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Trump Set to Approve Memo Release; Ryan Supports Democratic Memo Release; Dow Dives at Open; Father of Survivors Tries to Tackle Nassar; Countdown to Super Bowl. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired February 2, 2018 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Please answer the question. I'm asking, are you OK with the president who believes that part of why he should release something is because of how it makes him look?

REP. JODY HICE (R), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: I am OK with the memo becoming public because it exposes -- I'm good with the memo coming out because it exposes the FBI using their power for -- coming after a political opponent.

HARLOW: OK, that's not an answer to my question, but I have a few more I want to get through with you.

Your leadership, House Speaker Paul Ryan, just came out this morning through a statement and said that he -- for full transparency, he is now supporter of the Democrats memo, the Democrat rebuttal coming out. The argument has been made by others that that should come out at the same time that this Republican memo comes out, put it all out there if you want full transparency. Do you agree? Should this Republican memo wait to come out until the Democratic response can me out?

HICE: I'm all for -- I'm all for -- I'm all -- I'm all for it coming out. The process -- I -- from what I understand, the Democrat memo is going through the exact same process that the Republican one went through. I'm all for it coming out. I do think it's a damage control type thing. But I am all for both memos coming out and letting the American people sort through it and come to their own conclusions.

HARLOW: You call it damage control. But just to be clear, you haven't seen the Democratic memo, have you?

HICE: Yes, I have. Yes, I have. I read it Tuesday --

HARLOW: And you -- you don't buy it? You think it's just damage control?

HICE: Well, I think it's damage control. It's kind of barking up a whole different tree. But -- so that, in itself, it's not dealing with the issue of the Fourth Amendment. And I think, to me, that's what the issue is all about here, that we've got to get to the bottom line on.

HARLOW: Congressman, before I let you go, and I know you have a meeting in just a minute. In May of last year, about Special Counsel Bob Mueller leading the Russia probe, you said that he is, quote, well respected in Congress as well as across law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Do you think the president should sit down for an interview with Bob Mueller and his team?

HICE: You know, I really don't know. I did also express, you know, personally, my concerns of Mueller in all of this, and particularly with those that he surrounded himself around. And, again, you're going to see in the memo there's -- this -- the very same people who are trying to shield and protect and guard Hillary were the same ones then coming after the president. So I think --

HARLOW: So Mueller -- all right --

HICE: I would personally advise some caution in that. I don't -- I don't think it would be a good idea. But that's up to the president to decide.

HARLOW: All right, as you know, Bob Mueller is a Republican. Seventy- one percent of Americans want the president to sit down with Mueller and his team. Fifty-one percent of Republicans want him to. But you're standing by, at this point, you have no opinion on whether the president should sit down and just answer these questions? If there's nothing to hide, I guess, why not answer the questions?

HICE: Yes, that's -- that the point. Exactly. And I wouldn't have a problem if he does. I wouldn't have a problem if he didn't. That's something between him and Mueller that they'll work out whatever the decision is. I'm certainly not involved whatsoever in that decision- making process. So they will have to land that plane.

HARLOW: And are you supportive, finally of this legislation that has been proposed by a few different members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, to protect the special counsel if needed if there is any attempt to remove him?

HICE: Really, I've not seen the details of that legislation yet. I think it would be premature for me to give a specific answer yet. I'm still looking through it and don't know the details of it.

HARLOW: OK, congressman, we appreciate your time. And thanks for sticking around late for us.

HICE: Thank you very much.

HARLOW: OK, joining us now to discuss, Alex Burns, Karoun Demirjian and Caitlin Huey-Burns.

Karoun, to you. What did -- there was a lot of "I don't knows" from that Republican congressman. I don't know the details of the legislation to protect Mueller. I don't know if the president should sit down with him. What's your take?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, right now there's not all that many Republicans who feel a lot of urgency towards taking steps in Congress to protect Mueller. And, obviously, Democrats are accusing them of circling the wagons around the president right now. There are these bills that would put any presidential order to fire special counsel to a panel of three federal judges that would have to agree with the grounds for the decision.

