Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Blasts FBI Leakers Amid Russian Ties Investigation; Worries in Intel Community over Trump White House Enlisting DHS to Support Travel Ban; Kasich Speaks to Press Following Trump Visit. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired February 24, 2017 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:30:00] LARRY NOBLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Obviously, the president has a concern if there are leaks going on and every president has concerns out of the White House or other agencies, but that's not the problem. The problem is that the White House asked the FBI to make a statement about an ongoing investigation. And there's also a problem depending on whether the White House is being accurate about what happened I think there is a problem if McCabe from the White House from the FBI told the White House that "The New York Times" report was overblown, it was about the investigation, and that is telling the White House that what "The New York Times" said was not accurate which means they think that the investigation hasn't shown what "The New York Times" said. I have to repeat. This is coming from the White House at this point. So it's not clear, the FBI is not saying anything, it's not clear exactly what was said but the FBI should not be talking to the White House about an ongoing investigation that involves people in the White House and campaign people. I think so that's just wrong there's a long stand k prohibition on that and there's a reason for the prohibition because the FBI has to be seen as non-political and now it drags the FBI into looking political.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let me turn to you to defend your friend but also the question being if you know the White House has been leaking like a spaghetti strainer why would the deputy director of the FBI do something that, according to Larry, was overstepping and seemingly unethical?

JAMES GAGLIANO, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: First of all going back to the leak piece, they happen eve everywhere, the FBI turns over every possible stone to get to leaks and the difference between being a FBI and leaking to the media or a political appoint appointee, is FBI agents can be charged criminally, so it's a very severe exposure that an FBI agent if they are want to do that, so not to say it hasn't happened and hasn't come out of the FBI before but look who had access to all that information. The FBI has 12,000 employees, the Department of Justice is bigger than that and all the White House staffers some of the Obama administration holdovers and new Trump personnel coming in that had exposure to that information, my speculation is I don't believe it came out of the FBI.

BALDWIN: OK. OK. Thanks so much as always.

GAGLIANO: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Larry Noble, thank you as well.

NOBLE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, so if a, let's say, President Hillary Clinton did this, what we were just discussing, what would happen then? My political panel weighs in next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:35:] BALDWIN: President Donald Trump is enlisting the Department of Homeland Security to help build a case for his travel ban, but sources tell CNN the move is politically motivated and worries some inside the intelligence community.

I have Peter Bergen, national security analyst.

And, Peter, we talked because you recently wrote that piece for CNN citing that the White House doesn't have enough evidence to enact the travel ban against the seven mostly Muslim communities.

Welcome back, you are also the author of the United States jihad.

Thank you, Peter.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Brooke, nice to see you.

BALDWIN: If the White House is asking these agencies for evidence, is there any?

BERGEN: The ninth circuit was very clear in its opinion that the government had not produced in I evidence of anybody from the countries attacking the United States and the reason they said that is there is no evidence for that. So I think it's pretty clear that the government is going to reframe the new executive order while this week is almost over so maybe it's still a wo, in progress and they're going to expand the orbit what they define as terrorism and material support for terrorism, it's a pretty broad statute, sort of a conspiracy charge, did you sent money did you plan to join a terrorist organization, they're going to point to attacks averted. I've done a pretty deep dive where I also work and have looked at about 400 terrorism cases since 9/11 and you can say well some people of these countries conspire to send money to a terrorist organization, but that's kind of a long way to say they are threats to the unite. So to produce a more evidence cased base for this travel ban but I also think we're going to find out they don't add up to the actual real threat is that most of the citizens who have adopted this ideology in the United States by the internet which by the way is not subject to a visa ban.

BALDWIN: When you hear them trying to find evidence, critics would say this is a fishing expedition, we need to fine evidence to back it up so it will stand up in court this go round, but hang on, here is the other way to see it why shouldn't these agencies be providing evidence to the White House? Is that a bad thing?

BERGEN: No, not at all. The White House is perfectly within its rights to say to the DHS to kind of tell us what the threat situation is. I think that's completely legitimate. I didn't see that as a fishing expedition, clearly, they have a goal in mind but I think it's completely legitimate for the White House to ask entities within the federal government to supply whatever is needed but I think that we'll find that the evidentiary base is going to be subject to a lot of criticism. If the threshold was real terrorist attacks, real terrorist plots from these travel-ban countries, we're going to find very, very little in the public record that really amounts to that, Brooke.

[14:40:26] BALDWIN: And last time based upon many I recollection of our conversation when you look at the piece you would have to be fair in listing France and Belgium, for example, as places who the U.S. would bar and obviously they're not on the list.

BERGEN: Right. Also, what do you do about African-American converts three of whom have carried out lethal terrorist attacks and their families have been here. It would be like we have a central American gang problem in the United States but ban people from Chile and Argentina.

BALDWIN: Peter Bergen, thank you so much.

