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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Virginia Lt Governor Justin Fairfax Faces Second Sexual Assault Allegation; Northam Hanging On, Fairfax Under Fire, Herring In Hiding; ; Politico: White House Hunts For "Executive Time" Schedule Leaker; National Enquirer Under Fire Over Bezos Blackmail Bombshell; Ronan Farrow Says He Also Faced Blackmail Efforts From Tabloid; Washington State Sees Record Breaking Snowfall; Seattle Jury Awards $123 Million in 2015 Crash That Killed Five; Matthew Whitaker in Fiery Face-Off Tells Congress He did not Meddle in Russia Inquiry; Lawmakers Attempt to Find Bipartisan Agreement on Border Security; El Chapo Jury Deliberations Stretch into Second Week; Donald Trump: U.S. Astronauts will Go Back to Space this Year; Super Bowl MVP Edelman Shaves Beard. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired February 9, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This new accusation by a separate woman is very serious, that Justin Fairfax raped her. The entire Virginia House Democratic caucus has called on the lieutenant governor to step down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inquiring minds may be in legal trouble. Federal prosecutors in New York are reviewing claims "The National Enquirer" attempted to extort and blackmail Jeff Bezos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People want a new generation of leadership. I'm going to bring a vision for the country that represents the future.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm one of the few people you're going to see coming through Iowa that actually had to run something.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not talked to the President of the United States about the Special Counsel's investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you, where did you come from and how the heck did you become the Head of the Department of Justice?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "NEW DAY WEEKEND" with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: Good Saturday to you. We begin this morning with mounting calls for Virginia's Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax, to resign. This is coming after a second woman has accused him of sexual assault. The woman says Fairfax raped her while they were both students at Duke University back in 2000. CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: Of course, this is in addition to another accusation from a separate woman that said he sexually assaulted her back in 2004. Fairfax is denying vehemently both of these allegations. All of this, of course, during a wild week in Virginia state politics, hasn't it? CNN's Ryan Nobles walks us through what's happened.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It seems in many ways that the situation here in Richmond, Virginia is getting more complicated by the day. Already, the Governor and the Attorney General under a cloud of scandal because of accusations of racist photos and appearing in blackface in their past and now the Lieutenant Governor who had already been under fire because of a sexual assault allegation is now facing accusations from a second accuser.
That woman, Meredith Watson, says that Justin Fairfax raped her when they were both college students at Duke University back in 2000. Watson even goes on to say that she believes that Fairfax targeted her because she was a previous rape victim. Watson's attorney supplying the media with e-mails that they say show that Watson has told people for many years about Fairfax raping her when they were in college.
In fact, one of those e-mails came as Fairfax was beginning his political career and a group of Duke alumni asked for donations from fellow alumni. Watson responded to that e-mail chain by saying, quote, "Justin raped me in college and I don't want to hear anything about him. Please, please, please remove me from any future e-mails about him, please. Thank you."
Now, Fairfax is vehemently denying this claim by Watson. He says that this is absolutely not true and he also says that he plans not to resign. Well, even though Fairfax says he doesn't want to resign, the calls for him to do so are coming from all corners of Virginia's government.
A number of the state's congressional delegation saying it's time for him to go, the former governor, Terry McAuliffe, also saying he should go. And to take it a step further, a Democratic delegate from Arlington, Virginia, Patrick Hope, says that he will file articles of impeachment against the Lieutenant Governor on Monday if he does not resign beforehand.
Now, of course, all of this comes as the state is still reeling from the controversies involving the Governor who, in his medical school yearbook, there was a racist photo that appeared under his name and the Attorney General who admitted that he appeared in blackface while in college as well. The only update on those two stories is that the Governor doesn't appear to be going anywhere. He told members of his cabinet in a meeting on Friday that he plans to serve out the balance of his term. Ryan Nobles, CNN, Richmond, Virginia.
PAUL: Thank you. And as Ryan mentioned there, Virginia House delegate Patrick Hope there talking late last night about impeachment. Hope says he believes the two women's allegations and that Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is unfit to serve.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK HOPE, AMERICAN POLITICIAN: As the father of three young girls, I cannot stand by silently while the Lieutenant Governor is facing multiple, credible allegations of sexual assault. I believe these women. He needs to resign immediately. Should the Lieutenant Governor fail to do so, on Monday I intend to introduce articles of impeachment on Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Our affiliate, WTVR, spoke with some voters in Virginia who also believe that Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax should step down. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CATHY DAVIS, VIRGINIA VOTER: As a Democrat, if it was a Republican, we would be roasting them left and right, demanding a resignation and that's what we should do no matter what. It's disgraceful and the governor needs to resign. 2019, I mean, this stuff shouldn't be happening and it shouldn't keep coming up.
