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Top Dems Warn Trump Using Memo To Fire Rosenstein Or Mueller Would Spark Constitutional Crisis; Disputed GOP Memo Released, Trump Allows It In Defiance Of FBI and Justice Officials; U.S. Unveils Nuclear Strategy As Russia Develops Torpedo. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 3, 2018 - 07:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congress has declassified. I think it's a disgrace what's happening in our country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States is willing to trash his intelligence community.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR: There's a clear evidence of collusion with the Russians, it just happens to be with the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: It's about a distorted memo that the Republicans decided to put forth.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Serious concerns about the integrity of decision that were made at the highest level of the department.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a red herring. This an attempt to confuse everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a lot of fear in Washington that the president is gearing up to fire the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The president was asked about it today.

TRUMP: You figure that one out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The firing of Rod Rosenstein, in my view, would be an act of obstruction of justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY weekend with Victor Blackwell and Christ Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you and happy Saturday! We're so glad to have you on board here. You know, some new words from Devin Nunes, leaving a lot of questions this morning. One of the big ones is: will the leaders of the FBI and the Department of Justice, you know, officials who were previously held in high esteem by members of both parties, will any of them lose their jobs over this heavily hyped document?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The president now refuses to say if he still has confidence in the man supervising the Russia probe after the release of the controversial memo yesterday.

PAUL: CNN's Jessica Schneider has more on the fallout of the FBI and Justice Department. We want to start, though, with CNN's Abby Phillip who's live in Washington. So, Abby, because of the memo, we're seeing this push by some conservative groups to oust Rod Rosenstein, how far -- any indication as to how far that might go?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, this is all a decision that lies with President Trump, ultimately. And he made it clear that he's leaving it open about what he's going to do exactly when reporters asked him yesterday about the fate of Rod Rosenstein after this memo was released. This is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it make you more likely to fire Rosenstein? Do you still have confidence in him after reading the memo?

TRUMP: You figure that one out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: Very vague response here from President Trump. That underlies what we know based on sources, which is that the president has been actually quite angry with Rod Rosenstein. He is the person who is responsible for overseeing the Russia probe and is also implicated in this memo that suggests that he improperly approved surveillance of Trump campaign associates. Now, these conservative groups are targeting Rosenstein in the wake of this memo and trying to build momentum for either his firing or for his resignation. But ultimately, it's clear that there are others within the White House who think that's a bad idea. Deputy Press Secretary, Raj Shah. was on our air last night talking about President Trump's comments and actually pulling his boss back. Listen.

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RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: So, ultimately, President Trump is the decider here, and we will have to wait and see what he ends up doing. But clearly, there's pressure being put on him on both sides, on this issue. Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Abby Phillip, thank so much for the report.

BLACKWELL: It's possible that morale at the top law enforcement agencies could suffer because of the Republican memo. FBI Director Christopher Wray is telling his staff, though, not to be swayed by the political fallout. CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider is following that angle for us. Jessica, what did the director say?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Victor, we saw the FBI director clashing with the White House this week over the release of this memo. So, once it was put out there, Director Christopher Wray, he made sure to get the messages of support out to the 35,000 members of the FBI. So, Director Wray, he addressed FBI employees in an internal video. And in it, we know that he said this, he said, "the American people, they read the newspapers and watch T.V., but your work is all that matters." He continued by saying, "actions speak louder than words."

Wray also continued in the video, we know, saying that he knows it has been tough this week. He knows it's been an unsettling time. He said that he is, though, inspired by the men and women of the FBI and that the work they do. And you know, we know that earlier this week, White House aides, they were concerned that FBI Director Chris Wray, he might quit after the memo's release. But of course, this address that he gave to all the FBI employees via video, it does seem to indicate, Victor and Christi, that he is staying on the job.

BLACKWELL: And how about the man who leads the Department of Justice, Jeff Sessions? We're hearing from him in relation to Rod Rosenstein.

