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President Trump Suggests Justice Department Investigate Democratic Officials; Did Trump Officials Lie About Russia Investigation?; Democratic Infighting. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired November 3, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right, we continue on. You're watching CNN on this Friday. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
Let's continue with this, President Trump dropping hints the U.S. is conducting military action ISIS in response to this week's terror attack in New York City. So, let me play this for you.
Here is the president from this morning before he left for this big 12-day trip to Asia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we are doing every time we are attacked from this point forward, and it took place yesterday, we are hitting them 10 times harder.
So, when we have an animal do attack like he did on other side of West Side of Manhattan, we are hitting them 10 times harder. They claimed him as a soldier. Good luck. Every time they hit us, we know it's ISIS, we hit them like you folks won't believe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: This came after a pair of morning tweets calling the New York terror suspect a degenerate animal and threats ISIS will pay the price for any terror attack.
So, with me now, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, a CNN analyst and former Army commanding general for Europe and the 7th Army.
So, General, what's the truth, 10 times? What are you hearing? Where is evidence of that?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, no indication, Brooke, frankly.
I have been monitoring both attacks in Syria and Iraq. It's about normal today. There are other locations around the world where, in fact, Special Operations Command is striking against ISIS. There was a report of AFRICOM striking ISIS forces with two major airstrikes that reportedly killed several ISIS fighters in Somalia. You also have a fighter, Mustafa al-Imam, who was part of the Benghazi raids that was captured on I think it was October the 30th, who may have given up information and may have led to some potential kinetic strikes.
But, truthfully, this incident in New York City that occurred just a few days ago, if the military is striking targets, they are striking every one that they have intelligence on. It's very difficult to ramp things up, because, frankly, whenever you have intelligence that leads to targeting, you are going to hit it.
So I'm just not sure where this 10 times harder is coming from. I think it's primarily more hyperbole from the president.
Here's what I want to know. And I don't really know if this has really even been asked yet, but I'm wondering about our men and women in the military and whether the president's statements, General, could have any potential consequences for U.S. forces on the ground in that part of the world.
HERTLING: Well, I have talked to a few of my colleagues who are still in uniform. And they are somewhat scratching their head, because they don't know what the president is talking about.
It is -- again, it's thinking that, yes, we do want to strike the enemy as vehemently as we can. And whenever we have intelligence on a target, the military is going to hit it. But, again, what I would also say, this is the war fighting piece of striking ISIS. There is a whole lot more to going against the ideology of ISIS.
And, remember, the New York City attack was a result of Internet recruitment.
BALDWIN: Right, here in the U.S.
HERTLING: And there doesn't seem to be any additional indicators that we are doing much better in that regard.
BALDWIN: General Hertling, always a pleasure. Thank you very much on that piece of it.
HERTLING: Thank you, Brooke.
BALDWIN: But let me turn our attention to this here. Russia interfered in the election, no secret, no doubt, despite what you may hear from the president.
But the past couple of days make up the most significant week in this investigation of what the Trump campaign knew about that interference and the events that followed.
So, let me just take a moment here to outline exactly what has happened. First, two campaign officials indicted, one campaign adviser pleading guilty to lying about his contacts with the Russians. And despite being dismissed as this coffee boy, we now know that this adviser, George Papadopoulos, pitched this idea of a Putin meeting, and the president heard him out.
But, once again, when it comes to Russia and team Trump, amnesia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?
TRUMP: Well, I told you General Flynn obviously was dealing, so that's one person. But he was dealing, as he should have been.
QUESTION: During the election?
TRUMP: No, nobody that I know of.
QUESTION: So, you're not aware of any contacts during the course of the election?
TRUMP: Look, how many times do I have to answer this question?
TRUMP: Russia is a ruse. You have to get up and ask a question.
