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WAPO: Trump & Allies Pushing to out FBI Informant; Shool Official: Shooting Suspect in Custody; Moderate House GOP Gain Momentum to Force Vote on Immigration. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired May 18, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- because of the sulfur dioxide, obviously. The wind is venting away from us right now but we are ready in case it comes our way. And obviously, people are worried about the dust on the other end of the volcano as well. And so, this is something that is keeping a lot of people up at night.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And just remember the American citizens that live there for some of them this is their backyard, homes have been destroyed, thousands evacuated as this continues. Scott, thank you for the reporting. Stay safe you and your entire team.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
HARLOW: All right, top of the hour, 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Let's reset here on this breaking news of an active shooter at a Santa Fe High School in southeastern Texas. We're just learning more details. Multiple law enforcement agencies are on the scene right now, including the ATF and nearby hospital has just confirmed patients have come to the hospital from Santa Fe High School, school of about 1400 students. It is just about half an hour outside of Galveston.
These students are en route to UTM, the hospital there in Galveston, total number of patients at this hour unknown. I did speak last hour with a 14-year-old named Angelica Martinez who was in the school at the time of the shooting. She recounted what happened. First period was going on. She and her classmates heard a fire drill. She says they then started to evacuate within minutes as they were trying to run out of the school building, she heard gunshots over and over. Teachers, students -- teachers told the students to stay in place but she said the students ran when they heard those gunshots. And that they escaped. She also said that it sounded like four shots to her.
Let's go to our Polo Sandoval joining me now. This just happened, you know, about an hour and a half ago. Do we know anything about injuries or any potential fatalities?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not yet, Poppy. Let's start with the information that officials on the ground have confirmed. It isn't much, only that it was a report of an active shooter that initially called them to Santa Fe High School during first period earlier this morning. And also, that there is a lockdown in place at that school district. The Santa Fe School District, which as you mentioned, is about half an hour outside of Houston, Texas, made up of two elementary schools, a junior high and this high school where these scenes are being recorded right now.
What we're hearing from witnesses, however, are reports of multiple injuries. Again, those are reports that have not been confirmed by officials. There was one student who tells CNN affiliate KTRK that she was in her classroom when an individual walked inside, a gunman that she described and began shooting, and injured at least one of her female classmates. We're trying to find out if that's true.
And also hearing from some of the parents, including a parent of a teenager who received a call from their child saying they were asked to simply run off campus and then head to a nearby service station which is where they are potentially regrouping with their parents and then finally we're also hearing reports, confirmed that any potential injuries will be taken to medical facility just north of there, in League City, Texas. But again, authorities have not confirmed if there are any people, any students that have been injured or any suspect or suspects have taken into custody, Poppy. Only that this was called in as an active shooter earlier this morning.
HARLOW: OK. Polo Sandoval, appreciate the reporting. Please keep us posted.
Also this, big breaking news this morning on the political front, one year, one day into the special counsel's probe, President Trump's newest lawyer is blurring the lines of the president's latest line of attack. Remarkable interview right here this morning on CNN, Rudy Giuliani said the FBI's confidential informant who reportedly met early in the investigation with two Trump campaign aides may or may not exist. So why does that matter? Matters because the president himself and some key allies and Congress and outside of government have seized on the alleged activities of this informant who they are calling a spy to try to brand the entire Russia investigation as illegitimate. Listen to what Giuliani told our Chris Cuomo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Here's the issue that I really feel strongly about with this informant, if there is one. First of all, I don't know for sure, nor does the president, if there really was one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: OK. That matters because the president is tweeting about one. Saying there was one. As for the up and down prospects that the president will sit for an interview with Special Counsel Bob Mueller, Giuliani made big news saying that Mueller's team is making concessions on the scope of what that interview would look like. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: Wednesday night we received a communication from them, now we did go through five letters, we didn't get a response, and then they sent us a response -- I can't go into detail, but narrowing the subjects for questioning down to about two.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Just to be clear, that is the most detail as we go to Jeremy Diamond at the White House, the most detail any lawyer on the president's team has ever given about a potential interview and the scope of that interview. Also, Jeremy, with Rudy Giuliani saying we don't know if there is an informant or not. He's using that as a way to attack the special counsel's investigation and now the president just moments ago weighing in on that even more. What's he's saying?
[10:05:04] JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's exactly right. You know, we have seen the president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, now questioned whether or not there actually is this informant and they don't really know exactly. But we're still seeing the president and his allies continuing to use this report of an informant in the Trump campaign to attack and undermine the Mueller investigation. Here's what the president just tweeted a few moments ago. He said, "Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia hoax became a 'hot' fake news story. If true, all time biggest political scandal!"