But it's stalled. It's stalled for months and months and even after -- in the aftermath of their being, you know, discussions about -- the memo discussions, revelations about when Trump wanted to fire Mueller back over the summer, you didn't see any new urgency from Republican leaders and you've seen Mitch McConnell say, I don't think there's any threat to Mueller, so I don't see why I should take a legislative step to protect him when there's nobody that needs protecting. So that is kind of where we're at. We're there right now.

HARLOW: Yes.

DEMIRJIAN: And watching now the political -- the political winds blowing, though, as, you know, this memo is coming out, likely imminently, and we will see, because the president's already taking jabs at top officials and FBI and DOJ on Twitter. Clearly there's a lot of focus, focusing in on questions of Wray, questions of Rosenstein. And, obviously, the next name after those, when you're talking about the Russia probe, is Mueller. And so we don't know necessarily what's next going to happen, though clearly, in this environment, to take any steps to remove anybody is going to be a politically, hugely controversial thing.

[09:35:05] HARLOW: All right, everyone hold on. The market just opened and the Dow is way down. So hold those thoughts.

Dow down I think about 200 points. Can we pull up the big board, 222 points right now off of an incredibly strong job report.

What's going on?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN MONEY BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right, so this is a good news/bad news situation where the market sees this report, although it's strong, the market sees the bad things in this report. They're worried about -- investors are worried about inflation because what we learned from the jobs report today, the January jobs report, is wages jumped -- made the biggest jump in eight years. That's since the recession. So that means the economy is heating up. That the Fed is looking at these (INAUDIBLE) signs of the economy heating up. So you're seeing investors worry that the Fed is going to look to put the brakes a little bit on the economy, which could be that the Fed may be more aggressive in raising interest rates.

HARLOW: In raising rates. Right.

KOSIK: Last year, just for a comparison, the Fed raised rates only three times. The concern now is that the Fed could move to raise rates at an even faster pace (ph).

HARLOW: And we have a new head of the Fed, Jerome Powell --

KOSIK: Right.

HARLOW: Taking over from Janet Yellen, who's known to sort of go by her playbook, but we'll see.

KOSIK: But at the same time, he's known to go by her playbook, but we don't really know what he's going to do.

HARLOW: Yes.

KOSIK: He's a -- it's a different person driving the bus.

HARLOW: It's true.

KOSIK: We don't know what to expect.

HARLOW: Alison Kosik, appreciate that.

KOSIK: Sure. You bet.

HARLOW: Keep an eye on the market for us. Stay close.

Let's go back to our panel.

Guy, raise your hand for me if you think there is any chance that this Republican Nunes memo does not come out today or in the next few days. OK. So everyone thinks it's going to come out. It's just a matter of when it's going to come out.

But looking at this, I do think it's interesting, Alex, that Speaker Paul Ryan just came out, you know, an hour ago and said, look, in the name of transparency, put the Democrats memo out there, too. What he did not say is put them out at the same time. Significant?

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think it's very significant that Ryan is making that concession to transparency. We'll see if they go the rest of the way and actually do release the Democratic memo.

But, Poppy, this is one of the big risks that the president and the Republicans are taking -- that House Republicans are taking in going down this path because once you start saying that information is classified, needs to come out so the American people can see the truth, well, where does that stop? And you may be able to control the release of this one specific memo with a pretty narrow, tactical argument about transparency. But then there's the Democratic memo. Then there's the original FISA warrant application that some people are already calling to have released.

And it's very possible that this turns into a situation of vast unintended consequences for the White House. That they, the president in particular, believes that he can sort of help spin this larger investigation with a targeted release of information and a whole lot more beyond that ends upcoming out.

HARLOW: And, Caitlin, the significance of the attack that the president made this morning on -- I mean it's very clear, on Wray and Rosenstein, two of his own appointees, saying that these are two people who politicized this investigation to favor Democrats over Republicans. Hugely significant. But what does it mean? I mean do these guys last?

CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Absolutely, it's hugely significant because the question we've had during the process of discussing this memo is what the release of this memo and the contents of it would prompt the president to do. We know over the course of the past year that he has worked to undermine the investigation and discredit it. But that's mostly been in terms of rhetoric, right, talking about the way in which this investigation is a hoax and so forth.

