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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Sen. In The Wake Of The Memo Release, FBI Dir. Wray Tells FBI "Actions Speak Louder Than Words"; McCain: Undermining "Rule OF Law" Helps Putin; Comey: Memo Release Inexcusable, Destroys Relationsip. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired February 2, 2018 - 16:30   ET

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


TAPPER: And we're back, and sticking with our breaking news coverage of the Nunes memo release alleging FBI abuses against the Trump campaign, I want to bring in CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey, you've read the memo. What do you think? Might the FBI be in trouble?

TOOBIN: No, I think this is an absolute disgrace. I think this is a dark day in American history. You have the President of the United States and the majority party in Congress issuing a completely misleading document for the sole purpose of interfering with law enforcement people who were only doing their job by investigating this President. I think this is an absolutely shocking document, and we haven't even seen the Democratic response yet.

TAPPER: House Judiciary Committee Democrats released a statement today saying in part, quote, "With the release of the Nunes talking points, a deliberately misleading document that politicizes and distorts highly classified information in order to discredit our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, President Trump has successfully added the Republican majority in Congress as accessories to his continuing obstruction of justice.

I don't know if that's hyperbole or an actual accusation. What do you think?

TOOBIN: I -- I think it is hyperbole. I -- I think this is a political defense of the president who is under investigation in a law enforcement matter. I don't think the release of this memo is any sort of criminal act by the -- the majority in the House Intelligence Committee, but it is designed to help the President who is under a very serious investigation. And they are -- this is all -- the whole purpose of all this is to discredit that investigation and to help the President politically. I don't think that's a crime, but I do think it's a dark moment in American history.

TAPPER: You know, it's interesting because the other night Geraldo Rivera said to Sean Hannity that if Hannity, as he exists now, had existed back then, that Richard Nixon would have survived Watergate and impeachment. And it's tough not to agree with that.

I think Geraldo meant it as a compliment. I'm not sure it actually is one, but it's true, the President has a huge apparatus not just Republicans in Congress and Nixon didn't have that because Democrats controlled it, but also this huge media -- right-wing media chamber that really serves to change the subject from the fundamental question of the intelligence community, why and how did the Russians interfere with the 2016 election.

TOOBIN: And what you also have, you're absolutely right, you have the -- the -- the echo chamber of Fox News and Breitbart and you have the Republicans in -- in Congress, I mean, Paul Ryan is totally indispensable to the President -- the President here. And -- and what's so different is how different the Republican Party is from -- in the 1970's.

Remember, what drove Richard Nixon out of office at long last was when Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott, and all these stalwarts of the Republican Party said, "Look, we can't defend you anymore. We don't see even a breath of that in the current Republicans in Congress except those who are on their way out in Arizona, in -- in Tennessee. I mean, you have -- you have senators who feel like they can't challenge the Republican orthodoxy in their party anymore and -- and -- and, you know, defend law enforcement. You have a completely unified and far more right-wing Republican Party today than you did in the 1970's.

TAPPER: So you mentioned Speaker Ryan -- Speaker Ryan, his feeling about this is, based on public statements he's made, that, look, if there was a civil liberties abuse of Carter Page, that's important for us to know and that's important for the FBI to -- to fix.

If a -- a political document was used as evidence in a counterintelligence and law enforcement manner, I have concerns about that. But Paul Ryan has also been quick to say, this memo does not undermine the FBI, the Justice Department, and the Mueller investigation.

Now that said, obviously, many members of his party, including the President, are using it precisely that way.

TOOBIN: Yeah. We -- we ought to introduce Paul Ryan to -- to Donald Trump or just tell him to read the President's tweet this morning. I mean, you don't have to be an investigative reporter to think what -- to find out what Donald Trump thinks about this memo and -- and what he's trying to use it for. He thinks that the FBI is led in a corrupt way. He thinks that the FBI and the Department of Justice are engaged in a conspiracy to discredit him.

There is absolutely no evidence of that. The only evidence is that we have people in the Department of Justice against significant political pressure are doing their jobs. And the fact that Paul Ryan like, you know, thinks that, you know, he's shocked to find politics going on here, I -- I think it shows that he's not really paying attention or he doesn't want to.

