Return to Transcripts main page
Judge In California Blocked Another Administration Effort To Deny Asylum To Those That Cross The Border Illegally; Police Mistakenly Thought Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. Fired The Rounds That Left An 18-Year-Old And A 12-Year-Old Hospitalized; Mayor Of Tijuana, Mexico Declaring A Humanitarian Charisma In His City Over A Sudden Influx Of Thousands Of Central American Migrants; Democrats to Probe Link Between Trump's Empire & His Saudi Behavior; Roger Stone Associate Jerome Corsi in Plea Agreements with Mueller; Comey Fights Subpoena for Private Deposition Before Lawmakers; Ken Starr: Mueller Cold Indict Trump When Presidency Ends. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired November 24, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Black Friday turns chaotic inside this Victoria Secret in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And as you can see the shoppers did not listen to the warnings of the employee, pushing right past her to get their hands on some good deals.
Now, this chaos sent her scrambling. Watch this. She jumps on top of the display table to safety and reminds the shoppers it's really not that serious.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. So glad you could be with me this holiday weekend.
Our top story this hour, a potential game changer for the President's immigration fight. "The Washington Post" is reporting that the incoming Mexican government will support a new Trump administration proposal requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their U.S. applications are processed. So, this could effectively end what the President has called catch and release where some migrants are allowed to live and work in the U.S. currently while their asylum applications are pending.
CNN's White House reporter Sarah Westwood is joining us now.
Earlier, Sarah, this week a judge in California blocked another administration effort to deny asylum to those that cross the border illegally. So give us more context what the President is trying to achieve here.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Ana, the President has been focused recently both on the rise in asylum claims and what on he perceives as a lack of cooperation from Mexican leaders when it comes to helping the U.S. with its illegal immigration problem on the southern border. And this deal could help the President address both concerns.
It comes as Trump administration officials have been pressuring Mexico to do more to stop that caravan of Central American migrants heading for the southern border that the President spent a lot of time talking about leading up to the midterms. In fact, a week before the mid-term elections, the President revealed an executive action that would also have made sweeping changes to asylum laws that would have required migrants if they want to apply for asylum, to present themselves at legal points of entry. It would have forbidden migrants them from requesting asylum if they were apprehended attempting to crossed the border illegally. Buy as you have mentioned, a federal judge did block that attempted executive action from the President. Something he has been focused on and tweeted about as he's spent his thanksgiving holiday in Florida.
But if this deal that the "Washington Post" reported on that Mexico this incoming Mexican government were to be put into place it would represent a major overhaul to the asylum system because under current law migrants are now eligible to request asylum as soon as they are on U.S. soil. But as we saw with the President's reason attempted executive action it's not clear that the Trump administration has the authority to do these kinds of changes without the help of Congress -- Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Sarah Westwood, the story is not over then. Thank you.
Joining us now to talk more about this and other topics, CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley and CNN political analyst Karoun Demirjian. She a congressional reporter for "the Washington Post".
Doug, have you ever seen a President try to change immigration law so profoundly and for so many different approaches?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: No, never before. I mean, Donald Trump is synonymous with the border wall, that U.S.-Mexico border what he's most known for and he constantly wants to double and triple down on it. It's a way to do fear mongering. I mean, the caravan became his decision for the midterm elections to prioritize that, to put out scare commercials.
You know basically now in Tijuana there's unrest. We have a humanitarian crisis and it needs to be addressed in a humanitarian way. But I think this could be good news for Trump on this asylum deal that's being announced by the "Washington Post" with Mexico in the sense it would show that his tough immigration stance is starting to, you know, create a collaborative relationship with Mexico on it. But he just exaggerates the problems along the border more than any President before him.
CABRERA: Karoun, is this asylum policy likely to get bipartisan support?
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It depends how it plays out. Look. The cities along the border that you are talking about are not exactly bastions of safety. There is going to be concerns about what the safety and the security of the people who are fleeing pretty unstable condition is going to be in places along the border that have their own issues of violence. And I think there is going to be criticism of Trump in that regard.
But it depends on how, how well these people are treated, what the processing of the asylum claims are, if these people are actually granted asylum in the state of legitimate claims. There's sure to be a lot of scrutiny on it. And it also that depends on what the backlash is in Mexico. I mean, this is an incoming President who has yet to take office. Does in a few days. Is there be support from the people or a revolt against this sort of the policy and what does it mean for the local economies there.
