Return to Transcripts main page
Ex DNC Chair Says Clinton Hijacked DNC During Primary; Trump Says Terror Suspect Should Get Death Penalty; House Intel Panel Grills Ex Trump Adviser Carter Page. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired November 2, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] JEFF WEAVER, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR BERNIE SANDERS: If you do not allow the people in, if you do not advocate for the types of reforms we need, you'll be destroying the opportunity we have to take on Donald Trump.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: I have to tell you in prepping for the segment we reached out to a lot of Hillary Clinton campaign people, Hillary Clinton through a spokesperson declined to comment. The former Clinton campaign manager, Robbie Mook was part of that, and also reached out to former DNC Chair Debbie Wassermann Shultz, they haven't responded to us at all for comment whatsoever.
BALDWIN: I feel the sarcasm all over your face. And lastly, I was at Bernie Sanders rallies and talked to the young people. And I'm just wondering what is your message to young people? You were talking to elites within the Democrat party. What is your message to young people? Why bother go out and vote if the system is rigged?
WEAVER: Well, that is the problem when you have this type of behavior that it helps destroy the faith that people have in the political process. But we live in a democracy. And I think what you saw with Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election, 43 percent of the delegates, massive changes in the platform of the Democrat party, and that was an environment where it was rigged. Imagine if we can bring out more young people, if we can take back our party so we can take back our country.
That is possible. But people have to stay engaged. I understand that is very easy to get discouraged, to try to back away from political process. But now more than ever people have to be engaged.
BALDWIN: OK. Jeff Weaver, thank you so much.
WEAVER: Thanks, Brooke.
Coming up we'll talk about more on this New York City terror attack. President Trump calling for the death penalty for the suspects accused. Some are now criticizing the president. Did he just compromise the case for the Justice Department? We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: Those favoring a vote will rise. A sufficient number has risen, the yea's and nay's are ordered. Members will record their votes by electronic device. This is a five-minute vote.
BALDWIN: All right. Just live pictures from Capitol Hill. House speaker there. In just a couple of minutes the House will be observing a moment of silence for the victims in the 9/11 terror attacks. Just a short time ago National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster weighed in on Trump controversial tweets calling for the death penalty for the suspect in New York's deadliest terror attack since 9/11.
But first let me play for you. This is a question from our White House correspondent Sara Murray here at CNN in the briefing. And you'll hear H.R. McMaster's response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA MURRAY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I want to talk about the president weighing in on the man charged with mowing down pedestrians in New York City. He called for the death penalty. Has there been any conversation in the White House how that could complicate prosecutor's efforts and help the defense claim that this person cannot get a fair trial?
H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: What the president wants is to secure the American people from the threat. And from mass murders like this, murders like this. And so, what he's asked us for are options to take a look to assess if our tremendous law enforcement teams and our judicial system has all the tools they need to combat this threat to the American people.
[15:35:00] So, what we owe him now is we owe him options to take a look at to see if this is the time to reassess change, our capabilities in this area of law enforcement in particular/
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let me show you some of the tweets from the president there. Last night New York city terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed eight people and badly injured 12. Should get death penalty.
This morning sending another tweet pushing for the death penalty.
So, let's talk it over with CNN contributor Garrett Graff. He is the author of "The Threat Matrix. The FBI at War in the Age of Global Terror."
So, what is your reaction, just to hearing H.R. McMaster's words just then and just saying that the president calling for the death penalty in this case?
GARRETT GRAFF, AUTHOR AND CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's another situation of the president not really understanding the power the presidential words have, which is a problem that we have seen throughout this year.
But even sort of just earlier this week, we saw in the court martial of Bowe Bergdahl the judge in that case take presidential interference as a potential mitigating circumstance in his decision to sentence Bowe Bergdahl. And this is a challenge for the Justice Department. And prosecutors up and down the chain on the civilian side and military side about having the independence to do their job while the president is out there sort of presupposing what the outcome should be.
