Return to Transcripts main page


Sen. Cory Book Announces 2020 Presidential Run; U.S. Suspends Nuclear Arms Control Treaty with Russia; Leon Panetta Talks U.S. INF Treaty Suspension; Roger Stone Arrives to Court as Gag Order Looms; Trump: Rosenstein Told My Lawyers I'm Not Mueller Target; Interview with Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL); Countdown to Super Bowl LIII. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired February 1, 2019 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] ANDREW GILLUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There's no sense in attempting to ignore the fact that Mr. Booker will bring a set of experiences as a black man in this race. But they're not running with that as a theme for the presidency. They're not hiding from it either. What we'll hear from these candidates over the long haul will be, what are those issues? Health care, education, criminal justice. How is it that we're going to reach even Trump voters who thought they were getting a president who would advocate for their advancement. A better check for them. Instead, he's only been a champion for himself. These candidates will be well advised to again talk to the American people about themselves as well as how they're going to advance a greater vision and improve on our individual lives and not their own.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Andrew Gillum, thank you, sir, so much for being with us.

GILLUM: Of course. Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: Of course, any time.

New fears of an arms race after the U.S. suspends its nuclear treaty with Russia.

Plus, former CIA director, Leon Panetta, will join me next to react to the president claiming that his intel chiefs were "misquoted," even though they were not.

And we're awaiting Roger Stone's arrival to court -- live pictures -- as a gag order looms.


[13:35:35] KEILAR: The U.S. confirming today that it is pulling out of a key nuclear arms control treaty with Russia. It's an agreement that dates back to the last days of the Cold War and it's sparking fears of a new arms race.

We have Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who made this announcement saying that Moscow has been violating the treaty for years.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: It does no good to sign an agreement if the party isn't going to comply with it. The piece of paper that's not being complied with doesn't reduce the risk. It doesn't take down that threat. The INF is being violated by the Russians. It's the very agreement they signed up for. We didn't force them into the agreement. They decided this was in their best interest. They've now decided it's not in their best interest.


KEILAR: Former defense secretary and CIA director, Leon Panetta, is joining me now.

Sir, thank you so much for being with us.


KEILAR: This treaty is a centerpiece, it's been a centerpiece of security since the Cold War. What's wrong with it?

PANETTA: There are people concerned, I'm sure, about whether or not as a result of getting rid of this treaty we'll begin a new arms race on nuclear weapons. We have made a lot of progress on that through the START agreements, through the INF Treaty. We thought we were headed in the right direction. There's no question the Russians have been violating this treaty. They're deploying battalions of these cruise missiles along their border. But at the same time, this administration doesn't have a very good record of getting rid of treaties and then replacing them with something better. That's what makes people very nervous.

KEILAR: We just talked to President Trump, and he was saying, when asked about this at the White House, he said essentially this does need to be renegotiated. You're saying there isn't a good record of that, but he says they need to get in a big, beautiful room. Other countries like China need to be brought in. What do you say to that?

PANETTA: Well, you know, I don't think that's a bad thing, to try to sit down and try to get our allies and Russia to join together to try to develop a treaty that everybody will abide by. But there isn't a good track record here. This administration pulled out of the China trade agreement. They pulled out of the trade agreement with South Asian nations. Nothing has replaced that. They pulled out of the Iran agreement. Nothing has replaced that. So there's a real question mark as to whether or not they have a strategy for really putting in place something better. And that's what makes people nervous.

KEILAR: I want to get your perspective as a former CIA director about what we've seen play out that's really extraordinary with the intel chiefs. They testified publicly on camera indisputably contradicting the president's claims about ISIS, North Korea and Iran, and yet the president is disputing the characterization that they're not in lock step with him. How do you think that these heads of intel agencies view all of this? How would you view it if you were still CIA director?

PANETTA: Well, it has to be really disconcerting, because these intelligence agencies have an obligation to speak truth to power. And that's exactly what they did. And when the president rejects what they've said because it doesn't somehow agree with his version of the world, then he not only attacks them, but he's saying they were misquoted. The reality is that if this president is going to face the tough decisions that presidents have to face, they have to rely on intelligence. It has to be good intelligence. It has to be truthful intelligence. And when he rejects it, it sends a real message to the world that we now have a president that's basically operating on his own and not listening to the people that really know what's going on.

[13:40:02] KEILAR: These are figures who generally -- I mean, we did see them testify, as they do annually, before Congress. But in general, they keep a pretty low profile. These are intelligence chiefs. So when the president then characterizes their sentiments from his

characterization, to be clear, which is sort of dubious, that they believe the daylight between themselves and the president to be fake news. Is that really problematic? Do you think that people dismiss that, or do you worry that that is a bad situation because obviously they're not in the kind of position where you would refute that publicly?

