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Report: WH Jumper on Grounds For 15 Minutes; Trump's Wiretap Chaos Becomes International Incident; Fox News Responds to Trump's Spying Remark. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired March 17, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news here on CNN. We have two stories of major breaches involving the White House, first here CNN has confirmed a laptop belonging to go a secret service agent has been stolen, also a secret service source tells CNN the man who jumped the fence last weekend was actually on the ground at the White House apparently for 15 entire minutes. Apparently, he set of multiple alarms, managed to avoid other sensors. We have both stories, so let's bring in Shimon Prokupecz, CNN crime and justice producer in New York following one of these threads. I've got Jessica Schneider standing by in Washington on another. And Jonathan Wacrow is with us, CNN law enforcement analyst and former secret service agent under President Obama. Jessica, let me begin with you, when I first read this, number one to hop the fence at the white house, number two to be hiding for 15 minutes. How did that happen?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, it's amazing. The stunning detail coming out as to exact movements of that 26-year-old. We know he was on the ground for 15 minutes or so, his name Jonathan Tran. His movement stunning, he first climbed over a fence near the Treasury building, crossed East Executive Avenue, then jumped a gate near an unmanned guard post and made his way to the south side of the White House even walking through the first lady's garden, he set off one alarm but continue continued undetected. He was at an entrance just blow the President's bedroom. All of this coming to us from a secret service source. The secret service not yet commenting but the source tells us they have launched a full-scale mission assurance review after this lengthy breach.
BALDWIN: Thank you. This stolen laptop, what was on it?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Well the secret service is not really telling us what was on it. They just are telling us basically the information on it was encrypted so I think that's important for the public to know. There was information about Trump tower, specifically evacuation procedures so if something was to happen how do we get Trump out of the tower and the secret service had spent some time designing these plans in case something happened in case there was an emergency, so that is some of what was on the laptop. Also, told the bag that this laptop was in contained pins, sort of security pins that secret service agents wear and a couple pins were stolen from the bag, pins belonging to The Hillary Clinton detail, the UNGA, pins from the pope detail when he was here in New York and pins from the Trump security detail.
[15:35:00] So, that has concerned law enforcement here because that would sort of give someone who has these pins potentially access to secure area where they shouldn't have been. It's not clear if those pins are still current and whether or not the secret service is still using them. We're told earlier this month they had changed over the pins. But we were not told by the secret service if these are the newer pins they just issued or old pins, so those were some of things found. The laptop we're told is encrypted and a person wouldn't be able to begin access to it at least that's what the secret service believes, it's not clear whether this secret service agent was targeted. It doesn't believe, she was at her home. They do have video, the police and now looking at the video and trying to find this story.
BALDWIN: Jonathan Wacrow, you protected President Obama. Of the two have two stories which worries you more?
JONATHAN WACROW, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Well, what worries me the most is the intrusion into the White House grounds. The second story about the laptop and the pins, I mean to the point that was made earlier the laptop is encrypted. Very hard to get to anything on that device. The pins, from if reporting, again this is only from the reporting but it seems like those are more trinkets, not the protective pins of the credential of agents. The U.N. General Assembly are more trinkets and handed out by agents all the time so I'm less worried about that. 15 minutes on the White House grounds, undetected, that's the worry some.
BALDWIN: 15 minutes through the first lady's garden, a book for Trump, a letter for Trump and some mace. Got some explaining to do. Thank you.
More breaking news on this Friday afternoon. Back to the wiretap story, new developments in the President's wiretap claims it's become international news, but let's go to Michelle Kosinski, what happened?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: A British official was saying there were two, one was between the national advisors one was a phone call placed to the white house, but also a face to face conversation that took place between white house press secretary Sean Spicer and Kim Derek, they met up at the White House Saint Patrick's Day event. It's unclear whether it was plan or they just happened to bump into each other, sounds like the latter, but we know the discussions between both parties were not pleasant. These were serious discussions not very cordial. In fact, when I was talking to a British government official about did this get heated, something that needed to be discussed length, they pointed to the British intelligence service rarely if ever says anything publicly, usually their kinds of responses they give are you know we're not confirming or denying the matter.
The fact that they stepped out an issued a public statement about these claims calling them nonsense says it all and the government official said well you can draw your conclusions from that as to how these conversations went. The content though, people that I've been talking to have been really to get into that and they want to maintain the ability to have private discussions so nobody gave much detail as to what went on and even whether this was an apology or not. We have been hearing different things from different sores but one government official on the British said I talked to wouldn't characterize it as to detail as to what went on and even whether this was an apology or not. We have been hearing different things from different sores but one government official on the British said I talked to wouldn't characterize it as to whether it was a formal apology as some in the British press are reporting it was.