[06:05:03] BLACKWELL: All right. With us now, reporter and co-author of "Politico Playbook," Daniel Lippman. Daniel, welcome back.
DANIEL LIPPMAN, REPORTER AND CO-AUTHOR OF POLITICO PLAYBOOK: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: This is the second consecutive weekend now that state-wide and national Democrats have called for the resignation of a Virginia Democrat. of course, the difference between what's happening now and what happened last week this time is that what the Lieutenant Governor is accused of doing is a crime. These are violent, sexual crimes. Any indication that these calls for resignation will have a greater impact than the ones against Governor Northam had last week?
LIPPMAN: Well, I think if Fairfax knows he's going to get impeached, then he might try to resign beforehand to save himself the embarrassment of such an impeachment. It only hurts his name to be, you know, a lieutenant governor who's thrown out of office and I think the model that a lot of these Virginia Democrats who have faced calls to resign have followed is, you know, what Brett Kavanaugh went through, what Donald Trump went through.
They're trying to ride out the storm and think that the media will move on, but in this case, with all of the national Democrats and most of those Virginia Democrats as well calling for these peoples' resignations, that makes it much harder to stay in office when you are bereft of political allies. You really can't lead the state in either the, you know, governor capacity or the lieutenant governor if you can't actually work with any members of your state legislature.
BLACKWELL: So Representative Patrick Hope says he'll introduce these Monday if Fairfax does not resign before then. Is it clear that there is enough support for these articles of impeachment among Democrats? Because to ask him to resign is one thing, to vote to impeach him is another. Does this represent to potentially have the votes to get impeachment through?
LIPPMAN: I think after the second allegation yesterday, it makes it a much higher probability that Fairfax could not survive in office because maybe one sexual assault allegation and Democrats are a little cautious and they got criticism for not calling for his resignation the first time, but with a second one, it sounds like a pattern and it makes it, you know, much easier to vote for articles of impeachment because that's what the voters in Virginia will likely want.
We haven't done the polling yet since the second accusation, but, you know, most people who voted for Fairfax did not know about these types of allegations beforehand. I was just talking with a friend of his and he said he was completely blindsided as well and called for his resignation too. And so even Fairfax's friends are abandoning him.
BLACKWELL: So you've got a new piece out on "Politico" that reports that the White House is now looking for the source of the leak of those three months of the daily schedule for the President that showed 60 percent of his time since the midterm elections have been spent in "executive time." So you've got, which is interesting, a leak on the search for the leaker here in "Politico."
I want to put up the response from the White House after the original reporting where the White House Director of Oval Office Operations here said, "What a disgraceful breach of trust to leak schedules. What these don't show are the hundreds of calls and meetings that President Trump takes every day. This POTUS is working harder for the American people than anyone in recent history."
I mean, there have been a lot of leaks out of this administration. Does this one seem to be striking a nerve, that it's more consequential than the others?
LIPPMAN: Yes, I talked to David Urban and he said -- who worked for Trump in Pennsylvania. And, you know, he told me that the White House is very upset about this and it really indicates that there are people in the White House who believe that it's important for us in the public to know how President Trump spends his time and when it goes to the core of whether Trump takes the job seriously as Commander in Chief and is actually spending a lot of the time just reading the newspaper or watching television and tweeting, that goes to the heart of embarrassing Trump.
And so they are going, right now, through it with the White House IT office. They're looking at computers and printers to try to find out who the mole is and they think it might be a career government employee who are -- who is stationed in the White House, not an actual Trump appointee.
BLACKWELL: Why? What's that -- what's that based on?
LIPPMAN: I think it's based on that a lot of people have left the White House who may have leaked in the past who were appointed by Trump. Remember Cliff Sims? Had a story about him about -- however, when the White House was angry at him for being disloyal. And so there's a wide network of people, you know, a big list of people who get this private schedule ...
[06:10:06] BLACKWELL: Yes.
LIPPMAN: ... in the hundreds likely, and those people include career people who work at the White House. It's not just Trumpies who are in those jobs.
BLACKWELL: All right. Daniel Lippman, thanks so much.
LIPPMAN: Thank you.
