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Roger Stone Leaves Court After Arrest In Mueller Probe; Judge Sets Hearing Behind Closed Doors In Manafort Case; Flight Delays Blamed On Government Shutdown. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired January 25, 2019 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:30:00] ROGER STONE, LONGTIME POLITICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: -- office released a press release prior to informing my attorneys that I would be charged today. This morning 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 was taken to the FBI facility. Although I must say the FBI agents were extraordinarily courteous. I will plead not guilty to these charges. I will defeat them in court. I believe this is a politically motivated investigation. I am troubled by the political motivations of the prosecutors and as I have said previously, there is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the President nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure I myself. I look forward to being fully and completely vindicated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, did you in any way cooperate with the Special Counsel's Office? Did you in any way cooperate with Special Counsel's Office?
STONE: Since I was not contacted prior to the charges today, my lawyers have not talked to the special prosecutors. I don't want to address that question, but I have made it clear I will not testify against the President.
STONE: Because I would have to bear false witness against him.
STONE: I will be appearing for an arraignment in D.C. next week and I'll address those questions at that time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the President said that you had done? What do you think he meant by that?
STONE: Well, I intend to tell the truth. I have told the truth through this entire proceedings and I will prove that in a court of law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to ask the President for pardon? STONE: I am one of his oldest friends. I am a fervent supporter of the President. I think he is doing a great job of making America great again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, did anyone tell you to contact in the Trump campaign to contact WikiLeaks?
STONE: No. I have addressed that before that is incorrect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were convicted, do you think the President would pardon you?
STONE: Pardon me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were convicted, do you think the President will pardon you?
STONE: The only person I have advocated a pardon for is Marcus Garvey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you in any way work with the Russians to help President Trump?
STONE: Categorically not, no. Absolutely not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got you, Roger. We got your back, Roger.
STONE: With all due respect, I haven't even had a chance to read the indictment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You haven't read the indictment?
STONE: Correct. My attorneys have, I have not had that opportunity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So will you help the prosecutor to answer his questions?
STONE: I will address those questions next week in Washington, D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Roger, if you did nothing wrong, what do you think you're here?
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: You see Roger Stone now stepping back toward the courthouse after just speaking to reporters outside the courthouse in Florida. I mistakenly called this an arraignment earlier. He will be arraigned in D.C. next week. This is his initial appearance after being indicted by this morning by the Special Counsel. If you're watching the entire that, there you see it again, an Nixonian salute from a man whose dirty tricks in politics goes back to the Nixon years in American politics. Roger Stone denying emphatically the charges. He says he has not had a chance to read the indictment. He said he will not testify against the President, because doing so, Roger Stone's words would require him to bear false witness, meaning to lie about the President.
What else did we learned?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think -- I mean, we learned that he's going to fight back and he's going to keep talking. I mean, they showed up at his house this morning before dawn, in part because of the way that Roger Stone h has conducted himself throughout this well knowing essentially that he was under investigation. But I was talking to, you know, Roger Stone's friends in the last couple of days and they said, they've watched what happened -- that Roger Stone has watched what happened to Paul Manafort and he does not want the same thing happen again.
He says, he looked at what happened to Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman has been convicted a number of charges.
KING: Also former business partner of Roger Stone.
MURRAY: Yes, former business partner of Roger Stone and says, Manafort's reputation has been smashed it (INAUDIBLE) and so I'm going to go out everyday and I'm going to fight. I'm going on TV, I'm going on info wars, I'm going to write for the Daily Caller. And I think this tells you that he's going to continue that same approach now that they've officially brought these charges against him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And also said to --
KING: And he said, he made a point, he said that the FBI agents, the way they came. He said they had just called me, I would have come in.
[12:35:02] Are there guidelines, are there reasons that FBI -- that something I get to that they had some reason to believe. We're talking about like they do when they get the special warrant for Michael Cohen as an attorney for the President and worry about the starts of evidence, right?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: So when you look at Michael Cohen, when you look at Paul Manafort, they essentially were in more cooperative modes with the FBI and investigators, so they were allowed to surrender.
Roger Stone, if you look at all the rhetoric, all the things he has said publicly about the FBI, about Mueller parts of this investigation, there was probably enough concern there for the FBI that if they gave him a heads up that this -- that he was going to be arrested and that they would like him to surrender. In these kinds of cases normally you would see that.
But there was something different here and I'm sure there was concern on the part of the FBI about giving him a heads up that they were planning to do this. They wanted to do search warrants at his home so they wanted to get evidence. They could have been afraid that he was going to destroy evidence if they gave a heads up that they were coming.