TAPPER: One of the other things that's interesting is that when you look back on how the FBI acted during the 2016 campaign per se, just on that behavior on what we saw publicly as members of the public, FBI Director Comey was very publicly talking, criticizing, not prosecuting Hillary Clinton, reopened the investigation 10 days before the election, which Hillary Clinton blames for her loss.

And all the while, from July on, unbeknownst to the public, there was this investigation into the Trump campaign, including this Carter Page FISA warrant October before the election that is the subject of this Nunes memo. If the FBI really was against Donald Trump, one would think that that investigation would have leaked out during the Trump campaign against Hillary Clinton.

TOOBIN: You know, Jake you've put your finger on the most surreal part of this whole story is that, you know Democrats, based on the polling data, have a very good argument that James Comey, the head of the FBI -- the head of the FBI cost Hillary Clinton the election. Obviously, many factors went into it, but the fact that he reopened the investigation on the eve of the election against Justice Department policy, which says you don't make public announcements on the eve of elections.

The idea that James Comey was a conspirator against Donald Trump is -- is just completely belied by the evidence, particularly, again what you point out that there was this ongoing investigation by the FBI that -- that Comey me said nothing about publicly.

TAPPER: And in fact, the "New York Times" wrote a story that basically -- before the election saying basically the FBI sees nothing there. So, I mean, if there had been an opportunity to leak -- leak something against Donald Trump, they could have done it then.

Jeffrey Toobin, thank you so much.

So will we see the Democratic memo written by Adam Schiff, Democratic Member of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Eric Swalwell joins me next to discuss that. Thanks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: We're back with our politics lead House Speaker Paul Ryan saying today the classified memo just released quote, "helps to provide greater transparency," and that he supports Democrats releasing their own rebuttal. Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He serves on the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, thanks for being here. Let -- let me just ask you here, is there anything...

SWALWELL: Hi, Jake.

TAPPER: ...inappropriate, do you think, about a partisan political document, the Steele dossier, being used in an application to surveil an associate of a presidential candidate, in this case, Carter Page, especially if that fact is not disclosed in the application? Is that inherently wrong, do you think?

SWALWELL: Jake, that fact was disclosed. It was disclosed to the FISA Court that part of the evidence was from a politically motivated source. But what has not been included in the Republican memo is the multiplicity of evidence that went before the FISA Court that was separate from Carter page. And so that's what is so misleading about this. It's misleading in its time line. It's misleading in how it mischaracterizes what Andy McCabe said. It's misleading in how the application was put together, and it's also misleading in so many emissions that would put this into focus that now can only be seen by the public if the Democratic memo is released.

TAPPER: Well, let's talk about the Andy McCabe thing. Andy McCabe, the Deputy Director of the FBI, now former Deputy Director of the FBI testified before the House Intelligence Committee.

Now, the Republicans say that he said, quote, "No surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISA Court without the Steele dossier information." They're paraphrasing. That's -- that's not a quote from him.

Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee say that that's true and it's on tape. You're saying it's incorrect?

SWALWELL: If they are willing to be so reckless with classified information, why didn't they release the direct quote from his classified testimony. They didn't do it because he didn't say that. It mischaracterizes what he said.

TAPPER: What did he say?

SWALWELL: Well, Jake, I'm not going to, you know, two rights don't -- two wrongs don't make a right. I'm not going to leak classified information inappropriately here, but we're asking to release our memo because it would put into focus exactly what he said and what was included in that FISA application.

TAPPER: It seems like it's -- it's a -- it's an important point. Would you support the release of any pertinent transcripts of McCabe's testimony that would settle this court because we really have you and the Democrats on the Committee saying that the Republicans on the Committee -- you're basically accusing them of lying, and it seems like there is a fact that can settle this all.

SWALWELL: Yeah, the transcript and our memo would bring all this into focus. I would submit though that our memo is a detailed 10-page memo that not only rebuts point-by-point the falsities they've put forward, but it also brings to light new unseen evidence that the door has been open to because of what they're alleging and that the public would learn for the first time.