PANETTA: Well, it's a terrible situation to have a president who rejects the information he receives from the intelligence people that he's appointed to those positions. And yes, they are low key. That's the way they're supposed to be, because their responsibility is to present to the president the intelligence about what is happening in the world. We have a president who doesn't want to listen to the truth because he has his own version of that. He said ISIS was defeated. Our intelligence chief said that's not the case, that there are thousands that are continuing to work. That's a fact. This president says that Iran is cheating on the nuclear agreement. Our intelligence official says that's not the case. The president rejects that because it doesn't agree with his version of what's going on. Same thing about Russia, the same thing about other issues, particularly on border security. He says it's a national emergency, and our intelligence chiefs don't put it at the top, really, of the major threats that we're confronting in this world.

So the danger here is to have a president who has his version of what he thinks should be true. And basically it's what he wants the world to look like. Well, the purpose of intelligence is to tell you what the world is, not what he wants it to look like.

KEILAR: Sir, thank you so much. Leon Panetta, we really appreciate you joining us.

PANETTA: Thank you. Nice to be with you.

KEILAR: Longtime Trump adviser and confidant, Roger Stone, arrived in court just moments ago. Will a federal judge keep him away from the cameras? We'll find out.


[13:47:12] KEILAR: We have breaking news. President Trump's long- time adviser and confidant, Roger Stone, arrives at federal court in D.C. for a hearing, and we expect to learn whether a judge will stop him from talking about this case in public. Stone has pleaded not guilty to the seven counts against him. They include five counts of making false statements, one count of obstruction, and one count of witness tampering.

Let's bring in Laura Coates, former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst.

Laura, when you hear -- first off, what do you expect the judge to do here? What would the basis be for this? Would you be surprised if he said, look, you're not going to be talking about this?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No. Frankly, if you're Roger Stone, why would you want to talk about it? You have false statement accusations, witness tampering. Every time you speak there's an opportunity for someone to interpret your actions as further tampering. Remember, a judge not too long ago talked about a gag order with Paul Manafort and saying, hey, you have to be quiet because you don't want to mislead the public or someone who may testify in this case. It really is in the interest of the people who are the actual parties in the case. It's frustrating in the media to have a gag order but it actually helps the litigants in the case to say, let's stop talking before it may behoove you in testimony and nothing else.

KEILAR: So the president has said that he never asked Roger Stone about WikiLeaks. He talked about that and a whole lot more in a wide- ranging interview he did with the "New York Times." He was asked what deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, has told him about the Russia investigation, and here's what he said.


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

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: He told your attorneys?

TRUMP: Yes. Oh, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did he say that about the SDNY investigation, too?

TRUMP: About which?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The SDNY investigation. Because there's two. There's Mueller and then there's the Cohen investigation.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: That's very interesting. First off, what questions are outstanding for you? He was told this, and we were not confirmed he was told this. What are you aware of?

COATES: He was a target and not the subject. The target is someone who likely will become a subject at any given time. Did Rod Rosenstein say you're not a target or you're not a subject? That's looming out there. Also the communication between himself and Rod Rosenstein. To what extent has there been communications about the Russian collusion probe in general? Has there been a fluid conversation? Has there been an interpretation of a statement made by Rod Rosenstein in public? He gave a very stunning press conference a couple months ago to tell the people to rest assured, that the evidence would support whatever conclusions were drawn. Is that what he's talking about or something different? Think about the president of the United States talking about these issues and the idea of not quite knowing where he stands. Well, his lawyers seem to think they know quite firmly where he stands and it's confusing why he would be talking about an issue that, frankly, is like the sword of Damocles over his head forever.

[13:50:18] KEILAR: Very good point.

Laura, thank you. Really appreciate it.

Moments from now, Senator Cory Booker will hold a news conference as he jumps into the presidential race.


KEILAR: We heard the president speaking moments ago about the wall. He said to expect something on his decision to declare a national emergency shortly after next week's State of the Union address. So that would be before the negotiations are finished because the deadline is February 15.

Florida Republican Congressman Michael Waltz with us now.

Thank you so much for coming into the studio.

REP. MICHAEL WALTZ, (R), FLORIDA: Thanks for having me.

KEILAR: We're really happy to have you here.

It seems pretty clear the president is more than telegraphing -- it's so much more. He's writing in lights that he's going national emergency declaration, that seems clear. Would you be OK with him doing that, with taking money from other places like where its allocated in the Pentagon budget and using it for a wall?

WALTZ: Before we go there, more broadly, the president's been very reasonable on this. His speech last week, he moved rhetorically away from, fine, if you don't want to call it a wall, steel slats, barrier, what have you.

(CROSSTALK) KEILAR: He tweeted yesterday, "A wall is a wall, wall, call it what it is. He retreated on what he said last week.

