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Stone Released on Bond; Trump Expected to Address Shutdown; White House Denies Charges Relate to the President. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired January 25, 2019 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:00:11] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. It is a busy, breaking news Friday. To our viewers in the United States and around the world, thank you for sharing it with us.
A second missed payday for 800,000 federal workers and now flight delays the government says are due to a shortage of air traffic controllers. There are some talks on Capitol Hill, but no signs, zero signs, of a shutdown breakthrough.
Plus, it is a giant day in the special counsel investigation. Long- time presidential confidant Roger Stone is arrested in a pre-dawn raid and a new indictment from the special counsel details communications with top Trump campaign officials about WikiLeaks and hacked Democratic e-mails.
And the buck does not stop here. Stone joins an indictment list that also includes the president's lawyer, his first national security adviser, his campaign chairman and his deputy campaign chairman. But --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: All on things that again have nothing to do with the president. Just because they had some association with the president at some point doesn't mean things that they did in their private lives and their personal lives that may or may not have been right or wrong, that doesn't have anything to do with the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Well, back to that explanation in a minute.
But we begin with the images you're seeing right there. That is Roger Stone, fresh from court, now free on $250,000 bond after a surprise morning indictment from the Russia special counsel. CNN was there outside Stone's home, look at this, as FBI agents arrested the long- time Trump associate in a pre-dawn raid of his Florida home.
The charges against Stone are substantial, obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering. In the now unsealed 24-page indictment, Robert Mueller details five separate lies Stone is alleged to have told congressional investigators about his attempts to reach out to Juliana Assange and Stone's attempt to silence an associate who testified to the House Intelligence Committee.
Stone's lawyer says Mueller's investigators found no collusion or they would have charged him with it. The president's outside legal counsel says the same. Quite, the indictment today does not allege Russian collusion by Roger Stone or anything else.
The president himself, with an all-caps tweet last hour, no collusion. But, importantly, the indictment documents a coordinated effort by the Trump campaign to obtain information from WikiLeaks through Stone. The special counsel says he can prove this, that after the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC e-mails by Organization 1, that's WikiLeaks, a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 had regarding the Clinton campaign. Stone there after told the Trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by Organization 1.
Now, whether that's the special counsel's final word on collusion, well that's an open question.
CNN's Nick Valencia is live outside the Florida courthouse.
Nick, we're waiting to see if Roger Stone speaks when he comes out. Take us inside those proceedings.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a packed courtroom, no doubt about that, John. Inside it was very few reporters that were allowed in. Some actually got left out. And some civilians were inside the courtroom as well. And there was Roger Stone, a remarkable sight to see him in handcuffs, his hands resting in front of him, shackles around his waist, around his ankles. And he looked very tired. He was wearing glasses. But as the judge started to read the instructions and the charges that he's facing, he removed those glasses and looked very serious. She was very polite with the judge as she read out the instructions, asking if he understood those charges.
He was given a $250,000 signature bond, as you noted, meaning that he doesn't have to put any money towards that bond so long as he continues to appear before the court when he is notified.
There are some conditions to his bond, though, however. He's going to be given travel restrictions. Only going to be allowed to travel to three locations. It's the eastern district of Washington, D.C., and Virginia, as well as the eastern district of New York and here in southern Florida. He's also going to have to submit to some substance abuse testing as well, agreed to in the pretrial by both sides. We understand also he's going to be allowed to continue to see a doctor. Also, he had his passport revoked, to which he said to the judge that he currently does not have a valid passport, it is expired.
But, really, truly, John, just a remarkable sight to see a man who cares so deeply about his image look tired and disheveled, in civilian clothing, wearing saggy jeans, a dark blue polo shirt. And as I mentioned, his hands shackled, as well as shackles around his waist and ankles, John.
KING: Nick Valencia outside the courthouse. That is a dramatic appearance and we'll get back to Nick especially if Roger Stone comes out and decides he wants to speak to reporters as he leaves the courthouse.
With me in studio here to share their expertise, their reporting and their insights, CNN's Sara Murray, CNN's Shimon Prokupecz, former federal prosecutor Shan Wu, and former special assistant to Robert Mueller, Michael Zeldin.
Let's try to go through, to the degree we can, what this tells us that's new and what questions it raises, because that's the pattern of the special counsel. We get new charges, we get new documents, they give us something, but they also tend to raise questions.
