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Virginia Governor Apologizes for Racist Photo on 1984 Medical School Yearbook Page; Interview With Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL); Trump Administration Suspends Nuclear Treaty With Russia; Trump Calls Wall Negotiations Waste of Time; Democratic Senator Cory Booker Announces He's Running for President; 50+ Agencies Working to Secure Super Bowl. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired February 1, 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: Will the longtime Trump adviser heed her warning?
Declaring an emergency. A new threat from President Trump to go around Congress and use his executive powers to get funding for his border wall, and he hints an announcement may come around his State of the Union speech Tuesday. Will he follow through?
New arms race? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accuses the president of risking a new nuclear competition with Russia after he suspends a key weapons treaty with Moscow.
And super security. Heightened precautions ahead of the Super Bowl. We take you to the skies to see how the biggest weekend in sports is being secured.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: The breaking news tonight: The federal judge presiding over Roger Stone's case has barred the longtime Trump adviser and confidant from contacting potential witnesses and says she's considering a gag order.
She also warned Stone, who has given multiple interviews since his indictment last week, against treating this phase of the case -- and I'm quoting her now -- like a book tour.
We will talk about the breaking news and more with Congressman Mike Quigley of the Intelligence Committee -- that's the same committee to which Stone is accused of lying -- and former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara. And our correspondents and analysts are also standing by.
First, let's get the very latest on the breaking news.
Our political correspondent, Sara Murray, is joining us.
Sara, what was this warning from -- warning to Stone from the judge?
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Roger Stone has already been charged with obstruction, with making false statements and with witness tampering.
So when he was in court today, Judge Amy Berman Jackson wanted to make it very clear to Roger Stone that he was to have no contact with any potential witnesses or potential victims that might be engaged in this case. And she explained, obviously that includes phone calls, but it also means e-mails. It means text messages. It means Instagram. It means WhatsApp, anything encrypted or unencrypted.
Now, Roger Stone said -- sorry -- Roger Stone's attorneys were already provided a list of the people he should not contact from prosecutors, Wolf. Those prosecutors are going to provide a list to the judge under seal. So we will not see it. But the judge did want to make very sure that Roger Stone understood what she was saying.
She asked him if he understood. He said, "Yes, Your Honor."
BLITZER: Very significant.
I want to bring in our chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeffrey, this seems to be a running theme in this case.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it is.
And this judge is not to be trifled with on this issue. Judge Jackson is the same judge who revoked Paul Manafort's bail for precisely this reason, for, among other things, contacting witnesses, being in touch with them.
What makes this even more complicated for Stone is that several of the witnesses in this case are close associates of his. He's been in touch with these people. That's part of the case. And he is, as we all know, a very outspoken person. So his lawyers are really going to have to read him the riot act.
And Judge Jackson may yet declare a -- impose a gag order, just because he is such a public person.
BLITZER: And so, just to be precise, if, in fact, he goes ahead and contact any of these other witnesses, she could throw him in jail, like she did with Manafort.
TOOBIN: That's exactly the penalty.
And it's exactly what she will do. I don't think there's any doubt about this, especially since she went out of her way today to be very explicit and very specific about his obligations.
Now, at the moment, he's still allowed to talk generally about his case, to talk about politics. This is what he does for a living. But he's got to stay away from these individuals.
BLITZER: Why is -- Sara, why is she considering barring Stone from speaking about the case at all?
MURRAY: Well, she made note that there's obviously been a lot of media attention and that Roger Stone has already done a number of interviews. And she did acknowledge he does have a right to defend himself, and he may have felt it was necessary and even more to push back on his arrest and the situation surrounding that. She'd acknowledged that.
But she said, you have a First Amendment right. It is my right to ensure that you -- that you get a fair trial, that you get an unbiased jury. She said, this is a criminal proceeding and not a public relations campaign.
As you pointed out, she encouraged him not to treat the run-up to the trial as if it was a book tour. And she also pointed out that if he was making statements and there were inconsistencies in those statements, the special counsel's office could use those against him.
So she said it's not just for the good of selecting an unbiased jury. It's also for your own good essentially as we prepare for this trial. And the trial date could be a while off, Wolf. If the government suggested a potential trial date in October. That seemed to take the judge by surprise. She was saying she's hoping for something more in the July or August range, although they did not officially set a date in court today.
BLITZER: Yes, he's out on bail in the meantime.