I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That was February. This was today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't remember much about that meeting. It was a very unimportant meeting, took place a long time -- don't remember much about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Hmm. Can't remember anything, despite this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: There's no hesitation. One of the great memories of all time. There was no hesitation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Another power player in the Trump orbit who seems to also suffer from this amnesia, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Now we're learning Sessions had a role in the campaign's contact with the Russians, including 86ing that meeting with Vladimir Putin. And another campaign adviser says he told Sessions about his own Russia trips, all of that happening even though, under oath:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: 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: On top of all of this, another clue that Robert Mueller is building an obstruction of justice case against the president.
We now know that his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has turned over documents related go to his role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
So, with me now Carl Bernstein, CNN political analyst and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, and Jeffrey Toobin, CNN chief legal analyst and former federal prosecutor.
Gentleman, you heard what I just ran through there.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You should be a prosecutor.
BALDWIN: I should be a prosecutor I'm going to stick with my day job as a journalist. But we have a lot of questions to ask, starting with, when is this amnesia going to catch up with him?
TOOBIN: I think we need to slow down.
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: We are on the same page here.
TOOBIN: No, I actually -- I don't think we are on the same page here.
I think they're -- this investigation is going to slow down and take sometime. And there is no guarantee that there are going to be more charges. I think we need to not get ahead of the facts.
BALDWIN: Take a breath.
TOOBIN: It is not necessarily the case that those statements that Sessions made are provably false. There were a lot of caveats.
And he has got problems. Al Franken, who asked the most important question in that hearing, wrote him a letter, a scathing letter this week that outlined how problematic his testimony is.
But I think this is going to be methodical investigation and we should be covering it in a methodical way.
BERNSTEIN: We are on the same page, because we as journalists are not prosecutors and we are not judges.
Yes, there has been serial lying by the president of the United States, by the attorney general of the United States, by members of Trump's family, by people in his administration at the highest levels. However--
TOOBIN: That's quite a list.
BERNSTEIN: It is quite a list, and it's extraordinary.
BALDWIN: But, he says.
BERNSTEIN: But that does not mean yet that we know that those serial lies are necessarily criminal.
And you use the phrase about Mueller building a case against. I believe that what Mueller is doing really is sifting through the facts and seeing if there is a case. He's got a real record of being fair- minded.
And I think that what we see now is just this much of his investigation. And what we have seen in the past few days, indeed, suggests he's going a certain way. We do know that Jared Kushner is the focus of a big part of his investigation. But we have got a long way to go.
TOOBIN: I don't know that.
BERNSTEIN: I know that. Yes, he is. but it doesn't mean he is -- quote -- there is no target letter. He's not a target of a criminal -- he's not been notified he's a -- quote -- "target."
But, yes, there is a focus on Jared Kushner, as well as others at the highest levels.
But, yes, it's a time to step back, parse through what we know, keep our heads down as journalists, and, at the same time, because we are dealing with people who are serial liars here, including serial lies from the president of the United States, it's an extraordinary situation for the press, in which we have got to point out when there are untruths, and at the same time not rush to a conclusion about how this may or may not have broken the law.
BALDWIN: Why are you chuckling? TOOBIN: You know, let's talk about what we know for sure. We can
speculate about what is coming.
BALDWIN: -- what we know for sure.
TOOBIN: What we know for sure is that there has been a guilty plea and there have been two indictments.
TOOBIN: So, we are past the point where this is simply just an investigation checking out what might have happened.
TOOBIN: The Mueller investigation has said and proved to one defendant that he couldn't go to trial because he was so guilty. And the other two are going to get their day in court.
That is a big difference from where we were a week before, where it was just sort of an open-ended investigation. And these are very serious charges. They are indicative of an investigation that has taken months, that will take more months.
TOOBIN: Right. I was going to point that out.
BALDWIN: Buckle up.
BALDWIN: Judge Berman in Washington federal court said that trial is going to take place in May.
TOOBIN: Those dates don't go up either. It may move back.
So, you know, the idea that Mueller might be closing up shop at any point soon--
BALDWIN: Which is what we keep hearing from the White House.
TOOBIN: -- is just absolutely out of the question.