My question is what the contents of this memo would prompt him to do in terms of perhaps firing Rosenstein, who, of course, is at the center of all of this and in charge of the special counsel. And also the -- what the president said today in those tweets does stand in contrast to what Paul Ryan was saying yesterday, which was that this has nothing to do with the Mueller investigation, that this is all about transparency and oversight from Congress over these agencies.

HARLOW: Right.

Guys, let's also bring in our Phil Mattingly. He is at the Republican retreat where we just spoke to that Republican congressman.

Phil, I mean this retreat was supposed to be about celebrating that they got tax reform through, looking ahead to the 2018 midterms. And it seems to be, from all the reporting I've read, completely overshadowed by this memo.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right. Look, you have the speaker and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, coming to a press conference yesterday, as you noted, wanting to tout what they did at the end of last year, their 2017 results, and then kind of lay out what they wanted their agenda to be going forward in 2018. And I think seven of the nine questions they got were related to Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes or the memo.

And I think every other person who has come -- you look behind me. This is kind of a press conference center where members are coming to talk about their various issues, whether it House Armed Services Committee Chairman Matt Thornberry, he's coming over to talk about defense spending. He ended up talking about the memo most of the time. Any member that seems to come over here ends up talking about the memo most of the time. And I can tell you it's frustrating to some of the reporters here who would like to talk about something else but the memo.

[09:40:05] But I think kind of the point, Poppy, that just underscores that this has overtaken everything else. This has become the sole issue. This is the issue that the speaker has to deal with on a daily basis, even though this isn't something that he wants to be dealing with on a daily basis. And I think it's worth noting that inside the House Republican conference, this was an organic movement. This was -- didn't come from the top down. This came from an intelligence chairman that was working on his own and then rank and file members who got behind this issue, really started pushing this issue to the forefront, and in some sense kind of cornering their leadership into having to support what they are going to do.

Poppy, I think one of the most interesting elements of the last three days and really the last couple weeks is, you compare the House Republicans, who are very enthused about this, very want this -- want this memo out for the most part, to the Senate Republicans who, a, haven't seen the memo, b, don't know what's inside the memo and, c, are kind of perplexed as to why this has become such a huge issue. I had one Senate Republican aide ask me a couple days ago, we're not totally sure why this has become such a thing, but we think we just kind of have to roll with it. So that's kind of the weird dynamic that's playing out right now. One thing people are not talking about, the Republican agenda in 2018. They're talking about the memo.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes. And, by the way, the government is going to run out of funding next week, something that they all have to figure out regardless of party.

Thank you very, very much to all of you, Alex Burns, Karoun Demirjian, Caitlin Huey-Burns and, of course Phil Mattingly.

So moments ago, stunning video, shocking, at the sentencing hearing of disgraced former USA Gymnastics Dr. Larry Nassar. This is the father of three of the victims rushing to tackle Nassar. A live report from outside of the courthouse, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:45:37] HARLOW: All right, I want to take you back to Michigan, to that courtroom, because there's breaking news at the trial of disgraced USA Gymnastics Dr. Larry Nassar, of course the man convicted of sexually assaulting, abusing hundreds of women. The father of three of those young women, who were all attacked and are all survivors, he tried to tackle Nassar. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would ask you to, as part of this sentencing, to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you do that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is not --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes or no?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you give me one minute?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know that I can't do that. That's not our --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm going to have to get someone --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay down. Stay down. Stay down (INAUDIBLE). Stay down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me have that son of a --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you (ph).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Our Jean Casarez is following the developments outside of the courtroom.

Jean, you could see to the side of him I believe his three daughters sitting there.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Three daughters were assaulted by Larry Nassar. And that's the most that I've heard of in any of these proceedings. And this is the third sentencing hearing. And so, obviously, law enforcement with him, Larry Nassar immediately taken out of the room for his own protection and his safety. They had just gotten back into session right now.

But here's what we know. His name is Randall Margraves. And two of his daughters, just as you're saying, Poppy, were in court. They already gave their victim impact statements this morning. So that's why the family was there. The third daughter had given her victim impact statement in Ingham County last week.