Jeffrey Toobin, President Trump, he's denying that he's the one who was referred to as this mysterious person who gave an order, direction to a senior -- to a senior person in this -- in this Mueller indictment of Roger Stone.
Tell us about that.
TOOBIN: Well, in the indictment, there is a reference -- two references, actually, to a senior official in the Trump campaign who told someone else in the Trump campaign to tell Roger Stone, find out what's going on with WikiLeaks.
The question, of course, is, is that order-giver candidate Donald Trump? It certainly raises that possibility, because Trump and Stone go back to the 1980s. They have had a on-and-off-again friendship for all that time. They had been in touch at some point during the campaign.
Both of them have said publicly they did not communicate about WikiLeaks, but that's certainly a question that a lot of us would like to see a more definitive answer to.
BLITZER: I assume at one point we will get that definitive answer.
Jeffrey, thank you. Sara, thanks to you as well. President Trump's next move in his border wall showdown with
congressional Democrats could come as early as next week, with the president hinting he may declare a national emergency around the time of his State of the Union speech on Tuesday.
Let's go to our White House correspondent, Abby Phillip.
Abby, the president says he's going to make a big step in the next week or so.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right, Wolf, the president teasing what could be a big announcement next week, as he seems to come to terms with the likelihood that he won't get his border wall funding through congressional negotiators.
Now, President Trump is making it clear that he seems to have met his match in Nancy Pelosi, calling her a rigid negotiator in an interview with CBS that will air this weekend. And the president has also blamed Nancy Pelosi for preventing Democrats from endorsing his border wall.
And as negotiators try, as they have been for days and days, to get a deal, President Trump says he may not wait for them to come to one.
PHILLIP (voice-over): Tonight, President Trump venting his frustrations as Democrats stonewall his border wall, Trump once again dangling the prospect that he will go around Congress and build it anyway, even if a bipartisan group of lawmakers don't fund it.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will be looking at a national emergency, because I don't think anything's going to happen. I think the Democrats don't want border security.
PHILLIP: And teasing a potential announcement during the State of the Union address next week.
QUESTION: Are you saying now you expect to declare a national emergency?
TRUMP: I don't want to say, but you will hear the State of the Union and then you will see what happens right after the State of the Union, OK?
PHILLIP: As Democratic candidates jump into the 2020 presidential race to defeat him, Trump is accusing the party of playing politics.
TRUMP: They're only doing it for one very simple reason. It's one simple reason. Couldn't be simpler. Because they think it's good politics for 2020, because they say, maybe we can beat Trump, because this is a big issue.
PHILLIP: Trump also slamming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's criticism of the administration's decision to suspend an arms control deal they claim Russia has been violating for years. TRUMP: Honestly, I don't think she has a clue. I really don't. I don't think Nancy has a clue.
PHILLIP: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcing the suspension today.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Russia has jeopardized the United States' security interests, and we can no longer be restricted by the treaty, while Russia shamelessly violates it.
PHILLIP: Though Trump keeping the door open for negotiations on a new pact with Putin.
TRUMP: I hope that we're able to get everybody in a very big and beautiful room and do a new treaty that would be much better, because, certainly, I would like to see that.
PHILLIP: All this after the president sat down with "The New York Times" for a wide-ranging interview, where he downplayed any potential risk in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, claiming he got private assurances from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
TRUMP: He told the attorneys that I'm not a subject, I'm not a target of -- yes. Oh, yes.
PHILLIP: The president also explicitly denying he talked to his longtime adviser Roger Stone about stolen information that WikiLeaks released during the campaign.
QUESTION: Did you ever talk to him about WikiLeaks? Because that seems to be what Mueller was...
QUESTION: You never had a conversation with him about that?
PHILLIP: And contradicting his attorney Rudy Giuliani, who said negotiations with Russia about a Trump Tower in Moscow continued well into the campaign, Trump telling "The New York Times" he was wrong: "Rudy has been wrong a little bit."
President Trump, who normally denounces the media as being fake news, is also citing CNN's exclusive reporting that three phone calls his son Donald Trump Jr. made before and after the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton were not made to him.
Trump tweeting: "The big deal very mysterious Don Jr. telephone calls after the innocent Trump Tower meeting that the media and Dems said were made to his father, me, were just conclusively found not to be made to me. They were made to friends and business associates of Don. Really sad."
