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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN); Trump Agrees to Temporarily Reopen Government Without Any Wall Funding; Longtime Trump Confidant Roger Stone Indicted; Trump Caves on Wall, Agrees to Reopen Government on Same Day Mueller Indicts His Long-Time Ally Roger Stone; Mueller Indicts Trump Ally Roger Stone; Indictment: Stone Sought Stolen Emails From Wikileaks At The Direction Of A Senior Trump Campaign Official. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired January 25, 2019 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: art of the fail. President Trump capitulates in his shutdown showdown with Democrats, agreeing to temporarily reopen the government without any funding for his border wall. But his surprise retreat includes new threats.
Mueller gets Stone. Longtime Trump associate and adviser Roger Stone is arrested in an early morning raid, accused by special counsel Robert Mueller of obstruction, lying, witness tampering and more. But Stone is defiant, vowing he won't testify against President Trump.
And clear links. The Stone indictment reveals the most direct tie so far between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over the stolen e-mails that were released to damage Hillary Clinton. Who is the mystery Trump campaign figure the indictment says coordinated with Stone?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following multiple breaking stories, including President Trump caving to Democrats on his demand for border wall funding.
With chaos from the government shutdown spreading to some of the country's busiest airports today, the president backed down and agreed to end the government shutdown for now.
That came hours after his longtime adviser Roger Stone was indicted by the special counsel Robert Mueller's grand jury on charges that show a direct link between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, with Stone serving as an intermediary, on orders from a top unnamed campaign official.
We will talk about the breaking news this hour with Congressman Andre Carson of the Intelligence Committee, the same committee to which Stone is accused of lying, and former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara. And our correspondents of analysts are also standing by.
First, let's go to our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
Jim, this is truly a stunning setback on all fronts for the president.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is, Wolf.
President Trump just suffered one of the biggest tactical defeats of his political life, caving on his demand for a wall on the border as part of a deal to reopen the government. The president did agree to sign a short-term spending deal to get the government up and running. But that agreement could easily lead to another damaging shutdown in only a few weeks.
ACOSTA (voice-over): President Trump's demand for a wall came tumbling down, as he backed off in a standoff with Democrats over the government shutdown and made an unthinkable concession. He agreed to sign a spending bill without money for his border wall.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will sign a bill to open our government for three weeks, until February 15. I will make sure that all employees receive their back pay very quickly or as soon as possible. It will happen fast.
ACOSTA: But the president cautioned, the short-term agreement to reopen the government will only last three weeks, warning if he doesn't have his wall then, a shutdown could happen all over again, raising the prospect that he could declare a national emergency.
TRUMP: If we don't get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15 again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.
ACOSTA: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer welcomed the concession from the White House, but stated Democrats aren't about to give the president what he wants.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: I genuinely hope that this process can produce something that's good for the country and acceptable to both sides. We don't agree on some of the specifics of border security. Democrats are against the wall.
ACOSTA: The president didn't sound like he was giving up on his wall as he ad-libbed big portions of his remarks, arguing border barriers work.
TRUMP: I believe drugs, large percentages of which come through the southern border, will be cut by a number that nobody will believe. So let me be very clear. We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier. ACOSTA: At one point in the speech, Mr. Trump sounded as though he's
not dealing with reality, praising federal employees for not complaining about working without being paid.
TRUMP: You are fantastic people. You are incredible patriots. Many of you have suffered far greater than anyone but your families would know or understand. And not only did you not complain, but in many cases, you encouraged me to keep going because you care so much about our country and about its border security.
ACOSTA: But federal workers have been sounding the alarm about the shutdown's devastating effects, including the potential for an aviation disaster, with so many air traffic controllers pushed to the breaking point..
TRISH GILBERT, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION: We are already short-staffed, so now you have added the stress to air traffic controllers and their personal circumstances, and they're not sleeping at night. Now we're concerned that they're not fit for duty.
ACOSTA: The president's surrender on the shutdown also reveals a new political reality in Washington, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi all but forcing Mr. Trump to eat his own tweets, after he promised no cave just days ago.
All Democrats had to do was point to the video from last month.
TRUMP: I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not going to blame you for it.
ACOSTA: Now, a senior administration official says the administration is taking steps to make sure federal workers do receive their back pay as soon as possible. That may vary agency to agency.
But the other big question tonight is just how much political damage has been done to the president. Not only is there the president's cave on the shutdown. There is the indictment of his longtime adviser Roger Stone that we saw earlier in the day.
As one Trump adviser put it to me, Wolf, the White House is in a valley tonight. I did talk to one other senior White House official earlier this evening about what happens next week. Is the president going to give that State of the Union speech that was supposed to take place on Tuesday?
According to that senior White House official, we should talk to the House speaker -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, and she's indicating it's not necessarily going to happen on Tuesday, but it will happen at some point, I'm sure.
