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Manafort Revelations; Rosenstein to Leave DOJ; Trump Meets with Senate GOP; Pressure over Shutdown. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired January 9, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": And their position, which seems like it's pretty broadly supported is, let's reopen the government while we have that conversation. If they get to that conversation, that's a -- that's important (INAUDIBLE).
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Remarkable. About to -- about to play out as the president heads up to Capitol Hill. Stay with us.
Thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS.
For our international viewers, "AMANPOUR" is up next. For our viewers here in the United States, Brianna Keilar starts right now.
Have a good day.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar, live from CNN's Washington headquarters.
Underway right now, no collusion. Looking more like, yes, collusion, as documents show the head of the Trump campaign feeding sensitive data to the Russians.
The man who appointed Robert Mueller and has been protecting the special counsel is heading for the exits. What this means for the Russia investigation.
Plus, one of the biggest skeptics of Trump's own shutdown strategy is the president himself, as new cracks start to show among Republicans.
And more TSA workers calling out sick, and it's raising security concerns for at least one airport.
We begin with that bombshell in the Mueller investigation. What was supposed to be redacted portions of a case filing, now revealing the clearest public evidence yet of possible coordination, aka collusion, between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. The redaction errors are part of a case filing by attorneys for former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. And they reveal that Mueller believes Manafort gave internal campaign polling data to an alleged Russian agent.
CNN's Kara Scannell has been all over this story for us.
So explain to us why this matters, why this is so significant, this feeding of sensitive data to the Russians.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, I think as you said, this really shows for the first time a real sense of, you know, potential collusion or cooperation between the Trump campaign and a Russian because, you know, Paul Manafort is sharing internal campaign data and discussing a Ukrainian peace plan. That's a very pro-Russian argument. Russia was sanctioned over their invasion of Crimea. So, you know, you have Manafort, who's working for the campaign, having this discussion. He's having it with a longtime associate of his, this Russian named Konstantin Kilimnik.
Now, Kilimnik is receiving the polling data and he's someone that the special counsel's office has already charged in a witness tampering crime with Manafort, but someone that the special counsel's office says has ties to Russian military intelligence.
And so why does that matter? Because the special counsel's office has also charged that the Russian military intelligence was behind the DNC hack, that they were behind this troll campaign to try to influence voters by distributing false information or misinformation during the campaign.
Now, there's no allegation in these documents that Paul Manafort had done this at the behest of the president, who was then running for office, or that Kilimnik had given this to Russian intelligence. But we're starting to just see the connection of these thoughts here of someone who is so significant in the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, sharing information with someone who does have ties to Russian intelligence.
KEILAR: And so we know that Manafort, according to "The Times," asked this information to be passed on to Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch. He was in the hole millions of dollars, too, right? Do we know what Kilimnik did with this data?
SCANNELL: We don't know what Kilimnik did with this and "The Times" is reporting that Manafort wanted him to share it with Deripaska. We have not confirmed that. Deripaska is someone who is on the U.S. sanctions list. He is someone that Manafort owed millions of dollars to. And he's also --
KEILAR: Close to the Kremlin.
SCANNELL: Close to the Kremlin, exactly. I mean this is -- this is why this man is on the sanctions list. He's someone that is of interest to U.S. intelligence authorities and someone that is very significant in that. And so why, if "The Times" report is correct, you know, does Manafort want this information to go to him? Is it because he's trying to bail out himself because he does owe him millions of dollars, or is there more to it? And we just don't have that reporting yet.
KEILAR: Yes. Or is it to benefit the campaign or is it both? We don't know.
SCANNELL: Right. Exactly.
KEILAR: All right, Kara Scannell, thank you for connecting the dots for us.
Now, just as we get this major hint of collusion here, we're learning from a source that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller, and whose office still manages the Russia investigation on a daily basis, is planning to resign.
Jessica Schneider is here with us now on this.
