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WAPO: Trump Org. Fires At Least 18 Undocumented Workers; Federal Prosecutors Subpoena Trump Inaugural Records; WH Expected To Announce Details On Next Trump-Kim Summit; 2020 Speculation Mounts As O'Rourke Meets With Oprah Today; President Trump Delivers State Of The Union Tonight. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired February 5, 2019 - 10:30   ET



JIM SCIUTT, CNN HOST: Bob Casey, I will say, was hopeful about the speech tonight in our interview before this.

CONWAY: Well, I'm glad but -- I'm -- I'm glad.

SCIUTTO: So there's some openness there too.

CONWAY: But -- I'm glad, but, you know, this leftward drift of his party on abortion now and infanticide since in fact Governor Northam last week in that -- who's still the governor, by the way, of Virginia today, he -- he said infant. So it is infanticide. He actually referred to the birth of an infant, not a sonogram, not a pollywog (ph), not uterine material, not some unknown blob. He said infant. So it's infanticide.

This started in 1992 when Bob Casey's father, Bob Casey Senior, was not allowed as governor of Pennsylvania to address the Democratic National Convention because he was pro-life. So this leftward drift is now all the way into infanticide and I think the Democrats, who are more moderate, who maybe won some of those Trump districts, should come and say, excuse me, I want to make sure that we're not a party that's for infanticide.

SCIUTTO: Kellyanne Conway, thanks very much for taking the time.

CONWAY: Thank you, Jim. Thanks.

SCIUTTO: We'll be right back.




SCIUTTO: President Trump's Inaugural Committee is facing more heat from Federal prosecutors, but it's not part of the Mueller Probe. This time, it is a subpoena from the Southern District of New York, and it is a sign that investigations will continue long after the Special Counsel is done, which if you listen to Senator Chuck Grassley just moments ago, in his view, could be soon.


SCIUTTO: When do you expect to see the Special Counsel's Report?

SENATOR CHUCK GRASSLEY, R-IOWA: Within a month, if we see it. I look at it from this standpoint. I don't care what the report says. We paid $25 million, maybe $35 million, to do it, and the public ought to know what their $25 or $35 million bought.


SCIUTTO: CNN National Security analyst, James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, as well as just 50 years or so in the intelligence community. Thanks very much for joining us.


SCIUTTO: So on that day, I don't mean to make you a prognosticator, but do you see any indications that the Special Counsel's investigation is close to done.

CLAPPER: No, but that is a favorite parlor game in this town is, when is Mueller going to be done. And, all I've ever said about it is, I think he's closer to the end and he is the beginning and that's about as far as I'd go.

SCIUTTO: That is probably safe bet. This other investigation now that's coming up, separate from the Special Counsel Southern District of New York. I mean, quite a broad-based subpoena to the Inaugural Committee list of donors, where the money came from and with some serious crimes at least investigated here. What's the significance of that investigation?

CLAPPER: Well first, you know big bucks contributions to inaugurals is a unfortunately long-standing custom in this town with every inauguration. This one though was, kind of, eye-catching because of the amount of money, $107 million, which is about double any previous inaugural in terms of financial contributions.

So obviously, the interest here is in legality, and particularly if there's foreign money involved, which of course is illegal. So, I think it just yet another Branch off of all these investigations that the president, or his campaign, or the inauguration is under. And, I think, this is, all this going to be going on for a long time.

SCIUTTO: Based on what you know about intelligence, and you know a lot, would a donation to Inaugural Committee be a way that a foreign power would seek to influence it, and frustration?

CLAPPER: Well certainly, I mean this is the objective here for a foreign country, whether an adversary or not. But particularly, an adversary would be to gain access, influence leverage, have possible access to the president himself over to influence policy, whatever. So, yes. This is a concerning particularly if it involves foreign money, and potentially a foreign adversary.

SCIUTTO: We have the president now. He probably will not announce it tonight, but soon we expect him to announce a second Summit with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. I was at the last one, you know a lot about what happened there. There weren't commitments made by North Korea under the president's own standard of complete verifiable and irreversible, and there haven't been any sense then. Is there value in those two leaders sitting across from each other?

CLAPPER: Well, I supported the Singapore Summit. I thought it was a good idea because my own observations in my dealings with the North Koreans were they are stuck on their narrative. We're stuck on ours, and the only way that's going to change is that the bigger partner, read the United States, changes the narrative.

I thought though that the president kind of squandered the huge leverage he had just by agreeing to meet with the leader of North Korea, which is something Kim Jong-un's father and grandfather long of lusted for. Really wanted a personal meeting with, in-person meeting, with the president. But I don't think we got much out of that, and then he kind of gratuitously gave away our joint exercises.

And by the way, the North Koreans understand exactly what those exercises are for. They're defensive in nature and the North Koreans know that. So, hopefully this time, they'll be some more thought given to some objectives and potentially some gain for us. I do think it's much better to talk in person like that, than exchanging the threats that were the case, you know, eight, nine months ago. So, it's certainly in a better place there.

SCIUTTO: Sometimes via Twitter. You're aware of the president's public disagreements with--


SCIUTTO: intelligence officials that he appointed here. There's interesting story beyond that that the Time Magazine is quoting several officials who say that the president's intelligence briefers have been instructed to withhold from him intelligence that contradicts his publicly stated views. What are the dangers of that? If the intel community can't speak truth to the president.