TAPPER: Is there anything in the FBI's behavior that you think merits scrutiny when it comes to the Trump investigation, when it comes to the FISA application for Carter Page or anything else? Is there anything you see -- because look the FBI, it's comprised of men and women who are trying to do the best for this country, they put their lives on the line. And it's also an organization composed of fallible human beings, some of whom make big mistakes. It's not like the FBI has never aired. Is there anything that they did that you know of that merits attention?

SWALWELL: Jake, they're not above the law. They're not above oversight, but I have not seen any intentional act by the FBI to jeopardize this investigation. I think it's remarkable that this did not leak at all. If they were so out to get Donald Trump, why didn't any of them leak out that people on his campaign were under investigation? I think they were just working to try and do the right thing.

But one point that has not been brought up in this, Jake, is that the Republicans have sent to the White House evidence that is against the President in his campaign. So you've allowed potential witnesses or targets of an investigation now to have a look inside the evidence so that they could tailor their testimony to investigators or members of Congress around that. I -- I think, you know, this investigation is being jeopardized and they knew what they were doing by sending that over.

You said this fight over the memo -- marks a call for leadership in the Trump administration and that this memo quote, "seeks to torch every floor of the FBI building," and the Republicans are willing to, quote, "risk the Republic to protect the President." Does that mean -- are you suggesting that FBI Director Wray and others in the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein should resign in protest? What are you calling for here?

SWALWELL: I'm torn on that one. Honestly, Jake, it would be a loss to lose both of those honorable men. But at the same time, it would be a loss if they at least did not continue to speak up as Christopher Wray has to show just how wrong this is. And when I say risk the republic, I'm talking about the rule of -- rule of law that in a democracy you don't attack the police when they're investigating you, and you don't use them to go after your political opponents.

I hope more people at the DOJ and the FBI come forward to tell the American people how wrong this is, and that it's incumbent upon leaders in Congress who are the check on the executive branch to, in a bipartisan way, stand up and finally do the right thing.

TAPPER: I want to ask you according to the memo, Christopher Steele, the -- the British intelligence individual who wrote the dossier, he told Bruce Ohr, a senior Justice Department official that he was, quote, "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president," unquote. Do you have concerns that evidence compiled by Steele was used given that? And -- and is it accurate to describe Steele as having those feelings towards Trump?

SWALWELL: I've seen -- I would say most of the evidence as it relates to Steele, I do not have that concern, and I think a lot of this again would be brought into focus if our memo were released. So let's see if Paulo Ryan keeps his word and brings that forward when we come back on Monday.

TAPPER: Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, thank you for your time, sir. Appreciate it as always.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

TAPPER: Senator John McCain says, "The only person smiling today is Vladimir Putin." That story is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Just into CNN, after the controversial release of that partisan Republican memo against the wishes of FBI Director Christopher Wray. Sources say that Wray addressed the FBI in an internal video today. Wray said, "if the American people read the newspapers and watch T.V., your work is all that matters. Actions speak louder than words. My panel is back with me. And I have to say, this has been a tough time to work at the FBI. However you feel though, Hillary or Donald Trump or James Comey or Andrew McCabe or whoever, this is -- I mean, it's just -- this is not the kind of attention they like.

JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: It's -- both the FBI and the whole Department of Justice, I mean, you think about it, there are 35,000 people who work at the FBI alone, 113,000 in the entirety of the Department of Justice and they all feel like they are being accused of lying, essentially. So who do you believe? Do you believe the President or do you believe these lifetime folks who have given their lives and service to the rule of law? It seems -- it seems kind of easy. Let me just say one thing. Rosenstein, you know, he's a lifer. He went to Harvard, he clerked at the Supreme Court, he was appointed by Bush. He was the longest-serving U.S. Attorney in the United States. I mean, to suggest in some way that he's got -- he's in the tank for the Democrats in some way is just sickening.

TAPPER: So Republican Senator John McCain blasted President Trump's attacks on the FBI and Justice Department saying "our nation's elected officials including the President must stop looking at this investigation through the warped lens of politics and manufacturing partisan side shows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin's job for him." Alice. What do you think?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree. This shouldn't be looked at through a partisan lens at all. And his friends, Lindsey Graham gave us the Mueller statement that the best way to go about investigating this is through a special counsel completely independent of politics and get to the root of the matter. That being said, the FBI is an agency that should have oversight and we should look at things if there are concerns. But that being said, we don't need to paint the whole brush, the whole FBI and the intelligence committee as people that are out to get the President. I think that is wrong and it's inappropriate to do that given the work that many of them do and do on a daily basis.

