Return to Transcripts main page
Interview with Representative Chris Stewart; Secretary Mike Pompeo and North Korean Spy Chief Meet in New York; Samantha Bee Calls Ivanka Trump the "C" Word; Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired May 31, 2018 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] REP. CHRIS STEWART (R), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Once again, directed by someone in the FBI, reach out to people you don't know, go talk to them, record and report back on what you've learned, continue to foster relationship with them. To most Americans that sounds like spying.
Now you can call it a confidential source, or you can call it a spy, once again I think the most important thing is what they did and why they did it and did they have reasons for doing that. That's what we're trying to find out. And that doesn't seem --
HARLOW: The reason that the FBI was doing this, which we know from our great justice team of reporters, is to find out what Russia was doing.
Let me get you to respond to this because as you probably read this morning, the "Washington Post" editorial board writes about Republicans, Republicans in Congress who it argues stand by while the president, quote, "shreds the reputation of the FBI for political gain." And it ends by saying, "Whom history will remember as moral weaklings in the face of a president who assaulted democratic institutions."
Do they have a point? Does it sit well in your stomach to see the president making unfounded claims --
STEWART: Look --
HARLOW: -- and ripping into our intelligence community over and over again?
STEWART: I would make two, maybe three points on this. Number one, as I have talked to dozens of FBI and DOJ officials who have thanked us for our work because they are embarrassed and ashamed by some of the actions of their leadership. We're not attacking the FBI. We're --
HARLOW: I'm talking about standing by --
HARLOW: Hold on. And I hear you. I'm talking about standing by while the president attacks the institutions.
STEWART: I think he's doing the same thing. I think he's clearly holding accountable some of the leadership. Look, would you want to live in a country --
HARLOW: He called them criminals.
STEWART: -- where you're saying to the FBI --
HARLOW: He called them criminals last week.
STEWART: Well, he's not calling every FBI agent a criminal. He's talking about specific --
HARLOW: Well, he's not making that clear in his tweets, Congressman.
STEWART: Well, look, once again, we can argue about semantics, but I think most people really understand he's talking about individuals. And I got to make this point because it's important and I think you bring it up.
We can't live in a government where we tell the Department of Justice and FBI go do whatever you want. You can spy on people, you can survey them, you can read their e-mails, you can listen to their phone calls, you can have secret meetings, and don't tell us about it. We're going to close our eyes, we're going to cover our ears, we don't want to know.
None of us want to live in a country like that. All Congress is trying to do is to find out what happened and to report to the American people.
HARLOW: And --
STEWART: That seems like a reasonable thing for us to do.
HARLOW: And as you know your committee --
STEWART: If some of these individuals --
HARLOW: But your committee wrapped up its investigation on this already. You say Congress is --
STEWART: Our committee --
HARLOW: The committee wrapped up its investigation on this.
STEWART: Two points on that. One, we called it an initial report because we said if there is new information, we would continue to pursue that. And that was on the Russian investigation or interference in the campaign. This is different than that. This isn't related to Russia's actions. These are Department of Justice and FBI officials' actions. And that's different. HARLOW: But -- fair point. Before you go, I do want to get you on
the breaking news that we've just learned moments ago from the president, tweeting that he has issued a full pardon of the conservative commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza. Of course who pleaded guilty to a felony charge in 2014 of campaign finance violations.
This is the fifth pardon from President Trump. According to our reporting, really came out of nowhere. Is this the president rewarding loyalty here as the ultimate prize? And is that OK?
STEWART: Yes. I don't think Dinesh had anything at all to do with the Trump campaign. This --
HARLOW: He was a huge -- he was a huge and vocal supporter of the president while he was running.
STEWART: But the legal proceedings have nothing at all to do with the Trump campaign. This happened years before President Trump even know. So I don't think President Trump is rewarding him --
HARLOW: So you're comfortable with it. You're comfortable with the pardon.