Now, he has not coming out. And right next to this courthouse is the jail, the local holding jail. And so we were actually told, one of our photo journalists was going inside the courthouse, and they said, he's not coming out. And so the judge then, before she started court again, reiterated the scariness of this. She said that her heart started beating, her legs started shaking, and this is not sending the proper message. We can't do this because Larry Nassar did bad things and we don't want others to engage in criminal conduct that will follow them for the rest of their lives, Poppy.

HARLOW: Jean, also we're learning more disgusting, incredibly disturbing details about Larry Nassar and what he said about what he did do these young women, saying he himself calling himself the body whisperer. Is that right?

CASAREZ: Well, Poppy, I was researching the court file in Ingham County and this is in regard to one of the prosecutions and was able to find a police interview that he did in 2014. And this is from Amanda Thomashow (ph), who filed the first Title IX complaint. And in that police interview, he says he's called the body whisper and he says, quote, use the force, feel it. But he says it was no ill intent. There was never any sexual conduct that he engaged in and just went all the way into his medical procedures with all the big medical terminology, Poppy.

HARLOW: Jean Casarez, such important reporting. Thank you for being there and for all you've done covering this case.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [09:53:21] HARLOW: All eyes will be on two quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Nick Foles, on Sunday. For Foles, the thought of playing in the Super Bowl seemed unimaginable just a couple of years ago.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report" from the greatest city on earth, Minneapolis.

Good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Poppy.

The quarterback matchup in the Super Bowl on Sunday really is David versus Goliath. You've got Tom Brady going for his sixth Super Bowl title. No one has ever won that many.

Then, on the other side, you've got Nick Foles, who nearly walked away from the game just a few years ago. And after the 2015 season, the Eagles traded Foles to the Rams and then he was released from the team. At the time, Foles said he contemplated retiring from the game. But after some soul searching he decided to come back and after a year with his former coach Andy Reid in Kansas City, Foles re-signed with the Eagles and he said it's a dream come true to be playing for the team again. And he's excited to lead the Eagles on the field for their biggest game ever.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK FOLES, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES QUARTERBACK: I don't know what the feelings will be like. I know at that moment it will be -- you know, it's the Super Bowl, so I know that the only time I'll feel it are in that moment. So I'm excited to just run out of the tunnel with my teammates, Super Bowl Sunday, and play that game. I have no idea what I'll feel. I know it will be a lot of excitement, but I look forward to that moment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: All right, we'll be getting you ready for the big game on Sunday. Be sure to tune in to CNN tomorrow afternoon, 2:30 Eastern, for kickoff in Minnesota. A CNN "Bleacher Report" special, Dave Briggs, former Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward and Coy Wire will be getting you ready for the big game.

Now, Poppy, you know, I know you are from the great state of Minnesota. And since I got here, you know, I've been trying -- I was trying to stay inside as much as possible since it's like negative 7 outdoors.

HARLOW: Oh, you did the zipline? Yay.

[09:55:04] SCHOLES: But -- yes, I did. I decided to go out on the adventure because you said it was so great outside and so many fun things to do. So I did the zipline. That's 15 stories across the Mississippi River --

HARLOW: I know. SCHOLES: And I'm afraid of heights, but I did it. I was pretty proud of myself. And I did some tubing as well. Some ice fishing. And I'll tell you what, I'm definitely warming up to the great state of Minnesota.

HARLOW: I am so proud of you. The great north, as we like to call it. Andy this is -- this is what I'm doing, OK. Can you see this? These are the horns.

SCHOLES: Oh, I see.

HARLOW: These are the horns for my Minnesota Vikings because they are the ultimate host this weekend, even if they're not in the big game. I am very proud of them. Love what that did to my hair. I'm very proud of them. But go Patriots, go Eagles. I have no dog in this fight.

Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right, good luck this weekend, Poppy.

HARLOW: Oh, thank you, my friend.

All right, switching gears, in a major way, waiting on the White House, the controversial memo that could be released at any moment. We're standing by for that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)