[12:05:10] Number one, there's nothing in this document that says President Trump was aware of any of this, correct?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes.
SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right.
KING: And so the new significance from an investigative standpoint is what?
PROKUPECZ: Look, I think this is going to be the closest we get right now that people within the campaign were looking for information on what WikiLeaks had that Roger Stone was willing to provide that information, that Roger Stone was working feverishly to get that information, and that a senior member of the campaign was asking for this information, wanted this information.
And it's true, right now we don't see collusion mentioned -- Russian collusion mentioned in this document. But it seems that what the Mueller team is really focusing on is why were people consistently lying to investigators, members of Congress, when they were asked about questions concerning the campaign?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And they're still collecting evidence. I mean obviously they arrested Roger Stone at his house today. They will seize evidence from his house there. They also searched another property that Roger Stone has in New York. So they're going to continue to collect evidence. So I think this is perhaps the first indictment we will see against Roger Stone.
There may be others that come in the future. And I think that it's telling that the special counsel didn't just outline these issues of Roger Stone lying to the House Intelligence Committee about witness intimidation. They also laid out these contacts that he had with Trump campaign officials and showed how eager he was to try to get this information, and how eager the Trump campaign was to try to get it. There was a reason the special counsel decided to put that all in writing. That's not an accident. KING: That's not an accident. That's a key point in the sense that, if
you look at these documents, they seem to lay out that they have the evidence that he lied to Congress. They say they have texts. They say they have e-mails. And so then why then searches on two properties? What else are you looking for is the next question.
And to Sara's point, the special counsel could have just indicted on the alleged lies to Congress, but he makes the point to put in the public record senior campaign officials in touch with Roger Stone at this very important time. Why? What's Robert Mueller trying to tell us?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, we don't know that. We don't know whether what Robert Mueller is saying is, stand by, that another indictment is on its way that's a broader conspiracy to defraud the United States in the same way that the social media Russian indictment was, or whether this is, you know, his final shot and that there's nothing more there, that he's got these processed crimes, these lying to Congress obstructing the Mueller investigation about something which underlying it is not illegal, because there is no illegality alleged, it's just lies about conduct.
But to your initial question, you asked, is the president named in this indictment? And the answer, of course, is no. But in paragraph 12 it says, after the July 22 release of stolen DNC e-mails by Organization 1 -- WikiLeaks -- a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone.
So who is it that can direct senior campaign officials to do that? There's an implication there without a name, because another senior campaign official, I suppose, could have done it, but that's not the implication of this to me.
MURRAY: And we know -- yes, and we know at least one of the people that Roger Stone was in touch with was Steve Bannon during the campaign. But if you look at the timeline of these various contacts, there were people before Steve Bannon came onto the campaign who were having these discussions with Roger Stone.
This was an ongoing conversation, an ongoing pursuit by the Trump campaign to check in with Roger Stone to say, what's coming? Have you heard of anything that's coming? Can you -- you know, did you get any information that you can share with us?
KING: Right. And to that point, forgive me for interrupting, but a lot of new people came into the Trump campaign. He did not have a pre- existing relationship with Steve Bannon, for example, but he had a pre-existing relationship with Roger Stone that goes back decades.
KING: That goes back decades. This was not a new person brought into the campaign.
PROKUPECZ: Right. KING: When they try to say coffee boy Papadopoulos, or he didn't really know Paul Manafort, or he didn't really know Rick Gates. This is someone the president knew for decades.
A quick programing note. I just want to get this in. We're going to talk more about this later in the programing. But CNN has just learned, we do expect the president to address the border -- the government shutdown and what he calls the border crisis a bit later today. I'll come back to that in just a moment.
David -- actually, I can go straight to the White House and our Kaitlan Collins to try to bring that in to the conversation.
Kaitlan, so we know the president has been frustrated with the shutdown. We know that Democrats have been frustrated at the president. We know the president has been debating his options. Do we know -- does he have something new to bring to the table today?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's what we're going to wait and see what the president has to say.
But, John, this was not on the president's schedule, but sources are now telling the CNN White House team that President Trump is expected to speak from the White House this afternoon. And right now aides are planning on the president to make that announcement.
Now, it's going to be related to the government shutdown. But the question now is, what is the president going to say? John, our sources have told us that ever since those two proposals failed in the Senate yesterday, those two competing proposals, the White House has been exploring to find a way out of this shutdown as it's turning into a full-blown crisis now that it's affecting air traffic control, as our team has been reporting all day.
