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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Declassifies Partisan Memo: Released Despite FBI Outcry; Trump Won't Say Whether He'll Fire Deputy AG Rosenstein; Stocks Suffers Worst Day In Trump's Presidency; GOP Memo Blames Steele Dossier For Surveillance. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired February 2, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:30] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, President Trump approves the release of the Nunes memo. But does it discredit the FBI and the Russia investigation, as he hoped?
Plus, growing concern that Trump could fire Rod Rosenstein, the official overseeing the Russia investigation. Could this be Trump's Saturday night massacre? And the Dow plunges 666 points, the worst single day of Trump's presidency, one of the worst in history. Trump takes almost daily credit for the market's rise. Will he shoulder the blame for today's plunge? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFONT tonight, the breaking news, the memo, there it is. President Trump authorizing these three and a quarter pages, the highly controversial memo from the GOP and House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. It accuses the FBI and Justice Department of abusing their surveillance powers to spy on former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.
One former Trump campaign official, Sebastian Gorka, said this memo was "100 times bigger" than what caused the American revolution. This memo certainly does not deliver those goods (ph). It clearly seeks to discredit the Russia investigation, which multiple sources tell us the president himself told friends he thought it would succeed at doing. And today, after releasing the memo to the public, here's what the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's terrible. You want to know the truth? I think it's a disgrace. What's going on in this country, I think, it's a disgrace. And when you look at that and you see that, and so many other things, what's going on, a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves, and much worse than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, the thing is, the memo admits two crucial things. One, to be clear, Carter Page was not under surveillance while he worked for the Trump campaign. He was not subject to surveillance until after he left.
So the surveillance, at the least, was done pretty incompetently if the intent was to spy on the Trump campaign. And, two, this line right here, on the last page of the memo, "The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016". This is a major admission. It's well before the FISA warrant on Carter Page, which was in October. It refers to then campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, who according to "The New York Times" told an Australian diplomat over drinks that Russian had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Now Republicans have long intimated that the Russian counterintelligence investigation did not start as a result of Papadopoulos, whom another Trump adviser famously dismissed as a mere "coffee boy". Instead, they have long said that the Steele dossier was the reason for the Russian investigation. Which they said made the entire investigation a sham since as the Nunes memo alleges that was ultimately paid for by Democrats during the campaign.
So, the dossier had nothing to do with the launch of the Russia investigation. And the GOP in this memo, intended to discredit the whole thing, actually admits that. But the memo will not give up on the dossier being at the core of the Russia investigation. It alleges the dossier was part of serious abuse at the highest levels of the FBI in obtaining that FISA warrant on Carter Page. It even says that then FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe "testified before the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information". That's a pretty incredible charge.
Except it may not be what McCabe said. The transcript of his comments is classified. But the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee who was in the room from McCabe's testimony has a very different story of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (R), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: This cherry picks information from Director McCabe's testimony before our committee. Only very select parts of what Christopher Steele reported related to Carter Page were included within the application. And some of those things were already subject to corroboration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Already subject to corroboration which would mean independently confirmed separate from the dossier. Well, Evan Perez and Pamela Brown are OUTFRONT tonight from Washington on this major breaking story.
We begin our coverage with Evan. Evan, this document was build by one Trump former administration official as "100 times bigger" than what caused the American revolution.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It isn't. Look, I think if you look at this document, and I think the Republicans are trying to make the point that there are some concerns that the American public should have about how this was done. But, if you look at the document, it admits that there's additional
information, not just the Steele dossier that was behind this surveillance of Carter Page and it includes the fact that -- beyond the fact that Steele, the British spy who compiled the dossier, was deemed a credible source by the FBI in a previous investigation.
[19:05:10] Again, that's something that would have been put in the application for this surveillance application by the FBI. That would have been relevant for the judge to see. And I'm told that it was in that application, according to the memo itself. But it also excludes a lot of other information, including the fact that Page came to the attention of the FBI a few years ago, back in 2013, 2014, when they talked to him as part of a Russian spy ring case that the FBI was investigating.
As a matter of fact, they interviewed him and they told him that the Russians were trying to cultivate him as a possible agent, as a possible spy. So, it's in that context that the FBI looked at his contacts in 2016, and decided that they needed to look further and do this investigation.
Another important thing that this memo reveals is that beyond the October 2016 first application that was approved by a judge, there were three additional approvals for extension of that surveillance. These are -- every 90 days, they have to go back. And the FBI would have to show this judge that during the previous 90 days, they collected important information, important intelligence to warrant for them to continue to do that kind of surveillance.
BURNETT: And obviously that they did get that and that's part of the reason --
BURNETT: -- it was extended, which is such a crucial point, as you point out, completely excluded from this memo. Thank you very much, Evan.