But the other thing is maybe they thought he could potentially flee. You know, you do these things for the elements of surprise and there's a reason for it and it also -- look, I have seen raids far worse than this where the FBI goes in real, you know, gang guys and they throws smoke grenades in there and trying to really destruct people. You don't see that here.
They knock on the door. They told them they were there. Come out. It was very orderly and the idea that they did anything different that they would normally do.
The only thing different is that they did not allow him surrender and there was a reason for that. He just has not been cooperative.
KING: They can't get this warrant to do it the way they did it without presenting probably cause to a judge, correct?
SHAN WU, CNN LEGALL ANALYST: Right, and the nature of these charges is going to take away their respect for any possibility to give him some deference because the nature of the nature of the charges is he's lying repeatedly, he's trying to influence a witness as well and that's now the reason not to give him a chance to turn himself in.
You know, about him fighting back to Sara's point, if this is the same judge as was on Manafort, which is Judge Jackson, he's going to have to be silent. She's going to most likely tell them to quit talking. He's not going to be able to continue his public rights and the gag order.
JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, ASSOCIATED PRESS: But I think we also learned from there why Trump and Stone have been so close for so long. They both like a show and that was essentially a show there.
KING: That's the spirit.
PACE: That was a spectacle, they like the publicity. They like being out there. I wouldn't be surprised if the President is in the White House right now watching this and enjoying what he's seen, I mean, this.
PROKUPECZ: I also want to make a point like, you know, some people will think well, this is a way to get him to cooperate? Is Mueller doing this? I think it's very clear he has no intention on cooperating. And I think Mueller realizes that this is the charges for now, whether or not there's going to be more information. But I think people need to accept the idea that Roger Stone highly unlikely will never cooperate with the Special Counsel, and we don't even know that they want him to cooperate.
KING: And so let's -- from that, let's jump into the substance of what's alleged in the indictment. That Roger Stone and some associates were in touch. It doesn't say Roger Stone directly in touch with Julian Assange. It raises that possibility that doesn't say he was. But says he had it at least one, two associates who had some contacts with WikiLeaks.
Help me with the law. So let's assume Roger Stone, through friends, got a heads-up, Julian Assange has this damaging Democratic e-mails. Let's find out, I'm friend of the President. Let me find out. Let's assume, again, for the sake of argument. They treat Julian Assange as a journalist. Or, not as a Russian operative. What's the crime?
WU: That in and of itself wouldn't be a crime. I think the problem here is the context that at that point is obvious the Russians are involved and the biggest problem really isn't even what Roger Stone is doing as private citizen no matter how slimy he may be.
The problem is the Trump campaign is a formatively trying to get that information. They know the context. They know the Russians maybe involved. They want to reach out and try to do that. The fact that they have failed to do it doesn't matter. Show us what are they intended (ph).
KING: Doesn't matter. We mentioned the show down there in Florida, CNN Nick Valencia is there and had a chance to ask a question or two to Roger Stone. Nick, take us inside that remarkable scene and what did Roger Stone have to say?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, I'm sorry, John, it's really loud here, but yes, I just had a chance to speak with Roger Stone as he left court.
I asked if he had a comment for CNN and he jokingly said it was good to see us at his house this morning. We were the only news outlet there when the FBI knocked on his door this morning to take him into custody. I asked him if there was any coordination between the Trump campaign himself and WikiLeaks? He said, "No, those are false accusations. I asked him what he thought about the counts -- the charges that's he's facing. He says, "They're absolutely false".
He did say, interestingly enough John that later tonight, he's expected to be on television. He said, "Watch the media outlets tonight. I will be on TV". He seemed to be in very, very good spirits.
He also, as he exited the courtroom, flashing a victory sign, smiling. He exited a loud chants of "lock him up" as well. But as he left the court alongside one of this co-counsel he seemed to be in very good spirits. You know, I had a chance to speak to him one on one. I have that video that recorded on my cell phone. We're working on getting that into our newsroom right now so we could show our viewers but he was in very good spirits, John.
[12:40:12] KING: Appreciate the live reporting from right there in the middle of what is without a doubt a show, it's an important day but it's also a bit of a show. Nick Valencia will come back to us so we have that video.
We know Roger Stone has tried to raise money during this too because he has legal.
KING: And you've been thought -- I kind of want to get to this point to those some people out there saying, "Aha Robert Mueller somehow tip us off". Not true, not true.
CNN cameras were out there because of some fantastic reporting including by the people sitting here at the table with me who had reason to believe based on another clue the things could come.
Now, when you see Roger Stone on this show -- I'm going to go on television. You just know this once you see the federal judge here in Washington, he may get told not to do that. And why is that so important to him?