So, do we know anything about the timing of this or what this is going to mean for the special counsel's investigation?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, it could mean a lot, but the timing here, it's still not set in stone. Rosenstein, though, will likely step down in the next month or so. And he's planning to leave the Justice Department when the president's pick for attorney general, William Barr, is likely confirmed. And with the confirmation schedule, that would be by mid-February at the earliest.
And, really, Rosenstein has long seen this coming. He's signaled that he would leave his post when Mueller's investigation was either complete or close to complete so that really the probe was protected.
Now, of course, Rosenstein has overseen this Russia investigation. He appointed Robert Mueller in May 2017 and he's given the special counsel broad leeway to follow the probe wherever it may lead, including Paul Manafort's finances and any possible collusion with Russia, which, of course, we saw hints of yesterday in the inadvertent filing that showed Paul Manafort gave polling data to his Russian intelligence-linked associate Konstantin Kilimnik.
[13:05:20] But once Rosenstein is gone, the real question becomes, what happens to Mueller's final report? Rosenstein oversaw the probe after Jeff Sessions recused himself and was later fired. And Barr, William Barr, will soon take over for Whitaker at the top, if he's confirmed, which is expected, and that would put him in charge of Mueller.
Now, Barr did tell Senator Lindsay Graham today that he would not interfere in the probe if he's confirmed and that instead he would err on the side of transparency when it comes to sharing Mueller's final report with Congress and the public. But a lot of transition to come, Brianna, at the DOJ since Barr has made clear to the White House that he will be picking his own deputy, meaning Rod Rosenstein is on the way out in the next few weeks.
KEILAR: All right, Jessica Schneider, thank you.
And I want to bring in Kaitlan Collins over at the White House because you're looking at some live pictures of the president and the vice president on Capitol Hill. Let's listen.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Republican support. I don't think the Democrats have great support because they all know we need border security. We need to have people stop being killed at our border. And the Democrats are losing a lot of support.
Last night was a big victory for the Republicans, but it was really a big victory for America, for our country. The Democrats have lost support. There's tremendous Republican support, unwavering, as you probably know.
Thank you very much.
QUESTION: President Trump, there are some Republicans, though, who are worried. What's your message to them?
QUESTION: Are you hoping for progress today?
KEILAR: All right, so you're watching President Trump, Vice President Pence heading up the stairs there to the Capitol. They're going to meet with Republican senators as they try to sell them on their shutdown strategy, which is becoming, Kaitlan Collins, over at the White House, increasingly difficult for Republicans to weather because they're feeling the pressure.
And also, I just want us to fact check real quick, what we heard from President Trump. He said Democrats are losing a lot of support. We don't have evidence of that yet. And, in fact, our latest polling shows that a majority, almost 60 percent of Americans, don't want the wall. He said last night was a major victory. We also have reporting today, right, Kaitlan, that the president himself is one of the skeptics of his own shutdown strategy.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And a lot of that is the question of what is the strategy here? The president said that there are some Democrats who he believes are coming off their demand to not give him any more money for that border wall, but we haven't heard any Democratic lawmakers publicly say that. So it's unclear who the president is referencing there.
But you did see him trying to tap into something he just said moments ago when he was signing an anti-human trafficking legislation bill in the Oval Office, which is that he feels that he has Republican support from both the House and the Senate. Now, that comes, of course, as we are seeing a little bit of a crack in the support there for this government shutdown that has gone on for so long now, in its third week, and the president seems to be very aware of that. And that's why he's saying there that he's got plenty of support, even though we've seen people like Lisa Murkowski, Cory Gardner, voice a little bit of concern about what is actually -- what is actually going on.
Now, he's going into the Senate Republican lunch there. They're going to discuss this, of course. The shutdown is going to be front and center. But we heard from the president in the Oval Office really talking about the shutdown. And, Brianna, what's clear is the president feels very strongly about his demand for a border wall. It looks like he's talking now.
KEILAR: All right, Kaitlan, let's listen to the president here in the Ohio Clock Corridor. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will have border
security. Tremendous Republican support. And I think we're going to win. We need --
TRUMP: Listen, we need border security. Very simple.
QUESTION: How long are you willing to let the shutdown last?