And Democrats are charging that this memo, which of course very publicly talks about Rod Rosenstein's role, is setting stage for his firing. He is, of course, the man who oversees Bob Mueller in the Mueller investigation. So that's the way to get to Mueller and discredit this whole thing. The president was asked about that today. And here's what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you likely to fire Rosenstein? Do you still have confidence in him after (INAUDIBLE) memo?
TRUMP: You figure that one out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You figure that one out. Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT, and Pamela, it's hard to overstate the importance of the way he chose to answer that question.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly not a ringing endorsement of his deputy attorney general, that President Trump appointed to be in that position. Now, Rod Rosenstein, for context, he's the man who appointed Robert Mueller to be special counsel. He's the man who oversees the Russia probe. And he is mentioned in this memo released today as signing off on at least one occasion of a FISA warrant for Carter Page.
Now, you saw President Trump asks that question, does he have confidence in Rod Rosenstein. There's been a lot of speculation about what's going to happen to him and his future. And the president sort of left it in an open question.
However, I've spoken to sources who are familiar with the president's thinking. I'm told, Erin, that there is no consideration currently, I should emphasize currently, to fire Rod Rosenstein. And one reason, according to people I've spoken with, is because the president doesn't want to prolong the Russia probe. The concern is that if he fires him, that that would just prolong things in the obstruction of justice part of the probe, he doesn't want to do that.
Though, clearly, he is frustrated with Rod Rosenstein, reporting is that he's frustrated with him, and clearly the fact that he's in the memo could certainly be a problem for him. But at this point, we're told, Erin, that there are no plans to fire him from the White House. But of course, as you very well know, things could change.
BURNETT: All right. As you point out, yes, they often do. Pamela, thank you.
BROWN: Thank you.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary, Raj Shah. And Raj, thank you for your time tonight.
There is a lot of fear in Washington that the president is gearing up to fire the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. As you've heard, Raj, the president was asked about it today. And I want to play again for you what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you likely to fire Rosenstein? Do you still have confidence in him after (INAUDIBLE) memo?
TRUMP: You figure that one out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You figure that one out. That is far from a denial, Raj.
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Erin, thanks a lot for having me on. Look, on the deputy attorney general, there's been no change in the president's confidence in the dag (ph). We continue to expect him to fill his role as the deputy attorney general and we don't expect any changes on that front.
BURNETT: So why, when the president was asked if he was likely to fire him, didn't he say -- do you still have confidence, he didn't say what you said. He said, you figure that one out. Why didn't he just come out and say what you said?
SHAH: Sure, well, I'm saying it on behalf of the White House, and that's that, you know, no changes are going to be made at the Department of Justice. We fully expect Rod Rosenstein to continue on as the deputy attorney general.
BURNETT: So, when it comes to the memo, I'm holding it here, of course, we all now have read it many times. The president said that what happened here was terrible, a disgrace, to use the words that he used today. If what Rod Rosenstein did, as alleged in this memo, merits those words from the president of the United States, then why not fire him, Raj, I mean, unless you guys are going to admit this entire memo is a political document and nothing more?
[19:10:10] SHAH: Let me step back and look at some of the contents of the memo. I think the primary charge is that in the heart of a political campaign, the Department of Justice and the FBI relied upon opposition research, opposition research with really limited credibility, to apply for a FISA warrant, and it did not tell the judge about the political leanings and the funding of that document. We think that that is relevant. We think that the public has a right to know about it.
BURNETT: Now, of course, the Democrats dispute that. They say that the judge was made aware of that. You know, this is a big question.
SHAH: Yes, I don't have the -- I don't have a copy of the FISA warrant itself. But what we have is the memo that was submitted by the House of Representatives. There is a process. The House Intelligence Committee voted out this specific memo with the information in it. We thought it raised questions. The president believed that the public had the right to know about what was in it and so he ordered it declassified.
But, we're going to continue to be open to other documents, other things that are relevant to this matter, and others that the House Intelligence Committee chooses to vote out.
BURNETT: So this is crucial, Raj, because this obviously to release this Republican memo was done 100% on party lines. The Democrats want to release their memo as well. And when you point out to the FISA warrant itself, it would seem if such serious allegations are being made about it, that the American public should be allowed to see all of it, the Democratic memo, the intelligence behind -- upon which both partisan documents are based. The Democrat and the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff talked about that today and here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: I think the president would be hard-pressed to suppress this memo particularly since they claim they're releasing the GOP memo in the interests of transparency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Raj, will the president support that, the release of the Democratic memo, and the release of the underlying intelligence including the FISA warrant itself?
SHAH: Well, the president and the White House has stated that we would be open to consider anything the House Intelligence Committee chooses to vote out. This is -- the Republican Speaker of the House has talked about and read the Schiff memo that he was just talking about and supports its release. We'll consider it. We consider anything in other piece of information.
