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Full Report on Murder of Jamal Khashoggi Expected Today; CIA Concludes Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Khashoggi's Death; Saudi Foreign Minister Says Leadership of Saudi Arabia is a "Red Line" and Won't Be Undermined; Forecasters Forecast Rain for Areas Scorched By Wildfire in California; Stocks Set to Drop at Open as Investors Worry About Big Tech. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired November 20, 2018 - 09:00 ET
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[09:00:01] CAMEROTA: You had me at jersey. Fantastic.
OK. A legal setback for the Trump administration. "NEWSROOM" starts right now.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto. New this morning the president's latest attempt to re-write immigration law hits a wall in federal court. A judge in San Francisco has blocked, at least temporarily, a White House proclamation that would have disqualified asylum seekers who enter the U.S. outside official border post. The president likely will appeal this decision, having spent weeks leading up to the elections claiming that a Central American caravan constitutes a national emergency.
HARLOW: Also this morning, new reporting that Ivanka Trump used a private e-mail account for government business. She is the president's daughter and senior adviser, and this news has critics crying foul and pointing to the irony given to the president's continued attacks on Hillary Clinton's e-mails. A source close to Ivanka Trump tell me this morning, quote, "There was not intent to avoid the White House servers. Everything has been preserved on White House servers." And also adds, quote, "Ivanka's mindset deserves no mal-intent." She's comfortable because there was no intent to avoid.
We're going to talk a lot about that in just a moment. But first let's go to our Ariane de Vogue, she joins us on the federal judge's ruling overnight essentially saying, look, the president cannot do this by fiat.
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT CORRESPONDENT: Right, Poppy and Jim. This all stems from that November 9th proclamation as you said where the judge said that individuals who are fined for asylum can only do so at so-called official points of entry, not anywhere on the southern border. And groups like the ACLU they immediately challenged that and they said, look, these people are seeking asylum. They can do that anywhere along the border, they said, and they can't be turned away based on their so-called manner of entry. And this federal judge, he agreed with the challengers. He issued
this temporary restraining order and he said, look, whatever the scope of the president's authority, he may not re-write the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden. And as you said, the president came forward with this proclamation after he had talked a lot about the caravan in the run-up to the midterm elections and he has said the people were dangerous and they were thugs.
But challengers on the other side said look, these people are seeking asylum. This is different. And that they have to prove that they are being persecuted at home. And they said that that's not easy. They have to go in front of the asylum judge, but they have the right to do this.
So this is a setback for the Trump administration. And it's worth noting that in the early phases of other immigration attempts, the Trump administration has lost in the early stages, but they won, for instance, with the travel ban in the Supreme Court.
So we're going to watch now to see if the administration seeks to skip over the appeals court maybe and take this case directly to the Supreme Court. That's what's going to be -- that will be probably their next step in this appeal process if they decide to do it.
HARLOW: OK. Ariane de Vogue, thank you very much. We'll watch what they do next.
With us now to talk about it, our legal analyst, Jennifer Rodgers, political analyst Alex Burns and Ayesha Rascoe, the White House reporter for National Public Radio.
Good morning to you all. And Jennifer, just to the law here, I mean, you have -- there are U.S. laws that have always treated asylum seekers differently than other undocumented immigrants. You have the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, you have the 1980 Refugee Act, so the judge here was saying, look, those supersede presidential authority, which is broad. I mean, the course of rule, the president does have broad authority when it comes to immigration.
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's right. But there are certain areas that are kept for Congress. And immigration is only if they passed laws in the normal course so the president can issue executive orders and other orders, but they can't conflict with congressional laws in the immigration area. And that's what the court is saying here.
Now it's just a temporary restraining order.
RODGERS: So we haven't had a full vetting of the case. And it may be that the administration wins later down the road depending on how they changed the proclamation, right? That's what happened in the Muslim ban.
RODGERS: They ended up changing a lot.
SCIUTTO: Watered it down over time. Yes.
RODGERS: And so that's what we may see here. Because this judge found at least said an initial look at it in the TRO stage that it wasn't good enough. It wasn't going to pass muster.
