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Stone Arrested and Indictment Released; Manafort in Court; Search Warrants at Stone's Homes; Senators Talk Solutions; Interview with Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI). Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired January 25, 2019 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Question. These questions aren't going to go away for the White House. As you look at this, again, the sixth person, sixth Trump associate charged in the special counsel investigation, does this change anything for the White House in terms of messaging here?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know that it will change anything on messaging. I agree with Alice's point that their strategy is, you know, sort of defensive, but then get very offensive. And it's not particularly effective. And I think it's driven by the fact that everyone who goes out, the president's watching. And if they don't attack in Donald Trump's style, they won't have a job for much longer.
But, you know, I -- to Alice's first point, yes, Roger Stone is all of those things. But Roger Stone is the longest serving political aide to Donald Trump. And I think what we're finding is Donald Trump surrounds himself with unsavory characters. Donald Trump surrounds himself with criminals. And the more we hear about this, the more the case is built that Donald Trump himself may be an unsavory character who is a criminal.
And to say, you know, Sarah -- to argue that this has nothing to do with the White House, this has everything to do with the White House. It has -- you know, we -- there are people who have worked in the White House who were indicted. This is about the campaign and the senior leadership of the campaign. And there is a legitimate question now about if these criminal activities didn't happen would Donald Trump even be in the White House.
The last point I'd make is, you know, John Berman really pressed her on, you know, trying to get, is the president the person who is directing or not. And in a very indirect way she answered at the end. She sort of boldly stated, the president didn't do anything wrong. That's a denial. I'm not sure that that statement's going to hold up over time.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
Well, Joe, but to be clear, he asked her repeatedly, was he that person, was he involved in these communications. There's a simple answer to that question. If you're the spokesperson for the president of the United States, if it's true, no. And you, Joe, have been -- I saw you at the podium during the Lewinsky issue. You -- you were put in a position of having to answer questions, sometimes I imagine where you -- where you might not have known what the president's position is.
SCIUTTO: As you heard Sarah Sanders there, was she protecting herself for the possibility that the president was involved? And is that an explanation for the non-answer?
LOCKHART: Yes, my guess is she doesn't know because -- because the way the law works, if she walked into the Oval Office this morning and said, hey, Mr. President, are you this person, she becomes a fact finder. She has no privilege. She'll be in the grand jury tomorrow. If she had come out and said, I talked to the president this morning and he denies it, it is a quick trip to the grand jury and a lot of legal bills. So I don't think she knows. And she's been burned. You know, remember the Stormy Daniels. She stood up there and said, with all that sincerity --
HARLOW: Let -- Joe, I'm so sorry. Joe Lockhart, so sorry. Please forgive me. But stay with us. We have a statement now from Roger Stone's attorney. It just crossed. This is from Grant Smith, the attorney for Roger Stone. Let me read it in full.
They found no Russian collusion or they would have charged him with it. Roger Stone is vindicated by the fact that there was no Russian collusion. Also added that Roger Stone received no materials from WikiLeaks ahead of the public release. That's what the attorney is saying. The attorney also said that Stone's misstatements were due to forgetfulness and were, quote, Jim, immaterial.
SCIUTTO: You know, that -- remember, that's Paul Manafort's explanation for having lied to the special counsel. He's claiming inconsistent memory there.
But this is -- this point made by Roger Stone's attorneys is a fair one. There is no conspiracy to defraud the United States charge in here yet. And that was a charge levied against Russians who interfered in the campaign, charged by the special counsel.
Now, that does not mean it could not come at a later time. Oftentimes, as our smart lawyers have told us, that you use charges like this to then elicit cooperation from the witness. But, still, a fair point. I wouldn't say he's vindicated though, Poppy, because he is facing seven charges here.
SCIUTTO: And the FBI took the step of raiding his home predawn, did not give him the option of showing up voluntarily. FBI in tactical suits arrested him this morning. I don't know how you define vindication. That doesn't strike me as particularly vindicating.
HARLOW: Yes. No. You know, it's a good point, right, they had reason to believe they needed to do that.
HARLOW: Our thanks to Alice Stewart, Joe Lockhart.
And to everyone, stay with us because we are staying on this breaking news about an hour and a half before Roger Stone will be right there, in a federal courthouse. Paul Manafort also expected in that courthouse -- excuse me, Paul Manafort in that courthouse today -- there's a lot of legal stuff going on this morning -- that's in Washington, D.C., to try to explain why he allegedly lied to special counsel. Roger Stone will be in court in Florida at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.
[09:34:50] Stay with us.
SCIUTTO: Well, how about the other former senior Trump official in legal trouble? Just minutes from now, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will appear in court. He is facing allegations that he broke a plea agreement by lying to special counsel investigators and to the grand jury. The judge demanding that Manafort appear in court today after he argued that the trip to D.C. was too time consuming.
Let's get to CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider, outside that district court in Washington.
What do we expect to hear in the courtroom today?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Jim, this is the first time that Paul Manafort will be inside this federal courtroom since October. Of course, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordering him to appear, saying that this hearing is just too important, and that Paul Manafort has missed too many of these hearings to actually skip this one.
So we're awaiting Paul Manafort's arrival inside the courtroom. We know that he'll be brought here, or has been brought here from the Virginia jail where he has been locked up since June.
The one thing, though, the judge allowing him to wear a suit instead of that dark green inmate uniform.
[09:40:04] So the judge here will be hearing arguments from the prosecutors. They have been alleging that Paul Manafort lied to them on five different topics throughout these plea negotiations. In particular, they say that Paul Manafort lied about his contacts with his Russian-linked intelligence -- intelligence linked associate Konstantin Kilimnik. And also that Paul Manafort lied about his contacts with Trump administration officials.
Now, Paul Manafort's lawyers, they pushed back in a filing earlier this week. They said that Paul Manafort, he either simply didn't remember things or he didn't -- he wasn't intentionally not forthcoming. So the judge will be weighing all of these arguments from both the prosecutors and Paul Manafort's side. Also inside today, she'll be discussing Paul Manafort's hearing. Right
now that is scheduled for March. And whether or not she believes these prosecutors, that could have an impact on how exactly Paul Manafort's sentenced.
And, of course, Jim, don't forget, we also are awaiting a sentencing in Virginia. That's where Paul Manafort was convicted on those eight counts in August. That sentencing, Jim, set for just two weeks from now.
SCIUTTO: That's right, Jessica. And it's good to know. He's facing two trials at the same time.
Jessica Schneider at the courthouse here in Washington, D.C., as well.
Poppy, there's more news.
HARLOW: There is more news.
Let's get to our colleague, Shimon Prokupecz. He has more on those FBI search warrants.
So we know there was an arrest warrant. Obviously he was arrested. But now we know there are also, Shimon, multiple search warrants, right, for this Florida residence and also for his New York residence.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. Yes, and I think it's hugely significant here, Poppy, that's why I wanted to come on and talk about it a little bit.
PROKUPECZ: You have to think about now that the FBI, that we know of right now, is searching two locations. Obviously you have the Florida property, but also there's his New York location that we've talked about that he shared with the former madam, Kristen Davis. Hugely significant because what this could tell us is that they're looking at other possible crimes involving Roger Stone.
Remember, if you read this indictment, they already have all the evidence that they need, the text messages, the e-mails, to make up that case. What else could possibly be going on here? What else could they be looking for? Obviously they'll be removing any computers, hard drives. There could be documents that they're looking for. We've seen search warrants done in these cases. In other cases, like Paul Manafort, before he was arrested. It's a very different situation here because they've sort of let Roger Stone be out there. He was in limbo for quite some time wondering if he was going to be arrested. The FBI never executed any search warrant, never had any contact with him.
And now we know they're spending quite some time at his home. They've been there for over three hours now searching through the home and also through the New York location.
So it's hugely significant. The question is, what else could they be looking for? And I think that's an important point to make here. HARLOW: It's a really important point, Shimon, thank you for breaking
And, Jim, just back to you, remember, for months and months we kept wondering why Mueller's team had not spoken with Roger Stone yet, right? Why was that?
SCIUTTO: There had been a lot -- there had been a lot of betting. He said pubically that he expected to be indicted.
HARLOW: Yes. Yes.
SCIUTTO: But, as we know, we've learned about Robert Mueller. He is methodical. He takes his time.
SCIUTTO: He acts when he's ready. He acts when he's ready.
SCIUTTO: He was ready today.
Let's bring in former FBI special agent who worked for the former director, James Comey, Josh Campbell.
So, Josh, this -- these are extraordinary measures, are they not, to see the FBI -- they didn't give Roger Stone the option of appearing in court voluntarily, as they did Paul Manafort. I mean they raided his home but they didn't arrest him at his home. Why does the FBI take a step like this -- predawn, tactical suits, no warning in advance. Why would they do this?
JOSH CAMBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it will be interesting for us to find out whether or not he actually had the option to turn himself in and what discussions were underway between prosecutors and his own attorneys. We know that he's been out there saying that, you know, I won't, you know, turn on the president. Being, you know, very defiant. And so it may have just come to the point where the FBI said, OK, we have a warrant in hand, it's time to go get him. We're not, you know, going to wait for him to come show up.
And what we're seeing there, and that's amazing video from our colleague David Shortell (ph) there down in Florida, is the textbook case where you're going to arrive, you know, in the early morning hours. They knocked. They announced themselves. They told them -- you know, at least announcing why they were there. And then obviously he showed up. There was no need for them to breach the door and to go in and actually find him.
And what's really interesting, Jim and Poppy, is that, you know, I've conducted many arrests in my FBI career where your goal is to, you know, get the bad guy. You positively identify him. You take him into custody and now you're off to jail. That video we were seeing there a second ago, the aerial footage of the search underway, once the tents show up and once the evidence response team show up, that tells us that there's a lot more going on that investigators need to do. And as Shimon was alluding to, they're going to now gather evidence. It's one thing to do an arrest. It's another thing to do a search. And once they show up, that tells us that they're there for a purpose. There's evidence to be gathered.
[09:45:02] I think the last thing that it's important to also point out is that, you know, the FBI cannot go on a fishing expedition. You can't just show up to a residence or office and start gathering information.
CAMPBELL: You have to specify in the warrant what you're looking for. And based on the number of personnel that are there, it looks like they have a lot to search.
HARLOW: And, you know, Josh, to you, in terms of what they're going to take from the home, with Manafort they took a lot of stuff, right? And then -- and with Michael Cohen, for example, they took a lot of stuff. And then it was a special master, I believe it's called, that decides, goes through it and sort of is impartial and says, here's what you can use and here's what you can't use. Is that what you think will happen with these raids in New York and Florida?
CAMPBELL: I don't -- I don't think so because Roger Stone, you know, wasn't the president's attorney.
CAMPBELL: So when it came to Michael Cohen, that was the issue, was there some type of attorney-client privilege. I suspect that the FBI spelled out very specifically in the search warrant what they're looking for and that was then presented to a judge.
CAMPBELL: And, you know, people talk about the, you know, the FBI and the president's been on this campaign talking about, you know, they're a bunch of, you know, (INAUDIBLE) thugs, but actually, in the United States, the FBI has to specify to the judge what they're looking for, and then they actually leave a receipt behind documenting what they took.
CAMPBELL: So that would go to Roger Stone or, you know, his family.
But, again, you know, we don't know exactly what they're looking for, but I suspect they're trying to corroborate the case that they've already made, which may have come from witness testimony and, you know, a lot of the communications evidence that was actually laid on this very lengthy indictment. But then as Shimon alluded to, there may be other crimes that we don't know about. They don't have to spell it out in the indictment, other things that they're looking for. But, again, when it comes to Roger Stone, we don't know how far this goes. And it will be interesting to see what they actually collect and where that leads us.
SCIUTTO: Josh Campbell, thank you.
And we should note, as we have earlier, but those FBI agents who showed up at that door predawn, like all 35,000 FBI employees, are not getting paid.
SCIUTTO: They're not getting paid.
CAMPBELL: I just got a -- I got a text this morning from a former colleague, just when this news hit, pointing out that exact thing. Said, just remember, these people are working for free.
CAMPBELL: It's amazing.
HARLOW: It is.
SCIUTTO: Not something you should be asked to do. But lawmakers on Capitol Hill, they are scrambling as 800,000 federal workers missed their second paycheck today. Are both sides any closer to a deal? We're going to have a live report from Capitol Hill, next.
[09:51:33] HARLOW: All right, other really significant news this morning. The longest government shutdown in American history has now hit day 35 and lawmakers on Capitol Hill searching for a way out but, frankly, not doing enough all around, between the White House and the Capitol, to get us out of this. After two failed votes on the Senate floor, Leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer say both sides are still talking, but -- but, Jim, are they just talking in circles? I mean, geez, 35 days.
SCIUTTO: And hundreds and thousands of Americans waiting, not getting paid as it happens and having trouble making ends meet. No one seems to be able to pin down what kind of deal will end this, and particularly that the president will accept.
Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi called an agreement with wall money, any wall money, quote, not reasonable. All this as those 800,000 federal workers will begin to miss their second paycheck today.
Joining us now, Lauren Fox, live on Capitol Hill.
Lauren, movement? What's going to happen today?
LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Not a whole lot of movement this morning, Jim and Poppy. You know, yesterday those two votes in the Senate, a Democratic proposal and a Republican proposal, both failed. Then it seemed like there might be a little bit of movement right after that vote. A bipartisan group of senators were calling for a brief reopening of the government through the beginning of February in exchange simply just to keep negotiating border security.
But what happened was the president said, look, I want a prorated down payment on my border wall. And, of course, the border wall has been the sticking point this entire time. Democrats saying we're not going to give you money for your wall, especially for a brief reopening of the government. And now we are back to square one.
I can tell you that behind the scenes members on both sides are very frustrated with where things stand. Yesterday, in a closed door meeting with Vice President Pence, Republicans were, you know, confused, where is the strategy to end this government shutdown. And I will tell you that members on both sides of the aisle feel like it doesn't matter what they negotiate, at the end of the day, it has to be the president and Nancy Pelosi getting in a room to negotiate. As far as we know, no meeting scheduled for today to end this government shutdown between leadership and we are stuck up here on Capitol Hill.
Jim and Poppy.
Lauren Fox on The Hill.
Well, joining us now is one of those frustrated lawmakers, Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee from the great state of Michigan.
Congressman, thanks very much for taking the time today.
REP. DAN KILDEE (D), MICHIGAN: Thank you for having me on.
SCIUTTO: I want to, if I can, first ask you about your reaction to the Roger Stone news before we move on -- on to the shutdown.
This indictment, it indicates that Roger Stone, who was in regular touch with the president and his campaign, was keeping senior Trump campaign officials informed of WikiLeaks releases in advance of those releases. In your view, as you've been following this investigation for some time, is that evidence of collusion, cooperation, possible collusion, possible cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia?
KILDEE: Well, collusion seems to be the word that the president wants the most -- wants most to avoid. We can call it what we want, but it's clear that the Trump campaign was acting in a coordinated fashion to try to undermine this election and to try to get this information into public circulation, working with everyone they could work with.
It's pretty stunning to read these indictments and read about them and compare them to the constant pronouncements that the president has made. Clearly, he has a distant relationship with the truth. But, in this case, he's getting his wall. Unfortunately, it's the wall that's being built around him.
[09:55:00] SCIUTTO: Does this make you more likely to vote to impeach this president, what you learned today?
KILDEE: I think we have to wait to see how all of this fits into the larger context. Many of us have a lot of confidence that -- that the Mueller investigation will produce a complete picture. These are parts of a mosaic. We need to see how it all fits together. But the pieces that we've seen so far are pretty damning of this presidency.
HARLOW: Congressman Kildee, Poppy Harlow here in New York. We're glad you're with us this morning.
And we do want to take some time to focus on really the essential job for you and all your colleagues on both sides of the aisle. This morning that's getting the government back up and running, getting these workers paid, getting their -- I mean they don't even have, some of them, insurance to cover medical issues right now. If a Coast Guard member were to die in this, their family wouldn't get benefits. I mean this is unbelievable.
Is it reasonable, sir, for your leadership, for Nancy Pelosi, to say that anything with any wall money is, quote, not reasonable?
KILDEE: Well, I think what's reasonable is for us to say, let's have the government open while we have this debate. And I think that's been our position. I know it's been Leader Pelosi's position.
HARLOW: I hear you, congressman, and I promise we can get into that in a moment, but I just want you to weigh in on Pelosi's position now. Are you comfortable with it, 35 days in, with the impact on these workers, for her to say, again, no wall funding, anything with wall funding is not reasonable?
KILDEE: Yes, I am. I mean this is a position that is -- is based on the way this government is supposed to work. And it gave -- it's hard to separate that from the fact that it's the president that chose to take this tact and shut the government down. So, yes, I think it is a reasonable position for us to take, that we're not going to exceed to the demands of a person who is essentially using tactics of extortion to get something that he's unwilling to submit to the legislative process.
SCIUTTO: Do you, as you know, an option that the president is considering, if he doesn't get he wants through the regular legislative process, declaring a national emergency. It's CNN's reporting yesterday that those options have been prepared -- a legal explanation prepared.
What would your reaction be if the president were to declare this an emergency and find funding elsewhere, including from the Defense Department?
KILDEE: I think it's a pretty dubious claim that he's making. The people that I talked to who are on the ground, people like Will Hurd, for example, a member of Congress --
SCIUTTO: We had him on yesterday. KILDEE: Says that the notion that there's an emergency is a complete myth. So we might agree that the president has extraordinary authority to act in case of an emergency, but there has to be an emergency and you can't create one out of a political problem that he is trying to solve. His emergency is a political emergency.
We do have problems on the border. We have to accept that. And there are things we need to do to address them. But it doesn't constitute an emergency, especially when the solution to the so-called emergency that the president wants to address could take between five and ten years to complete.
HARLOW: Just --
HARLOW: And, congressman, just to clarify what Will Hurd said, because he clarified it to us yesterday in the show. He says, you know, it's a myth to say it was a crisis now and not a crisis before, right? I mean he -- so, just a point of clarification there.
I just wonder if you can break some news for us and tell us what is being proposed, because we're hearing that the Democrats will come forward today with a new proposal that would include much more money for border security, not a wall, not a barrier, but border security. Any details you can share on that?
KILDEE: Well, I don't want to get into the specific details until they're released, but I can say --
HARLOW: We would love for you to get into the specific details.
KILDEE: I know you would.
SCIUTTO: This is an opportunity.
KILDEE: We are committed to border security. And this is, I think, one of the struggles that we've had in the space of the last few weeks. We've always been committed to border security. We are Americans. We want to have safe borders.
But when the president, for example, uses the example of drug flow into the United States, when 97 percent of those dangerous drugs come through our ports of entry or through more conventional means, the U.S. mail, for example, it makes sense if we're going to use that as the reason that we need to strengthen our borders, to get at that problem more specifically.
So you can expect us to try to attack that problem using the available new, emerging technology to get at drug trafficking and other real problems that we have coming across the border and not pretend that this cartoonish construction of a wall to satisfy a chant at a rally is going to solve that problem, because it won't.
SCIUTTO: But as you know -- but as you know, there are portions of the border that do have walls and at portions of the border those walls help restrict illegal immigration.
KILDEE: Right. We'll all in. We've helped fund those.
SCIUTTO: I know that. So here, to Americans at home who say, well -- and the president has greatly reduced this sort of sea to shining sea wall down to a few hundred miles here, why should Americans believe this is not about denying him a victory?
KILDEE: Because we've been supporting these sorts of efforts all along. And, in fact, we placed more money on the table to try to deal with the real problems of border security. And, honestly, for most of us, to think about it in political terms, I think takes us down the wrong path.
[10:00:05] This is baking the cake, the politics of this whole thing. I don't think anybody wins this.