wrong side of them, right?
HILL: Well, that's obviously -- I didn't see that. The guardrails are down in place now.
KEILAR: They're down in place now, OK. So we're not actually able to determine at this point in time if they had been down at the point in time, but obviously, this truck was on the tracks as this train carrying GOP members.
Now, is it just GOP members of the House on this train, or are there other passengers on the train?
HILL: No, this was a train that was transporting the Republican conference to their planning retreat for the next two days.
KEILAR: OK. Tell me again. When you're looking out your window, what are you seeing at this point in time?
HILL: Well, you see a truck turned over on its side. The garbage in the back of truck was separated. The garbage bin is separated from the truck trailer, which is right near the crossing location. There appears to be two severely injured victims, one that appeared to be stabilized and was able to be picked up by helicopter, and one I don't know the status of.
KEILAR: OK, Congressman French Hill, if you could stay on --