[07:05:00] SCHNEIDER: We are. It was interesting as this memo came out yesterday. The attorney general was actually front and center at the Department of Justice here in Washington. It was for an unrelated symposium. But when he was introducing both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, who were both speaking at that symposium, it was the attorney general who did seem to come to Rosenstein's defense. Take a listen.

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JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Rod's had 27 years in the department. Rachel's had a number of years in the department previously. And so, they both represent the kind of quality and leadership that we want in the department.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: So, quite a juxtaposition there. As the memo was coming out yesterday, it was the attorney general standing side by side with his deputy attorney general, of course. The deputy attorney general, as Abby mentioned, he's drawn the ire of the president. We've reported this. And of course, that's because Rosenstein, he oversees the Russia probe, he's also mentioned in this memo as having reauthorized that surveillance warrant. So, while the president may seem to be a bit wishy-washy as to what his stance is toward Rosenstein, it is clear that the Attorney General Jeff Sessions is standing by his deputy. Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Important words. Jessica Schneider, thank you so much. PAUL: So, some Republicans spent weeks claiming the memo showed

abuses at the FBI and DOJ. But it's release has just raised more questions about its purpose for some. For one, it came from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, but Nunes admitted just last night that he never read all of the information that the memo's based on? So, how could he fully understand what it claimed? Does the Republican memo present all the facts? It's 3.5 pages long. And a former national security adviser tells CNN just one surveillance application could be up to 60 pages long. And what about the Democrats' memo which challenges some of these allegations? Why are Republicans blocking that release? Does the memo undermine itself?

Republicans claim the FBI and Justice Department used a dossier originally paid for by Democrats to start surveilling former Trump Campaign official Carter Page. They claim the surveillance is the base of the Russia investigation. But the document actually admits the Russia investigation started months earlier based off comments by George Papadopoulos. And does the memo show anti-Trump bias as some Republicans are alleging? Remember, the FBI is currently led by a Trump appointee. The man supervising the Russia investigation is a Trump appointee. And why would James Comey re-open the Clinton investigation, e-mail investigation if he was so anti-Trump?

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining me now is CNN Contributor and Writer at The New Yorker, Adam Entous; and Congressional Reporter Politico, Rachael Bade. Good morning to both of you.

ADAM ENTOUS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR AND WRITER AT THE NEW YORKER: Thank you.

RACHAEL BADE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER AT POLITICO: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So, let's start here with this narrative about the potential that the president's using this as an entree to fire Rod Rosenstein. The president has said that what's happening is a disgrace. He said that at the White House yesterday. He tweeted out that the leadership at the FBI has politicized investigations, the sacred investigations. But we heard then from Raj Shah, from the communications office, that the president is not going to fire Rod Rosenstein. Reconcile the those two, Adam. If he's doing such a bad job, how do you then keep him on and say he should continue as he is?

ENTOUS: Yes. Well, I think the real goal here by the president and by his allies is to undercut whatever Mueller, the special counsel, is going to find. He's trying to undermine the investigation that's going on. I think I think the deputy attorney general is secondary to that. We could see, obviously, developments in the future because of Rod's role in re-upping this surveillance that was done. But at this point, you know, from sources that I've talked to, it doesn't sound like there's any change that's imminent on the front.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, Rachel, let's talk about some of the elements in the memo, these 3.5 pages that were declassified yesterday by the White House. It since, according to the memo, it exposes that Christopher Steele's dossier was, as it's phrased, an essential part of the surveillance application. To what degree we don't know that will be in the underlying documents of this application? I want you to listen to the House Intelligence Chair, Devin Nunes, who wrote this memo. This was last night on Fox News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Did you read the actually FISA applications?

NUNES: No, I didn't. 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)

BLACKWELL: He called it a bogus story right after saying that indeed he did not read them. To what degree does he not know what he doesn't know here, and the importance -- I mean, we shouldn't have to say this -- of reading the underlying documents before sending out this memo?