So how stable this goes and how fair it is to the individuals that have been living or you know, fleeing violence and poverty to try to come to the United States, that's going to be a lot of the influence a lot of the decision-making among Trump's critics as to whether they are OK in trying to make this work.
[16:05:21] CABRERA: I want to shift to a stunning new climate change report just drop yesterday. The administration now getting some criticism for that timing of release on black Friday claiming the White House buried it during in a holiday weekend when people aren't paying attention. Is that fair criticism, Doug?
BRINKLEY: Absolutely. I mean it's very odd going on here. Donald Trump is basically warring with his own White House over climate change. People that work in the White House, lawyers, staffers, they realize that scientific documentation is there, that climate change is real. They have careers. They don't want to go on the side of being a denier and putting out fake history and doing the ostrich routine like Donald Trump is doing so they deviated from each other and they kind snuck this report in. It's not a midnight report, it's sort of a thanksgiving time released. Everybody is eating turkey and watching football and they kind of brought this cataclysmic report out there which talks about total geographical dislocation in the United States, floods in the Midwest continue, wildfires in California and the far west, increased cyclonic and hurricane activity. It is a doomsday report and yet hear the President of the United States won't address the American people on it because he is beholden to the oil and gas industry.
CABRERA: He is tweeting, however, about the weather. And just before this report dropped he wrote, Brutal and extended cold blast could shatter all records. Whatever happened to global warming?
But this report, it is so dire. So let's just look at the facts that these scientists, his own administration have brought forward.
Wildfire, they say, could burn up to six times more by 2050.
Increase risk of diseases like Zika and Dengue.
Dangerously high temperatures. We are talking about increases up to nine degrees Fahrenheit or more by the end of the century.
Could it force the President to address climate change or will that fall to Congress, Karoun? DEMIRJIAN: It will fall to Congress. The President has seen scary
statistics before. He has had the entire world telling him do this differently and yet we still backed out of the Paris climate accord. There's not enough cohesiveness though and (INAUDIBLE) of thought on Capitol Hill to actually have Congress force the President's hand on this yet though.
Every time they have try to address climate change and other environmentally catastrophic issues, it is a debate that never even makes it to the floor any more in the House or Senate. And I think with a divided Congress that's still going to the way it is. So it depends on, you know, are there going to be new faces on Capitol Hill that just keep hammering at this issue. Will the Democrats being in- charge of the House keep forcing us to talk about tissue even if it can't necessarily make it to the Senate? That may be likely in the next two years. But the Congress is going to have to figure out how to push some sort of solution to actually take steps towards mitigating climate change ahead. And it is going to have to be really strong majorities because the President isn't inclined to be a driving force behind this at all as we have seen.
CABRERA: I have to say some of the women that I spoke to in my series of interviews with suburban women leading up to the Midterm elections, this is an issue that came up frequently. That was top of mind for them, this issue of climate change and the environment being something that was driving them to the polls in large part making them want to vote largely with candidates who were trying to do something about climate change.
Let me pivot to another thing. We know that is happening this weekend because the President is in Mar-a-Lago. And since he has been there reporting, as he has been interviewing people to bring into his administration. Multiple sources telling CNN homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen could be the next to go as well as the White House chief of staff John Kelly. We have known these two to be the more moderate voices in this administration.
Doug, what do you make of their possible departures?
BRINKLEY: That Donald Trump is going to double down on the far-right that he is going to try to get reelected with his base strategy and divide the country. He doesn't think that those two are tough enough on the border with Mexico. That he doesn't want anybody coming in. And he brow beats them for not being more martialed about being the protection of the U.S.-Mexican border.
And so, it shows I think that you don't have to be full board Trumpian, You have to be 100 percent behind the President like a godfather-like loyalty. If you show any deviation, an issue or two, he is willing to get rid of you.
I personally think it would be tragic for General Kelly to leave because I do think he has been offered our country a semblance of stability with a President who is deeply erratic.
[16:10:00] CABRERA: Karoun, your thought? DEMIRJIAN: I think it also just goes to show that if you have fewer
voices trying to temper the President from within the White House, fewer rivals potentially of the President from within his own ranks that you are going to see these political battles kind of played out. But when the critics of the President are going to be on the outside of the White House, there will be more of this back and forth through the media, there will be far more of an acrimonious relationship with Trump and Capitol Hill, even though that was kind of destined to happen anyway. The Democrats in charge of the House.