PAUL: We now know when and where President Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The President tweeted they'll be meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 27th and 28th. This, of course, the second summit between the two leaders. Singapore hosted the first back in June and since then, President Trump has claimed North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat, an assessment his intel chiefs disagree with.
BLACKWELL: Washington state is in the middle of its second major snowstorm this week and now there's a state of emergency. Coming up, how long this record breaking snowfall will last.
PAUL: Also, blackmail, extortion, nude photos, these allegations by billionaire Jeff Bezos, more on the tell-all blog post and what is to come. That's next.
BLACKWELL: And after days of listening to some really gruesome testimony in the trial of the infamous Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, jury deliberations will stretch into next week. we'll tell you why jurors may be taking their time.
PAUL: Sources tell CNN, federal prosecutors are investigating now explosive allegations from Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos. Bezos is accusing "The National Enquirer" and its publisher, AMI, of attempted extortion and blackmail. Now, Bezos shared the details of several e-mails from the publisher in a tell-all blog post and claims the tabloid threatened to release explicit and intimate photos of him and a woman he was having an affair with. In return, AMI, apparently, wanted Bezos to end investigations into "The Enquirer."
BLACKWELL: So American Media Incorporated, or AMI, is so deeply involved with the President and a big part of this story. Here's why.
It's the publisher of the tabloid magazine "The National Enquirer" and the chairman and CEO, David Pecker, is a long time friend of President Trump and during the 2016 campaign, "The Enquirer" published several headlines and covers favoring President Trump, or then candidate Trump, and many that attacked Secretary Hillary Clinton, but all the headlines stopped when the Southern District of New York began investigating the President's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in his dealings with AMI.
Now, the SDNY's investigation focused on a $150,000 payment to Karen McDougal before the 2016 election, the Playboy centerfold. This was this catch and kill of her claims of an affair with President Trump. Now, catch and kill means that they buy rights to the story and then hide them so that it doesn't hurt the principal. Now, prosecutors said that AMI helped with their investigation and in return, granted Packer and AMI immunity to cooperate, essentially flipping on the President.
Now, that deal contained language that said if the company committed any crimes in a period and in the future, AMI could face prosecution. Well, the allegations by Jeff Bezos of extortion and blackmail could, could qualify as breaking that deal, but he's not the only one with those claims.
Ronan Farrow and "The Daily Beast" all recount similar accounts with "The Enquirer." Christi?
PAUL: All righty. So I want to bring in CNN media and business reporter Hadas Gold and trademark and criminal defense attorney Janet Johnson. Thank you both for being with us. We appreciate seeing you both today. So I want to ask you, first and foremost, about something Victor was just talking about, this non-prosecution agreement between AMI and the Southern District of New York. Is that agreement, Janet, at this point, I mean, is it shredded?
JANET JOHNSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE, TRADEMARK ATTORNEY: It's in jeopardy, Christi. You know, three years without committing a new crime, when I sign my clients up for that deal, it's not that hard to do because you're not supposed to commit crimes anyway. So it's a pretty low threshold.
They're going to look at whether there are one or two laws that were violated. One is the federal law that says you can't e-mail a threat in order to get something of value, but there's also a New York law that says you can't threaten someone to do something unseemly or, you know, horrible in exchange for them doing something for you. I think that misdemeanor alone could be violated and if that's the case, even a misdemeanor does shred that agreement.
PAUL: So you see what happened here, that we've seen thus far, as illegal on AMI's part?
JOHNSON: It's illegal. I think it's at least a misdemeanor and it could be a federal offense.
PAUL: OK. So I want to read what AMI said, Hadas. They said they believed "fervently that it acted lawfully in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters." Is there anything about this that sounds like a negotiation? Because a negotiation takes two parties.
HADAS GOLD, CNN REPORTER: Right, Christi, and what's most stunning about this is them trying to pull in their journalistic integrity. The end of that e-mail said something along the lines of, "No editor wants to send this sort of note," but no editor in a real journalistic organization would ever send a note like that, would ever threaten a subject with the sort of quid pro quo to get something that they wanted out of them.
Now, they claim this is just a way to clear their name, but what we're seeing now, as we've heard from Ronan Farrow, is more and more people coming out and saying that this is something that "The National Enquirer" engages in on a regular basis. In fact, we have sources who have told our colleague, Oliver Darcy, that we're -- this is something that they engaged in on a -- on a normal basis and we should hear from more people coming out soon to explain how this all work.
