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The President's Defense of an Accused Abuser; Vice President Pence Says Talks with North Korea Possible After Olympics; Devin Nunes Could Face Bumpy Re-election Bid; Interview with Leon Panetta; The Radical Story of Patty Hearst. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired February 11, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:01] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Ana Cabrera in New York, and, tonight the White House wants you to believe two things that can't both be true. At least not at the same time. The first, that there's overwhelming evidence that former White House aide Rob Porter beat his two ex-wives and it's a good thing he resigned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSEL TO THE PRESIDENT: In this case, you have contemporaneous police reports, you have women speaking to the FBI under the threat of perjury, you have police reports, you have photographs, and when you look at all of that pulled together, you realize that Rob Porter did the right thing by resigning.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: It sounds like you believe the women.
CONWAY: I have no reason not to believe the women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Now the White House apparently also wants you to believe there's not overwhelming evidence that Porter beat two of his ex- wives, and that's what's happening is sad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he's also very sad now. He also -- as you probably know, he says he's innocent and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent, so you'll have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Combine that statement with the president's tweet. "People's lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There's no recovery for someone falsely accused. Life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as due process?"
Now Kellyanne Conway was asked about the president's lack of empathy on another Sunday news program. Here's how she answered. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONWAY: This president has -- he's been doing a great job for America's women. And we have to look at the full picture. You have 800,000 women took new jobs last year because of his leadership. You have women who work at over 300 companies now that are getting wages and benefits and capital investments happening within their own communities.
We are a safer, more prosperous nation, that includes all of us, including the nation's women, because of Donald Trump's leadership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So here are the facts on this issue of domestic violence. Each day in the U.S., three or more women are murdered by an intimate partner on average, and out of all female homicide victims, more than half are killed by a male partner. In other words, more women are killed in the U.S. every year by a partner claiming to love them than by terrorism.
For a president promising to make America safe again, those numbers should matter. Something else that should also matter to the president, the impact his words have on the more than 10 million women and men who are victims of domestic violence every year. Women, like Jennie Willoughby, Rob Porter's ex-wife.
Willoughby addressed the president directly in a powerful piece for "TIME" magazine today and I'm going to read some of it for you now. She writes, "The words 'mere allegation' and 'falsely accused' mean to imply that I am a liar, that Colby Holderness is a liar. That the work Rob was doing in the White House was of higher value than our mental, emotional or physical well-being. That his professional contributions are worth more than the truth. That abuse is something to be questioned and doubted."
She goes on, "Ultimately this is not a political issue. This is a societal issue and the tone has just been reset by the White House. If the most powerful people in the nation do not believe my story of abuse in the faith of overwhelming evidence, then what hope do others have to be heard?"
Let's discuss with conservative commentator Carrie Sheffield, CNN political commentator Tara Setmayer, and national political reporter for RealClearPolitics Caitlin Huey-Burns.
So Carrie, I want to start with you because I understand, you actually know people who are involved in this story. What can you tell us about Rob Porter's relationships with his ex-wives?
CARRIE SHEFFIELD, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Sure. So I have a Mormon family and a Mormon background, and Rob Porter is Mormon, he has a Mormon father, he was my professor at Harvard University. A friend of mine dated the first ex-wife, Colby, and based on his experience with her, this happened after their marriage broke off, that the accusations and the stories that she told him are verified based on, you know, earlier accounts of what she told him, that it was true that he was, indeed, an abuser, which is tragic and horrible.
I think that enough has not been said about -- there's a great story on CNN.com right now by MJ Lee looking at unfortunately, systematically there is a big problem in the personal life of people like Rob Porter because this was a systemic problem.
Professionally he had the gloss, he had the shine. There were many Republicans who saw the professional look. You've got Senator Mike Lee, Senator Rob Portman, you know -- D.C. circuit court judge, Tom Griffith, who was a spiritual mentor of mine at Brigham University. Rob Porter taught at Brigham University as well.
So professionally, it's very clear that -- all these professional successes for Rob Porter happened while he was reportedly abusing both of his wives, so this was a problem that she had reported to their bishops at the time, both women, and unfortunately, the systemic problems of the Mormon Church are not equipped to deal with domestic abuse.
