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Trump Speaks at the White House; Trump Says No Deal without Wall Money; Democrats Release Plan; Evidence Collected from Roger Stone. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired January 31, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Maybe we should take down all the walls that are built right now. You will see a mess like you've never seen before.
So, I always say this. I was elected partially on this issue. Not as much as people say, but partially on this issue.
This is a very important issue. Nothing to do with elections, nothing to do with votes, nothing -- only to do with common sense and only to do with security.
And if we don't put up a barrier or wall, a strong one, but one that looks good - in the old days, they used to build them, they looked terrible, now we build them, they look really good. If we don't put up a physical barrier, you can forget it, our country is going to be a very unsafe place.
People are coming in, drugs are coming in, human trafficking is coming in, which is so horrible. Things are happening that won't happen after the wall is constructed. So we're building a lot of wall, we're building new sections. Starting in about two weeks, we're building some brand new sections, large sections, and the wall is getting built.
I would like to build it even faster, but it's getting built and it's getting built very substantially, as some of you see because you've been there. Yeah, please?
QUESTION: I had an immigration question, but first, just so (ph) I can clarify what you just said about North Korea. Do you have an agreement with North Korea on a time and place for the next (ph) summit?
TRUMP: Yes, I do.
QUESTION: Can you share?
TRUMP: Yeah, we're going to very soon, we're going to announce it pretty soon. We'll be announcing it early next week.
QUESTION: OK, and the - and you also ...
TRUMP: And they very much want the meeting and I think they really want to do something. We'll see, but I think they really want - but again, remember, North Korea was a whole different story. When I came to office, many people thought we were going to war with North Korea.
I would sit and listen and I would read people saying go to war with North Korea. Well, you'd lose - I mean potentially hundreds of millions of - you know, Seoul has 30-some odd million people and it's literally right off their wall, by the way. That wall works, I can tell you.
QUESTION: ... wall, you just said that - that (inaudible) question (inaudible).
TRUMP: Well, it was one of my ...
TRUMP: ... now they say it's a wall, because the - I've accomplished practically everything else. Look, I accomplished the military, I accomplished the tax cuts, I accomplished the regulation cuts, I accomplished so much.
The economy is the number one economy in the world. We're the number one economy in the whole world, we're the number one - not even close. Companies are pouring into our country, I've accomplished so much, so now they say oh, if he doesn't get the wall - they make that the only issue.
But it's not going to work, cause I'm building the wall, the wall's happening right now, OK?
QUESTION: (Inaudible) for several days now, are you closer or further apart on immigration (inaudible) now that (inaudible) government?
TRUMP: With respect to the committee?
TRUMP: I would say we're the same, because I'm hearing they don't want to do a wall for political reasons. I actually think it's bad politics. I mean frankly, I think them fighting us on what everybody knows has to be done to have proper security.
And you can add the other things, but the other things only really work if you have the physical barrier. Without the physical barrier, you're just - what are you going to have, drones flying over the 12,000 people? You're going to have a nice drone flying circles - doing circles around the 12,000 people that are walking in from Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador? No, you don't want that.
So I want to do real things, like to deal with China. I want it to be a real deal. I could do a deal with China where people would say it's not wonderful - it's not wonderful, I have to do the real deal. We have to open up China, we're open to them, they have to be open to us.
So - be so easy for me to make a deal with China, but it wouldn't be a real deal. I could get them to buy more corn than they've ever bought and more soy beans than they've ever bought and they'd be so happy if I did that. But they're going to do that, but in even higher numbers, but we're going to do a lot of other things. And just remember, we are taking in billions and billions of dollars from China. We never took in 10 cents from China.
China's being charged tremendous amounts of money for the privilege of coming in and doing what they do to our country. They're being charged a tremendous amount of money and we're going to make a deal. I think we're going to make a deal with China, but it's going to be a very comprehensive deal, we're going to cover everything, OK?
QUESTION: (Inaudible) going on, why then is (inaudible) U.S. deficit and the national debt increasing at a time when ...
TRUMP: Well the trade deals won't kick in for a while, you know. Number one, the - the USMCA hasn't even been approved yet, it has to go before Congress to get approved. Now, it should get approved quickly.
NAFTA was one of the worst deals ever made. During the campaign, I said I will either terminate NAFTA or negotiate a new deal, and we negotiated a good deal. Now if you went back to pre-NAFTA, that would be frankly OK with me - pre-NAFTA or the new deal, but I won't allow NAFTA.
NAFTA was a horrible deal for this country. You look at the scars all over our country where you go to New England, you go to Ohio, you go to Pennsylvania, you see what - I mean what happened in North Carolina. You have factories that are still empty from what happened with NAFTA.
