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President Trump to Decide Whether or Not to Release Democratic Memo from House Intelligence Committee; Interview with Congressman Adam Schiff; Trump's Lawyers Worry Special Counsel Robert Mueller Could Catch Him Lying; Interview with Senator Chris Coons. Aired 8- 8:30a ET
Aired February 6, 2018 - 8:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So that's important to note. Let's talk about the Dow stocks. All of them just, look at that, all of them just got hammered yesterday. It doesn't matter what you sell or what you make, it got hammered yesterday. It looks like it's going to be like that again this morning.
So how bad is this? The Dow is now down about 8.5 percent from its most recent high. That's just within reach of a market correction. If you see, as bad as it looks for this morning, you will have hit a 10 percent technical correction.
So what's going on here? A couple of things here. The trigger was actually the jobs report Friday. Strong wage growth in particular, 2.9 percent. Wage inflation is good for workers but bad for corporate profits. And if inflation picks up too fast, the Federal Reserve may need to raise interest rates faster than planned.
And we're seeing a lot of these fears play out in the bond market. The biggest concern here, this selloff in bonds. Bond yields move opposite to the price and they hit a four-year high on Friday. As yields go up, bonds offer better returns, making it much more attractive to investors than risky stocks.
Even if you get this big selloff at the open, a few hundred points, even, there's no chance of a crash or a panic here. The conditions are still good, the economy is strong. The job market is strong. Corporate earnings are expected to be very, very good.
So you've got this disconnect. The economy is doing well. What the stock market is reflecting right now are concerns about inflation coming back, bond yields rising. Inflation, people are like what is inflation? We haven't seen it in so long. The Fed has kept interest rates so low. Wages haven't gone up, prices haven't gone up. There has been, to speak of, very little inflation in the economy.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Inflation cuts into corporate profits which is ultimately why you see stock prices go down. Inflation makes things harder for businesses ultimately. And if it gets bad, it hurts consumers as well. Home prices go up, consumer good go up, and your money doesn't go as far. That's a concern long term maybe.
ROMANS: And we haven't had any kind of inflation to speak of in the economy, and a little bit of inflation should be a good thing. But the stock market has gone up so far so long without a meaningful correction, this to me looks like this is that correction. Wall Street, the pros call it the pause that refreshes. You want the market to go down sometimes, not just go up all the time. There's also some technical selling here I think. When you look at how erratic things were in the afternoon, you have computers that have complicated models, when the bonds do this, they sell stocks here. So there's some of that happening. These aren't mom and pop investors who are playing here, by the way. These are the professionals and the computers that have been selling stocks terribly.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: This is refreshing. Thank you very much for that refreshing report, Christine. Stand by. We'll need you throughout the hour.
So President Trump has five days to decide if the Democratic rebuttal to the GOP memo about the alleged FBI surveillance abuses should become public. The House Intelligence Committee voting unanimously to release that rebuttal. Let's see what happens now. Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff. He's the ranking member of the House Intel Committee who drafted the rebuttal memo. Good morning, Congressman.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNICATIONS: Good morning. How are you?
CAMEROTA: I'm doing well. What if the president decides not to release your rebuttal?
SCHIFF: I think that's going to be very hard for the White House. They've tried to make the case that they released the Nunes memo in the interest of transparency. So to say, well, we don't want the country to see this I think is untenable.
What I'm more concerned about, Alisyn, is that they make political redactions, that is not redactions to protect sources or methods which we've asked the Department of Justice and FBI to do, but redactions to remove information they think is unfavorable to the president. That could be a real problem and that's our main concern at this point.
CAMEROTA: OK. And if that were true, then what would you do?
SCHIFF: We have limited recourse there. We could try to force a vote in the House of Representatives, or we can seek a declassification review with the FBI and the Department of Justice, but that takes time. So there aren't a lot of options, but it will certainly appear that the White House is trying to stonewall again if, in fact, they make these political redactions that we fear.