[12:10:12] We do know from that exclusive reporting that CNN had last night that declaring a national emergency is still very much an option that the White House is considering. They've even gone so far as to draft the emergency order if the president was going to declare it, laying out where they're going to get the money from. But officials have said multiple times they prefer to solve this legislatively, not through this emergency action. So while that's still an option that's on the table, not something they're ruling out, it doesn't seem to be the top option right now, John.
Now, what the Capitol Hill -- what we're hearing from our Hill team over there, is that lawmakers are essentially waiting to hear from the White House on what it is that President Trump would accept because our reporting has shown that the president is the one that's been the wildcard in a lot of this, with not just Democrats but even Republicans wondering what it is the president is going to accept and what he's willing to sign, and that's what we're -- they're going to be looking for the president to say as he's making that speech from the White House this afternoon.
KING: Kaitlan Collins live at the White House. And you're dead right, Republicans on Capitol Hill want the president
to say publicly what he will accept, what he won't accept, before they will go forward on anything because they don't want the rug pulled out from under them.
KING: Kaitlan Collins will continue her reporting.
We're going to work in a quick break.
As we do, a reminder, the president due to address us on the shutdown and what he calls the border crisis a bit later today.
You're watching pictures there outside the courthouse. We're waiting to see Roger Stone emerge after his arraignment.
Much more breaking news just ahead.
[12:15:35] KING: Welcome back.
A very busy breaking news day.
You're looking at the courthouse in Florida there. Roger Stone has just been arraigned. We're waiting to see if he speaks to reporters.
We just reported -- we also expect to hear from the president a bit later today on a different subject. The president will have some new ideas, we are told, about the government shutdown.
As we wait for that, the president is complaining again about what he calls the Russia witch hunt. His press secretary, though, listen here, a different take on today's morning arrest of the long-time Trump confidant Roger Stone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This has nothing to do with the president and certainly nothing to do with the White House.
What I can tell you is that the specific charges that have been brought against Mr. Stone don't have anything to do with the president.
I know that the charges are about whether or not he gave false statements, and that's on that individual. That has nothing to do with the president.
The charges brought against Mr. Stone have nothing to do with the president, have nothing to do with the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You got that? Roger Stone now one of six Trump associates who face charges in the Mueller probe, along with Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos and Michael Cohen.
When asked about all these charges circling around team Trump, the White House press secretary added this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: All on things that, again, have nothing to do with the president. Just because they had some association with the president at some point doesn't mean things that they did in their private lives, in their personal life, that may or may not have been right or wrong, that doesn't have anything to do with the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: CNN's Abby Phillip joins us live from the White House.
Why would we go to a White House reporter, Abby, this has nothing to do with the president?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a familiar one-two step that you heard from Sarah Sanders there in those clips. We've heard it so many times, including when it involved Paul Manafort, when it involved Michael Flynn, when it involved Michael Cohen. The move is essentially to say that it has nothing to do with President Trump, and then to reiterate how these individuals had other relationships with other political candidates.
In this case, Sarah Sanders talking about how Roger Stone had advised other presidential candidates and other people in the political sphere in the past. But the reality of President Trump's relationship with Roger Stone is, of course, that all of this was happening in the context of President Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. And, in fact, the indictment makes clear that what Paul -- that what Roger Stone was indicted for lying about were things that had to do with his discussions with people associated with the campaign during the presidential campaign and about things that potentially would have benefited President Trump. So it's clear that Sarah Sanders is omitting a whole tranche of information here.
But it's, once again, just a pattern of behavior from the White House and from the president's associates to reiterate that President Trump is not at the center of all of this when it is very clear that he is sort of the elephant in the room of all of these indictments. This is all about President Trump's campaign. And we don't know everything that is to come here. But it's clearly not a positive story for this president. The White House is trying to cope with it as best as they can, John.
KING: As best as they can.
Abby Phillip, appreciate that, live from the White House.
Julie Pace with "The Associated Press" joins the conversation in studio. I don't know what Sarah Sanders is supposed to say, but I want to get to the nitty-gritty of this and the legal of this in a minute. But, again, this is the CEO of the Trump Organization who said he was going to run the government like a business. What business school teaches you that if you're the CEO and now six people -- five of whom are actually pretty close to you. In the case of Michael Cohen and Roger Stone, very, very close to you -- are under indictment. What is it -- there have been no direct, criminal allegations against the president in this Roger Stone. In the Michael Cohen thing, they allege that he was aware of a campaign finance violation. In another Michael Cohen filing, they allege that he lied about his -- the extent of the Trump Tower -- the timeline of the Trump Tower Moscow.