BERGEN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: We do have more on our breaking news. CNN and several other news organizations denied entry to today's White House gaggle. We have new details straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:45:44] BALDWIN: We are following an explosive new report involving the White House and the FBI. Our team of our reporters first learned the Trump administration asked the FBI to deny reports of ties between Russians and senior members of the Trump campaign.

I have former Republican presidential candidate, Jim Gilmore, and he's also governor of Virginia, and once chaired the Republican National Committee.

Welcome back to you, sir.

And also back progressive commentator -- I've got CPAC on the brain -- Bill Press, author of the book "Buyers' Remorse."

Awesome to see both of you.

BILL PRESS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good to see you.

BALDWIN: Governor, you're up first.

JIM GILMORE, (R), FORMER VIRIGNIA GOVENOR & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Pleasure to be here with Bill.

BALDWIN: OK, good. On this ongoing FBI investigation, is it possible that the White House -- we know that the FBI and the White House should not be talking when there's this ongoing investigation, is there a chance the White House just did not know the rules?

GILMORE: No, I think by all reports what I think is going on is that the White House was asking them to correct the fake news. There was a report widely published by "The New York Times" and CNN that said there was a great deal of contact between the Russians and the Trump campaign and the FBI indicated that wasn't true --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Governor hang on, hang on. I got to jump in, because I cringe a little bit when I hear fake news. What was fake about that report?

GILMORE: Well, the report is that the FBI is saying that it is not true that that kind of contact was going on. If that's the case the White House was simply trying to get them to correct the record.

BALDWIN: But that's not true and that's what's being investigated.

GILMORE: The report that the White House had was that it was not true and that the FBI was merely being asked to correct the record. Now the fake news is there's an implication of somehow the White House was trying to influence the investigation. There's no facts to support that. Apparently, all the White House is attempting to do was to get them to correct the record as they related that's all correct the fake news is all they were trying to do.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: I have to stand up for CNN. Forgive me, I have to stand up for CNN and just say we stand by our reporter and what you just said is inconsistent with reporting and that is not fake news.

Bill, to you --

(CROSSTALK)

GILMORE: I would have no way of knowing. The FBI would know.

PRESS: OK, I will take my turn now, yes, indeed.

First of all, I find it ironic beyond belief that the White House which had tacked the FBI for being political was now trying to make the FBI act political by helping them shoot down a story and I also find it ironic governor that the man talking about fake news was now trying to manufacture fake news of his own.

GILMORE: That's not true.

PRESS: Brooke, you're right, it has not been disproven.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: It has not been proven there were constant contacts between the Trump administration and Russian intelligence officials. I think what happened frankly is it's not a pretty picture that Reince Priebus got caught with his pants down and now he's embarrassed and they're trying to cover it up. Let's not lose sight of the big picture, what this approves is this is and no doubt about it ongoing investigation of FBI investigation of contacts between the Trump organization and Russian officials. That's not going to go away just because Michael Flynn went away.

BALDWIN: Governor, if you're calling it fake news -- forgive me, Ohio Governor John Kasich at the White House.

JOHN KASICH, (R), OHIO GOVERNOR: Said he was very intrigued with the idea and going to have a meeting tomorrow at his direction to secretary price, so we'll have a meeting tomorrow to talk about the details of the things that my team has been working on. Don't know where that will all go, but I will tell you that the president was -- he listened very carefully to what I had to say about it and had a very positive response and very open to it and asked a number of questions an then he was able to call a couple other people in. We talked about the whole range of issues including the high cost of pharmaceuticals contained in the Medicaid plan. I made my suggestions about what we should do in regard to those rising costs. I told the president that haven't been at the Munich Security Conference it's important to speak with one voice. He listened, acknowledged it, somewhat taken back even though he had the vice president and general over there that sometimes people want to hear from him and he listened to that. I also talked a little bit about the issue of the problem of the digital changes in our economy and how it can leave people behind who frankly don't have the skills to take the next set of jobs. I think that will be for a discussion a little later on.

But all in all, the chief of staff came in, Jared came in, Gary Cohen was in during the meetings, and you know, I'm very optimistic about that the president heard my concerns about the Affordable Care Act and what we do to change it and the result is tomorrow I'll be meeting with Priebus and Secretary Price and make sure people aren't left behind.

[14:51:49] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Governor, can you elaborate on just that.

KASICH: I've been indicating all along that we should take Medicaid expansion from 138 to 100, move people from that over on the exchange, stabilize that marketplace, provide some flexibility in the area of that health package that the federal government ought to get its nose out of the business where they have created disruptions and we need to deal with the problem of the pharmaceutical industry and their high costs so I kind of covered everything two or three times because different people kept coming in the room and I at one point made it clear, I said look, I don't care what the Republicans do on this, if they do something I think is wrong I'm going to speak out and you know in a larger group with the president there I said look, all my career when I agree with Republicans I agree with them, when I don't I speak out, and they said they noticed that, and you know nothing is going to change and I'm glad that I came. The president was very generous with his time and he listened a great deal to my concerns. We also talked about the problem of drug abuse, we talked about the problem of human trafficking, a whole series of things in there and just moved forward. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You and the president have not always had the

best relationship. Did your past criticism come up at all?

