Return to Transcripts main page
AT THIS HOUR
Stone Pleads Not Guilty, Expected To Speak Soon; Inter Chiefs Contradict Trump On ISIS, North Korea, Iran; FBI Chief: Russia Used Social Media To Meddle In Midterms; Threat Of Another Government Shutdown Looms Large; Trump, Lawmakers Look For Common Ground As New Shutdown Looms; Lawmakers Face February 15 Deadline Ahead Of Another Shutdown; CIA Director: Iran Complying With Nuclear Deal "At The Moment;" New Poll: 32 Percent Of GOP Voters Would Nominate Someone Other Than Trump. Aired: 11:30-12p ET
Aired January 29, 2019 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And she said that not at all and she argued actually to the contrary saying that the more that this goes on, the more that they see that this has nothing to do with the President.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, I mean she has to say that because she has to defend the President and more importantly she knows that the audience that is most important to her, the President the United States is watching and has that expectation. I'm just pausing to see if that's - okay, Kate, you erupt me when we need to go to this.
BOLDUAN: Well, you'll never know what we're looking at Dana. Keep going now.
BASH: Exactly. So that is the expectation from the White House. But it's not necessarily the reality, because we have been looking at the indictment in particular. There's just one example and we've been talking about it now for several days. Item paragraph number 12, I believe it is, where it says that a senior advisor was directed to reach out so on and so forth, so that was directed, was in passive voice, it seemed to be done on purpose perhaps to mask who that senior aide was directed by. Could it be the President? Possibly.
And the other thing is that we have seen other indictments where we have seen individual one named where the suspicion even from people who are named by name or more specifically in the indictments, I think that individual one is the President of the United States. So we don't know that what Sarah Sanders says is going to bear out.
We don't know that the President is going to be proven to be either ignorant of or just unaware of these things that were happening by his highest campaign officials and in this case somebody who he has known and worked with on and off for decades in the form of Roger Stone.
BOLDUAN: Well, let us just bring the viewer in on what is happening right now. We're not sure as I know - you're with me on this, with the scrum of reporters that kind of ran towards the street outside the courthouse. One could assume that maybe Roger Stone took a quick exit, got into that SUV and pulled away. I don't see them resetting very quickly where the mics are, so that's kind of where my gut is telling me.
Let us do this, let's get into quick break, let's reassess and see if Roger Stone is going to be coming out. We've got much more ahead on CNN, be right back.
All right, let us get back to Washington very quickly outside the federal courthouse there where Roger Stone was inside the courthouse pleading not guilty to seven charges related to the Russia investigation. Sara Murray, our Sara Murray was inside the courtroom during Stone's arraignment. She is outside now. So, Sara, what just happened?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was quick. He was in and out in 15 minutes. His lawyer entered his not guilty plea for him and Roger Stone had intended I think to speak to the cameras afterwards, but there were so many protesters outside. They sort of mobbed him on his way out. He quickly got in a car with his attorneys and left. But we will be seeing Roger Stone back in this court sooner rather than later.
Today he had this initial arraignment in front of a magistrate judge, but he's going to be back here on Friday where he will be appearing before Judge Amy Berman Jackson. That will be the judge handling his case for a status hearing and then we'll get a better sense of upcoming dates for this and what these two sides need to hash out as they're preparing for a potential trial here, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. All right, Sara, thank you so much. Next up, Friday, we will be hearing what's next for Roger Stone. But also this has been happening this morning. Right now the nation's top intelligence chief and law enforcement officials, this is live from Capitol Hill right now, they are testifying before the Senate on worldwide threats to the United States. It's all of the big names in U.S. national security, the Head of the FBI, the Head of the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence just to name a few.
From North Korea to ISIS, they are laying out dire warnings today which in some ways are in contrast to the assessment offered up by their boss, President Trump. The Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, he offered this warning about what ISIS is currently capable of.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The conflicts in Iraq and Syria have generated a large pool of skilled and battle-hardened fighters who remain dispersed throughout the region. While ISIS is nearing territorial defeat in Iraq and Syria the group has returned to its guerrilla warfare routes while continuing to plot attacks and direct its supporters worldwide. ISIS is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: Thousands of fighters still in Iraq and Syria. But remember
President Trump from just a month ago declared the ISIS was defeated in Syria. There's a lot to get to hear. So let's start with CNN's Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us. So Barbara, on ISIS, the President says ISIS in Syria is defeated and that was one of his reasons he says for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Syria, moving that direction. Then, you hear this assessment from Coats, could these two things both be true?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, sort of. Look, the intelligence professionals have a pretty firm grasp on this. The physical caliphate, the territory on the ground that ISIS controls certainly diminished after the fighting in both Iraq and Syria.
But ISIS is still very much alive. The Director there talking about their return to guerrilla warfare. Remember it was just several days ago, an ISIS suicide attack killed four Americans in northern Syria. They are very much able to still conduct this kind of guerilla warfare. They can do this at their own will.
There's very little question about that. The question, the larger strategic question on the table is a threat perhaps ISIS can pose in Europe pose to the U.S. territory. So the question is this, do they have the finances, the communications, infrastructure, the networking to inspire and communicate to plan and carry out attacks outside the areas of Syria and Iraq.
