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US Adds 304,000 Jobs In January, Beating Expectations; 2020 Race: Sen. Cory Booker Kicks Off 2020 Bid, Joins Crowded Dem Field; U.S. Announces Suspension Of Landmark Nuclear Arms Treaty; Roger Stone Returns To Federal Court; Senate Investigators Told Donald Trump Jr.'s Calls Before Trump Tower Meeting Were Not With His Dad; Cohen To Appear Before House Intel Cmte Next Week. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired February 1, 2019 - 10:00   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Very good Friday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto. A lot of news this morning.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: A lot of news. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. Breaking news, the US economy added 304,000 jobs last month. That was way ahead of expectations. And, it was despite a record-breaking Government shutdown.

SCIUTTO: This marks the 100th consecutive month of job gains. Let's get right to CNN Business Correspondent, Alison Kosik. I think this is almost double what the expectations were. Quite a number Alison.

ALISON KOSIK: CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this number blowing away expectations. As you said 304,000 jobs added to the economy in January. Interestingly enough, I talked to a lot of investors and traders who are really bracing themselves for this report because of that 35-day partial Government shutdown in January when these numbers were gathered.

So, despite that, we are seeing this booming jobs report for January. Now we are seeing that historic Government shutdown show up in the unemployment number however. That unemployment-- That unemployment rate rather ticking up from 3.9 percent to 4.1 percent. And, that's because of that Government shutdown. The furloughed workers who weren't paid and didn't show up for work were counted as temporarily laid off.

A second reason and a much more brighter reason why that unemployment rate ticked up is for a good reason because the labor force participation rate, that ticked up as well. And what that rate shows is that more people are feeling more confident getting out there looking for jobs. And, those jobs, by the way, are paying higher wages.

The third prong of this report that is positive showing that higher wages from last year. Those wages going up 3.2 percent. So, if you look at it in the broader picture for the past three months we have seen wages over that three percent. So, it continues that extension of gains. So, you are seeing that confidence in the market playing out. We are seeing the Dell up 71 points. And, if you are wondering where those jobs were created, in leisure jobs 74,000, construction jobs 52,000, and health care jobs 42,000 jobs.

Those, Poppy and Jim, are good paying jobs. Back to you.

HARLOW: Great news all around. Alison, thanks very much. Also this morning the loaded Democratic field to take on President Trump in 2020 just got a little bit more crowded.

SCIUTTO: New Jersey Senator, Cory Booker, releasing a video this morning to make his announcement official via social media.

CORY BOOKER, NEW JERSEY SENATOR: "Together, we will channel our common pain to 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: Joining us now live from Newark, New Jersey CNN's Rebecca Buck with more. Tell us about the day in this roll out for yet another Democratic candidate.

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. Well, obviously a very symbolic day for Cory Booker to make this announcement. It is the first day of Black History Month and Cory Booker is the second African-American candidate after Senator Kamala Harris to get in this race for President. But, the rollout today shows he is not only targeting African-American voters.

He has done an interview with Univision, a Spanish/English interview. And, he is also going later on The View targeting an audience mostly of women. So, really looking at some of the constituencies that Booker is going to be targeting, trying to persuade to join his movement in this campaign.

One of the key questions for Booker moving forward as he is a candidate in this race is, how does he stack up on Progressive issues. One of the big faults for Booker has been he is seen as weaker on Progressive issues. And so, he has been trying to sure up his record on this. He was asked today about his position on Medicare. For all, I want you to take a listen to his answer on that.

BOOKER: "What I'm going to be fighting for is a system that is there for everyone. Now, I signed up and am a big believer in Medicare for all. But I believe that because if we give people a quality public option that we are going to be able to get more people into the system.


BUCK: Another question for Cory Booker as this race moves along is, will his message of unity, hope and optimism and love resonate with voters who are very angry at President Trump among the Democratic party? He actually addressed this question in some respects in an Instagram Live just a few minutes ago. He said: "Don't tell me that that message is weak. Don't tell me that you can't win elections that way." He added he's been doing this for his whole career. So, we'll see how that message lands when he embarks on his first tour of this campaign. He'll be going to Iowa and South Carolina next weekend.

HARLOW: Rebecca Buck, thanks for the reporting from Newark.

