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U.S. Adds 304,000 Jobs in January, Beating Expectations; U.S. Announces Withdrawal from Landmark Nuclear Arms Treaty; Senator Cory Booker Kicks Off 2020 Presidential Bid; Senator Cory Booker Kicks Off 2020 Bid, Joins Crowded Democratic Field; Donald Trump: Bipartisan Talks on Border Wall is a "Waste of Time"; Trump Claims Rosenstein Told His Lawyers He's Not Mueller's Target; Roger Stone Appears in Federal Court Today; Senate Investigators Briefed About Donald Trump Jr.'s Calls Before Trump Tower Meeting. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired February 1, 2019 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:33] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good Friday morning, everyone. 9:00 a.m. Eastern. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto. We have breaking news just in the last few moments here. The U.S. adding 304,000 jobs in January, this despite the record-breaking government shutdown. This marks the 100th consecutive month of job gains.

Let's get right to CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans here.

This is a big number.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's a big, strong number. It's a number I think the White House is really going to like and it shows you that hundred months I think is really important here because this has been a long steady job market recovery. And you're really finally starting to see the fruits of that in wages as well. Wages up 3.2 percent. Really important. That's what it looks like over the past year.

Let's look at the unemployment rate. It went up a little bit to 4 percent. I think in the unemployment rate that's the only place you would have captured maybe some of those federal workers and the government shutdown. But overall these numbers pretty much show you that shutdown did not the overall labor market.

And we saw hiring across the board, in bars and restaurants, 74,000. In construction, 52,000. Also saw it in transportation, warehouses, mining, and in health care. Health care has been a very, very important part of the economy over the past 10, 15 years. A steady performer in terms of jobs, all kinds of jobs. So that's really important.

The wages, again, I want to go back to this because this is so important, you know. We've been waiting for wages to come back. 3.2 percent year over year wage growth. Now you've got three months in a row of 3 percent -- three months in a row of 3 percent plus. That's a good sign for workers. That's a very good sign. SCIUTTO: To be clear, though, you made an interesting point just

before we went to air that federal workers who were furloughed during --


SCIUTTO: Are not counted. They were counted as employed.

ROMANS: They were counted as employed. There are two surveys, two data sets that go into this number where you see that labor -- the unemployment rate went up a little bit. There might have been some federal workers or there might have been some contractors who were counted in that. That might be why you have a little bit higher -- but 4 percent is still a very, very good number for unemployment rate.

HARLOW: And remember, the president gets briefed on these the day before.

ROMANS: Right.

HARLOW: So he would have known about this yesterday.


HARLOW: And he was very confident in that interview with the "New York Times" last night.


ROMANS: About the same thing.

HARLOW: And walking out of the China trade talks. I suppose this really helps the U.S. in the China trade talks. Their economy gets worse, ours gets better.

ROMANS: This is a strong labor market. I hope that what it means for our viewers is this is the year of a raise. You know? I mean, we do know that there are a lot of open positions still in America. Six million open positions and about six million people unemployed. So there are some bigger policy issues like, you know, matching skills and training with the jobs that are available.


ROMANS: The wages going up shows you that workers for the first time in a long time are getting more for their hours.

SCIUTTO: Do you hear that out there? Time to ask your boss for a raise.

ROMANS: Yes. Yes.

HARLOW: Thanks, Romans.

All right. Our political analyst, Seung Min Kim, is with us now. So I guess it's the same question I just asked Christine. Does this

help the U.S. markedly in the China trade talks, you know, ahead of that March 1st deadline?

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's certainly a bolstering case for the president. I mean, the focus on the economy, I mean, despite all the tumult that we see from the White House in terms of internal drama and relations with Capitol Hill and national security policies, the economy is really something that Republicans -- well, first of all that the president has been proud of and second that Republicans would really want him to focus on instead.