ISIS fighters are considered to be dispersed in many areas around the world, still able to able to inspire those kinds of attacks. That's part of what the director is warning about here and also warning that don't count ISIS out. Just because they don't control territory doesn't mean they cannot still conduct terror attacks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right, Barbara. Great to see you. Thank you. So there's much more to this also.
Let me also bring in Samantha Vinograd, CNN National Security Analyst. Sam, I want to play for you what Director Coats said also about North Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COATS: Regarding North Korea, the regime has halted its provocative behavior related to its WMD program. North Korea has not conducted any nuclear capable missile or nuclear tests in more than a year. Having said that, we currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities, because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: But the President has said that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat. How does this square with that, Sam, and what does this now mean for the second summit plan for sometime next month?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER UNDER OBAMA: Well, Kate, this entire briefing underscores a critical point and a harsh reality which is the intelligence community and intelligence informs policy decisions, informs the President, it doesn't unto itself make policy. And the issue is that we have continuously had the intelligence community and public sector organizations like the IAEA very clearly articulate that North Korea is not denuclearizing.
North Korea is not giving up its nuclear weapons and either the President and his national security team, and the National Security Adviser are not digesting the intelligence or choosing to ignore it.
So the question really becomes with this growing disconnect between what the intel assessment says and where the President is who can step in to try to leverage the President to change course. And this briefing is important because Congress is hearing the facts, legislators are hearing the facts and are they going to execute oversight on National Security policy making now that they know yet again that North Korea is not doing what the President says they are.
BOLDUAN: So let me bring in Dana Bash on this one then, because it's not just ISIS and it's not just North Korea, Dana, it's also Iran where Intel Chiefs contradicted the President. Let me play for you what the CIA Director Gina Haspel, what she said about the Iran nuclear deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINA HASPEL, CIA DIRECTOR: The Iranians are considering taking steps that would lessen their adherence to JCPOA. They are making some preparations that would increase their ability to take a step back if they make that decision. So at the moment, technically, they're in compliance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: This makes three major areas where the President and the Intel community are not in lockstep. What do you make of that?
BASH: Yes, and in the actual written worldwide threat assessment it says Iran is not currently undertaking key nuclear weapons development activity, black and white. So it's these three, Kate, but you can even look at it more broadly to look at almost across the board. The President of the United States and the intelligence agencies, the law enforcement agencies under his purview, the people he put in charge and all of the rank and file who work under them have assessed that they don't agree with him on many, many issues.
You mentioned North Korea. You've talked about Iran. Talked about ISIS. There's also something that's not in here, which is the southern border. There's nothing that says the southern border - the fact that there's not a wall there poses a National Security threat. It also talks about Russia being a big threat, China being a big threat to countries where a lot of people wish that the President would be more aggressive with regard to cybersecurity and other things that he just doesn't ever talk about.
So that is what is really striking about this, that this is a very important report coming from people who are nonpartisan who generally and genuinely believe and understand the threats to the United States. And issue after issue they fly in the face of what the President is or is not saying.
BOLDUAN: And it's not a short report. I mean this is an annual report. It's lengthy. They all buy in. They all are part of this and they are not mentioning the southern border. The timing of this is amazing, and rich and important.
You mentioned Russia, Dana. Let me bring in Matthew Rosenberg, National Security Reporter for "The New York Times" on this bit. Because let me play, I think we both have - I think it's both the FBI Director and Director Coats on Russian interference in 2018 election and also coming up in 2020 and what this means. Let me play this for me, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COATS: We assess that foreign actors will view the 2020 U.S. elections as an opportunity to advance their interests. We expect them to refine their capabilities and add new tactics as they learn from each other's experiences and efforts in previous elections.
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Is that the ISIS assessment of this country's adversaries continue to use U.S. social media platforms as a vehicle for weaponizing disinformation and spreading foreign influence in the United States. Director Wray?
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Yes, that's certainly the FBI's assessment not only the Russians continued to do it in 2018, but we've seen indication that they're continuing to adapt their model and that other countries are taking a very interested eye in that approach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: I mean talk about putting in black and white once again. We expect that we will be to continue to refine their capabilities, it's not past, not only present, it's future that they're talking about.
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": They're going to get better and better and the question that isn't address there is what are we doing about it. Is there a comprehensive kind of effort to tackle this? We don't know of any. These are really complex issues. Our electoral system is layer upon layer upon layer, its States, it's the federal government, it's the intelligence agencies and what is the plan here to handle this?
I think there's a bigger problem that you're seeing in this entire hearing, which is cast aside everything when it comes to spies and intelligence. What these agencies do? It's their jobs to go out, get information, come back and tell the people to make policy, this is what you need to know.
Now, if the policy makers aren't listening, if they're making decisions, what are they making decisions, what information are they using or is it just their beliefs. That's a pretty serious difference.
BOLDUAN: And an important thing to be talking about right now.
ROSENBERG: You hope so, yes.