NAFTA was a horrible deal. The USMCA is a great deal. But pre-NAFTA, we had huge surpluses with Mexico. With NAFTA, we have huge deficits. We lose $100 billion a year on trade with Mexico. Does that sound good? And this has been going on for many years. So I stopped it. I stopped it a lot.
QUESTION: You said the wall (ph) (inaudible) basically non (ph) (inaudible) with (inaudible) by the Democrats. Is there anything you would have done differently from the first (ph)...
TRUMP: No, there's nothing -- look, they -- they had this from day one.
TRUMP: Yeah, could have done it differently. No, not really. I mean, I think what -- by having the shutdown, we've set the table for where we are now. If I didn't do the shutdown, people wouldn't know, they wouldn't understand the subject. Now they understand the subject. They realize what a humanitarian crisis it is.
It's sort of -- it's called, like in deal-making, "setting the table" or, you know, setting a stage. We've set the stage for what's going to happen on the 15th of February. I don't think they're going to make a deal.
I see what's happening. They're all saying, "Oh, let's do this but we're not giving one dime to the wall." That's OK. But if they're not going to give money for the wall, it's not going to work. And if it's not going to work, then the politicians are really wasting a lot of time. OK.
QUESTION: ... declare a national emergency if there's no money to (ph)...
TRUMP: I would do that.
QUESTION: ... for a wall?
TRUMP: I would do that.
QUESTION: So why have them (ph)...
TRUMP: We have money. Just so you understand. We have money. We're building the wall right now. A lot of it. People don't know that, and nobody reports it. But that's OK because it's not very exciting, when you say (ph)...
TRUMP: ... but -- but let me just tell you. We're building the wall right now. It's going up fairly rapidly. We're renovating tremendous amounts of wall, which is good stuff that's in very bad shape with massive holes in it and fencing coming down. It's being beautifully renovated.
In some cases, we have to replace it. We renovate some, we replace some, we build some new. But the wall is going up right now in all different forms. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you.
QUESTION: What's holding you back from declaring a national emergency, Mr. President?
TRUMP: We're going to see what happens on February 15th.
QUESTION: Are you (inaudible)?
TRUMP: Against (ph) who?
QUESTION: ... concerned about (inaudible)?
TRUMP: No. I'm not concerned. I'm not concerned.
QUESTION: So you still don't think there's going to be a deal but you're not going to declare it now. Don't you think that's undermining...
TRUMP: No, I'm waiting -- excuse me. I didn't say that. I said I'm waiting until February 15th. On February 15th, the committee will come back and if they don't have a wall, I don't even want to waste my time reading what they have because it's a waste of time. Because the only thing that works for security and safety for our country is a wall.
Now, when you couple the wall with sensors and drones and all of these other things, that works as a combination. But if you don't have a wall, they're all just wasting their time. It's just politics. Thank you all very much.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right, that was President Trump, just moments ago, following not too long after Democrats unveiling their plan in these negotiations to keep the government open and to talk about border security where they say there is not going to be a wall but they're open to barriers. That's the word from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But you just heard President Trump there saying if they are not coming to this negotiation, talking about a wall, he doesn't even want to waste his time reading what they have.
Let's get to Abby Phillip at the White House.
Abby, you were in that room. Also we heard the president talking about his insulting the -- one of his intel chiefs, really all of them, but specifically going after the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, and he said, well, time will tell if he's right.
But let's -- let's first talk about the discussions or these negotiations that are being set -- the stage being set there, as he put it, with Capitol Hill.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Interestingly, Brianna, it sounded very much like President Trump was essentially closing the door to negotiations. He said repeatedly he didn't think anything was going to come out of this conference committee that's been meeting with Republicans and Democrats on The Hill. And he said point blank in response to a question I asked him about Nancy Pelosi's comments about the wall, saying that there would be no wall in the deal but perhaps physical barriers, he said, I will not accept that if it doesn't have a wall.
So the president's drawing the line really brightly in the sand here and adding that if on February 15th he gets a deal on his desk that does not include the border wall, he's not even going to look at it. He's just going to go to the other option. He made those comments in response to a series of questions about why he hadn't yet declared a national emergency, and he suggested that that February 5th deadline would be the time that he would decide on that.
[13:10:06] But the president, it seems to be, not any closer to being willing to compromise on this point than he was at the beginning of that 35-day shutdown. He called the government shutdown a setting the table moment, an opportunity for him to explain to the American people the importance of the border wall, which he implied would make it easier for him to sell a national emergency or something like that executive action to build the wall without Congress. And he also added that he didn't think that they were any closer to getting a deal now than they were when the government reopened on Friday.