TRUMP: Whatever it takes.
QUESTION: Mr. President, (INAUDIBLE).
TRUMP: Well, what you should do is take a look at last night and see the results this morning. The people know we need border security.
Thank you very much.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) their support?
KEILAR: All right, Kaitlan Collins, he and the vice president are heading into that Republican lunch there on the Senate side of the Capitol.
What -- he's saying there's tremendous support, Kaitlan, but you were just talking about it. We're actually seeing some of that support diminish as you have Republicans feeling pressure.
COLLINS: Right. And whether or not that's widespread is still an open question because as the president said in the Oval Office just a few minutes before he headed to Capitol Hill, it all comes down to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has said he will not bring a bill to the floor unless the president has given his tacit approval of it.
So the president knows that calculation there, but he said that they have Republican support. But, of course, what these negotiations are going to come down to is the president negotiating with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, someone who he seems to be getting further and further apart by the day as the two of them are both digging in on their positions.
[13:10:03] Now, we're day 19 of this shutdown. We've had weeks of negotiations, weeks of sit-downs between the president and Democrats and Republican leaders. Here they have another meeting this afternoon at 3:00 in the White House. But, Brianna, nothing has changed. Despite the president's prime time address from the Oval Office last night, despite the Democratic rebuttal, neither of them are really offering anything new here. And the president is making clear he still wants a wall. As he said earlier in the Oval Office, even though he's taken to sometimes calling it a steel barrier, he still wants $5.7 billion for it.
Now, Nancy Pelosi has said the wall is an immorality. So the question is, how do either of them come off their demands when they've repeated them so incessantly over the last several days? Because if the president comes down from that border wall funding that he's requested so often and so repeatedly, he's going to look like he's capitulating to Democrats. Now, if Democrats say they're OK with a steel barrier, that's going to get -- go against what Nancy Pelosi said when she called it an immorality.
So essentially we are still in day 19 despite the fact that the president and the vice president are on Capitol Hill. Nothing has changed. And right now we are not anywhere closer to re-opening the government.
KEILAR: All right, Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thank you so much.
I want to bring in Rachael Bade. She's one of our political analysts here and she is a Hill correspondent for "Politico."
And, Rachael, you're up there on The Hill. This is a big day to get a visit from the president. What's he hoping to accomplish as he visits with Republican senators?
RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Last night his message to the country from the Oval Office was very much a message to try to get Americans broadly to come around to his thinking regarding the shutdown and saying, this is worth the fight for the border wall. Today his audience is very much smaller, Senate Republicans in particular, and it comes at a time when we're seeing an increasing number of defections from the Republican Party on this shutdown. Republicans are starting to feel the pressure and they're starting to question, is this something we want to do and continue now that government workers are really starting to feel the hurt here?
Today, in this meeting, for instance, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she is going to raise this concern specifically in front of the president and say to him point-blank that she is concerned about the effect this government shutdown is having on both her constituents and Americans broadly. And then over in the House, we see Republican leadership really cracking down on the rank and file, trying to get them to stay together and not vote for a bill that's going to come up tonight to re-open one of the shuttered agencies. This is part of the Democratic tactic to sort of make Republicans go on record to keep this shutdown going.
So I think Trump today, his audience there, is very much his own party. He's trying to rally them, trying to keep them together and say, remain with me with this for now.
KEILAR: So when he comes in and he says, we have tremendous support for this and he's trying to project this sense of a unified Republican conference on this, is his visit to try to actually unify the conference, kind of poking holes in his own argument as he walks up the stairs there?
BADE: You might say that. I mean it's clear that they need to rally their own party right now. And that in and of itself shows a problem when it comes to bargaining and negotiating and shows sort of a weakening standpoint from the Republican Party. Look, you also heard a lot of talk about national -- him declaring
some sort of national emergency crisis. I was talking to Republicans about this all yesterday and a lot of them were saying they don't think he's going to get any border security money and they thought this was a way to save face if he made this sort of executive action on his own. He wouldn't be officially caving to Democrats.
