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Internet with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher; More Revelations on Trump from New Tell-All Book; Democrats Threaten Government Shutdown over Immigration. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired January 5, 2018 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: I know you have gone before the Senate Intelligence Committee to talk about your contacts with Russia, your meetings with Russians, meetings with WikiLeaks leader, Julian Assange, as well?
REP. DANA ROHRABACHER, (R), CALIFORNIA: Yes.
CABRERA: Have you talked to Mueller's team as well and interviewed?
ROHRABACHER: I've -- I have talked to everybody who wants to talk to me. I am an open book. And it's just the innuendos like this. Oh, and I notice that you said -- one of your guests said that somebody had been indicted, you know, twice, and that was supposed to mean that he's a bad guy. Well, people can be indicted for anything, especially if there's a special prosecutor. And, yes, I am an open book to everybody. And I have spoken to everybody who wanted to talk to me.
CABRERA: Do you think it's OK to lie to the FBI?
ROHRABACHER: Look, is that -- the answer is no, it's not good to lie to anybody. It's also not good to interrupt people when they're trying to make a point when you're a news person.
CABRERA: I apologize if you feel like I've interrupted you for that. I mean you no disrespect, sir.
Have you yourself interviewed with Robert --
ROHRABACHER: No disrespect? I got no respect. No disrespect? You don't respect Trump. You don't respect people who disagree with you politically. And that's why the news media, which has an agenda, shouldn't drive special prosecutors. You don't want a special prosecutor unless he's looking at a special issue. That's when you do it. We've already seen Manafort -- here he is, I mean, having to face the onslaught of things he had nothing -- that had nothing to do with Trump's collusion with Russia.
CABRERA: OK. Excuse me, Congressman --
ROHRABACHER: Tell me why people are upset with special prosecutors.
CABRERA: I know that you want to talk about marijuana, so I want to honor that as well, because I find it very interesting as well.
I want to remind our viewers, and your voters -- because I know a lot of your voters' care about pot in California, given it was legalized -- here's what the president said during the campaign on this issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wouldn't do that, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you think Colorado should be able to do what it's doing?
TRUMP: I think it's up to the states, yes. I'm a states person. I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So with the administration just rescinding past policy that left it open to the states to regulate, did President Trump betray a campaign promise?
ROHRABACHER: No. It's not Trump who is betraying the campaign promise. It's Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, is betraying Trump and the rest of us. The president made his position clear. Jeff Sessions now is going in the opposite direction from what the president actually committed during the election. This shows you what happens when you have an attorney general who is not loyal to someone who has been elected by the people on a specific issue. And Sessions betrayed us on this. And he's betrayed the president on the special prosecutor for the Russia collusion that never existed.
CABRERA: Senator Cory Gardner has said he will hold up judicial nominations over this issue of rescinding the past policy on marijuana, but bottom line, Congress has the power to change this. Your party is in power. You can change the law. Why not push legalization of marijuana?
ROHRABACHER: We're not pushing for legalization. We're pushing for the rights of the states to make sure that they determine whether or not the medical use of marijuana should be legal in their state and their community. The people in the local communities and the states should make that determination. That's what the president's policy was.
ROHRABACHER: And that's what -- I might say that's the way our attorney general has betrayed the president by going in his direction rather than what the president was elected it to do.
CABRERA: To be fair, it was only guidance to begin with. It's still up to U.S. attorneys in each of these different jurisdictions to decide how much they are going to prosecute marijuana-related crimes. This may not change the status owe, right?
ROHRABACHER: The president's policy -- that wasn't the president's policy. The president's policy, what he stated in the election and the voters voted for, was to leave that up to the states not the U.S. attorneys. And U.S. attorneys you have all sorts of pressures on by local -- by law enforcement to go in and -- for example, asset forfeiture gives them a means to take people's property and then you have to prove you're innocent before you get it back. That type of pressure is on the U.S. attorneys. And we don't want that to happen. We want to leave it up to the state and local governments to determine policy on medical marijuana.
CABRERA: What are you worried about? What is the impact that has happened in California because of this action?