You are not going to have an end to the criticism, more a division of thought I guess around President Trump's policies. It is just going to be that we thought that there was quite a bit of that inside debate happening in open air and I think it probably just going to be that much more.
CABRERA: All right. Karoun Demirjian, Douglas Brinkley, good to see you both. Thank you so much for being here.
BRINKLEY: Thanks, Ana.
DEMIRJIAN: Thank you.
CABRERA: In Alabama this hour desperate manhunt is under way after police back track and admit the man shot and killed by a police officer at a mall on thanksgiving night was likely not the same person who shot and wounded two other people moments earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, let's go. Out, out, out. Let's go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It was one of the busiest shopping days of the year when gun shots rang out at the river chase galleria near Birmingham forcing terrified shoppers to run for cover. Now police mistakenly thought Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. fired the rounds that left an 18-year- old and a 12-year-old hospitalized. An officer fatally shot him as he fled the scene.
CNN's Natasha Chen is joining us now from Atlanta.
Natasha, how did this happen?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a lot of confusion, Ana. This afternoon, we have heard emotional speeches from family and friends of a man Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr. or E.J., the 21-year- old who police shot and killed in this incident. Here's what happened after protesters walked through the mall this afternoon with signs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police lied. Say the police lied.
CROWD: The police lied. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police lied.
CROWD: The police lied.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They lie.
CROWD: They lie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They lie.
CROWD: They lie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't shop in here.
CROWD: Don't shop in here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop shopping here.
CROWD: Stop shopping here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not one more dime.
CROWD: Not one more time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not one more dime.
CROWD: Not one more time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: This gathering of protesters is in response to the police correcting their information overnight saying new evidence shows Bradford did not likely fire the shots that injured two other people. Here are a couple of Bradford's family members.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not the way to say good-bye to E.J., not with a bullet, not in the back. What we need people to do is realize that why these black young men are walking around in the mall, whether they are carrying an arm or not, give them a test to say what I'm doing with this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did not deserve this. He really did not deserve it. They shot the wrong man. They need to be out there trying to get the person that did the killing. And the shooting or whatever they did. But he was not the one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: His family has now gotten a lawyer and the lawyer's office released a statement from them saying they are heartbroken. And as we continue to grieve, rest assured we are working diligently with our legal team to determine exactly what happened and why this police officer killed our son. We'll never forget E.J. and ask for you continued prayers during this incredibly difficult time. Bradford is the only one who died at the scene. Both the 18-year-old
and 12-year-old girl caught in the crossfire were taken to a hospital and. Now the initial report was that two men had gotten into a fight of some kind at the mall but result in those injuries. Police say Bradford was fleeing the scene and brandishing a weapon. And that's when a hoover police officer working as mall security shot and killed him. But later, a hoover police's statement said that Bradford may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation but he likely did not fired the rounds that injured the 18-year-old victim.
So police say there is at least one gun man still at-large. The state agency in charge of the investigation that said there won't be more information released about this case until tomorrow afternoon, Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Natasha Chen. Thank you.
Let's talk it over now with CNN law enforcement Art Roderick who is joining us. He is a former assistant director for the U.S. marshal service.
Art, first, your reaction to what happened.
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. As we have gone on here for the past 24 or 48 hours, I mean, there's a lot of questions here. And I can understand the frustration on Mr. Bradford's family side.
You know, the police have indicated that he was involved somewhat in the alteration. I'm not exactly sure what that means. Was he an innocent bystander trying to stop the altercation, or was evolved specifically in the immediate altercation?
Listen, I worked as a U.S. marshal for many years. I was always fearful of friendly fire, especially when you work in street clothes, is that the case here? If so it's a shame. But you can understand in these type of chaotic situations you got an individual running with a handgun. You know, I'm sure this is all on video and can be sorted out fairly quickly. And I think the benefit here is we have the Alabama law enforcement agency, a third-party law enforcement agency that has now been brought in to investigate this. So we should have some answers and hopefully the press conference tomorrow afternoon will shed a lot of light on this.
[16:15:29] CABRERA: So walk me through how police will be going about this investigation?
RODERICK: Well, to me there's three things here. There's the video which is important. I mean these major malls around the country, this was the largest indoor mall in Alabama. They have cameras all over the place. So they will immediately grab all that security video to try to not only identify the individuals involved in the shooting, but also what Mr. Bradford was doing at the time of the shooting. So they are able to track what's going on inside the mall and outside the mall.