MURRAY: One, he wants to send a message to President Trump that, you know, he's not going to get squeezed, he's not going to testify against President Trump. The other thing is he wants to try to salvage his own reputation. I mean, one of the things he said and he said it to me before is it's better to be infamous than never famous at all.
He wants to have his own opportunity to respond anything anyone is saying about him. And I was talking to some of these friends this morning and they said, you know, it's difficult as this day is, it is Roger Stone day. He got hauled away in handcuffs. It's in some ways a kind of perverse relief.
We kept wondering if this Friday was going to be the Friday, if this would be going to be the day that Roger Stone was arrested and he said, you know, we've run rules on this. We had our plans in place. We knew what to do if this day came and now it's a matter of executing then.
So I think you'll going to see that in terms of him trying to raise money for his legal defense fund. You're going to see that if they put, you know, a gag on Roger. You will see his allies on TV going out there to defend him in a way we really didn't see in the case of surrounding Paul Manafort.
We will see how this holds up again when he's in front of a judge in D.C. if they have a gag order on the case like they've been preparing for this day.
KING: Can somebody help me with the work down out of prison guard. A raise to think being in handcuffs is not a good thing. But this is somehow, at this point, Roger Stone -- what is he wants his reputation to be.
I'm a 40-year, 50-year dirty trickster but not a criminal dirty trickster?
MURRAY: I think he wants to make it clear his view that he didn't commit any crimes s so now that they what crimes he's up against. What crimes are saying he committed. They feel like they can fight back more effectively instead of fighting back against any allegation that's coming out in newspapers, on television, on radio shows. They now had it written there before them in the court documents. Here's that we have to face. Here's that we have to fight.
And Roger Stone wants to be the guy who is out there, who helps Donald Trump get elected. Helped Donald Trump become president, encourage him to win and, you know, became famous.
KING: And the question is, is this a placeholder or is this the last word when it comes to Roger Stone and that's what we don't know.
PROKUPECZ: Exactly, right, we don't know. You would think, you know, who are these other campaign officials that this indictment is talking about? Do their names ever get revealed? What happens down the line? Is there going to be a larger, bigger conspiracy connection that's about to come?
And honestly, we just don't know. But we also know that there are other people that are attached to Roger Stone that have been before the grand jury or that Mueller wanted to charge, that's still very much active. We don't know where that stands.
KING: But his public line has been that he is, you know, a BSer, if you will. I won't say the words that, you know, sure he come out created the impression that he had this back channel to Assange but he just wanted everybody to think he was a bigger player than he was. And he, you know, you could just Google search this he has said and all that information out there. This document suggests that's not the case.
PROKUPECZ: That's not the case, but why did he lie about it? That's the key thing in all of these cases, every time this guys have been confronted by information they have lied. And who are they protecting and what are they protecting, and it becomes, this is why I think it becomes that it's -- really it is in some ways a political story. They wanted to protect the President. They wanted to protect the campaign and that's with ultimately and the White House, going in to even after that Trump was elected, they all wanted to protect him.
And I think that's the theory when you look at all is that Mueller has taken.
KING: For the bigger picture connecting all these other dots that we get from documents.
We're going to take a quick break. A very busy breaking news day, the Trump campaign chairman, excuse me, Paul Manafort was also back in court today. Plus, as we reported earlier of the show expect to hear from the President shortly this afternoon, some new ideas apparently about how to bring an end to the partial government shutdown. Busy day. We'll be right back.
[12:49:05] KING: Roger Stone not the only important Trump associate in court today. The former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was back in court facing allegations he lied repeatedly to the Special Counsel after he signing a plea agreement.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson saying today that she has serious concerns about other times, Manafort's may have given false information, "He may have lied, pure and simple". His lawyers argue any statements that could be viewed as lies or really misunderstandings are just lapses in Manafort's memory. If the judge find Manafort broke his plea deal, any benefit he could receive at sentencing from cooperating would be null and void.
CNN Kara Scannell is outside the federal courthouse. Kara, what do we learned today and what happened next to Mr. Manafort?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: That's right. So the judge today set a court date for February 4th where she's going to hear the evidence under seal that's behind closed doors. This all goes to the issue that whether Paul Manafort intentionally lied to the Special Counsel's office and the grand jury and if his pleas bring it -- will be writ up.
[12:50:01] Now the judge did foreshadow today. She said some of Manafort's arguments had some force to them. You know, if he corrected his testimony at the same time. But other she said it's possible he may have lied, plain and simple. So, she's going to have everyone back on February 4th to hear more arguments about this.
Also came up today, the Special Counsel's Office said they were not planning to charge Manafort with any additional crimes, but they wouldn't rule it out and they left open the possibility that Manafort could be charged in the future by the Special Counsel's Office or another U.S. attorney's office, so they've left that dangling out there.