CAMEROTA: There are a couple of headlines from the Nunes memo I want to bounce off of you. And I know that this is a challenge because until the president says you can release it, I know your rebuttal is classified. But this is out there. And I want you to respond to it as best you can. One is that the deputy director of the FBI, McCabe, testified before your committee in December of 2017 that no surveillance warrant, no FISA court -- to the FISA court would have been sought without the Steele dossier information. Is that true?
SCHIFF: That's a characterization that's not what Director McCabe or deputy director McCabe actually said. While I can't go into the details of what he said, essentially his argument was we look at this as a complete whole. All the parts of the application are important. That was the sum and substance of what he said.
The broader point, though, was that the only parts of the dossier that were important were those that pertained to Carter Page. And some of that was corroborated. We set this out in our responsive memo. So it's very important for people to understand, contrary to the misleading impression that the GOP gives, the salacious video and all that stuff, that was not part of the FISA application. Only the parts pertinent to Carter Page. And there was corroboration of some of those very important elements.
CAMEROTA: That's really helpful. So you're saying that the FISA court never saw the most salacious, uncorroborated stuff?
SCHIFF: That's exactly right. And we'll be releasing the transcript of our hearing last night, and you can see members making this argument, that unfortunately it's because they haven't read the underlying materials. So one of my colleagues, for example, said, well, we don't have evidence that Michael Cohen made a trip to Prague. This is also part of the dossier. But that Michael Cohen trip to Prague wasn't part of the materials provided to the FISA court. So it's very disingenuous to say the FISA court was misled because we don't believe Michael Cohen went to Prague when that information was never provided to the court.
CAMEROTA: So listen, you say that the Nunes memo mischaracterizes the underlying information and what really happened. They say it doesn't. Would it be possible for you to release the actual Andrew McCabe testimony in front of your committee that was behind closed doors so everybody can read it with their own eyes?
SCHIFF: I think that frankly all the testimony that we're receiving ought to be released at the conclusion of our investigation. We'll have to make strategic judgments about when to release certain parts of the transcripts. The downside is, of course, you tell other witnesses what others are saying and that allows them potentially to align their version of events.
So as a general practice, I don't favor selective release of information. But we have made exceptions. The majority made exceptions for Carter Page and Erik Prince. We made exception with both of us who supported the release of Simpson's transcripts. But I think we do need to be concerned about selectively releasing testimony and the overall impact on the investigation.
CAMEROTA: Here is another headline from the Nunes memo that I want to get you to comment on. I'm taking directly from it. Here's an excerpt, "Neither the initial application in October of 2016 nor any of the renewals disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party campaign in funding Steele's efforts," the dossier, "even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior FBI officials." Why not tell the FISA court that this was paid for by the Clinton campaign and DNC?
SCHIFF: As we will send out in the response, the FBI did include information about a potential political bias. It did set out information about who had provided the support for Christopher Steele --
CAMEROTA: But is it true? Is the way they're characterizing it true, that the FISA court didn't know it was Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC?
SCHIFF: It's not true the FISA court didn't know of a political bias. They don't mention specific names. Even when they refer to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the FISA court application, they refer to them as candidate one and candidate two. This is how the masking process works, and it's deeply ironic that the same people who have been complaining of improper unmasking are suggesting that names should have been unmasked in the FISA application.
CAMEROTA: But did it say candidate one, let's just say, paid for this?
SCHIFF: I'm going to allow you to see exactly what they said when our release is declassified so you can see precisely what was represented to the FISA court. I think the FISA court was made well aware of the potential political bias of those that were supporting Christopher Steele's work. And at that point of course there was only one other candidate in the race. But I don't want to characterize it. I'd rather have you seen exactly what was said in the FISA application.
CAMEROTA: We'd sure like to see that.
The president seems disinclined to do anything you'd like him to do. He has gone after you personally. He tweeted about you. So are you worried whatever conflict you're having with the president will get in the way of some of this?
SCHIFF: I think the conflict is less about the president and myself and more about the president's concern over his legal liability and what is coming to light in terms of relationships between his campaign and the Russians. So I think he views this entirely through that prism, not any personal animosity between the two of us. Frankly, I think his tweets are demeaning to the presidency, and that's about it.