[07:10:14] BADE: Not a good look. It's kind of like when Republicans were asked if they read the full tax bill or the full Obamacare repeal bill and a lot said they hadn't. Obviously, it doesn't look good. I will say that Nunes is not quite the legal brain as clearly Trey Gowdy is. Trey Gowdy is a former federal prosecutor, and they have been looking at Trey Gowdy to sort of take the lead in terms of making the legal arguments that they're trying to lay out in this memo.

Now, I think it's important to note that, you know, Democrats are saying that it wasn't just the dossier that they used to sort of justify these warrants against Carter Page, right? That that's not the full story. And I think that one of the big things here is Republicans have sort of undercut themselves perhaps unintentionally when they went out there and just put out their own memo instead of waiting for the Democratic memo. Because now, folks are saying, wait, we don't have the whole story here; we don't know perhaps there was something else in the FISA application that we don't actually know about.

There's another thing that they undercut themselves with, and that is Senate Republicans were not ever fully on board with releasing this memo, right? A lot of Senate Republicans at the retreat over this week -- a couple of days ago just before this memo came out, were saying we want to see the memo, too, before you release anything. We want to make sure sources and methods are protected. You have the FBI saying do not release this. So, they sort of, they don't look unified here, and that does hurt them a little bit.

BLACKWELL: So, Adam, this memo focuses on the surveillance warrants and the renewals three times for Carter Page, who was a former volunteer, Foreign Policy Adviser for the Trump Campaign. Left in September. This was approved in October. For months now, the president and members of his administration have really worked to minimize his role, minimize his involvement here. Let's listen to what the president and his staff have said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carter Page is an individual who the president- elect does not know.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR THE PRESIDENT: He's not part of our national security or foreign policy briefings that we do now at all.

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: To best of my recollection, I don't know Carter Page. To the best of my knowledge, Carter Page never had a donaldtrump.com e-mail address, had no formal role in the campaign that I'm aware of.

TRUMP: I don't think I've ever spoken to him. I don't think I've ever met him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: But since the release of the memo the narrative is that a surveillance program or surveillance warrant focused on Carter Page is a proxy attack on the president and the president-elect, the candidate himself. Which is it?

ENTOUS: Right. Well, I mean, I was part of the Washington Post team that broke the story that Carter Page was the subject of FISA. And frankly, at the time, I was sort of baffled, and, you know, what it -- what I think it underlined to me was in those early stages of this investigation. How little the FBI seemed to know if they thought that this particular individual who had done this trip to Moscow and had been in those press reports regarding that, was somehow a central figure.

You know, I think what was surprising to a lot of us a year ago when we were trying to figure out who was the subject of a FISA was that there weren't more of them. We had suspected that there would, obviously, be ones against main characters like Paul Manafort and others like that. And we were surprised that Page who did play a, rather, minor role by all accounts in -- you know, in the campaign itself would be the target of the FBI.

BLACKWELL: Rachel, you brought up an interesting point about why these two memos, one from the Republicans on House intelligence and one from the Democrats, was not -- they were not released at the same time. I mean, it's important to point out as we wrap up that this is not the modus operandi, historically, of the House Intelligence Committee -- this type of partisanship. And we would have to expect that the president would declassify the Democrats' memo and release that independent of what we've seen from the Republicans. Are you expecting that's going to happen?

BADE: I do expect that. One of the reasons is because Speaker Paul Ryan has essentially guaranteed it. He has been saying this whole time, this isn't an attempt to try to undercut the FBI, it's not an attempt to try to undercut the DOJ and it has nothing to do with Mueller and the Russia investigation. Now, of course, not all Republicans agree with him, some of them are obviously using this memo to try to undercut that probe. But Speaker Paul Ryan has said he wants the Democratic rebuttal to be out there. It's a question of when. I think if the president tried to keep that from coming out, that would look absolutely terrible and overtly partisan. So, I do expect a number of Republicans, more establishment type of Republicans, in the name of transparency to put something out there.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll see if it happens. Rachael Bade and Adam Entous, thank you.

BADE: Thank you.

ENTOUS: Thank you.