[20:05:08] The Mormon Church has a lay priesthood. They are, you know, a dentist or an accountant or something else. They're not a psychotherapist, they're not dealt -- they don't in many cases report this to, you know, public officials. This is a huge problem that in the personal life of someone like Rob Porter, it needs to be managed more carefully, and unfortunately the Mormon Church has been failing.
CABRERA: It's not just the Mormon Church, though, I mean, society, this is an issue, you know, across the spectrum in which women are saying our voices aren't being heard. I've done a number of stories that have to do with abuse including on college campuses all the way up to nursing homes, and the women who are victims are survivors tell me they were afraid to tell their story, to speak their truth, because they didn't know if they would be believed or if they would be blamed for what they suffer.
Tara, do you agree with Rob Porter's ex-wife that the president is essentially calling her a liar?
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Because he's done that in almost every major case where he's commented on abuse. He has defaulted to the accused. Roy Moore, Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes, himself, so he seems to -- Kellyanne Conway even this morning on the Sunday shows said that he -- you know, he wants to consider all sides.
Look, when you have credible evidence of police reports, contemporaneous accounts from witnesses or people that these victims told, an FBI background check investigations, a photograph of a black eye, to me --
SHEFFIELD: Restraining order.
SETMAYER: That's right. The restraining order, these are things that, I'm sorry, if any objective person looking at this would say, these are credible accusations, and how about we have some empathy for the victims? Do you know how many of those, you know, three women that are murdered a day from domestic abuse probably told someone and didn't believe them? Or because of that, they felt that they weren't worth it enough to escape?
I mean, this is a major problem in the domestic abuse problem in this country. It's a major aspect of why women don't leave because they don't feel as though they have a safe space to go to or they have anyone that believes them or god forbid it's with someone who is powerful or popular then they somehow become -- it's their fault or you'd have to consider his career, which is what one of the wives was told by someone in the church.
These are -- all of these things contribute to why the Me Too Movement now is so important and so powerful. Do women sometimes make false accusations or sometimes people sometimes they're falsely accused --
CABRERA: Sadly that does happen.
SETMAYER: Yes, it does happen. But that is the exception.
SETMAYER: That's not the rule. And we should not be using that as an excuse to excuse away someone's -- like Rob Porter or Judge Moore or anybody else, especially coming from the president of the United States.
CABRERA: And here's the other thing, you just talked about all the evidence that there was in this case.
SETMAYER: It's overwhelming.
CABRERA: That would be very easy to say we believe the women, but, I mean, even just the issue on its face, Caitlin. Why is it difficult for this president to say, there is no place for domestic violence in this White House?
CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Exactly. I mean, this is the kind of situation where you really don't have any other choice other than to kind of hit it out of the park on this, right? All you have to say is a baseline of, we don't condone this behavior, and, you know, it's not surprising coming from this president because as you laid out, there have been several incidences as a candidate, as a president where this has happened.
But to come out and say those things that he did in the White House, not even to mention the women at all, after those photos and all of the evidence had been put forth in the public, not only that statement, but the tweets today continuing on that line make it clear that this is the president's position on this, and it's really important to note, too, that this is a president who has elevated conspiracy theories about other people, and -- but when it comes to people that he likes, people that he wants to support, you know, he asks for more evidence.
And I think there's a huge discrepancy here. The other thing about this issue is there's so many layers to it, right? Not only is domestic abuse part of it, but it raises questions about the White House's hiring practices, the conflicting timeline that John Kelly presented versus what is out there on the Rob Porter firing. Also the security clearances.
HUEY-BURNS: This is not an issue that's going to go away any time soon, and the president is only furthering this.
CABRERA: We just played that sound bite with Kellyanne Conway at the top and another one where she talks about how the president creates jobs for women.
Carrie, is job growth and, you know, putting women in high profile positions really the only thing she can point to, to show the president's support of women? And if that's the case, is that a good thing?