BERNSTEIN: Is impossible, absolutely impossible.
BALDWIN: Let me get to a comment, moving off of this a little bit and that the president made before he headed out to Asia this morning, specifically talking about the DOJ and the FBI to going after political opponents Hillary Clinton. Here he was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm really not involved with the Justice Department. I'd like to let it run itself. But, honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats. They should be looking at Podesta and all of that dishonesty. They should be looking at a lot of things.
And lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TOOBIN: Listen, my hero Carl Bernstein in Watergate, one of the things they uncovered was that Richard Nixon was directing prosecutions, the IRS audits.
And the whole idea has been since then to establish policies that insulate the Justice Department from precisely that kind of behavior. It really is shocking for him to be talking that way.
BERNSTEIN: Look, he has tried to make the conduct of the press and Hillary Clinton the issue here from the beginning, and it's a total red herring.
The issue is Donald Trump. The issue is whether Donald Trump has obstructed justice. The issue is whether Donald Trump and/or those around him acted in a conspiracy to -- quote -- "collude" or to undermine the American electoral system.
And there is plenty of evidence that the American electoral system was undermined and that there is plenty of suspicious contact with those who undermined. Now we have a special prosecutor trying to get to the bottom of it.
And this president is trying to keep him from getting to the bottom of it. He has undermined at every turn that he can the investigation. He has sought to demean the special prosecutor. And now he's trying to get the Congress of the United States to shut down the special prosecutor's investigation. And it's an outrage.
BALDWIN: Does it feel like to you, though, sort of the evolution of the comments to today how the president is at least talking about the DOJ? Does it feel like he's learning the boundaries?
TOOBIN: Well, I suppose a little bit.
BALDWIN: I mean, I'm serious.
TOOBIN: No, I understand that. I think that's a very serious question. And I think at least he's been told that you can't direct the prosecution of Hillary Clinton or John Podesta or Tony Podesta.
BALDWIN: It means should he have known this. TOOBIN: But he should have known that.
But also when you are the president and supervisor of the Justice Department and you say, I think they should prosecute person X, Y, and Z, but I can't instruct, they hear that too.
BERNSTEIN: Let's be clear.
TOOBIN: And that's why it's so inappropriate for him to be saying that.
BERNSTEIN: He's also addressing the Congress of the United States. He's trying to get Republicans in Congress to shut down this investigation, because, if he acts to shut it down, he has been advised by counsel and others that he might provoke the kind of storm that would resort in a possible impeachable offense for obstruction of justice.
So he wants this shut down. This investigation is into his family, it is into his finances, it is into his organization's finances. It is exactly where he said that he would draw a line and that the prosecutors could not and should not go. That's where they are right now.
And there is no question that they have their eyes on what happened at the level of Donald Trump, his family, and those closest to him, especially now that Mr. Papadopoulos has said he indeed passed on information that he was looking to get these e-mails, and he passed that on to the campaign manager.
Well, did the campaign manager pass that onto the candidate? Did he pass it on to the candidate's son-in-law? All those questions are now what has this White House so concerned.
Jeffrey Toobin and his hero, Carl Bernstein.
TOOBIN: That's not a joke.
TOOBIN: No, I'm telling you.
TOOBIN: This guy is my hero.
BALDWIN: For all of us.
TOOBIN: That's not hyperbole, absolutely. No, this guy, this is why we are journalists.
BALDWIN: I agree. Thank you both so very much. TOOBIN: He's very old, though.
BALDWIN: You like that.
BALDWIN: All right, coming up next, President Trump calling for an investigation into the DNC after explosive allegations that the party rigged the 2016 primary to favor Hillary Clinton. We will debate what it means for Democrats with insiders from both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns.
Also ahead, moments ago, Twitter said it will institute new safeguards after this rogue employee.
TOOBIN: What a -- I mean, it's a bizarre story.