A lot of times it does get shadowed by the other controversies going on in this administration. But I would expect the president to really proudly tout these numbers later today. And going forward, to see that this would be a case in bolstering the United States and the ongoing trade talks with China.

SCIUTTO: The other issue here, and just straight up politics here for a moment. You cover this White House. This is going to make this president very happy in terms of, you know, pushing that message that he has helped make this economy strong.

KIM: Exactly. And I think what the interesting thing about the "New York Times" interview last night was that -- from yesterday, was that he, the president, and this is a complaint that we've heard from the president for some time, that he does not get credit in the press and in the public for what he has done, particularly when it comes to the economy. And now today he does have one strong case to push in that respect.

However, there are other things that he is doing on the economic front that is frustrating members of his own party that has been -- that has been a point of frustration with his own party when we were talking about the steel and aluminum tariffs, and we know Senate Republicans were very adamant against those policies from the Trump administration.

The shutdown, clearly, even though the numbers may not have -- did not seem to have much of an impact on the job numbers we do know that at least by congressional budget estimators that it did suffer a $3 billion permanent loss to the economy and the craziness of the shutdown is not something that Republicans nor Democrats on Capitol Hill want to go through again.

[09:05:18] And yet, that threat still remains. The president does not seem to have a lot of confidence in the 17-member panel tasked with averting the government shutdown later this month. He may take steps on his own to build the wall on the Mexico border that he has so touted for. But, you know, look, there are other kind of looming dangers and kind of large and small that the president should probably be aware of.

SCIUTTO: Seung Min Kim, thanks very much as always.

HARLOW: All right. So also this morning, big news in just the last few moments. The U.S. is withdrawing from a landmark nuclear arms treaty. The treaty was signed with the USSR during the Cold War to prevent an arms race.

SCIUTTO: But the U.S. says that Russia has already been violating this agreement since 2014 with a new missile it's deployed and tested. Here is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Countries must be held accountable when they break the rules. For years Russia has violated the terms of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty without remorse. Russia has refused to take any steps to return real and verifiable compliance over these 60 days. The United States will therefore suspend its obligations under the INF treaty effective February 2nd.


SCIUTTO: Joining us now is CNN national security reporter Kylie Atwood.

And Kylie, the secretary there focusing his ire really on Russia because the U.S. position is they've already been violating this treaty but this is also about China, is it not?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: It is definitely about China, in part. Right? We've heard National Security adviser John Bolton mentioned the new strategic threat that is created by Russia developing these missiles that -- sorry, by China developing these missiles that Russia has been developing even though they aren't supposed to under the INF treaty.

Now that the U.S. is withdrawing from this treaty they can compete with both Russia and China in this specific area of missile development. And the question is, what is that going to look like for the U.S.? Are they going to deploy these systems to European allies to defend against the Russian threat?

And Pompeo today said that it is the duty of the U.S. to pull out of this treaty because Russia hasn't been in compliance with it. Now even during the Obama administration, the U.S. has said that Russia hasn't been complying with the INF treaty. It's now the Trump administration following through on a promise that it has made time and time again to actually pull out of the treaty.

But the question, of course, is what are the next six months going to look like? Russia has six months to come back into compliance if it wants to, if it has specific action it's going to take to come back into compliance. But that sure doesn't look like the case in terms of what U.S. negotiators have seen from Russia up until this point.

SCIUTTO: Kylie Atwood, thanks very much.

Joining us now is Shawn Turner. He's a CNN national security analyst, also former director of communications for the U.S. Office of -- director of National Intelligence. Shawn, just so folks at home can understand this. I mean, this brings

back a whole category of missiles, it brings back bad memories of the '80s when Europe -- you had missiles deployed there, nuclear missiles, with ranges that threatened those countries. Is this -- does this mean that the U.S., Russia and China are in a new nuclear arms race?

SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Jim, that's a good question because I think that a lot of people understand that for a long time Russia and China have been developing these weapons. We go back to the Obama administration. We knew that Russia was developing this SSC-80 weapon. And we have to remember that the INF treaty got rid of all the old Russian SS-20 missiles. And so since that time we had a long period of time where Russia was in compliance with the ban.

But in the last five years, actually a little bit more than five years, they started to develop these new weapons. And we've also seen China start to develop some of these weapons. We know what's happening with North Korea and some other places around the globe. So I think the idea that this is -- that there is a new arms race is -- you know, this is not going to start an arms race. But I think we've kind of slowly been in a phase where we've been moving back to a kind of slow motion arms race.

HARLOW: What about for Europe, for our NATO allies? Does this make them more or less safe?

TURNER: Absolutely. We have to look at the range of this SSC-80 missiles. Well, these are not missiles that threaten the United States. These are missiles that threaten our partners and allies in Russia. And it certainly is the case that what this means for the United States is that we have to work more closely with our partners and allies in order to make sure that there are defenses against these missiles if Russia does not change its colors and decide to -- and over the next six months decide to move to come back into compliance.

[09:10:06] But it absolutely is the case that this is much more of a threat for Europe, some of our closest partners and allies than it is for the U.S.

SCIUTTO: Talk about China just for a moment here. So the possibility of redeploying these missiles in Europe.


SCIUTTO: Again, bringing back nasty memories from the '80s. China has been making enormous progress in this category of missile with the intention of diminishing America's military advantage.

Are we looking at missiles like this being deployed by the U.S. and Asia as well?

TURNER: You know, I think that's to be determined. Look, if we -- if Russia doesn't change its course here and back out, I think the United States is going to have to take a hard look at alternative ways to deter China's growth in this area and also to deal with the fact that Russia will feel emboldened to continue going down the path of developing this technology. I think at this point the hope in the national security space and across the U.S. government is that over the next six months that Russia will take a step back and realize that it's to their best interest to come into compliance, and that the U.S. may be in a position to work bilaterally with China in order to develop some sort of nuclear or some sort of nuclear agreement that would also pull China back from developing these kinds of weapons.

HARLOW: Shawn Turner, thank you. It's really, really significant. We appreciate you breaking it down.

So also this morning, another one jumps in.

SCIUTTO: One by one.


SCIUTTO: Speaking of headlines.

HARLOW: There you go. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker makes it official. He's joining the growing and increasingly crowded Democratic race to take on President Trump in 2020. Here he was.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Together, we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose. Together, America, we will rise.

I'm Cory Booker, and I'm running for president of the United States of America.


SCIUTTO: Booker of course joining California's Kamala Harris as the first two U.S. senators to make their candidacy official. There are others thinking about it. Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren, New York's Kirsten Gillibrand have both launched exploratory committees and are expected to announce officially soon.

Joining us now live from Newark, New Jersey, is CNN's Rebecca Buck with more.

I mean, a longtime coming here. There have been a lot of build-up here. Tell us about the reception so far to his announcement.

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. Well, warm reception. Obviously there is a lot of energy among Democrats for this election in general. And so with every candidate's roll-out from Elizabeth Warren to Kamala Harris, to Gillibrand, to Booker today there is a great deal of excitement around these candidates. But the hard questions come later. Starting today, people are going to ask where does Booker fit into this very crowded, diverse, competitive field of Democratic candidates that is emerging this election cycle.

He is, of course, an African-American candidate which could help him appeal to voters in South Carolina where it's a big part of the primary electorate in that state and throughout the south. He also is the youngest senator who is going to be running. And as he noted in his announcement video today he is the only U.S. senator that lives in an inner city. And so he can speak to the struggles of people who are impoverished, who are fighting for work, fighting for a paycheck. That is something that is unique about him as well.

But in the year of the woman, one of the big questions for Cory Booker is, how can he appeal to women voters when there are so many women candidates running? Of course he's rolling out his campaign today with an interview on "The View," a very heavily woman show. And he is also rolling it out talking to Latino audiences, African-American audiences trying to build a coalition.