The president will run it through the same process, which is to have national security and legal equities throughout the agencies and within the White House review the material, ensure that it doesn't endanger national security, that its disclosure would not reveal sources and methods. But once we run through that process and if the House Intelligence Committee were to vote out that memo, he would consider it just as he --
SHAH: -- considered the Nunes.
BURNETT: The only thing is, Raj, and you know this as well as I know, that you keep saying when the House -- if the committee chooses to vote out that memo, this is a completely partisan thing. And you and I both know it, right? Republicans on one side, Democrats are another. You got two memos. You got more Republicans on the committee than Democrats, so the Republican memo gets voted out. The Democratic memo doesn't.
This is a moment where the president of the United States can step up and lead and say, I want them both out there because I do care about transparency. I'm not going to hide behind the committee vote when I know it's going to be against the Democrat memo.
SHAH: Well, I don't necessarily know if it would be. You'd have to ask Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee how they would vote on that memo. And look, the White House isn't going to comment on the vote that the House is going to engage in on a memo that it hasn't even seen yet. We would be happy to review it once it's sent to us and once it goes through House Intelligence Committee and the House of Representatives' process.
BURNETT: But the president hasn't seen the Republican memo when he said he was inclined to release it.
SHAH: I think the president would be inclined to release the Democrat memo should it come to us and should it be reviewed and gone through the same process. And if national security and legal equities review it and say it doesn't challenge sources and methods, and the information and it'd be accurate. BURNETT: So you refer to this you know, being about spying or
surveying a campaign. It's words president has said many times, Raj, of course, that the dossier was used to obtain the FISA warrant to spy on his campaign.
Today, on Twitter, he quoted a person who said, "You had Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party tried to hide the fact that they gave money to GPS Fusion to create a Dossier which was used by their allies in the Obama administration to convince a Court misleadingly, by all accounts, to spy on the Trump team". On January 11th, Raj, he retweeted this, "Disproven and paid for by Democrats Dossier used to spy on Trump Campaign". On December 26th of last year, he said similar things, retweeting a Fox & Friends tweet. I mean, the list goes on and on.
But what I'm trying to understand, Raj, is this, and a very basic level, Carter Page had left the campaign when the surveillance on him began. The FISA warrant definitely (ph) was not used to spy on the Trump campaign. Why does he keep saying it was?
SHAH: Well, it's part of this investigation that is the root of all of this, right? It is this counterintelligence investigation that has been sort of the subject of, frankly, tons of illegal and misleading leeks about the president of the United States, about alleged ties to Russia for which there's very little evidence.
[19:15:04] And now we've learned that as part of this investigation, a FISA warrant was approved based on information from this, you know, what folks have called this really discredited dossier.
And the fact that the partisan leanings and the funding, the Democrat funding of this dossier, were not made available to a federal judge making this determination, that's very troubling. We really do think that that raises serious questions. And we think that, you know, the president's tweets and all the things that he's been saying, you know, are validated to a large extent by parts of what we see in this memo.
BURNETT: Right. Again, I'm just saying, you know, there is dispute about what the judge was told about the funding. The funding, obviously, originally for Fusion GPS as we all know originally came from opponents of Donald Trump who were Republican. But there's dispute about what that judge was told. There's also incredible dispute about what information was relevant from the dossier, corroborated separately, or not even related to the dossier used to obtain the FISA warrant.
The reason I point all this out, Raj, is if you all now said, you know what, we really care about the truth. You then say, we'll release the underlying intelligence, right? Because, you know, you were happy to release the GOP memo when the DOJ and the FBI said it would threaten national security. So why not release the underlying intelligence over their objections as well so that we can all make up our own minds?
SHAH: Well, again, the president wants to ensure that sources and methods, when it comes to our national security, are not compromised. This document doesn't do that. And that's pretty plain and simple.
We haven't seen the Democratic document. We haven't seen the underlying intelligence. And so, determinations on that can't be made.
BURNETT: Then how do you know this memo says the truth, when so many disputed, including the intelligence agencies themselves? I mean, how do you know?
SHAH: They're free to dispute it. I don't think people are making counterfactual arguments about what is actually in the memo. They're saying that there's other information which could, you know, provide additional context.
Again, we welcome that information. It has to go through the same process, be voted out by the House Intelligence Committee. And let's be clear about this, no one is saying we're going to -- that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are blocking anything. They're working it through the same process.
The Nunes memo was made available to be viewed in a classified setting by all members of the House of Representatives. The Schiff memo is going through the same process. It's just, you know, a little bit later on the calendar, but no one has voted or is voting to block it. It is moving through the process, and it will be voted on by the full intelligence committee at a later date.
BURNETT: Do you believe, or do you wish that the president hadn't made the mistake he made when he said that all this was used to spy on the Trump campaign, because Carter Page didn't work on the campaign when this happened?