[18:10:05] Meantime, the economy continuing to give Trump a boost, a new jobs report on Friday showing a blockbuster 304,000 jobs were created in January, despite the 35-day government shutdown.
Trump also dodging what might have been a major embarrassment.
TRUMP: As Foxconn has discovered, there is no better place to build, hire and grow then right here in the United States.
PHILLIP: Just days after electronics manufacturer Foxconn said it was reconsidering plans to build a factory in Wisconsin, the company apparently changing course, after the CEO received a phone call from the president himself.
PHILLIP: And after weeks of finger-pointing at acrimony here in Washington, the White House is saying that President Trump's State of the Union address is going to strike an optimistic tone.
They say he's going to call on lawmakers to end decades of stalemate and build a bipartisan consensus on a number of issues, one of them being immigration.
But while administration officials won't say exactly what President Trump might announce next week, they have said that he will offer a way forward on the shutdown -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Abby, thank you, Abby Phillip over at the White House.
Let's get some more on all of this.
Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois is joining us. He's a member of the Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, thanks for joining us.
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you.
BLITZER: And, as you know, the president says he never spoke to Roger Stone about WikiLeaks. But we know from the Mueller indictment that a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone.
So how important is Roger Stone to the collusion portion of the Russia investigation?
QUIGLEY: I think he's evidence of that collusion.
What's striking is the timing of all these matters. Let's remember that the indictment alleges that This senior adviser reached out to someone to contact Roger Stone, let's go see what WikiLeaks is up to And what else they have, at about the same time that candidate Trump was asking the Russians to go after Hillary Clinton's e-mails, right?
So it's -- the fact that Mr. Stone also seemed to know that Mr. Podesta was next in the barrel. He seemed to know all these things ahead of time, and then later denied it when it was obviously embarrassing to him and the president of the United States.
BLITZER: The Senate Intelligence Committee has seen records now showing that it was not President Trump who Donald Trump Jr. was talking to on a blocked number just before and after that controversial 2016 Trump Tower meeting in New York with the Russians.
Have you seen any evidence on this issue?
QUIGLEY: Well, look, this is just one answer that we have asked for, for an extraordinary long period of time. And we weren't able to subpoena anything.
So now we know of 100 contacts, around 28 meetings, and 18 Trump associates reaching out to the Russians. So this is just one element that has been answered.
Obviously, what we really need is all the phone records of these people reaching out to Russians or their contacts or all their social media contacts, whatever means that they possibly are.
So we're glad to see one of these questions finally answered. But the fact is, we have met with a pattern of lies and obstruction for over two years now. We're going to have the opportunity to subpoena these records and find out the answer to all those questions.
BLITZER: Do you think Donald Trump Jr. testified truthfully when he said that he never told his father about that meeting at Trump Tower with Russian officials?
QUIGLEY: I think the most likely answer, knowing the president and his son's relationship, is what Steve Bannon said in the book about the president and his son.
He said there was nearly zero chance that the son didn't tell his dad immediately after the Trump Tower meeting. A very strong personality occupies the White House. I understand that. And it seems that the president's son understands that.
No one in this Trump campaign or the administration is going to do something so important, so potentially influential without either advising the president or seeking his counsel.
BLITZER: In an interview with "The New York Times," President Trump said that his lawyers have now spoken to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, and Rosenstein has told them that the president is not a target of the Mueller investigation.
Do you think that's accurate?
QUIGLEY: Well, first of all, I'm concerned about the contacts between the White House, his legal team and anyone handling this in the Justice Department.
We saw Mr. Whitaker this week talk about that, the fact that he had been fully briefed. It concerns me that these communications are taking place, perhaps tipping off the administration on things. That on both counts would be highly unethical.
There's absolutely no way of knowing exactly what's taking place. But I do think some of this could be a matter of the language that we use.
Understand, the special counsel is a man who follows the rules. And Justice Department rules say that a sitting president cannot be indicted. So, the fact that you can't be indicted probably means you're not the subject of a potential indictment. It doesn't mean that they're not uncovering criminal activity that leads into the Oval Office.
BLITZER: That is an important point, indeed.
Let's turn to the negotiations on border security, Congressman. President Trump says there's a good chance he will -- he will go ahead and declare a national emergency to go ahead and use other funds not appropriated specifically by Congress to go ahead and build a wall.
Do you think there's any deal Democrats can offer him that would avert that?
QUIGLEY: Let's try to get past this just one more time, because it seems the American public is being talked passed.