[20:10:04] SHEFFIELD: Well, I think if what she was talking about was sort of a broader conservative message which is that all women or all issues are women's issues, that sometimes, unfortunately, when progressives are trying to say women's issues, they try to put women in a box, and I think that might be part of what she was getting at, and that's the problem with conservative I see over and over that somehow I'm not allowed to care about kitchen table issues because I'm a woman. I have to only care about the certain narrow box of issues.
But, I mean, I would have liked to see more from the president. I agree with what's been said. I would have liked to see him more proactively coming out against this. I think that, you know, there was a real failure, if it's true, if the reporting is true that we know that General Kelly knew about this weeks or months before this came out publicly, there needs to be accountability on the part of Kelly and the reporting says that perhaps he might be on the way out the door.
I do want to bring in a quote that I think is, you know, hopefully is a silver lining in all of this. It's from Rachel Denhollander. She was one of the victims of Larry Nassar, the U.S. gymnastics coach, and she read her statement, her impact statement to Nassar and said, I do hope that you feel the soul crushing guilt of what you have done, and I hope that Rob Porter feels the soul crushing guilt of what he has done.
However, she did say she also would pray for him to find grace, hope, and mercy. And I think that in this situation, that's all that we can do as well is to pray that all the victims in the situation will find that, but that Rob Porter himself will find that as well, that he will feel the soul crushing guilt of what he has done, but he will also -- I don't believe that anyone is irredeemable, and I believe that he could find a way to redeem himself, but it's going to take a long time. And I don't think that he's not come to terms with his guilt.
CABRERA: Tara, we keep saying this isn't a partisan issue.
CABRERA: But it can't help Republicans' cause with getting female voters. SETMAYER: No. This is awful. Republicans were already in trouble
with women voters after Donald Trump, and making so many excuses for him and his reprehensible behavior and comments and the "Access Hollywood" video and all of -- and Trump's history of disparaging comments about women and his treatment -- mistreatment of women. They were already in trouble.
When you see a record number of women running for office at state and local levels happening already in the off-year election, now we're going into a midterm, and more and more women are looking to run for office and a lot of it is inspired by the Me Too Movement, inspired by Donald Trump and his behavior and just what that says as a society, women are stepping up and saying, no, we're not going to take this anymore, and I think that's great.
But the Republicans, I wrote an article for "Cosmopolitan" about this when the election -- when Donald Trump got elected where I said that the Republicans are going to lose a generation of voters if they do not stand up to the kinds of things -- the kinds of things that Donald Trump was doing and saying, even just from a moral side of things, and here's another example of that.
We already know that the Republicans on the hill are very upset about the way Trump has handled this because it's taken the focus off the ball, which is economic success, the tax cuts, things like the Kellyanne Conway, she was trying to pivot.
SETMAYER: Using the example of, well, but 800,000 jobs were created. Well, that's just like saying, well, yes, he beats me, but he pays for the mortgage and buys me nice cars. That doesn't make it OK.
SETMAYER: So nice try, but that doesn't make it OK. And this was -- this is an issue that we really shouldn't be giving cookies to people and gold stars on our shoulders because they're actually acknowledging that the president mishandled it.
CABRERA: And Caitlin, I read some of the stats earlier about domestic violence, each day at least three women are killed by an intimate partner on average, each year 10 million women and men are victims of domestic violence in the U.S. Do the president's words on issues like this matter?
HUEY-BURNS: Certainly. And, again, there was ample opportunity for him to say we don't condone this behavior for the women in the White House to come out and say, these are the statistics we don't condone this behavior. A lot of missed opportunities on this, and I'm not sure that much will change in terms of the president's approach because we haven't really seen him change his approach on other issues like this, but it's really interesting that, against this backdrop of the Me Too Movement, against the backdrop of the country facing a really cultural reckoning on the issue of assault and beyond, that the president has not been -- he's been removed from this. He has not been able to engage on this issue, and it's -- it's kind of really telling about what's holding him back on this.
