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Trump Threatens Shutdown as Lawmakers Near Budget Deal; Trump Orders Pentagon to Plan Military Parade; White House: Trump To Rely On FBI, Intel Advice On Dem Memo Release; Trump Orders Pentagon To Plan Military Parade; Investors Brace For Another Wild Day On Wall Street. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired February 7, 2018 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amazing work that they're doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Everyday people coming together for one another. That's who we are as well.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: God, that's so wonderful.
All right. Thank you. Thanks for showing us the Biden stuff. Great stuff. And obviously we'll be replaying it throughout the day if you missed it. Time for "CNN NEWSROOM" with John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. John Berman here.
Things the president wants this morning? A conversation with Robert Mueller, a shutdown and a parade, not necessarily in that order.
Things that key White House advisers and senior Republicans don't seem to want this morning? A conversation with Robert Mueller, a shutdown and a parade, not necessarily in that order.
Yes, on a morning Republicans and Democrats say they are very close to what would be a major spending deal to keep the government running and fund the military for two years, an eternity in Washington terms, the president is still talking about a government shutdown. On a morning when the president's lawyers and friends say that he should not sit down with investigators from the special counsel's office because he might get caught lying, the president is saying he can handle the truth.
Also, the president wants a parade, a big one with tanks and troops because in a nutshell he likes parades and wants one. Much more on that coming up.
But first, words we don't speak very often because it's a thing that doesn't happen very often. We're getting whispers this morning turning into shouts that we could be minutes away from a big, substantive bipartisan deal on Capitol Hill.
So let's get right to the breaking details. Suzanne Malveaux on Capitol Hill with the very latest. Suzanne, what are you hearing?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, I just spoke with Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat, saying do not let the president taunt you, do not fall into his trap. There is a possibility of immigration on the one hand and also this big budget deal that's in the works on the Senate side, a bipartisan deal that could avoid some of the short-term spending deals, if you will, the spits and stops in funding the government.
Here is what they are looking at, the potential here. It would fund the government for six weeks up to March 23rd while they sort out some of these other things, things that Democrats and Republicans want. Significantly increasing defense as well as domestic spending for two years in the tune of $300 billion-plus, includes a disaster relief package for those areas ravaged by the hurricanes. Also raises the debt limit past the midterm election so it's not a political football and funds community health centers for another two years.
Senator Durbin saying, look to his colleagues on the House side, House Democrats, who desperately wanted to tie this to an immigration bill, saying that that was really their leverage saying don't fall into that trap. That will come in addition after they can figure out how to fund the government.
Now House Democrats just starting their own three-day retreat. They have moved it from the eastern shore of Maryland here to the U.S. capitol to grapple with these very serious issues, also to talk amongst themselves on whether or not they feel this is the kind of thing on the House side that they, too, can support, the Democrats on the Senate side are pushing as well -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Suzanne Malveaux on Capitol Hill. Some of the big numbers there, two years, two years of funding for the military and domestic programs and raising the debt ceiling past the midterm elections. Again, a very big deal.
So what are the president and his chief of staff doing to help in these talks? Well, nothing. The opposite, in fact.
Let's get to Abby Phillip at the White House with that -- Abby.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, John. It seems very much that the president and his chief of staff are kind of throwing a wrench into a burgeoning bipartisan agreement on the budget and on immigration. We heard from the president yesterday that after coming out of a government shutdown in which they thought the Democrats had been outmaneuvered, the president is now the one talking about a government shutdown. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we don't change it, let's have a shutdown. We'll do a shutdown and it's worth it for our country. I'd love to see a shutdown if we don't get this stuff taken care of. (END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Well, that is exactly the opposite of what Republicans want to do with the budget deal right now. And it's also the opposite of what the White House is saying officially. Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to pretty much walk those comments back. The Republicans want a clean budget deal that does not tie immigration into it. President Trump is clearly not on the same page.
And at the same time you have White House chief of staff John Kelly making some controversial comments yesterday about the Dreamers' issue. Listen to what he had to say about why more Dreamers didn't agree to sign up for the Obama-era program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The difference between 690 and 1.8 million would be the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses but they didn't sign up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Now a lot of Republicans and Democrats found those comments to be unhelpful in negotiations that are already fairly difficult and also kind of strikes against something that we've been hearing from this White House for quite some time, that they believe that the Dreamers ought to be taken care of, that they -- as President Trump has said repeatedly should not worry, it sounds like John Kelly very much is on a different wave length when it comes to that. And he then doubled down on the comments later.
[09:05:13] We also heard yesterday that Steny Hoyer, a Democrat, in a private meeting with John Kelly actually confronted him over it. But Kelly is not backing down on that one -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Abby Phillip for us at the White House. Keep us posted what you hear from there.
