Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR

Interview with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL); Roger Stone Expected to Speak after Court Appearance & Release. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired January 25, 2019 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me now is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Democrat from Illinois.

Congressman, thanks for coming in.

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI, (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: I just want to get your reaction to, first, the Roger Stone indictment.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think these are very serious allegations. Regardless of what the White House says, I believe and I think a lot of folks believe that we are starting to see allegations that relate to conspiracy and collusion. The second issue is this is the second time that the Mueller folks have indicted somebody because of lying to Congress. It's a very serious felony. I think that anybody who comes before the Intel Committee or any other committee of Congress, including the Oversight Committee on which I sit, have to know that you have to tell the full truth or you will face similar consequences.

BOLDUAN: And to that point, House Intel would be the committee now to deal with the developments on the congressional side of this investigation. The indictment extensively cites the interview given to the House Intelligence Committee and the efforts to get Randy Credico to not give an interview to House Intelligence. You weren't on the committee at that time. Now how does the intelligence -- what does the Intelligence Committee do with this new information? What do you want to see happen?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, first of all, I believe the Intelligence Committee will release all the transcripts that Mr. Mueller requests related to all the interviews with different witnesses, in part, because, as we have seen, Mr. Mueller is very interested in knowing what was said to the Intelligence Committee and whether any other witnesses lied. With regard to other actions, I think, Chairman Schiff has mentioned before, I think the Intel Committee will do everything to continue its investigation of this Russia affair and to produce a report for the American people to see.

BOLDUAN: One line in the indictment I want to ask you about. It was after the first release of DNC e-mails. It reads this: "A senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization One" -- which is WikiLeaks -- "had regarding the Clinton campaign."

When you hear that someone in the Trump campaign was directed to reach out to Stone about future releases, what does that mean to you that Mueller put the line in the indictment?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: That was a very curious line. We don't know, A, who actually did the directing. B, I don't know who was being directed. However, you know that WikiLeaks is alleged to have been furnished hacked e-mails by the Russians. Now we know there was a linkage between the Trump Organization and WikiLeaks via Roger Stone. The question is whether WikiLeaks was instructed or any communications were directed to them by the Trump campaign with regard to how to use those hacked e-mails that were provided by the Russians.

BOLDUAN: We don't --

(CROSSTALK)

KRISHNAMOORTHI: That would be conspiracy.

BOLDUAN: We don't see that in the indictment.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: We haven't seen the information about that.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Correct. We haven't seen that in the indictment.

BOLDUAN: You said that would lead to conspiracy. If that would be true.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Yes, ma'am.

BOLDUAN: But that is not what we see in here. From Roger Stone's attorney, in response to this, this morning, he says that Roger Stone is vindicated because you don't see any conspiracy charge, I.E., collusion, coming out. That is not what he is charged with right now. Does he have a point?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Only in so far as those words are not in there. However, I think that the question is, what do other witnesses and what do those people, who are doing the directing and the people who are being directed from the campaign, have to say, as well? I think we know that Mr. Mueller is not going to leave any Stone unturned so to speak.

BOLDUAN: That would be -- that term is forever charged with Roger Stone being part of the conversation.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Yes, ma'am.

BOLDUAN: The White House today said this has nothing to do with the president or the White House. And there's nothing in this indictment that contradicts that. That came from Sarah Sanders. Does Sarah Sanders have a point? KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think that, again, we don't see the words White

House. We don't see the words Donald Trump in the indictment, but I think that all the fingers and all the arrows are starting to get pointed in that direction. We have to see, again, what do Trump campaign officials, who were supposedly referenced in this particular indictment, have to say. Of course, we don't know the communications between the president and Mr. Stone.

[11:35:00] BOLDUAN: Do you have one Trump campaign official in mind that you would like to see in light of this indictment come before your committee to answer some questions?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: No, I don't. I don't have anyone in particular in mind. We know that Paul Manafort, of course, the chairman of the campaign, I don't know whether the timing coincides exactly with his tenure. As you know, there are a lot of other people on the Trump campaign.

BOLDUAN: A lot of people that fit the bill of a senior Trump campaign official.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am.