BALDWIN: Right. I mean, 11 minutes, people are like, what happened to the president's Twitter feed? It was shut down last night. Jeffrey Toobin laughs. This is serious stuff. What is Twitter going to do? We will discuss how it could have happened.
I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.
BALDWIN: A new book from the former head of the Democratic National Committee is reopening some old wounds and giving President Trump some fresh anti-Clinton ammunition. This book comes from Donna Brazile, who served as the interim chair of the DNC during the campaign.
And so within this book that she's written, she alleges that the Clinton campaign had this agreement with the DNC that favored Hillary Clinton in the primaries.
Let me read this excerpt for you. Donna Brazile writes this: "The funding arrangement with HFA and the Victory Fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party's integrity."
Brazile's allegations have many Democrats crying foul. So let me have just you listen to this Q&A between CNN's Jake Tapper and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: This is a test for Tom Perez. And either he's going to succeed by bringing Bernie Sanders and Bernie Sanders' representatives into this process, and they are going to say, it's fair, it works, we all believe it, or he's going to fail.
And I very much hope he succeeds. I hope for Democrats everywhere, I hope for Bernie and for all of Bernie supporters he's going to succeed.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Very quickly, Senator, do you agree with the notion that it was rigged?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: With me now Democratic strategists Jonathan Tasini and Adrienne Elrod. Tasini was a Sanders surrogate. Adrienne was the former director of strategic communications for the Clinton campaign.
So, Adrienne, you get the tough question first, being, how do you explain this?
ADRIENNE ELROD, FORMER STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Well, I'll explain it by saying this.
First of all, the Democratic Party was flat-out broke when Secretary Clinton decided to run for president. Secretary Clinton and President Clinton have always been prolific fund-raisers for the Democratic Party. She knew that going into an election, if where to run, or no matter even if she didn't run, the Democratic Party had to be in good standing financially going into the 2016 election.
So, she and Senator Sanders, which is very standard, both had the option to enter into a joint fund-raising agreement. Secretary Clinton, as part of that agreement, which, by the way, these agreements were uniform, entered into the agreement and raised money for the party.
Senator Sanders decided not to, which is completely fine. So, she raised a lot of money. And thank goodness that she did, because the party was actually in very good shape going into the general election.
BALDWIN: All right, so Adrienne says this is about money and the fact that the party was in debt.
Jonathan, how would you respond to that?
JONATHAN TASINI, AUTHOR, "THE ESSENTIAL BERNIE SANDERS AND HIS VISION FOR AMERICA": First of all, thanks for having me.
It wasn't a standard agreement, because, as Donna Brazile does point out, it's never happened. It's quite rare. And I think it's probably never happened that a party person running for office for the presidential nomination essentially has influence on both the staff decisions, as was outlined in Brazile's account, on what's happening in the DNC.
That doesn't happen until after the nomination is handed over to someone. And Donna would know that, because, as you may remember, she was the campaign manager for Al Gore when he ran in 2000.
So to take it a step forward, what you mentioned before, Adrienne, about the fund-raising is interesting that Bernie in fact did not -- and this goes to the point whether this was rigged or not -- Bernie did not in fact proceed with that agreement. And it really goes to the point about us feeling that the party was not being balanced in that race.
And, in fact, the reason we did not want to raise money through the DNC was to the point that actually Donna mentioned, that only 1 percent of that money, which was really supposed to go back to the state parties, there was this joint fund-raising agreement where there was these huge events, all of it flowed essentially to the Clinton campaign, did not bill the state parties.
Because the state parties are the mechanism--
ELROD: Not true.
TASINI: And I traveled for Bernie throughout the campaign, and I can tell you very specific anecdotes -- because the state parties were established, if you will, by the establishment, we felt it was not in our interest to raise money that would then go filter back to the state parties and support the Clinton campaign.
ELROD: No, that's not true.
BALDWIN: Adrienne, how do you respond?
TASINI: But it's a fact.
ELROD: In terms of the money that you are saying didn't go to the state parties, it went to coordinated campaigns, which are a different--
TASINI: No, it was supposed to go back to help build the state parties. That's just a fact in the way those things work.