And yesterday we saw the president say the same thing, where he said, if so, bigger than Watergate. So, he's still leaving open the possibility that this could not be true and yet at the same time we're seeing him, we're seeing Rudy Giuliani, we're seeing Kellyanne Conway, the president's counselor, all seizing on this notion of a potential informant to the FBI embedded with the Trump campaign, even though the public reports have been that this was a confidential source, not necessarily a mole within the actual campaign. But using that to undermine the Mueller investigation and Rudy Giuliani, even as he was talking about the fact that it is unclear if the informant actually exists, he was also using it to undermine the investigation. Listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: I believe if there was an embedded person, that person cleared us, because the FBI cleared us. I wonder what the heck is the legitimacy of the Mueller investigation in the first place. The FBI came to the conclusion there was no evidence of collusion with Russia and the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAMOND: And so, this is the direction that we're seeing the president and his allies taking this next wave of how they're dealing with the Mueller investigation is more attacks, more public attacks and it seems like this is only a sign of things to come. Poppy?
HARLOW: I think you're right, Jeremy Diamond at the White House, thank you so much.
A lot to unpack in terms of the presidents' stepped up attacks on the Intelligence Community, how is it impacting the men and women that serve us in the Intel community?
Let's go to our Kara Scannell. She's in Washington with more. I think it is very significant -- the word choice the president used this morning just moments ago on Twitter, saying there was at least one FBI representative implanted in my campaign for political purposes, Kara. That's quite an assertion.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: It really is, Poppy. There is no evidence to back that up. Reports have -- as Jeremy was just saying, reports have suggested that this was an informant that went to the FBI. Now we don't know all the details of that yet. But that's what the reporting is at this point. And that's a big distinction between there being someone at the FBI had put in the campaign, if it is an informant and someone who went to the FBI. You know that's someone voluntarily bringing in information to them. And that's a very different scenario than the government, you know, putting someone in there, which is the assertion that the president is making.
And all of this is very concerning to the Intelligence Community. They rely on confidential informants to come forward, to bring them information, both from the intelligence side and on law enforcement. So the threat that anyone's identity might be revealed, you know it very concerning. They're worried that it could harm this person individually. It could also hurt ongoing criminal investigations. And Poppy, it can also deter people from coming forward if they're always going to have in the back of their mind that their identity may be revealed and that their personal, you know, safety could be impacted by that revelation.
HARLOW: Kara, thank you for setting the facts straight for us on this one. Appreciate it.
Let's get reaction from Capitol Hill. Our senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju is here. Manu, significant on the political side of all of this is "Washington Post" laid out in this, you know, four byline piece this morning, it is not just the president making these attacks, it is his allies in Congress and it's even folks outside of Congress, Steve Bannon, et cetera, aiding in this. But there are reports that the president for example has been on the phone three times a week, "The Washington Post," says with Representative Mark Meadows, for example, on this.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there are several allies in the House where I am right now who are pushing very hard to get some key information turned over from the Justice Department, over to Capitol Hill. Now, it is going on several fronts. One, Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, leading an effort to try get information from the Justice Department about documents pertaining to an individual who has been described as an intelligence source. This is the Justice Department has been resisting providing this information to Nunes, concerned that it could endanger national security. What they have done so far, the Justice Department has brought Nunes along with Trey Gowdy in to give him some briefings, tell him exactly why they can't give him what he wants.
But Nunes is described as productive as he's backed off threats to hold Jeff Sessions in contempt or even impeach the attorney general over this matter. Now, this separately, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Ron DeSantis, three conservatives pushing President Trump to direct Attorney General Jeff Sessions to turn over key records to Capitol Hill.
[10:10:08] Those include a number of information about the start of the Russia investigation, as well as that August memo from Rod Rosenstein to Bob Mueller, detailing the scope of the Mueller probe. That has been heavily redacted in court filings so far, but those must members want an un-redacted version. And Poppy, I just spoke to Congressman Jim Jordan who reiterated this concern, just moments ago to me saying that nothing will change until the president of the United States orders the attorney general and the deputy attorney general and FBI director to give us the information. Poppy?
HARLOW: Because their thinking is that this scope memo will show some political motivation by their opponents that will then delegitimize the entire Russia probe, if you followed that narrative from Rudy Giuliani this morning. OK, Manu, thank you.