So, really, a lot of pessimism, Brianna, from the president. And I know you mentioned his comments about his intelligence chiefs. I asked him at the very beginning, you know, you insulted these individuals. They work for you. Gina Haspel, the CIA director, and the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats. Do you still have confidence in them? And he -- you know, he didn't really go there. He didn't answer the question directly, but he suggested that even when he has respect for people, he disagrees with them, and he suggested that he would be proven right over time once time shows all of these issues to be what they are. He thinks that he will be proven right and his intelligence officials will be proven wrong on a number of issues, whether it's Iran or North Korea that he highlighted specifically, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Abby Phillip, stand by for us.
I want to bring in John King, our chief national correspondent.
And it's so interesting to hear the president talk about that because if you keep in mind that he tweeted today, call it a wall, he essentially said, a wall is a wall. It's not just enough that Democrats might be open to a physical barrier, he wants it to be called "the wall." It's the branding of it that seems so important to him.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The branding of this, wherever we end up, is part of the argument and debate now. But that 20 minutes or so of Q&A was welcome to the parallel universe that is sometimes the thinking of our president in the sense, to Abby's point. He said the shutdown set the table. People now understand. Well, look at his polling numbers. Bad before the shutdown. Worse now. Who do people trust on border security? Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats more than the president of the United States, who was absolutely right when he says, I was elected in part on this issue.
So you see what animates him, though. He gets so animated, his answerers were longer about the wall. He says the Democrats are playing games. Without a wall it doesn't work. So you -- just, you know, yes, they will negotiate for the next two weeks, but we are headed towards some executive action, whether it's a national emergency or some other executive action because he -- unless he blinks again and changes his mind again because he's not going to get what he wants in this spending bill. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker, making that very clear today. The president making clear, he says it's a waste of time.
So, the question is, do we have a shutdown or does he sign a spending bill that keeps the government open and then, pretty much, at the same moment, signs some executive action, national emergency, to redirect construction -- redirect money from other agencies to construction of the wall and then we go to court.
KEILAR: Do you read that he is completely dismissing these negotiations that are going on, on The Hill? I wonder because he tweeted about how the Homeland Security Committee is wasting their time. It's actually appropriators. It's people from the appropriation committees in the Senate and the House who are working on this. Is he -- is this just -- to him it doesn't matter what's going on? Is that your read?
KING: He clearly said he wouldn't even read it. He said it would be a waste of my time. I won't even read it if it doesn't have the wall.
What this does in part is it makes clear to his base, even though for two years of all Republican Washington the president kept punting, kept agreeing with congressional leaders, Republican congressional leaders, and signing spending bills without his wall. He's animating his base by saying, this time I'm going to fight. This time I mean it. This time I'm staying in this.
But, at the same time, his base may like that but it undermines the Republicans in the room who are trying to say, can't we get $2 billion to $3 billion for the president? Can't we try to meet the president halfway? When the -- when Democrats see this, you know, Nancy -- trust me, Nancy Pelosi tells her negotiators, Chuck Schumer tells his negotiators, stand firm, because the Democrats believe they have the high ground politically on this issue. The president's right, many of them in the past voted for this. They think the past is gone. That because of this president is unpopular in places that Democrats care about, largely suburban America, that they can fight this fight. And that undermines -- again, it's the president making a political argument that's disconnected from reality sometimes. We're not building a big, new wall. They're repairing existing wall.
KEILAR: He says it's rapid and it's beautiful renovations, like he's talking about a hotel lobby.
KING: He also says the Democrats are trying to stop him here because he's accomplished, quote, practically everything else that he campaigned on. He did get his big tax cut. The economy is humming. The president has done a lot when it comes to regulations.
Remember repeal and replace Obamacare? He hasn't gotten that. You remember drain the swamp? That has not happened.
KEILAR: Even the skinny repeal. That's right.
All right, let's listen to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, just to put this all into context. She unveiled the offer, the sort of out of the gate offer from Democrats just a short time ago. Let's go now to Sunlen Serfaty on The Hill for that. Sunlen.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, I think what's most notable in this proposal that was -- this draft proposal that was released this morning from the Democrats is what's not in the proposal. There is no money for the wall. All the more notable given the facts of those recent comments just in the last few minutes by President Trump. And we did indeed again heard from Nancy Pelosi in her press conference this morning saying no money will be in the legislation that we ultimately vote on. But the Democrats did, and you see some details there, release their proposal, starting point of the negotiations.