Jim Acosta, thank you very much.
Let's get some more on the Stone indictment right now. Our political correspondent, Sara Murray, has been reporting extensively on Stone.
And, Sara, Mueller's charges seem to show the clearest link yet between the Trump campaign, Roger Stone and WikiLeaks.
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
Roger Stone may not have been charged with conspiracy, but the indictment makes it very clear that he reached out time and time again or Trump campaign officials reached out time and time again to him. And it really shows a pattern of just how eager the Trump campaign was to get their hands on the information that was coming from WikiLeaks.
MURRAY (voice-over): Roger Stone reveling today in the post-arrest limelight, after his initial appearance before a judge in Florida.
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: As I have always said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
MURRAY: But only after the pre-dawn raid Stone hoped to avoid. FBI agent swarmed Stone's Fort Lauderdale home, arresting President Trump's longtime political adviser and friend, searching Stone's homes in Florida and New York.
STONE: They terrorized my wife, my dogs.
MURRAY: Hours later, Stone vowed to fight the charges against him.
STONE: I will plead not guilty to these charges. I will defeat them in court.
MURRAY: The indictment against Stone describes how he coordinated with senior Trump campaign officials to seek out stolen Democratic e- mails from WikiLeaks that could damage Hillary Clinton's campaign, and then he bragged about his contacts with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
STONE: I actually have communicated with Assange.
MURRAY: According to the indictment, Stone spoke to senior Trump campaign officials about WikiLeaks and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton campaign.
Stone was contacted by senior Trump campaign officials to inquire about future releases by WikiLeaks. Prosecutors also allege a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases. It's unclear who delivered those instructions and which officials Stone was in touch with about WikiLeaks.
At least one of them was Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and chief executive of the Trump campaign. But Stone was not charged with conspiracy. He faces one count of obstruction and five counts of making false statements, both related to his alleged lies before the House Intelligence Committee.
STONE: Any error I made in my testimony would be both immaterial and without intent.
MURRAY: He also faces one count of trying to tamper with testimony from New York radio host Randy Credico, at one point even threatening to steal Credico's dog.
Stone has claimed Credico was his back channel to WikiLeaks, which Credico denies. According to the indictment, Stone told Credico: "Stonewall it, plead the Fifth, anything to save the plan," amid references to Richard Nixon and a character in the "Godfather" movies.
A longtime political operative, Stone encouraged Trump to run for president and served as an adviser in the early months of Trump's presidential campaign. Today, Stone doubled down on his loyalty pledge.
STONE: There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president.
MURRAY: Now, as of today, Roger Stone was released on bond. We're expecting him to be here in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for his arraignment -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Stand by, Sara, because I want to bring in our justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, and our chief legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin, who's with us as well.
Shimon, Stone is now, what, the sixth Trump associate to be charged in Mueller's probe, but is this the clearest link yet between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, the efforts to use e-mails obtained by the Russians given to WikiLeaks, according to U.S. officials, to hurt the Clinton campaign?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
And according to this indictment, he is the link. He is the guy that was the intermediary between the campaign and WikiLeaks. Roger Stone, they say, was using intermediaries to communicate. But all of that information, according to this indictment, was going back to the campaign.
The campaign was asking him to find out more information about what WikiLeaks had, what they were up to. And the other thing that is very interesting is, we have always been asking questions of whether or not this was in any way connected. Did the Trump campaign have a heads-up that they were going to put out these -- the Podesta e-mails? Because it came within hours after the "Access Hollywood" tape surfaced. So certainly there's always been this question about, who was communicating with WikiLeaks? Was anyone. And this indictment clearly shows that it was Roger Stone.
BLITZER: As you know, Jeffrey, Stone was not charged with conspiracy.
But how close is all of this, all the information that we -- that we obtained today, how close is it to either conspiracy or collusion?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it is not a charge of conspiracy or collusion. And I think it's fair -- fair to point that out.
All of the charges relate to finding out what WikiLeaks is doing, and Trump campaign officials asking Stone to get more information, see what they're doing, find out when they're going to drop this.
But, to me, the most interesting part of the indictment is the repeated use of the passive voice, "Stone was instructed, Stone was told."
And if you read the context, just about the only person who could be giving those instructions is candidate Donald Trump. And that potentially puts Trump himself in the middle of this case.
BLITZER: That's an important point, Sara. And you have been way out in front of this story, because if you take a look at this indictment, at one point, it says, a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information might be out there to hurt the Hillary Clinton campaign.
MURRAY: That's right.
To say that there was first a senior official that got in touch with Stone, then there was a more senior official than that who made the direction, Roger Stone wasn't close with that many people in the Trump campaign once he was ousted from it, and certainly not that many senior people, but he was close with candidate Trump.
And Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, was asked about this today. Here is what she said to John Berman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You keep telling me you're clear on that. But then you will not answer whether it was the president who directed a senior Trump campaign official to contact Roger Stone.