STEWART: Well, I don't know. I'm just responding -- I'm only responding to your question. You said was he rewarding Dinesh, and again, this had nothing at all to do with President Trump and him. This happened in the previous campaign, four years before, how could that possibly be rewarding him for something that happened --
HARLOW: It was a crime -- it was a crime in 2014 and then he was a very vocal supporter of the president and now he's pardoned. That's what I'm asking.
STEWART: Yes. Well, once again, your original question was, do I think he's rewarding. Clearly not. Have nothing to do with that. Do I think this is a good idea? I don't know. As we were talking when I first came on, this is the first I heard of it, I'd like to look into it.
HARLOW: I appreciate your time. Thank you, Congressman.
STEWART: Thank you. OK. Bye-bye.
HARLOW: All right. Coming up, can the North Korea summit be salvaged? The world waits to see the results of a meeting going on right now between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Jong-un. We have a live report ahead.
[10:38:43] So right now in New York, a couple of former spy chiefs are mapping out a potential meeting like none the world has ever seen. Potential is the word used by secretary of state and former CIA director Mike Pompeo, going into a half day of talks with former North Korean spy chief and current nuclear negotiator Kim Yong Chol.
They're planning the first ever summit between the sitting U.S. president and the North Korean leader and here is how the president sees it. He spoke to reporters at Joint Base Andrews last hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hopefully we'll have a meeting on the 12th that's going along very well. But I want it to be meaningful. It doesn't mean it gets all done at one meeting. Maybe have to have a second or a third, and maybe we'll have none. But it is in good hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Well, the president also said he's expecting a hand delivered letter from Kim Jong-un sometime tomorrow.
Joining us now, Jim Walsh, international security analyst, and Sam Vinograd, our CNN national security analyst, with us as well.
Sam, you bring to the table here some experience putting together a summit. You were involved in the Sunnylands summit between President Xi and President Obama. You prepared for many high stakes presidential meetings, serving under Bush as well as Obama. You think this is a dress rehearsal? Is that right? For the bigger summit?
[10:40:03] SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I do think that these interactions that we're having with the North Koreans, both Secretary Pompeo's meeting or the meeting with North Korean experts in the DMZ are intelligence gathering opportunities.
Typically before a high stakes meeting or a summit, advisers to a president tell the president substantively what to expect, but also how his counterpart is going to approach the meeting in terms of tone, in terms of negotiating posture, in terms of mannerisms. And the truth is, Brianna, we had such limited interactions with the North Koreans that these hours that Pompeo is spending with his North Korean counterpart can help provide some insights for the president's advisers to say this is what to expect when you sit down with Kim Jong-un, and that can be helpful if the president chooses to listen so that he's not thrown off guard in any way.
KEILAR: Yes, Jim, I mean, you would expect that one of the things that Pompeo can get here is insight, right, to where Kim Jong-un is. He might be learning a lot of things he didn't know.
JIM WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely, Sam is right. I mean, we have more data on Kim Jong-un and the North Korean regime that we've gotten in the last month than we've gotten in the last 10 years. I mean, part of it is of course that Chairman Kim does not travel or has not traveled outside of the country, and now he's been to China twice and to South Korea or at least a step over into South Korea twice.
So he's put himself out there more. That's a terrific intelligence opportunity. And it will help the president because these people I assume they have not met each other. And I think that, you know, sort of chemistry will matter. But it won't be the only thing. There is some big challenges here. Both generally, like, will the North Koreans trust us to follow through on our commitments, and us them, and that very specifically there are going to be some tough issues like, what do you do about space launches.
The North Koreans want to do that, the U.S. will not want them to do that, so there are real issues in addition to the atmospherics and getting to know the personalities.
KEILAR: It's so interesting as we watch, I mean, what is expected to be -- what happens, you know, a bilateral summit. But there are all these different players in the region who want to get their two cents in before President Trump and Kim Jong-un meet.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Kim Jong-un this morning. He suggested, Sam, that there can be no denuclearization before sanctions are lifted. He also warned against what he called sudden moves in the negotiations. You know, what's he trying to do here?