SCIUTTO: Alex, though, I wonder, some administration officials had been expecting an early court challenge to the president's, quote- unquote, "proclamation" here. Is the White House expecting relief in the Supreme Court here, or is this more about politics regardless of whether they win? That the president sees, per-sees a political victory here regardless of what happens?
ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that hits the nail right on the head, that this was an order that was issued at the climax of the midterm elections, similar to the troop deployments at the border. I don't know that anyone in the White House, certainly the president particularly, cares what the substantive outcome of this is going to be as much feeling like this was an advantageous political fight to pick.
[09:05:01] And probably for the purposes of his own political base, it will continue to be an advantageous fight if he's sort of clashing with a judge in San Francisco.
BURNS: Because you know how certain voters just sort of -- are going to register that information. I do think it's really striking that we are now almost two full years into the administration of a president who came in promising sort of sweeping changes to immigration policy and because the House is about to turn over, he may have lost his chance.
BURNS: To actually leave a permanent mark on it.
HARLOW: Exactly. It's a great point. And Ayesha Rascoe, to you, the fact that, you know, we have the president pitted against the courts on, yes, travel ban 3.0, as Jim rightly notes, it's very watered down, you know, was upheld by the Supreme Court, but you've got this still lost attempt to end DACA, still blocked attempt to punish sanctuary cities.
Do you think now with the divided Congress, as Alex notes, we're just going to see more of this sort of proclamation, more of this attempt to rule by fiat on this front?
AYESHA RASCOE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, NPR: I believe so. And what's ironic about that is that Republicans lashed out at former President Obama for doing basically the same thing for Obama felt that he couldn't get things through Congress, so he started doing things by executive order. And now you have President Trump basically doing the same thing and threatening to do it on other issues even birthright citizenship, which people say is unconstitutional.
But he does seem to be making this bet that he will be able to take it to the Supreme Court and with Justice Kavanaugh now and Justice Gorsuch that he'll be able to get things through. Now whether that happens or not remains to be seen.
SCIUTTO: Well, thanks to all of you. Stay with us because we have more to discuss.
Other news at the White House today, irony hitting home for the first family. According to a nonpartisan group Ivanka Trump used her personal e-mail account for government business. That of course draws embarrassed comparisons for this administration.
HARLOW: Right. Hillary Clinton, you remember the president tweeting more than 60 times, you know, about her private e-mails, lock her up chants, et cetera. She was a prime candidate because of her e-mails of President Trump.
Now Joe Johns is at the White House with more.
Joe, what's the latest reporting on this?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Also very important to say that failure to use the government e-mail in this situation could be construed as a violation of the Federal Records Act or the Presidential Records Act. And it kind of strains credulity that given the history, given the circumstances, Ivanka Trump somehow would not know that, in fact, she could have been running into trouble along those lines.
Nonetheless, the White House has put out statements today through the spokesman for Ivanka Trump's lawyer Abbe Lowell trying to distinguish this situation with Ivanka from the situation involving Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. And they say a number of things. I'll just read you a part of the statement.
"Miss Trump did not create a private server in her house or office. No classified information was ever included. The account was never transferred or housed at the Trump Organization. No e-mails were ever deleted."
So in that way they say this situation is different from the Hillary Clinton situation. Also, the White House making the case that most of the e-mails relating to business here at the White House had to do with things like travel and official schedules. The other thing I think important to say is Ivanka Trump is not the secretary of State and never was. Of course, Hillary Clinton was. That's a big difference.
Still, given the history, just very difficult to believe that Ivanka Trump's story is that she didn't know the rules. Back to you.
SCIUTTO: Joe Johns, thanks very much.
Of course, the question of whether there was classified information there, arguably still an open question because Hillary Clinton of course denied there was any classified information.
SCIUTTO: Later discovered upon a detailed investigation.
HARLOW: And her lawyer saying there is not. But again, right, it was 110 classified Hillary Clinton e-mails.
SCIUTTO: Maybe there were references. We don't know.
SCIUTTO: Jennifer, so there are two -- and to be clear, let's say there is no classified information. That was one of the key issues with Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail. The Presidential Records Act is another one here. Do you need to have this stored on a private server for this to be a potential legal issue? Just using the private e-mails, does that present possible legal issues for Ivanka Trump?