SHAH: Well, look, I think that the memo has raised very legitimate questions about how and in what ways the FISA process may have been abused by using campaign political opposition research. I would tell you, right, if in the heart of a political campaign an attorney general is using campaign political oppo and not telling a judge about it when seeking a spy warrant, I think if the tables were turned, and this happened to, say, Barack Obama in 2008 when George W. Bush was president, I think it'd be outrage on CNN and among Democrats. I think Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer would be totally outraged.
SHAH: Even if it had merit or a memo about, it didn't have as much context. That singular fact is damming in many ways.
BURNETT: Raj, before you go, I want you to ask you about one other thing tonight, an important thing from today. The Dow plummeted about 666 points and it's the biggest single drop of Trump's presidency. In fact, it's the sixth worst single day drop in history.
And as you know, Raj, the president has bragged a lot about market gains on a day-to-day basis.
BURNETT: He takes credit constantly, Twitter and speeches. Here's a few of the times.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The stock market is smashing one record after another.
The stock market is shattering one record after another.
We have broken a lot of records. We're breaking another one today. The stock market is way up. Jobs are back.
The stock market smashes one record high after another.
I told you, the stock market is hitting one all-time record after another.
We're setting a record literally all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Does he have anything to say tonight?
SHAH: Well, we never want to see the stock market have a day like today. Obviously, you know, some wealth was lost, a considerable amount today. But let's look at the full economic record. Just this morning, we saw a jobs report, which is very strong, showed 200,000 jobs and wage increases at the highest level than we've seen in nearly a decade. And the stock market has grown tremendously by trillions of dollars since this president came into office.
We're supportive and we love the announcements from company after company of increased jobs, wages, and bonuses due to the tax cut bill. So, the economy is strong and healthy. It will continue to grow.
[19:20:02] Obviously, today's stock market was a setback, but we continue to believe in the fundamentals of this economy and they're backed very strongly by the president and his policies.
BURNETT: All right, Raj, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.
SHAH: Thanks a lot for having me on, Erin.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, breaking news, al out war tonight between Republicans and Democrats over the memo's release. America's intelligence community taking a side. Who will come out a winner? Plus, the congressman at the center of the controversy, Devin Nunes, speaking out tonight with a stunning admission about the information he had before signing off on that memo.
And courtroom drama, an angry father, desperately angry tries to attack Larry Nassar, the doctor accused of sexually assaulting more than 150 young gymnasts.
BURNETT: Breaking news, the release of the Nunes memo pitting Republicans against Democrats and much of the intelligence community, including five FBI top officials, and the director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, who reportedly warned Chief of Staff John Kelly of the national security concerns if the memo was released.
OUTFRONT tonight, Phil Mudd, former FBI Senior Intelligence Adviser and former CIA counter-terror official, Juliette Kayyem, is a former assistant secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama, Jeffrey Toobin, former Federal prosecutor, and Tim Naftali, former director of the Nixon Presidential Library. Of course, four people to talk about all of this.
Jeff, Raj Shah not wanting to engage on some of the core facts that are problematic.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Not wanting to engage on the facts, period, as far as I can tell. I mean, look, you know, there are lots of facts that refute the implication that he was drawing from this --
TOOBIN: -- from this memo. But the basic idea here is that the president of the United States is willing to trash his intelligence community for the sole purpose of trying to discredit the FBI's investigation of him. I mean, this is the most cynical political exercise by both the Republicans in Congress and by the president. And it's also misleading the public.
The FBI did its job here. The FBI did a legitimate investigation for legitimate reasons. And they are being trashed for it and it's not right.
BURNETT: I mean, you have but all kinds of things. For example, the reporting Evan Perez was sharing that they obtained information from the surveillance of Carter Page, which merited the extension of the FISA warrant. And by the way, he wasn't even under surveillance when he worked for the Trump campaign, so they weren't spied on as the president had alleged so many times.
PHIL MUDD, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER: Well, let's look at this and I listened to that interview. We were whitewashed, and if you believe that, you were mislead. And let me give you two facts from that conversation to prove it. Mr. Shah acknowledged that he had not read the FISA warrant. None of us have, it's classified.
He later went on to say that the FISA was based on fundamentally the Steele dossier. How can you tell me what the FISA warrant is based on if you've never read the FISA warrant? And he acknowledged he hadn't. So how do you know how significant the Steele dossier is in the warrant?
He went on to say erroneously that that document was reviewed for sources and methods and reviewed to ensure that sources and methods weren't exposed. Why don't you tell that to Mr. Steele?
[19:25:01] Clearly, he had a relationship with the FBI that might have involved an exchange of money. Next time the FBI ask a British citizen to cooperate in an investigation, because Mr. Steele was exposed, what do you think that British citizen would say? Hey, Mr. Shah, you want to talk? Enough with the whitewash. Those are two facts and you blew through them.