ELROD: And coordinated campaigns do that.
TASINI: And it did not. That money did not go there. It went essentially to Brooklyn, if I can use that vernacular.
ELROD: Well, and, by the way, that was also during the general election.
But, look, Secretary Clinton entered into this agreement. As part of that agreement, she was able to control the money that she raised in the general election, not in the primary. And, by the way, if we are going to go back to -- if we're going to
subscribe to the theory that Secretary Clinton had control over the money that she raised for the DNC during the primary and the caucuses, Bernie Sanders carried most of the caucus states, and that's where the DNC's primary...
ELROD: -- money went toward.
TASINI: I think we are getting lost in a little bit of the trees of the--
BALDWIN: We are. We are.
Can I just jump in? Because I'm thinking of people -- when people listening to you at home and broadening it out, let's go with what Donna...
BALDWIN: Hang on.
If Donna -- and this is to Adrienne -- if what Donna is alleging is true, that if Hillary Clinton had full control of the DNC -- and, secretly, secretly, might I add -- and other candidates did not, Adrienne, and didn't know about it, no matter who it is, doesn't that make the system rigged and unfair?
ELROD: Well, if that were the case, of course, it would. But it was not the case at all. The DNC remained very neutral during in the primary.
TASINI: That is not just true.
ELROD: Yes, it is.
OK, so let's talk about some facts. Let's try to broaden out beyond this specific agreement. And, by the way, when we say the DNC, the Democratic Party, there are lots of good people that work in the party that I know, labor leaders, so I don't want to cast a broad brush.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is now the deposed chair, who was deposed because the Sanders campaign demanded that she be removed just before the convention, she was explicitly trying to tilt the campaign towards Clinton.
And the best evidence of that, Brooke, and you know this because it was reported repeatedly, that Debbie Wasserman Schultz engineered debates that would give Bernie Sanders as little exposure as possible.
I joked that if she could actually schedule one on the Home Shopping Network at 3:00 a.m., she would do that, because they did not want Bernie Sanders to have access to the voters.
And what that did was actually hurt the party, because while the Republicans were holding 20-something debates and speaking to the American people, Debbie Wasserman Schultz made sure that we had limited debates and at times -- there was one that was scheduled for an NFL playoff game.
That was the way she rigged it. And at the state level, I can tell you anecdotes from people who have been calling me in Nevada in the caucuses, in the way that the party establishment tried to skew the results in caucuses, the way they did the math.
Throughout the campaign, the Democratic Party establishment was skewed towards Hillary Clinton.
ELROD: Jonathan, we have debated this so many times. This is even not worth going back into.
The bottom line is, we have got two major elections going on in Tuesday in Virginia and New Jersey. Democrats are united on that. I'm going to be knocking on doors this weekend. I hope you are too.
TASINI: Yes. And I will be knocking on doors for somebody who is running out in Long Island, somebody who is running in a Republican district.
TASINI: But it is very important, because, moving forward, if Tom Perez, to go to Elizabeth Warren's point, if they want to have progressives in this party, if they want to have millions of people involved in the party, this cannot happen again.
And if they do these shenanigans again, and they did happen, people will leave the party. The party will collapse. And I will tell you right now Donald Trump will be reelected.
ELROD: There were no shenanigans. Secretary Clinton raised a lot of money for the party. And thank goodness she did because we needed that money going into the general election.
BALDWIN: No wonder Americans have such a pessimistic view of politics.
We are going to leave it, Jonathan and Adrienne. Appreciate you very much.
ELROD: Thanks, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Coming up next here, Twitter taking action after the president's account was taken down for 11 whole minutes last night by this rogue employee on his last day, the new safeguards putting in place.
Also jobs, the president keeps pointing to the economic numbers to prove he's a success, I mean, incredible job numbers today. But you see the screen? U.S. employment rate drops to the lowest level in 17 years. So does the president have a point?
Back in a moment.