What is it about the president that he wants, likes or needs -- known -- I'm sorry, known -- go on the Internet, any search engine and put in Paul Manafort and Roger Stone in particular and you will find that they are swamp creature snakes.
JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "THE ASSOCIATED PRESS": Right.
KING: What is it about the president who wants, needs, likes people like this around him?
PACE: The irony of all of this is if this actually were a business, it's almost impossible to imagine that the CEO would survive in this kind of situation where you have so many people who have run into so many legal problems. Trump, obviously, before he came into the White House, surrounded himself with some pretty shady characters. That was no secret.
I think what has been surprising is that so many of those people followed him into the White House. But there is no way to disassociate him from these figures. It doesn't mean that he necessarily has done anything illegal here. But all of these people are in this position because they, in one way or another, worked for Donald Trump. They were in his orbit. They were in his campaign. And there is simply no way to separate him from all of these people.
[12:20:12] KING: Right. And to that point, you spent months covering this campaign. The idea -- and this is not a criticism, this is actually in some ways a compliment -- Donald trump is known as kind of a gossip in the sense that he wants to know. He wants to know what's going on. He wants to know what's going on. He's asking all the time -- a lot of politicians are. A lot of politicians are. Again, I don't say that part as a criticism at all. They want to know, you know, what's going on in the campaign.
This idea that if you read the Stone indictment, that he was in touch with senior officials, plural, in the campaign. That once he told them about this, they were asking him, what's next to come.
Sarah Sanders wants us to create a universe in which the candidate himself knew nothing about this. Is that possible?
MURRAY: Sure, it's plausible that the candidate knew nothing about this, but we also know that Donald Trump was talking to Roger Stone throughout the campaign. I mean they disagree about sort of the frequency and the timing of those contacts, and Roger Stone has insisted up and down and all over the place that they never discussed WikiLeaks, but they were in communication. And so it's not outside of the realm of possibility that Donald Trump and Roger Stone had a conversation about this, or that Donald Trump said to someone else on staff, go talk to Roger and figure out if he knows what's going on with this WikiLeaks stuff, if he has any idea what's coming next, you know, purely based on the fact that Roger was out there publically during 2016 saying that he had an in with Julian Assange, saying he knew what WikiLeaks was about to do. And so if Donald Trump was looking at Twitter or watching television, as he is want to do, he may have said to someone, can you please figure out what's going on there and what's about to come. You know, this indictment doesn't offer proof of that, but it's a possibility.
WU: Right. But I think what the indictment does offer is a view of the trend that's going on here. So initially the Trump's position -- campaign was nothing to do, no -- not even contact with anyone. Now, contact, obviously, now substantive in terms of exchanges of information between Manafort and his contacts. And in this indictment what we see is the campaign was interested in getting that information. So maybe it doesn't say collusion, cooperation, but they clearly wanted to there.
PROKUPECZ: And this I think also gives us -- shows us a pattern. And you can see why investigators and sort of the FBI, their kind of antenna go up. Everyone they have tried to question about Russia, WikiLeaks, Congress has tried to question people about people have lied. What is going on here?
And what you're seeing is this pattern, really. And we've seen this in an indictment in the charges against Michael Cohen from the Southern District. There was a -- sort of a fraud going on here in that the truth about what was going on in the campaign could have politically hurt the president. And everyone around him did whatever they could, lie, commit crimes, to try and protect him. And that is what you're seeing in the pattern of all of these indictments, whether it's Mueller or whether it's the Southern District of New York for the payments.
KING: And so then help me with this theory of the case. If you assume that Bob Mueller is a traditionalist and he accepts the Justice Department guidelines that you don't indict a sitting president. Then if you look at the compilation so far, he treats harshly anybody he believes has lied to him about the substance of his investigation in these court documents.
Well, the president has lied repeatedly about the hush money payments, about the timeline, if you believe Michael Cohen, anyway, of Trump Tower, other things he has said in public. So when what -- do we assume that Robert Mueller leaves that for a report for the political. That's then -- then here's my report, now it's up to Congress, the Justice Department, to decide what to do with it?