But, again, this just shows that they're looking for a way out right now. How can they do this and still not look like they're caving to Democrats? Clearly they're feeling the heat right now.
Remember also a time he -- the president said I will own the shutdown and I will shut it down proudly for the wall. You don't hear those kinds of words anymore. He's shifting blame. He's trying to make the case publicly with an Oval Office meeting. He's going to be down at the border tomorrow to try to, again, say this is a crisis situation. He's feeling the heat right now and so is the Republican Party. So I think, you know, they're very much, you know, fandering here.
KEILAR: Yes, he may own it, but the American people right now are paying for it here in day 19 of this shutdown.
Rachael Bade on The Hill for us, thank you so much.
Back to the other big story that we're following.
[13:14:25] New acquisitions that Paul Manafort coordinated with the Russians during the campaign. Stand by for that.
KEILAR: This was just moments ago. The president coming to Capitol Hill. And he is there right now talking to Senate Republicans during their lunch.
President Trump says he has tremendous support from Republicans in the House and the Senate on his hard line stance over a border wall, though we have seen some cracks in the ranks.
And joining me now from Capitol Hill is Republican Congressman Tom Reed of New York.
You saw the president's rather brief address last night. You praised it. You said that politicians on both sides need to be proactive in solving the issue.
Are you personally feeling increasing pressure to do something and re- open the government?
REP. TOM REED (D), NEW YORK: Well, as each day goes by and the negative impacts of the shutdown become a reality, yes, obviously. This is not a politically tenable position to be in, Brianna, for the long term. So I think Republicans and Democrats rightfully share blame of the shutdown situation that we find ourselves in here today.
KEILAR: What do you say to the 15,000 federal workers across western New York, including in your district, who are not going to get a paycheck this week?
[13:20:01] REED: We're doing what we can to make sure we hear that voice and be part of a reasonable voice of compromise to say, you know what, everyone agrees. I have yet to hear a Democrat or Republican say the border is functioning and keeping us safe and secure. Everyone knows it needs to be fixed. So let's get a compromise position, take care of those folks, and get this taken care of once and for all.
KEILAR: But what do you say to the people who aren't focused on the border, they're focused on their bank account because there's no money in it, because they live paycheck to paycheck, because the government is not open, because the government has not done its job to make sure that those people can either be paid for the work they're doing or go to work as they expected they'd be able to?
REED: I agree with them and I empathize with them and I hear their voice. We should never have been in this position to begin with.
But I have to deal with the reality of which I find myself in. We are in a shutdown situation and that is why enough of this partisan politics. Enough of this us versus them. It's time to listen to not only those 15,000 folks of western New York that are federal employees, but also the families of those that have lost loved ones as a result of the broken border that are there and fix this. We know what needs to be done, Brianna, it's just going to take political leadership to say, get in the room and solve this for the people back home.
KEILAR: Are you, as some members, dozens of members, giving up your paycheck during the shutdown?
REED: You know, we have taken care of that historically on a shutdown. We're going to continue to take care of it and make sure that we stand in solidarity with those federal employees that are adversely impacted. And so, you know, we'll take care of that --
KEILAR: Wait, is -- I don't -- is that -- you said we'll take care of that. Is that I know -- by that I think you're talking about back pay. Are you getting paid?
REED: Yes, we will continue to obviously get paid as we go through. That's the -- the process here in the House. But we're going to take care of that.
KEILAR: But some members are foregoing their paychecks. Why wouldn't you do that?
REED: Well, no, that's -- my understanding of it, you have -- what happens is the check actually goes to members, given this former shutdown situation, and then you give -- you take care of that money either by giving it to charity or back to the U.S. Treasury. And, historically, we've taken care of that. And I just don't feel it's appropriate for me to use a PR stunt or something along those lines on that front to do that.
KEILAR: Well, what's -- but what's the problem with just knowing what -- I mean, first off, you make a lot more money than a lot of these federal workers. How is that a PR stunt to say, look, in solidarity, I'm going to understand what it's like to not get a paycheck.