PAUL: The U.S.-Russian relations just might've gotten colder. The Pentagon says it is planning to increase its nuclear capabilities to counter Russia.

[07:15:11] BLACKWELL: Plus, the emergency worker that hit that missile alert button in Hawaii and sent thousands into a panic; we're hearing from him now. His explanation is ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was 100 percent sure that it, that it was real.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: 19 minutes past the hour right now. So good to have you with us here. The Republican memo has really pitted the White House formally against top officials at the Justice Department and FBI. Walter Shaub, CNN Contributor and Former Director for Office of Government Ethics is with us now; as well James Gagliano, CNN Law Enforcement Analyst and Retired FBI Supervisory Agent. Thank you, gentlemen, both of you for being here. We certainly appreciate it. Walter, I want to listen with you here to Representative Adam Schiff yesterday as he was talking about the fact that it is common protocol to release the Democratic memo as well as the Republican memo simultaneously. That didn't happen. Here's what he said about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:20:16] REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Could they have voted ours out at the same time since ours was equally ready? Yes, but that wasn't the goal. That's not the goal here. The goal was simply to get a misleading piece of information before the public, help support the president, help discredit the Mueller investigation and FBI, help do the bidding of the White House, and that's all that's going on here. But, of course, the damage they're doing is going to be very long-lasting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: All right. I want to touch on two things that stand out there. First of all, had the two memos been released in concert concurrently, do you have confidence that there would have been, Walter, any more clarity about this whole situation, about this whole investigation?

WALTER SHAUB, CNN CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER DIRECTOR FOR OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS: Well, there's nothing normal about what's going on with this memo. And I think if both had been released at the same time, you would at least have two competing stories. But they're two competing stories drawn from material that we can't see, material that some of the authors of these memos didn't see. And neither is going to paint a completely full picture. And both of them would be written with motivation to make a particular case.

So, the whole idea of releasing a memo that summarizes national security information is obviously a transparent attack on the Department of Justice, and the FBI, and ultimately, the Mueller investigation. So, I don't think anybody should put credence in anything that comes out. I think part of the problem with both memos is because they have to be a summary and they can't state some of the underlying evidence. They're both going to just be a set of conclusions. And both sides will decide which one they want to believe which doesn't advance our understanding of anything.

And that's part of the problem with this whole thing about this memo is that you're forced to accept conclusions because we aren't in the position to be analyzing it. And I think one thing Congressman Schiff said is correct, I think there's going to be long-lasting damage both to the reputation of the organizations that are under attack and the relationship between Congress and those agencies that they have to rely on for information. Now those agencies can't really trust Congress to safeguard sensitive information.

PAUL: And James, that's what I wanted to ask you about. As a former FBI agent, yourself, part of the fire family, do you feel that there is a breach of trust or a fracture of trust in the relationship between Congress and the intel community?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST AND RETIRED FBI SUPERVISORY AGENT: Well, Christi, I think in the history of the FBI -- and it's been around since 1908 -- there've been a number of times throughout history where Congress, the Oversight Committees, and FBI have butted heads, or the White House and FBI director or FBI senior executives have butted heads. Listen, tribalism is alive and well in Washington. I mean, what we're witnessing right now -- I think to Walter's point, I think is more edition of kind of the way that Congress is handling this with the two competing partisan echo chambers.

I think most people that are within the FBI's 35,000 employees -- most, not all, because it's not a monolithic society -- but most recognize that the president's attacks and the GOP's attacks are aimed at some senior leadership. Some very few people that made some dubious decisions. Now, let me just say this; let me unpack FISA really quickly here for you. The way that FISA applications work, generally speaking, 99.999 percent of the time they get approved. Now, in the year 2016, the last year of the Obama administration, just to be fair about the scrutiny that these applications are under, the most ever FISA applications we either rejected or returned for medication. So, that says that this wasn't just a rubber stamp in this instance.