WU: Well, it could be. But, remember, there are those written answers that he gave. And he may have done his best to be careful with those. But in light of what we're hearing, some of those answers may be false. And those are going to be false statements.
And I think the other trend that's going on here, too, is not only are people covering up, but the president is so worried about this that he and Giuliani, they're really engaged in witness tampering. I mean they're threatening Cohen. He has tried to support Roger Stone previously. I think it would be interesting to see -- I mean what Trump wants is for Roger Stone to have changed that tattoo on his back from Nixon to Trump, and he's going to be sending messages like that.
KING: I really wasn't prepared to hear that.
WU: I'm sorry.
KING: It's OK.
I just want to -- I just want to put -- you know, I just want to put -- the president has previously -- it was some months ago, tweeted that Roger Stone has guts because Roger Stone has repeatedly said he will not turn on Trump. This is Roger Stone just Wednesday on Fox News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, LONGTIME TRUMP ASSOCIATE: No matter how much pressure they put on me, no matter what they say, I will not bear false witness against Donald Trump. I will not do what Michael Cohen has done and make up lies to ease the pressure on myself. You know, my God and a great wife and my great family see me through this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: He says he will not bear false witness, and he suggests Michael Cohen is. We're not done with the Michael Cohen story yet, but on the stuff that Michael Cohen has said that directly relate to the president, whether it's the Southern District of New York or Robert Mueller, they have put corroborating evidence in the documents to make clear, we understand this guy has credibility questions, here's the proof, much like they did in the Rick Gates trial.
[12:25:05] KING: I mean when they used Rick Gates against Paul Manafort, sorry.
PROKUPECZ: Yes. And that is -- they have a lot of evidence. Look, when you go through this indictment, they have all these text messages and e-mails from Roger Stone and you really see the style of Roger Stone. And maybe perhaps this is why, you know, and the president loves him. In terms of -- he -- there was a witness that was going in --
KING: Because he threatens to people?
PROKUPECZ: Well, I -- you know, it's just he is this kind of guy who just -- he doesn't hold back, right? So -- and there's this exchange where he has with a witness that's going before Congress who wants to tell the truth and he's telling him to stonewall it. He says, plead the Fifth, anything to save the plan. Rich -- and then he invokes Richard Nixon. It's just incredible to think that Roger Stone would be dumb enough to send this kind of stuff in e-mails and in texts knowing full well that someone would be able to eventually --
KING: You're a rat.
PACE: Dumb enough to --
KING: You're a rat, a stoolie. You backstab your friends, run your mouth. My lawyers are dying to rip you to shreds.
MURRAY: Roger has also -- he's been convinced that he has been under some kind of surveillance for a long time, essentially since the 2016 campaign. Now this is something the special counsel won't comment on, but he's sending all of these messages at a time when he believes that the government is already reading his messages. So --
PACE: I mean he has to know that Mueller has access to everything right now. If he's going to go and lie to Congress and there's something that would verify the truth, he has to know that that would (INAUDIBLE).
KING: Yes, we're -- we're a couple years in. If you don't understand that --
KING: Whatever you think of Robert Mueller, he's meticulous and he has good forensic people working for him, then you're not paying attention.
KING: All right, you're watching the courthouse in Florida. We're waiting for Roger Stone to come out. We'll see if he'll speak to reporters about his indictment by the special counsel.
We'll be right back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quiet, quiet! Whoa, whoa, whoa! Whoa!
Mr. Stone -- Mr. Stone is going to speak. He speaks for himself. You know that Roger Stone has always spoken for himself. He's never been shy about telling his story.
He is innocent. We're going to defend this case and we're going to win this case.
But let me start out by saying that the spectacle this morning was completely unnecessary. Everyone knows where Roger Stone is. He's not in hiding. The spectacle this morning with a SWAT team breaking into his house, searching the house, scaring his wife, scaring his dogs, completely unnecessary. A telephone call would have done the job, and Mr. Stone would have appeared.
But let me let Roger speak for himself. He has nothing to hide. He has nothing to hide. And he's spoken before and he'll speak to you now.
ROGER STONE: Thank you. Thank you.
Well, thank you. Thank you very much.
As I have always said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. After a two year inquisition, the charges today relate in no way to Russian collusion, WikiLeaks collaboration or any other illegal act in connection with the 2016 campaign.
I am falsely accused of making false statements during my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. That is incorrect. Any error I made in my testimony would be both immaterial and without intent.