And you may not know. You may not know. All I'm saying is, you can't..
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I actually have answered the question several times. You just don't like my answer. And those two things aren't the same.
BERMAN: No, no, no, no, you haven't told -- well, did the president know or not? Was it the president who made that direction or not?
HUCKABEE SANDERS: Once again, I haven't read this document.
HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm not an attorney. I'm not going to be able to get into the weeds on those specifics.
HUCKABEE SANDERS: What I can tell you are the charges brought against Mr. Stone have nothing to do with the president, have nothing to do with the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: So, we are now about 12 hours since Roger Stone was picked up at his house since we got the details of this indictment.
And there still is no clear answer from either the White House or the president's legal team about whether he was the person who made this direction. They have not answered that question, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, we're showing some exclusive video of that raid this morning, when the FBI agents showed up at Roger Stone's home in Fort Lauderdale around 6:00 a.m. Eastern, and go ahead, and go ahead and deal with this whole issue.
You were told last night, Sara -- and you were here in THE SITUATION ROOM -- by Stone's lawyers they didn't anticipate any indictment anytime soon. They clearly were in the dark.
MURRAY: They didn't anticipate an indictment.
I think they have wondered if it was going to come down because they knew their client was the target of an investigation. But Roger Stone and his lawyers really believed that he would have an opportunity to turn himself over.
And we learned through another filing from the special counsel's office the reason they wanted that indictment under seal and probably the reason they took such a heavy-handed approach when it came to confronting Roger Stone this morning was because they were concerned that he was going to flee or that he could perhaps destroy documents.
Again, Roger Stone has pretty much been under scrutiny for almost two years now. So I'm not sure why they suddenly thought that last night would be the night he would start destroying documents. But that is what they said in their filing, Wolf.
BLITZER: Very interesting point.
Roger Stone's lawyer may not have had a clue, but you guys certainly did have a clue about what was going on. We're grateful for all your great reporting, guys. Thank you very, very much.
A programming note: Roger Stone will be a guest of Chris Cuomo later tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.
In the meantime, let's get some more on all the breaking news.
Democratic Congressman Andre Carson of Indiana is joining us. He's a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us. We have lots to discuss.
I want to get to Roger Stone in just a moment.
But let me start with the shutdown. The president says that if he doesn't get a fair deal on border security funding over the next three weeks, he's either going to shut down the government again, or he will declare some sort of national emergency and use other funds from the Pentagon or disaster relief to go ahead and build a wall.
Are you willing to negotiate with him and give him some money over the next three weeks for border security, for some sort of wall funding or barrier or fence funding?
REP. ANDRE CARSON (D), INDIANA: Speaker Pelosi is a capable negotiator.
I think that Democrats want what's best for the American people. President Trump cannot get over his obsession with this wall. Today, Wolf, our office, along with the city of Indianapolis, Mayor Hogsett, and other NGOs and nonprofits, held a resources event for folks who have been furloughed and federal employees who haven't received their checks to come and get assistance.
And people are stressed, people are tired, people are fatigued, people have mortgages. And so to come to some kind of agreement or deal is the right thing to do. We have to take the wall out of it.
I think that we could look at a plan that provides technology in the form of radars and sensors, have more Border Patrol agents present. But to build a wall, symbolically, it's wrong. Physically, it's wrong. It's just wrong politically.
BLITZER: All right, let's go to Roger Stone right now, Congressman.
His attorney says -- and I'm quoting now -- "They found no Russian collusion, or they would have charged him with it."
Do you think that's true?
CARSON: Well, I think, if you look at Flynn, you look at Manafort, you look at Cohen, and now Roger Stone, it's clear that there are people in Trump's organization and team who feel as if they are above the law.
It's clear that they are not and they weren't. I'm very careful about using the language of collusion. But, look, to use Director Clapper's language, clearly, there was interaction with WikiLeaks, which has acted as a very hostile non-state intelligence service.
And that concerns me, and it concerns the rest of us on the HPSCI.
BLITZER: Yes. And Mike Pompeo, who's the secretary of state, when he was CIA director in the Trump administration, he says it's time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia.
And I know you're on the Intelligence Committee, so you follow that.
The special counsel, Robert Mueller, Congressman, he also writes -- and I'm quoting this in the indictment -- "A senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1" -- that's WikiLeaks -- "had regarding the Clinton campaign."
Do you have any thoughts on who that senior Trump campaign official is?
CARSON: I have great faith in Director Mueller. He's an accomplished investigator and law enforcement officer, fellow law enforcement officer.
One would think that that would be President Trump himself.
BLITZER: So, you're -- you don't know that for sure, but you suspect...
CARSON: I don't know it for sure, and I'm not saying it definitively.
But, as the investigation unfolds, we shall see.