Now, I am troubled by the fact that there doesn't appear to have been a disclosure that the dossier was opposition research, and I know it began with the Washington Free Beacon, but that was opposition research, too, because that was during the primary campaign. So, that part troubles me. It doesn't negate the information and fact that there was a lot of underlying evidence that compelled them to get the application approved and renewed three separate times. But I'm troubled by that.

PAUL: Well, OK. Really quickly, I only have a couple of seconds left, but I did want to get to something that Devin Nunes said last night, saying that he believes additional memos will be released. Walter, do you think that would do any good? Do you expect more memos to be released?

SHAUB: I think we need to stop down this path. I don't see how more memos are going to contribute any greater clarity. I think we also have to remember that the FISA process is a multilayered process with multiple checks and levels of review. So, the statistic about how many are approved is somewhat misleading because there's many that don't go forward because they don't make it through the scrutiny of the review procedures to get submitted in the first place.

[17:25:16] And you have two different branches of government who are not going to collude. And the judges that oversee this are not dumb people. They know the level of scrutiny they need to apply. So, and of course, it was pretty much well-known by the time the last one was reapproved, the source of the material. So, the idea that the judge didn't know that this was from, you know, opposition research memo or that parts of it were or the idea that that's all that was relied on. Because, again, this is cherry-picked information that we're looking at.

PAUL: All righty. Walter Shaub and James Gagliano, sorry we've run out of time. Thank you both so much.

GAGLIANO: Thanks for having me.

SHAUB: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: The U.S. is planning to increase its nuclear capabilities as Russia develops a nuclear-armed torpedo. What could this mean for U.S.-Russia relations?

PAUL: Also, we're just a week away across the Winter Olympic games, and President Trump says South Korea has the full support of the U.S. during the event.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:30:21] PAUL: I hope Saturday morning's been good to you. 30 minutes past the hour right now, I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, that's how you start the hour? Great. PAUL: Sometimes you need a nice exhale, don't you? Thank you, go ahead.

BLACKWELL: So, the U.S. moving on here, will expand to its nuclear capabilities so that Russia thinks twice before planning to use its nuclear weapons according to a new policy document.

PAUL: Yes, U.S. officials are claiming Russia is expanding its nuclear arsenal including a torpedo that could allegedly reach the U.S. coast. CNN's Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr fills us in here.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: While President Trump navigates the political minefield of the Russia investigation --

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: There's been no collusion, there's been no crime.

STARR: Pentagon and State Department unveiled the toughest line yet against Vladimir Putin's military in a report on nuclear threats and the Trump administration solutions.

ANITA FRIEDT, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY, BUREAU OF ARMS CONTROL, VERIFICATION AND COMPLIANCE: Russia has increased its reliance on nuclear weapons and its capabilities. And it's -- as we've pointed out, it's building a large and diverse nuclear arsenal.

STARR: The Pentagon detailing 2,000 Russian nuclear-capable weapons that could hit Europe including missiles, bombs, jet charges, and torpedoes. And for the first time, confirming Russia is developing an underwater drone that can potentially travel thousands of miles and strike the U.S. coastline. Russia, just one headache for Defense Secretary James Mattis, as he begins the second year on the job.

The U.S. nuclear deterrent also aimed at North Korea, which the report says may now only be months away from the capability to strike the U.S. with nuclear-armed missiles.

JOHN ROOD, UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR POLICY: If North Korea would -- you know, hypothetical launch a ballistic missile tipped with a nuclear weapon at the United States that we intercepted, it's not the sort of thing that we would say, "Well, that's the end of the story."

STARR: But because of current tensions, the Pentagon may delay a routine test of a U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile until after the Olympics, CNN has learned. Along with the joint chiefs, job number one know for Mattis, is to convince President Trump to not conduct a limited strike against North Korea, hoping sanctions work before a missile is fielded. Job number two, Mattis still has to have credible military options to back up the diplomatic effort.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: He's got to present it in a way that leads up, that manages his boss so that his boss, who has never seen combat unlike General Dunford and Secretary Mattis. He has never experienced the kind of conflict they have seen, they have got to make him understand the catastrophic consequences of making a decision on the use of military force.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: Critics say all of this lowers the threshold for President Trump to decide to use nuclear weapons. But advocates say in today's world, this strong deterrence is necessary against America's adversaries. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

PAUL: Well, the U.N. says North Korea racked up nearly $200 million by ignoring sanctions and exporting banned goods.