Secondarily, you have sounds like plenty of witnesses there that actually saw the incident. They will also be looking for cell phone camera. And then the ballistics is going to be the key. If you heard some of earlier cell phone video, there was a lot of shots going on. So once they can match the ballistics up with exactly who fired at that particular location. And I think once they pull all that together and Alabama law enforcement agency goes ahead and looks at all this, they should have some answers fairly quickly.
CABRERA: As you point out, you would think at a mall, there would be surveillance cameras everywhere.
CABRERA: Are you surprised that there is somebody still on the loose? They haven't identified even the shooter yet.
RODERICK: Well, I am kind of surprised, but sometimes a good indicator that they are on to very good leads is they are not sharing a lot of information with the press and with the public on exactly who that particular individual is. I can tell you that there are a couple of very good, very professional task forces that operate in that area. One is run by the U.S. marshals and they have multiple state, local and federal law enforcement agencies that are part of it. So if they have got some good leads on that individual I'm sure they are working them right now to bring him into custody.
CABRERA: Art Roderick, good to have you with us. Thank you for joining us.
RODERICK: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: Some breaking news out of Ocala, Florida. A woman is dead after a shooting inside a Walmart. According to police, an argument broke out there between a man and woman inside a garden center. The man then shot and killed that woman, we are told. Police say the suspect then fled the scene and is still at large.
We will, of course, bring in new information as this story develops.
It's an unsettling milestone, what we are now learning about number of unaccompanied immigrant children currently in government custody and will it get worse before it gets better?
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
CABRERA: Plus caught on camera. Panic in San Francisco when this ferry carrying dozens of passengers crashes into a dock.
[16:22:21] CABRERA: THE mayor of Tijuana, Mexico declaring a humanitarian charisma in his city over a sudden influx of thousands of Central American migrants. Tijuana's mayor is now asking the Mexican government and even the United Nations for aide, for money to help cover the costs. All this happening after a federal judge this week temporarily blocked President Trump's plan to ban people from applying for asylum if they enter the U.S. illegally. And this as the U.S. government confirms that has about 14,000 unaccompanied migrant children in their custody. And that is a record high, according to the department of health and human services.
A spokesman for HHS has additional requirements put in place by the Trump administration to quote "reduce risk and increase safety for immigrant children contributed to these record numbers in custody."
CNN's Polo Sandoval is following this for us and joins us now.
So break it down for us. Explain who is actually in their custody. Does this having anything to do with the zero tolerance policy?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's an important question that you ask because that's a very an important differentiation here. You have only about 200 of those 14,000 children who are in the government's care, who were separated from their parent resulted zero tolerance. But a majority of those children are separated because they crossed that U.S.-Mexico border one unaccompanied and undocumented. These are children who basically came here by themselves.
And there are two dynamics at play here. Basically, the rate of children released by the department of health and human services who cares for these children, that has plummeted. At the same time the average length of time in which these children are kept in the government's care, that has gone up.
So add it all together and that has essentially created a logjam here. And as the government now has to process these children a lot quicker but at the same time as you mentioned a while ago, Ana, likely one of the reasons is the administration's decision to basically further scrutinize any and all adults who come forward willing to sponsor these children, and most of the times these are parents or relatives or friends who are volunteering to sponsor these undocumented children as their proceedings continue through in court.
The government, however, as we remember this past summer, made that announcement that they need to fingerprint any and all adults in the households that would be willing to take these children in.
We should mention just now, it's very important here. The government officials saying that they are basically just trying to ensure the safety of migrant children, but then some parents, however, have expressed concerns that their information may be shared with immigration authorities. And it's a valid concern since immigration and customs enforcement has to process these adults.
Finally, very important to note, this 14,000 number, it certainly is not a surprise for many of us who have been following these numbers because we have seen that number build and it also is constantly changing. Maybe it's department of health and human services releasing more children to sponsors or referring more cases to HHS.
So again, something that constantly develops and constantly grows. It's a number that doesn't surprise many of us. Now 14,000 children at about 100 shelters throughout the United States that are run or operated by the government.
[16:25:26] CABRERA: Thanks for breaking it down for us. Polo.
SANDOVAL: Thanks. Ana.
CABRERA: All right. President Trump is getting a taste of a new political order after the midterms. Democrats now vowing to investigate his ties to Saudi Arabia after the President indicated he is willing to side with the crown prince instead of his own CIA in Jamal Khashoggi's killing.