GRANHOLM: And the irony is -- of course, is that the people who are being accused of being somehow partisan are the very people that Donald Trump appointed. So the weird -- (CROSSTALK)

STEWART: And the best way -- and the best way as we've said, if the Republican are going to put out a memo on this investigation, we should hear the Democrats. Ideally, they would have done it together, and we're going to have a full picture of this, but the best way to have both sides out there. If we're all about transparency and letting the American people see what happen, that's the best way to --

[16:50:10] TAPPER: I do prefer the bipartisan intelligence community reports because you at least arrive on something close to resembling the truth because you have to get everybody to agree. Susan, fired FBI Director James Comey tweeted this afternoon on the Nunes memo, "That's it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House Intelligence Committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA Court and inexcusably exposed classified information of an American citizen. For what? DOJ and FBI must keep doing their jobs." We should just remind people James Comey is a Republican, former Deputy Attorney General in the Bush administration. This is -- I mean, we are in uncharted territory.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: You know, the thing that strikes me as most remarkable and alarming about the current situation is the coalition that we see forming because we have the White House-aligned with House Republicans. We have the FBI and the Justice Department which by the way are headed by people Donald Trump appointed aligned effectively with Democrats who are saying this is a misleading memo. This memo should not be released. That is a real house divided. And the striking thing about McCain's comments is that other Republicans are not joining him. You know, it's not as though Republicans are particularly divided. We've got McCain who's not running for office again and Lindsey Graham who is a very distinctive figure politically, and the signs that you basically have a Republican Party that's hanging together Trump's side.

STEWART: And a lot of that is they don't want to add any more fuel to this fire. Speaking with some today, this really has taken over a lot of their offices. They would much rather be talking about immigration and infrastructure and how to attack opioid crisis, but their phones are ringing off the hook about release the memo or about the Russia investigation. They would just as soon put this behind them so they can focus on the business that they were put here in Washington to do and this is really hampering that and they want to get this behind them. So that's why we're seeing a lot of them withholding comment.

GRANHOLM: All I can say is if they want to get it behind them then don't -- I mean, why would you go about doing it? Not you, of course. In fact, I feel like, in order to have a healthy democracy, you have to have people who believe in the rule of law and are rational. I think you should run for office. Just thinking.

You know, I mean, the idea of having --

Right, I know. But I mean, having rational and reasonable people who are not saying that up is up and down is up, who can see things on the page. I mean, John McCain, Lindsey Grahan, God bless them. Where are the rest of the Republicans in the House doing that? Why are these people on the House Investigative Committee being -- doing the President's bidding for him because they feel like they should serving the President rather than the country.

TAPPER: Is it not possible that they truly think that there was an abuse of power by the FBI here?

STEWART: Congressman Rick Crawford from Arkansas, speaking with his office, look, he served in the Army. He has fought for this country, he has fought for the rights of the American people. He truly believes that it is important for the American people to have transparency in this. He is not out trashing the FBI but he is fighting for the opportunity for the American people to have full transparency in this investigation. And that is why he is doing this. It is not about making the FBI and the Intelligence Community look bad, he's doing it more, and a lot of the people are doing it for transparency more than anything else.

TAPPER: Susan, you and I have been along this town long enough to remember and appreciate why the House and the Senate Intelligence Community try on operate in a bipartisan way. And this is the just the exact opposite. They can't even agree on facts, the Democrats and Republicans.

PAGE: And one reason that there's been a history of them acting in a more bipartisan way, even when the rest of the Congressional committees at agriculture and elsewhere would break along party lines is because these are issues that break for that are the country's interest not in the party's interest. And I think that the loss of that, at least on the House side. The Senate Committee -- Intelligence Committee has maintained some air of bipartisanship but on the House side, I think that is a loss with longstanding consequences.