SCIUTTO: Joining us now in the all-important State of Iowa, Jeff Zeleny, CNN Senior White House Correspondent. He is following Democratic Senator, Sherrod Brown, another possible hopeful. I want to get to that Jeff, but first let's talk about Booker's entrance into the race.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Well, there is no question that Senator Booker is, you know, the latest entry. But, people here in Iowa have been anticipating him largely because they remember his visit here to the State. Last Fall, he was here campaigning for Democrats. But, this is also a sign that it is going to be, as Rebecca was just saying, one of the largest crowded fields, but certainly the most diverse field in Democratic Party history.

But, I think a bit of history is important here to remember how Iowa fits into all of this. Of course, it is only one of the four early States, but at time and time again has been a critical state in terms of break-out candidates. You'll remember 12 years ago, actually next week 12 years ago, Barack Obama, the Junior Senator from Illinois jumped into the race. And he ultimately ended up to win the Iowa Caucuses that gave him validation going forward particularly in South Carolina.

So, talking to many Democratic officials and voters here, they definitely want to see all these candidates. They are very much in the shopping season. But a strong finish here for anyone certainly will validate them going forward particularly down south.


SCIUTTO: Go ahead. Sherrod Brown, another big name, right?

ZELENY: Well, no question about it. I mean, there are up to nine, at least nine, Democratic Senators who are looking at this. And, Ohio Senator, Sherrod Brown, is one of them. He is on the beginning of a four-State listening tour. And he is calling it, the Dignity of Work Tour.

He, of course, he is going after some of those specific blue collar voters, as blue collar workers who once supported President Obama, but switched to President Trump four years go. We caught up with him last night in Cresco, Iowa, and we asked him about what's missing from the race.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN, D-OHIO: "I'm sort of weary of Democrats that say you only talked to Progressives to win and excite the base."

ZELENY: The fact that you're exploring this would suggest that you think that voice is missing from the conversation. BROWN: "I think that voice needs to be stronger."

ZELENY: So, that was Sherrod Brown there talking about how he believes there does need to be a stronger voice directly going, addressing working-class voters. And, particularly he was in Howard County, Iowa, a small county not looking for the biggest crowd, but listen to these numbers. In 2012, Barack Obama won that county by 60 percent of the vote. Four years later, Donald Trump carried that county by 57 percent of the vote. There are counties like that all across the midwest, the Great Lake states from Iowa to Pennsylvania that President Trump won over President Obama.

So, that's what Sherrod Brown is going after. We'll see if he actually gets into this race. We'll be coming here to Perry, Iowa talk shortly to talk to some farmers and other groups. But, there is a sense here this race is very much on and at least a couple other senators still may jump in.

Jim and Poppy.

HARLOW: Jeff Zeleny, great reporting. Stay warm, my friend. Thanks so much.

SCIUTTO: And, it's a great point he makes there about those Districts that went for Obama then switched to Trump by big numbers. And, it's States like your home State, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and those are real bellwethers.

HARLOW: Absolutely. And, you know, Minnesota is turning increasingly purple. We will be watching all of it. All right, 640 days to go.

SCIUTTO: Whose counting?

HARLOW: Whose counting? On to a really important story breaking this morning. The United States is officially pulling out of a nuclear treaty with Russia that dates back for more than three decades.

SCIUTTO: Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced officially that the US is suspending participation from the landmark agreement accusing Russia of violating the deal for a number of years now since 2014.

MIKE POMPEO, US SECRETARY OF STATE: "Russia has jeopardized the United States security interests, and we can no longer be restricted by the treaty while Russia shamelessly violates it. If Russia does not return to full and verifiable compliance with the treaty within the six-month period by verifiably destroying its INF violating missiles, launchers, and associated equipment, the treaty will terminate.


SCIUTTO: Let's speak now to New York Times National Security Correspondent, David Sanger. David, it strikes me here that there is a real danger. The US, Russia, and China is part of this too because they are developing missiles in this category. That there's a new nuclear arms race. Is that right?

DAVID SANGER, NEW YORK TIMES NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: There is a significant risk of that Jim. You're exactly right. But, the risk is probably greater in Asia, oddly enough than it is in Europe. The intermediate Nuclear Forces Agreement was signed in 1987. And, at the time Russia and the United States were really the only two significant nuclear players at that moment.