One of the other big questions, how can he stack up to Donald Trump? How will his message resonate relative to Trump? So relentlessly optimistic message that Cory Booker brings. The implicit contrast is stark. But he hesitates to call out Donald Trump by name. He hesitates to attack him.

In this announcement video he says he wants Americas to look at their leaders and feel pride, not shame. That of course is targeted at the president. But he doesn't name him in this announcement video. So a very stark contrast. And we'll see how voters start to receive it as he gets out on the campaign trail. He's going to Iowa and South Carolina next weekend. And then to New Hampshire over Presidents' Day weekend.

HARLOW: Some important states. Rebecca Buck, thank you for that reporting.

SCIUTTO: All those campaign states -- campaign stops, trust me, they're very strategic.

HARLOW: Totally.


HARLOW: So Kirsten Gillibrand just tweeted this. "Congratulations and welcome to the race to one of my closes friends, Cory Booker. I'll be cheering you on. Just, you know, not too hard."


HARLOW: I like that.

All right. Julie Hirschfeld Davis is with us, congressional correspondent for the "New York Times." I thought it was a really interesting point that Rebecca made about the inner city. And we know that Senator Booker has brought a ton of cooperations into Newark, a ton of corporate money into Newark, that famous $100 million donation from Facebook, questionable about how effective it was.


[09:15:00] POPPY HARLOW, CO-HOST, NEWSROOM: Brought a ton of corporations into Newark -- a ton of money into Newark, that famous $100 million donation from Facebook, questionable about how effective it was. So there's that, but there's also the criticism that he's going to endure because Wall Street has been among his biggest donors.

The big banks from Goldman Sachs to Morgan Stanley, et cetera. And until just a few years ago, so was Big Pharma.

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: Right, I mean, this is a -- this is a criticism that he's had to endure in his -- in political races as a senator. But certainly, as he gets into this race, it's going to be something he'll have to answer for.

I mean, I think it's pretty clear that he's trying to focus his message really toward working people, toward the sorts of people who live in the inner city and all Americans around the country who share some of their same concerns about jobs and wages, about the way that people are treated by the criminal justice system and the like.

But for sure, this question of where his support comes from and the vast range of people that he's been willing to work with in politics and in his efforts to make change on the ground in Newark are going to come to the fore.

I think he's trying to really market himself as the candidate who is willing to and really relishes the opportunity to kind of reach across and work with anyone. We hear him talking a lot already about his work on criminal justice reform with Republicans and reaching across the aisle and to a very diverse coalition of supporters.

But he certainly will get questions, I think from the progressive Democratic base --


DAVIS: About you know, what that would mean if he were to be president, if he were to be elected, who he would be holding to, and who he'd be letting into the conversation essentially.

SCIUTTO: Julie, the Republican response to the Democratic field is already pretty public, right? I mean, they're saying that this is a party that's moving to the left.

HARLOW: Yes --

SCIUTTO: And some of the positions taken by Kamala Harris, Warren -- Elizabeth Warren's soon expected entry into the field. Is that dangerous politically for Democrats? And who are the moderates who are going to join to help fight that impression?

DAVIS: Well, it's interesting. You know, the Republican National Committee was out pretty quickly this morning with a statement right after Senator Booker went public with his plans, you know, sort of painting him as your typical, you know, radical left Democrat who's for Medicare for all and all of these policies that would be -- that would, you know, pull the country out of the center main stream into -- all the way to the left. And certainly, there are a lot of candidates who are in the race who

have been, you know, charged with that. The Republicans are going to continue to hammer at that. And it's a vulnerability potentially because if Democrats are going to be successful this cycle, they're going to have to reach out beyond, you know, what's been their traditional base.