[15:40:00] BALDWIN: Thank you. We've got David Standing by, editor emeritus of the "World Policy Journal" and contributor to CNN's opinion page, and Aaron David Miller, also with us CNN global affairs analyst, Aaron David Miller, vice President and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. Gentlemen, great to have you on this Friday. The news Michelle was just reporting this back and forth between England and the White House over what Sean Spicer had alluded today and alluded to yesterday. This has become this incident now that traces to Britain.
DAVID ANDELMAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It does. And remember Britain is supposed to be really our best friend in Europe. Especially a Brexit Britain. Post Brexit Britain. She was the first European leader to pay her respects to Trump. Now all a sudden this country with the greatest long term relationship, the English-speaking world all together now all a sudden we're having a huge problem with the Brits. This is not a good thing to have. Imagine coming on the same day when the European leader who Trump made the greatest fun of during the entire campaign, this woman she was a great leader but basically throwing her country away to the immigrants and refugees, on this one day he should have one country in Europe he can really get along well with, now all a sudden what happens? There's been a parliamentary debate whether to rescind the invitation by the queen for Trump to come and visit her on a state visit to England. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.
BALDWIN: That's right downgraded from the pomp and circumstances, Eric, what do you think about this.
AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: America first is fine, Brooke, but it can't be America only, and if the President wants to make America great today he's going to have to rely on allies, and what I saw today with Angela Merkel. Clearly that relationship isn't going terribly well. It could have been a train wreck but I suspect since diplomacy is the get along, but in the same frame that awkward interaction between Angela Merkel and also saw an opportunity missed I think by the President to basically reach out to the Brits and while this incident will pass with the brits it seems to me that it's going to require I think a personal conversation between the President and the prime minister we cannot take this ally or frankly any of our allies for granted.
BALDWIN: Chancellor Merkel finally said it's great to talk to you and not about you, so many of the highlight reel or low light reel from what candidate Trump said about Angela Merkel. David, we talk to you about the wiretap headlines, what about NATO? What about the fact that Chancellor Merkel acknowledged that Trump said everyone needs the pay their fair share, 2 percent of GDP and she said yes, by 2024.
MILLER: She did seem to go two-thirds of the way to Donald Trump. She really tried to make nice to Trump. She said we're going to get there, just be patient. What really is important is that we are a reliable ally and that NATO and all of its members are reliable allies and basically what her defense minister has said in the past. America calm down, Trump, calm down, we will put in more money and trade is the other key issue, Christian Amanpour earlier on CNN pointed out quite correctly I thought that this was a headline coming out of this meeting. And namely that Merkel for the first time noted you like bilateral trade agreements. We are a bilateral trade agreement, we and Europe, we a single unitary nation, so negotiate with us, so she tried to find ways where they could actually meet in the middle and hopefully this may have sunk in to Trump as important going forward motion.
BALDWIN: Some say this is the most important meeting he's had thus far. Thank you.
Let's pivot back to this wiretap allegation, we have more breaking news because Manu Raju has been chasing around members around Capitol Hill and we are waiting for letter, documents from the D.O.J. house intel committee as to whether or not there's actually evidence for the President's claims. What are you hearing what's in the letter?
[15:45:00] MANU RAJU, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, two key members looking at this letter, Devin Nunes, the chairman to have house intel committee, Adam Schiff ranking Democrat. Both of them do not expect this letter will verify what President Trump has been saying that he's been wiretapped under the orders of President Barack Obama. I should caution these two men still have not reviewed this letter because actually the justice department gave one copy to the house intelligence department, I believe it's a classified copy, a hard copy and Adam Schiff was leaving town and Devin Nunes was going into the read the letter as well, but he too said I do not believe this letter is going to back up President Trump's claims. Just moments ago, from Angela Merkel. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIFORNIA: I'm not sure that we need in writing that which we are all too aware of and that is there's no basis of what the President has said and what the President repeated today and I have expressed my mortification with Angela Merkel for him to repeat once again in the presence of one of our most significant allies this outlandish claim that he was wiretapped by his pretty assessor ought to appall Americans and reflects so poorly on the United States around the world, this should have never been a topic of discussion, a flippant work, it's just mortifying.
RAJU: How confident are you that that letter is going to show there's no evidence of wiretapping?
SCHIFF: I'm absolutely confident. There's in question about this. The President's statements before and his tweets since leading right up today have no basis in fact. (END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So, Brooke, we'll see exactly what that letter says, but both Adam Schiff; Devin Nunes do not expect it will prove his claims that he was wiretapped, we will see if that rebuts him, but two very senior classified members here on Capitol Hill.
BALDWIN: Great job, Manu Raju on Capitol Hill. Coming up next, Fox News is responding to Trump after blaming the network for a British spying report, stand by for that. We'll be right back.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED GERMAN REPORTER: Mr. President, my question addressed to you.
