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Op-Ed: 18 Reasons Why Trump May be Russian Agent; British P.M. Makes Last-Ditch Plea Ahead of Brexit Vote; A.G. Nominee Says Mueller Should Be Allowed to Finish Probe; Jayme Closs Kidnapper Confesses Ahead of Court Appearance. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 14, 2019 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: If you listen to Trump himself, he says nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have. That's ridiculous. He has not been tough on Russia. There have been a few things tough on Russia that have occurred, they've been the work of Congress, like the 2017 Sanctions Act, or the work of aides, such as the expulsion of diplomatic. And the reporting has been that when Donald Trump is opposed to more sanctions and when he's found out, he was furious. This was not what Donald Trump wanted to do.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And it was your own paper who broke the stunning story of Trump in Hamburg when he met with Vladimir Putin. Not only did he tell the interpreter who was in the room to get rid of the notes, he said, and don't tell my own administration about what we've discussed.

BOOT: Exactly. I cannot imagine an innocent explanation for that kind of behavior. Why on earth would a U.S. president want to conceal his dealings with the Russian president from his own aides? And yet Donald Trump did that. He had a one-on-one meeting in Hamburg with Putin at a G-20 dinner where the only other person present was Putin's interpreter. Then the Helsinki summit where Trump was supine before Putin. He looked like he was scared of Putin. He had that one-on-one meeting. And according to the "Washington Post" reporter you just cited, Trump's aides still don't know what happened in Helsinki. They never got a full readout of Trump's meeting with Putin. That's as fishy as you can get.

BALDWIN: I just had a member of the House Foreign Relations on, a Democrat, who said he hopes his committee will subpoena this interpreter. What's the likelihood you think that would happen?

BOOT: I think it will be hard. They will assert executive


BOOT: The administration will exert executive privilege and there's a reasonable case. In general, you want presidents to feel free to speak around interpreters without being subpoenaed by Congress. But this is an extraordinary case. Not a normal presidency. Not a normal case. I still don't know if they'll be successful. I think we're really relying on Robert Mueller to get to the bottom of this.

BALDWIN: OK. OK. Max Boot. Thank you and your 18 reasons why.

BOOT: And I keep hearing on Twitter, there are more reasons. I missed a few. It's staggering, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Footnote. You can continue us tomorrow.

BOOT: Right.

BALDWIN: Max, thank you very much.

BOOT: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, Brexit. Brexit voters have a message to their politicians: Stop bickering and do something. Sound familiar? We'll talk to Richard Quest about tomorrow's crucial vote and what it could mean for the rest of the world.

And just in, the suspect accused of kidnapping Wisconsin teenager, Jayme Closs, has admitted to killing her parents and revealed why he specifically chose to target her. This is according to prosecutors as the suspect is about to appear in court. We'll have a live report coming up.


[14:36:51] BALDWIN: On the eve of this pivotal Brexit vote, Prime Minister May issuing this dire warning that Britain's planned exit from the E.U. could be in jeopardy if members of parliament vote down her deal. Today, speaking before parliament, the prime minister made a last-ditch plea to give her Brexit deal a second chance for the country's sake.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Over these next 24 hours, give this deal a second look. No, it is not perfect and, yes, it is a compromise. But when the history books are written, people will look at the decision --


MAY: -- people --


MAY: -- people will look --


MAY: -- people will look at the decision of this House tomorrow and ask, did we deliver on the country's vote to leave the European Union.


MAY: Did we safeguard our economy, our security and our union? (SHOUTING)

MAY: Or did we let British people down?


BALDWIN: Let's go to London and bring in CNN Business editor-at- large, Richard Quest.

Richard, tomorrow is the big vote. It's been delayed since December. Puts her at great risk. Isn't there a real chance that the vote loses and loses badly?

RICHARED QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE & CNN HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": I'll go further, Brooke. There's not a great chance she'll lose. She's going to lose and lose big. If she wins tomorrow, then I promise you, there will be many of us here in London who will be absolutely wondering what earthquake happened. Everybody you speak to expects the prime minister to lose and lose big. What this is really all about is what comes next. She said, if she loses, the only way forward is to postpone Brexit. That may mean it never happens at all. That's threatening. But she will lose tomorrow. There's total confusion about what comes next. And in many ways, at the moment, as "the New York Times" pointed out this weekend, the U.K. and the U.S. are very similar. Both are paralyzed at the level of government.