In the meantime, joining me, CNN political commentator and Spectrum News anchor Errol Louis, RealClearPolitics reporter Caitlin Huey- Burns, and from "The Fix" blog at "The Washington Post," Amber Phillips.
Caitlin, I want to start with you. I know it's odd to be so surprised when people in Washington are doing their job, but the Senate seems to be on the verge of doing something which is almost, you know, unheard of, which is a bipartisan deal. Two years of funding. This is significant.
CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: It is an eternity in Washington, especially since we've been operating on this kind of month-to-month funding of the government. Yes, this is kind of the basic task of government, but it also comes when lawmakers are facing a really tough political reality which his that they're in a midterm election year. Nobody on either side wants to have to deal with these continuous
fights over funding the government and all of the things that go along with it. So if they're able to get this deal done, I think it is significant and can allow them then to move on to things like immigration where they can kind of be focused more on that.
BERMAN: You know, Errol Louis, it's so interesting because as this is happening, again we could be minutes away from some kind an announcement. We're waiting on that. You know, the president and the chief of staff -- the president is still talking about a shutdown. The chief of staff saying things that are frankly offensive about Dreamers, calling them lazy and things, they should get off their asses. It strikes me that these discussions are going on behind closed doors. The White House, the president and the chief of staff, they are not in the room where it happens, as they like to say in "Hamilton."
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
BERMAN: The grownups are doing things.
LOUIS: Yes, well, that's right. And it could be that they have figured out on both sides of the aisle in Congress how to get things done. And that includes not being distracted, not being swayed, not going to meetings at the White House where a preexisting deal was going to get blown up or some other kind of crazy comment is going to throw the news cycle off and stop you from getting the momentum and the consensus that you need to get some of these things done.
And so yes, they're doing what makes sense for them. It's amazing how elections can help sort of sharpen one's focus. They've got the fall elections, just as Caitlin suggests. They've got two-year deals that appear to be coming out of Congress that we elect two years at a time. Imagine that. It seems to be lining up.
And again the most important thing is not to go and have some kind of obscene, scornful, dismissive or irrelevant garbage coming out of the White House that throws the whole thing off. That is a big part of Trumpism. And it seems like they're learning how to get along without Trumpism.
BERMAN: You know, this was more like Kellyism in this case, Chief of Staff John Kelly, the general, Amber, who said he called Dreamers who hadn't signed up for DACA, a distinction there, he said that they, you know, didn't get off their asses and they were lazy there. You know, we are always asked this question, is this part of some negotiating tactic? Is the White House putting out a marker or is this just John Kelly telling us what he really thinks?
AMBER PHILLIPS, POLITICAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: I -- I do not know. I'm very perplexed why the White House chief of staff would say that on the eve of a very delicate spending negotiations knowing full well there are a number of Democrats, especially in the House, who are still really frustrated that this spending deal would not protect Dreamers.
It was -- excuse me, what's remarkable to me, John, is that for the second time in two months we have top White House officials essentially denigrating or insulting or offending large groups of immigrants. And of course, the first White House official I'm referring to is the president himself, using profanity to talk about immigrants from Haiti and African nations and elsewhere.
You know, my read on this, this is almost like they either want their way or the highway or don't want a deal at all, and are kind of torpedoing it with these very public comments.
BERMAN: It is interesting to see and it's interesting to see how House Democrats will react to it. Right now everyone is just saying, OK, they said that, let's keep on dealing.
Amber, while I have you, let me ask you about this other news that was reported by CNN overnight. Sara Murray saying that despite what the president's lawyers and his friends all say which is don't go talk to the special counsel because we think you're going to get caught lying. Sara Murray's reporting is the president is going around saying, you know what, I can handle this, I can work this system, I got this. What do you make of it?
PHILLIPS: I think this is the president either trying to bolster his public image and then possibly he could blame it on his lawyers if he decides not to talk. I think the president is in a really tough situation. It's kind of lose-lose, whether he sits down with the special prosecutor. On one hand, if he listens to his lawyers, he risks a massive legal battle. If Mueller wants to try to take him to court to get him to talk to him.
He risks bolstering public opinion that he's not working with the Mueller investigation, that he has something to hide. A recent "Washington Post"-ABC poll said 50 percent of Americans don't think he's working with the investigation, 49 percent think he obstructed justice with regard to this investigation.
[09:10:12] But the bigger danger for Trump could be sitting down and actually talking. And that is, as everyone has talked about, his inconsistency with the truth. Mueller has -- I'm sorry, Mueller has pieced together, you know, like events, minute-by-minute, hour-by- hour. And Trump is here and he says thousands of misleading and false comments for the past year.
BERMAN: Yes, my read on it is it seems that the president may have just been watching TV during executive time the last day and he got sick of hearing that his friends and lawyers honestly, you know, didn't think that he could do this without getting caught lying.
BERMAN: And wanted to say, no, look, you know -- you know, I can handle this. I can handle this.