VINOGRAD: I think Foreign Minister Lavrov is trying to torpedo the effort that's under way. And that's not really surprising to me. Because if you think about it, Brianna, Russia wins in a scenario whereby these negotiations drag on, but there is not any near term success because if negotiations are ongoing, it is less likely that we're going to pursue a military strike.
And remember, Russia does not want the United States to strike North Korea. They don't want any more U.S. troops near the Russian border and they like Kim Jong-un being in power. But if these negotiations drag on and President Trump can't say this was a breakthrough, I had a massive success, that undermines U.S. credibility.
And as we know from the intelligence community, Putin is deeply focused on undermining the U.S. leadership around the world. So I think Lavrov literally said everything he could to undermine our effort.
KEILAR: What do you think, Jim, as you watch these efforts by Russia?
WALSH: Well, I think Sam was right, and I would add to that some other factors. One, just plain old power politics. The Russians are shut out of these process right now. There are no six-party talks. And historical elements here, it was Russia -- or I should say the Soviet Union that founded North Korea. We always think of China, China, China. But the Soviets were by far the North Koreans' most important ally historically and they're now part of this process and it's -- you know, and they probably feel like they need to be up on stage, too, in addition to the things that Sam says.
VINOGRAD: Well, I actually don't know that we know that Russia hasn't been part of this process. We've been so fixated on what is playing out in front of the cameras because this has been a made for TV negotiation, but it's really unlikely to me that Kim Jong-un and his patron Vladimir Putin wouldn't be coordinating behind the scenes, so I think we have to be careful when we assume what Russia is or is not doing with Kim Jong-un behind the scenes.
KEILAR: All right. Sam Vinograd, Jim Walsh, thank you so much to both of you for your insights here.
A late-night comedian goes too far. You may not believe what she said.
[10:48:58] HARLOW: Way over the line, comedian Samantha Bee going after Ivanka Trump using an extremely vulgar term. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA BEE, HOST, "FULL FRONTAL": Let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad's immigration practices, you feckless (EXPLETIVE DELETED). He listens to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: That's the C-word, incredibly offensive.
Let me bring in "CNN Money" senior media Oliver Darcy.
So set the stage for us here. It's never OK to say something like that about someone. What was she been talking about? What was the context here?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN MONEY SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, it was a really disgusting remark. She made this in the context of trying to go after Ivanka Trump for her father's immigration policies, and there's been a lot of discussion in the national discourse over the past few weeks about children being separated from their parents at the border. And so she was making a comment about a photo that Ivanka Trump had posted on Instagram, I believe, where she was holding her child and saying, why don't you do anything about the immigration policies that your father has implemented that are tearing up families at the border?
[10:50:03] That said, obviously this comment is extremely crass and critics are rightfully upset and saying --
DARCY: -- that this is not something be used while discussing politics and --
HARLOW: Or ever.
HARLOW: What is TBS saying, her employer?
DARCY: I reached out to TBS. TBS hasn't said anything so far. We're still waiting for comment from them. I asked if she'll be disciplined in any way or if there's going to be any statements. So we're still waiting to see what happens and how they react. But this does come in the same week as Roseanne being fired for making racist remarks.
HARLOW: Yes. Sure.
DARCY: So critics are saying you know, if you're going to condemn that, why aren't you condemning this?
HARLOW: The point she was trying to make completely gets drowned out by her using a term like that.
DARCY: Right. All the headlines right now are focused on this really vulgar term that she used. So I'm not really sure how effective this was. If she's trying to make a larger point about immigration policies and trying to make a serious point. Right? Because people are now focusing on this vulgar remark. That said, people are not talking about it. And I think that might have been perhaps something she was looking for.
HARLOW: She's used this word before.
HARLOW: Talking about other people and other commentary.
DARCY: Yes. She has used this word before in her monologue. So it's not something that is unusual for her to do. I think the way she used it, though, in this case particularly against the president's daughter.
DARCY: Is just raising a lot of eyebrows and it is --
HARLOW: Do you feel like as someone who covers the media constantly, like where have the lines gone?
DARCY: I think, you know, there really don't seem to be many lines these days. I think we saw it earlier this week with Roseanne and obviously you can't make racist remarks online. But --
HARLOW: The thing is she did it before and kept her job.