What the president says is that we want is border security. I guess what I equate it to now is, if we want security in our air, right, we don't build B-17 bombers from World War II. If we want border security, we don't build an old-fashioned technology, a $5 billion wall that can be walked around, gone under or gone over in a matter of minutes.
You give the border people what they need. And that is technology, sensors, heat-imaging cameras, roads that run parallel to the wall. And, by the way, if the president is so concerned about drug trafficking, 85 percent of those drugs that come through our border go right through our ports of entry.
Most of the cars and vehicles that go through aren't scanned. We have offered brand-new scanning equipment that actually works and a path to make sure that we're scanning all those vehicles.
Mr. President, you want border security, we will work with you. If you want outdated technology, you're talking to the wrong group.
BLITZER: Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois, thanks so much for joining us.
QUIGLEY: Any time. Thank you.
BLITZER: All right, just ahead, we're going to have more on the breaking news: sharp warnings and a possible gag order in the Roger Stone case. Plus, President Trump telling "The New York Times" that Rod Rosenstein
has assured his legal team that he's not a target of the Russia investigation. I will talk about that and more with the former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara There you see him.
We will be right back.
BLITZER: We're following breaking news in the case of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, including a possible gag order.
The former U.S. attorney our CNN senior legal analyst Preet Bharara is joining us right now.
Preet, as you know, the judge gave several warnings to Roger Stone today in court. She told him not to contact any potential witnesses. She said, this isn't a public relations campaign or a book tour. She warned him that, if he gives interviews, any inconsistencies in his story could be introduced as evidence.
So tell us about this. What does it tell you?
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Look, so this is a no- nonsense judge who doesn't want to hear nonsense coming out of the mouths of the parties to a litigation, a trial, a criminal trial that's going to occur in her courtroom.
And we have seen it before, as other folks on the show have mentioned, that she's very strong on these issues. You have an allegation in the indictment itself that you ordinarily don't have of witness tampering.
So the judge is trying to do I think a few things, one, make sure that the defendant knows that he needs to be careful and the things he says can be used against him. And it may not be wise to be blabbing all the time, on television and elsewhere.
Second, wanting to make sure that there's a fair trial. And people always understand that the defendant in a case is entitled to a fair trial. But the government's entitled to a fair trial also. So that's a consideration that comes into play when a judge decides to take the fairly extraordinary step of telling people not to speak about the case at all.
When Roger Stone is disparaging the prosecution and disparaging the circumstances under which his arrest took place, that all has the effect of potentially poisoning the jury pool. And probably what's also happening is she's sending a warning shot, so that she can see what the behavior is over the next week, before they make a final sort of application on the issue of whether or not there should be a gag order.
BLITZER: Yes, she is one tough judge. At the same time, Preet, CNN has learned that the phone calls Donald Trump Jr. had with a blocked phone number before and after that controversial 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians were not with his father.
How significant is that and does it tell us anything about whether the president actually knew about that meeting with the Russians?
BHARARA: I mean, that particular fact doesn't tell us, I think, anything.
I think, if there were people who jumped on the fact that there were phone calls made before and after the meeting to a blocked number, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that that was President Trump, I think that's -- they're probably licking their wounds right now a little bit, because you have got to be careful.
In case after case after case, we have found when there's news that's not specific, and it's not completely clear what the evidence shows, people should maybe hold their powder a little bit. So people should not now then move to some other kind of conclusion about what the absence of that fact now means.
It doesn't mean at a minimum that Donald Trump and his son didn't have a conversation about the meeting. Common sense still tells you that they likely did. But we have to wait and see what the evidence is. We have to wait and see what the special counsel finds. Maybe there were other calls, maybe there weren't.
But, again, as this case unfold, and as reporting happens, people need to continue to be careful to draw too immediate conclusions.
BLITZER: President Trump tells "The New York Times" that Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, has assured the president's legal team that he is not a target in the Russia investigation.
Do you think that has to do with the current Justice Department guidelines that a sitting president can't be indicted?
BHARARA: Well, if it's true -- and when we say, if it's true, that refers to reporting -- that's not 100 percent nailed down.
And sad to say, it also refers to anything the president says himself about the case or about virtually any subject. The fact that the president says it doesn't make it true, so I don't know that I believe that. It seems like an odd conversation to have had directly between Rosenstein and the president.