SETMAYER: Because he can't. He's facing similar accusations, so any acknowledgement of the victims or that this is a real thing means he has to face it himself. And he will never do that. It's against his character. He doesn't have it in his DNA, he never has and he never will. So this is not going to be the last time that we're going to see him fail in the moral leadership of the --
CABRERA: Real quick, Carrie --
SHEFFIELD: I mean, we have heard Nikki Haley, for example, said that the women need to be heard, which I agree, and I think the truth will prevail.
[20:15:02] You know, looking at the accusations of the women, a lot of them happened where there was no evidence, and looking at the president's tweet where he was calling for due process, I don't think anyone at this table or any viewer would not say that we shouldn't have due process in this country.
So I do think that it shouldn't be an either-or proposition, but, you know, every accusation is 10,000 percent correct and that you should not have due process. I think that that is the important balance that we need to be striking here and I think that that was what he was touching on in his tweet.
SETMAYER: No. The due process argument here is a copout. No one disagrees that people deserve due process. I mean, most reasonable people agree with that. But where is the due process for the women who are not believed that have the credible evidence? When you have this much evidence, you should have discernment and judgment in a circumstance like that. And the people --
CABRERA: And the bigger question is --
SETMAYER: Encircle the wagon.
CABRERA: What happens to those women who don't have the evidence?
SETMAYER: That's right.
CABRERA: Because they were too afraid to speak up.
SETMAYER: That's right.
CABRERA: And now are coming forward with their stories.
Ladies, thank you all for the thoughtful conversation. Good to have all of you on tonight to discuss this, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Tara Setmayer and Carrie Sheffield.
All right. Still ahead here in the NEWSROOM, brand new information tonight after Vice President Pence and Kim Jong-un's sister got within a few feet of each other at the Olympics. There's now the possibility of diplomatic talks between the U.S. and North Korea.
We'll talk with the reporter who broke this story, just ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:20:34] CABRERA: The Vice President Mike Pence is back in Washington. This weekend he was in South Korea, representing the United States at the Winter Olympic Games' opening ceremony. It was a very short visit, but one that made a lot of news. At one point, the vice president was sitting just a few feet away from the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The two didn't exchange words or even a glance. But we're learning now that Pence and South Korea's president together may have cracked open a diplomatic door to possible talks between Washington and Pyongyang.
And I want to bring in CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd and also CNN's political analyst, Josh Rogin.
Josh, this new reporting comes from you. You traveled aboard Air Force Two with the vice president. The two of your spoke at length. Pence apparently told you about North Korea, quote, "We are keeping maximum pressure, but if you want to talk, we'll talk." I'm quoting from your piece.
So is it your understanding that this administration is open to a dialogue with North Korea?
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that's correct. I traveled with Vice President Pence in Japan and South Korea for five days, where publicly he put forth a very tough message. The United States is going to increase sanctions, North Korea's charm offensive shouldn't be allowed to succeed, but behind the scenes, he was bargaining, negotiating with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, once in a bilateral private meeting at the Blue House and once at the speed skating rink in Pyeongchang.
After that, he read out those meetings to me on the plane ride home and what he said was that Moon and he had been able to strike an agreement on terms for moving forward with further engagement with the Kim regime after the Olympics, and the terms are these, the U.S. and its allies will not stop increasing pressure on North Korea until North Korea takes verifiable steps to denuclearization.
At the same time, the United States can now support further engagement with the regime, first by the South Koreans, and then potentially with the United States directly down the line. This is a small diplomatic window, a breakthrough, it does not mean that there's going to be negotiations. It just means that the United States is ready to talk with the North Koreans while still keeping the pressure very strong.
CABRERA: Ready to talk, though, that is -- that has me a little bit confused, Josh, because just a couple of days ago, you wrote in the "Washington Post" that Pence told you directly, at the time, that the Trump administration wants this warming on the Korean Peninsula to end when the Olympic flame was put out. So what changed?
ROGIN: What happened is exactly what Pence read out which is that they had some negotiations with the South Koreans in real time, in two very important meetings privately that he then told me about, so when Vice President Pence arrived in South Korea, they were on different pages, and they -- and Pence asked President Moon inside their private meeting, why should this time be different? Why should we support engagement with North Korea?
