Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Clashes with FBI Chief; Trump Loyalty Pledge; Nunes Memo Altered; Strzok Wanted to Reopen Investigation. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET
Aired February 1, 2018 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: State stuff. What's going to happen when Mueller comes out with his conclusions and all of this groundwork has been laid to give people an ability to say, you can't believe him. Then what happens to the administration of justice in this country?
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Chris, truly, one, I've said over and over again, I support 99.9 percent of the people in the FBI. I have been a strong FBI supporter. I even supported Jim Comey for many years.
But my point is, when I've seen what's happening here, I was one of the ones who didn't want this to come out because to me it is so significant and is so much in variance with standard FBI procedures.
As far as the -- you know, things being leaked out, how many people in this country thought that Donald Trump, for instance, was under investigation himself when Jim Comey went on national television, was talking about this investigation of the Trump campaign but refused to say what all of us on the Intelligence Committee knew, that Donald Trump was never ever the subject of that investigation. He refused to say that publically. So the public thought that Donald Trump was under investigation. They thought there was something there (ph).
I've been watching this for 18 months. I have not seen one bit of significant evidence come out showing impeachment. If it's there, it's there -- showing obstruction or collusion. If it's there, Bob Mueller will come out with it. I've never said a word -- a negative word about Bob Mueller. But I'm saying there are parts of this investigation, including when it began, which I think raised very, very serious questions. And that's why I wanted this memo to come out.
CUOMO: I understand. And, congressman, you're always welcome on the show to make the case to the American people.
KING: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: But you've known me a long time. I'm not biased. I'm going on what's out there. And there are grave concerns. I want the memo to come out. I'm a journalist. I want to read it. I want to see where you guys are coming from.
KING: Chris, come on, you came from the rich part of Queens. I know you.
CUOMO: Oh, please, I came from Hollis. 197th Street and Hillside.
KING: I came from Sunny Side. Actually (INAUDIBLE).
CUOMO: You came from where all the good looking guys came from. That head of hair would have never made it where I grew up, congressman. You would have been a constant target.
Be well and thank you for coming on. I appreciate you taking the opportunity.
KING: OK. You, too, Chris.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Are there only bald men from your part of town?
CUOMO: Every one of them is bald as an egg. Nobody with that nice a head of hair can walk around where I grew up.
CUOMO: He would have been a target. He's also much bigger than people think. So he would have been fine.
CAMEROTA: Got it.
All right, meanwhile, to this CNN exclusive.
Sources tell CNN that President Trump asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if he was, quote, on his team. Was the president asking for loyalty? Maybe Rod Rosenstein didn't think so. We have a debate. Ana Navarro here next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Is it ever appropriate for the president of the United States to demand the Department of Justice official or FBI director take a loyalty pledge?
[08:35:05] ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: I don't have any opinion about that, congressman. Nobody's asked me to take a loyalty pledge other than oath of office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right, that was Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein denying that President Trump demand any loyalty pledge. That was at a House hearing last December. But CNN has exclusive reporting that President Trump met with Rosenstein before that hearing and asked whether Rosenstein was on his team. Let's talk about President Trump's penchant for loyalty with CNN
political commentator Ana Navarro and CNN political commentator and former senior communications adviser for the Trump campaign, Jason Miller.
Great to see both of you.
So, Ana -- Ana -- Ana --
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Call me whatever you want.
CAMEROTA: I like that.
NAVARRO: I've been called much worse.
CAMEROTA: How do you explain that CNN has this reporting that seems to be at odds with what Rod Rosenstein said about whether he was asked for a loyalty pledge?
NAVARRO: Well, I'm not sure that it's at odds. I mean if you want to be -- you know, if you want to be nitpicking words, he wasn't asked for a loyalty pledge, he was asked whether he was on the team, which you can interpret as a loyalty pledge, but it's not specifically one. So here we are, you know, parsing words.