[16:30:26] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: New indications that Democrats will be taking a much closer look at President Trump's response to murder of "Washington Post" Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Congressman Adam Schiff, who will be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, tells the "Washington Post" Democrats plan a, quote, "deep dive" on Saudi Arabia and it would include, among other things, finding out what is inside that CIA assessment of the murder, whether Trump is misrepresenting the intel, and if he is, why.
The spy agency has said it's highly confident the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the murder. But President Trump has expressed doubts and defended the Saudis saying the prince hates the crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hate the crime. I hate what's done. I hate the cover up. And I will tell you this, the crown prince hates it more than I do. And they have vehemently denied it. The CIA points it both ways. As I said, maybe he did, maybe he didn't. But I will say, very strongly, that it's a very important ally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: With me now, Max Boot, a senior fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations and a CNN global affairs analyst.
"The crown prince hates it more than I do." Max, I want your reaction to that.
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I'm puzzling that out along with a lot of other things President Trump said. It doesn't make a damn bit of sense. Another thing he said, Ana, in that same interview was, maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a very vicious place. In other words, he's trying every rhetorical stratagem in the book to deflect blame from where it belongs, which is with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is judged responsible by the CIA. And President Trump is lying about what the CIA is saying, saying they just have a feeling. He's trying to say, it's not definitive, maybe he did, maybe he didn't, the entire world is responsible, which is the opposite of this doctrine of personal responsibility -- (CROSSTALK)
CABRERA: Let's play the clip where he blames the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's a mean, nasty world out there, Middle East in particular.
TRUMP: You look at what's going on in Iran and the vicious situation going on there and the number of people being killed and slaughtered. You take a look all over the world. We're not going to be able to deal -- let's not deal with anybody.
Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place. The world is a very, very vicious place. You look at what's happening in China, you look at what's happening in so many different countries. I could name many countries. You look at what's happening with terrorism all over the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So first we heard from Pompeo, then the president. Clearly this is a message that they have now been wanting to drill home and we're hearing it from multiple administration officials, the world is to blame, it's a dark and vicious world. That's to blame for Jamal Khashoggi's murder.
BOOT: They are making it darker and more vicious by absolving the Saudis of this terrible crime. They're engaging in moral equivalence, something Republicans used to castigate, this notion, how can you judge anybody because everybody is guilty of something, that's exactly the moral fallacy that President Trump and Secretary Pompeo are putting out there. It's true, there are human rights abuses around the world in places like Syria and China, et cetera. But that doesn't excuse what the Saudis -- and this is not business as normal to lure a journalist into your embassy in a foreign country and dismember him, especially when that journalist happens to write for an American newspaper. This is not normal. This is not something we can or should accept.
CABRERA: The president has been pretty transparent about his thoughts on the economic issues that are factoring into his decision, what he's saying, the relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Here's what Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell, who sits on the House Intel Committee, tweeted, "I would be willing to pay a few more cents at the pump if my president would condemn the butchering of a U.S. resident and journalist, #Khashoggi, #freepress."
Swalwell might be willing to pay more per gallon but a lot of Americans might not.
BOOT: There's no evidence we would pay more for a gallon at the pump if we hold the Saudis responsible. They are not selling oil as a favor to the United States. They're selling it because that's how they make money. Saudi Arabia is 13 percent of oil production. We produce more than they do. We don't need Saudi oil. We're energy independent, which is something Donald Trump brags about all the time. So this notion that we have to overlook the Saudi crimes, otherwise, the price of oil will skyrocket, that's flat-out false.
CABRERA: Let's listen to former CIA chief, Leon Panetta. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[16:35:04] LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I think the danger here is that, you know, the president may talk about America First, but essentially what he's saying is America is for sale to the highest bidder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Do you agree?
BOOT: I agree completely. It's not America First, it's American arms sales first. And Donald Trump is vastly exaggerating the benefits that we get from those arm sales. As we pointed out on this network time after time there's not $110 billion worth of U.S. arms that's being sold to Saudi Arabia. The actual figure is about $14 billion. It is not creating thousands of American jobs. It is creating maybe a few hundred American jobs. And the Saudis cannot readily go to another arms buyer anyway because they are locked into American arms. Their entire military is equipped the American hardware so they can't just go to the Chinese or Russians. So this notion that we have to sacrifice our principles for the price of oil or because we want to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, it's repugnant. We don't need to do that. We are a giant economy. We don't need the Saudis. They need us far more than we need them. And we can afford to hold them accountable for this terrible crime they committed.