BOLDUAN: You are on two key committees considering the conversations we are having right now, Congressman. The House Oversight Committee, you also sit on that committee. Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney, this week he was given a subpoena to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee, after he declined to appear before House Oversight, your committee. Do you think House Oversight or House Intel will be subpoenaing him to appear? Do you think they should?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think that Chairman Cummings, of the Oversight Committee, and his staff are currently working with Michael Cohen and his attorneys to assure their family safety. As you know, the reason why he did not want to appear before the Oversight Committee on February 7 was because of threats to his family. I think that he will appear before the Oversight Committee at some point, in part, because, as you know, the Oversight Committee ultimately does have subpoena power. I'm hoping that they can voluntarily appear. I expect them to do so.

BOLDUAN: Do you think that will happen before he is expected to report to prison in the beginning of March?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I hope so. You know, I think that we need to allow him to tell his full story to the American people in an open hearing. I think the Oversight Committee is the right place to do it.

BOLDUAN: I do question, what are the assurances, if you will, that Elijah Cummings or anyone in Congress can give Michael Cohen if what he is really afraid of is threats coming from, he says, threats to his family coming from the president and his personal attorney?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: What I know is what I have read and heard in the press with regard to those threats. Apparently, they are specific threats. I don't know the exact nature of those threats. But apparently, that is what is being discussed between the committee and Michael Cohen. I just want to make one thing very clear. These intimidation tactics are mob tactics and they have no place in our system of government.

BOLDUAN: I think everyone should be able to agree with that, Congressman.

KRISHNAMOOTHI: Yes, ma'am.

BOLDUAN: There's an interesting and sad wrinkle to the arrest of Roger Stone that is connected with the other big story that we are following, which is the shutdown. The FBI agents that arrested Roger Stone are a few of the thousands of federal employees that are being forced to work without being paid right now. That leads me to wonder this. Why not give a little to get a lot? Give some money for a wall to get these people their paychecks and get others back to work?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think that we have to open the government and then talk about border security and the regular process. The American people, in overwhelming numbers, you see every poll, want to open the government first. We see the consequences of not doing so. For instance, the slowdown in flights at LaGuardia and Philadelphia and so forth. The American people --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Especially with that, don't you agree that every day counts here in this crisis?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Every day counts. At this point, every day counts. We are seeing all kinds of collateral damage to innocent people. But open the government now. In the House, we have passed bill after bill after bill opening every single agency. With regard to the Homeland Security Department, which has jurisdiction over border security, there, we said, OK, let's open it up for a temporary period and, during that time, let's debate and discuss border security. Let's do this in a regular order and the right way, but don't hold the American people or our government hostage. The president said from the beginning he owns the shutdown and now he owns the consequences of the shutdown, as well.

BOLDUAN: Sounds to me, from you, Congressman, there's no budging from the Democratic side right now.

I appreciate you coming on in the slew of things we were able to touch on today. Thanks so much, Congressman.

Coming up for us --

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you.

[11:39:30] BOLDUAN: -- Roger Stone. We have more breaking news coming in. Roger Stone just finished up that first court appearance. He is expected to speak any moment after being released on $250,000 bond. Yes, Roger Stone, who is now facing federal charges, is going to be speaking to cameras. We'll bring that to you. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Roger Stone, the longtime Trump associate, who was just in a federal courtroom in Florida, is expected to speak any moment after being released on a $250,000 bond.

Let me get back to Nick Valencia, in Florida, who was in the courtroom. He's outside the courtroom right now.

Nick, what is going on there right now?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a remarkable sight to see inside the federal courtroom, Kate, just to see all the reporters that were inside, the crush of people trying to get inside the gallery. Many reporters were shut out. And then to see Roger Stone, handcuffed with his hands resting in front of him, shackled around his waist and ankles, dressed in civilian clothes. His hair slightly disheveled after being woken up this morning by the FBI when they went to his resident.