Elsewhere in that interview, the president suggests that it was a conversation between his lawyers and Rod Rosenstein. I don't know what the timing of that statement was. I don't know what the context of that statement was. It could be a lie. It could be a garble. It could be something in between. But if it is, in fact, true, it may be that the department, as you say, has taken the position that as a matter of definition someone who cannot be indicted under the guidelines cannot be a target of the investigation as a sort of definitional matter.
BLITZER: Yes, it's an important point.
The president also told "The New York Times," Preet, that his lawyer Rudy Giuliani has been wrong and incorrect in describing the conversations about a potential Trump Tower Moscow during that 2016 presidential campaign.
So here's a simple question. Why is the president being represented by someone who the president himself says has been wrong?
BHARARA: That is a -- that is a great question. It has been asked repeatedly. I'm sure we will be asking it again and again and again.
It boggles a lot of people's minds that you have somebody who's representing not just any high-profile client, but the sitting president of the United States, the most powerful person in the world, and by the client's own reckoning, that lawyer is making misstatements, and that lawyer has had to withdraw statements that he's made again and again and again, and sometimes make statements that are not in the interest of the client.
I don't understand why that representation continues. I don't understand why the president fires a bunch of other people who were actually competent, but retains this lawyer.
It may be -- and this is speculation a little bit outside of my lane of law -- but that he likes somebody who's fighting for him. He likes somebody who's punching back at reporters who suggest things that the president doesn't like.
And Rudy Giuliani is basically the TV lawyer, and the real lawyer or lawyers are operating behind the scenes.
BLITZER: Yes, it's not the first time that the president has criticized Rudy Giuliani going back at least a year.
Preet Bharara, thank you very much. We will continue this conversation.
BLITZER: Right now, I want to dig deeper into all of this.
Our correspondents and our analysts are with me right now.
Susan Hennessey, what do you -- what stood out to you today from that hearing involving Roger Stone in federal court here in Washington?
SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So I don't think it's at all surprising that the judge would be contemplating a gag order. This is Roger Stone, the man who was so traumatized by his arrest that he ran to just about every major news station in order to give an interview immediately afterwards.
So, no, I think the judge was clear. Like, this really is for his own good. It's sensible advice. I agree with sort of Preet's assessment that this was likely a warning shot.
I do think that the million-dollar question here is whether or not Stone is going to be able to comply with a gag order, if there actually is one. Before even going into court today, he sort of took to Instagram to say, this was the deep state trying to silence him.
At the end of the day, though, I think the most interesting thing about that appearance wasn't anything that Stone did or said or anything the judge did or said. It was the prosecutor. And that's that the individual who stood up and spoke on behalf of the government was the prosecutor from the D.C. U.S. attorney's office.
I do think that's an indication that the D.C. office, which is co- prosecuting this with the special counsel's office, is likely going to be leading this prosecution. And that is another sort of piece of evidence in the bucket that Robert Mueller expects for his investigation to be winding down sometime before the Stone -- before the Stone prosecution ends.
BLITZER: That's an important point.
Phil Mudd, the president also told "The New York Times," as you heard, that he never spoke to Roger Stone about WikiLeaks. He said he hadn't spoken to directly to the acting attorney general, although his lawyers were told that he's not a target of this investigation.
What do you make of that?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Look, I want facts. I don't want what the president says, because I'm not going to -- I'm going to tell you, that doesn't correspond with facts.
You saw the feds talk about how much data they picked up in Roger Stone's household. I can guarantee the first question you would have with that data is, draw a picture of the contacts around Roger Stone. The question -- and this is really important, Wolf -- is not just whether the president talked to Roger Stone.
When I look at the data in the house going back years, I want to know if there are people in the middle who maybe went over the White House -- Steve Bannon would be one of them -- who had contacts with Roger Stone and then themselves had contact with the president.
So, the president can say whatever he wants. I want to see what the data says. And I want to see if there was an intermediary before I believe that what the president said is true.
BLITZER: All right, everybody, stick around. Stand by, because there's breaking news we're following.
Virginia's governor now apologizing for a newly surfaced racist photo from his medical school yearbook. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[18:34:38] BLITZER: There's more breaking news this hour. The Democratic Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, is now apologizing for a photograph of two people, one in black face and one in a KKK hood and robe that appears on his 1984 medical school yearbook page. And, Nia, let me read his full statement that he just released moments ago.
Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensively.
I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now. This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine and in public service.