We all know "The National Enquirer" is not a traditional journalistic enterprise. It's not a place that conducts in the same ethics that a place like "CNN" or "The Washington Post" does. So it was laughable to hear them try to pull in these journalistic ethics in their e-mails between themselves and Jeff Bezos. And you have to know, and Jeff Bezos notes it in his own post, that he can stand up to this. He is so wealthy. He is so powerful. He can do this, but there are other people who have likely been targeted by "National Enquirer" in the same way that weren't able to do so.
PAUL: Very good point. When you hear "extortion" or you hear "blackmail," Janet, you often think of a demand for money.
[06:20:00] In this case, they just wanted a statement from Bezos. So I'm wondering does that matter when it comes to the -- either the legality or illegality of what's going on here?
JOHNSON: Right. That's a great point, Christi, because under federal law, you have to get something of value. It doesn't say "money." The statute says, "of value." So for "The Enquirer," a statement saying that their actions weren't politically motivated, that could be of value. And even to piggyback on what Hadas said, this was a lawyer who wrote one of these letters -- one of these e-mails saying, "This is our negotiation to you."
So if they're going to try to get behind that, some kind of lawyery action, lawyers can't commit crimes either and if you're saying, "Give me something of value in exchange for us not posting these pictures," and then even went further and said, "If you violate that, we will post them later," that's not an arm's length negotiation. That's not how lawyers are supposed to act.
PAUL: Right. Right. I want to get back to you, Hadas, about something that you said when we were talking about Bezos. I mean, this was a bold move on his part at the end of the day. The photos, the admission of infidelity all in one. Did he succeed? I mean, is there a sense that he succeeded in kind of getting the upper hand in this already?
GOLD: It definitely seems as though that's the case. You hear "Washington Post" reporters and other reporters kind of celebrating what he's standing for. And he did note in his essay about how "The Washington Post" -- he called it a complexifier to what he does and he is directly connecting a lot of interesting threads.
I never thought that we would see one story that seemed to possibly be bringing together not only the President, but one of the most important newspapers in the United States, the richest man in the world and possibly even other geo-political forces into one story all centered around, of all things, a tabloid that's better known for its stories about alien babies, but that's where we are today.
We are seeing this all in one, but Jeff Bezos definitely -- he took up the upper hand and it doesn't seem as though "The National Enquirer" thought he was going to do this, thought that he was going to kind of own this affair and say, "OK. Fine. If this is how you want to play, then I'm going to get one step ahead of you." And so far, he has seems to at least won in the PR game in all of this.
PAUL: OK. Janet, real quickly, Ronan Farrow tweeted, "I and at least one other prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about 'The National Enquirer''s arrangement with Trump fielded similar, 'Stop digging or we'll ruin you,' blackmail efforts from AMI. I did not engage as I don't cut deals with subjects of ongoing reporting." Is AMI susceptible to charges in that case, do you believe?
JOHNSON: Absolutely. And Ronan Farrow will be brought in for questioning and even if they don't prosecute something involving Ronan Farrow, it is now their modus operandi. This is going to be admissible in any trial, whether it's civil -- and remember, "Gawker" was brought down by something very similar and Jeff Bezos has the money to do that.
PAUL: All righty. Janet Johnson and Hadas Gold, always appreciate you ladies being here. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: So parts of the west coast are seeing record breaking snowfall this weekend. We'll tell you how long this potentially 00 look at this.
PAUL: Oh, my gosh.
BLACKWELL: I can't even finish the story. You look at these pictures, you just have to have sympathy for folks sitting in this.
PAUL: I know.
BLACKWELL: How long is this supposed to go on? We'll tell you.
PAUL: Speaking about how long something might go on, let's talk about the race for 2020.
BLACKWELL: It's forever.
PAUL: It's already on as a growing field of Democrats fight over who's going to be the one to take on President Trump.
BLACKWELL: You just have to feel bad for these folks.
PAUL: Oh, yes. Oh, my goodness.
BLACKWELL: Twenty million people.
PAUL: And look at that poor guy in the middle of all of it.
BLACKWELL: Twenty million in the Pacific Northwest facing all of this, the pounding snow, whipping winds, frigid temperatures this weekend. Washington state's governor has declared a state of emergency ahead of this storm, the second snowstorm this week. Now, the storm is expected to dump between six and eight inches of snow on Seattle with remote parts of the state seeing up to a foot of snow.