BLITZER: Yes, we have been hearing that from many of your colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee as well.
The indictment, Congressman, also shows that in August of 2016 Jerome Corsi told Roger Stone about the -- quote -- "Game hackers are not what they're all about," and went on -- Corsi went on to say this.
He said: "Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC," Hillary Rodham Clinton, "old, memory bad, has stroke."
Do you read that as Corsi suggesting messaging in line with the Russian hackers?
CARSON: What I read into it is, someone set on disparaging Hillary Clinton's efforts, her accomplishments and kind of minimizing her.
And I see a degree of sexism. I see an effort to really attack and undermine a very formidable campaign. Unfortunately, in many ways, it was successful.
BLITZER: Roger Stone says he's falsely accused of lying to you and your fellow members of the House Intelligence Committee.
What's your reaction to that? CARSON: Clearly, as I said in the beginning of the talk, that there
are members of the Trump campaign who felt as if they were above the law, and so much that they could even lie to the Intelligence Committee.
But it's clear that anyone who lies to our committee will be met with grave repercussions.
BLITZER: And Adam Schiff, the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, made that clear today.
Congressman Andre Carson, thanks, as usual, for joining us.
CARSON: Always an honor, Wolf. Thank you.
BLITZER: The breaking news continues next.
We're going to have more on the indictment of Roger Stone. Could special counsel Robert Mueller pursue a charge of conspiracy down the road?
BLITZER: The breaking news tonight: a new indictment in special counsel's Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
Longtime Trump ally and adviser Roger Stone is charged with seven counts, including obstruction, lying and witness tampering. Mueller also accuses Stone of being the link between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, helping them coordinate on the stolen e-mails used to damage Hillary Clinton's campaign, those e-mails collected, according to U.S. intelligence, by the Russians, and then provided to WikiLeaks, seen by the U.S. intelligence community as a cutout.
Our senior legal analyst the former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara is joining us right now.
Preet, thanks so much for joining us.
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Sure.
BLITZER: As you know, Stone's lawyer says they found no collusion, or they would have charged him with it.
Do you think that's true? Or do you think the special counsel could pursue a charge of conspiracy down the road?
BHARARA: Well, that comment is wrong in several respects.
First of all, there's no crime of collusion. It's not a legal technical term. There is conspiracy. There's hacking. They're all sorts of other crimes, but it wouldn't be collusion. And as to the second part of the statement, we have seen before that
the mother team will bring charges in one instance and hold things back. And so it's not at all clear that they're not going to bring some further charges going into the future.
It is also the case that, although there's no conspiracy charge now of involvement on the part of Roger Stone in direct crimes being committed by the Russian agents or their -- people sort of coordinated with them, WikiLeaks, in bringing the information out to the public, there are hints of coordination.
You see repeatedly throughout the indictment that there are conversations between Roger Stone, usually through two intermediaries, Person 1 and Person 2, with Julian Assange to try to find out what information they had, on what timetable it was going to come out, and for it to have maximum damage.
So, obviously, the most extreme example on the spectrum of what bad conduct would be would be if there was direct evidence in this indictment that Roger Stone or someone who's an intermediary between Roger Stone and the others who have hacked the documents was in real time giving information about aiding and abetting, providing advice and/or giving instruction as to what should be hacked, and then what timetable, because we know that crime absolutely was committed.
The hacking is a serious crime. If those two things were happening -- were happening simultaneously, that obviously would be the most serious and direct and dramatic proof that there was this kind of crime that we would call conspiracy, others refer to casually as collusion.
What you have mostly evidence of here, which is still I think incredibly significant and really a big deal, but it's evidence of there being communications and coordination after the principal crime of hacking had taken place.
BLITZER: You make an important point, because, if he's convicted on all these seven counts, he's facing, what, potentially years and years in prison, right?
BHARARA: He is.
BLITZER: And so, in order to reduce that, that prison sentence, he would have to start cooperating with the special counsel. Right?
BHARARA: That's the chief way it's done. And we have all got an education -- I mean, not me, because I have done this work before, but the country has got an education in what it means to cooperate and what the effect of cooperation is on your potential sentence.
We all saw Roger Stone say, in very dramatic fashion on the courthouse steps today, that he does not intend to, as he put it, bear false witness against the president, that he believes in the president.
I have heard that before from other people, who say they will not cooperate, will not flip. So that's one part of the equation, that he seems dedicated to not doing that, although I will say a lot of the evidence here seems very, very slam-dunk.
And if he thinks he's going to prevail at trial against the Mueller team, then he's fooling himself in more ways than one.
But then the other side of the coin is, does Mueller really want him as a cooperating witness? We saw probably most dramatically with respect to Paul Manafort. Paul Manafort was charged in two indictments, went to trial on one, lost, found religion, decided he wanted to cooperate with the authorities.