What it's not at odds with is what Donald Trump has been doing for the last year. We know that in January he told Comey that he expected loyalty. We know that in May he told Andy McCabe, who did you vote for. And now we know that in December he said to Rosenstein, what team are you on.
CAMEROTA: There's more than that. Here is the graphic of the six people who were asked some version of that. Rod Rosenstein, are you on my team. You have Dan Coats asked to lean on Comey. You have the NSA director, Mike Rogers, asked to publicly announce that there's been no collusion. You have Attorney General Jeff Sessions pushed to not recuse. You have then Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, as you said, asked if he was -- who he voted for. And FBI Director James Comey asked for his loyalty.
So, Jason, pattern of behavior?
JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Alisyn, good morning and happy paycheck increase day as millions of Americans are getting a nice big bump in their paychecks today.
Look, I think this is totally silly and I think it's one big effort to try to step on the president's State of the Union speech from Tuesday.
The fact of the matter is, is that Rod Rosenstein went in to Capitol Hill and raised his hand and said that he had never been asked a loyalty pledge from the president of the United States. And whether or not you like Rod Rosenstein, which there are certain things I think he's doing well, but certain things I think he's bumbling. The fact of the matter is, I don't think anyone questions his integrity and his honesty. It's a -- CAMEROTA: No, understood. I'm just asking, do you see -- I'm just only -- my only question, Jason, was, do you see a pattern of behavior here and are you comfortable with that from the president?
MILLER: I think the only pattern of behavior is that maybe he has some playful banter and that he chats with folks that are in his administration. But as far as the way that it's being set up here as it's some kind of loyalty pledge, no, not at all. Inside the --
CAMEROTA: How do you hear, are you on my team?
MILLER: Well, again, neither of us, or Ana, were in the room. The only person who was in the room that we have on the record saying it is Rod Rosenstein, who says he wasn't asked for any kind of loyalty pledge. So --
CAMEROTA: So you're -- you're disputing that it happened. But if it did happen, how do you hear, are you on my team?
MILLER: Well, don't know the -- don't know the context. Don't know the way that it was brought up. And even in the story said that we had some kind of response about, you know, we're all on your team or something like that. And so if Rosenstein had an issue with however things were maybe asked to him or maybe not, then he probably would have gone and said something or he would have caused a stink about it. And we haven't heard any of that.
But I think the fact that this happened back in December and then it magically comes out the day after the president's State of the Union speech. You know, on Monday I tweeted out, I'm hearing the speech is going to fantastic. I wonder what the deep state coms directors are coming up with. And then, boom, on Wednesday, somebody goes and leaks this out.
CAMEROTA: Can you believe, Ana, how the deep state has taken hold, that now people talk about this as though it's real?
NAVARRO: You see, I used to think the deep state was Louisiana when they were referring to it at least. And there's some song like that, you know. So, yes, I mean, how -- how else are you going to take, are you on my team, other than asking if it's a loyalty pledge?
And here's the problem. The problem is that back a year ago, when he was asking Comey a version of the same question, we were saying, well, you know, it's playful banter. It's Donald Trump being Donald Trump. He's a government neophyte. He knows not what he was doing.
But let's be real. When he's asking Rosenstein that, he's not asking him if they're going to go play golf together on the same team on Sunday at Mar-a-Lago. He's asking him for loyalty.
And it's one thing to have done it a year ago when he didn't know nothing. And it's not another thing when he knows everything. When he's known for a year that it is inappropriate. It is inappropriate to do it. The FBI, the Department of Justice, it is not a political arm of the White House. CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk about the other headline today, Jason, and
that's the Devin Nunes memo that was changed after the committee voted on it, and before it was sent to the White House. Are you comfortable with that? It breaks protocol that then the committee should have seen it again.
MILLER: Well, Congressman King, who was on just a moment ago, stole the line that I was going to use in pointing out the fact that 99.9 percent of the folks in this country involved with law enforcement, whether it be the FBI or DOJ or anything else, you show up to work every day, clerk any political thoughts or allegiances that might have at the door and don't get involved in any of this.
