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"The Shadow War" Reveals Global War On U.S. By Russia & China; Fired Acting FBI Director Breaks Silence On Why He Opened Investigations Into President Trump; McCabe To CBS: There Were Meetings At DOJ To Discuss Using The 25th Amendment To Remove President Trump; Judge Voids Manafort Plea Deal, Says He Lied To FBI & Mueller; Today Lawmakers Vote On Bill To Avoid Shutdown. Aired 10- 10:30a ET
Aired February 14, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Undermine the west, and one of the most alarming things here, is that this was happening without American officials, US officials, really being aware of it, or responding to it.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: And you talked to all of the top Intel officials for this.
SCIUTTO: Folks who were involved at every level from James Clapper to Michael Hayden to the head of the FBI Cyber Division to the Deputy Director of the NSA during Russia's interference in the election as well as officials in China and Russia.
SCIUTTO: And, you know, it's alarming, and it's something that took place through multiple administrations.
HARLOW: Yes. Right (CROSSTALK).
SCIUTTO: Multiple administrations who didn't see it coming.
HARLOW: Yes. Congratulations.
SCIUTTO: Thanks very much.
HARLOW: More on what Jim does. After the show ends every day at 11:00. This is the second job that he has.
HARLOW: There you have it, "The Shadow War," Jim's new book. It comes out May 14th. You can pre-order it today on Amazon, and there will be an audio book, right?
SCIUTTO: There will be.
HARLOW: Alright stay tuned for that. SCIUTTO: And every good Thursday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto. I'm Poppy Harlow. Moments ago, President Trump firing back at former Acting FBI director, Andy McCabe. He calls him a puppet for James Comey.
That is not the only reaction coming this morning after this stunning interview that McCabe just gave CBS. The Justice Department is also weighing in this morning after McCabe claims that were discussions had within the DOJ about removing the president using the 25th amendment. And, why he was worried the Russian investigation would disappear without a trace I mean.
SCIUTTO: I mean, it's amazing according to -- these conversations took place, and apparently with seriousness. McCabe says that he launched the probe into the Trump campaigns ties to Russia, because he feared that the investigation might be thwarted, might be stopped before it even started.
Worried that he could be fired as well by President Trump. Here is McCabe on the moments directly after meeting with the president, just hours after the president had fired James Comey.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER ACTING FBI DIRECTOR: I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency, and won the election for the presidency. And, who might have done so with the aid of the Government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage. And, that was something that troubled me greatly.
SCOTT PELLEY, CBS CORRESPONDENT: How long was it after that that you decided to start the obstruction of justice, and counterintelligence investigations involving the president?
MCCABE: I think the next day I met with the team investigating the Russia cases, and I asked the team to go back and conduct an assessment to determine where are we with these efforts, and what steps do we need to take going forward.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SCIUTTO: Really a remarkable interview. Joining us now is CNN's Laura Jarrett. She's been covering this from the beginning, and I understand now that the FBI is responding to McCabe's account.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN REPORTER: That's right, we're hearing from the Justice Department. But, I also just want to highlight Jim there how remarkable it is to have an on-the-record interview like this with the man who ran the FBI in the early days of the Russia investigation.
Describing essentially all of our reporting over the last couple years, but now doing it on the record. Let's take a listen to just a little bit more about why he says he was so desperate to preserve the evidence and information. Worried that it could all be wiped away.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE) MCCABE: I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, in an indelible fashion that were I removed quickly, or reassigned, or fired that the case could not be closed, or vanish in the night without a trace.
I wanted to make sure that our case was on solid ground, and if somebody came in behind me, and closed it, and tried to walk away from it, they would not be able to do that without creating a record of why they'd made that decision.
PELLEY: You wanted a documentary record.
MCCABE: That's right.
PELLEY: That those investigations had begun, because you feared that they would be made to go away.