PAUL: Take good care of each other out there. Check on each other. CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar, walk us through what they are going to be dealing with the next 24, 48 hours here.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: More heavy snow is on the way. In fact, it's still snowing pretty hard. Now, take a look at some snowfall totals already. For frame of reference, these top two locations are in the Northwestern portion of the state and both of them pretty close around a foot of snow, but also, Seattle, at the airport they've picked up 6.4 inches already and it's still snowing.
Here's why this is important, because typically the city of Seattle only averages about 6.8 inches for the entire year. They're pretty close to getting that in just two days and it's likely that they're going to get even higher than that because it's still snowing.
Here's the thing, Twitter, just a few moments ago, the National Weather Service from Seattle tweeting out unofficial reports show that the airport is now up to between eight and 10 inches. If that's the case, the last time they had over eight inches of snow was back in 1990. You're talking nearly 30 years ago.
This goes to show you, this is a rare event. Even though Seattle is far north, they don't get big snows like this, but it's not just for Seattle. It's also snowing in Portland. You have winter storm warnings, even blizzard warnings, for portions of Washington state, but those winter storm warnings extend all the way down into California as well. This is a rather large storm, but moving in an awkward way. It's actually going from the north down to the south. So it's going to start in Seattle and Portland and push down to California.
Here's the thing to note. The Sierra Nevadas, guys, are looking at an additional three feet of snow by the time this storm system is over and just to point out, there's a hotel where the people that were staying in it were trapped. They just got let out yesterday and now you're going to be adding about 30 more inches of snow to that exact location.
BLACKWELL: All right. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.
PAUL: A jury has awarded $123 million to the victims and families in a deadly duck boat crash.
[06:30:030] This happened in 2015 in Seattle, five people died, 50 others were injured when that duck boat hit a chartered bus filled with international students.
Lawyers who represented the victims accused Ride the Ducks of failing to maintain its fleet of duck boats. Vehicles, that of course can travel on land, on water. The jury's decision, of course, comes just months after 17 people were killed in a duck boat accident in Branson, Missouri.
Nine of those people came from the same Indiana family, that's why you might remember that. And the lawsuits are still pending in that crash.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CO-HOST, NEW DAY SATURDAY: Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker clashed with Democrats in this hearing yesterday. It was fiery there in the House. He insisted he had not interfered in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
He defended decisions not to recuse himself from the probe as well. Now, a White House official said that the hearing went as expected. Republican Doug Collins said this was a sideshow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R), GEORGIA: We're going to have plenty of theatrics, bring your popcorn, I'm thinking about maybe we can set up a popcorn machine in the back because that's what this is becoming. It's becoming a show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Joining me now, political strategist Madison Gesiotto, Trump 2020 board member, welcome back to the show, Madison.
MADISON GESIOTTO, TRUMP 2020 BOARD MEMBER: Good to be with you, Victor.
BLACKWELL: OK, so first, we heard from the White House when it's expected, from the congressman there, this was a side show. Why was this anymore -- anything more than the oversight that Congress is supposed to exercise.
GESIOTTO: You know, one Democrat representative tweeted out last night, talking about the fact that one of the purposes, of course, for a congressional hearing would be to find facts, and these facts would of course either assuage fears or raise concerns.
And I think one of the concerns that the Democrats had going into yesterday was did acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker interfered with the special counsel's investigation?
And of course, in multiple occasions in his testimony yesterday, he said he didn't interfere, he didn't block funding, he did not make any promises or talk about this investigation with the president or any of his senior officials which I think was huge for him to come out and say that under oath yesterday because of the concerns that people had raised. And I hope that this does assuage these concerns for many people.
BLACKWELL: Yes, there was one thing he would not say though, and I want you to watch this exchange with -- this was Representative Cohen when he was asked if the Mueller probe is a witch-hunt, and then right after that, we're going to play, I believe we have it, the interchange between Senator Lindsey Graham and the likely next Attorney General Bill Barr when he was asked the same question during his confirmation hearings, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: Would you say the special counsel's investigation is a witch-hunt? Are you overseeing a witch-hunt?
MATTHEW WHITAKER, ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: Congressman, as I've mentioned previously, the special counsel's investigation is an ongoing investigation, and so I think it would be inappropriate for me to --
COHEN: But you wouldn't oversee a witch-hunt, would you? You'd stop a witch-hunt, wouldn't you?
WHITAKER: Congressman, it would be inappropriate for me to talk about an ongoing investigation.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Do you believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch-hunt against anybody?