[08:40:12] But, Alisyn, something happened in 2016 where we saw the leadership, not the rank and file, not the people running field offices, but some of the leadership in Washington, D.C., at both the FBI and the DOJ, become highly politicized. And what I want is for all of -- I want all of the --
CAMEROTA: What do you mean? I mean what are you -- are -- are you talking about Peter Strzok?
MILLER: Well, I mean, all -- I point out --
CAMEROTA: Are you talking about -- what's the highly politicized thing that you've seen, other than James Comey went after Hillary Clinton's e-mails and she thinks that that's what lost her the election?
MILLER: Well, I would -- I would -- well, I'd say look at Loretta Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton in that magical tarmac meeting. Look at what happened with Comey. I mean -- and don't take my word for it. I mean look at what the Democrats' criticism of Director Comey. I mean you find any --
CAMEROTA: Right, but that's not what Devin Nunes is concerned about. He's not concerned that Hillary Clinton lost the election because of something James Comey did.
MILLER: But what I'm saying -- what I'm saying is that I want all of the information out there. And so whether it's the memo from Chairman Nunes, whether it be supporting information. You know what, have the Democrats put their memo out, also. Put all the information out and then let people go and make their own decision.
CAMEROTA: OK. Ana.
MILLER: I'm very much for transparency and openness. I want it all out there so the American public can see. If there were FISA abuses --
MILLER: Then let's see it.
MILLER: And if there weren't, then, you know what, then there will be egg on the face if not.
NAVARRO: What can -- what can I tell you -- what can I tell you, Alisyn, I am so old, I remember when Republicans used to be against adulterer presidents, against Russian oligarchs and Russian dictators and for the FBI and law enforcement. I guess things have changed nowadays.
CAMEROTA: It is a topsy turvy world that we're all living in and luckily have all of your analysis on. Thank you very much, Jason and Ana.
CUOMO: All right, convicted sexual abuser, disgraced former USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar back in court. Why? What is being said? You need to know, next.
[08:45:55] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."
Number one, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff accusing House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes of secretly altering a classified memo alleging FBI surveillance abuses before sending it to the White House. A Nunes spokesman calls those changes minor edits.
CUOMO: FBI Director Christopher Wray trying to stop the White House release of that controversial GOP intel memo. In a rare public warning, the FBI says it has, quote, grave concerns about the memo's accuracy.
CAMEROTA: CNN exclusively reporting that President Trump asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if he was, quote, on my team, during a December meeting at the White House.
CUOMO: Add Trey Gowdy's name to the list of Republican members of Congress not seeking re-election. The South Carolina congressman announcing he's not going to seek a fifth term. He becomes the ninth GOP chair to announce he's done. And, by the way, he was the man who did a lot of the work on this memo that's coming out.
CAMEROTA: Former USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar back in court today for his third and final sentencing hearing. He faces dozens more women who say he sexually abused them. The judge in the case reveals that 265 victims have now come forward.
CUOMO: For more on the "Five Things to Know", you can go to cnn.com/newday. And there you will find the latest.
CAMEROTA: OK. Fantastic.
We have a lot of good stuff coming up, including this.
President Trump taking on his own FBI and Justice Department leaders. What will happen if the president releases the controversial memo against the wishes of the FBI? We get "The Bottom Line," next.
[08:51:07] CUOMO: All right, more now on our exclusive report. Sources tell CNN, President Trump asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if he was on my team during a December meeting. Timing is important. It was a meeting right before Rosenstein went to testify to the House. Look at the list of people who fall into this apparent pattern of how the president addresses top intel officials. Rosenstein, Coats, Rogers, Comey, Sessions.
Let's get "The Bottom Line" from CNN political director David Chalian.
What is the significance of this headline and the one about Strzok, the FBI guy. It turns out he wanted to look at the e-mails that were on Anthony Weiner's laptop. He wanted to reopen that investigation.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, the significance of that second headline you're mentioning is obviously it upends the narrative that Strzok was this completely anti-Trump figure. So that clouds the messaging around Strzok that Republicans have been driving home, to help support this whole negotiation, by the way, that the FBI is not totally something to be trusted and calling into question the Mueller investigation itself. This is all part of trying to question the legitimacy of the Mueller investigation.