DARCY: Yes. And -- yes. So it's like where are these lines. And the president himself has made a lot of inflammatory remarks from the campaign trail to the Oval Office. So it seems like a lot of these areas are dissolving.
HARLOW: Yes. But you know what, what one person says never makes what another person says OK.
HARLOW: But it's important reporting. Thank you. Oliver, appreciate it very much.
DARCY: Thank you.
KEILAR: All right, Poppy. Movie producer Harvey Weinstein has been indicted by a New York grand jury on rape and criminal sex act charges. These are charges that stem from incidents with two different women in 2004 and then in 2013. Weinstein's attorney says he will plead not guilty and he remains free right now after posting a $1 million cash bail last week. He's going to be in court July 30th. That will be next.
So going to college just got a whole lot cheaper for Walmart employees. The nation's largest retailer just announced a new benefit program where employees can pay just a dollar a day to earn their degree. Walmart says they'll cover the remaining costs for tuition, fees and books.
This is a program that applies to Brandman University, Bellevue University, or the University of Florida. And it covers all part time, full time, and salaried employees who have been with the company for at least 90 days being able to do that education online.
A sensational save helps Washington battle back to win their first ever Stanley Cup Final game, Poppy.
KEILAR: Love that. Lindsay Czarniak has more on the "Bleacher Report."
Good morning, Lindsay.
LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. And now, Brianna, you're going to be in the thick of the excitement down there in Washington because last night was the Capitals' first ever win in a Stanley Cup Final and this weekend now will be first time in 20 years that they will host a Stanley Cup playoff game. It is going to be an electric atmosphere, but there is one thing that Washington, D.C. cannot compete with.
This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.
It's the pregame show that Vegas puts on night after night. It was just ridiculously awesome last night. Leaves you glued to your TV set like a Super Bowl halftime show. It's kind of a medieval rock concert that turns scary at times. Well, Washington on the ice, had to find composure and Alex Ovechkin helped them, tied at one, he scored on the power plant, and with two minutes left, the hero was Capitals goal tender Braden Holtby. Holtby with this eye popping save on the night.
There was no hiding behind how big that moment was for Washington. Look, you can see the reaction and Alex Ovechkin and his teammates' faces there, and relief on the Capitals' bench. The Capitals 3-2. Game three Saturday night down there in Washington. And obviously the goal is to get closer to winning that Stanley Cup.
To the NBA now, the Warriors and Cavaliers, they're about to begin their quest for another NBA title. Game one of the NBA Finals tonight in Oakland.
Guys, my son is 4 and in his lifetime he has never seen another NBA Finals matchup because this is the fourth straight year these two teams are meeting with the championship on the line. But the last thing the players want to hear is that this is same old, same old.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: Teams will have their opportunity to beat the Cavs over the last four years and the teams have an opportunity to beat the Warriors over the last four years. And if you want to see somebody else in the post season, then you've got to beat them.
KEVIN DURANT, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: It may not be as suspenseful as a lot of people may want it to be or as drama filled, but that's what you got movies and music for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:55:11] CZARNIAK: Kevin Durant and his team on a mission.
The goose is loose. This is a rain delay in Detroit last night. A wild goose decided to show up on the field and entertain the crowd. But before the game could begin, again there was a wild goose chase, guys. I mean, it looks like it was going to run out of energy then and eventually kind of ran itself into the scoreboard, but the goose is OK. We should say that. It was -- you know, it was contained and then released. So all is well.
HARLOW: So there was that.
KEILAR: Hold up. I was so afraid for it. OK, good, we needed that update, Lindsay Czarniak.
CZARNIAK: Guys, you're welcome. Anytime. Anytime.
HARLOW: All right. So the president changes his story again on why he fired James Comey. Now he says he didn't do it because of the Russia probe, but a year ago, he said exactly the opposite on camera. We're following all of it.
KEILAR: And happening now, a meeting between the secretary of state and North Korea's former top spy. Will the summit be salvaged?