BALDWIN: But wouldn't this make the chance of a second referendum even more likely?

QUEST: Depends who you speak to. Yes, I could give a good argument that says she loses, no majority in parliament for any particular options. Therefore, the people must decide. Or you've got, she loses, parliament can't decide, has to be a general election. Or -- and this is frightening bit to many people -- she ,loses no agreement in parliament, two or three weeks to go, the U.K. crashes out of the European Union.

There are many ways that this could go. Frankly, none of them are particularly good.

BALDWIN: We'll be talking again I have a feeling tomorrow about this vote in London


BALDWIN: Richard Quest, thank you very much. Good to see you, my friend.

QUEST: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, the man nominated to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general is about to be in the hot seat. And among the questions is, will William Barr protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. We'll get into that.

[14:40:04] Also, in 48 hours, President Trump has shared his feelings on everyone, from Jeff Bezos to Michael Cohen's father-in-law, but when asked about the racist comments made by Steve King, Trump claims he knows nothing about it. Does that pass the smell test? That's what we're asking today.


BALDWIN: We have new revelations coming out on this new Russia investigation. If the public will see the final report rests on the shoulders of one man, President Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr. His confirmation hearing begins tomorrow. And there's one big question going into it. Will he block the release of Robert Mueller's investigation?

[14:45:06] In his prepared text, which he will be delivering tomorrow, Bill Barr says, quote, "I believe it is in the best interest of everyone that this matter be resolved by allowing the special counsel to complete his work."

CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, is here with a preview of what to expect.

Jessica, what should we listen for?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, the president's pick for attorney general promising two major things. First, to let the Mueller probe move forward and not interfere. Then, second, to even let the public see the end results.

That likely won't quiet what is bound to be a very contentious hearing. This is a new Congress. So the Senate Judiciary Committee has taken on new members and a new chairman. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham will be at the helm of the committee. We'll hear from him first, before William Barr even speaks. Then on the Democratic side, we have some familiar faces who were all quite vocal during the Kavanaugh hearings, all of whom may want to make sure mark as they contemplate running for president, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar. Their central theme will be, is Barr willing to protect the special counsel.

We saw in prepared testimony, Barr will address that concern head on. The testimony was released this morning. Barr will say this tomorrow. He will say, "First, I believe it is vitally important that the special counsel be allowed to complete his investigation. Second, I believe it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of special counsel's work." Barr saying he'll be transparent.

Also, he addressed a memo he drafted that Democrats had heavily criticized where Barr suggested that, under certain legal statutes, the president could not have obstructed justice for firing James Comey.

So Barr pushing back on criticism. He'll put it this way in his testimony when he'll say, "The memo did not address or in any way question the special counsel's core investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, nor did it address other potential obstruction of justice theories or argue, as some have erroneously suggested, that a president can never obstruct justice." So that's from William Barr.

But the question will be, will all of this and these statements quell Barr's critics and the outspoken Democratic voices on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Barr's hearing comes about four months after the somewhat ugly confirmation hearing of now Justice Brett Kavanaugh. So really, Brooke, the gloves could be off when it comes to William Barr's hearing. And all of these heightened questions now about the president and Russia, William Barr sure to get hammered by these Democrats on all these questions -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: We'll take the whole thing live. We invite everyone to follow along with us.

Jessica Schneider, thank you so, much from D.C.

Coming up next, just horrific new details are starting to emerge of what happened the night 13-year-old Jayme Closs was kidnapped and her parents were killed nearly three months ago as the suspect is about to appear at his court. Stay here.


[14:52:43] BALDWIN: We are following breaking news in the kidnapping of Jayme Closs. Court documents reveal the main suspect here, Jake Patterson, has confessed, not only kidnapping the 13-year-old but admitted to killing her mother and her father. Closs is now safe and reunited with other family members. One of her aunts shared this photo of them together.

But we are getting new details about what happened. And these pictures obtained by the "Daily Mail" that show the conditions inside the home where police say Patterson held her captive.

The suspect is due in court this afternoon in Wisconsin.

And that is where we find CNN's Jean Casarez.

And so, Jean, starting with this criminal complaint, there are all kinds of details now coming out. My question, number one, is, why did he target this family?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, we didn't understand why. The sheriff told me it was a random act, but the murder of her parents was well planned. This is allegedly. He is just charged at this point.