BOLDUAN: You would hope so. Great to see you, Matt. Great to see you all. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. That hearing ongoing as we speak. Coming up for us, the government is back open, but the threat of another shutdown looms large. Are there any signs of movement in these bipartisan negotiations. I'm going to talk to a Republican on the key committee. Coming up next.
The State of the Union address that was off is now back on, set for next Tuesday from the House Chamber once again. But when the President gives that address to the nation, the countdown clock will also once again be on when 10 days out from another potential then it will be 10 days out from another potential government shutdown. The stalemate only in place until the 15th while bipartisan group of lawmakers tried to hash out a long-term deal. Joining me right now from Capitol Hill, Republican Congressman from New York, Tom Reed. Thank you for coming in, Congressman.
REP. TOM REED (R), NEW YORK: Great to be with you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thank you. So the President has put the chances of the group negotiating this of being able to reach a deal at less than 50/50. Is that where you would put the chances right now?
REED: Given the complete failure of Congress to legislate on this issue, though that's a realistic assessment, but at the end of the day what I encourage my Democratic colleagues, take yes for an answer. There is a deal to be struck here, Kate. Border security plus some relief to about a million to a million and a half young children that is a natural deal that could be struck to take care of both of these issues.
BOLDUAN: The President has said though another shutdown is definitely a possibility if they don't get to a deal. Would you support another government shutdown less than three weeks from now?
REED: No, I think the history lesson that may be best appropriate here to learn from is the Clinton years when they had the shutdown there where Bill Clinton put the government on continuing CRs to force Congress to do its job. We need a forcing mechanism to have Congress get 218 votes in the House and 60 votes in the Senate, so you could have 24-hour CRs, 48-hour CRs, keep the government open but force the negotiators to stay in the room, get it done for the American people.
BOLDUAN: There's actually a bipartisan effort to pass a measure to ban the option of shutting down the government, to prevent shutdowns in the future. Would you support that?
REED: Just handing the keys over and saying Congress is completely inept, completely incompetent and I haven't given up on Congress yet. Congress needs to legislate so to just say take the failure of Congress and say we're never going to deal with this issue, that to me is not a right step in the right direction. We have a responsibility in Congress to get it done.
BOLDUAN: I think it's not, not dealing with the issue, it's just you can't use federal employees as leverage when you're trying to fight something out on policy.
REED: We have the power first in Congress for a reason. It's in our Constitution. Congress needs to legislate.
So just to say we can't agree to something, so therefore we're never going to do it. I know Congress, Congress will not do anything if it continues to delegate its authority away and just say, "Oh, the hard decisions we're not going to deal with." We need leadership, step up, solve this problem and I got to tell you there's a deal to be struck here. Take yes for an answer.
BOLDUAN: I think both sides are saying that to the other side at the very same time. So there's unison in that, both sides are saying take yes. Let's see where they land on that. I do want to ask you this, a new ABC --
REED: From your mouth to God's ears.
BOLDUAN: On everything, let's just say that. A new ABC News/The Washington Post poll is out and it shows that nearly one in three Republicans would like to nominate someone other than President Trump in 2020. With that said, 65 percent say that it should be Trump that is nominated, what do you say to anyone who's considering a primary challenge to the President right now?
REED: Well, I think that the primary issue is going to be more on the left. As you see 20 plus candidates I think running for the Democratic primary. I think on our side the policy --
BOLDUAN: Oh, for sure but this question is coming up on the right.
REED: -- yes, I think the policies of what the President is advocating are showing results. Obviously, some folks disagree with the style. I get that, but when you look at the policies I think that's going to bode well for President Trump going into any primary fight if there is one.
BOLDUAN: Let me try it again, when I asked John Kasich about this yesterday about a primary challenge, he told me that all options are on the table for him. So he could be that challenger, perhaps, what do you think of that?
REED: Well, obviously, that's democracy. If people want to participate in the process, that's what they have a right to do. But at the end of the day, I think President Trump is in a strong position with the Republican Party. His policies are showing results. We support the policies. I think if you lead with that, it's going to be tough for a primary challenger to consider running against President Trump.
BOLDUAN: What then do you think of an independent candidate, an independent challenger jumping into the race? As we know former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has been toying with the idea right now.
REED: Obviously, again that's democracy. That's their right but I don't see that as a viable candidacy. That's more of an individual running on a messaging campaign, in my humble opinion. But I do agree with the sentiment that's supporting an independent run that we need leadership in Washington, D.C. We're just not seeing that leadership of standing up to our extremisms that have taken over now particularly on the left, but also on the right that we just have to stand up and lead. It's time for leaders to come to the forefront and that's what I'm trying to do with other leaders here in Congress.
And I think if you embrace that model, we'll get some things done for the American people and politics will take care of itself.
BOLDUAN: Your optimism is admirable. If it was only shared by so many more people. Congressman, I appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.
REED: It's very kind of you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thank you. Thanks for coming in. Coming up for us, we're continuing to follow the breaking news out of Washington. Roger Stone entering a not guilty plea as he faces charges including obstruction of justice and witness tampering. Stay with us.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Inside Politics. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your day with us.