BLACKWELL: It says, North Korea exported coal to China, Malaysia, Russia, and Vietnam by falsifying documents and supplied weapons to Syria and Myanmar.

So, the Winter Olympics, the games begin next week and President Trump spoke with the leaders of both South Korea and Japan to express his support for safety and success at the event.

PAUL: He also talked about the increased tension on the Korean Peninsula, of course, and ways to maintain pressure on the North's nuclear program. In the meantime, the remaining North Korean athletes that are now in the South, they're ready to compete. CNN Correspondent Paula Newton is in South Korea for us. So Paula, good to see you this morning. Tell us more about what you know regarding these conversations.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, Christi, look, you had it right a few minutes ago, that exhale, you can hear that exhale riveting around this valley right now in Pyeongchang. I mean, look, it's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, we were talking about whether or not team USA could even come here.

Nikki Haley, actually putting it on the table that it wasn't a sure thing. Since then, North Korea said, they're going to participate. Everyone has taken the temperature down. On Friday, President Trump saying that, look, he wishes the Olympics every success and hopes that in terms of this thawing of relations between North Korea and South Korea, that it can go somewhere, they can lead to some good. That does not mean that anyone's out of the woods here, obviously very serious issues. But everyone is hoping that South Korea gets what it wants, and this being the peace Olympics.

And more importantly, Christi and Victor that these athletes get to compete no matter which country they're coming from. You know, it's important to say here that Vice President Pence will be here for the opening ceremonies. The U.S. administration saying that, look, we put our full backing into these Olympics. The high-level delegation coming here, so all be cheering on team USA which will start to trickle in, in the next few days.

I have to tell you it's not as cold as Super Bowl here, but you know what, it's pretty cold, and the opening ceremonies are outside. So, Vice President Pence, bundle up, but that was the only advice the IOC had for anybody going to those opening ceremonies on Friday. So, yes, be thankful that Super Bowl is inside.

[07:35:48] PAUL: Already -- and you bundle up, too. Paula Newton, so glad to have you here, thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, so the GOP memo has pitted the White House against the Justice Department, at least the leaders. Next, is the GOP united in that fight?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:40:39] BLACKWELL: Well, some in the GOP are cheering the release of the now well-known Nunes memo, while others are concerned it could have a political cost. Here to discuss you, Gina Loudon, Trump supporter, and host of "America Trends with Dr. Gina". And Alice Stewart, CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, good morning to you both.

GINA LOUDON, HOST, AMERICA TRENDS: Good morning, Victor.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So, Alice, let me start with you in that question, are there political challenges, political costs with release of this memo? It was -- it was billed as bigger than Watergate, it was billed as shocking. Did the Nunes memo deliver to the President's base, to Republicans?

STEWART: To the base, sure. I mean, they wanted to hear what was in the memo. They wanted to hear that there were abuses by the FBI and the Department of Justice, and they wanted to show that this FISA memo was a direct result of the dossier which was spearheaded by the Democrats in the Hillary Clinton campaign. So, they heard exactly what they wanted to hear.

However, there were some that may feel that it oversold. It was oversold and didn't deliver on that. But the critics of this, specifically, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, their problems -- and I agree with it. We need to not look at this investigation through as John McCain calls it a warped partisan lens.

And Lindsey Graham, says we need to look at this investigation through a special counsel outside and absent of politics. In my view, this report, while it does points out some significant flaws that were used in part of this investigation. I don't think we need to paint the entire intelligence community with the bad brush, and it doesn't need to be piecemeal.

If the Republicans put out their side, I think the Democrats should have the opportunity to put out their findings at the same time.