Certainly, what the basis of the party right now which is quite far to the left. You know, I think that we're going to see in the weeks to come whether some of these other candidates who want to talk to the heartland, the industrial Midwest, people like Sherrod Brown --

HARLOW: Yes --

DAVIS: Potentially, you know, getting into the race and start to change the conversation a little bit. Whether Joe Biden, the former vice president decides to get in. I think --


DAVIS: People may look to them to have a little bit different message, but for sure, that's going to be a question that any Democratic candidate is going to have to answer, and it's going to be a difficult one, given where the base of the party is right now.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and what works in the primary doesn't necessarily work in the general.

HARLOW: Totally --

SCIUTTO: Julie Hirschfeld Davis, thanks very much as always.

HARLOW: So the president calls bipartisan talks to avoid another government shutdown, in his words, quote, "a waste of time", and signals that he is set to call -- signaling that he very well may be set to call a national emergency to get the wall built. We'll have the latest.

SCIUTTO: Plus, the president is claiming that the deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has told him that the Russia investigation does not see him as a target. This as his long-time associate Roger Stone heads to federal court today for a second time in the ongoing probe, we'll have all the latest.


HARLOW: President Trump is causing some double takes this morning with a bold claim to the "New York Times", having lashed out at the special counsel's probe from day one, he now says he has nothing to fear. He tells "The Times" deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein personally assured his legal team.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, he told -- he told the attorneys that I'm not a subject -- I'm not a target of -- yes, oh, yes.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: Did he say that about the SDNY investigation, too?

TRUMP: About which?

HABERMAN: The SDNY investigation because there's two, there's Mueller and there's Cohen.

TRUMP: I don't know -- I don't know about that.

HABERMAN: All right --

TRUMP: That, I don't know about.


SCIUTTO: In that Oval Office interview, the president could not say when Rosenstein gave him that assurance. And as you heard from "The New York Times" reporter Maggie Haberman, there is a separate probe here in the Southern District of New York.

Another matter entirely, and on that, the president said he doesn't know. So are the border security talks that the president now says are a waste of time? He says that House Speaker Pelosi is hurting our country by not funding his border wall, and that he has set the stage now for executive action if and when the talks in Congress fails.

Cnn's Kara Scannell is in Washington where a Trump associate who does have something to fear from the Mueller probe due back in court again today. Kara, what is Roger Stone going to do in court today, what's happening?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. Roger Stone is back in court this afternoon and where he'll be before the judge that is going to oversee this case if it goes to trial, Judge Amy Berman Jackson. And the big question looming over there is will she impose a gag order, and this adds something that the government will seek.

Because Roger Stone has been on TV and holding press conferences since he's been charged on those seven counts of witness-tampering, false statements and obstruction. And so the big question here is there something that Mueller's team will seek?

Now, it's not clear that they will, and it's likely that Stone's team will object to it. But we did learn a little bit more about what the government has from -- that they've obtained from their search warrants where they looked at Stone's apartment, home and office.

And we understand from court findings(ph) that they have received multiple years worth of hard drives, records from phones, from computer files and also from financial statements and bank statements.

[09:25:00] So this investigation and this proceeding is now, you know, moving forward through the court system and Roger Stone will be back in court, and the judge that is going to oversee this case will kind of set the stage for how this is going to proceed where they show this evidence and turn over documents and he'll be back in court around 2:00 this afternoon. Jim.

SCIUTTO: You know, that may be the evidence that the special counsel was concerned would be under threat, thereby justifying in their view that arrest. So we had some reporting, new reporting, significant reporting regarding Donald Trump Jr. --

HARLOW: Yes --

SCIUTTO: In that Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer last year, eliminating some speculation that even House Democrats have said they wanted to investigate. Tell us what we know.

SCANNELL: Sorry, Jim, so the House Democrats have really been focused on a series of phone calls that took place right before the Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016 when Donald Trump Jr. was talking with a Russian about setting up this meeting.