The first headline, I think it's a far more significant one. And the graphic that you put up, Chris, is astonishing. I mean look at how many people there are involved with the oversight of the investigation into President Trump. And he's leaning on all of them. Each one of these people.
So this is a moment where, yes, it's not -- it is a president who has no regard, obviously, for the traditional distance from the Justice Department or the FBI to conduct independent investigations, especially when related to investigating the White House. But use Donald Trump's own words. Just last week he told reporters, Chris, he was in John Kelly's office and he's on audiotape saying this, he's asked about McCabe and whether or not he asked him who he voted for and he just said, I don't get involved in that. I try to stay out of it. I know you don't believe that. Yes, we don't believe that because we learned yet a few days later you asked Rod Rosenstein if he's on your team.
CAMEROTA: I want to go to the Peter Strzok thing that you were talking about because I think it's really fascinating to just learn more about Peter Strzok because he's been so painted by the right as an anti- Trump partisan who was part of, you know, the deep state -- asked -- you know, trying to bring (ph) about (ph) --
CUOMO: And dammed by his text messages with Lisa Page --
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. So -- so --
CUOMO: Where he was attacking Trump. CAMEROTA: I agree. So I mean if you take the text messages on their
face, he was anti-Trump for sure. But at the same time, he was also investigating quite aggressively Hillary Clinton. And she -- I mean he helped draft that letter that James Comey sent to Congress, that Hillary Clinton blames for losing her the election.
CAMEROTA: So he's both -- you know, in other words, you have to keep both these things in your head at one time --
CAMEROTA: That there's a more complicated picture of what Peter Strzok was doing and other FBI officials than the way he's been depicted.
CHALIAN: And here's -- here's the complex picture. I mean, you are right, Hillary Clinton calls that letter, that Comey letter, determinative in the election outcome in her book. That's clearly her perspective on it.
But you are right about the complexity, Alisyn, because here's somebody who clearly was anti-Trump, clearly opposed to the notion of Donald Trump being commander in chief and president. It's made clear in these text messages. While at the same time, one's got to believe he believed he was doing his professional duty and seeing it through about this investigation into Hillary Clinton.
Is it possible that he could have political opinions but that his professional work doesn't have political motivations behind them? Seems to me that may be possible. I know it's not as clean a black- and-white picture that politicians would want to portray it to serve their purposes, but it seems to me that that might be the complexity here.
[08:55:04] CUOMO: David Chalian, it may be complex, but you made it very relatable. Thank you very much.
CHALIAN: Thanks, guys.
CUOMO: Now, tonight in prime, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, we're going to do a couple of different things. We're going to take a deep dive into what these concerns are about, but what are also the concerns about FBI practices. And we're going to have Joe Manchin on. Joe Manchin reached out his hand and you celebrated him for it yesterday, and then he got a smack down from the VP in his home district. We'll tell him -- we'll ask him how he feels now.
CAMEROTA: That's great. He's always a straight shooter when he's on with us. So it will be very interesting to hear how he's feeling about the vice president and everything else.
OK, "The Good Stuff," next.
CUOMO: Redeem yourself.
CUOMO: "Good Stuff." Boy, do we need it?
An act of kindness by a stranger captured on video. All right, the man is in Alabama. He takes off his jacket in frigid temperatures and puts it on a homeless man.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.
CUOMO: It did not end there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to go get you some food. I'll bring it back to you, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.
CUOMO: Get this. A woman in the same town also came to the aid of another man in need.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's waterproof. It's -- the lady from whoever, she's CSX jacket. It's waterproof. It's warm. Best jacket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[09:00:06] CUOMO: We do these stories for a very obvious reason. Alisyn and I always want to remind you, for all the ugly stuff, people are good and they do good things.