BURNETT: And, Juliette, there's also such dispute. I mean, you know, Raj, multiple times said that the judge didn't know that Steele -- that there was any political money involved or that Steele may have come from a certain political point of view. Obviously, Adam Schiff completely disputes that.
Again, you got one side, you've got the other. We don't have the underlying information.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Right. So it's just like nothing talk at this stage. It's like I'm going to say two plus two equals five and you need to believe me because I'm before the White House. There's absolutely no proof that the court would have -- in fact, let me put it opposite.
What I know about the FISA court, I can pretty -- be pretty confident that they are not basing or approving a FISA application based on one dossier from whoever is supporting it, whether it's Republicans or the Democrats. Because remember, the dossier was originally funded by a right-leaning organization --
KAYYEM: -- and then taken over by the Hillary campaign. So, the idea that they're going to base on is sort of -- is such a hostile statement about the FISA court, which actually is probably one of the most sort of rigorous oversight and overview judicial platforms that we have to protect us from unlawful surveillance.
TIM NAFTALI, FORMER DIRECTOR, NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY: This memo was a red herring. The key to understanding why the FBI undertook a counterintelligence investigation of associates of the Trump campaign was what they learned about George Papadopoulos, not Carter Page.
This is a red herring. This is an attempt to confuse everybody.
NAFTALI: What's really clear, though, is that this is the first time in our history that two branches of government have worked together in a coordinated fashion to undermine the independence of the FBI, the very first time ever.
TOOBIN: And, also, you know, this is a win for the Trump administration because we're sitting here talking about it. It's now controversial. Whether the FBI did a legitimate investigation, you know, there's an echo chamber at Fox News that has been pushing this and will continue to push it.
TOOBIN: The House Republicans, you know, are willing to attack the FBI in order to defend the president. And because we're talking about it, it becomes sort of part of the big mess of politics in the country. And that's better for them than talking about, you know, the underlying crimes that --
BURNETT: Even though --
TOOBIN: -- maybe investigating.
BURNETT: -- which is pretty incredible because even when you look at this, and they're in the very last couple paragraph -- sentences, I'm sorry, forced to admit that the whole Russian investigation started because of George Papadopoulos, and not because of this FISA warrant or anything else, as they had implied before.
And then, so, even when they admit that Devin Nunes, the man whose name is on this, in the GOP majority, was on Fox News and actually admitted this. Let me play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Did you read the actual FISA applications?
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITEE: No, I didn't. The -- and this has been one of these bogus news stories that have been put out. So the agreement we made with the Department of Justice was to create a reading room, and allow one member and two investigators to go over and review the documents. I thought the best person on our committee would be the chairman of the Oversight Committee, Trey Gowdy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Phil, Devin Nunes of the Nunes memo did not read the FISA application himself.
MUDD: And let me tell you the significance of that. Let me give you some interesting questions as a former practitioner I would ask, because these applications, I've seen dozens and dozens of pages long. Something that I haven't heard one peep on in the past couple of days, what were the Russians saying in the intercepted communications about Carter Page? Is that in there? We don't know. Nobody has mentioned it.
What was the FBI looking at previously when they're investigating Carter Page and did that information find its way because it was about his relationship with the Russians, going to find its way in the FISA application? What kind of relationship did he have with other individuals who are already under investigation?
When you take three pages of a 300-page book and say, give me the book review, this is what you get, Erin. I don't believe any of it.
BURNETT: The Nunes notes as some might say.
KAYYEM: I agree.
BURNETT: All right. All staying with me. Next, the president said to be fixated on Rod Rosenstein. So, does it mean the deputy attorney general is really not going to be around for very long?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You figure that one out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Democrats unleashed, they're counterattacking the memo's findings tonight. A member of the House Intelligence Committee is OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Breaking news, the White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah just revealing to OutFront that the man overseeing the Russia investigation Rod Rosenstein will not lose his job. Here's what he told me just moments ago.
SHAH: From the Deputy Attorney General, there last been no change in the President's confidence in the DAG. We continue to expect him to fill his role as the Deputy Attorney General, and we don't expect any changes on that front.
BURNETT: So, So why when the President was asked he was likely to fire him, didn't he say -- do you still have confidence, he didn't say what you said, he said, "You figure that one out." Why didn't he just come out and say what you said?
SHAH: Sure, well, I'm saying it on behalf of the White House.
BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny is out front live at the White House. And Jeff, look, we know how the president is. He can change his mind. He can do what he's going to do no matter what someone who works for him comes out and says. You are learning more tonight about the President's feelings about Rosenstein.