But I have the complaint with details that I think we didn't dream of. He, according to the complaint, told himself -- told authorities that he saw her get on the school bus one morning as he is on his way to work. So at this point, he saw her, he saw her identity, and he saw the house she came from. He didn't know who lived in that house but he knew that she was the one that he wanted to abduct, the one he wanted to take.

So he made a lot of plans. Went to Walmart, bought a black mask. He had gloves, two pairs of gloves. He was dressed in black. He went to the home a couple of times, a couple of nights, but there were cars parked around. He didn't do it. Another time, people were walking in the house. He got scared and didn't do it.

Finally, at one point, he went there one night in October, and Jayme, in part of this complaint, she says the whole family was asleep and heard a car coming up the driveway, and woke up her mother and father. So her father went to the front door. And the defendant says when he got out of the car and went to the front door, he saw James Closs and he was right there with a flashlight aiming out, and he told him, "drop down." And he didn't do it. So he took his father's shotgun -- is what he had brought with him -- and he fired one shot through the glass to his head and he went down.


[14:55:14] CASAREZ: He then tried to get in the front door and he couldn't because the body was there. So he finally had to shoot open the door. He stepped over her father and looked through the house and saw one door that was shut. It was locked. He tried to get through. It was barricaded. Went through it with his shoulder five to 10 times. He got into that bathroom and there was Jayme and her mother in the bathtub. And her mother had her arms around Jayme.

He had his gun with him. He got out his black masking tape and the duct tape and he gave a piece to the mother and said, "Put it over her mouth." The mother was struggling to do it. So the defendant says in the complaint, he put his shotgun down and he put tape over her mouth and around her head, had her get out of the bathtub, bound her hands, her ankles, and then took the shotgun and fired one shot into the head of her mother. And he, according to the complaint, confessed he killed her mother.

He then had to drag her out because she was blindfolded. Put her in the trunk. Jayme says she thought she was in the trunk for two hours. They heard sirens not long after they started driving. But finally they get to a house. He said it was his. He takes her out of the truck. Gets her into the house. Takes the tape off and tells her to disrobe. "Get your clothes off." And he said he put the, was going to put the clothes in a bag to destroy any type of forensic evidence.

She said that during the month of captivity, that he would leave the house at points of time, but he would put her under his bed, barricaded with things and weights so she couldn't get out. Sometimes she was under that bed for hours.

Last Thursday, he did the same thing. He said he was going to be gone for three or four hours and she was under the bed. She said she was able to push away the boxes and the weights. She got out. She found a pair of his shoes, put them on, got out of the house. And that is when she finally found a lady walking her dog and she walked up to her and she said, "I'm Jayme." And this community, we're in the northern woods of Wisconsin. This

community has been plastered with her pictures. The lady knew exactly who she was and took her to the neighbor's house. And they called 911 as Jayme began to describe the man that took her. They were asking her subtle questions. What was the color of his car? And about 10 minutes later, he was pulled over and he was arrested -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: My god, Jean. All these details. And it's you know, she's OK. Thank goodness and was able to push those boxes out of the way. But she's lost two of her parents brutally. She's with her aunt. Several members of her family are expected in court as is this deranged individual. What's happening there now?

CASAREZ: At this point, he has been charged, according to the complaint, with two counts of intentional homicide in the first- degree, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary. Additional counts can come at any time.

They are allowing Jayme to talk when she wants to talk. They're not prodding her with questions at all. We heard one member of her family was saying she would smile and talk, then another moment she would just look distant like she was somewhere else. I think it will take time for authorities to hear everything. Elizabeth Smart is an example of that. It took her a long time to talk about what she went through. But this is the beginning of justice for this family.

And the defendant has two public defenders and they will be with him in court today. He is innocent until proven guilty. And just because he confessed in this complaint does not mean that he will enter a guilty plea, by any means. So we'll see what happens in court today.

BALDWIN: I hope this family gets the justice they deserve.

Jean Casarez, for us in Barron, Wisconsin. Thank you.

You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Top of the hour here.

And mark this moment. Today, the president of the United States denied that he is a Russian agent. And by the way, how extraordinary is it that the question even had to be asked in the first place? This is where we are.


TRUMP: I never worked for Russia. And you know that answer better than anybody. I never worked for Russia. Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it's a disgrace that you even asked that question. Because it's a whole big, fat hoax. It's just a hoax.


[15:00:07] BALDWIN: This is what we're talking about as 800,000 federal workers struggle to make ends meet in the longest government shutdown --