Errol, do you like parades? (LAUGHTER)
LOUIS: Yes, I do. I like to watch them on television. I don't like being caught in traffic. We have more than 365 parades a year here in New York City. And if you tried to go to every one you would have a full-time job. But I know where you're going with this. And --
BERMAN: The president wants a big military parade in Washington, D.C. because he liked the parade in France. And even before that, he wanted a big military parade for the inauguration. The guy likes parades.
LOUIS: He likes parades. If he can find private sponsors, maybe like sort of a military contractor's air show, those are very common around the world, let them pay for it. To have the taxpayers pay for a parade that nobody asked for except for the president, seems like a dubious use of money at a time when we've got to make every penny count.
BERMAN: You know, it is interesting, Caitlin, because if you look at the history here, again, the president, this is something he wanted for the inauguration. People said nah, this is not the kind of thing we usually do in the inauguration. And he went to France, stood next to his new friend, Emmanuel Macron.
BERMAN: Watched the Bastille Day Parade and liked it. He said we should do this in the United States. Apparently he keeps on asking the military leaders for this and whether they agree with him or they're just sick of fighting it, now they are studying this, and this might happen.
The president said it's a celebration of the United States and the military role around the world. There was a parade in 1991 after the Gulf War. But it's not a type of thing that we usually see in the United States.
HUEY-BURNS: Right. Exactly. And it's one thing to celebrate the military. It's another thing to have this come at a time when -- you know, we're still involved in a lot of serious things going on across the world. North Korea being kind of chief among them at this point.
To your point about the spending, I mean, the president just asked for an increase in spending on the military side in this budget that Congress is trying to work out. That is not -- I don't think a lot of people would want to spend that money on the parade. But I think this also kind of will come down to how you feel about this president. I think a lot of his supporters would look at this and say, yes, why not, why aren't we celebrating the military. This is something that we all should be celebrating.
And then you'll have other people kind of saying that, look, this is a show of military state, this is going into difficult territory here and, of course, the spending issue. BERMAN: It was interesting, Jim Jordan, Republican from Ohio, a
fierce supporter of the president, was on with Chris Cuomo earlier. You know, he was saying it's up to the president. But he wasn't jumping up and down and buying cotton candy for the parade. So it will be interesting to see what they all think about it.
Caitlin, Amber, Errol, thank you all very much for being with us.
The White House says the president was joking when he said that Democrats committed treason during the State of the Union. That old treason punch line. The former Vice President Joe Biden not laughing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: They say it was tongue-in-cheek. Democrats can't take a joke.
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Let me tell you, he's a joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: More from that fascinating interview later. First, though, investors bracing for what could be yet another wild ride on Wall Street.
Cristina Alesci at the New York Stock Exchange -- Cristina.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Investors a bit more calm today after that wild thousand-point swing. I was right here on the floor watching the market rally. Over 500 points just before the close, John. It was amazing. Now the question is clearly will be last?
Investors saw a buying opportunity yesterday. It doesn't necessarily mean it will carry through today. We'll have to watch and see, and I'll be back with the Opening Bell in just a few.
BERMAN: This morning the White House is reviewing the memo from Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee. The White House officials say they want to present recommendations to the president tomorrow. Chief of Staff John Kelly says that President Trump's decision on declassifying the memo will rely on advice from the heads of the FBI and Department of Justice.
Joining me now Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell of California. He is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thank you so much for being with us. The White House chief of staff, John Kelly, says that this memo is a lot less clean than the Republican version, meaning that it will require some redactions and tweaks. Your response.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Good morning, John. Well, I certainly have not heard the FBI or DOJ publicly express concern about the Democratic memo that I heard them express about the dangerously reckless Republican memo.
We wanted to be reviewed for any new national security sources and methods that they revealed. But I want it out there without any political edits so we can frankly move on, get away from the attacks on process and get back to interviewing witnesses and receiving evidence.
BERMAN: The charge from Republicans is that it was written for the purpose of being redacted. What we have heard from Republicans is that it's filled with sources and methods, the type of things that would have to be crossed out. Is that true?
SWALWELL: No. It was written to be war and peace in response to a nursery rhyme that was put out. These issues are complicated. When you make baseless, distorted allegations, you can't just let them go. Sometimes it takes more than four pages to explain to the American people what's going on, especially when you want to undermine an important institution like the FBI or the Department of Justice. So, you know, sometimes these are not as simple as some simple minds would like you to think they are.
BERMAN: But if there are redactions requested by the DOJ or the FBI, you will respect that?
SWALWELL: Yes. That's something that we asked for that the Republicans did not ask for, discretion we are willing to show that they were not willing to show.