Moon's answer was, we won't give North Korea any concessions until we see real denuclearization steps. Based on that assurance, Pence decided to endorse this further engagement. That's the diplomatic breakthrough that I'm reporting tonight that Pence told me about on the plane ride home. Again, it's not -- it doesn't mean we're going to have actual negotiations. It doesn't mean we're going to solve the problem.
There are a lot of obstacles in the way. North Korea could test again, the sanctions are coming, that could really make North Korea upset, and any number of things could happen, but this is what happened behind the scenes, it's a fascinating tale of diplomacy at work.
CABRERA: Wow. Samantha, what are your thoughts on this?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I actually -- I think it's perhaps a small breakthrough. I don't think it's that different from what we've heard at various junctures throughout this administration.
Ana and Josh, I am very confused by this administration's North Korea policy. Sometimes we support diplomacy, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we're insisting on denuclearization, we're increasing the pressure, and we're flip-flopping between options, and the fact of the matter is that Kim Jong-un is taking advantage of our incoherence so that dynamics work more in his favor.
Josh, you were on the road with the vice president. It is very clear that Kim Jong-un had a very good week. He has a lot to celebrate right now. His sister was welcomed on the Olympic stage with the same honors as any other world leaders. The South Koreans and the North Koreans appeared to have moved closer together and the United States agreed not to hold military drills during the Olympics.
[20:25:00] And we had almost no mention of the fact that North Korea is a rogue regime pursuing multiple illegal programs throughout the course of the Olympics. So I think that part of this diplomatic breakthrough, as we're calling it, maybe motivated by the fact that the dynamics have shifted. I think that Kim Jong-un at this point is holding more of the cards than he did several months ago.
ROGIN: Yes. I would just say a couple of things in response. First of all, Vice President Pence repeatedly highlighted the brutality of the North Korean regime. It was his theme throughout the trip, that he met with defectors, he visited the memorial of the ship that the North Koreans --
VINOGRAD: Yes, it just wasn't picked up very wide by the press.
ROGIN: He met with Fred Warmbier. So he was trying his best to highlight the brutal nature of the North Korean region. It's not under his control that the press happened to fawn over the North Korean delegation including Kim Jong-un's sister. That's exactly what he was trying to prevent, although he may not have succeeded.
On the greater issue, I think you're correct that this is not a new idea. Talked about talks have been under discussion, it's what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said publicly he wants to see, but the White House endorsement of this, keep in mind, that Vice President Pence was talking to President Trump every day, is new and is significant.
Now, again, it's totally true that the administration has been somewhat incoherent about North Korea policy, but at the same time, there is a diplomatic opening that is being pushed by the South Korean president, and the Trump administration has a decision to make. They can support it under terms that they can accept, which is what Vice President Pence said they intend to do, or they can thumb their nose at it and stick to their line.
Now we should want, you know, peace opportunities to be taken advantage of. We should want diplomatic openings to succeed if we're trying to avoid war, OK, so while they are not totally consistent all the time, in the sense that this is a change, there's a reason for that change, there's an explanation for it, there was a negotiation with the South Koreans, and it's the South Korean-U.S. alliance that the Trump administration is trying to bolster here.
Whether or not that benefits the North Koreans is a fair debate, but eventually, you're going to have to talk to them and that is something that eventually is going to hopefully bring them out from the cold.
CABRERA: Very quickly, Sam, what would you then recommend for the U.S.'s next move?
VINOGRAD: I think the first thing that we need to do is make sure that sanctions are being enforced. I think that we have seen the pressure increased, and I think that's having some impact on North Korea but I think we have to be really careful of entering into negotiations or talking about entering into negotiations.
When the North Koreans have a history of abusing them, they have repeatedly, throughout the course of history, entered into negotiations, trying to get concessions at the front end and continued their illegal activity.
ROGIN: I think if you read the column that I just posted on the "Washington Post" --
(CROSSTALK) CABRERA: Got to go, Josh.
ROGIN: -- you'll see that's exactly what Vice President Pence said, no concessions on sanctions until real progress on denuclearization. That's exactly what the Trump administration is doing.