KASICH: Pardon?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any attempt to bury the hatchet?

KASICH: I voted against Ronald Reagan's troops in Lebanon, killed the B-2 bomber. These things are not personal. They're things that I've always done in my career. I had a mother that taught me to stand on my own two feet and sometimes to speak out. But I never meant any of the times to be personal in my criticisms or concerns.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you make that clear to the president in this meeting?

KASICH: There was never really anything that came up and when I commented throughout my career I speak out and when I don't I'm criticized if I'm not being self-righteous and one of the voices said yeah, we noticed that and we all kind of laughed.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But your opinion of the president didn't change at all you didn't seem particularly impressed with him as an individual.

KASICH: Look, the man is the president of the United States, it's sort of if you're on a plane you are rooting for the pilot. You don't want the pilot to screw up. I've been around too long and feel so strongly about my faith to be not that I succeed in it all the time but to be personal. I can have my opinions but now it's time to be constructive. And sometimes being constructive is to not be positive, to make your point, and I'm very glad that I've been able to make my point on this whole business of Obamacare and Affordable Care Act, if it upsets Republicans in the Congress, that's life.

[14:55:07] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you think the president has a successful start to his time in office?

KASICH: Look, I also told him that I remember back when I first became governor there were some things I was doing to the point where many I wife said to me you're the father of Ohio, act like it. It takes time for people to get stabilized and we all want to wish this president the best but doesn't mean when I wish him the best that there might not be things I don't agree with and I'm going to say that. I'm not trying to pull him down or anybody else down. I'm not red and blue, I'm red, white and blue. If I can help my country, I'm going to do what I can and that comes in various ways and packages.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What's your reaction to the details at the House replacement --

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: I just told it was inadequate.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You disagree? KASICH: Completely. Isn't that clear.

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: Nothing about it? That's enough for me to say that that's to me it's not acceptable. I don't know what they can jam through. I don't know what I can jam through. But the fact of the matter is I don't agree with that, and I've been clear about it and will continue to be.

Thank you all very much.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Ohio Governor John Kasich there. A couple of points to bring through. First of all, let's remember no love lost between the Ohio governor and the president there at the White House. Let's remember this is a man who wanted to be president, Governor Kasich, someone who never endorsed president or then nominee Trump and even when the Republican National Convention was held in the state of Ohio. Governor Kasich did not show so the fact is he came to the White House because he doesn't want to sit silent doing away with these benefits talking health care and essentially saying, remember when he was a young governor of Ohio and his wife said to him you're the father of Ohio, act like it, essentially saying you know if he doesn't like something President Trump is doing, Governor Kasich is there to tell them.

Governor Gilmore and Bill Press, my goodness, what a difference a year makes.

GILMORE: Well, listen, we have a president of the United States who is working to change the direction of the country to get rid of a government controlled health care system and make it more of a market economy and make other changes as well, so I think that the president is leading in an appropriate way.

To go back to point like 10 minutes we were talking about, the point I was making, Bill, is that there was a report to the White House that the FBI believed those stories were not true, they then simply asked the FBI to correct the record. That's it.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Hang on, Governor.

GILMORE: I've just got to finish the sentence.

BALDWIN: I understand.

GILMORE: I've just got to finish the sentence.

BALDWIN: I do think it is significant that Governor Kasich showed up about Medicaid and health care. We'll come back to it.

Go ahead, Bill Press. PRESS: First of all, long relationship with Governor Kasich, he's a

good man, I would hope that President Trump would listen more closely to Governor Kasich over the next few months because he's a Republican governor who expanded Medicaid. He knows the answer for Obamacare is to repair, not to repeal. He's a very wise voice of the Republican Party that Donald Trump needs, more John Kasich, less Steve Bannon.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: I've got Sara Murray in front of the West Wing where we just saw

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: -- the Ohio governor.

Sara Murray, I heard your voice asking of the governor, did you bury the hatchet. Go ahead.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, I did ask him if they buried the hatchet. These two men have not had very complimentary things to say historically, John Kasich is normally a very direct guy said this is not the kind of thing that came up during his meeting with the president today except some aides in the room mentioned they did in fact notice when he speaks out and disagrees with other Republicans. And Kasich was pointing to the fact that he has a history of doing this and has disagreed with Republicans in the past and that he tries to be constructive but being constructive and complimentary are not always the same thing. But he was also asked about his evolving relationship with the president, and the governor of Ohio compared it to being on an airplane, essentially saying you want to route for the pilot so you want President Trump --