CABRERA: Max Boot, thanks for being here. I appreciate --
BOOT: Thank you.
CABRERA: -- your prospective.
Big developments in the Russian probe. An associate of Trump ally, Roger Stone, confirming he's in plea negotiations with Robert Mueller's team. What this means for the investigation.
Plus, James Comey fighting a subpoena from House Republicans to testify unless it is opened to the public. Does he have case?
[16:40:08] CABRERA: Big developments in the Russia probe. As associate of the president's friend and longtime advisor, Roger Stone, is in, quote, "plea negotiations" with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Jerome Corsi is his name. he's a well-known conspiracy theorist. His role in the investigation largely revolves around the possibility he may have been an intermediary between Stone and WikiLeaks, the site that released the hacked e-mails of the DNC and Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta in the leadup to the 2016 elections.
During a radio interview, Roger Stone was on the defense and he said there's no way he could be incriminated because of this potential Corsi deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, POLITICAL OPERATIVE & TRUMP ADVISOR (voice-over): This idea that Jerry Corsi could implicate me, there's simply no evidence whatsoever that would show that I knew about the source or the content of any allegedly stolen e-mails or any allegedly hacked e-mails that were published by WikiLeaks. Just not so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Stone also said Corsi is under a tremendous amount of pressure and he is being asked over and over to say things he doesn't actually believe occurred.
Joining us now, Robert Mueller's former special assistant at the DOJ, Michael Zeldin, also a CNN legal analyst.
Michael, Happy Thanksgiving.
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: To you, too.
CABRERA: Thanks for being here this weekend.
ZELDIN: My pleasure.
CABRERA: How critical could Jerome Corsi be to this investigation into whether there was any collusion with Russia?
ZELDIN: It depends on what he knows, Ana. What you set up is correct, that he's alleged to be an intermediary between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks, the organization that published the hacked emails. If he knows something about Roger Stone conspiring in anyway with WikiLeaks or Guccifer 2.0, the organization that Mueller accused of hacking, he could be an important witness in this collusion aspect of the Mueller investigation. We don't know what he knows, and we don't know, therefore, when we say he's in plea negotiations, whether he's in plea negotiations with a cooperation agreement or whether he's just trying to reduce any time that he may serve because Mueller believes that he lied on multiple occasions to Mueller, and therefore, he, like Papadopoulos, is trying to get a one-count plea and 14 days in jail.
CABRERA: When Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani talked about president's written answers to Mueller, which were apparently handed over earlier this week, he spoke to Axios, which reported this: "Mueller asked about the Russian hacks during the campaign that immediately followed Trump's 2016, July 27, 2016 press conference in Florida when Trump said, 'Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 Hillary Clinton emails that are missing.'"
So we know Mueller has been circling Stone. Could Corsi essentially be the smoking gun, and the Russian hackers and WikiLeaks, who are working with the Trump campaign?
ZELDIN: Yes. It's possible. It's very possible that there's a trio of people, Corsi, Randy Credico, another person alleged to be in the middle, and Stone, and maybe even if you want to expand it, Don Jr, because he, too, was in touch with WikiLeaks over the course of this run up to the election. And if Mueller believes that the dealing with WikiLeaks, with knowledge that the contents of what WikiLeaks was distributing was stolen, violates the law, then, yes, all of those people could be under his microscope of criminal activity for that conspiracy.
What we have seen from Mueller so far is hacking and social media indictments by Russians against Americans with notions that there were unwitting Americans involved in those schemes. This implicates the possibility that there were knowing Americans participating in the process or Americans knowingly participating in the process, I guess that's way you say it in English.
ZELDIN: That's what we have to see.
CABRERA: I hear what you're saying. Again, still no evidence at this point that we know of that Mueller has revealed that there was a direct link to the Trump campaign. That's why Corsi seems to be an interesting sort of piece of the puzzle, potentially.
CABRERA: Now within the last few weeks we have now left in power for Republicans, those on the House Judiciary Committee fired off subpoenas to former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Comey tweeted this "Happy Thanksgiving. I got a subpoena from House Republicans. I'm happy to sit in the light and answer questions but I will resist a closed-door thing because I've seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion. Let's have a hearing and invite everyone to see."