And, as we saw in a document today, on a continuing basis, Paul Manafort continued to lie. And so the Mueller team had to say, we can't use you as a cooperator.
And from everything I have seen, both in documentaries and in newspaper articles and directly out of the mouth of Roger Stone himself, he is a worse, more unseemly, more inveterate liar than Paul Manafort.
And so the idea that you're going to use him, unless he's tremendously corroborated by other evidence, which then suggests you don't really need him if you have powerful other evidence, the idea that you're going to sign up Roger Stone in some capacity, where he would potentially have to testify the future trial, seems a little farfetched to me.
BLITZER: Yes, my own sense is, they don't really need him. They don't even want him to cooperate. They want to go ahead and try to convict him and send him to jail for several years.
The indictment, as you know, Preet, it lays out multiple occasions of contact between the Trump campaign and Roger Stone about what would be coming ahead in the WikiLeaks hacked e-mails.
And at one point, a senior Trump campaign official was directed, was directed, according to the indictment, to contact Stone about what information WikiLeaks had on the Clinton campaign.
What does that tell you about where Robert Mueller is heading with this investigation?
BHARARA: Well, that all depends on the question you have been asking throughout the program, which is, who was the campaign official and who directed that campaign official?
And there has been -- I have seen people speculate that that person would likely be someone like Donald Trump -- not someone like Donald Trump -- Donald Trump himself.
We have seen in the past number of weeks that people need to be very, very careful when they start using language like someone directed someone else to do something. We had that WikiLeaks -- I'm sorry -- the...
BHARARA: The BuzzFeed article last week that had everyone sort of in an uproar, because it claimed very flatly that President Trump had directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. It may be since it's in here. And by the way, it was not necessary for it to be in here. They could have simply said, "A campaign official reached out to Roger Stone to ask the particular question that's outlined in the indictment." You didn't need to say that that campaign official was directed by someone else. And I don't think it's in there unless Bob Mueller thinks that he has it completely nailed down and has demonstrable - a clear proof of it, because I don't think he has extraneous words in his indictments.
So maybe they had a version where they were going to say it was Donald Trump. That causes a lot of people to freak out a little bit in terms of expectations of what's going to happen. I find it curious. I tend to agree with those people who speculated and it's a speculation that that person is Donald Trump. But the fact that the Mueller team is careful about not putting anything in the indictment, I believe, unless they have it rock solid and locked down, that they choose to put it in when they didn't need to and that the speculation is obviously going to be that that person would be Donald Trump himself, I find it curious.
BLITZER: Very curious, indeed. Preet Bharara, as usual, thank you very much for that analysis.
We're going to dig deeper right now with our correspondents and our analysts. And, Jeffrey Toobin, let me start with you. If he wasn't charged specifically with conspiracy or coordination or collusion, whatever, you want to call it, why wasn't he so charged? Because, clearly, the document, the indictment seems to indicate there was a lot of coordination going on between the Russians and WikiLeaks and Roger Stone, his associates and the Trump campaign.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I'm not sure I read the document that extensive - I mean that clearly. I mean, what's very clear in the document is that Stone was tasked with finding out with what WikiLeaks was doing. He made efforts, a lot of efforts, to find out what was going on. He reported those efforts back to the Trump campaign, tried to find out even more of what they were doing. But the actual hacking, the actual removal of the documents or finding of the emails that went to WikiLeaks and then were distributed, he is not accused of that. And, in fact, there's not a lot of evidence to that effect.
So what he is accused of is bad enough but it is not - there is not evidence in this indictment or does not advertise evidence that Stone was involved in the hacking. He may be but it's not presented here in this document.
BLITZER: But, Laurie, do you think the indictment points to further indictments potentially down the road?
LAURIE JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: So here is the thing. To Jeffrey's point, the indictment lays out a clear cut case of witness tampering, obstruction of justice, false statements. It does not set forth a case of a wide ranging conspiracy to either solicit hacked emails, aiding and abetting stolen materials. And so if there's no conspiracy, that means there's no one on the other side of that conspiracy. And so I think we have to at least entertain the possibility that this is all we're going to see here, and that there isn't going to be some other indictment of some unnamed people who are referenced vaguely in these documents. But we still don't know who they are.
BLITZER: let me read from the indictment, David. After the July 22nd, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails by organization number one, that's WikiLeaks, a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information organization number one had regarding the Clinton campaign.
Do you think there are some pretty nervous people right now who worked in the Trump campaign who may be out there someplace as they watch all this unfold?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think there's a pretty nervous person in the White House residence. I think it's that specific. Certainly, I think there are some people associated with the Trump campaign, Wolf. But as Preet was just saying about exactly this passive voice and this notion of someone being directed, it seems there are very few people that would direct somebody to do something on the trump campaign relating to Roger Stone, knowing that a relationship exists, very few people, Donald Trump may be just one of them, maybe it's down to just one person then.