BLACKWELL: How about that why we hearing from -- we should have seen the two reports at the same time, right? Gina, mean would you have like to see the Democrats' memo released at the same time, declassified at the same time as the Republican memo?

LOUDON: Yes, and -- but I find it really particularly interesting that I don't hear any Republicans, maybe you know of some. I haven't heard from any corner of any conservative groups or anything that are saying that any memos shouldn't be released. So, I think the general American public likes transparency. And I think that this President has made it very clear that he likes transparency, as well. And so, I think that this --

BLACKWELL: Well, that would be some challenge of the view of the President liking transparency after the request to release the visitor logs of both the White House sends at Mar-a-Lago and his tax returns. But, as it relates to the transparency and not releasing memos, then, why not wait for the squabbling as it is to protect sources and methods of the Democratic memo and release them together?

LOUDON: Well, I do think that both memos should and probably will be released. I think that the American people should continue to demand transparency. I'm much more concerned about that than I am about the tarnishing of agencies that we've already seen great corruption, and not that there aren't lots and mostly good people in these agencies. But we need to make sure and they need to be accountable. And we do know that there has been corruption, and we do know that the collusion, that did happen, that was discussed exactly as it came out in the memo. And so, I think -- you know, was it oversold? I don't think so, not at all.

BLACKWELL: Does a corruption and collusion are two words that I think that most people would have questions about. But let me move on because I invited you here to talk about something else, but we had to talk about the news of the day. I just want to put a pin in those two words.

Specifically, this week we heard that Trey Gowdy, chairman of House Oversight, also the House Appropriations Chair, Rodney Frelinghuysen, both Republicans now say that they're going to be leaving at their -- at the end of their terms, not running for re-election. 38 Republicans in total will not be running for re-election, 22 for recent out of the scandal and running for other office.

This is after the tax cut bill. Alice, this is after this -- the legislative accomplishments that the President touted. Why are we seeing this continued exodus, as if, if as the President says that the 2017 was so good for Republicans?

[07:44:54] STEWART: Sure, and everyone has their varying reasons for doing so. Of course, Trey Gowdy is an excellent -- an excellent leader in the legal community. He wants to get back into doing more legal work, and that suits him. Everyone has different reasons, some want to spend more time with their family. But I think, the good news is the bad thing is we have to saves how many were leaving for personal scandals and others leaving for personal reasons.

But the good news is many of these are in safe districts, Republican safe districts. So, putting up a Republican in that -- in those areas shouldn't be a challenge. And we'll retain many of those seats. And another positive thing on this picture too is that the RNC, the Republican Party, has done a tremendous job this year raising money. Almost $36 million compared to Democrats' $6 million in an off year, of presidential year election. That money will go a long way to hiring staff, putting boots on the ground in these districts. But I think -- I don't see this as a bad thing for Republicans.

BLACKWELL: Yes, they certainly have raised a lot of money and the moment poll out this week show the President Trump's approval rating is up 10 points in the last month. Gina, finally to you before we wrap this up, the White House said that there was going to be an infrastructure plan introduced in January. The President has said that he wants to revisit repeal and replace, although that's unlikely before the midterms. We've heard from Paul Ryan, he wants to get to entitlement reform. There's a lot to do in Washington, DACA, and Iran. But to what degree does this memo controversy kind of maybe feed that exodus that legislators aren't really getting to do the jobs that they were sent to Congress to do?

LOUDON: You know, there's only a memo controversy in so far as we sort of make it a controversy and give it wings and ask questions that maybe don't need to be asked until all the memos are released. I think, if we can just be patient and demand the transparency that the American people are demanding, I don't find it as that much of a distraction at all, the economy is flourishing. And that you know, more than two million jobs created just since this President took office.

Every economic indicator looks great, even with the slight dip this week, still, the economic indicators are all doing super well. Unemployment at record lows, the list goes on. I think we'll continue to see more of that out of the administration. I think this President is very determined to turn around and revolutionize really the economy of the United States.