ROHRABACHER: Well, the people of California, like the people of most states -- I think it's 40 states now, have voted to have some degree of letting their people use marijuana for medical purposes. The last thing we want to do now is to have the federal government, because of Jeff Sessions not paying attention to the president, and his pledges to the American people, to have the U.S. attorneys now decide to shut down the medical clinics. You have a lot of veterans and senior citizens that depend on cannabis-type related treatments for arthritis and all sorts of things now, and we don't want to have those clinics shut down. That should be decided at the local level, not by the attorney general of the United States.
[11:35:30] CABRERA: Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, thank you for your time.
The stunning details keep pouring out from this new tell-all book on President Trump. One former aide telling Michael Wolff that Trump's eyes rolled into the back of his head while he was briefing him on the Constitution, next.
[11:39:43] CABRERA: Back to the bombshell book that President Trump calls, "phony, full of lies and sources that don't exist." Author Michael Wolff, of "Fire and Fury," depicts a president who never intended to be president, telling his aids at the beginning of the race, quote, "I can be the most famous man in the world." He also quotes Nunberg widely saying of Trump, "He's just an expletive fool." And there's this incident where Nunberg talks about trying to explain the Constitution to Trump, and, quote, "I got as far as the Fourth Amendment before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head."
Joining us now, former Washington, D.C., Democratic chair, A. Scott Bolduan, and conservative commentator, Carrie Sheffield. She's also the founder of Bold Media.
Guys, we read the Nunberg quotes because he is one of the people quoted in the book who is not refuting what he is quoted as saying. He does say that some of those didn't have the full context of them but, by and large, he said those things, admits to it. There are, obviously, a lot of quotes from Steve Bannon that have gotten a lot of attention. Steve Bannon doesn't refute what is in this book either. What's your overall reaction to what we have learned, the revelations that have come out of this book, Scott?
A SCOTT BOLDUAN, FORMER WASHINGTON D.C. DEMOCARTIC CHAIR: Well, I think it's just confirmation. I didn't need "Fire and Fury" or this book to tell me about the president's ego and the madhouse and madman politics that goes on there and the infighting. All of this has been reported. The book is really just a confirmation of it. But what stings and what is really hard for the GOP and the White House and others to swallow, vis-a-vis their attacks, it's coming from someone who is -- had a front row view, right, of the fury and this nonsense that's going on at the White House. Their attacks, the more they attack, as someone once said, a protest too much. It might be true. We Donald Trump and his administration has no relationship with the truth. And so this is going to be a good read, but it's going to be a good confirmation or corroboration of what we know of Donald Trump's leadership so far.
CARRIE SHEFFIELD, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR & FOUNDER, BOLD MEDIA: Well, Ana, you're right that the comments from Steve Bannon have not been disputed to date. So in that respect, I think that what Steve Bannon has been doing is he's been going rogue, trying to perpetuate the civil war in the conservative movement, and it's time to end that conservative war. I think it's time for people to come together. I think that the president has been working with Congress. Tax reform was the embodiment of ending that civil war. So I think that Steve Bannon by trying to perpetuate the civil war it's troubling.
In terms of the broader issues of the book, there's so many questions about this book that are really the definition of fake news. I mean, you have Anna Wintour, from "Vogue," disavowing the claim in the book that she lobbied to be the U.K. ambassador. That's fake news. And in 2008, the same author wrote a book about Rupert Murdoch and "The New York Times" media reporter, he called it a borderline on parody. There's so much falsehood that even the book itself states that this book is -- may or may not be true because there's so many misinformation and misstatements and contradictions in the book itself.
BOLDUAN: It doesn't go that far --
CABRERA: There have been errors identified in the reporting, but the author of the book stands by his reporting. And frankly, a lot of what has been reported in the book is only backing up previous reports that have come out -- BOLDUAN: Exactly.
CABRERA: -- about this administration. Again, a lot of the people who were quoted in the book are saying, I did say that. And there are third parties who were witnessing conversations that took place who have also confirmed a lot of the quotes.