BLITZER: Do you think --
TOOBIN: Can I just add one thing about that?
BLITZER: Go ahead, Jeffrey.
TOOBIN: Is that it is not a crime for Donald Trump, say, to say to his campaign officials, go find out what Stone knows about WikiLeaks. Go see what he knows. Now, that is distasteful considering that WikiLeaks was dealing in stolen, hacked emails. It shows a sympathy for and a willingness to use the stolen material. But in and of itself, it's not a crime. I'm sure Donald Trump would rather not be said to have done this.
But I think it's important to make the point that even if that is Donald Trump, that's not a crime.
CHALIAN: But, Jeffrey, as you always say, this whole thing is not going to be adjudicated necessarily in a court of law. It's going to be adjudicated in a political process, potentially. And that what is and isn't a crime may not be the threshold. This information, if it's being sorted out through the impeachment process, is going to be central to what I would imagine would be a political argument that house managers would be building as part of the prosecution. TOOBIN: You're absolutely right that impeachment is a separate process, but it is usually based in the idea that the President, whether it's Bill Clinton or Donald Trump, violated the law. And even if it is Donald Trump who directed campaign officials to tell Stone to find out what was going on with WikiLeaks --
CHALIAN: There's nothing wrong with that.
TOOBIN: -- that I don't think is a crime. It's ugly, but it's not a crime.
BLITZER: Sara, you have been covering Roger Stone for a while. You know him. You understand him. If, in fact, Mueller is trying to squeeze him into cooperating, do you think he will flip?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think we saw a very defiant Roger Stone, as he has been throughout this process, insisting he is not going to testify against the President. And I do think that based on the way they treated him today, the fact that they decided to go through with waking him up, raiding his house, instead of offering him the opportunity to turn himself over. And what we have seen sort of throughout this indictment, it doesn't necessarily suggest that they may need him to cooperate. They may, in fact, be deciding, look, this is not someone who's ever going to cooperate against President Trump, we either have enough corroborating evidence on our own or this is as far as it can go because we're not planning on bringing charges against the President anyway. We know the guidance right now from DOJ is you can't indict a sitting President. We may end up with a report that says, look, there were a lot of campaign officials who walked right up to the line of collusion, right up to the line of conspiracy, did a lot of things that look bad and were essentially trying to solicit information that we know comes from a hostile, foreign government. But they didn't quite cross it.
BLITZER: It's interesting - go ahead, Jeffrey.
TOOBIN: Well, if I can just add one point, what I think is most significant about what the Mueller team did today was the search, not so much the arrest, because Roger Stone is not a danger to the community and I don't even think he is a danger to flee. But if you believe that Roger Stone is lying about his relationship with higher ups in the Trump campaign, the way you're going to find that out is by looking at his text, at his emails, at any documents he has in his house. And that's what a search like this is designed to get. If he is told a day in advance, you have to surrender, it's not that he's going to flee, the worry is that he is going to get rid of documents that implicate other people.
BLITZER: He has known Laura for a long time. He has said publicly for a long time he expected to be indicted. It wasn't just - he didn't know when. He was sort of - I think we're sort of surprised Sara has reported this. He hadn't been indicted yet. He was indicted obviously today. And Mueller and his team erring on the side of caution, they were concerned that if they would have let him show up and go through the indictment process, he might have tried to flee or destroy evidence. JARRETT: Sure. I mean, Sara's great reporting on all this shows pizza Fridays were back according to his associates. He had been previewing for quite a while that this could happen but we all just wondered when was that ball going to drop, and it was finally today. But in the court papers, as you mentioned, Wolf, the prosecutors made clear that one of the reasons they wanted to keep the indictment under seal, because it was actually returned by the Grand Jury yesterday, was the destruction of evidence point, to Jeffrey's point. So it wasn't just the fleeing. The worry was that if they made it public yesterday, he would have an opportunity to do something about it before they could arrest him.
BLITZER: Jeffrey, you wrote a very excellent article back in 2008 on Roger Stone for The New Yorker. You know him, you've interviewed him. What are the chances he'll flip, start to cooperate once he faces the prospect, if he is convicted? He's not a young guy, he's going to go to jail for years and years like Paul Manafort spent many years in jail. What are the chances he and his lawyers decide, you know what, we better cooperate to try to reduce that sentence?
TOOBIN: Wolf, I was with Roger Stone in that house two weeks ago. I mean, that's how long and how well I know Roger Stone, and I don't think he's going to flip. First of all, as Preet was saying, I don't think he's a particularly useful witness to Mueller, because to use a legal phrase, he is a famous BS artist and nothing he says is terribly believable. I think he'd rather put on a show at trial. And if he gets convicted, hope for a pardon.
It's also a different case than Manafort. It's not a money case. And even if Stone is convicted, he is not looking at the kind of time that Manafort is.