BLACKWELL: Gina Loudon, Alice Stewart, thank you so much.

STEWART: Thanks, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Christi?

LOUDON: Thank you.

PAUL: Still to come, we want to show you what happened with this dad. A dad who attempted to attack Dr. Larry Nassar in court. After this dad heard horrible details of what Nassar did to his daughters. That's ahead off.

To just jump out of bed or to sprint up the stairs. But this week, "STAYING WELL" looks at something that's called functional fitness, and that could change things for them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JULIE MIGNEREY, MANAGER, HOTEL SITE SELECTION: As ages crept up on me, I noticed little things, going up the stairs, I'm a little out of breath. Go hiking with my family, and I'm the last one in line. I'm much more calling up to the kids "Can you bring this downstairs?" Or if I'm sitting down, "Can you grab that glass of water for me?" I'm not looking to go be a bodybuilder, so I just wanted everyday function ability.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 10 seconds to go --

KOLLEEN LOSCH, FITNESS INSTRUCTOR, PERSONAL TRAINER: Functional fitness is where you're training for everyday movement. We don't think about how squat will translate into an everyday world. We squat every time we sit down, getting into a car, getting off the couch, when we're traveling in the airports, or putting things into overhead compartments, that's a shoulder press.

MIGNEREY: I totally feel it to my stomach. They had me do certain exercises and ask, how does that feel? Where are you feeling that?

LOSCH: Exercise should not be about getting injured, so if we find that a client has an injury, we will refer them out to a physical therapist or an occupational therapist.

MIGRENEY: After about two months, I noticed the aches and pains going away. I have lost some weight, I feel healthier. I feel like my muscles are stronger and they support me better. I want to be out there with the kids, having the fun versus sitting in the chair and watching everybody else have those moments.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:53:28] PAUL: All right, we're to share some video with you out of Argentina of just massive flooding. This video is amazing.

BLACKWELL: Yes, causing a lot of damage there. CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is here. Allison, what are you seeing here?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right, so this is now the Pilcomayo River, which is kind of right near the Paraguay-Argentina border in the northwestern region of Argentina. This video is incredible because you have to understand the river rose six meters already. It's expected to continue to rise over the next three to four days.

You can see debris, cars, even homes flowing down this river. Unfortunately, the topography plays a big role here sitting in a lower basin. Unfortunately, though, the good news is we do expect that this should die down once we get came of five to six days from now.

A little bit closer to home, the big story here is going to be the bitter cold temperatures that are expected across areas of the upper Midwest. Including that of Minnesota, the reason this is important is because this is where the Super Bowl is going to be played. Now, here's the thing, I understand it's a closed dome. We're not so much worried about the fans in the game, but rather the fans outside the game. Because not only are the temperatures going to be cold, the wind chill is going to be a big factor.

With wind chill, you have this outer layer of heat that sits just on the outside of your body, but when that wind blows, it takes away that outer layer of heat that surrounds your body. Hypothermia can set in just with simply a body temperature drop of only 2 to 4 degrees. When we are talking about these temperatures too, you have to keep in mind, the morning, the folks that are going to brave it say around noon outside, the temperature only going to be minus 1, but that feels like temperature, that wind chill is going to be about minus 18.

Even for the actual start of the game, say around 6:00, 6:30, for the folk's kind of huddling into the actual stadium, that temperatures only going to be about three degrees, Victor and Christi.

Here's the thing, a lot of folks keep saying it's going to be the coldest game on record. I know, some folks think it's unfair to actually count a dome game as the coldest thing.

PAUL: yes.

CHINCHAR: But just to put this in perspective, the coldest outdoor game was in New Orleans back in 1972 with 39degrees. You're talking a high of three at the game. So, there's no comparison for the folks just walking into the game, it's going to be incredibly cold.

PAUL: Are you ready to go cover it?

BLACKWELL: Coy, has got that covered.

PAUL: Exactly, Allison, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Next hour of the NEW DAY coming up after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TRUMP: The memo was sent to Congress, it was declassified. I think --