MCCABE: That's exactly right.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
JARRETT: Now Scott Pelley also revealed on "CBS This Morning" that when McCabe sat down with him, he did confirm for the first time, on the record, that there were discussions, as we and others have reported, within the Justice Department after James Comey was fired, about potentially recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment to oust President Trump from office.
And that, Rosen Stein, the Deputy Attorney General, also discussed potentially wearing a wire on the president at that time. Now, I'm getting a brand new statement from the Justice Department just now.
I want to read to you what the Deputy Attorney General's position is on this in full. He says --
TEXT: "The Deputy Attorney General again rejects Mr. McCabe's recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect. The Deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references. As the Deputy Attorney General previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th amendment nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment."
So, not saying they didn't talk about it, but saying they never went through with it -- Jim, Poppy.
HARLOW: Laura, thank you. Really important reporting in a lot of development minutes in the last hour.
HARLOW: So with us to discuss is Jim Shultz, former Trump White House lawyer, and David Gergen, former presidential adviser to Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton.
David Gergen to you. Look, I mean, Andy McCabe, as Laura noted, has you know been punished, fired for lying before. So, there's an honesty question here about who is being truthful in all of this.
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: Yes, there is. We ought to preface a conversation about this. He was investigated by the Inspector General's Office at the Justice Department about being responsible for leaks. And then being, less than quote, less than candid, about his accounting of that after the fact. That's what the IG Report found.
GERGEN: And that, of course, has harmed his credibility. Even so, there is a great deal that it's consistent with previous reporting by CNN and by others in this book that gives you pause. And, what makes you wonder just where is the truth in all of this.
Certainly, this is a compelling read. It's a good read, and then you just -- we have to sort out, you know, what seems to be true, what doesn't seem to be true, and I'm not sure we'll ever get to the bottom of that. But, there's no question that the picture he paints of the White House, and the president has been like a mafia dot --
HARLOW: We lost him.
SCIUTTO: We lost it. David Gergen there. We'll get those fixed, but let's go to Jim Schultz in the meantime. Let's talk about the 25th amendment here, because that DOJ statement actually mince his words a bit, because they don't say this was never discussed. Just said that they did not proceed here. And what strikes me is, that they just -- even the fact that they had this discussion -- and also when you take that together with what we've heard from people who have left the administration
You know, set aside reporting about this administration, but people who write books about how this administration operates. Cliff Sims or Rex Tillerson describing his discussions with the president or -- and others.
There's a consistency here of a description of mayhem. A president who makes rash decisions. Does that concern you as someone who worked for this administration?
JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: This is a heck of a kick-off for a book tour. It's what it is. It's a --
SCIUTTO: But what I'm saying is that you can't take it in isolation, because you have a consistent account of how this administration operates.
SCHULTZ: You see -- Look there's no doubt President Trump is as a disrupter. No question about that. The American people knew that when they elected him in 2016. But, let's go back to a second here, and talk about the credibility for a second.
The Office of Professional Responsibility at the Department of Justice is run by career professionals. The Office of Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, career professional. The Office of Professional Responsibility recommended the firing. I think it's interesting that Mr. McCabe talks about his firing and being worried about being fired during his interview.
SCIUTTO: But are you saying that everybody who has an account of a, you know, disorganized Trump presidency that makes rash decisions, whether it's a Rex Tillerson or a Cliff Sims, or a McCabe that all of them are lying, making it up?
SCHULTZ: I'm not saying all of them are lying. I'm not saying all of them are making it up, and that some of the stories in the books that may be true, right? But that could very well be, but the issue here, is as it relates to McCabe, you have career professionals saying that he lied, or misled federal investigators on four occasions. Three times under oath.
SCHULTZ: Then, another reason why they dismissed him was for putting his personal interests above that of the department. Department leadership in connection with a news report about something that was confidential.
HARLOW: I think if someone lies, like the IG found that Andy McCabe did, nothing they say awry, should be believed?
SCHULTZ: No, no, no. But it does call into question credibility, right?