WALTZ: Well, fine. We all know it's a steel barrier, not the great wall of China from sea to shining sea. We need barriers. He said put them in place strategically where the Border Patrol is asking for it. He also put DACA on the table, temporary status on the table. And the other side has said repeatedly we're not going to negotiate until the government's open. Well, the government's open now and now we're hearing from the speaker, well, we're not going to negotiate or no barrier funding. And it's incredibly frustrating --


KEILAR: They put forward a proposal, it has a lot of things in it with border security. Rhetorically seems to be where the issue is. They're open to a barrier. That's what Nancy Pelosi has made clear. But the president --

WALTZ: But she's also said not a dollar for a wall now, not a dollar for the wall ever. So, look --


KEILAR: Is a wall a fence or barrier? But my question is --

WALTZ: But the folks, people are so frustrated with this --


KEILAR: These are appropriators. Back to my --


WALTZ: I agree. Let's let the conference committee do their work, cut a deal, move forward. We have a lot of things this country needs to deal with, including border security. My point is, it's sequential. You cannot get to legal immigration reform until you secure the border. Otherwise, you'll have the same problems three, five years from now. I thought the deal that was offered last year was very appropriate, DACA, border security, chain migration, lottery system. Let's get back to something like that. Cut a deal, compromise can't be a dirty word and move. Let's go.

KEILAR: Declaring a national emergency, do you have concerns?

WALTZ: I have concerns as a congressman. I would not want to see that as a co-equal branch. At the same time, Congress after Congress after Congress, under multiple administrations, have not solved this problem. The president was elected to solve this problem. He is trying to negotiate right now. So, you know, let's negotiate over the next 15 days.

KEILAR: Barbara Starr, our Pentagon reporter, is reporting that the U.S. military and intelligence officials believe ISIS could reemerge and take back territory in Syria if the U.S. does not maintain military pressure. That timeline could be six to 12 months. That's in now from Barbara Starr. What's your reaction to that?

And to be clear, you're retired Amy Special Forces. You have served --


[13:55:16] WALTZ: I'm still serving in the Guard.

KEILAR: Still serving in the Guard. You have served in Afghanistan.

WALTZ: Right.

KEILAR: You have served in the Middle East.

WALTZ: Right.

KEILAR: You're very familiar with these problems.

WALTZ: My concern is the underlying causes of instability and sectarian violence, or what have you, that caused ISIS in the first place are still there. We need to stay engaged whether that is way few thousand or with Special Forces, diplomatically. We need to stay engaged in that region. Iran is running rampant. The Russians are moving in the Middle East. ISIS can reemerge. I'm encouraged to see the president listening to folks like Lindsey Graham and reconsidering. The Turks, by the way, do not care about ISIS. If you look at the geography, don't have the capability to affect where they still remain. The Turks care about the Kurds. The United States has to lead, and when we don't, bad things happen.

KEILAR: In Afghanistan, where he's reportedly wants to drop from 14,000 troops to 7,000, that would be a significant and somewhat rapid draw down. What's your reaction to that?

WALTZ: We need to maintain a counterterrorism capability. Half the world's terrorist organizations exist in that border region. If Pakistan destabilizes, that's about five times the population of Afghanistan with nukes. We have an interest in staying engaged there, too. I'm sorry it's a difficult, long, hard proposition, but we cannot revert. We cannot leave our gains behind. We have to make sure the Afghans build to the point where they can take care of the problem themselves. What those troop numbers look like that's completely with his, as commander-in-chief, and the Pentagon's prerogative. We have to maintain a footprint there. We have to stay on offense, Brianna. We're going to fight this in places like Kabul and Damascus or we'll fight it in Kansas City and it will follow us home. There's a false pretense in Washington on both sides of the aisle that if we just let them take care of it, bring the boys home, that America doesn't need to be involved any more. It will follow us home. It has in the past. And we can't let it again, because going back again will be far more costly than staying engaged.

KEILAR: Congressman Michael Waltz, thank you so much.

WALTZ: All right. Thank you.

KEILAR: Really appreciate you joining us in studio.

WALTZ: All right.

KEILAR: We have more on CNN's exclusive reporting. The mysterious phone calls that Donald Trump Jr made after the Trump Tower meeting were not to his father. We're back in 30 seconds.


KEILAR: The food, the TV ads, the parties, the halftime show, and, oh, there's also a football game, right? A football game? The excitement building in Atlanta ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl when the New England Patriots take on the L.A. Rams. But the game is only part of the story.

CNN "EARLY START" co-anchor, Dave Briggs, live for us in Atlanta.

Dave, it's nice to see you at this hour. First off, what are some of the things you'll be watching for as Super Bowl LIII kicks off?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Brianna, it's nice to be on in the waking hours.

Let's kick things off with the halftime show with a little controversy. Maroon 5 is under fire there. They're asking Levine to drop out of the performance, given Colin Kaepernick's continued absence in the NFL. Levine told "Entertainment Tonight" they will be heard, the petitioners, adding, "I don't want to spoil anything, that could be the Monday watercooler talking point."

The commercials always intriguing. Maybe less so now that they're leaked prior to the game. But you will see some celebs like Charlie Sheen, Harrison Ford and Cardi B and the Dude, Lee Boughski (ph) reappearing after 10 years. Samuel Adams is proof you don't have to spend $5.2 million on a 30-second ad. They rolled out this 32-ounce giant goat can honoring Tom Brady. Too old, too slow, still here, bill. The rumor is it tastes pretty good. That's just a rumor.

On the field the Rams coach, Sean McVay, is the youngest coach ever in the Super Bowl, just 33, half the age of Bill Belichick, going for his sixth ring.