ZELENY: Well, Erin, it was clear the look on the President's face there when he was asked that question in the Oval Office, so what he thought if he had confidence in Rod Rosenstein. And it wasn't just based on that. We've been reporting for the last week or so that the President privately has been fuming about his Deputy Attorney General. He believes that he is indeed responsible and, you know, essentially overseeing the Russia investigation, which he is. But the reality here is the President had the opportunity to say he
had confidence in him. Throughout the day, we asked multiple officials, they would not say. In fact, behind the scenes, I talked to one White House official who said that, look, the president does more venting than firing, so they thought that he was secure. So the fact that Raj Shah, the White House spokesman, is saying it tonight, "We should mark it down as the position of the White House at this moment."
ZELENY: But the President has just landed in Mar-a-Lago. He'll be there for the weekend talking to friends, other advisers. Who knows what could happen come Monday? So the reality here is if you would have asked the White House if James Comey, on that Friday evening back in May, was secure, they would have said yes. And the President, of course, will make up his own minds here.
But the reality is this isn't about Rod Rosenstein. Even if he happened to step down or be pushed aside, that would not end the Mueller investigation.
Rachel Brand, the number three person at the Justice Department is also from the Bush Administration era. That's where she came from, so she would continue this. So the Mueller investigation is continuing regardless of who is in that position. So the White House says he's standing by. That might be the situation here, but I'm going to wait for the President to say it himself next week.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jeff Zeleny.
ZELENY: Of course.
BURNETT: That's a fair point. Let's go back to our panel.
I mean, Jeff Toobin, here's the thing. The President today said -- disgraceful was one word he used to describe the behavior of -- of those who are involved with this whole process, the memo. Of course, Rod Rosenstein's name is front and center here. So what I don't understand is you're going to call him disgraceful and say he did all these abuses, as you alleged.
Don't you have to fire him unless you're admitting this all is actually just all politics and you all mean it?
TOOBIN: No, I think he does mean it. I mean, I think he will fire Rod Rosenstein or push him aside eventually. I mean, you know, this President has loan (ph) through every norm of behavior that we have assumed presidents abided by. And I don't think it is a done deal that, you know, just because when Rosenstein gets fired that Mueller is safe anyway because he could put someone in there, perhaps in an acting capacity who would become the supervisor of the Mueller investigation.
I mean, this President is obsessed with the Mueller investigation. He has tried everything short of firing Mueller to discredit the investigation. He still has other arrows in his quiver, firing Rosenstein, demanding Mueller being fired, refusing to give an interview. All of that, you just listen to the President, it's obviously still on the table.
BURNETT: How much in jeopardy, though, is the investigation right now, given this, given the President's -- the arrows in his quiver, as Jeff says?
MUDD: I don't think it's in jeopardy yet because he's going to have a hard time getting rid of Mueller. Look at what the attorney general has said, he supported Rosenstein in the face of what the President has said publicly.
BURNETT: Yeah, today Jeff Sessions did, yeah.
MUDD: That's right. By -- and by the way, humor in Washington, Raj Shah did not say the President has confidence in Rosenstein. He said he has the same level of confidence in Rosenstein after President virtually called him disgraceful.
BURNETT: That distinction made the difference.
MUDD: That means you can't stand -- yeah, that is a huge difference. But my -- my point is -- and -- and follow this closely, if he decides to replace Rosenstein, let's play this game of chess -- political chess in Washington. Whoever replaces him has to go before a confirmation hearing, and I believe there will be only one question at play in that confirmation hearing. Whether -- whether it's a man or woman in front of that hearing, the question will be, will you allow the -- the Special Counsel to continue and conclude the investigation, yes or no? I think the President, if he replaces Rosenstein, might make his job even harder not easier.
BURNETT: So, Juliet, what happens next? I mean, is there -- is there any chance that we get any closure here? And by that, I mean, we don't just have the Schiff memo come out. That'd be nice to see the full Democratic rebuttal, right, but it's still a partisan document and it's their rebuttal of what's in the Republican memo. I mean, the underlying intelligence, more information about this FISA warrant itself, so people can get to the bottom of that one specific issue, even though, again, to be clear, Carter Page was not under surveillance when he worked for the Trump campaign, which I feel like I need...
BURNETT: ...to say every single time so people understand.
KAYYEM: I know. I have to say I'm going to be counter to openness, and I hope not. I mean, the whole point of the FISA Court -- the FISA Court is actually that we depend on intelligence, and it's not just our own, it's foreign intelligence agencies, our allies. We're talking about Russia all the time. Let's talk about Great Britain, and France and Jordan, these countries
that are giving us information. The -- the problem here is not that we're not seeing the underlying information, but for the first time during an ongoing investigation, one congressman supported by an apparatus that was ready to take down the entire system released information about a -- a FISA application -- approved FISA application and its approval through a court.