But I want to be clear. I understand how this decision shakes Virginians' faith in that commitment. I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work. The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginia has set for me when they elected me to be their governor.
It's an awful, awful picture. He says he is in that picture. He doesn't say if he is the one with black face or the one with the Ku Klux Klan robe and hood. But what's your reaction to this?
NIA-MALIKA HERDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I was talking to someone close to the situation. One of the things that's happening is black lawmakers are having an emergency meeting about this. They have been in this meeting for about an hour at this point. Apparently, Northam is telling people he doesn't quite remember the details of this photo. They don't quite know either which one he is in this photo.
One of the things this person said was sort of in defense of Northam. He is a great guy. It goes to show the kind of relationships that I think he has built up among African-Americans in Virginia. We, of course, know that the Lieutenant Governor himself is an African- American, Justin Fairfax. He has been in meetings as well about this. They are torn about what to do next.
They obviously know that this apology is out there. And it comes right as we have a Democratic Party, that on the one hand, has criticized the Republican Party, particularly Steve King, right, over some remarks that he made about white supremacy, criticizing the Republican Party and also touting their own diversity, right? This diverse field they have for 2020.
So they are in a position now where they have to figure out - I think democrats not only in Virginia but nationally, is do they call for the resignation of Northam, of this democratic Governor who, in some ways, ran as a centrist governor, someone who could go to a black church and fit in comfortably there. I think his pastor is African-American. So they've got some decisions to make. And we'll see what comes out of these meetings with black lawmakers that are happening right now.
BLITZER: Ron Brownstein, how do you see this playing out? Because if you remember, he was elected governor, beat republican Ed Gillespie in 2017, 54% to 45%. RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Look, this was now 15-year-old in 1964, right? This was a 25-year-old in 1984. And I think that reality is going to make this very difficult for Governor Northam in the long run. Impossible to predict exactly how other politicians in the state respond.
But I do think that at a moment when the Democratic Party, as Nia said, is - Today, Cory Booker announced his presidential campaign, two serious African-American candidates in the presidential race for the first time, a Hispanic candidate. The diversity of the party is - and the idea that it is standing for and defending an increasingly diverse America against the kind of arguments that President Trump I think is becoming integral to its identity. And so while it's always possible that Northam could try to top this out, I think, it's going to be hard for other democrats to defend him.
It's also worth noting Virginia is one of the last states where a governor can only serve one term. He's only been in office for one year but he is - the most he could forward is three years. And it would be - I don't know the answer if the Lieutenant Governor, a rising star, Justin Fairfax, replaces him. Could he run for reelection and then, in essence, be governor for seven years? That would be something that might ease the pain of a lot of democrats about moving down this road of moving him out.
BLITZER: And we'll check that out together with others. Phil, if you take a look at that yearbook page from his medical school, underneath that awful picture is a quote. There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world, so I think I'll have another beer.
PHIL MUDD, EX-DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF CIA COUNTERTERRORIST CENTER: Boy, I think this is going to be a tough one to get around. Let me give you a perspective on this that's a little different, and that is, we're in 2019. The ability of people in this country to look at somebody's past, partly because of social media, partly because of how quickly that can then be disseminated to an electorate is changing fundamentally. I think we're in about chapter two of social media. We've got a couple rules here.
Rule one, and I'm a sports fan, boy, we keep looking at when somebody gets drafted in the NBA, what he said on social media at 13. I think people are starting to say, maybe we shouldn't do that so much. On the other hand, I think Ron is right. If you are 25 years old putting this stuff out, there's a message to every kid out there, every 20- year-old, every 25-year-old. In this day and age, it's coming back at you. And I think this is going to hurt bad.
BLITZER: Yes. MUDD: It should.
HERDERSON: And the question is are there more images, right? I mean, he was clearly comfortable enough with this image to put it on his yearbook page, right?
This was his choice. So then he clearly, at this stage in his life, at 25, was comfortable enough with this image and wanted it to represent him as a sort of memorial to who he was for time and years to come. So I think one of the questions is, is there more to come with this image?
BLITZER: And it's hard to believe he doesn't remember this because that's something you clearly remember, especially if you are 25 years old.
HERDERSON: Unless he did it all the time.
BLITZER: Yes, all right. Hold on for a minute. I want to get Susan to weigh in on another sensitive subject we're covering right now.