[13:15:20] It's a $55.8 billion plan for DHS funding, including $14.2 for U.S. Customs and Border Protection that includes things like recruitment, staff, equipment/technology. $7.4 billion for ICE, including increased inspections and additional attorneys.
And, again, this is just a draft proposal. How things work up here on Capitol Hill, as you know, a starting point for negotiators. That 17- person team up here, bipartisan team, starting yesterday and sitting down finally for the first time. A good place to have negotiators start is having some sort of draft proposal.
But, of course, not helping any of this, I think, Democrats and Republicans certainly believe that, and that's the feeling up here on Capitol Hill, this rhetoric coming from President Trump saying, this cannot happen. This could potentially be a waste of my time. Absolutely money for the border wall. That certainly does not help as negotiators up here still continue to try to work.
KEILAR: And let's listen to the House speaker as she unveiled this plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: There's not going to be any wall money in the -- in the -- in the legislation.
What did he say today, Congress is -- it doesn't matter what Congress does? I knew that he wanted it all to himself. I mean, oh, really? A president who wants to have Congress be completely irrelevant in how we meet the needs of the American people? No, come on. So, let them work their will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: There you have it, John King. It's interesting to hear -- this is just a big power struggle, but I also wonder, as you hear the president talking about deal making, what does it mean for that persona that he tries to project of being a deal maker when he says he won't even look at an opening offer? It doesn't seem really like a negotiation. KING: Well, what does it say that he -- what does it say that he couldn't get anything in the two years when his own party controlled all of Washington? Again, the president -- it's the disconnect from at least the reality in this town when he says it set the table. People have a greater understanding now.
It did set the table for the new power structure in Washington. Speaker Pelosi is more powerful now than she was coming into the shutdown -- going into the shutdown. The president is weaker now than he was going into the shutdown.
The president couldn't get a wall out of an all-Republican -- Republican House, Republican Senate, because senators -- not enough Republican senators would go for it. Now the House won't pass it. Now Democrats control the House. He'll get -- he used to get -- he got his $5 billion from the Republican House, couldn't pass the Senate. Now he gets nothing from the Democratic House. The question is, what will Republicans in the Senate give him. They won't give him his $5.7 billion. They can't because this is a negotiation now with Democrats at the table. And the -- I will say this, Republicans in the Senate are in zero mood for another shutdown. So they will tell the president, keep the government open. If you want to do your national emergency, do it, but do not let the government shut down again.
KEILAR: They're animated by what they're seeing, this national poll, the upset over the shutdown, the fact that voters are saying it's the fault of Republicans over Democrats. Is he animated by something else, though as -- we know that his campaign chief is saying, hey, look at these, look at the polling on the walls in these districts that Democrats won, but they're swing districts.
KING: He believes, and his political team believes, that they can recreate the 2016 map in 2020. Other data would suggest otherwise. But we don't know who the Democratic opponent is. We don't know what the economy's going to look like then. So the president is animated by this and he is absolutely right that he was definitely in the Republican primaries, immigration was his calling card.
The general election was a mix of immigration, the trade stuff, more -- I would say the trade and the economics helped him more in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, the big blue state he flipped red. But his team thinks he can still make this case in the places that matters when you're talking about an Electoral College. That remains to be seen. And there's a bigger question, which, can he do that -- can he do that on this issue if he continues to lose on this issue and make it a campaign issue? That will be interesting to see.
But, remember, the Trump brand was strength. He's not very strong right now. So we'll see how this plays out. He clearly -- he clearly -- this is not going to -- at least today, he has changed his consistencies even in those seven tweets. So that doesn't mean where we are today is where we're going to be tomorrow or next week when we get to deadline time here. But clearly, today, he is essentially saying, forget about it, I'm not taking whatever you give me because I know it's not going to be good enough and we're going to have some sort of executive power, either national emergency, some other executive action. He tries to build the wall. That will get challenged in court. We'll see where we go.
KEILAR: All right, John King, thank you so much.
So also breaking, the Mueller team releasing details of the evidence they collected against Roger Stone. Years' worth of evidence, in fact.
[13:19:52] Plus, Venezuela's self-declared president says Maduro's forces tried to enter the home of his wife's family as the standoff over power escalates.
KEILAR: So we have some new details on the arrest of Roger Stone. The special counsel's office revealed today that they collected several years' worth of information from Stone's iCloud accounts, his e-mail, his computer hardware. Former council to the U.S. assistant attorney general Carrie Cordero is with us here. We also have former FBI special agent Anthony Ferrante.