RODGERS: So the two legal issues are the ones that you've identified, Jim. It's the classified information, was any classified information jeopardized and was the Presidential Records Act violated, right? So the private server doesn't matter. So the point of the government server is it keeps things secure and it ensures that everything is kept and not deleted. So using any server other than the government server isn't the problem here.
HARLOW: So just to note some of our new reporting this morning, I just spoke with a source close to Ivanka Trump who told me, quote, "Everything has been preserved on White House servers."
[09:10:05] The argument is that the e-mails that she sent, they say, were sent to government employees. And by being sent to government employees, they hit the government server and their reading is that that's enough. That's in compliance?
RODGERS: I'm not -- and that's a big argument that Hillary Clinton made at the time as well, right? There was a lot of back and forth with government people. All of those things were preserved.
Listen, if she didn't intentionally violate the Presidential Records Act by setting up a separate server or using a separate server she's not going to be violating that law. So that's not going to be a problem. The issue is the classified material and also not really on the legal side but the political side, this judgment. I mean, are you kidding? I think it's even worse that she didn't set up a private server in the sense that that private server was secure. And they say that server is actually secure so you're using Google or Yahoo! or whatever the case may be. I mean, that's really --
SCIUTTO: So, Alex, let's set up the possibility here. Right? You now have a Democratically controlled Congress with the ability to subpoena and investigate. It was, of course, through a month's long investigation that many of the revelations about Hillary Clinton's private e-mail use became an issue because you discovered, you know, information in there that turned out to be classified, et cetera.
We have a different dynamic, do we not have, with this White House in a Democratically controlled House?
BURNS: Certainly do. And I would expect that the long tail of this particular story is going to be really, really long. Right? That the Democratic appetite for investigating everything across the Trump administration is just ravenous but especially, you know, there is still so much -- such a sense of grievance among Democrats about the way Hillary Clinton was treated in the 2016 campaign in the sense that, you know, the president was dishonest, that the media was unfair about the e-mails, and I think that it's hard to imagine an issue that Democrats would relish more than going after a member of Trump's family for using private e-mails for government purposes.
I do think, you know, it is sort of a -- the Hillary Clinton case is instructive in that we can speculate all day about where she may or may not be exposed or, you know, her spokespeople can make arguments about intent. We'll probably going to find out the truth of this at some point.
HARLOW: Unless Democrats feel that their power and their sort of fire power, if you will, in terms of where they put their energy should be focused on the presidential investigations. Unless they decide, you know, this is where we want to put our --
BURNS: To me that's one of the big questions of the new Democratic majority.
HARLOW: Yes. Yes.
BURNS: Is how much you're going to have a focused strategy for investigations and how much there's going to be stuff like this that is irresistible.
HARLOW: That's a good point.
Ayesha, to you, let me ask -- when I asked the source closed to Ivanka Trump just minutes ago about the optics here, irony, hypocrisy, right, we don't need to play for you the lock her up chants, we've all heard them. I was told Ivanka's mindset is that there is, quote, "no malintent," and that she is, in their words, comfortable, comfortable because there was no intent to avoid.
Should she be comfortable right now?
RASCOE: Well, she may be comfortable, but the question is, how does this look? And she may have not had any intent. The problem is, we can't see her intent. So that's not for people to actually know. It's just they know that the fact that she was using private e-mails when this was a huge issue throughout the campaign. And it would seem like if anything you would ask about when you were transitioning into government after the 2016 campaign, it would be how should I -- which e-mail should I use for official business?
And so I think that's the question now. This is an administration that has a lot of things going on. So whether this really becomes a big issue, I don't know. But I think under other circumstances, this could get a lot of attention.
HARLOW: Thank you all for being here. Jennifer Rodgers, Alex Burns, Ayesha Rascoe.
A lot to get to this morning. Also ahead for us, under pressure. A full report due today on the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. How will President Trump respond after he sees all of this laid out in front of him.
And rain is set to bring some relief, but a whole new set of challenges and dangers in California. We'll have the latest from the wildfires.