An exchange that President Trump Susan had with the publisher of The New York Times, A. G. Sulzberger. Sulzberger he directly confronted the President about his attacks on the news media being the enemy of the American people, fake news. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARTHUR OCHS SULZBERGER JR., CHAIRMAN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: One of the things that's been really striking to me is as I talked to my colleagues around the globe, working in different countries, particularly working in countries where free press is already a tenuous thing. They say that they are increasingly of the belief that your rhetoric is creating a climate in which dictators and tyrants are able to employ your words in suppressing the free press. I'd urge you to reconsider these.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understand that.
SULZBERGER: but if you choose not to, I just - I want you to be aware of some of the consequences that I'm starting to see out there.
TRUMP: Would you say more so now than over the last five years?
TRUMP: Right now? I mean --
TRUMP: -- more so now than even a year ago?
BLITZER: Susan, what do you think? Are you surprised by the way the President reacted to that?
SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, it is it's absolutely - sorry - for the President to suggest - excuse me - that he was not - he is not aware that his rhetoric, it imperils the free press around the world. He has been warned about this over and over again. We had a national conversation after five journalists were slaughtered in their newsroom not 30 miles from here.
Members of our own media organization at CNN had bombs mailed. The idea that the President, who - I'll give him credit for his acting skills, does appear to be genuous, it sounds genuinely surprised. The notion he doesn't understand that his words have consequences, it's just ridiculous. He is aware and to continue to speak this way is, of course --
BLITZER: Nia - I want Nia to weigh in first. There's international leaders who have now accepted the phrase, fake news. Syrian President Bashar al Assad, we are living in a fake news era. The Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, fake news outlet. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, this is what we call fake news. And you know who says fake news all the time.
HERDERSON: Yes, I mean, it's Donald Trump. It's part of his brand. It's part of something he says when he doesn't agree with a story, when it puts him in a bad light. It's something he repeats over and over again. You even heard similar phrasing from Russians. Like if they don't like some of the reporting that's coming out about the Russia investigation, it's something that they use, and, clearly, it's something that has traveled. And you heard the President there being confronted with it.
BLITZER: Ron, go ahead.
BROWNSTEIN: I would say, what makes this especially disingenuous is that identifying enemies and positioning himself as the one force that stands between his supporters and all of these different kinds of forces that are against him is the essence of his political messaging and strategy. I mean, whether it is undocumented immigrants or the press or the deep state.
The core of what Trump sells is the idea that he alone will stand against all of the forces that he portrays as being against him. So for him to kind of turn around and say, well, I'm surprised that the press is seen as an enemy based on my language, that's the core of the language. That is the core of the message that he is offering that he alone is standing against all of these various enemies.
BLITZER: All right. Guys, I want everybody to stick around because there's more news we're following right now.
Senator Cory Booker joins the increasingly crowded field of democrats looking to take on President Trump in 2020.
[18:48:50] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Another Democrat is throwing a hat in the ring. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey is the latest to join the rapidly growing field of White House hopefuls looking to take on President Trump in 2020.
Our national correspondent Jason Carroll is joining us.
Jason, Booker plans to visit three key early primary states in the coming weeks.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, he's going to be hitting the road. He's going to be going to Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire.
The question now, Wolf, is does he have the right message for right now?
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: I got my B.A. from Stanford but my PhD on the streets of Newark.
CARROLL (voice-over): New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is standing outside his Newark home, the latest candidate to join an increasingly crowded 2020 Democratic field.
BOOKER: It's about time we get to the hard work of building this nation to be who we want us to be, our best values, our best ideals, the best of who we are.
CARROLL: Booker launching his campaign via social media on the first day of Black History Month.
BOOKER: Together, America, we will rise.
I'm Cory Booker and I'm running for president of the United States of America.
CARROLL: Part of a whirlwind media blitz from Instagram --
BOOKER: Don't let anybody ever tell you that hate thrives in this country.
[18:50:04] CARROLL: To an appearance on "The View".
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": It is raining candidates here on "The View."
CARROLL: As Democrats search for a candidate to take on President Donald Trump, Booker is offering a message of civility and unity.
BOOKER: We have people getting more and more ratings by tearing down the other people. That's not how I'm going to run this campaign.
CARROLL: In a wide open field, Booker says his path to politics is what distinguishes from the other candidates. Raised in the affluent suburbs of Northern New Jersey, Booker attended Stanford University where he also played football. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's tight end Cory Booker. Nice move into the
CARROLL: He's studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar before turning to politics. In 1998, Booker, then-29, became the youngest member of Newark City Council.