Now, I know we're supposed to be against secrets. I'm not against secrets in all instances. Men and women are committing their lives to protecting us. There is a process with judicial review to ensure that that power is not abused. And so I'm on the counter, I'm like we shouldn't be in this stage now. I don't need to see the underlying stuff at this stage. I don't want to see the Nunes stuff. That's the -- that's the problem.
BURNETT: Does it matter, Tim, though for the public's confidence in the ultimate outcome of the Mueller investigation? Because there are plenty of people in this country who will either read or not bother read the Nunes memo and believe every single talking point that comes out of it?
NAFTALI: I think selective declassification, which is what the Nunes -- Nunes memo represents. It's really dangerous. The Nixon administration did that to try to help its case and, clearly, now the Trump administration is doing that. The problem with -- I agree -- I agree with you. I mean, of course, the whole point of FISA was to end the old system, which allowed presidents to have warrantless wiretaps. They could wiretap you for national security reasons without a warrant.
FISA was set-up to curb that abusive power. FISA should be secret, but this -- the door has been opened politically by this administration...
NAFTALI: ...and this House. And for that reason, on this instance, on this case alone, we need more information. I'm afraid the public needs more information to shut this down. It's the President's fault we're in this position now.
BURNETT: And we'll see what he does, whether he does anything about it. Thanks very much to all of you.
And next, Democrats slamming the President for okaying the release of the memo and starting all of this. Has Trump stepped into something he truly doesn't understand or does he truly not care? A member of the House Intelligence Committee is my guest.
And a furious father of three daughters in court trying to lunge at Larry Nassar, the doctor who's accused of sexually assaulting more than 150 girls, including three of this man's daughters.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Breaking news, tonight Democrats slamming President Trump
and Republicans for releasing a partisan memo that claims the FBI improperly used the Trump dossier to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee saying in part, quote, "Chairman Nunes' decision to publicly release misleading allegations against the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is a shameful effort to discredit these institutions, undermine the Special Counsel's ongoing investigation and undercut congressional probes.
OutFront now, one of the members of the House Intelligence Committee Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier. And, Congresswoman, thank you very much. It's good to have you back on the show.
You know, the White House sees this memo very differently. Raj Shah was on a few months ago. You know, they -- they -- they think this memo shows clear bias of the FBI. The President said the findings are a disgrace, that people should be ashamed of themselves. Why is the White House so wrong?
SPEIER: Well, for many reasons. First of all, we know now that this memo has been released that it's really a political document. It's a -- it's political talking points. And it was written by one staffer, the author of the memo, the chairman, Nunes, never even took the time to read the underlying FISA application of 50 pages. And there were only three members of the committee that even had access to that, and yet we were taking on faith this political document and allowing it to become public? I mean, that's how low they have gone in terms of trying to protect the President.
And I think it's all being orchestrated out of the White House. And the entities that they are now criticizing are run by Republicans. So it's -- it really smacks of just a -- a bad effort to -- to try and, once again, create another distraction.
BURNETT: At the heart of the memo are allegations that the FBI, you know, relied on that dossier about President Trump's possible ties to Russia -- that's salacious dossier -- to get the FISA warrant on Carter Page. And I pointed out, I'll point out again, that -- that warrant was initially obtained after Carter Page had left the campaign. So the President's allegations that it was (inaudible) the campaign are just actually untrue.
But the memo also claims, and I quote, Congresswoman, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information. So that memo is referring to McCabe testifying to your Intelligence Committee. You were there. Is that what he said?
SPEIER: I -- I was there. No, it is not what he said. And that's the problem with this memo. And if it really was an effort to investigate whether or not there was bias, we specifically asked the Chairman and the Committee to bring in the Department of Justice and the FBI and question them on the various issues that they were raising in this memo. They were held bent on making this public, and it didn't matter what we said or what we did. And when he was asked the question, when the Chairman was asked the question, have you done this in conjunction with staff of the White House? He wouldn't answer the question.
BURNETT: Right, which is true. He didn't. I know it's your -- your colleague...
SPEIER: So this is pretty clear.
BURNETT: ...Congressman Quigley who asked that. But what did McCabe say? I mean, they're pretty direct, right? They're saying no surveillance warrant would have been sought without the dossier. What was really said?
SPEIER: That's not what he said. I can't -- you know, I can't tell you because it's still classified, but it was not -- those were not the words. That was not what he said. That was not the intention of what he said when he was asked that question.
BURNETT: So many Democrats, as you know, Congresswoman, have sounded an alarm about the memo. They said it would be reckless to release it and, in fact, it would be incredibly dangerous.
The Ranking Member of your Committee, Adam Schiff who, of course, is behind the Democratic memo to oppose this, which has not yet been released, he said it could cause a constitutional crisis if the Nunes memo was released. And the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said this earlier today.