SCIUTTO: And it is not a first for a president, but it would be for the current one. A trip to a combat zone.
[09:15:00] HARLOW: All right, today, a full CIA report is expected on the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi and pressure is mounting on President Trump to take action, meaningful action against the Saudis. This comes days after he publicly said he did not know if the Saudi Crown Prince ordered the killing, even though the CIA had already concluded that he did.
SCIUTTO: At the same time, Saudi Arabia is warning those who may want to punish the royal family not to cross what it called a red line, saying the Saudi King and the Crown Prince are off limits.
Joining us now is Cnn's Jomana Karadsheh live from Istanbul, Turkey, outside the Saudi Consulate where all this is alleged to have happened. Jomana, so quite a red line for the Saudis to lay down here, saying in effect, whatever the facts or intelligence is on this including the possibility of MBS' involvement -- don't touch it.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Jim, as expected, officials are standing their ground when it comes to the Crown Prince defending him and insisting that he had nothing to do with the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
The Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in an interview with the London- based Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat was asked about these reports, including Cnn's reporting over the weekend and about the CIA's assessment that Mohammad Bin Salman; the Crown Prince ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
And he says he's seen these reports, but, quote, he says "they are based on an assessment, not conclusive evidence. In any case, we in the kingdom know that such allegations about the Crown Prince are totally unfounded and we reject them categorically." And he went on to say as you mentioned that the king and the Crown Prince are a red line for Saudi Arabia, he says they will not allow anyone to harm them or undermine them.
[09:20:00] And he really criticized Turkey, saying that they are politicizing this whole case and also accusing Turkish authorities of not sharing evidence, saying that Saudi Arabia has several times requested that Turkey hand over evidence which they have not done. But of course, Jim, as we know, Turkey says that it shared some of the evidence that it has with a number of countries. They mentioned Saudi Arabia and that intelligence-sharing evidence-sharing was confirmed by a number of countries including the United States, Jim.
HARLOW: Jomana Karadsheh, thank you for the important reporting, for being there, we'll see what that report includes. And again, the president is going to get it today. So what will he do with that information? Shawn Turner is with us, our national security analyst.
And Shawn, it's important to note that the president has doubted and discounted some findings from U.S. Intelligence in the past. So it is a big question, how much he will trust what is in that report and what he will most importantly do about it.
SHAWN TURNER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATION FOR U.S. NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE & CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, and I think it's important to start from the perspective that this intelligence assessment is a high confidence intelligence assessment. The CIA, the intelligence agencies have not only looked at organic U.S. Intelligence, but also the intelligence that's collected from our partners and allies as well as what we know about the way that orders are doled out in the kingdom.
So the president is going to get an assessment today that's going to tell him without a shadow of a doubt that this happened and it's going to tell him without a shadow of a doubt that MBS was involved. So as you pointed out, you're right, absolutely.
In the past, he has doubted the intelligence community, and I think this case is -- there's a familiar pattern here. You know, the president has sought to give the kingdom time to come up with a story that allowed for there to be some doubt as to what the facts are, and I think he's doing that again by even waiting for this assessment to come in.
It is my hope and I think it's the hope of everyone in the intelligence community and in the national security space, that when the president receives this assessment, that he will take affirmative and direct action to hold Saudi Arabia accountable.
There are a number of things that he can do along those lines, and I'm sure that he's getting briefed on some of those things. But what he cannot do is simply get this assessment and say that he's still unsure about whether or not this happened.
HARLOW: OK -- SCIUTTO: Shawn, as you know better than me, intelligence assessments,
they are rife with judgment calls, right? And in this case, you do have intelligence provided by an overseas partner that has its own axe to grind and here, Turkey, et cetera.
That said, you know that intelligence professionals are by their nature cagy, they don't like to take risks. Does the CIA, does the intelligence community issue an assessment like this that it calls confident if it doesn't have the material to back it up?
TURNER: No, absolutely not, and you're right. Look, we all understand that Turkey may have some ulterior motives here with regard to how they want to see this play out. Obviously, being the competitor that they are with Saudi Arabia in the region.
But the intelligence community is never going to rely on a singular piece of information or on a singular group of information from a particular source. What they're going to do is they're going to roll into the assessment, those ideas that some individuals may want to shade or use the intelligence for political reasons.
So this is not a case in which the intelligence agency would have said we got intelligence from Turkey, therefore that's it. This is a case in which the intelligence community, not only the CIA, but other intelligence agencies would have looked at the intelligence, they would have done their own assessment and some agencies may not even assess it with a high confidence.
But in the end, you pull all that together, and in aggregate, the assessment is a high confidence assessment.
HARLOW: Shawn, let me ask you about what the -- at least for now, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Corker had to say. Yes, he is outgoing, but you know, he still holds that powerful position and he says that Congress will respond with full additional pressure on Saudi Arabia if President Trump does not include Mohammad Bin Salman; the Crown Prince in these sanctions after he gets --
TURNER: Yes --
HARLOW: This report. What additional pressure would actually change action in Saudi Arabia? Meaning, is it just about sanctioning these people? Is it about curtailing if not stopping that arms agreement? What is it?
TURNER: Yes, you know, there's a piece of legislation, a bipartisan piece of legislation right now that would not only impose sanctions on individuals, but also would impact the U.S. practice of, for example, refueling Saudi Arabia, Saudi planes --
HARLOW: Right --
TURNER: That are flying in the war in Yemen. There are a number of things that the administration could do that would -- that would hold Saudi Arabia accountable and that would still to some degree maintain a relationship there that would be in the best interest of U.S. national security.
Look, you know, we have to be eyes-wide open here. In the past, presidents have turned a blind eye to bad behavior on the part of Saudi Arabia, that's just the fact.
[09:25:00] But when you have overwhelming evidence in a case like this where you have a journalist who -- a "Washington Post" journalist who was killed in such a horrific way, the president has to do something.
And so I think that what he's got to look for is he's got to -- he's got to walk away from that middle ground and look towards something that really is going to hold MBS personally accountable.
And that's going to be sanctions, that's going to be perhaps something that impacts the arms deal, that's going to be perhaps something that impacts Yemen. But he certainly can't simply push those things aside and have a case of business as usual.
SCIUTTO: Shawn, the fact is the president has pushed aside intelligence assessments in his two years as president with Russian interference in the election, with evidence that North Korea is cheating on nuclear negotiations. In effect, when he finds intelligence inconvenient or information he doesn't want to hear, at least in his public comments, he shuns it aside.
What effect will that have on Intelligence community to see that happen again here?
TURNER: You know, like it's always difficult for the Intelligence community to see the intelligence that they provide to what we call Customer Number One, you know, to have doubt cast on that intelligence to see it pushed aside. But, you know, the fact of the matter is that people in the Intelligence community work for the president, work for the country.
They work to provide the president decision advantage and they're going to continue to do their job to the best of their ability and to provide the president everything he needs in order to be able to make these decisions. You know, what they don't want is they don't want to have their motives questioned because their motive, their only motive is to protect the country and to give the president what he needs.
And they also don't want to have doubt cast upon the work that they do because they are the best in the world on what they do. So --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
TURNER: While it is difficult to see what happens on the outside, look again, I think that the American people can be assured that the Intelligence community continues to do its --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
TURNER: Very best to protect the country --
SCIUTTO: And you see a lot of evidence of that here. Shawn Turner thanks very much --
HARLOW: Thank you --
TURNER: Thank you --
SCIUTTO: Northern California communities hit hard by wildfire are in the middle of one disaster and bracing for the possibility of another one -- why rain, if you could believe it, in the forecast could actually be a mixed blessing.
HARLOW: We're also moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street. Investors keeping a very close eye on tech stocks today that are getting battered or cheap as this first one. And Christine Romans is here, wow.
ROMANS: It's going to be an ugly open, guys, I can tell you that it started with a lot of tech stocks really in trouble here. Big losses there, that will be the focus, but it has spread throughout the market, almost everything likely to move lower here.
I'm predicting that at the opening bell, all of the gains for the year will disappear. I'll tell you why right after the break.