I mean, it could be a couple of years but it is not going to be ten years the way it is likely to be with Manafort.
BLITZER: Yes. Michael Cohen got three years. He is supposed to begin that sentence in March.
David, the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, she said today, the charges brought against Mr. Stone have nothing to do with the President. What do you make of that defense an official public defense from the White House?
CHALIAN: Well, I don't make much of it. I mean, I think it's pretty clear that this would not be in Mueller's sort of purview here if it didn't have something to do with the President, his campaign, the investigation into the coordination with Russians.
But, Wolf, in that interview, in that same interview where she tried to distance the President from Roger Stone in some way, which makes no sense, since we know the very long history between the two, she also was completely refusing to answer this fundamental question. She could not say yes or no that the President was somebody being referenced in these documents who directed a campaign staffer to go and get more information from Roger Stone about what WikiLeaks was doing. She would not rule him out in her answers today, whatsoever.
BLITZER: A lot of suspicion with the President because a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone. So a senior official has to be directed by someone who is more senior, and that raises the question who that senior is going to --
MURRAY: Running out of people.
CHALIAN: Reading Roger Stone and thinking about Michael Cohen's guilty plea, I know we talk a lot on the show every day about President Trump lying and you can go to the fact checker on the Washington Post and see all these untruths he tell. And so we get used to the fact that we live in this time of truth not being told to the American people.
But there is something to say that these two people, Michael Cohen and Roger Stone, unbelievably close to Donald Trump, he didn't make a political move in his life without consulting with both of these guys in the ten years leading up to his Presidential campaign, that they - one pled guilty, one is saying it's not true but is charged with it, lying to the United States Congress. This is something that the President of the United State associated with who these people think they were going to get away with and be okay lying to the United States Congress.
I know that may seem like small to some folks as we talk about a big Russian plot. But I think what the Department of Justice, what the Special Counsel is saying, that's a pretty significant no-no. And Donald Trump chose to associate himself very closely with folks that did that.
BLITZER: Yes, that's an important, very important point.
Sara, the official position of the U.S. government, including the Trump administration, is that WikiLeaks - and let's not forget this, WikiLeaks is cutout for a hostile foreign government, specifically Russia. I want you to listen to what the then CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, now the Secretary of State in the Trump administration, said about WikiLeaks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: It's time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service often embedded by state actors, like Russia. In January of this, our Intelligence Community determined Russian military intelligence, the GRU, had WikiLeaks to release data of U.S. victims that the GRU had obtained through cyber operations against the Democratic National Committee. The report also found that Russia's primary propaganda outlet, RT, has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Now, those are very, very stark statements from the Secretary. He was then the CIA Director, but now the Secretary of State.
MURRAY: Yes. I think that when we look at the charges Roger Stone is facing and we talked about how there's no conspiracy charge there, it's possible that one of the elements that's missing is any sort of knowledge or acknowledgement from Roger Stone or from members of the Trump campaign that this was, in fact, information that was coming from some kind of hostile foreign government. Maybe they couldn't prove that any of these people knew that this information was stolen, they didn't know it came from Russia or maybe they couldn't prove that that Roger Stone actually got any of this information early or ever actually passed anything on to the Trump campaign.
Now, the flip side of that is maybe there is superseding indictment coming, and they know all of this and we just don't have the information yet. It could be one of the two.
BLITZER: Laura, is that a good defense? Hold on, Jeffrey, for one second. Laura, is that a good defense for Roger Stone? I knew it was coming from WikiLeaks. I didn't know WikiLeaks was getting it from a hostile foreign government, like Russia.
JARRETT: It could be. It depends on what the charge is. I think you have to knowingly commit a crime, especially for something of that severity. To the point I think that Jeffrey has made before, there's so much puffery involved with how Roger Stone has operated throughout this entire thing. And so we've always sort of wondered how much did he actually know ahead of time versus how much did he put himself out there as someone who was all knowing. He repeatedly said he was in contact with Julian Assange, but was he actually in contact with Jualian Assange versus going through some intermediary?
BLITZER: Yes, go ahead.
MURRAY: As frustrating as it is for us to try figure this out, people like Randy Credico, Jerome Corsi, Roger Stone, all saying they had these WikiLeaks contacts, these Assange contacts.
And then now, all of a sudden, they're saying, "No, no, no. I may have talked about it but I didn't have them.
Imagine what it's like to be a prosecutor on the team for the last two years.
BLITZER: And I'm sure Mueller knows more.
Very quickly, Jeffrey, you want to make a point?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I just -- yes, it's true that maybe stone didn't know that WikiLeaks was getting these e- mails from Russia. But everyone knew they were stolen e-mails. And the idea that everyone, starting with the future president of the United States, was embracing WikiLeaks, I mean, that's bad enough.