I do think it's fair, though, to say that Wolff was asked directly whether he is standing by the book and he said, I have recordings, I have notes, I am certainly and absolutely in every way comfortable with everything I've reported in the book. That's what he said today.
He does get into some policy issues. You'll recall, if you had a chance to read some of the excerpts or watching our show, he talks about issues critical to the conservative agenda.
Take a look at this. I want to get your take on this quote from the book as well. It says, "in fact, he, Trump, probably favored government funded health care more than any other Republican. Why can't Medicare simply cover everybody, he impatiently wondered aloud during one discussion of aides, all of whom were careful not to react to this heresy."
Carrie, as a conservative, are you concerned to hear this?
SHEFFIELD: Ana, I was one of those kicking and screaming former Never Trumpers understanding Trump -- I think that Trump has been learning in real time and I've been learning in real time. Like I said earlier, I would like to see the end to this civil war. I think as Trump has proceed to be president and listened to the voters who were speaking to him directly, that he's learned a lot. And so I'm excited to see what's going to happen in 2018 with health care, the fact that in the tax reform bill there was the repeal of the individual mandate, that was an excellent policy and the president has been full throated in support of that. I will say, if Mitt Romney ends up running in Utah, where I'm from, maybe he could be the standard bearer to find a different alternative to Obamacare. That could be a great place for him to show leadership and bring the movement back together.
[11:45:04] CABRERA: Scott, are you happy that the president may be open to single-payer health care?
BOLDUAN: Yes. I don't think he's open to that. I think he had his heart of hearts, he's really a New York Democrat, he always has been. But then for political purposes and for this, quote, "Trump movement," he's had to change. He hasn't gotten smarter on it because a majority of Americans, over 65 percent, maybe 80 percent, don't like the health care plan, which is why it's been defeated several times.
But here's the deal with regard to Donald Trump. He doesn't -- the idea of his competence or even wanting to get smart on health care or any other issue is really at the heart of this book and the heart of the -- those who would challenge Donald Trump. That he doesn't have the desire to get smart. He likes the trappings of the presidency, which he's not very good. But you can't educate him on the Constitution because he's so concerned with his image and ego that the depth and substance from being the president and the leader of the Western world goes by him. That's dangerous. I.E., he doesn't know that the DOJ, the Department of Justice, is not his agency. He can't use the federal agencies as his piggybank or food bank or whatever he wants to use them for, and that's a real problem for all of us as Americans.
CABRERA: A. Scott Bolduan and Carrie Sheffield --
SHEFFIELD: I have to disagree.
BOLDUAN: I thought you would.
SHEFFIELD: He is preserving --
BOLDUAN: Those objective facts.
SHEFFIELD: He's preserving Western civilization, protecting us from Pakistan, stripping away the people harboring Osama bin Laden --
BOLDUAN: He's killing us. He's not protecting us.
BOLDUAN: Stop it.
SHEFFIELD: No. NO. He destroyed ISIS
SHEFFIELD: Barack Obama said ISIS was the J.V. --
CABRERA: OK, Carrie, finish your thought and then we have to go.
CABRERA: OK. We agree to disagree.
Thank you both for being here. We'll have another chance another day to hash this all out.
SHEFFIELD: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: Thanks, guys.
CABRERA: Work with us on immigration or face a government shutdown -- that's the rallying cry from some Democrats on Capitol Hill as the president prepares to meet with top Republicans on immigration today. Details straight ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[11:50:58] CABRERA: President Trump on his way to Camp David today. He is inviting GOP leaders to join him. Topping their agenda for discussion, the looming government shutdown. And the Democrats want to make sure DACA protection for DREAMers is part of the deal.
Congressman Nita Lowey is with us. She's a Democrat fighting for the DREAMers and a ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee.
Congressman, thank you very much for being with us. I appreciate it.
REP. NITA LOWEY, (D), NEW YORK: It is my pleasure. And I want to make it clear we can do this. In 2017, Democrats worked with Republicans. Even though it was seven months late, but we managed to get our work done. It is outrageous that the total focus on the tax bill and other nonsense going on at the White House is preventing us from doing our work.