[09:20:05] BERMAN: All right. Congressman, the Senate could be on the verge of a big spending deal, bipartisan senators now meeting behind closed doors and we could get an announcement very shortly, maybe striking a deal to fund the government for up to two years including an increase in military spending and raising the debt ceiling past midterms. This doesn't deal in any way with immigration, which I know has been a concern for House Democrats. So, would this be something you could support?
SWALWELL: It's certainly something that I'm reviewing right now, just as the American people are waiting to hear. But I don't understand, John, why we can't do all of this and do big things like including immigration and funding our health centers and continuing to build modern schools and renewable energy programs that reduce our electricity costs. Let's do big things for the American people instead of doing these one-offs, three to four-week budgeting.
BERMAN: So, you're concerned that it doesn't include immigration?
SWALWELL: Yes, of course, that's a concern. There's a lot of other things it doesn't include. I am concerned we are increasing the deficit after we just gave the wealthiest in America nearly $2 trillion tax cut.
BERMAN: Do you think it reduces Democratic leverage in negotiating over a deal for DREAMers and DACA recipients? SWALWELL: No. I believe the leverage that we have is the sentiment of the American people, which is that the president promised these DREAMers that they would have a pathway if a deal was struck. Now people expect our leaders to come together in a bipartisan way and strike that deal.
BERMAN: But as it stands now, what you've seen in the Senate bill, you do have concerns?
SWALWELL: I do. I have concerns if we can't address all these issues.
BERMAN: I called it a bill. We don't know what it is yet. It's not out yet, but the issues being leaked from it right now. The military wants -- the president wants a military parade. You have spoken about this. Why don't you like parades?
SWALWELL: I love parades. The military deserve a parade every single day and twice on Sunday. But I think most of them will tell you they would rather see that money spent taking care of those who have served, who have been neglected and not for a president, who is quite childish when he talks about using our military to have a parade just for his own purposes.
BERMAN: Well, he says -- he says the parade is not just for his own purposes. He says it would be a parade to honor the service of troops around the world and to honor veterans. One possibility is that the parade actually happens on Veteran's Day next November, which would be the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
SWALWELL: I go to Veterans Day parades every year, John. Again, if we're talking about continuing to spend millions and millions of dollars unnecessarily just to suit the president's needs, I'm not for that and I don't think many military leaders would be for that. Let's honor the military by taking care of those who have already served and giving those in the battlefield the equipment that they need so that they come home safely.
BERMAN: You actually said overnight that you thought this was all a distraction. You said he's doing this so you forget that he said he'd interview with Mueller and now he won't.
SWALWELL: Classic Trump, right? He puts out a confetti bomb as soon as the news starts to really I think drill in on inconsistencies. This is somebody who said in September 2016 only the mob invokes the Fifth Amendment. If you're innocent, you do not invoke the Fifth Amendment.
And now we're approaching the possibility that he may refuse to talk to Bob Mueller. So, I do question whether this is just a distraction to get the American people talking about something else and not focused on his promise to come clean.
BERMAN: You know, overnight, it's interesting because CNN is reporting, our Sara Murray is reporting the president is actually saying that he would still like to speak to the special counsel's investigators. He says he can handle it, so you don't buy that?
SWALWELL: Well, I hope that's the case. You know, he's a big boy. He can make his own decisions and shouldn't be restrained by any of his aides. If he really is willing to sit down in that chair and tell the truth.
BERMAN: Counselor, you know from your former work in the legal profession, as a lawyer, would you advise the president to sit down with investigators? Joe Biden, the former vice president of the United States overnight says he doesn't think he would advise the president to sit down with the special counsel because he doesn't think he can accomplish it.
SWALWELL: Isn't that sad, John, that the president of the United States has to decide whether he can be, you know, truthful of not because of problems he's had in the past? I would tell any client that if you don't have anything to hide, you should really cooperate because it would look really bad if you didn't.
BERMAN: All right. Representative Eric Swalwell, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it, sir.
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
BERMAN: All right. We are just moments away from the opening bell. The last few days this has been a time of great tumult. Are we in for yet another roller coaster day? Look at that right there. We'll see. Stay with us.
BERMAN: All right, 50 seconds away from the opening bell. This could be another wild ride on Wall Street so brace yourselves. Joining me CNN chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, and down on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Cristina Alesci.
Romans, first to you, as we are now 30 seconds away, Friday it was 600 points down, Monday, 1,100 points down, yesterday 500 points up, wild swing.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And that 500 points up was after being 500 points down. So, these swings have been really incredible. Volatility is back and there's no way to know how this thing is going to open or close.
Now at some points this morning, you saw some anxiety in the Asian markets, you saw some concern in stock index futures. Looked like it could be a triple digit decline for the Dow at the open.
But then you start to see some stability, so we just don't know. This is what happened after all these months of just moving higher without a correction. You've got a market now that is trying to search for a correction to find out what to do next.
BERMAN: All right. No coincidence, the American Red Cross down there for the opening bell, healing --