PELOSI: He has abdicated his responsibilities as commander-in-chief to protect the American people by protecting our intelligence sources and the rest. If the President uses this fake, horrible release of -- of -- of distorted intelligence as an excuse to fire acting Attorney General Rosenstein or Mueller, it -- it could lead to a constitutional crisis.
BURNETT: Two questions for you from this, but first this, Congresswoman, fake, horrible, constitutional crisis. The DOJ saying extraordinarily reckless. What -- was that just a little bit of hyperbole coming from Democrats on this? I mean, all the names in here people we knew were going to be in there.
SPEIER: Well, you know, we have a new normal in this country. And unfortunately, because the President spews out fake for virtually everything, I mean, it's -- it's becoming part of our vernacular. This is a phony memo. And the problem is that to really understand it, you have to release the FISA application. That's 50 pages long. And...
BURNETT: Fifty pages.
SPEIER: ...that's the slippery slope that we're -- that we're going to be going down if we're not careful here. So I just think that what we really need to focus on is what makes this democracy real. I mean, what makes it free? What makes it strong? And if you look at the institutions that the President has attacked -- the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Judiciary and the media. And then I would argue that all of those institutions are part of what makes this country free. And the democracy is going to start to erode and you've got Vladimir Putin there smiling. I mean, it's like he gave Donald Trump the script on which to move forward on this -- this crazy memo (inaudible).
And I would say that, you know, if you look at Devin Nunes and what he did last year and look what he said this year, he has really set himself up to be too bias to serve as chair of this Committee.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Congresswoman Speier, I appreciate your time.
SPEIER: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next emotions overcome a father. His three daughters were abused by the former USA gymnastics Doctor, Larry Nassar.
New tonight, overcome with outrage the father of three young women who were all sexually abused by their former gymnastics doctor charged Larry Nassar in a dramatic and chaotic courtroom moment today. Randall Margraves' daughters have just finished speaking when Margraves asked the judge for this.
MARGRAVES: I would ask you to, as part of the sentencing, to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon. Would you do that?
JUDGE: I would -- that is not allowed...
MARGRAVES: Yes or no?
JUDGE: No, sir.
MARGRAVES: Would you give me one minute?
JUDGE: You know, ultimately that that is not how our legal system...
MARGRAVES: Well, I'm going to have to get (inaudible) ...
Let me have that -- I want that -- I want that (EXPLETIVES).
BURNETT: OutFront now, Paul Callan, our legal analyst. I mean, Paul, an emotional moment, a father who has overcome, I mean, just imagine hearing his three daughters talking there. You have been in courtrooms before, this was an incredible moment. CALLAN: Yeah, it's absolutely incredible but, you know, entirely
understandable given the level of brutality here. You know, he had three daughters who were sexually molested by Nassar. So his desire to go one-on-one with him is entirely understandable.
I've seen this happen in courtrooms before, you know, murder cases and serious cases. They're cases of high emotion. It's rare, but -- and also in cases involving sexual molestation. But, you know, I have never seen somebody who had three daughters molested by the same individual who's, in fact, a doctor. So, it's -- it's an unusual scene but an understandable one.
BURNETT: I mean, the horrific acts are impossible to understand. The years that they went on, the number of young women, girls -- girls who were impacted, the 150 of them. What happens now?
CALLAN: Well, this will be another sentence filed on top of the sentences that have already been rendered. He's already sentenced, I think, to about 150 years in prison. He'll spend the rest of his -- his life in prison. He'll die in prison, so these other sentences are really sort of academic at this point, but it's -- it's justice for each individual victim and after a long time.
BURNETT: Will -- will others be held accountable for the fact that this went on for so long? I feel frankly the Indianapolis Star uncovered it.
CALLAN: It's going to be...
BURNETT: Nothing had happened.
CALLAN: ...it's going to be very difficult for there to be civil suits for money damages by the victims because the statute of limitations has expired on most cases. I mean, we have seen obviously the president of MSU has resigned. And I think we're going to see officials in a lot of organizations who used him as a team doctor may face consequences, but civil suits will be difficult.
BURNETT: All right. Paul Callan, thank you very much.
Next, Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady and Donald Trump.
BURNETT: Super Bowl is this Sunday, of course, and reporters managed to ask the President today who he's rooting for.
TRUMP: I better not get involved.
BURNETT: Not getting involved? That's talk about breaking precedent. OK, you got to believe he's pulling for the Patriots after all he and New England's Tom Brady are buddies. The President's social media director tweeting back an in 2015 an image from the golf course of the two together. The quarterback appeared to endorse Trump during the campaign. And, of course, you know Trump prizes loyalty.
But for reasons only Trump knows, he is staying away from this controversy on this one issue. Could it be the President is a closet Eagles fan? (Inaudible).
CNN is in Minneapolis for the big game. Don't miss the CNN bleacher report special kick off in Minnesota. That is tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. with our great team.
Thanks for joining us. Anderson starts next.