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: I don't -- I don't believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch-hunt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now, why couldn't the acting Attorney General say something as concise and clear as that when the FBI Director Christopher Wray was asked the question, he said that he did not believe -- does not believe that the Mueller probe is a witch-hunt. Why couldn't Whitaker do that?
GESIOTTO: Well, when you look at Whitaker's testimony from yesterday, he did say that he has respect for Bob Mueller, he trust that he would handle this investigation. And I don't remember exactly what Representative asked him that, but he did say that he respects Bob Mueller and on multiple occasions has said that.
He didn't say in any way, shape or form that he doesn't respect the investigation --
BLACKWELL: But this appears to look like a weakening and answer the president --
GESIOTTO: And of course, like I said, he repeatedly said he -- he repeatedly -- BLACKWELL: Who has called this a witch-hunt. The question is why
couldn't the acting Attorney General --
GESIOTTO: But he did not -- he didn't say it was a witch-hunt yesterday --
BLACKWELL: Who was there to represent the thousands of people who -- well, he couldn't say -- the question was do you believe it's a witch- hunt? And he wouldn't give a clear answer on that. When Bill Barr who is coming into the job likely next was asked, he said, no, it's not a witch-hunt, clean and simple.
Why couldn't the acting Attorney General do that?
GESIOTTO: Yesterday, he was there willingly, he was not there by subpoena, he didn't have to answer any questions. He came in to answer questions out of good faith, he chose to be there. And again, he assuaged the fears that people have that he was interfering in this investigation someway or that he was reporting to the president inappropriately, sharing information about the special counsel which would be awful if something like that were happening.
I wouldn't want that to happen, but this president and the other president and the special counsel --
BLACKWELL: But what do you think the --
GESIOTTO: And that's not happening --
BLACKWELL: Impact is on the people at the Department of Justice who go in --
GESIOTTO: And he said that repeatedly yesterday --
BLACKWELL: Who go in to work and do their very best every day, and the boss goes in and cannot definitively say whether or not that the work they're doing is a witch-hunt.
GESIOTTO: I mean, those people go to work every day, and they do their best just as acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker does. Just like incoming Attorney General William Barr will do.
[06:35:00] These people -- and they're doing their best job and it has nothing to do with it, they're still doing the best job that they can do, and they're doing that for the American people.
BLACKWELL: All right, let's move on now to reporting out this weekend that the Conference Committee, that's working on coming to an agreement on a border security, they're getting close to a deal potentially, but it's far less than the $5.7 billion that the president has demanded for a wall specifically.
Last according to the post, I believe, the last offer from Democrats was about $500 million. They expect they'll get somewhere between 1.3 billion and $2 billion. Speaker Pelosi has said that she will back whatever deal comes out of the Conference Committee. Should the president make that same guarantee?
GESIOTTO: Yes, I think this is great news, and really excited about what's going on with the Conference Committee. We have Democrats and Republicans coming together and compromising in the name of American security to protect the American people.
Making sure that we have security in vulnerable places on the border which isn't a partisan issue as many, you know, wanted it to be before. So they're coming together, and I know Senator Leahy came out, saying that there're 95 to 98 percent finished --
BLACKWELL: Yes --
GESIOTTO: They're going to stay over the weekend, make sure hopefully, that they propose something on Monday that will get through before next Friday.
BLACKWELL: It may get through, but the president has said that he wants 5.7, when the Vice President went to the Hill to say that could we talk about maybe 2.5, the president said, no, I want 5.7. Are you confident that the president will sign a funding bill that includes 2- point -- that includes less than 5.7. Let's say it's $2 billion for a border barrier?
GESIOTTO: Yes, I mean, I'm confident that the president has in good faith put Republicans and Democrats in the room to compromise and make sure that they come up with a comprehensive plan to address many issues related to border security and immigration, and that's what they're doing.
I know the president has faith in the committee, and I do think that he will be fair in signing a deal, not necessarily with exactly that 5.6 or 5.7 --
BLACKWELL: Well --
GESIOTTO: Billion dollars for the border --
BLACKWELL: We know that the president does not have faith in this committee because he's called it, quote, "a waste of time". So we'll see if they come out with a deal --
GESIOTTO: No --
BLACKWELL: And if he'll sign it --
GESIOTTO: He does, he put the committee together -- he put the committee together in good faith because he wants this to be done the right way --
BLACKWELL: Well --
GESIOTTO: He wants Republicans and Democrats to come together. He doesn't want people to feel --
BLACKWELL: The congressional leaders put the committees together, but --
GESIOTTO: That this is just one side of the aisle --
BLACKWELL: The president has -- the president has quote, called this Conference Committee process "a waste of time". We'll see if he walks that back like he did his guarantees and demands during the 35-day shutdown. Madison Gesiotto, thanks so much for being with us.