With me now is Michael Zeldin, CNN legal analyst, who served with Bob Mueller previously. Mark Preston is also here, our senior political analyst. Michael, when it comes to the law here and when it comes to counterintelligence investigations, if there was indeed an FBI informant that either, you know, had information and went to the FBI or was used by the FBI to talk to people that they thought might be doing nefarious things with Russia during the election, is there anything out of the norm? Isn't that what they do in counterintelligence investigations?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. That is completely normative and Christopher Wray in his testimony said yesterday if we don't protect our human sources, so they feel comfortable in coming to us with that information, then it is an unsafe place for America. And that is, in fact, the truth. So all of these efforts to undermine the legitimacy of this investigation that include attacks on the intelligence gathering processes, law enforcement generally, do not do us as a country any good. It may serve some narrow short-term political purpose, but it is not long-term good. Anyone who served as a federal prosecutor or a law enforcement that is engaged in this process of undermining the confidence of America in the law enforcement intelligence communities should be ashamed of themselves.
HARLOW: It also begs the question of if you're going to undermine the Intelligence Community on something like this, you know, then do you trust them when they come to you with evidence of, you know, of potential terror attack, et cetera? Mark Preston, to the politics of this, OK, the president chose to take to Twitter earlier this morning and to quote Fox News hosts and to call this informant a spy. Given the president's position, could he not, as Chris Cuomo asked Rudy Giuliani this morning, could he not just call the FBI and ask them, did this happen?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, if you did that -
HARLOW: Instead of quoting fox news hosts. PRESTON: Right. And, again, if he did that, I suspect and Michael can speak more to this, I suspect that there could be an effort that -- would that be a way of him trying to interfere with the investigation. But let's just take -
HARLOW: He's already had meeting upon meeting upon meeting with James Comey when he was heading the FBI, right?
PRESTON: -- which is under investigation right now as we believe from Robert Mueller. But let's just look at the overall of this investigation. And here Rudy Giuliani this morning saying it could be illegitimate, hearing Donald Trump saying it is a witch-hunt.
Let me just give you numbers now. 22 people and companies have been charged already in this investigation. Five people have pleaded guilty in this investigation. We do know Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner and others, but they were going to get information that was damaging to Hillary Clinton from Russian operatives. There was at least an effort to try to have some conclusion. But what we're seeing Donald Trump do right now is play directly to his base in the most recent CNN poll shows that about 75 percent of Republicans see that the Mueller investigation is an effort to discredit the president.
HARLOW: Let me just quickly get on something before I let you guys go, Mark, and that is the -- what certainly seemed to me watching this interview this morning with Giuliani, like a very concerted effort and strategy to pit the honesty and integrity of James Comey against the honesty and integrity of the president and to say, you know, if this comes to a sit down of the president with Bob Mueller's team, who are you going to believe?
PRESTON: That's exactly what is going to come down to right now. Right now we know the American public is about, you know, about in the mid- 30 percent believing what Donald Trump says about the investigation and James Comey is about 49 percent. So that's a starting point.
HARLOW: Thank you --
ZELDIN: Poppy, one -
ZELDIN: That's only one small aspect of it. Of course, the Comey testimony would only really relate to obstruction. It doesn't relate to coordination and conspiracy. So setting it up that way may be an effort by Giuliani to avoid an interview rather than proceed with one.
[10:15:02] HARLOW: Interesting point, an important point. Michael Zeldin, thank you. Mark Preston, thank you as well.
All right, we do have an update on the breaking news this morning. We have some new details on the suspect in that school shooting this morning in Texas. We will bring that to you ahead as students are being transferred from medical care to the hospital, again no word on any fatalities or injuries at this point. Also, a group of Republican lawmakers going against their own leadership, trying to finally get a vote on DACA for those Dreamers, we'll talk to one of those lawmakers ahead.
And a striking statement, Meghan Markle decides she will walk herself down mostly the aisle, all of this less than 24 hours before the big ceremony. We're live from Windsor Ccastle.
HARLOW: All right, back with our breaking news, the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, in southeastern Texas, an hour outside of Houston.
Let's go to our Polo Sandoval, who has more about officials, they say they do have a suspect in custody now, is that right?
[10:20:04] SANDOVAL: Poppy, that information is coming from Dr. Chris Richardson, the assistant principal at Santa Fe High School, confirming that a suspect is in custody, she would not, however, elaborate on who that person is or any injuries. However, her school district is adding to official information saying that the situation is quote, "Active but has been contained." The school district also confirming that yes, there were reported injuries but they would not elaborate on the nature of those injuries or who those people are, also saying that at this hour they continue with those efforts to relocate students to another location so that they could be reunited with their parents. And also the last bit of information that's also crucial, Santa Fe adding that all other campuses are currently operating under regular schedule. So, that is now taking place at other campuses, but as for Santa Fe high, which is about a 35, 45 minute drive from Houston, Texas, that situation is still unfolding right now. But the key piece of information, situation contained, still active, and a suspect is currently in custody. Poppy?