[11:45:09] He was very polite to the judge, understanding the instructions. She read the counts that he is facing, the seven counts that he is facing regarding -- as listed in the indictment, I should say, Kate. The conditions of his release were a $250,000 signature bond. He will not need to put money down so long as he continues to appear before the court when he is notified. Some other conditions related to the release, two additional conditions, standard substance abuse testing as agreed to in pretrial, as well as the ability for him to continue see a doctor he is currently seeing. He has travel restrictions that were read out loud in the court. He is only allowed to go to three areas here in south Florida, eastern district of New York and eastern district of Washington, D.C., and Virginia. He is not allowed to change his address. He has to forfeit his passport, to which he responded to the judge that he currently does not have a valid passport, that it has expired.

But this was his first appearance or his removal hearing, his identity hearing. He waived his right of removal. We expect the next time to see him to be in a Washington, D.C., court - Kate?

BOLDUAN: Nick Valencia, he is outside the courtroom. When Roger Stone and his attorney come out to speak, we will bring that to you.

While we await that, let me bring back in my panel for a second.

Renato Mariotti is back with me.

Renato, if you were representing Roger Stone right now, if he was your client, would you let him leave the courtroom to speak right now?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I would not. Roger Stone has done a number of things that have really hurt his case here. He is already on Instagram today posting silly images trying to suggest he has been framed. One of the worst things that Stone has done for himself in general in this entire investigation has been to continue talking to others and talking to the public. He would not be charged with this indictment today if he just kept his mouth shut. The reason that Stone is indicted today is because his own words, both to Congress, which form the basis of the lies, and to other witnesses in the form of threats and persuading them not to testify, are what resulted in the charges. All Stone can do is get himself into more trouble. Stone's problem is that he is his own best witness against himself.

BOLDUAN: Asha, when Nick Valencia said, when asked to forfeit his passport, which is standard, that he said that he didn't have a passport, it was expired, is that the reason he is not considered a flight risk?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No. I think they would look at a number of other factors in determining whether he is a flight risk. Even if he did have a valid passport, he would be required to forfeit it.

I have to agree with Renato here that he has hurt his case. I think we need to emphasize the big picture, which is that his participation puts the link between WikiLeaks, which is connected to Russia, into the campaign. Earlier, Sarah Sanders seemed to try to spin this as something that Roger Stone was doing in his personal time or that all these charges, but we just continue to see this convergence. Mueller has the receipts. He knows what conversations have been happening, the texts, phone calls, who was directing whom in the campaign. That should make the White House very worried.

BOLDUAN: You raise a good point. In the broader context of firsts here, Renato -- I was taking notes as I was thinking about this -- this is the first indictment dealing with communications with WikiLeaks and the DNC e-mails. This is the first indication that the Mueller team believes that Team Trump knew about the hacks to the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign. This is the first time that anyone in the Russia probe has been arrested in the manner that he was this morning with the FBI raid. This is different from what we have seen.

MARIOTTI: There's no question about that. We already know Mueller has indicted a lot of Russian individuals, Russian intelligence operatives and so forth for the hacking of those e-mails and hacking of other servers in the United States. The question has been, what was the involvement of the Trump campaign. That has been on the top of everyone's mind. I think what we saw today in this indictment is Roger Stone was working with other people and, at times at, the direction of others. I heard you asking the congressman about that a moment ago. We don't know exactly who in the Trump campaign he was in communications with. There's no question that some senior people in the Trump campaign were very interested in these WikiLeaks e-mails, were trying to coordinate with WikiLeaks, were trying to get information from WikiLeaks. The only question remaining is, is there enough proof to charge them with criminally being responsible for that?

[11:50:04] I will say, it's an amazing thing that we're sitting here talking about whether or not they've committed a felony. I don't know if that is the standard that Americans care about or not. I imagine, from a public interest perspective and a political perspective, even if you can't prove that beyond a reasonable doubt, the mere fact that there were these connections and these efforts to coordinate with WikiLeaks, which, of course, as Asha mentioned, was working with Russian intelligence would be of great concern to the public.

BOLDUAN: And just for our viewers, if you're just tuning in, what you're looking at on the right side of your screen, this is a crowd gathering outside a federal courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Inside that court is where Roger Stone just had his first appearance. And we are told he is expected to come out with his attorney and he will be giving a statement any moment now. We'll bring that to you.