How significant is this, Carrie? We're talking about it spanning years. Why is that important?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, from the perspective of the information we've learned from Stone's indictment on obstruction and lying to Congress and other things, we know that he was in touch with individuals connected to releasing some of the information in the Russian 2016 election interference. And so the one question will be, how far back does that go, his involvement both with the campaign and his involvement, his communications with individuals who were connected to the Russia investigation.
[13:25:15] You know, the other thing that it then also potentially provides more legal exposure for Roger Stone is, is there other evidence of crimes. We saw with Michael Cohen, with Paul Manafort, other types of financial crimes or business-related crimes that are revealed in the course of this investigation. And so whether there's other tangentially related crimes that Roger Stone might be implemented for, you know, that information, if they find it, they'll have to pursue it.
KEILAR: That could be very bad for him, right?
CORDERO: Well, one doesn't know. You know, whether or not there's other things he's been involved with that are not connected to the Russia investigation, once information is lawfully obtained pursuant to a search warrant, then it can provide leads for further investigation.
KEILAR: Yes, we'll see if there's a lot of string to pull there.
Anthony, so the president, he says that he's thinking about asking the FBI to review its process for handling the arrest after the scene that we saw there at Roger Stone's house, right? He -- there were a large number of armed agents in tactical gear. They went up to Stone's house pre-dawn. Do you see anything wrong with how that -- it's being called a raid, but this was -- to me it didn't strike me as a raid. It was an arrest. Yes, there was a lot of manpower there. Was there anything the matter with that?
ANTHONY FERRANTE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Absolutely not. What we witnessed was a standard FBI arrest and execution of an arrest and search warrant. It happens in the morning just after 6:00 a.m. There's an arrest warrant, a search warrant signed by a magistrate judge. The FBI agents surround the house. They execute the warrant. They knock. The door was answered. They took Roger Stone into custody. They secured the residence to make sure there were no other threats within the residence. They removed Roger Stone and then essentially shifted gears and began executing a search warrant.
It's too bad we're having this discussion right now because when it comes to executing an arrest and search warrant, the safety and security of the law enforcement officers and those involved should be paramount, and this shouldn't be a political discussion.
KEILAR: Why is it -- why is it conducted this way where the agents would go up -- they wouldn't give notice? You'll -- first off, I want to point out that Roger Stone is comparing this to like the raid against bin Laden. Let's just -- we know that's totally, totally untrue.
Why would they do this with some secrecy even though Roger Stone was kind of expecting this? What are the goals as far as maybe preserving evidence? Because you know Roger Stone has actually been accused of lying and basically not providing evidence that is out there, that exists to prove certain things?
FERRANTE: Yes, absolutely. I mean there have been many comparing this arrest to the arrest of white collar crime. And I think rather than putting the FBI under scrutiny, we should be looking at Roger Stone and asking, what does Mueller have on Roger Stone that would essentially tell the FBI, don't handle this like a standard white collar crime arrest, right? They want to get in there. They want to preserve evidence.
Every charge in the indictment of Roger Stone has something to do with obstruction of justice, which means they're concerned with him destroying evidence. So they want to take him into custody, surprise him and then start searching for that evidence through a valid search warrant.
KEILAR: Such an important -- I want to ask you, Carrie, though, because the president has insulted his intel chiefs, as you are aware, and he has said the time is going to tell if he is right about taking issue with them. He went on Twitter. He called them naive. He said they needed to go back to school. This is after they all went before the Senate and completely contradicted him on ISIS and North Korea and other threats facing the U.S.
CORDERO: Well, that worldwide threat briefing, which happens every year, this is normal for the director of national intelligence and some of the major intelligence chiefs to go before the Senate Intelligence Committee and testify to them and provide information to the public about what the major threats are. And it's so important that we see that information come out publicly. The information that they provided in that threat briefing, which there's a lengthy written statement in addition to the testimony that they provided, is the intelligent community's best assessment.
It's OK for a president and a policymaker to question and challenge in an informed way they're intelligence advisers. What's different about this is the president makes statements claiming national security justifications for things, and the basis upon which he does that is so completely unclear that the public has no understanding as to who he's taking advice from. Is he taking advice from his intelligence advisers at all? Is he not listening to them at all? We just don't know where he gets advice from.
[13:29:47] And on the issue of the search, just to add on, if the president sees on TV that a search is executed on his long-time friend and he doesn't understand the way that law enforcement works, which we might know that he -- perhaps he doesn't understand that, he can ask for a briefing on, tell me more about how law enforcement searches work. You know, why was there people who were armed? You know, Roger's my friend.