The Chinese have since built much of their arsenal around missiles that actually have the ranges that are prohibited under this treaty. And, it's the United States that has long worried that they cannot respond to what the Chinese are building because of their constraints inside the treaty with Russia. That was the back story.

The Russians meanwhile, made it easy for the US by violating the treaty and deploying a missile that clearly is in violation. The Russians still deny it is in violation.

HARLOW: David, when we look at the big picture, I know it seems simple, but a hard question I suppose to answer, whether this makes the world more or less safe is a big question this morning.

SANGER: You know, Poppy, it's just the right question because in the nuclear world the margins of safety, you know, move gradually. But, obviously, if something went wrong and there was escalation to a nuclear conflict, it looks pretty terrible pretty fast. And, here is the risk right now. The risk is that the United States has now pulled out in the past year of two significant arms control treaties. Obviously, the one limiting Iran's ability to produce nuclear materials, that didn't have any weapons, and now this one.

The question is, whether the Russians will now respond to that by building up the missile fleet that so frightened Europe in the 1980s that it led to the INF treaty. And, then there is the Chinese element of it, as well as we just described. So, it is possible that we could look back at this as the turning point at which this big diminishment in the number of nuclear weapons in the world sort of hit bottom and we start going up again.

SCIUTTO: And, that is such a shame to imagine. Because, folks will imagine all those nuclear arms treaty is that a thing of the past, you know, and an acronysm. Is there any discussion, David Sanger, of Russia, China and the US sitting down with three parties involved for substantive talks to limit these kinds of weapons?

SANGER: There is some discussion of that. The Chinese have been very resistant because their view is, this is most of their arsenal, and they know that if they agree to limit these it would take away pretty much all they had. The Russians are also thinking about the next treaty to expire, which is the main treaty between the United States and Russia reached at the beginning of the Obama administration, or in 2010.

That's the new star treaty. It expires in just two years, right after the inauguration of the next president. And, there are no negotiations right now underway about its extension. So, you could find yourself in a situation in two years, almost exactly two years from this week, in which all treaties are off the table, and have expired, or simply withdrawn.



SCIUTTO: That is quite a prospect.



HARLOW: David, thank you. No one better to analyze this for us. Have a good weekend.

Still to come, President Trump claims that the Deputy Attorney General told the president's lawyers that the President is not a target, or a subject of the Mueller investigation. Those two words matter a lot.

SCIUTTO: They do.

HARLOW: More on it.

SCIUTTO: Plus the president says that bipartisan border security talks are just a waste of time. And, he is signaling he is ready to declare a National Emergency to bypass Congress and fund his proposed border wall.

And, pharmaceutical giant, Purdue Pharma is accused of profiting off the country's opioid crisis to the tune of billions of dollars. We have new details just ahead.



SCIUTTO: One week to the day after his arrest in a pre-dawn FBI raid, Roger Stone, is heading back to Federal court today where he could face what might seem like a punishment before he is even tried. We are speaking of a gag order, which would bar the outspoken political operative and former Trump campaign advisor from talking in public about his case. It would gag prosecutors as well, of course, but they as we know don't speak so much anyway.

The president is talking, however, in an Oval office interview with the New York Times, he is denying that he directed Stone to get those hacked Democratic e-mails from WikiLeaks in 2016. And, he is claiming that the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told his lawyers that he is not a target nor a subject of the Special Counsel's investigation.

That brings me to former Federal Prosecutor, and CNN Legal Analyst, Shan Wu. Shan, thank you, it's always good to have your wisdom on this. I want to start with the news first broken by CNN about Donald Trump Jr. There has been a lot of speculation about a phone call to a blocked number that he made before and after that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. The speculation being was that to the president, or then candidate because we knew that his number was blocked? But, we learned yesterday no, that was not who Don Jr called. How significant is that?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's significant in this sense. I don't mean to state the obvious, but we now can rely on the fact that he didn't call President Trump. I think it's a mistake to make too much of it because that does not mean that the president didn't know about the meeting. It does answer this question we've all had as to the mysterious blocked number.