While we wait for that, I do want to bring up the one key line -- there are many, many key lines in this indictment. But let me bring Dana in on this.

The one key line that Sarah Sanders was asked about maybe three, maybe more times, and she did not directly answer, is the following line: "A senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization One, WikiLeaks, had regarding the Clinton campaign. Stone, thereafter, told the Clinton campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by WikiLeaks."

So to summarize, there was someone that was senior enough in the Trump campaign to be in the position to direct another senior Trump campaign official to reach out --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: -- to Roger Stone in the summer of 2016.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. And I've heard one of our legal experts talking on CNN this morning about the fact that that is reading a lot into it, but it's important, because I know this is where you're going, Kate, that that is using sort of a passive tense in that graph to refer to being directed. Not evening intentionally leaving out the notion that somebody had to do the directing, and who could that be. Who could that be? Who could be as important as this person clearly was to do the directing. And it goes back to what you and I were talking about earlier in the hour, which is, just to state it flatly, the person who was in touch with Roger Stone, we understand, was Donald Trump, was the candidate, which is why that graph is so important and --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: And for everybody out there, and I know you know this, Dana, we've heard this from Cory Lewandowski, who was the one-time Trump campaign manager, then not. He talked about it -- I think it was even John Berman doing the interview -- saying Roger Stone was like the thorn in their side. He would call, and they'd be like, oh, it's Roger Stone again. And he would be trying -- it was an annoyance to those within the campaign that Roger Stone would continue calling and Donald Trump would continue taking the calls. BASH: I'm glad you brought that up. That's a great point. That's

exhibit A of what we're discussing. It happened. We knew real-time during the campaign it would befuddle people who were around the president because, by nature, the president likes to reach out. He likes to know what people are saying, what people are thinking, what people are hearing. Even people who he has dismissed from his orbit officially. They're not ever -- it's like the Hotel California. You can check out but you can't ever leave.

(LAUGHTER)

And that is true particularly for people who don't want to be checking out of the Trump orbit. And Roger Stone was that person. And so that is why that particular graph in this indictment is so important. And I'm glad that you showed our viewers, once again, what it said.

BOLDUAN: Asha, what's your take on that graph, if you will? When you read it, you think what? When you see the word "directed" used in that graph, what do you take from it?

RANGAPPA: Yes, I think Dana got it exactly right. There's the passive voice, which we like to avoid in writing, definitely in legal writing, so I think that was deliberate and it suggests there was someone higher than the senior official.

I just want to entertain kind of what the alternative would be, right? I mean, the White House is continuing to ask us to believe that Candidate Trump was so disconnected from what his -- the members of his own campaign were doing that he had no idea what, you know, was happening with his Trump Tower meeting, that he had no idea that there were other people in his campaign talking to WikiLeaks. I mean, I don't think that that is actually a great narrative either, that the candidate was off in Lalaland and all these people were having contacts with Russia and Russians and, you know, making all of these plans. But I think increasingly, as John Berman mentioned in his interview with Sarah Sanders, this is now the sixth person in the campaign that has been ensnared in Mueller's net. They almost have no choice but to get to, you know, the candidate was a space cadet and had no idea what was going on because that's really the only defense they're going to have.

[11:55:30] BOLDUAN: Yes.

Renato, give me a final thought on where this goes from here. What's your biggest question now that comes from this indictment and what comes next?

MARIOTTI: Well, the big question a couple of you have been talking about is, what did Trump know and when did he know it? But I think the more immediate question is, to me, what did Steve Bannon know and what has he been hiding from Congress? In other words, you know, Steve Bannon said almost nothing to Congress. He was refusing to testify about a wide variety of matters, claiming executive privilege. He's going to have to do some answering in the weeks to come.

BOLDUAN: Here we go. Happy Friday, everybody. Thanks. I really appreciate it, guys. Thanks for walking through all of it. And thanks for sticking with us this hour.

Just to remind all our viewers, Roger Stone is expected to speak any moment after this early morning raid in Florida of his home and his arrest and his first court appearance that just wrapped up. He is released on bail. Stay with us. We'll bring you that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)