BALDWIN: So, we should point out, though, that president's in the past have done this. I was reading a piece this morning, it was 1970, Nixon declares serial killer Charles Manson guilty. 2005, Bush predicts majority leader Tom DeLay would be acquitted on money laundering charges. President Obama predicted the death penalty for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. So, this has happened before. Do you think some of the frustration over President Trump, is it at all disingenuous?
GRAFF: I don't in fact it's disingenuous. I think it's uninformed. Because I think what you saw --
GRAFF: The president had sort of his first instinct was send him to Gitmo. But we have seen throughout the last 15 --
BALDWIN: He's taken that back now.
GRAFF: Well, exactly. Which is that he sort of he makes an impulsive decision and later comes back and learns the fact and besides something else which is now we hope to try this figure in criminal court, which has a better track record since 9/11 of actually putting terrorists in jail.
BALDWIN: Garrett, let me ask you this, because we also heard in the briefing from McMasters saying the president wants options, on U.S. justice system, options on terror suspects. What kind of options might be on the table?
GRAFF: Well, so I mean one of these is the question of whether he is officially declared an enemy combatant, in which case he could be potentially sent to a military brig or Gitmo or leave him in the criminal justice system, and whether that ends up putting the death penalty on the table or taking it off the table. There are a number of different paths. But the problem with these terror cases is there is only one path that consistently worked since 9/11 to deliver justice, and that has been the civilian court system and that was true before 911 and after 9/11.
BALDWIN: And the president just lastly recognized that not sending to Gitmo and using the system you just outlined being successful, his last costly and it is more swift.
GRAFF: It's much more quick. What we have already seen justice served in the case of the Boston Marathon bombing whereas even just this week there is sort of fresh discord and upheaval in the Guantanamo Bay justice system. And those trials still don't look like they are particularly close to coming to a conclusion.
BALDWIN: Garrett, thank you so much.
GRAFF: My pleasure.
BALDWIN: Moments ago, President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort appeared there in Federal Court. The judge deciding not to rule on his house arrest conditions today, they are fighting that. We'll tell you why.
Also, lawmakers looking for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to clear up his testimony on the Russia investigation, now the details have been revealed about a meeting he attended with George Papadopoulos. We'll get a reaction from a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Congresswoman Jackie Speier joins us live.
[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: We have some new developments today in the Russia investigation.
Today the House intelligence Committee is questioning a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, Carter Page has told investigators that he had, quote, brief interactions several years ago with a Russian official. So, there is that.
Also, today another Trump campaign adviser coming under scrutiny talking about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, guilty plea of the former advisor has revealed and incidence in which that adviser, George Papadopoulos, offered to set up a meeting between Putin and Trump. Then candidate Trump didn't say yes or no to the idea according to source it was in that room. But the source did tell us, a second one did tell us, Sessions rejected that proposal. If true, that contradicts what Sessions said in congressional testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States. Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign.
Well, let me just say this without hesitation, that I conducted no improper discussions with Russians at any time regarding a campaign or any other item facing this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's start there. Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier, nice to have you back.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER, (D) CA: Nice to be with you, Brooke. BALDWIN: Before talking Carter Page, let's talk about what we heard
from Jeff Sessions. As we know he disagreed with the idea of a Trump Putin meeting.
[15:45:00] Yet as you just heard, you know, in those hearings, never disclosed that despite multiple questions on Russia from lawmakers from both parties at multiple hearings on Capitol Hill. What's your reaction to that?
SPEIER: Well, it's amazing how this amnesia lifts when there is documentation to contradict what these various officials have said under oath. So, it's troubling. But we hear it on and off again in the committee as well. They will say one thing, but then when they are presented with a document that clearly shows the opposite, then all of a sudden, their amnesia is lifted.
BALDWIN: But apparently that didn't come up and you call it amnesia. Let's move on to Carter Page, congresswoman. What was your biggest takeaway from questioning him?