GRANHOLM: Can I ask -- I mean, Alice, I'm just curious. I mean, I heard what you said about them honestly believing to your question that this -- you know, that this was an abuse, right? And I hear that because you don't want to have an abuse a lot. Do you think though that if McCabe's testimony were revealed and he didn't say what they think he said, do you think they would say oh, we were wrong?

STEWART: I don't think so. But I think it's really damaging if you say something emphatically and you have evidence to contradict that, then you're painting yourself --

TAPPER: Release the transcript, I say.

GRANHOLM: Release the transcript!

TAPPER: Everyone, thank you so much for being here. Coming up, an editorial that will make you want to sprint up the art museum steps just like Rocky Balboa. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:55:00] TAPPER: Our "SPORTS LEAD" in a moment of complete and utter bias. Right now, my mom still lives into the house I moved into when I was a three months old in the edge of South Philly, ten minutes away from veterans stadium and we have high hopes for the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Sunday. Eagles fans, of course, were a curious lot. The only ones in the country need our own justice system sometimes, a reflection of this team and the city of Philadelphia as unrelenting and tough as the turf at the old Vet. Let's just hope that our dreams are not deflated yet again on Sunday. Fly Eagles fly. Also, this Sunday, be sure to tune in to CNN "STATE OF THE UNION." My guest will be Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Jim Himes, and Congressman Brad Wenstrup. It all starts Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 Eastern. That's it for THE LEAD, turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Just into CNN, after the controversial release of that partisan Republican memo against the wishes of FBI Director Christopher Wray. Sources say that Wray addressed the FBI in an internal video today. Wray said, "if the American people read the newspapers and watch T.V., your work is all that matters. Actions speak louder than words. My panel is back with me. And I have to say, this has been a tough time to work at the FBI. However you feel though, Hillary or Donald Trump or James Comey or Andrew McCabe or whoever, this is -- I mean, it's just -- this is not the kind of attention they like.

JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: It's -- both the FBI and the whole Department of Justice, I mean, you think about it, there are 35,000 people who work at the FBI alone, 113,000 in the entirety of the Department of Justice and they all feel like they are being accused of lying, essentially. So who do you believe? Do you believe the President or do you believe these lifetime folks who have given their lives and service to the rule of law? It seems -- it seems kind of easy. Let me just say one thing. Rosenstein, you know, he's a lifer. He went to Harvard, he clerked at the Supreme Court, he was appointed by Bush. He was the longest-serving U.S. Attorney in the United States. I mean, to suggest in some way that he's got -- he's in the tank for the Democrats in some way is just sickening.

TAPPER: So Republican Senator John McCain blasted President Trump's attacks on the FBI and Justice Department saying "our nation's elected officials including the President must stop looking at this investigation through the warped lens of politics and manufacturing partisan side shows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin's job for him." Alice. What do you think?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree. This shouldn't be looked at through a partisan lens at all. And his friends, Lindsey Graham gave us the Mueller statement that the best way to go about investigating this is through a special counsel completely independent of politics and get to the root of the matter. That being said, the FBI is an agency that should have oversight and we should look at things if there are concerns. But that being said, we don't need to paint the whole brush, the whole FBI and the intelligence committee as people that are out to get the President. I think that is wrong and it's inappropriate to do that given the work that many of them do and do on a daily basis.

GRANHOLM: And the irony is -- of course, is that the people who are being accused of being somehow partisan are the very people that Donald Trump appointed. So the weird --

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: And the best way -- and the best way as we've said, if the Republican are going to put out a memo on this investigation, we should hear the Democrats. Ideally, they would have done it together, and we're going to have a full picture of this, but the best way to have both sides out there. If we're all about transparency and letting the American people see what happen, that's the best way to --

[16:50:10] TAPPER: I do prefer the bipartisan intelligence community reports because you at least arrive on something close to resembling the truth because you have to get everybody to agree. Susan, fired FBI Director James Comey tweeted this afternoon on the Nunes memo, "That's it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House Intelligence Committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA Court and inexcusably exposed classified information of an American citizen. For what? DOJ and FBI must keep doing their jobs." We should just remind people James Comey is a Republican, former Deputy Attorney General in the Bush administration. This is -- I mean, we are in uncharted territory.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: You know, the thing that strikes me as most remarkable and alarming about the current situation is the coalition that we see forming because we have the White House-aligned with House Republicans. We have the FBI and the Justice Department which by the way are headed by people Donald Trump appointed aligned effectively with Democrats who are saying this is a misleading memo. This memo should not be released. That is a real house divided. And the striking thing about McCain's comments is that other Republicans are not joining him. You know, it's not as though Republicans are particularly divided. We've got McCain who's not running for office again and Lindsey Graham who is a very distinctive figure politically, and the signs that you basically have a Republican Party that's hanging together Trump's side.