Rejected White House claims of alleged wiretapping on you, on Trump tower, Trump organization or members of your campaign was -- that British intelligence was either responsible for it or involved in it, and after these claims are rejected, what is your take on that? Are there other suspects, or do you think it was a mistake to blame British intelligence for this, and by the way, my second question, are there from time to time tweets that you regret?
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Very seldom.
UNIDENTIFIED GERMAN REPORTER: So, you never would have --
TRUMP: Probably wouldn't be here right now. Very seldom. We have a tremendous group of people that listen and I can get around the media when the media doesn't tell the truth, so I like that. As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps. And just to finish your question, we said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn't make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on fox, and so you shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: All right, so back to our breaking news. We're following developments on President Trump's wiretap chaos including tensions between Britain and the U.S. over Sean Spicer citing a Fox News contributor making these wiretap surveillance claims. We're now hearing from Fox News. Let me just read this statement for you. "Fox is now saying Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano's commentary and knows of no news at any time that the President of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way. Full stop."
Michael Smerconish is with me. Just another slow news day. I mean, where to begin? What did you make of the President's comments in the joint news conference with chancellor Merkel and Fox News saying we can't confirm what the President is saying is truth? [15:55:00] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: The President is pretty
good on his feet but I don't think that one liner where he looked at Angela Merkel and said I guess we have something in common, I don't think that was extemporaneous. I think he was sitting on that for the appropriate moment because then of course it forces the reporting of the report that she was tapped under the watch of President Obama and it will give fuel and substance to these allegations even though not even fox will stand behind Judge Napolitano based on what you just said. To me, Brooke, the big takeaway is that now we know, regardless of what FBI Director Comey says on Monday, it's not going to impact what the President is going to say. He is going to continue with his M.O. which is to never be moving backward, to never give an inch, to always be the aggressor regardless of what the facts show.
BALDWIN: What is this really about to you?
SMERCONISH: Distraction. If you go back -- and you know, I paid very close attention to the chronology for this selfish reason. I was on the air that Saturday morning. I know what it's like to get up at 4:30 on a Saturday morning, having put together my CNN program the night before, and to immediately have to read in and pay attention to his twitter feed and see is he going to upset the apple cart and overturn the television program that we've just planned.
BALDWIN: Welcome to my day every day.
SMERCONISH: Right. Two weeks ago, tomorrow it was that kind of a morning. Wake up, read in, everything's cool, and then all of a sudden in the 6:00 a.m. hour he starts with the twitter storm. Well, what had just transpired? What had just transpired is that Jeff Sessions had said that he was going to recuse himself from any further investigation relative to this Russian issue. The news cycle wasn't going well for the President and we of course then start to play like kittens with the yarn on these tweets and all of a sudden, we spent two weeks talking about it.
BALDWIN: What happens Monday?
SMERCONISH: I think that on Monday I'd be floored at this stage if on Monday FBI Director Comey didn't say something other than there's no substance as far as he knows. If he takes a total pass I'd be very surprised. Didn't he really tip his hand already when he asked the justice department to please respond and refute to all of this? He's already told us what he believes and apparently, what he knows. Look, as you've been reporting and you just discussed in the last segment, the President could pick up the telephone if he really wanted to get to the bottom of this and find out whether there was a FISA warrant that in any way involved surveillance at the Trump tower.
BALDWIN: He has all the answers at his fingertips.
SMERCONISH: True. So instead, to answer your question, I think that come Monday Comey says what he says. We're now then looking to the White House again for, well, in light of what FBI Director Comey said does the President change his view, and he probably won't. I look at the whole pattern during the course of the campaign and in so many circumstances where you think unsubstantiated, unjustified by the facts, he doesn't back off. The only time I can remember him backing off was the "Access Hollywood" tape, and it really is -- James Hoeman from the "Washington Post" did a nice job on this. It really is straight from the Roy Cohn handbook, always be on the attack, always be the aggressor. Otherwise you're weak.
BALDWIN: Why do you think it's so hard for him to say sorry?
SMERCONISH: How about this, because it works. Say what you will, the man, he's the President of the United States. How do you think he got where he is, right? Notice when he's citing these sources, every time he cites these sources from conservative media outlets, he's reading from the oracles on which his base relies. Only when there are no longer any sources from which he can read because the conservative media has shut him out, only then will it become interesting as to what's he going to say now. Sean Spicer was able to get up there yesterday and read a laundry list of outlets that have reported on this. Well, when they dry up, the story will have to change.
BALDWIN: I can't wait to watch you tomorrow morning. You have all of this to talk about.
SMERCONISH: I have General Michael Hayden tomorrow.
SMERCONISH: Michael Hayden tomorrow is going to be my best. He's the perfect guest on this subject 9:00 tomorrow.
BALDWIN: 9:00 a.m., Michael Smerconish, thank you so much my friend.