I am concerned, though, that in an effort to protect himself he will order political redactions. And this is why we've asked the department of justice and FBI separately to report to our committee anything they recommend to be redacted to protect sources and methods so we can separate any legitimate redactions from any politics that the White House may try to impose.
CAMEROTA: This is neither here nor there, but why do you have to share a nickname with Bob Corker and Marco Rubio and Kim Jong-un?
SCHIFF: The last nickname he gave me was sleazy Adam Schiff, now just little Adam Schiff which seems like an improvement? Does that mean he's warming up to me? It's also very confusing. CAMEROTA: Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you very much for explaining
all of that to us. John?
BERMAN: All right, let's bring in reporter and editor at large for CNN Politics Chris Cillizza, and associate editor for Real Clear Politics A.B. Stoddard. It was interesting as I was listening to the ranking member talk to Alisyn about the member. In a way they're pre- casting aspersions on what the White House will do, the Democrats are. We heard from Adam Schiff. We heard from Jim Himes last hour. They're suggesting I'm not so sure the president is going to release this. We think the president may stand in the way of this. Democrats I think like the political position they've put the president in, Chris.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: I think they should candidly. If you are for transparency, you are for transparency. That was the argument behind the release of the Nunes memo. That argument I think still holds true with the memo that Congressman Schiff wrote.
The issue here is one of those two memos affirmed, we know affirmed a belief that the president of the United States has that there is a deep state conspiracy within the FBI and the Justice Department that is out to sort of undermine him. The Schiff memo presumably does less of that. So is transparency still the goal even when the information contained within that memo is not directly supportive of what the president already believes.
CAMEROTA: A.B., if what Congressman Schiff just said ends up being true when and if this is released, that in the FISA warrant they were referring to candidate one and candidate two as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton or vice versa, then the Nunes memo falls apart. The headline that the FISA court was denied information that Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid for the dossier, then that falls apart.
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Also, Congressman Nunes has now admitted there was a footnote in which this political bias was reported. And so he's having to explain that. This was an overbuilt, overhyped memo. And when you overhype something it has to be a blockbuster, and it wasn't. and so now that's why you heard Congressman Collins say this morning that they're going to have to have a rebuttal to the rebuttal, because John is right. The president is sort of in a box here. He either blocks the memo or he releases it and it makes the Nunes -- weakens the Nunes memo even further. Anyone knows that it's important, also what Congressman Schiff just said, that there's only parts of the dossier that were used in the FISA application, not the entire thing.
CAMEROTA: That's really important. That's really important, because they always say this dodgy dossier, the really more scandalous, sensational stuff. And I hadn't heard that --
BERMAN: I actually hadn't heard that yet. That I think was news. That was very interesting.
STODDARD: But I also hope, and I don't know what's in the Schiff memo, obviously, the Democrats memo, But I do hope people have been googling the FISA warrant process and learning a bit about how filled with backstops and traps it is, how many people would have to get together to conspire to ruin their own careers to cook up a fake basis, underlying basis for a FISA warrant application. We're going to hear more about the other underlying intelligence that made up the bulk of that application.
But also in the end, when you think about opposition research and the fact that investigations into -- looking into Hillary Clinton's server and what she did at the State Department with regards to the Clinton foundation was based a lot on Peter Schweizer's book "Clinton Cash," really opposition research is worth nothing if it isn't true. I'm looking forward to the Democrats' findings and see what the White House does with it, but people need to learn a lot about how rigorous the process is of getting a FISA application turned into a warrant for surveillance or renewed three months later.
BERMAN: It's interesting, the memo wars, if you will, really are a sideshow to what is the larger issue which is the Mueller investigation into possible collusion and now obstruction as well. And there's this sort of major overnight development, Chris, "The New York Times" reporting the president's lawyers don't want him to testify because they're afraid he might get caught lying. The fear among the president's lawyers, almost stated directly to "The New York Times," is they're afraid he might get caught lying or might say something that puts him in legal jeopardy to the special counsel's lawyers, which is a pretty stunning admission. Look, they may be being great lawyers here, they may be protecting their client by trying to keep him from testifying for that reason. But still, we're talking about the president of the United States. It's awfully interesting to hear that.