SCHULTZ: And again, the Justice Department itself is issuing statements calling into question the credibility of what McCabe said during that interview, and what McCabe said in the book. And as it relates to Rod Rosenstein. He's been through a number of administrations in high-ranking positions, both Democratic and Republican administration. He's widely respected by many.
If Rod Rosenstein says he didn't say he was going to wear a wire, or that that was not something that was to be taken seriously, the issue that -- then it becomes very difficult me as someone who you know and respects Rod Rosenstein. An, those of us who are in the legal community to take those allegations seriously.
HARLOW: So, let me jump and get Laura Jarrett in here at the Justice Department just to build on this conversation on the 25th amendment, because Rod Rosenstein's first comment on the 25th amendment, reporting six months ago or so, was that there was no reason to invoke it -- Laura.
But, he never said we never talked about it. And, if you look at the DOJ statement just out this morning, it also doesn't say it was never discussed. It says, nor was the DAG, which was Rosenstein's Deputy Attorney General in a position to consider invoking it.
HARLOW: It doesn't say they didn't talk about it.
JARRETT: Right. I have to imagine they are doing that. You have to imagine they are doing that, because they can't. If they could say flatly, he never said it, I think they would, not to read too much into it here, and try to parse this overlay. You know, too much here.
But, I think that that's worth noting. And he's now issued three statements, two on the day when the reports about the 25th amendment, and the wire first came out, and now today. And they all follow that similar attack as you pointed out Poppy.
And he's basically saying it's besides the point whether we talked about it or not, because what really matters is that we never followed through on it. We never did it. We never actually tallied votes. And so, why is any of this matter?
And you -- I think you can imagine for someone like Rosenstein, who's been sort of taking it from both sides, both on the left, saying he hasn't done enough, and on the right, saying he's sort of left the FBI and the Justice Department run amok. You hear so much about the deep state. You see people like Congressman Mark Meadows tweeting out Rosenstein has got to go.
But at the same time, this is really a credibility issue. As you guys have been talking about, the president is tweeting about McCabe like he's some bad actor here. But then, at the same time, which side does he believe?
SCIUTTO: Right. Before we go -- Jim. McCabe makes a point that he was concerned in the hours and days after the president had just fired Jim Comey. The president then said he fired Comey, because of his handling of the Russian investigation. That maybe, this investigation would be quashed. And, he was just making sure it could survive. Why is it a bad thing?
SCHULTZ: I don't know that it is a bad thing. I mean, clearly Special Counsel was appointed. This is all being run out, and we're going to hear a lot about it very soon I would imagine, especially from the comments that we heard from the Attorney General nominee, Bill Barr.
I think we're going to see a lot of this very soon playing out. So, that's not a bad thing. In the interest of justice he had a concern, and that's OK. How you characterize it later in order to sell books, and garner attention is a different story.
SCIUTTO: Thank you, Jim. We're gonna keep you around. We got a lot more interrogation for you coming ahead. Laura Jarrett, thanks very much.
Still to come, a federal judge voiding Paul Manafort's plea deal with the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. The judge said that the former Trump campaign chairman intentionally lied to the FBI, to the Special Counsel, and to the grand jury. HARLOW: Question is, why? Also Congress expected to vote today on a deal to avert another government shutdown. If it passes, will the president sign it? And one year ago today, 17 lives were lost, 17 people murdered during the Parkland mass school shooting. In just moments, a moment of silence to honor them.
TEXT: KILLED IN PARKLAND MASSACRE - Alaina Petty, Alyssa Alhadeff, Chris Hixon, Jaime Guttenberg, Joaquin Oliver, Luke Hoyer, Martin Duque Anguiano, Nicholas Dworet, Aaron Feis, Scott Beigel, Carmen Schentrup, Meadow Pollack, Peter Wang, Gina Montalto, Helena Ramsay, Cara Loughran, Alex Schachler.