It's also the first time we've seen Paul Manafort in court since October. He walked into court wearing a suit as he has to wear one. He was also using a cane and was walking very and stiffly. He had some medical problems and he's been confined for almost a year now.
You know, the irony, John, is that Paul Manafort and Roger Stone long time business partners. They first form the company together from nearly 40 years ago and today we have both of those individuals in court on the allegations that they've been lying, John.
KING: Young consultant stars when I first came to Washington and not so much today. Kara Scannell outside the courthouse, appreciate that very much. When we come back, the government shutdown continues and today delays at airport, major airports in the country blamed on the shortage of air traffic controllers related to the shutdown. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[12:55:33] CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: I know tons of you are feeling the anxiety and emotional strain of this shutdown and a 100 percent of you are feeling the financial strain. Making some people stay home when they don't not want to and making others show up without pay, it's mind boggling, it's short-sighted and it's unfair. It takes a lot to get me angry but I'm about as angry as I've been in a long, long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That's FBI Director Christopher Wray there voicing his frustration at the government shutdown and how FBI employees have to work without pay. You heard from the commandant of the Coast Guard yesterday saying this pretty much the same thing. The government shutdown now also causing major flight disruptions.
A ground stop earlier, one of the countries busies airport major delays elsewhere being blamed on air traffic control staff shortages. The FAA has not lifted the ground stops at New York's La Guardia Airport, but there are significant delays there as well as in Atlanta and Newark.
The White House issue a statement short time ago saying the President has been briefed and officials are monitoring these delays as well as keeping regular contact with the Department of Transportation and the FAA. CNN Rene Marsh joins us now. Obviously we're seeing the ripple effect of the shutdown. What is the FAA saying and what is the significance?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is a big deal simply because, John, you are seeing real life implications playing out of how this shutdown is really putting a strain on air travel. Air travel, by the way, which is a very big component of the U.S. economy.
So the FAA this morning saying in a statement -- I'm just going to read part of it. They acknowledge that they experience slight increases in sick leave at two air traffic control facilities. Translation. Because of this shutdown their air traffic controllers who simply did not show up to work. And that is a big problem, especially when you're talking about a busy airspace like New York City where on a good day, you may have problems getting out on time. And now today you don't have enough staff in these towers right now to make sure these airplanes are taking off and landing safely.
People, when they see this should not be afraid. I do want to put out that word of caution, slowing down the traffic is actually a safety precaution. They realize they don't have the staff to safely land and make sure that planes take off. So they slow things down so they can handle the capacity.
We did speak with the FAA a short time ago. They tell me they fixed the staffing issues from this morning. However, we're not out of the woods yet. People are still going to experience those residual delays throughout the day. Delta Airlines, this is a major hub. La Guardia Airport, they say they've already experienced some 200 delays for their air traffic alone.
So, it's impacting the airlines, but this is a big deal because it's not happening in a vacuum. It's this coupled with TSA and those workers not showing up as well.
KING: And a very important point you made at the beginning about the domino effect on the economy. It's a personal toll, some of these people not showing up, I assume, because they're somewhere out trying to make more money.
KING: Make have seconds to make money. Rene Marsh, appreciate that.
The President -- we're going to hear from the President shortly to see if he has any new ideas here. CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us from live from Capitol Hill. The Democratic Speaker of the House issued a tweet about these flight delays. So she sees a political opening here. Phil, any movement?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think there are absolutely is. I think you could see it yesterday, when the two votes failed. You could see it when behind the scenes Senate Republicans express extreme frustration at Vice President Mike Pence at conference lunch yesterday and you can see it today.
There is a tipping point on Capitol Hill and there is a lot of talk going on, not just between majority leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, but I'm also told between Democrats and the White House right now trying to finalize some type of agreement that could get the government reopened in a very short period of time. The basic outlines are still kind of influx not everybody has signed off at the moment.
But what we're hearing at the moment, at least in the course of the last hour or two, it's likely to be a short-term reopening of the government at its current funding levels with an agreement to have negotiations over border security.
John, you might recognize this is something that Lindsey Graham has pitch for a long period of time. This is something that the bipartisan group of senators who went to the Senate floor to urge a deal yesterday have been talking about now for weeks.
It looks like we're at this point, but I would caution nobody has signed off officially yet. That's the expectation of what the President might be announcing here in a short period of time, but nothing is final, as you know, John, until the President actually says it's final.
KING: Until the President says it's final. And if he does say what you just said, that would be a major concession by the President. We'll watch this play out. Don't go anywhere, thanks for joining us INSIDE POLITICS today. Breaking news continues with Brianna Keilar right now. Have a great day.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar live from CNN's Washington Headquarters Underway right now.