There was a phone call in-between two calls that he had with Emin Agalarov who is the Russian that initiated the meeting with the Russian lawyer. And there was a phone call that took place with a blocked number, and Democrats have long speculated publicly that Donald Trump Jr. must have talked to his father at that point, the president who was then the candidate.

And what we've learned now according to multiple sources is that Donald Trump Jr. talked to two business associates in these blocked phone calls, and then he did not speak to his father. So that eliminates a lot of the speculation that the House Democrats have had that he tipped off his father about the meeting.

And when Donald Trump Jr. was before Congress, he told them he didn't tell his father, and we know also that when Donald Trump was asked in those written questions from Robert Mueller, if he knew about the meeting in advance, he said that he did not. Jim, Poppy?

SCIUTTO: Kara Scannell, important update, thanks very much.

HARLOW: All right, so let's talk more about that with Elie Honig; he's former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a very in-the-spotlight district right now, and also our Cnn legal analyst. Good morning Elie, and let's just start on the Don Jr. report in the news, exclusive Cnn reporting.

And significant, you know, politically here, but on the legal side of it, does it matter if those phone calls were not from Don Jr. to his dad, then candidate surrounding the Trump Tower meeting because we still do know that the president had a role in drafting those bogus statements about it being about adoption.

ELIE HONIG, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Right, Poppy. Looking at this from a prosecutor's perspective, this is the kind of thing that happens all the time in investigations. You have a lead, you have a piece of evidence, and you look at it, and you think, oh, that's interesting, phone calls to a blocked number, let's follow that up.

Sometimes it bears fruit and sometimes it just doesn't. And in this case apparently, those phone calls to the blocked number were not to the president. But that does not end the question. I still have plenty of questions about whether the president knew in advance.

There are plenty of ways that a father and son can communicate when they're in the same building, other than by telephone. And there's other questions about the president's actions after the meeting including, I think the established fact, Trump's own attorneys have acknowledged that he had a heavy hand in dictating the statement -- the false public statement after the meeting, claiming that it was just about adoption.

So this issue is not over. But that particular possibility of the phone calls to the blocked number seems to be out of the mix now.

HARLOW: Let's talk about how significant you think it is that the president told "The New York Times" in this new interview that deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told him that he is not a quote, "target of the Mueller investigation."

And I ask you that with this context that back in April, "The Washington Post" reported that Mueller himself told the president that he wasn't the target in April of last year, this is while trying to get him to sit for an interview. So --

HONIG: Right --

HARLOW: Its significance.

HONIG: It's significant, but I have a lot of follow-up questions. So there's a couple of terms that we need to be clear here. A target means somebody who there is substantial evidence of criminality --

HARLOW: Right --

HONIG: And who is likely to be indicted. You do not want to be a target. One half step down is a subject, and that's somebody whose conduct is within the scope of what the grand jury is investigating. And listening to the clip when he's asked, you were told you were a target, he says a target, a subject, it's unclear if he's saying I was told I was neither or if he's correcting himself.

HARLOW: Yes --

HONIG: So my --

HARLOW: That's a good point.

HONIG: First question -- so my first question is, is he a subject? The other thing to know is, those labels, those designations, they change with the evidence. You can find a piece of evidence that moves someone up or down that spectrum. So I would ask the same question that I think you and Jim were discussing which is the when? And then there is the Southern District Mueller distinction which he was asked, were you told you were not a target or maybe a subject in Mueller's investigation or Southern District? He didn't seem to know about Southern District. So there is a lot that's still out there.

HARLOW: And by the way, it's worth pointing out none of this means that he couldn't be impeached, right, because that's a political process.

HONIG: Sure.

HARLOW: Elie, thanks, we appreciate it.

HONIG: Thanks ma'am.

SCIUTTO: Two weeks before the government could shut down again, believe it or not. President Trump says that talks between lawmakers on a border security deal are in his words, "a waste of time". Do lawmakers involved agree?