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Trump Signals U.S. Won't Punish Saudi Crown Prince Over Killing; Ivanka Trump Used Personal Email For Government Business; Democrats Call For Probe Into Ivanka Trumps Private Emails. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired November 20, 2018 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:31:49] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: We have more now on our breaking news. The President signaling the U.S. will not punish the Saudi Crown Prince over the murder of a "Washington Post" journalist. Back with me now, Florida Congressman Francis Rooney, he's a Republican on the house foreign affairs committee.
Sir, so you clearly do not agree with what the President is doing here in the statement from the President's standing with Saudi Arabia instead of with his own intelligence community that is expected to say in a report today that Saudi Arabia, that the Crown Prince was behind this killing of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. When you look at how he has come out and he is saying this before this report from his intelligence community is coming out, what are your concerns about his bucking all of the people who have worked tirelessly to try to figure out what exactly has gone on here?
REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Well, I'm concerned about our standing in the world and what it says about the United States. You know, from our beginnings, we have been in a country founded on important principals, the freedom, rule of law, the declaration of independence that's kind of sets the road map. And I don't think that we want to back up on that and cut a break for Saudi Arabia murdering someone when we don't cut anyone else a break for murdering people.
KEILAR: One of our reporters in the region Sam Kylie said that this will be a catastrophic blow to the administration in terms of the reputation of the administration in the region around the world. You just raised that concern. Do you think that this is a catastrophic blow? Is this something that America will struggle to recover from when you're talking about it standing in the world?
ROONEY: Well, catastrophic is a pretty strong word, but it certainly is an important milestone and where we stand in the world and whether we're going to live up to our principals or not. And I'm not sure that if we let Saudi Arabia get away with it, it's going to be helpful for our relationship with them either.
KEILAR: All right, Congressman, if you can just stay with us for a moment, we do appreciate you talking to us about our breaking news here. There's another controversy that is brewing at the White House and that's Ivanka Trump using private e-mail for government use which of course was an issue at the heart of the President's campaign against Hillary Clinton. We'll have new details, next.
[13:38:40] KEILAR: Now to the e-mail outrage. We are learning the President's daughter and White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, sent hundreds of e-mails from her personal account to discuss official White House business and these were e-mails that were obtained by a nonpartisan watch dog group. It's a pretty surprising revelation given President Trump's obsession with Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail account. It's an attack that was central to riling up his base during the 2016 election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with e- mails.
She doesn't even remember whether or not she was instructed on how to use e-mails. Were you instructed on how to use -- I can't remember. She deleted the e-mails. She has to go to jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Now, house Democrats are digging in, they're working to determine whether Ivanka Trump and others within the White House complied with the law by using their private e-mails. We are back now with CNN senior White House correspondent, Pamela Brown.
There are some differences here between Ivanka's situation and Hillary Clinton's, namely, the server. But there are a lot of similarities.
[13:40:05] PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There certainly are. Of course those close to Ivanka Trump, at some former and current White House officials are trying to make the argument that there really isn't a parallel here that Ivanka Trump didn't have her own private server, that she didn't delete any e-mail, that she didn't have classified information that she e-mailed. But some of these excuses, if you will, are what we heard from Hillary Clinton as well at the time.
As you'll recall she also made the same sort of statement that she didn't have any classified information and so forth in these e-mails. Now, those close to Ivanka Trump are making the case that she didn't have malintent for using this personal e-mail to conduct official business including e-mails to cabinet secretaries as well as to her assistant.
So they are making this case that, look, there was nothing wrong here, she didn't violate the rules, she was in compliance. But here is the catch Briana. Initially when she sent some of these e-mails, they were not in compliance and then in September of 2017 when all of this came to light, they were then brought into compliance because her lawyer teamed up with Don McGahn, former White House council and she tallied to go through those e-mails and make sure they were on the White House server. So that is an important distinction here.
But certainly it raises questions how Ivanka Trump did not know about the rules and e-mails considering it was her father during the campaign as you just pointed out, Brianna, who continuously badgered Hillary Clinton for using her personal e-mail, her private server to conduct official business. As you pointed out, Republicans are in that campaign also chanting lock her up as a result.
So, well, it is true she may not have gone through the training here at the White House early on in communications because she wasn't an official employee until the spring of 2017. It's hard to imagine she didn't understand the rules surrounding e-mail use once you're a government official, Brianna.
KEILAR: Or just to lean on being very careful considering what her father was saying on the campaign trail. Pamela Brown, thank you so much for that report. I do want to bring in now Congressman Steve Cohen. He's a Democrat from Tennessee. He's a member of the house judiciary committee.
Sir, when you hear this that the president's daughter and a top adviser to him reportedly used a personal e-mail account much of last year while she was a member of the administration in part to conduct government business at the time did not forward those e-mails to her government address until you had this lawsuit. And even now, it's a matter of taking her lawyer's word for it that she is in compliance. What's your reaction?
REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: Well, she's a senior adviser to the president. She should be only operating on government e-mails. And the fact that the president made such an issue during the campaign and that his daughter didn't know about it and didn't understand it just shows how Helter Skelter this White House is.
They're obviously are not teaching their employees or instructing their employees on the rules, they're not supervising, they're not monitoring. And it's possible that she is considered a princess and totally separate from the rest of the rules that the American government and the Presidents cabinet and advisers go by.
KEILAR: To counter this, just to play devil's advocate here and I'm certainly not saying that the e-mails were not a problem with Hillary Clinton. I want to make that clear. But there are people in your party who say, you know, that whole e-mail thing was a nothing burger. So I wonder how Democrats can credibly make this argument. You hear the house oversight committee, you know, they may be looking into this once Democrats come into power in January. How can Democrats credibly make that argument?
COHEN: Well, I think it's -- it could be an ongoing problem with the administration and how they're following rules. And I think Ivanka Trump needs to follow the rules and everybody in the White House does.
You know, Trump was talking on his personal phone and apparently the Chinese listening to everything that he said. They need to contour their conduct to what is best for the security of the United States of America and not what they have been doing as the house of Trump for a long time.
KEILAR: Will Democrats be convincing on that do you think, considering the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal?
COHEN: Yes, whether they're convincing or not I don't know and I don't know who's going to pursue it, but I think that many other things to pursue with this administration concerning emoluments and the use of the office and the -- for personal gain with leases to the Chinese, the Trump tower and the Qatari's and other business arrangements with the Saudis and other foreign governments, this needs to be looked into.
And who knows if Ivanka Trump wasn't talking to people that she had business relationships with. You know, she did a lot of business in China getting low cost labor to make her clothing.
[13:45:11] KEILAR: I do want to get your take on the statement from President Trump, a really stunning statement that he is put out. From President Donald J. Trump on standing with Saudi Arabia, basically saying before this Intel report comes out, which we expect that it will say that Saudi Arabia, that the crown prince in Saudi Arabia was behind the killing of "Washington Post" journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. The President comes out and basically says, it doesn't matter. That's not -- it's neither here nor there to me. What's your reaction?
COHEN: Well, that's one of the reasons while the emoluments clause violation is so important because we need to know if foreign money being given to our president and his family affects our policy. That's why the emoluments clause was put in the constitution to see to it that the President deals first for the benefit of the country and not for the benefit of himself.
And if you can make money from foreign politics (ph) which is forbidden without the permission of congress, then he is in a conflict. And I feel we will find out that the relationships he has with the Saudis, that Jarred Kushner has with the Saudis have made that relationship more important to this White House than the rule of law and America standing among the nations of the world. The killing of --
KEILAR: He's raised arms deals -- Congressman --
COHEN: And the Saudi embassy was carried out by the Saudis, it's obvious that it was done by the Saudi prince, that he was responsible for it. Otherwise they would not have said it first. He may be around. We don't know then who killed --
KEILAR: Congressman, I just want to ask -- I want to you about what you just said. I want to ask you about what you just said because --
COHEN: -- then it was an accident and it was a fight that went bad and then it was rogue agents and then finally they've got five people they're going to execute. This is all obviously just a cover up and it's to protect the crown prince and the crown prince and then America's crown prince so Jared and Ivanka have a great relationship with him. And who knows what Trump probably say maybe --
KEILAR: Congressman, what we've heard from the president he's brought up the issue of arms deals. He said it creates jobs. That's actually a very dubious claim. Clearly the national security strategic importance when it comes to the alliance of Saudi Arabia, something that factors in, but you're saying that you think this is something perhaps much more a personal. That you think this is because of financial gain for the Trump family.
COHEN: I definitely feel that. I don't think he ever puts the country first. Michelle Obama --
KEILAR: Do you have evidence of that?
COHEN: -- said that everybody knew it and everybody has seen it.
KEILAR: Congressman, do you have evidence of that?
COHEN: That he put himself and his family first and their finances are first.
KEILAR: Congressman Cohen, do you have evidence of that?
COHEN: Trip to Mar-a-Lago when the government paying for it and trips to --
KEILAR: Congressman Cohen?
COHEN: And that's why they --
KEILAR: Congressman Cohen, I need to interrupt you, sir. You were raising this question. Do you have evidence of it?
COHEN: We have sanctions against country. We wouldn't be selling airplanes to North Korea --
KEILAR: Congressman, can you hear me?
COHEN: -- even though he's followed them lovely with Kim Jong-un --
KEILAR: Can you hear me Congressman?
COHEN: Who's continuing to build missiles. Right now, we're in a dangerous situation because this president base has a foreign policy based on number one himself and Trump, and number two allusion. This is fantasy land I think that North Korea has changed their policies because of that meeting that they had.
We were played by North Korea and we've been -- right now we're second fiddle to the crown prince in Saudi Arabia as well. And t he whole idea of sending the good one back to Turkey, that's objectionable. It's just not what America is about. We've been appreciated around the world for the rule of law and our sense of propriety on many, many, many issues. And we're giving that up. KEILAR: Congressman, can you hear me?
KEILAR: OK. What's your proof? If you are saying that you believe that to be the case, that this may be about the personal gain of the Trump family, do you have evidence of that? Or is that just a feeling you have?
COHEN: Well, I think that's -- mostly it's a feeling, but we know the Saudis has spent a lot of money at Trump tower. We know they may have spent money at the Trump hotels and we know that they've got tremendous moneys and they use to influence people all around the globe. That's the main thing the Saudis have is money and oil and it comes from that.
And there's no question, it's the first country that Trump went to. He has paid the Saudis more diligence. A part of Bs of E (ph) it's playing off against Iran. But President Obama knew that we needed to not be so much in the debt of the Saudis, but we need to have other friends and that's why he partially did the nuclear agreement with Iran because he needed to balance the Middle Eastern situation.
Right now we're so in bed with them for whatever reason and willing to overlook murder of an American resident that there must be more to it.
KEILAR: All right, Congressman Steve Cohen, we appreciate you being with us. Thank you so much.
COHEN: Happy thanksgiving.
[13:50:09] KEILAR: All right, you too, sir. Just ahead, the Dow taking another dive as Facebook, Amazon, and Apple are facing significant head winds. We're going to take you live to the stock exchange.
Plus, even though dozens are dead and hundreds are missing, one of the President's cabinet members is now blaming environmental radicals for the wildfires in California.
KEILAR: Markets are plunging again today. Check out the Dow here down almost 490 points. And at one point it had fallen to almost 600.
[13:55:03] Once again, tech stocks getting hit hard in the gloom and doom on Wall Street has now wiped all of those stock gains out that were made during the year Alison Kosik is at the New York stock exchange for us. Why is the tech sector being hit so hard?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, first of all got to think about what you just said. All the of the major indices basically lower for the year. Meaning all of those gains we saw happened throughout the year they are wiped out. So I would say don't check the portfolio today. Why are we seeing the sell-offs? Well, tech shares have a lot to do with it, talking about Apple, and Amazon, and Facebook. Shares of Apple down 20 percent just over the past month, Facebook shares down 20 percent as well from bad news coming for those companies. Apple warning hat its sales on its marquee product, the iPhone are slowing.
Facebook having to deal with the fall out from what happened during the 2016 presidential election, a lot of questions about how Facebook handled that. So a lot of the confidence being undercut today not just because of these companies, but because we're seeing major indices basically fall into the red.
Also, simmering in the background, trade tensions and what the Fed is going to do with interest rates. Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Alison, thank you so much for that from the New York stock exchange. We do have more now on our breaking news. The President's astonishing statement suggesting the U.S. will not punish the Saudi crown prince over the murder of a journalist.
And we're just getting word now that secretary of state Mike Pompeo will be speaking unexpectedly at the state department. We are monitoring that live as journalists are there gathering, awaiting this.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. Here is the breaking news.
Major developments in the killing of U.S. based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. President Trump has just signaled in an exclamation point Latin statement that he will not be taking strong action against Saudi Arabia. That is despite the fact that his own intelligence agency, according to sources, has concluded that the crown princess Mohammed bin Salman ordered this murder on Washington Post columnist.
Let me just read portion of President's words here in the statement that --