He wants an open hearing. Does he have a case to get his way?
[16:45:00] ZELDIN: No. In strict legal sense, the witness is subpoenaed and the House determines how they want to hear that witness testimony. Now he can resist it and the House can then make the decision about whether to hold him in contempt, then go the U.S. attorney's office in the District of Columbia and get a contempt citation. But by the time that's all done, they will no longer be the majority party in the House. I think it behooves both parties to try to reach an accommodation if they really think that Comey has something valuable to add at this point. My personal view is Comey has told us everything we need to know, same with Loretta Lynch, the former attorney general under Obama, who also has received a subpoena. I don't think there's anything new to be learned by these people. It looks to be more theatrical than tying up loose ends of a vibrant investigation. But Comey doesn't have the power to say no if House to wants to enforce it in court. CABRERA: Ken Starr, the former independent counsel who investigated
Bill Clinton, said, if Mueller finds evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump, he has a couple of options. One, refer the evidence to Congress for impeachment, or as Starr is speculating, two, wait until after Trump leaves the White House to indict him. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN STARR, FORMER INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: My own view is the president can be indicted, but that's not the Justice Department's view. It then becomes an issue for after the president leaves office in terms of the possible criminal approach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Michael, you know Mueller. Would he just wait, possibly, years?
ZELDIN: Well, it would depend on statute of limitations issues for one. For example, if Mueller believed that the president of the United States committed a crime for which he should be indicted, but that that indictment will not be available to him in two or six years from now because of statute of limitations problems, then he might really argue hard for the ability to indict the president now while in office, to return a sealed indictment that nobody knows about to preserve the positive a post-presidency prosecution. It's hard to imagine that Mueller is going to buck the Justice Department, if the Justice Department tells him that he has no case to bring against the president. But Ken Starr is correct that the president is subject to indictment once he leaves office. According to Justice Department policy, he can't be indicted while in office. And he can do what Ken Starr did, which is refer to the House and let them resolve this in a political arena.
CABRERA: We'll see what happens.
Michael Zeldin, good to see you. Thank you very much.
ZELDIN: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: Coming up, is the Leaning Tower of Pisa now leaning less? What's behind an unusual correction at this famous landmark, next.
[16:52:40] CABRERA: In Minnesota, authorities suspect a gas leak caused a massive house explosion. This surveillance video taken from a grocery store nearby shows the sudden blast in the distance, sending a fireball of debris and glass flying into the air. Residents as far away as five miles away felt this explosion. Now the home itself was levelled. Officials say a man was found inside and taken to a nearby hospital and amazingly he's expected to make a full recovery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(SHOUTING) (END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The U.S. Coast Guard is now opening an investigation to determine what caused this ferry with dozens of people on board to ram into a dock in San Francisco. According to our affiliate, KGO, the crash broke the concrete and metal railing on the dock and punctured the boat's metal hull. Witnesses say there was no warning before the crash. Only two people suffered minor injuries.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is leaning a little less. After extension architectural work over several years, the Italian bell tower has lost about 1.5 inches of its famous lean. While this may not seem like a lot, experts say this will keep the landmark from falling for at least the next 200 years.
Being a business startup founder is hard. Being a female founder, that's even more difficult. Here's how one entrepreneur made flowers a big business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINA STEMBEL, FOUNDER, FARMGIRL FLOWERS: Everybody assumes that women that start creative businesses that are in the female-centric space must have started it out of a passion project. I knew nothing about flowers. Nothing I started it because I saw a big opportunity.
Farmgirl Flowers is a direct-to- consumer e-commerce flower company. Weirdly, it was the last undisrupted space in Silicon Valley. Instead of having hundreds of options, we offer a few higher quality better arrangements for similar prices because our prices are lower than our competitors.
Back in 2010, I had $49,000 in the bank account so I started that as the initial investment. As a solo female founder, I have less than 2 percent chance of raising capital, statistically speaking. It's hard to go up against a bunch of guys that have been able to raise $10 to $50 million and mimic the ingenuity and creativity that we put into the business that I came up with.
[16:55:11] Growing up in Indiana, I didn't even know that was an option to start a business. I hope that we change that moving forward where more men and women will see women in leadership positions and as CEOs of companies and so it won't seem so strange. And then younger boys and girls can think, hey, that's an opportunity, I can start a business, I can be CEO of a company.
(END VIDEO CLIP)