GESIOTTO: Good to be with you, Victor.
PAUL: It was supposed to be an open and shut case. The jury deliberations of the drug lord El Chapo's trial is taking a lot longer than expected.
[06:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLACKWELL: Jury deliberations for the El Chapo case, they restart on Monday. And so far, jurors in this case, of this drug lord, they've heard 200 hours of testimony, looked at boxes of physical evidence and gone through 60 pages of instructions.
PAUL: Cnn's Polo Sandoval takes a look at why jury deliberations at this point are taking so much time.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's reputation is the alleged head of the Sinaloa Cartel led many to believe that this would be an open and shut case. Yet, here we are, four days of deliberations later, and still no verdict.
One possible reason is because of all of the materials that the jurors now have to go over. There's some of the evidence that was presented, and also some of the dramatic testimony that we heard in the last 11 weeks. Here's a bit of it.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): For the last two months, jurors have listened to tales of bribes and bloodshed, heard testimony about notorious Sinoloa Cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, and saw rare images of the drug lord with his diamond-encrusted pistol by his side.
Government witnesses testified how Guzman allegedly smuggled drugs through tunnels, cars, semi-submersible, even inside cans of chili and fake bananas. Details from his former associates now cooperating with the government included explosive testimony from fellow Sinoloa Cartel member Alex Cifuentes, he testified about his former boss' bribes allegedly paid to Mexican officials.
Cifuentes claim Guzman once paid former Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto a $100 million in October 2012 when he was president-elect. Pena Nieto's former Chief of Staff called the allegations "false, defamatory and absurd". Adding that it was Pena Nieto's administration who located, arrested and extradited Guzman to the United States for trial. El Chapo's former IT expert Christian Rodriquez(ph) whose photo shown
here was obscured by prosecutors to hide his identity revealed how the cartel communicated through a system of encrypted phones. He used spyware to capture conversations with members of Guzman's criminal organization.
Guzman is facing multiple counts including firearms and drug trafficking charges and faces life in prison. Though the list of charges does not include murder, testimony took a graphic turn when Essayez(ph) Valdez was called to the stand.
The former security guard-turned pilot recalled when Guzman was involved in the gruesome murders of three rivals. Former Colombian cartel lord Juan Carlos Chupeta Ramirez also called to court testifying he started working with El Chapo in the early '90s.
Ramirez went on to work with Guzman for nearly 18 years and was eventually captured in 2007. He was so hotly pursued by authorities that he underwent several plastic surgeries to try to evade capture. One constant fixture in the courtroom has been Guzman's wife of more than 10 years, former beauty queen Emma Coronel.
Coronel helped her husband escape from a Mexican prison according to testimony that came from a former prison guard-turned Chapo associate. She's not facing charges at this time, and her lawyer had no comments about those allegations.
In the final move to convince jurors of Guzman's guilt, prosecutors showed images of the tunnel that provided his escape. A government expert described it as being just under a mile long, complete with a motorcycle track, said to have been used by El Chapo and an associate for their ride to freedom.
(on camera): All these kinds of drawn-out deliberations are expected in this cases. One former prosecutor who spoke to Cnn says that he would have been concerned had the jury come back with a verdict immediately, given all of the material that's presented in the last two months or so.
[06:45:00] As for the jury, they head back to court, back to deliberations come Monday morning. Polo Sandoval, Cnn, New York.
BLACKWELL: President Trump is promising to send American astronauts back to space on American rockets. This year, is that on schedule, is it likely? Well, one former astronaut tells us she's thrilled about the concept.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAE JEMISON, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: Yes, having been an astronaut, having been really right now, extremely excited about where we're going in space.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLACKWELL: Two-thousand and nineteen marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon-landing. Now, the president says the U.S. will send astronauts back to space on American vehicles this year. Now, I asked former astronaut Mae Jemison if she's confident Americans will go back to space soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[06:50:00] JEMISON: Yes, I'm confident that we'll be able to get Americans back up into space on American-made rockets. But let's really be clear, this doesn't mean that we haven't been up in space the entire time. In fact, people have been on the International Space Station for a decade continuously.