STEWART: And a lot of that is they don't want to add any more fuel to this fire. Speaking with some today, this really has taken over a lot of their offices. They would much rather be talking about immigration and infrastructure and how to attack opioid crisis, but their phones are ringing off the hook about release the memo or about the Russia investigation. They would just as soon put this behind them so they can focus on the business that they were put here in Washington to do and this is really hampering that and they want to get this behind them. So that's why we're seeing a lot of them withholding comment.

GRANHOLM: All I can say is if they want to get it behind them then don't -- I mean, why would you go about doing it? Not you, of course. In fact, I feel like, in order to have a healthy democracy, you have to have people who believe in the rule of law and are rational. I think you should run for office. Just thinking.

You know, I mean, the idea of having --

Right, I know. But I mean, having rational and reasonable people who are not saying that up is up and down is up, who can see things on the page. I mean, John McCain, Lindsey Grahan, God bless them. Where are the rest of the Republicans in the House doing that? Why are these people on the House Investigative Committee being -- doing the President's bidding for him because they feel like they should serving the President rather than the country.

TAPPER: Is it not possible that they truly think that there was an abuse of power by the FBI here?

STEWART: Congressman Rick Crawford from Arkansas, speaking with his office, look, he served in the Army. He has fought for this country, he has fought for the rights of the American people. He truly believes that it is important for the American people to have transparency in this. He is not out trashing the FBI but he is fighting for the opportunity for the American people to have full transparency in this investigation. And that is why he is doing this. It is not about making the FBI and the Intelligence Community look bad, he's doing it more, and a lot of the people are doing it for transparency more than anything else.

TAPPER: Susan, you and I have been along this town long enough to remember and appreciate why the House and the Senate Intelligence Community try on operate in a bipartisan way. And this is the just the exact opposite. They can't even agree on facts, the Democrats and Republicans.

PAGE: And one reason that there's been a history of them acting in a more bipartisan way, even when the rest of the Congressional committees at agriculture and elsewhere would break along party lines is because these are issues that break for that are the country's interest not in the party's interest. And I think that the loss of that, at least on the House side. The Senate Committee -- Intelligence Committee has maintained some air of bipartisanship but on the House side, I think that is a loss with longstanding consequences.

GRANHOLM: Can I ask -- I mean, Alice, I'm just curious. I mean, I heard what you said about them honestly believing to your question that this -- you know, that this was an abuse, right? And I hear that because you don't want to have an abuse a lot. Do you think though that if McCabe's testimony were revealed and he didn't say what they think he said, do you think they would say oh, we were wrong?

STEWART: I don't think so. But I think it's really damaging if you say something emphatically and you have evidence to contradict that, then you're painting yourself --

TAPPER: Release the transcript, I say.

GRANHOLM: Release the transcript!

TAPPER: Everyone, thank you so much for being here. Coming up, an editorial that will make you want to sprint up the art museum steps just like Rocky Balboa. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:00] TAPPER: Our "SPORTS LEAD" in a moment of complete and utter bias. Right now, my mom still lives into the house I moved into when I was a three months old in the edge of South Philly, ten minutes away from veterans stadium and we have high hopes for the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Sunday. Eagles fans, of course, were a curious lot. The only ones in the country need our own justice system sometimes, a reflection of this team and the city of Philadelphia as unrelenting and tough as the turf at the old Vet. Let's just hope that our dreams are not deflated yet again on Sunday. Fly Eagles fly. Also, this Sunday, be sure to tune in to CNN "STATE OF THE UNION." My guest will be Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Jim Himes, and Congressman Brad Wenstrup. It all starts Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 Eastern. That's it for THE LEAD, turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM".