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Trump Speaks in Rose Garden on Shutdown Deal; Roger Stone Spoke Earlier after His Court Appearance; White House Says Stone's Arrest Has Nothing to Do with Trump. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired January 25, 2019 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do not have the necessary space or resources to detain, house, vet, screen and safely process this tremendous influx of people.
(PRESIDENT TRUMP SPEECH FROM 14:30:09 TO 14:35:12)
[14:35:12] TRUMP: And I want to thank you all very much. Thank you very much.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty-five 35 days, 35 days of federal workers rationing asthma medicine for their kids, sleeping in cars, driving Uber, late-night shifts just to make ends meet, and this man is not getting a single penny for his wall, 35 days. And people are applauding him. This man single handedly shut down the government. It is shameful.
Dana Bash, starting with you, I heard no explanation as to why he did this and why he accepted this deal, 35 days later. He still is not getting what he wants.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a four-letter word to describe what we just saw and that's cave. There's no other way to describe it. The president caved after, as you said, more than 30 days, after all of the real, real world ramifications of what has gone on. He hasn't gotten a dime for his wall, but it's because things have gotten so bad obviously.
We know that not just from common sense but from reporting that he realized he didn't have a choice, but to do exactly what Democrats had been asking him to do since day one. You want to have a negotiation, Mr. President, great, we'll have a negotiation, but let's reopen the government first and then have the negotiation. That is what's happening now.
It is exactly what was asked of him by Democrats and some Republicans to be fair back when the shutdown began. The one thing I will say that he did say at the very beginning before he went on with his messaging opportunity taking advantage of the fact that all of the networks were taking this event live, he did hold out the potential for doing something else and I've been told by a couple of Republican sources that that is the national -- the executive action, perhaps the national emergency, something else that he could do with his own power.
Obviously it could be and would be challenged in the courts. My guess is as his going to see the coverage that is -- there's no other way to describe it other than a cave, he might be itching to go do something that shows that he at least is doing something within his power.
BALDWIN: Jim Acosta is our chief White House correspondent.
Jim Acosta, what did you think?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke. This was a big cave. I think this is one of the biggest tactical defeats for the president we've seen in his political life. He created this box canyon for himself. Nancy Pelosi let him walk right in to it, and now he's trying desperately to see his way out of it after watching on television this morning the havoc that a government shutdown can wreak on the nation's aviation system, with all those flights being delayed and so forth in the northeast corridor.
I think that was weighing very heavily on what was happening at the White House. At the very end of the president's comments there, he said that he is fully capable and prepared to shut down this government again if by February 15th we don't see some sort of agreement to get that wall down on the border with Mexico.
I will tell you standing here in the Rose Garden, this was pretty remarkable to watch because as the president was moving through those prepared remarks, there were moments in which and I suppose we know this because we've been following this man for some time now, he can't help himself and was going off of those prepared remarks, going off of that teleprompter and ad-libbing about what he sees as a crisis on the border, talking about women having their mouths duct taped.
At one point, suggesting that if a wall is built on the southern border with Mexico that the amount of drugs coming in would be cut, as he said, by a number that people don't really have a firm understanding of. And so the president was making some of these claims that he often makes when he talks about immigration, when he talks about the border in unscripted settings and he was injecting some of those remarks as he was reading off the teleprompter here.
I think that shows you where the president's head is right now. He just can't give up on this wall. He just can't quit this wall. And I think that is why you're going to see very possibly the next three weeks this country right back where we have been for the last 35 days, which is perhaps in the middle of a government shutdown because the president can't seem to get his way on the wall.
The other thing that was interesting to watch being here in the Rose Garden is, off on the sidelines over here, leading into the West Wing, you could see the vice president and Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, cabinet officials, other top officials applauding as if this was some sort of victorious moment --
BALDWIN: Celebration. [14:40:07] ACOSTA: Yes, celebration. That was just right out of Alice in Wonderland. To see the White House and people inside the White House applauding the president during one of the biggest tactical defeats, strategic defeats of his political career just felt like the upside down out of stranger things. It's bizarre to see something like that happening and they were looking jubilant before he even began his remarks.
It goes to the -- this is something we see day in and day out over here at the White House. There are just people here who are not dealing with reality. The reality on the outside world is that during a 35-day shutdown people are suffering, they are crying, they're on the news talking about how they can't pay their bills and buy their insulin and over at the White House, they're smiling and clapping and congratulating their selves for a shutdown that just caused a great deal of agony across the country.
It was striking. He made this claim that there are government employees who have been getting through this just fine. He suggested that government employees are getting through this just fine. That just suggests that he's not looking at the real -- when he looks outside the window of the Oval Office, he's not looking at the real world and so that is why if folks are wondering at home, could we be here in the exact same place three weeks from now, I think that's probably not a bad bet to make. My sense is he'll sign the C.R. to get the government open again but we might be right back in the same place again in three weeks.
BALDWIN: He can't quit the wall, so says Jim Acosta.
Jim, in the Rose Garden. Jim, thank you.
It is this upside-down world, David Chalian. But how do all these federal workers get right-side up? We've been pointing out this is a deal he could have had 35 days ago. You could have copy and pasted this speech and gave it back on December 22nd. So what now?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITIAL DIRECTOR: Precisely. This is everything the Democrats asked for and some Republicans. We also have to remember, this is actually everything that all the Republicans and Democrats and President Trump agreed to before Christmas, before he completely reversed course. That's what this is. Extending funding for a limited period of time so that the debate over border security in the long run could be dealt with.
That's actually what Mike Pence went and agreed with Mitch McConnell was the deal and so it begs the question, how is this not all for naught? The entire 35-day period was completely for naught. It is -- so when the president says in his remarks in the Rose Garden today that this is going to provide an opportunity to have that debate, you just have to scratch your head and said that opportunity existed on December 22nd and he was for it until he completely then rejected it. It just defies logic at all.
BALDWIN: Totally. CHALIAN: Which is why I think Jim is noting how devastating a
political defeat it is. One can only hope that some of the smiles and staff is because they understand how crushingly bad this government shutdown was and they -- perhaps some of the smiles were because of the mere fact that the government will reopen and the pain will stop.
BALDWIN: Before these federal workers -- that's what I always come back to. And Carrie Cordero, of course, there are the ramifications of safety and we've been talking to TSA folks and ATC folks -- and I know that these -- a lot of these people will get paid back, but are there long-term effects to this for these workers?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely, Brooke. You can't just turn government on and off again, especially in the national security and Homeland Security space. There's investigations that are ongoing, there's work that's being done, intelligence being collected, sources that are being worked, all sorts of things taking place that you can't just turn it on and off.
The other thing is, there's a lot of mid-career folks in government who are going to think about leaving federal service. There's young people who are thinking about, well, maybe I won't go into federal service -- because it used to be more stable and now it's something that's unpredictable. There's just so many aspects on the national security side, on the Homeland Security side, and as far as the long- term effects to the federal workforce that are going to outlive this shutdown.
And then the uncertainty of their potentially being another one just a few weeks from now, there's going to be people who are going to turn in their retirement papers and who are going to leave government service in the middle of their career when they're just seasoned and expert in their field because they're not going to be willing to put their family through this again.
BALDWIN: OK, so let's continue.
Let's say we're in this upside-down world, Nia-Malika Henderson, and hopefully, the government wants to right this and so, all right, they reopen the government for three weeks, they try to get their together and what if they don't? I'm pushing this forward. If this goes into national emergency territory, does that then, you know -- who wins there, I guess? Is it the president because he potentially would get the money for what he wants, this wall and Democrats win because they get to say, see, we didn't cave?
[14:45:34] NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLTIICAL REPORTER: Who knows in terms of that scenario, the national emergency, whether he's going to try to move money around as something that was floated before. I'm not a lawyer but it looks like any sort of declaration of a national emergency would face some court challenges.
It also would defy logic in many ways. If there's a national emergency and this was something that was being floated a couple of weeks ago and the president decided not to do that. If something is a national emergency, you imagine that it's something oppressing and yes, ma'am, and the idea that you can wait not only the first 35 days of this shutdown but now three weeks, that would be 50 or 60 days or so, it doesn't make -- it doesn't jive with this idea that there's a national emergency and an imminent threat to safety even though as you saw in that speech, Donald Trump still trying to paint this portrait of lawlessness and chaos at the southern border.
Women with duct tape over their mouths and faces in vans turning left and right. This is one of these images that he keeps repeating. He seems to be obsessed with that notion.
What was so striking about this today for me was, this really was a picture of the president in full failure, right? Here he was trying to paint himself as the victor here, someone swooping in and having this deal, he's going to make sure that the federal employees get paid, he's going to make sure that this is a bill that comes up on the Senate and is passed. He has failed at every turn around this. 35 days he ends up with nothing. Nancy Pelosi has won every match.
The president is playing tiddlywinks while you have Nancy Pelosi really having a strategy here, basically saying to the president that no negotiations over this wall and we'll see. There will be some sort of negotiations but we also know that Democrats are not going to fund this wall. I don't know how many times the president needs to hear that before he actually understands that, but I think after these 35 days, it should be pretty clear to him.
But there he was with all of the rhetoric that he's had for years and years about the dangers at the border and, so far, it hasn't worked to sway public opinion. If anything public opinion is at an all-time high against him and against the wall.
BASH: Brooke, it bears repeating what we said as soon as the president was over and was done speaking, and that is, there's nothing that has changed in the past 35 days except incredible excruciating pain that has been, you know, felt by 800,000 workers and the ripple affects --
BALDWIN: Do we -- I didn't hear anything definitive from Trump. Are you hearing anything about when they will be paid?
BASH: We don't know the answer to that yet. As Carrie said, it's not as easy to turn the spigots on and off in government. They're supposed to be paid today. Today is a payday. It might take a while to do the retroactive pay. We're not sure of the answer to that yet.
CORDERO: Brooke, on the legal question of the national emergency issue that Nia was discussing, the longer -- the longer the shutdown went on and the longer period of time that goes on where Congress has an opportunity to debate the issues, the less likely it's possible to use that legal authority appropriately if he wants to invoke national security or national emergency authority. I'll give you a bench mark. It took the U.S. Congress 44 days to pass the USA Patriot Act after 9/11 a true national emergency security. February 13th takes us beyond that point, beyond that 45 days from originally when this first shutdown started.
BALDWIN: Right. Right.
CORDERO: So I think that the longer this period of time goes on and we get past February 4th, which is that 9/11 USA Patriot Act bench mark, the stronger the legal challenges against his use of emergency authority are going to be.
BALDWIN: That is such a significant point.
Let me thank all of you because I woke up to what I thought would be the biggest story of the day until this happened. Thanks to everyone for talking about the government reopening for three weeks.
[14:50:04] Coming up, a huge moment today in the Special Counsel Robert Mueller probe. This man, Roger Stone, former associate to President Trump, was arrested early today and now faces charges including obstruction, giving false statements, witness tampering an incredible scene as he left the courthouse today. What he's vowing to do next.
We'll take you inside the FBI raid inside Roger Stone's home this morning there in Florida, all caught on camera.
You're watching CNN. We'll be right back.
BALDWIN: To the other huge story of the day, another member of President Trump's inner circled ensnared in the Mueller probe. Six people have now been charged or convicted: Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen, and today Roger Stone has now been added to the list. Stone is now out on a quarter- million-dollars bond after being arraigned in a Florida court on a slew of charges, among them obstruction, false statements and witness tampering.
Stone seemed to be loving every bit of the attention, the cameras focused right on him as he headed out of the courthouse, stepped to address allegations while giving a nod to Richard Nixon, who Stone became close with after working on his campaign and has his tattoo on his back.
Here's Roger Stone in his own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, LONGTIME ASSOCIATE OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. I am falsely accused of making false statements during my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. That is incorrect. At the crack of dawn, 29 FBI agents arrived at my home with 17 vehicles with their lights flashing when they could simply have contacted my attorneys and I would have been more than willing to surrender voluntarily. They terrorized my wife, my dogs.
I will plead not guilty to these charges. I will defeat them in court. There's no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself. I look forward to being fully and completely vindicated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:55:23] BALDWIN: Roger Stone, pausing to speak, answer questions, sounds pretty chill about all of it. But as he said, the entire thing kicked off with this dramatic predawn raid in his Ft. Lauderdale home, caught by the FBI -- carried out by the FBI and seen in this exclusive CNN video.
Meantime, in New York today, another group of agents could be seen carrying out boxes in evidence bags from Stone's apartment complex.
The headline here is this, and it's a big one, and it's that Stone is accused of seeking stolen emails from WikiLeaks that could hurt Trump's opponents in coordination with senior Trump campaign official. This is the first time prosecutors have alleged that there were additional people close to the then-Republican candidate who were involved in this.
And not surprisingly, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed the developments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This has nothing to do with the president and certainly nothing to do with the White House. This is something that has to do solely with that individual and not something that affects us here in this building.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: There's just one more thing I want to point out. Those FBI agents, who took Stone into custody before dawn today, they were working without pay at the time of the arrest because of the government shutdown.
So Carrie Cordero is back with me. Chris Swecker is joining me, a former FBI assistant director for the Criminal Investigative Division.
Carrie, between the indictment, the Stone scene today, what was your biggest takeaway?
CORDERO: I think my biggest takeaway was that the indictment -- I went through the indictment and I circled all the times that it indicated that Stone was in communication with multiple -- that's plural -- members of the Trump campaign as he was going back and forth to his intermediaries involved with Organization One in the indictment, which we can assume is WikiLeaks.
CORDERO: So in the past, when we've been talking about the case related to maybe Paul Manafort, the president's surrogates have been quick to say that was just him. That didn't have anything to do with the campaign. In this indictment, what it makes clear is that Stone was in communication and talking and updating and getting direction from plural members of the Trump campaign.
BALDWIN: Let me come back to you on that point.
Chris, over to you on what our CNN cameras captured earlier this morning in Ft. Lauderdale. His arrest at his home looked dramatically different than the others we've seen. Can you tell me why that was?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: First, I'd say, I can't tell who's happier to be indicted, Roger Stone or Michael Cohen. What you saw this morning was a pretty dramatic raid by the FBI, probably done the way they do raids to prevent the destruction of evidence, computer evidence, digital evidence probably. That wasn't -- there's some concern when you have that type of warrant that someone might react and not know they are police and might react violently but this is what you do in a bare- knuckles investigation when a defendant doesn't cooperate, becomes very obstinate.
I've served under director Mueller. I know him well. He's not going to do this kind of raid unless he has significant equity in this. In other words, that there's some -- there's good reason to do it. He's looking for some very important evidence in there and he didn't want to see it destroyed.
BALDWIN: The arrest, though, Chris, and the indictment on the very same day, is that unusual?
SWECKER: No, that's not terribly unusual. In this type of investigation, they do a lot of preplanning and this is a culmination of a plan that probably was set in motion weeks and weeks ago.
And then, Carrie, when we saw Roger Stone, you know, on those front steps of the courthouse, with his lawyer behind him, he said, I am one of Trump's oldest friends. And he said, I will not testify against the president.
CORDERO: Well, there's the pardon play, right?
BALDWIN: Thank you. It's like he's talking to Trump.
CORDERO: That's the pardon play. This is a president who has demonstrated already in his first two years in office that he's willing to use pardons. He's talked about them publicly in the context of this broader Russia investigation so that was Roger Stone saying I'm not the rat and I should get good treatment from the president so he's communicating with the president through the air waves. The fact is, is that this indictment shows that there's a lot of evidence using text, using emails that the investigators have and so Roger Stone knows that the investigators have all that evidence and they probably were able to gather more evidence this morning.