CLAPPER: Well, that is not good, and certainly in public. The intelligence leaders, notably Dan Coats, my successors, DNI, did their duty, which was to tell truth to power. It's perfectly permissible for policymakers to include policymaker number one. Meaning, the president to ignore, accept, or reject an intelligence as he, or she sees fit. I would observe that doing that repetitively, routinely, over a period of time, on multiple issues, is dangerous to the country, and to a presidency.

What I don't think is necessary, and which does great harm, is the gratuitous, unnecessary insults. When the intelligence community, which is there to tee up the facts, somehow is seen as disagreeing with the president's no fact zone own reality.

SCIUTTO: General Clapper, always good to draw on your experience.

CLAPPER: Thanks Jim.

SCIUTTO: Well, he's not running, but President Barack Obama is very much a part of Democrats race for 2020. Could the party find their next Obama in a growing field of candidates.




SCIUTTO: Oprah Winfrey could have a major reveal in the race for 2020. Stay calm though, she is not running for president. But, she will have former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke for a live taping of her podcast. This is fueling speculation that he will actually announce his candidacy for 2020. O'Rourke could be entering a growing field of Democrats who are looking to President Obama for hope. CNN Senior White House Correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, reports.


(INAUDIBLE) The President of the United States.


ZEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Before any Democratic presidential candidate can hear those words, and bask in the echo of that applause, they must start here as Barack Obama did 12 years ago this week.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness - a certain audacity - to this announcement.


ZELENY: The 45-year-old Junior Senator from Illinois was a rising star, but a long shot presidential candidate.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington, but I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.


ZELENY: Most every Democrat eyeing the White House this time around has already met privately with Obama, and strains of his message and name are showing up in the early stages of the race. Senator Kamala Harris striking a unifying tone, and drawing an Obama size crowd, during her announcement.


SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIFORNIA: Our United States of America is not about us versus them. It's about we the people.


ZELENY: Senator Cory Booker evoking the Obamas.


SENATOR CORY BOOKER, D-NEW JERSEY: I miss Obama and I miss her husband too. I'm really grateful for the kind of leadership he provided this country.


ZELENY: And Senator Sherrod Brown telling voters this.


SENATOR SHERROD BROWN, D-OHIO: If Obama knew he didn't win, I won three (INAUDIBLE).


ZELENY: But back then, even after Obama won the Iowa caucuses, his primary fight with Hillary Clinton was just beginning.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They said this day would never come.


ZELENY: David Axelrod, an architect of the Obama campaign, said rebounding from moments of crisis was the most important test for Obama and any candidate.


DAVID AXELROD, CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS: Presidential races are gauntlets. And, you know, in a rough way, they're supposed to be where you simulate the kind of pressures that people will face if they become president. And people get a chance to judge you in those moments.


ZELENY: At the dawn of one of the most wide open campaigns in memory, predicting the next Obama is foolhardy.


AXELROD: I did not know how he'd handle all of the pressures of the race. We don't know that now about any of these candidates.


ZELENY: The former president plans to stay out of the primary, telling Democrats he knows the torch should be passed. But that promise could become complicated if Joe Biden jumps in.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As vice president, I saw firsthand the courage of Barack, every, excuse me, the president, he's my buddy.


ZELENY: And heads turn when Obama called Beto O'Rourke an impressive young man who ran a terrific race in Texas.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It felt as if he based his statements and his positions on what he believed.


ZELENY: Today, all eyes are on O'Rourke as he appears in New York with Oprah Winfrey who back then gave Obama her first political endorsement.

OPRAH WINFREY: US MEDIA EXECUTIVE: I'm here to tell you, Iowa. He is the one.

SCIUTTO: Our thanks to Jeff Zellany for that report. It is his second State Of The Union, but this time to a very different audience.




SCIUTTO: When President Trump delivers this year's State of the Union Address, he will face a very different room than the one he addressed last year. With Democrats now in control of the House, and the threat of a second government shutdown looming. CNN's Tom Foreman gives us a preview of tonight's speech.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey Jim, when President Trump comes walking down that aisle, he is going to face a very different audience than last year. Remember back then, his Republicans had firm control of the Senate and the House. But, in the mid-term elections, the Democrats took the majority in the house, and they brought in a lot more elected women too.

He will see that from his position up front here and he might feel it over his shoulder too. Remember Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, a Republican is out, and he has been replaced by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat who has shown she is more than willing to engage Trump over the budget, over his messaging, and certainly over his plans for a wall on the border with Mexico. Keep an eye on her throughout the speech.

Also, watch this area out here. That's where members of the US Supreme Court will be seated. Remember two of them have been selected by President Trump, that has been a great cause of concern for Democrats, and no doubt, he may mention his influence on the course.

Also watch that area over there. That's where the First Lady will be seated. Traditionally, the First Lady's area is used for the White House to illustrate some of the points of the president--


FOREMAN: with the guests They have invited, or to honor certain people. But the Democrats can also invite guests to underscore their concerns, for example, on gun control. We expect to see one of the survivors of the Parkland School Shooting in Florida. On the issue of immigration, we expect to see an immigrant mother and her child who are separated by US agents at the border. And on the issue of the government shutdown we're expect to see some workers who were furloughed during that time.

In short, this year, when President Trump looks out, he will see far fewer people who are ready to agree with him, and many more who are prepared to challenge his policies. Jim.

SCIUTTO: Great story. Remember our coverage of the State of the Union begins tonight at 8 o'clock Eastern Time right here on CNN.