CABRERA: Thank you, both. It'll be so interesting to see what happens on the North Korean policy and whether there is some kind of diplomatic discussion that happens now in the next move, so, thank you, both, Josh Rogin and Sam Vinograd.
ROGIN: Thank you. Thanks.
CABRERA: We'll talk more another day.
Now new tonight, there's a group of Republican senators introducing a version of White House immigration framework ahead of this week's DACA debate. A look at that ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:32:47] CABRERA: House intel chief Devin Nunes today slammed Democrats on FOX News over their memo, which rebuts his memo that alleges FBI surveillance abuses. Now we don't know exactly what's in the Democrats' version because Friday President Trump refused to release it and called for redactions. Now this morning, Congressman Nunes accused Democrats of spending their weekend in spin mode rather than working.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR: On Friday night, we received a letter back from the White House, the White House did not deny that the release of the Democrats' memo. What they did is they said, look, you need to make some redactions and some technical corrections here and we will get it out right away.
Now from that point, we've heard nothing but crickets. The Democrats have been on TV all weekend long. Their memo is sitting at the House Intelligence Committee down at the bottom of the capitol waiting to be redacted. If they really wanted to get it out, they'd be down there all day yesterday redacting it, getting it back over to the White House so that the public can know what's in it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So --
NUNES: So this is nothing but politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Nunes has staked his political future on questioning the FBI Russia probe. That is winning some friends and some enemies in his home district where he's up for re-election.
CNN's Dan Simon reports Trump carried this California district Nunes calls home by nine points, but the eight-term congressman is feeling some backlash now from his constituents.
BUD BRUMLEY, NUNES SUPPORTER: I think Congressman Nunes is a great congressman. Everything he has done I agree with.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here in the town of Visalia, part of California's Central Valley, Congressman Devin Nunes is a hero.
GEORGE ANDERSON, NUNES SUPPORTER: I really respect him. I think he is a great, great, great man and I think he's done really good work.
NUNES: Thank you. Thank you.
SIMON: Nunes won this district easily in the last election. And while his memo alleging FBI wrongdoing has been vilified by Democrats and even some in his own party, his supporters --
ANDERSON: We like his aggressiveness to get things right and do things honestly and get some justice, you know? Get some justice.
SIMON: -- remain fiercely loyal.
JULIE TERRY, NUNES SUPPORTER: I think he's doing a good job.
SIMON: Julie Terry may not seem like a typical Nunes or Trump supporter. A Mexican immigrant, she is completely behind both men.
[20:35:02] TERRY: He is the only one that had guts enough to put out a memo that brings out the whole truth. Nobody wanted to do that.
SIMON: Supporters say good luck if Democrats actually think they can oust him.
TOM LEWIS, NUNES SUPPORTER: They have to fight real harder to get unseated. So from his perspective, I don't think this is going to hurt him at all.
SIMON: These Nunes opponents beg to differ. Every Tuesday for about a year, they have been protesting outside his district office. Among those in attendance is Andrew Janz, a local prosecutor who is a Democrat now running against Nunes for his seat.
ANDREW JANZ, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: He's really nothing more than a Donald Trump stooge.
SIMON: Janz says he's received big money, $400,000 in contribution since the Nunes memo was released on Friday. The campaign also gaining attention after putting up this -- a billboard showing Nunes and President Trump as toddlers under the control of Vladimir Putin.
It's an aggressiveness Janz believes will make the race a competitive one. He claims internal polling shows a generic Democrat down by just five points.
(On camera): What do you say to the naysayers who believe there is no way you can beat Devin Nunes?
JANZ: Look, I'm not a political pundit. I am going to do my job. I'm going to be out there every day talking to the voters. And Devin Nunes, my opponent, is really a poster boy for what is wrong in Washington right now.
SIMON (voice-over): But here in Central California, the Nunes supporters are not budging, and the controversial GOP memo is making him even more popular with his base.
(On camera): President Trump said that he should be considered a great American hero. Do you agree with that?
BRUMLEY: About Nunes?
BRUMLEY: Yes, yes, I do. I kept with him pretty good.