And these things are really critically important for us to think about, because it takes time to make sure these actually work.
BLACKWELL: Do you think Americans, I mean, this is the 50th anniversary of the flag being planted there on the moon. Are Americans as excited about space exploration as they were back in the decades ago, during the original space race?
JEMISON: Well, let's just say, first of all, people like space. Everyone is excited about it. One of the things that's kind of interesting for me, having been an astronaut, having been really right now extremely excited about where we're going in space and how we've done so much.
One of the things is that sometimes we compare what's happening now to the Apollo days, where we had a particular definitive goal of saying, we're going to put a human on the moon within ten years and we're going to bring them back.
And that was at a time when we knew very little, yet, we actually committed ourselves to doing that. There was a commitment and the funding that went along with it, so that we were able to work the plan and make things move ahead.
These days, we've been a little less committed, and I would say actually over the past 20 to 30 years, we have perhaps been a little less definitively committed to every step of the process. We got space station up, it took us a while to get it up, and now we're realizing all kinds of benefits from it.
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about China and their commitment to the future. Right now, they're exploring the far side of the moon, they're planning a base on the moon, they want their own space station, they want to -- they're planning a mission to Mars over the next several decades. Is American dominance in space in jeopardy?
JEMISON: I'm not so into the dynamics, is it China or is it the U.S. China has done impressive things with showing that picture from the dark side of the moon with the earth in focus, and that helps us to understand that we're all in this together in many ways, right? This whole planet, we're in this together. But the United States,
we've done remarkable things, we've done remarkable things with our partners out of Europe. We've done remarkable things by having the space station up.
The fact that China is working on that, they are going to do their piece. I think we also have to understand like for example, space exploration isn't something that's uniquely the U.S. now or uniquely the U.S. versus the Soviet Union's. India has put up space vehicles.
We're looking at actually burgeoning things in the UAE. All around the world, we have the European Space Agency that has very incredible missions that we're looking at. And so, it's really about how do we take advantage of this so frequently when we think about space exploration?
BLACKWELL: Dr. Mae Jemison, thank you so much for being with us.
JEMISON: You're very welcome, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: So you think after winning the Super Bowl, you'd do just about anything to keep the good mojo going, Coy, maybe?
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Maybe, good morning to you. This is Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman. And coming up, we'll tell you why he chopped off that glorious beard and show you what he looks like now. It might surprise you.
[06:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLACKWELL: So we're about a week out from the Super Bowl that just happened, but can't really find the Super Bowl MVP.
PAUL: Yes, Julian Edelman's signature look --
WIRE: Yes --
PAUL: It's bye-bye.
WIRE: It is. I mean --
PAUL: I didn't recognize him --
WIRE: This guy had a beard that was this stuff of legend would have made you jealous, me, definitely. I can't grow a beard. There are even T-shirts made in Boston in his honor. So he won third Super Bowl, but he lost his beard via Ellen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLEN DEGENERES, TALKSHOW HOST: All right, you support the boys and girls club of America, right?
JULIAN EDELMAN, WIDE RECEIVER, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: I love them. DEGENERES: Yes --
EDELMAN: Love what they do.
DEGENERES: Yes, you do a lot for them. And I thought it would probably mean a lot if I would donate $10,000 to them. But you need to let me shave that beard first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Oh, he's reluctant.
WIRE: OK, so it took five full minutes for Ellen to cut through the mane, but the results pretty amazing. Here's the before and after. What do you think?
PAUL: Wow --
BLACKWELL: Right --
WIRE: I mean, the dude looks like a model, right?
BLACKWELL: Different guy.
PAUL: Yes --
BLACKWELL: Totally different guy, Julian Edelman, your Super Bowl MVP. Now, winning that Super Bowl -- winning in sports in general is not really what's important. It's the bond created with team mates through adversity and the loved ones who help you along the way. That's what matters, so take a look at some of the unseen moments of New England's sixth Super Bowl title.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brady, under center, victory formation, takes the snap, falls to a knee, and that will do it. The New England Patriots have won, the Patriots, their second Super Bowl championship in the last three years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go Debb(ph) --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're two --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is awesome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Love it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys are awesome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys right --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All we did, it was all impressive(ph) --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fall out, bro, I'm so proud of you.
TOM BRADY, QUARTERBACK, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Always do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grandpa! All right, coach!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is his granddaughter.