BLITZER: Yes. All right, guys. Everybody, stick around, because we are getting more breaking news right now. We will go live to Capitol Hill where Congress is about to finish work on a bill to end, finally, the government shutdown.
[18:50:33] BLITZER: We have multiple breaking stories tonight. I quickly want to go to our congressional correspondent, Phil Mattingly, who's up on Capitol Hill. That's where a bill to end the five-week government shutdown is now working its way through Congress.
What's the very latest, Phil?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, in just a few minutes, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will walk down the hallway right behind me onto the House floor where she'll ask for a voice vote to pass that three-week continuing resolution to reopen the government, at least finish the congressional role in doing so, and, Wolf, what's kind of amazing is for 34, almost the entire 35 days, these two chambers, the United States Senate and the United States House, were unable or completely unwilling to reach an agreement to stop 800,000 workers from missing their federal paychecks, agencies from shutting down, airlines, coast guard, you name it.
And in a few short hours, not only do they reach an agreement, but they will soon sending that agreement to the president's desk. About an hour and a half ago, the U.S. Senate passed unanimously that three- week bill to reopen the government. The Senate -- the House is going to follow suit soon. And after the House does that, the speaker will then move over to a room about 40 feet away and enroll the bill, basically have the presiding officer sign the bill to send it over to the White House -- an official ceremony of sorts, but also officially marking the end of Congress' role in ending the longest shutdown in history.
After that, it will be sent to the White House for the president's signature. The president obviously said earlier today, he backs the deal. It's something that's a little bit up in question even as the bill was being finalized earlier today. So, this should end in about another hour or so.
But again, I want to underscore the fact for weeks on end, the House, the Senate, lawmakers in both parties couldn't end something they got themselves into with the president, and now, in a few short hours, it will be done. It should happen in about 10 or 15 minutes, we're told, when Nancy Pelosi, the speaker, will walk onto the floor and put an end to the shutdown. Obviously, the big question now is what happens next. We'll have three weeks to figure that out. For now, just a few short minutes, the government shutdown, at least from the congressional perspective, will be over.
BLITZER: Yes, it's intriguing that it's going to be passed unanimously. All the Republicans are on board, even though there's no money for the president's border wall.
Phil Mattingly, thank you very much.
There's more breaking news coming up. We have details of that dramatic raid and arrest of Roger Stone. How CNN got the scoop.
[18:57:31] BLITZER: Breaking news tonight. Longtime Trump ally and adviser Roger Stone indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller's grand jury and arrested in an early morning raid on his Florida home that CNN caught on camera.
Let's bring in our chief media correspondent, the host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter.
Brian, our crew was there to capture the raid as a result of some great reporting, some key clues and observations. A little luck at the same time.
Tell us how CNN got the scoop.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, even President Trump called this out and said on Twitter, who alerted CNN to be there? Right-wing websites, there's been a conspiracy theory about this today suggesting that Robert Mueller tipped us off.
Give me a break. We all know Robert Mueller does not leak. Journalists tried. They don't give information.
Instead, CNN was able to be there at the right place, at the right time, thanks, as you said, a combination of skill and luck. There were a number of clues. They were kind of hidden in plain sight that CNN reporters noticed over the past week. Clues about Mueller's office being busy today. Things being moved around on schedules.
We had known that in the past, other indictments had come down on Fridays. So as a result, CNN decided to send a crew to Ft. Lauderdale overnight, basically, in order to be ready just in case something happened this morning at Stone's house.
The crew arrived on 5:00 a.m. They saw the FBI pull up around 6:00 a.m. And I think we're all the better for it, Wolf, because it's useful, it's helpful that we can all see how this happens. You see how serious it was to see all these FBI agents arriving.
And it's also remarkable how this story links to the day's other big news about the shutdown.
These FBI agents, they were working without pay when they showed up at Stone's door, and you know who came up with the idea of the wall in the first place, the idea of this thought experiment, we're going to build a wall? It was Roger Stone. Three year -- four years ago, he suggested it to Trump. He's taking credit for it.
And as a result, we saw a shutdown, now it's over today. But it's remarkable, it's amazing how these two stories Stone and the shutdown, are actually linked.
BLITZER: Very interesting. I know you're going to have a lot more on all of this. I'm looking forward to it, Sunday morning, 11:00 a.m. Eastern, on "RELIABLE SOURCES".
STELTER: Thank you.
BLITZER: Tell us a little bit more.
STELTER: We're going to get into the story behind the story involving the shutdown. I think there's so much to be said about right-wing media's reaction to Trump's decision today. Everyone from "Breitbart", to the gateway pundit, to "Drudge", there's a lot of anger at the president coming from the right. And that's going to continue all weekend long. And that's going to be a big problem for the president, Wolf.
BLITZER: Eleven a.m. Eastern, Sunday morning. "RELIABLE SOURCES", we will all be watching.
Brian, thank you very much.
BLITZER: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.