SIMON: So despite a flood of contributions and volunteers flocking to help the Democratic challenger, Andrew Janz, political experts say at this point, it would appear that Nunes has a safe seat, and if things got especially close, he could probably call on his good friend, Donald Trump, to do a campaign event for him and helped to raise money for his already sizable war chest.
[20:41:13] CABRERA: Welcome back, let's look ahead to this week's expected immigration showdown in the Senate with only 21 days until Dreamers, immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, face President Trump's March 5th deadline to end the DACA program.
Now just a short time ago, a group of Republican senators introduced a proposal for debate in the Senate starting tomorrow. The proposal closely resembles what President Trump has proposed. Tougher broader security, ending the diversity visa lottery, restrictions on family based immigration and a path to citizenship for Dreamers.
I spoke to Leon Panetta, former CIA director and Defense secretary under President Obama, about this looming immigration debate.
CABRERA: So last time you and I spoke, you said a bill to protect Dreamers needed to happen before the new year, and now here we are in February, we're still basically in the same boat. Are you worried?
LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I am worried because, you know, I would have thought that since the president said this had to be fixed, since the Republicans say it has to be fixed, and certainly the Democrats have said that this has to be fixed, that it would have been fixed, that they would have found a way to resolve this issue so that 800,000 of these Dreamers are not living with a fear of deportation.
Now we're a few weeks away from the March deadline and we still don't have a resolution here. I hope that next week with the debate in the Senate that that hopefully can lay the groundwork for some kind of compromise to be adopted so that we live up to our responsibility to these young people to protect them.
CABRERA: Now even some Democratic lawmakers argued the Dems gave up their leverage, their only real bargaining chip on DACA this week, by agreeing to the spending bill. How do you see it? Did they blow it?
PANETTA: Well, I honestly thought that the best way to do, particularly when there were a number of other issues out there, whether it was the issue of disaster assistance or dealing with the epidemic in our country, the opioid epidemic, or whether it was dealing with health care facilities or one kind or another, there were a number of issues that were out there that were resolved as a result of this CR that was agreed to.
It just seemed to me that that was the perfect vehicle to try to get something through. Obviously, it's been -- it's gotten increasingly controversial. The president has continued to highlight that issue on immigration and as a result of that I think we've got a lot of opposing sides on this issue having developed, so I -- I understand that ultimately they had to have a deal to try to get past another shutdown of the federal government, but there's no question now that a lot of the leverage that they had to try to really push this through, they have taken a lot of that pressure off.
CABRERA: A tourist trip turned deadly after a helicopter crashes in the Grand Canyon.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:49:05] CABRERA: Welcome back. Tragedy today in the Grand Canyon, a vacation gone horribly wrong. Take a look at this. This burning wreckage of a tourist helicopter. It crashed there last night while giving passengers all from the UK an aerial view of the Canyon. Three people were killed. Amazingly though four people including the pilot survived. We still don't know what caused this crashed but the FAA and the NTSB say they will investigate.
Tonight, police in Ohio say 30-year-old Quentin Lamar Smith is a cop killer. He is accused of shooting two police officers, Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering. Police say they were responding to a 911 hang-up call when they were shot while trying to enter a home in Westerville, Ohio.
Smith's wife was there when it happened. She called the police from outside their home while she was hiding in the bushes. Here's part of that 911 call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, what's your emergency? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please help, please help. Please help.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's wrong? Tell me what's going on.
[20:50:02] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He shot the police officers. Please hurry up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your husband did it? Where is your husband now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My daughter is in there please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, where is your husband?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Real quick. I don't know. By my daughter is in the house. She's just 1 year old. Please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Police say the suspect was shot and was taken to the hospital. No word on his condition.
Coming up, she went from kidnapped heiress to gun-toting fugitive terrorist. And you're about to learn things about the life of Patty Hearst you never knew before.
Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
CABRERA: We are moments away now from the premier of an original CNN series. The radical story of Patty Hearst. This is a fascinating look at her transformation from a rich heiress leading a quiet, privileged life to a bank robbing terrorist. Listen as Patty Hearst's fiance describes what happened the night she was kidnapped from their apartment by a radical group called the Symbionese Liberation Army.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:55:03] STEVEN WEED, FORMER FIANCE OF PATRICIA HEARST: We had this one-dollar bottle of Romance wine and he grabbed one and started hitting me on the head with it really hard, and even if he's not trying to kill me, he is going to. He was going to bash my head. It was like they're going to kill us. At this time, my eyes were full of blood. I couldn't really see.
I lunged out. Instead of running out the front door, I just went running around the living room yelling at the top of my lungs, knocking over furniture, knocking over plants, just banging into things, just hoping the distraction would drive them away.
I opened the door and went out on the back patio and jumped over the fence and started banging on the neighbor's door. Even in my stage of delirium, I could tell that they weren't going to answer the door. I could realize -- I'd realized I was just terrifying somebody inside. I assumed it was a robbery going bad. I didn't know at the time. Of course I've learned a lot later that it was the SLA. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I sat down with CNN's chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin who is the executive producer of this series and wrote a book on Patty Hearst's kidnapping. And I asked him why this story still captivates more than 40 years after it happened.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE RADICAL STORY OF PATTY HEARST": It's an incredible window into the 1970s, which was surprisingly, to me, the most violent, angry, crazy time. Even more than the '60s.
Here's a fact. There were a thousand political bombings year in the United States. Think about that. I mean, it's almost inconceivable.
CABRERA: We're so attuned right now to terrorism.
TOOBIN: Terrorism. And one bombing a year is --
TOOBIN: Is traumatic in the age of ISIS and al Qaeda. But this was a very different era. And also a smaller media world, which didn't call attention to those bombings the way we would today.
And the other reason is simply that it's a mystery story. It's about one woman's choices. Did Patty Hearst really join with her captors, the people who kidnapped her, or did she -- was she coerced, forced?
CABRERA: And it's not just any women. I mean, this is Patty Hearst.
TOOBIN: Right. Hearst.
CABRERA: And talk about power in that time and place.
TOOBIN: Right. I mean, again, it's a window into the time. Hearst was this enormous newspaper family. William Randolph Hearst, the great publisher, was her grandfather. Newspapers were the way most people got their information in the 1970s. And there were still vast newspaper fortunes. It's a window, again, into a world that's very different from our own.
CABRERA: So Patty Hearst is kidnapped.
CABRERA: And then about two months later, she announces she is joining with her captors, pledging allegiance of sorts to the SLA, this terrorist organization. Tell us a little bit about that.
TOOBIN: The Symbionese Liberation Army, and, you know, it was really one of the most shocking events of the decade. That this woman, who was brutally, terribly kidnapped out of her home in Berkeley, California, issues a communique, a tape recording, and says I have decided to stay and fight. And I think many people may remember she changed her name to Tonya. And there were photographs of her with a machine gun. We have it right there.
CABRERA: That iconic image.
TOOBIN: That iconic image. But even more remarkably, she is shown on a security camera robbing a bank in San Francisco. And that is -- symbolizes her transition from victim to perpetrator in the minds of many, but she, of course, and many, many people who support her, assert that she was always a victim. And that's why this debate, you know, lingers on.
CABRERA: This kidnapping wasn't just about Patty Hearst and who she was. But there was also political motivation during that time. Right?
TOOBIN: Right. And this is a story also about what the violent part of the counterculture was like. I mean, you know, this was a time where the weather underground was around. The Symbionese Liberation Army was a very small group. Much smaller than the Weather Underground. But they believed in violent political change. They were revolutionaries.
Instead of a conventional ransom demand after the kidnapping, the ransom demand was that Randi Hearst, Patricia's father, put up millions of dollars to feed the poor of California. And the Hearsts actually did that. And there's this bizarre chapter captured in this documentary where there were these big food giveaways all around northern California. Some of which turned into fiascos. But again it just showed how bizarre this story was.
TOOBIN: To this day. This is the only political kidnapping in American history.
CABRERA: Stay tuned. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for spending part of your Sunday with me. "THE RADICAL STORY OF PATTY HEARST" starts right now.