SPEIER: It's all very peculiar. Carter Page was not pleading the fifth. He wanted to make sure that this hearing that took place today would be made available, the transcript would be made available in three days. Then yet then he did invoke the fifth because he has not produced any documentation to the committee. What documentation we have gotten is from other sources. And, again, he is another person who had amnesia until he was presented with documentation today.
BALDWIN: So, what did you get out of him?
SPEIER: Well, I think that what we know and what we still don't know is to what extent Russia was attempting to use him, maybe unwittingly. I think from what I've heard that he was looking for ways to kind of garner more clients, to gain more respectability and clout in Russia. And by being associated with the Trump campaign to the Trump loyalists that would certificate him well.
BALDWIN: You said Trump loyalists. Do you know how high in the campaign? Papadopoulos, we know he was at that meeting at least at one point according to sources with the president. Do you know how high up any talks of Russia, you know, Carter Page was involved in with the campaign?
SPEIER: Well, certainly, he was on that national security council which met. And while he wasn't at the first meeting, it appears he went to other meetings. And so, I think that there was, you know, an effort by him to gain some credentials, not with the Trump campaign, but with Russia by being associated with the Trump campaign.
BALDWIN: Did he name any names in speaking with you all?
SPEIER: He did name, you know, he always refers to them as scholars. He met with a lot of Russian scholars. Now, the Russian scholars are oftentimes cutouts for Russian operatives. So, again, it's not clear what he was intending and what happened in the end. I mean, he certainly makes the case that he doesn't have any clients now and hasn't for some time. So, you know, time will tell.
BALDWIN: Congresswoman Speier, I have more for you. I'll be going to get a commercial break. If you don't mind holding tight. On the other side I want to talk to you about the quote which is how you say America has a problem with regard to Russian Facebook ads. So quick break and more with Congresswoman Jackie Speier more when CNN continues.
[15:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Back with me Congresswoman Jackie Speier. Live here from Capitol Hill from the House Intel committee. We are all getting this firsthand look at these Russian ads that had the potential to reach 155 million people before the presidential election. Let me just throw one example up.
I know that you have gone through all of these, but this one says Satan: if I win, Clinton wins. And then he's on wrestling with Jesus.
Congresswoman, I read your response, America, we have got a problem. Talk to me.
SPEIER: Well, we do have a problem, for many reasons. First of all, we had our tech giants that have created these great platforms and yet, they're now being used by foreign adversary to dupe us and discredit us and to draw division among the people in this country.
When you hear that only 2 percent of the ads were actually fake, but you realize that -- excuse me, 2 percent of the Facebook pages were fake, but when you find out that there's two billion Facebook users, that's 40 million fake Facebook pages that were created by the Russians, many of them, to develop communities and then to be able to target those communities with special messaging.
I think what we have is a situation where the ads have to be clearly disclosed as to who's paying for them, the Facebook pages have to be clearly identified, especially when no Kudo I work you're dealing with groups, and then organizations like RT, which is Russia Today, it has more subscribers on YouTube than many of the cable TV stations do.
[15:55:00] So, I think that RT has already been identified by our intelligence community as an arm of the Russian government, as a propaganda machine, and I think it's time to call RT what it is. It is pure Russian propaganda and we should not be giving it the rights under the first amendment of the constitution.
BALDWIN: Stunning, stunning, Congresswoman, thank you so much. Thank you. We're back in just a moment.
BALDWIN: CNN has new video that shows the horrific aftermath from the New York terror suspect's crash into the school bus. Fortunately, everyone inside the bus was safely rescued. School officials say one child and one adult remain hospitalized and are recovering from surgery.
As for the suspect himself, officers say he asked to fly an ISIS flag from his New York hospital room because he says he was so proud of what he did the other day. They claim he'd been planning for a year. He's been charged with multiple federal offenses but did not enter a plea for his first court appearance. Jake Tapper has more on this. I'm Brooke Baldwin, thanks for being with me, the lead starts --