CABRERA: When you talk about it, you called the issue of DREAMers and DACA a moral issue. Are you prepared to shut down the government if protection for the DREAMers is not included as part of this deal?
LOWEY: I want to make it clear, if the government shuts down, Republicans control the White House, the House, and the Senate, they will be cutting off money for all the work that we have to do, whether it is building infrastructure, roads, bridges, highways, education, veteran benefits. We have a lot of on work to do. We did it in 2017. And I am hoping when I get back to Washington this week we can sit down, set a deadline, get a number from the White House and Republicans and get to work.
CABRERA: You are optimistic. What gives you that optimism besides there's been bipartisanship in the past? Seems in this day and age, everything is on a party line vote.
LOWEY: Well, let's make it clear, as I said, the Republicans control the White House, the House, and the Senate. They are in charge. If the government shuts down, it's because they could not do the work. I'm ready to work in a bipartisan way, as I always have done on appropriations. It's important that we sit down, get that number from the Republicans and get to work. If the government shuts down because they don't want to fund after-school programs or the children's health insurance program or DACA --
CABRERA: You don't think Republicans don't want to fund CHIP, for example or
CABRERA: We heard that from a lot of them. Remember when the government shutdown last time in 2013, you said, "The reckless Republican shut down is a disgrace, and it's hurting businesses and families across the community. And the shutdown is avoidable and it's time for Republicans to stop holding our economy hostage."
CABRERA: Do you worry about the Republicans suggesting Democrats are holding the country and the economy hostage should a shutdown happen?
LOWEY: I know that if we are given numbers --we call them top-down numbers, Democrats and Republicans can sit down and do our work within the next two weeks. We can do our work and finish the appropriations process. DACA and, certainly, the Children's Health Insurance Program have to be part of that process. The Republicans know it. Let's do it now rather than later. And let's get our work done and do it in a bipartisan way.
CABRERA: Bipartisanship means compromise. And we know the president laid out some of his priorities when it comes to immigration, when it comes to border security. He obviously wants the wall. Democrats are saying, no way. But there's other issues that I'm wondering you are willing to give a little when it comes to diversity and chain migration. Are they areas where you might be able to reach a compromise?
LOWEY: I'm glad you brought up the wall. Democrats understand -- and I had many meetings with my Republican friends about this -- that there are ways to provide better protection. There is communications equipment, electronic equipment and repair the roads so our offices and people in charge can have better access. They know there are dozens of ways to provide better work for protection of our country other than the wall. If we sat down, we can get it done.
[11:55:13] CABRERA: What are about chain migration and the diversity lottery?
LOWEY: The important thing is we have got to pass DACA. There's over 800,000 hardworking young people -- and I met with them. I have gone on our universities and they are lawyers, doctors. And businesses depend on them for their jobs. Everything should be on the table so we can talk about it.
CABRERA: So you are willing to facilitate that. No hard nose at this point?
LOWEY: Well --
CABRERA: How confident are you that this is going to happen before the end of this month?
LOWEY: I don't think the Republicans want to shut down the government. They know, and the public knows they are in charge with the White House, the House and the Senate. If the government shuts down, it's the Republicans that are doing it. Let's sit down and let appropriators do our work. We've always worked in a bipartisan way. And we address these serious issues. We have differences of opinion. I would want after-school programs, they may not want after-school programs. I may want benefits for veterans, they may not want to invest. We can get our job done if we sit down and do the work.
CABRERA: Nita Lowey, thank you very much, Congressman, for coming on and for sharing with us. Good luck.
LOWEY: Thank you. Thank you.
CABRERA: Coming up, the stunning report raising new questions about whether the president of the United States obstructed justice. According to the "New York Times," President Trump ordered his lawyer to try to block Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation. That's next.
[12:00:00] DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Dana Bash. John King is off.
Robert Mueller's investigation started as an effort to determine if team Trump colluded with Russians in 2016. But did the president's actions in 2017 turn the focus --