HARLOW: A federal judge has ruled that former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, broke his plea deal, because he intentionally lied to the FBI, to the Special Counsel, and to the Special Counsel's grand jury.
SCIUTTO: Yes. And repeatedly. The judge says that Manafort lied multiple times, and that these lies involved interactions and communications specifically with a Russian associate, Konstantin Gudkov, who and this is crucial, has ties to Russian intelligence. The judge determined that Manafort also lied about a payment for legal bills and information material to another separate Justice Department investigation.
Let's discuss now with CNN Political Correspondent, Sara Murray. Also still with us is Jim Schultz. He's a former Trump White House lawyer. Sara, you've been on top of the story for some time now. I mean this blows up what was a significant plea agreement between Manafort and the Special Counsel.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It was really Paul Manafort's best chance to get some kind of sentencing reduction for the government to say he's cooperated, he's been honest with us, and make their recommendation.
So now, he's facing these charges that he was convicted on in Virginia as well as now whatever happens with his guilty plea here in DC. So, he's basically looking down the barrel potentially decades in prison. And essentially, his best shot now is to hope and pray that Donald Trump pardons him.
HARLOW: Why Sara, I mean, why? I know that's a really hard question at 8:00 in the morning or anytime. But why lie at that point in the juncture? Do you know what I mean?
MURRAY: You know, Paul Manafort lawyers say he didn't intentionally lie. That he just misremembered things along the way. That, you know, these were long and grueling days of questioning, and it was very difficult for him. And these are things that happened years ago. It's pretty clear the judge isn't buying that. I mean, there were five things that the government said Paul Manafort lied about and on two of those things, the judge said OK, you know, the government didn't prove their case that he intentionally lied.
But on three of these points, the judge is very clear. It is very clear that he lied about things that were material to the investigation. And so, you know, it does make you wonder if he was playing some larger endgame here. If he was the whole time angling for a pardon from president. But, you know, that's a risky route to go.
SCIUTTO: So, Jim Schultz, I've been covering the story since the beginning, and early on the word you heard from the administration is, there were no contacts with Russia. That's all garbage. Of course, many contacts have been documented since then. And then, lies about those contacts, but multiple people not just Manafort, but Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn. You know, both before and after the election here.
What is your explanation for that. It can't all be I forgot.
SCHULTZ: Right. Well, the fundamental question is, did this have anything to do with the campaign, right? And did Paul Manafort's lies have anything to do with his engagement as chairman of the campaign? Was he acting in the scope of campaign chairman when he turned over that polling?
SCIUTTO: Like I said, it's not just Manafort that lied. Michael Flynn lied, and while he was serving this administration.
HARLOW: (INAUDIBLE) the August 2016 meeting.
SCHULTZ: People lie when they feel like they've done something wrong. And, in this instance, yet Paul Manafort, who had dealings with the Ukraine for years. And, he owed some folks, some things, and he turns over polling data. Is he doing that to help the Trump campaign, or is he doing that to help himself? Is he is he acting in the interests of Paul Manafort, or is he acting in the interests of (INAUDIBLE).
I think that the fundamental issue there. But, the lies, they're related less to again, campaign-related issues, and it dealt more with contacts with foreign and foreign individuals and entities generally speaking. We're talking about Russian interference with the election or the campaign having any contact with Russian operatives as it related to the campaign. There's been no allegations and no charges relating to that. It's all been about lying.
HARLOW: Since you were in the White House Counsel's Office what's your over-under on whether -- if the president would seriously even consider a pardon for Paul Manafort?
SCHULTZ: I think if Manafort's play here is to look for a pardon, I think that's a big stretch, and a big risk to take. We just heard -- HARLOW: Even though the president made positive remarks about him after he was found was -- after he admitted --
SCHULTZ: Yes. I don't have any information of what the president's going to do.
SCHULTZ: If I'm sitting as Paul Manafort's lawyer right now, I'm saying that's a giant stretch to make. And to lie where he lied, and where the judge found that he lied, on the issues that he lied about, and jeopardizing again, decades in prison for Manafort at 70 years old, and look terrible. I think, if that's the strategy it's a poor one.