It is generally good for the President, generally good for Don Jr, because there have been denials that that was who the call was with. But actually, the other information we've learnt as to who the calls could have been with, one of them is a friend of the family, quote on quote, who has business interests, and it was with Trump for the original trip to Moscow exploring the Trump Tower issue. So, for me that still raises a lot of questions as to what's really going on with the business interest developing that plan. And certainly, does not contradict the idea that the campaign, or people were aware of it at that time into the campaign.

SCIUTTO: Well, that's fair and, of course, it's still possible that he knew. But, you're taking away a piece of evidence that would be, you know, a hard piece of evidence, right? Like a documented phone call, which strikes me as significant in the investigation.

WU: Yes, that would definitely be somewhat of a slam dunk on the contradiction of what the president is saying. So, in that sense it is good news for him.

SCIUTTO: Okay. Other issue. President Trump, as you know, told the New York Times yesterday that Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General, assured him that he is not a target of the Mueller Investigation. I know the wording here is key; target. But, he also said, not a subject. Do you believe him? I suppose. And, under what circumstances would a Deputy Attorney General tell a president's lawyers that?

WU: I'll hold aside the question of whether we believe him or not, because that's always a question. If that were true, probably this would be the situation where, because of the unusual nature of the Special Counsel investigation it's arguable that your normal terms, like, subject, or target wouldn't apply because Mueller and DoJ have already determined that he would not be indicted even if the evidence was there.

So, that could account for normally something like the president, someone who has been asked to submit written responses to questions which are under oath. That would be a subject. It wouldn't just be a near witness given how close he is to the center of things. Not a target. That's very significant if they really meant that because it means we don't think you are really culpable of any criminal wrongdoing. But, it's possible because of the result that the campaign indictment that they are not using terms like that and maybe that is how it is being spun.

SCIUTTO: The president was asked about the second case, which is the one being pursued by Federal prosecutors here in the Southern District of New York. And on that case, this is the one that Michael Cohen, of course, pleaded guilty to crimes, and implicated the president. The president admitted there that on that one, he doesn't know the answer to that question. How much of an opening, or vulnerability, I suppose I should say, is that for president?

WU: Well, I think the Southern District case has always been a very big vulnerability for him. And really, I find it odd that if you were to believe that the Deputy Attorney General is advising him on whether he is a subject, or target, the Southern District certainly falls within the Justice Department's purview. So, it seems weird he wouldn't have been informed of that one. But of the moment perhaps reflects the president's obsessive focus more on the Russian investigation.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Chan Wu, we know where to keep coming back to you for your wisdom.

WU: It's good to see you Jim.

HARLOW: Wise man. All right, so next week Michael Cohen returns to Capitol Hill. He will face some of the same lawmakers that he lied to when he was up there last time testifying. We will talk to a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Straight ahead.



HARLOW: All right, a big week ahead in the Russia probe as the president's former attorney, Michael Cohen, returns to Capitol Hill to try to set the record straight on lies that he told the Congress. The president showing no sign of concern about that. He tells the New York Times in a new interview he is not a, "Target of the Mueller probe."

With me now is a lawmaker who sits not only on the House Intel Committee, but also the Oversight Committee. A lot of work ahead, certainly. Democratic Congressman, Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois is with us. Thanks for being here.


HARLOW: Escaping the bitter cold to just pretty cold here in New York with us. So, the president telling the New York Times he is not a target, or a subject. Those were his words of the Mueller probe. Given the position, your position in Congress, the committees you sit on, have you seen evidence of the contrary?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, as you know the Justice Department has guidance, saying that they cannot indict a sitting president. So, in that context it's not really clear what target means, or subject means. They may not even refer to him in that way because of that guidance. But certainly, he is involved in this investigation. We know that.

HARLOW: On the president's son, new exclusive, important CNN reporting this morning from our Pamela Brown that Senate investigators have obtained new information that shows that those phone calls to a blocked number that Don Jr made right around the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians in 2016, were not to then candidate Trump.

And, as you know a lot of your fellow Democrats have expressed a lot of concern, fear that they were to the president, that he had knowledge they think possibly of this meeting. Actually, the Chair of the House Intel Committee that you sit on, Congressman Adam Shiff has called to subpoena Don Jr to talk about those conversations. He said recently it was one of his first priorities. Knowing what we know now, should it be?


KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think that Congressman Schiff, or Chairman Schiff, is correct to want to call Mr - Don, Jr. --