CILLIZZA: Thank you for your incredulity because I feel that way too.
It's a remarkable thing to say the commander-in-chief, the president of the United States, we may not have him testify due to the fact that he has lied in situations like this in the past. But it is true. Look at depositions that he's done before. I go back to my former colleagues at "The Washington Post" called "Trump Revealed," where they wrote about the fact that he had been caught a number of times either lying in a deposition or being forced to admit in a deposition he had either greatly exaggerated something about his wealth, or this, that or the other, or that he had not told the truth.
So it is both I think probably wise legal counsel that the president is getting and sort of terrifying in that it is wise legal counsel that the president of the United States really probably can't be trusted if past is prologue to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth under questioning from the special counsel.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And A.B., then if he doesn't agree to a request from Mueller, then we're off to subpoena land that could possibly -- the destination could possibly be the Supreme Court and they're -- you know, they're just off to the races. A.B. STODDARD, HOST, NO LABELS RADIO ON SIRIUS XM: Alisyn, let me
tell you how much fun this is for congressional Republicans facing some headwinds in a midterm election year. It doesn't look like the DACA thing will be fixed soon, a fix for the Dreamers. They're afraid that's going to bleed into the spring and into the summer and become a narrative in the midterm elections. They are afraid that President Trump who -- I echo what Chris and John are saying, not one person has stood up and said the president has nothing to hide and he can obviously get through a deposition without lying and he should absolutely talk to Mueller.
The idea of this being a prolonged battle in the courts for months to come with everyone questioning what the president is trying to hide is the worst thing for congressional Republicans who have done their best to squirm and wrap themselves into pretzels to protect this president and defend this memo and everything else that even -- you know, that has resulted in people, you know, questioning their integrity and everything else.
This is the absolute worst-case scenario for them, for this to be a dragged out battle in the courts.
CAMEROTA: A.B. Stoddard, Chris Cillizza, thank you very much for all of the analysis.
We have a quick programming note for you. Chris Cuomo will interview former vice president Joe Biden today. And you can watch their conversation tonight on "ANDERSON COOPER 360." And then we'll have much more tomorrow right here on NEW DAY.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I remember both of them, Chris Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden.
CAMEROTA: They're both great.
BERMAN: Interesting. All right. President Trump rejecting the latest bipartisan immigration proposal as a total waste of time. One of the senators behind it, Chris Coons, joins us next.
[08:21:20] BERMAN: President Trump rejecting a bipartisan bill on immigration introduced by Senators Chris Coons and John McCain. It would provide a path to eventual citizenship for Dreamers but does not authorize the $25 billion the president wants for his border wall.
The president wrote this, "Any deal on DACA that does not include strong border security and the desperately needed wall is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal."
Joining me now is one of the senators behind the bipartisan bill. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee, Chris Coons.
Senator, thanks so much for being with us. Your bill, which you introduced along with Senator John McCain, would provide a pathway to citizenship with Dreamers, it authorizes more technology and drones to monitor the border, it green lights a study of further border security needs and increases the number of immigration judges and attorneys. That is what the president is calling a total waste of time. Your reaction?
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I think once again, John, we're seeing that the president isn't particularly constructive as we try to get to a bipartisan deal here in the Senate. Part of why I was so honored to have Senator McCain reach out to me is that he has long represented a border state, Arizona. And the bill that we've introduced is already a bill in the House that was introduced by Congressman Hurd of Texas from the El Paso area and Congressman Aguilar from Southern California.
It has 27 Republican co-sponsors in the House, 27 Democratic co- sponsors, 54 co-sponsors. It's our hope that it can be a promising base bill for further discussion in the Senate. As you referenced in your introduction of the bill, it calls for the Department of Homeland Security to present a detailed plan for how to achieve operational control of the border by 2020.