SCIUTTO: Yes. Sara Murray, before we go, you covered this White House for some time. The president has talked about pardons for others. He at least said that they're not off the table here, Roger Stone, etc. Is that something politically that this White House, or this president is, based on your reporting, still considering>
MURRAY: You know, regardless of what the president might say publicly, I think it's still something that's on his mind, because he does feel like a number of these people are only facing charges, and were only prosecuted, because they worked on his campaign, because they were close to President Trump.
And, you know, he's so unpopular, in his view, with the quote-unquote deep state people who are out to get him. That's kind of his thinking on it, but I do think that's something that makes this more difficult, and even threw the White House for a loop, was this revelation that Paul Manafort was sharing polling data with Konstantin V. Kilimnik, his Russian associate with, you know, allegedly ties to Russia intelligence. That makes it much more difficult.
HARLOW: Sara Murray great reporting as always. Jim Schultz, nice to have you in person. We were saying that we don't think we've had you in the flesh.
SCHULTZ: Nice to be here. Thank you.
SCIUTTO: I picked it up. Coming up soon, lawmakers are voting finally on a funding bill to avoid another government shutdown. The big question, of course, is what's going to happen in the White House. Will it get the president's signature?
SCIUTTO: Today, potential relief, Congress is expected to pass bipartisan legislation, imagine that, to avoid another government shutdown. The problem, nobody is certain that the president will actually sign it.
HARLOW: Right. So, this new compromise deal falls way short of the president's original $5.7 billion dollar request for a wall. Let's go to our Congressional Correspondent, Phil Mattingly, on the Hill. So, this is moving pretty quickly here in terms of when the votes are going to happen.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's totally true. I was up at midnight when this Bill was released. All 11,069 pages of it. Going through it right now, and lawmakers are likely going to start voting on it in a few hours. We don't have the exact time yet.
Right now, Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer still have to work that out. They also still have to vote on Attorney General Bill Barr's nomination. But, the expectation is the Senate should be able to move through this by this afternoon, and then the House will take it up this evening.
The idea of it being at least, according to aides in both parties in both chambers, they want this done, passed and sent to the president tonight. And, if you want a sense of how everybody pretty much on Capitol Hill is feeling right now, I want to read you a quote that Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican, the President Pro Tem longest- serving member of the Senate on the Republican side.
After the prayer to open the Senate, he stepped to the microphones. There's something I haven't actually ever seen before, and said, "Let's all pray that the president will have the wisdom to sign the Bill, so the government doesn't shut down." Basically channeling what I've been hearing from a lot of his colleagues over the course of the last couple days.
Because as you guys know, that's really the outstanding issue. The White House is not officially weighed in yet. I'm told they're still reviewing the proposal. As to what that proposal actually is, we had a pretty good sense of the top lines, $1.375 billion for border barriers, or restrictions. As to what those barriers could be? In total about 50 new miles of wall Republicans are saying they got a win in the number of detention beds bumping that number up from its current allocated level to about 45,000 beds.
Democrats say they think they can move that down as the fiscal year moves forward, and about $1.7 billion in homeland security funding for things like technology, personnel, issues like that. Look, Mitch McConnell who is just on the floor guys. Kind of put it probably the best way, which is that nobody's going to be entirely happy with this deal.
Eeverybody lost a little bit. Everybody if they wanted a reason to oppose it probably could, but I would refer back to Senator Chuck Grassley, saying at this point in time, given the length of this fight, given the 35 days shutdown, and given the frustration for members in both parties, in both chambers, who just want to move on with their agenda, and move on with the 116th Congress, they want to get this done. And they want to get it done tonight guys.
HARLOW: Yes, you don't always get what you want, but that's when you're in Congress, because you compromise. Phil, thanks very much. Good luck with those 11,000 pages.