REED: No, I'm going to take care of that. But, you know, there's a lot of folks that are, you know, getting out front --
KEILAR: What does that mean, take care of it? What does that mean?
REED: Well, like, we've given to charity historically when we've had shutdown situations. And we're going to do that continuing going forward.
But, you know, to worry about members' pay and things like, you know, I think we're also losing sight of what really is happening here, is we're having a failure to govern. We're having a failure to compromise and come together and to solve problems for the American people. And I think that is where the heart of this conversation should be.
KEILAR: Would you support re-opening the government while continuing the debate on border security?
REED: I think we have to take care of this all at one time. We are in a shutdown situation. I think at the end of the day a compromise position can take care of the border, take care of the shutdown, and now is the time to seize that opportunity.
KEILAR: Why not separate it, re-open the government so that people who, you know, can't afford to donate their salaries, their paychecks to charity can put food on the table for their families and then deal with the issue of border security separately?
REED: Because you're never going to fix the problem of border security and you're not -- and you're turning your back on the voices of those two children that died on the border, the law enforcement officer who was killed in the line of duty by an illegal immigrant. You have to not -- we're in the reality of the situation. It's time to solve it. And now is the time to listen to all those voices, not only the federal employees, but also the loved ones that we have lost as fellow American citizens.
KEILAR: The president fundraised off of his primetime address. He sent out an e-mail about his address just before he gave it soliciting money. Was that appropriate?
REED: You know, obviously I would choose not to do that and did not do that and so we'll let, you know, the president speak to that issue, Brianna. But from my perspective, you know, this is about focusing on trying to bring people together to solve the issue of the border and also the issue of the shutdown.
KEILAR: I want to ask you about something on a separate topic while I have you.
You've been through many election cycles. You know about internal polling data and that it is sensitive, especially when you're talking about the presidential level. So I want to get your perspective on this revelation that Paul Manafort shared that data with the Russians, requesting, according to "The Times," that it actually go to the Kremlin-tied Russian oligarch to whom he owed millions of dollars. Is this something that gives you pause to consider that there may now be evidence that the head of the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians?
REED: Well, you know, obviously that's why this investigation that Mueller is charged with coming to a conclusion on needs to come to a conclusion. And, you know, obviously, if you have evidence of collusion, we want to know about it. But I haven't seen that. And even with --
KEILAR: Do you consider -- you don't consider --
REED: Even with Manafort's situation --
KEILAR: You don't consider this evidence of collusion or possible collusion?
REED: I don't see that, Brianna. I don't see that. Just because Manafort is potentially, allegedly, dealing with this situation. We need conclusions and evidence to be brought forward. And that's why Mueller needs to complete this investigation and bring that evidence. If he has that, bring it forward and then let's let the chips fall where they may.
[13:25:17] KEILAR: Is that OK to share internal polling data with Russians and ask that it go to a Russian that you owe millions of dollars to?
REED: Well, you know, I'll defer to, you know, whether or not Paul Manafort thought that was correct or not. Obviously I wasn't involved in that.
KEILAR: Do you think that's correct?
REED: You know, as to what folks did during a campaign, I'll let them answer for that.
But the bottom line, Brianna, is, when there's official investigation and millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars being spent, let's have the evidence out of that investigation drive this, whether than potential allegations, non-based on evidence and things of that nature rather than, you know, allowing that to drive the narrative of the conversation.
KEILAR: OK. So if that comes out in the report, we'll revisit it and see what you think is what you're saying?
REED: Oh, absolutely.
KEILAR: OK. All right.
REED: Yes, absolutely. That's where I think the investigation needs to -- follow the evidence.
KEILAR: All right, congressman. Congressman Tom Reed, thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.
REED: Thanks so much, Brianna.
KEILAR: Coming up, how will Democrats handle the bombshell revelation that Paul Manafort gave polling data over to a Russian with ties to Russian state intelligence? I'm going to ask a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Plus, the man who hired Robert Mueller to investigate Russian election interference and a lot more is apparently on his way out. What Rod Rosenstein's impending resignation means for the Russia probe.