As an appropriator, I would support the appropriations necessary to accomplish that, but I don't support what President Trump is calling for, for us to simply hand over $25 billion without any ongoing oversight by the Congress.
BERMAN: But you would give -- and you know this is a negotiation, he gets something, you get something.
BERMAN: You are willing to give some money for what he could call, quote, "his border wall."
COONS: Absolutely. I think we should be investing in a smart wall or in wall systems. I don't think that the idea of a single concrete wall going from sea to shining sea makes any sense at all.
BERMAN: He doesn't either anymore.
BERMAN: He doesn't anymore.
BERMAN: He's moved off that point. You know, I don't know how many miles of wall he says he needs but he wants fences, he wants drones, he wants other things because of the rivers and mountains and all that. But again, you know, you may not be willing to give him $25 billion but are you willing maybe to settle for more than it's included in your proposal right now?
COONS: Absolutely. I think we could and should support several billion in initial appropriations and come up with a pathway whereby a 10-year plan that's presented to us by DHS gets annual appropriations with some trigger.
I am working with the Commonsense Coalition, which is a group of about two dozen senators, Republicans and Democrats, to come up with a consensus proposal that would allow us to embrace a robust investment in border security while still retaining a critical oversight role for Congress.
BERMAN: One of the big questions and this gets into the weeds here is what Senator Mitch McConnell will be allowed to be introduced on the floor as what you call it the base bill. Do you have any sense on what immigration measure the majority leader will ultimately bring to the floor as he has promised to do?
COONS: I don't yet know what he might bring forward. But I do think the McCain-Coons bill with some commitment to border funding would be an excellent base bill. I think it does meet the two core issues that we all agree on.
The president and others in the Senate have tried to bring in lots of other issues. And I think we should turn to those broader issues in phase two of comprehensive immigration reform.
[08:25:05] Clear out the underbrush of all the key unresolved issues that have been held up for months now, appropriations for the Department of Defense and our domestic priorities, responding to disasters that we still haven't funded, authorizing community health centers and take these two issues on, Dreamer status and border security, and move forward.
I think this bill would be an excellent starting point for that debate on the Senate floor.
BERMAN: All right. President Trump does not like how Democrats behaved during the State of the Union address. Very critical of the fact that they didn't cheer at times and didn't behave the way that he wanted them to. This is what he said just yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even on positive news, really positive news like that, they were like death and un-American. Un-American. Somebody said treasonous. I mean, yes, I guess. Why not? You know?
TRUMP: Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean, they certainly didn't seem to love our country very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Would you call that treasonous, yes, why not? Now some of the president's allies including people in the White House saying, you know, he was just joking. He was just joking, it's the way he talks when he says the Democrats were being treasonous. Do you take it that way? COONS: Let me be clear about this. I attended the State of the
Union. I was respectful. I stood and applauded when appropriate. On many of the points that I think were non-debatable, when the president was recognizing the service and sacrifice of soldiers, the North Korean who fled for his freedom, police officers and community leaders who have taken great steps.
And I, of course, applauded things like economic progress and some of his proposals like paid family leave, or some of his ideas around infrastructure. But there were lots of places in his speech where the Republicans leapt to their feet to cheer, for example, by the things he's done to harm the Affordable Care Act where I and many other Democrats chose not to applaud.
The president once again is making a simple but scary mistake here. He is not the state. Cheering for our president is not the same as being a patriotic and loyal American. In fact, there's this thing called the First Amendment in the Constitution that protects the right of all of us as citizens to either cheer and applaud the president when we agree with him, or to not applaud when we have differing priorities.
He simply doesn't get that. He's not above the law and he's not the state and failure to cheer him when he thinks we should is not only not treasonous some of us would argue it's patriotic.
BERMAN: Some would also argue it's just not funny even if he was trying to joke.
BERMAN: Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.
COONS: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: All right. President Trump calling the Democrats treasonous as you've been discussing for not standing up and clapping during his State of the Union address. So is it treason? Was it treason when Republicans didn't applaud then President Obama? A Republican congressman's take on this and so much more next.