BOOKER: I'm Cory Booker.
CARROLL: Later ran for mayor, capturing the attention of filmmaker Marshall Curry who featured Booker in the documentary street fight.
MARSHALL CURRY, FILMMAKER: At the time that he was a city councilman, people were describing him as somebody who would probably become the first black president of America.
CARROLL: That 2002 bid failed. But he ran again and won. "Vogue" called him an urban superhero after he saved a neighbor from a burning house and rescued an abandoned dog. But his legacy as mayor is likely to be scrutinized as the campaign moves forward.
BOOKER: Before I got into elected office, when I helped somebody cross the street, people said I was a really nice guy. Now, when I help somebody cross the street, somebody in the back saying, oh, he's just trying to get a vote.
CARROLL: In 2013, Booker set his sights on a new position, senator. I caught up with him during that campaign.
(on camera): Did you ever dream of being president I president?
BOOKER: No, absolutely not. When people think your eyes off your immediate purpose and get distracted by position, they're not playing 100 percent. So, my goal is what's right before me.
CARROLL (voice-over: In the Senate, Booker has focused on criminal justice issues and gained national attention for his questioning during the Supreme Court hearings for Brett Kavanaugh.
BOOKER: This is about the closest I'll probably ever have in my life to an "I am Spartacus" moment.
CARROLL: Now, Booker is hoping to set himself up for another kind of moment.
BOOKER: We need leadership in this country that understand what patriotism means. And patriotism is love of country. And you can't love your country unless you love your fellow countrymen and women.
CARROLL: And, Wolf, while it's still early, you already have people like former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie coming out and saying Booker could be a serious problem for Trump. We'll see -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jason Carroll, reporting for us. Thank you very much. Much more on the news right after this.
[18:57:25] BLITZER: A huge security operation is being put in place to safeguard this weekend's Super Bowl in Atlanta.
CNN's Kaylee Hartung is on the scene for us.
Kaylee, dozens of agencies are now working together to make sure they can keep the Super Bowl safe. What are you seeing and what are you hearing?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. More than a million visitors are expected here the downtown Atlanta in the days surrounding the Super Bowl. We have seen beefed up security on the streets, K9 teams, officers on horseback. It's hard to miss the cement barriers and fences that have closed down roadways. They are valuable assets on the ground and in the sky, too.
HARTUNG (voice-over): This is an aerial view of Mercedes-Benz stadium, the home of Super Bowl LIII, courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The same officials known to patrol the U.S. border.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We consider the symbol to be a national security special event. This is a Sear 1, Level 1 event.
HARTUNG: That means more than 50 federal, state and local agencies are working together in terms of coordination, each with a specific role to play. The air and marine division of Customs and Border Protection, they are enforcing a flight restriction within a 30-mile radius of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta on Sunday.
(on camera): But there are exception for that no-fly zone.
DAVID GRANTHAM, AIR INTERSECTION AGENT, CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: Some of the aircraft will be allowed inside the TFR, some of the military aircraft, the law enforcement. Bu the key thing is everybody who is operating inside of her, the airliners and so forth, they've been cleared by us.
HARTUNG (voice-over): If any aircraft should breach the no fly zone, this Blackhawk, along six others, will work to spot it and intercept it. Fighter jets are on stand by if a threat arises.
GRANTHAM: It's a different mission but it's one we're very familiar with, intercepting aircraft, steering aircraft away from sensitive areas. This is what we do day in and day out.
HARTUNG: Last week, that Blackhawk UH-60 was on a counter drug mission in Puerto Rico. They tell me very likely next week, they could be back patrolling the border. Very different missions from Super Bowl security, but at the end of the day, a CBP Officer David Grantham told me, they are dealing with people and vehicles.
And, Wolf, at this time, officials say no credible or specific threats have been made here.
BLITZER: That's good to hear that. Kaylee, thank you very much.
And the countdown to the Super Bowl continues here tomorrow with "Kickoff in Atlanta: A CNN-Bleacher Report Special". That will include reports from David Briggs, Hine War and Coy Wire. That's tomorrow afternoon, 2:30 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WolfBlitzer, and tweet the show @CNNSitroom.
Thanks very much for watching. Enjoy your weekend. Have a fun Super Bowl.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.