HARLOW: OK. Polo, appreciate the update on that breaking news. We'll keep a close eye on it. Thank you.
Back to politics and this morning, a growing group of House Republicans defying their leadership, Speaker Paul Ryan in pressing for a vote on DACA legislation. They're concerned that a vote on the fate of Dreamers will never happen on DACA, so they're teaming up with Democrats to try to force a vote on the floor.
Joining me now, one of the Republican Congressmen doing just that, Leonard Lance of New Jersey. It's nice to have you here. Thank you for being with us. And let's just begin with that, defying your leadership. Paul Ryan said this is not the right move. He said that you're making a big mistake and this unifying the majority by doing this. Why is it the right move?
REP. LEONARD LANCE (R), NEW JERSEY: It is the right move because we need DACA reform in this country. And what we suggest is that a series of bills come to the floor of the House. Not just one bill, but a series of bills. And the bill that receives the most votes so long it is a majority will then go to the Senate. It is time that we address this issue, Poppy. HARLOW: So, I mean - clearly, don't have faith that your leadership is going to address it in a timely manner. You've got 20 Republicans that have signed on with Democrats to get this thing forced to a vote, to get these four bills forced to a vote. You need five more. Do you believe that you have five more Republicans in the House to get on board with this to make it happen?
LANCE: Yes, I think we're moving in that direction. And we've already, as you say, had 20 of us sign this discharge petition. And I hope and expect that five more will as well. Then, of course, we need the Democrats to sign on to make sure that we can reach the majority so that bills can come to the floor of the House, Poppy.
HARLOW: All right, I want to get you on the news that is breaking left and right this morning from the president, from his attorney who sat down for a long interview here on CNN with Chris Cuomo. The latest message from the president right now on a suspected FBI informant in the Russia probe who was working on this counterintelligence investigation with the Intelligence Community early on during the days of the campaign, here's what the president writes. "Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes," he goes on to say, if true this is all time the biggest political scandal. Setting aside the fact that this is how counterintelligence operations work. The president's making the assertion here that the FBI implanted someone for political purposes in his campaign. What do you make of that?
LANCE: I think we should get to the bottom of that. I don't know whether that's true or not. But I'm not sure that FBI agents should be implanted in either political campaign. I have supported the Mueller investigation and I was the first Republican in the House to say that Jeff Sessions should recuse himself in this matter as he did. I hope that the Mueller investigation can be concluded expeditiously, but I have become the principle Republican sponsor of legislation in the House to protect Mr. Mueller and future special counsel as well.
HARLOW: You have and we'll get to that in a moment, but you said you don't know if this -- you don't know if there was an informant. The president is saying here there was. He's saying there are reports that there was at least one. But here's what his own attorney just said this morning. Rudy Giuliani, when he was asked about this informant, he conceded they don't even know if there is one. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: Here's the issue that I really feel strongly about with this informant, if there is one. First of all, I don't know for sure, nor does the president, if there was one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Should the president be making assertions like this if by the admission of his own attorney they don't even know if it is fact.
LANCE: I don't know whether it is fact. But I think we should get to the bottom of it. HARLOW: But Congressman, I'm asking you, should the president, your party, Republican, should he be making assertions like this, not based in knowledge of the fact?
[10:25:02] LANCE: I don't know what the facts are. And I hope we get to the bottom of it, Poppy.
HARLOW: Does it concern you that the president is making assertions without knowledge of the fact?
LANCE: Perhaps the president knows. I do not know and I certainly think the American people will want to get to the bottom.
HARLOW: His lawyer said the president doesn't know, but let's move on. As you know, some of your fellow Republicans in Congress, Devin Nunes who chairs the Intel committee, Jim Jordan, Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer, outside of Congress, they are all calling on the Intelligence Community to release the scope memo, the underlying people and issues in the Mueller probe. They want to know who this confidential informant was if indeed there is one. But there is a danger in that. So says the Republican appointed head of the FBI Christopher Wray. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Human sources in particular who put themselves at great risk to work with us and with our foreign partners have to be able to trust that we're going to protect their identities and the day that we can't protect human sources is the day the American people start becoming less safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Is he right? Or do you believe that this source should be revealed?
LANCE: I would tend to agree with the director of the FBI, Mr. Wray.
HARLOW: Are you concerned then that from the president's lawyer on down to your fellow Republicans in Congress they are pushing, pushing for the source to be revealed?
LANCE: I am on the side of Mr. Wray and the FBI in this because I do think we have to protect confidential sources.
HARLOW: Appreciate your time, Congressman Lance. Thank you very much.
LANCE: Thank you for having me, Poppy.
HARLOW: All right. We're going to take a quick break, much more ahead.